Out of the 10 best Austin financial advisors we profiled, Beck Capital Management is the only firm on the list that accepts clients with assets below $250,000.
The company is research-focused and offers details on the firm’s investment philosophy. A highlight of Beck Capital is that you’re not charged separate fees for financial planning services, a practice common in other firms. Instead, your management fees include the service. The company offers account management to individuals and high-net-worth individuals and families.
Who Should Use Beck Capital Management?
Those who have at least $100,000 or are within 10 years of retirement is the answer Frank Beck, Beck Capital’s president, gave when asked about who should find a financial advisor. He stated that most clients are most concerned about their money lasting at least as long as they do, and setting up a plan for their children or grandchildren.
As the only firm on our top 10 Austin advisor list that accepts clients with less than $250,000 in assets, it’s one of the best in the city, but isn’t exclusive only to high-net-worth individuals.
Furthermore, if you appreciate a heavily researched based approach to your portfolio, you’ll appreciate Beck Capital’s focus on macro economics and analysis. It’s one of the only firms that employs a PhD economist and professor.
The firm’s eight person team is on the smaller size compared to other firms in the area, but not as small as the three-person LBJ Family Wealth Management. You’d likely have the opportunity to get to know most team members but still have the resources of a larger firm, such as databases and tools used to manage your account.
This firm is also for you if you prefer one set fee. Financial planning services are included in your management fees. This differs from firms such as WorthPointe and Austin Asset that charge separately for those services either as an hourly fee or as a project-based fee.
Finally, while it’s not essential to live in Austin, it is helpful if you’re in the area to meet with your advisor at least once a year.
What You’ll Pay in Fees
Beck Capital Management is fee-based. That means the company makes its money from managing your assets as well as through other means. Fee-only companies, such as Austin Asset and Durbin Bennett, earn money solely from the assets under management fee.
Beck Capital is fee-based because agents may earn commissions from selling you a real estate investment product or other products such as insurance that your advisor recommended. That’s not an uncommon practice among financial advisors, but it is something to keep in mind.
You’re also responsible for brokerage commissions and transaction ticket fees. These are charged to you directly and cover the cost of any brokerage transactions executed on your behalf for your portfolio’s assets.
What to Watch Out for with Beck Capital Management
Beck Capital Management doesn’t have any major downsides. The only potential issue is that the company is considered fee-based rather than fee-only. What this means is your advisor can make money from selling you a real estate investment or insurance (or other products). On the other hand, a fee-only company earns revenue through the management fee, and that’s it. It’s a harder standard to meet, and not as common as fee-based.
Another potential detractor may be the lack of certifications at Beck Capital. The company has a wealth of experience, but lacks the same formal credentials (such as CFPs, CFAs and CPAs) that many other firms include. If that’s important to you, you may want to try another firm.
Beck Capital Management Advisors: What to Know
Eight people work at Beck Capital Management, making this firm the same size as Waterloo Capital Management, another Austin firm. Out of the eight, three work as investment advisors, two as strategist and researchers and one as the chief investment officer (and president).
While you’ll find decades worth of experience among the staff, you won’t find many of the common certifications found at financial advisor firms. There isn’t one certified financial planner (CFP) or chartered financial analyst (CFA) or certified public accountant. While those certifications indicate that the participant met certain requirements, exams or membership fees, they don’t necessarily replace years of industry experience.
While the common certifications aren’t found here, one employee, Melanie Johnson, is a certified divorce financial advisor (CDFA), a certification not found at any of the other Austin advisor firms we researched. This certification indicates experience in helping clients navigate the financial complexities of divorce. This includes specialized training of how to assist divorcees in identifying and valuing marital assets.
James “Frank” Beck, is the principal owner of the firm. He serves as the president and the chief investment officer. He has a mathematics degree from University of Texas at Austin and has worked in investment services since 1978. He founded the predecessor to Beck Capital Management in 1997 and has led the company since.
The company has Lewis Spellman, PhD on board as well as a macro-economist and executive vice president. He teaches at the school of business at the University of Texas at Austin. His PhD is from Stanford University and his BBA and MBA is from University of Michigan.
Bryan Anderson is the market strategist and an executive vice president of the company. He has roughly 30 years of experience in financial services and was a top broker in the U.S. Investing Championships in 1989. He served as the portfolio co-manager for a $350 million mutual fund focused on the information technology and medical products sectors.
Generally, financial advisor firms work with specific brokerage firms. Beck Capital Management “selects Fidelity Investments to custody its client assets,” according to paperwork filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. While most firms will recommend a brokerage firm, Beck, “does not recommend other broker-dealers for client transactions.” That means the company has a standing relationship with Fidelity.
Beck Capital Management has not incurred any disclosures or disciplinary actions.
Beck Capital Management Investment Philosophy
Two mottos Beck Capital uses to describe its philosophy is “growth at a reasonable price,” and “model growth.” Simply put, the company uses institutional grade databases to conduct a rigorous research in-house. The firm’s vice president is a macro economist and professor of finance at the University of Texas at Austin, another example of the company’s research focus.
Beck Capital uses the “30,000 foot view” to describe how the firm takes a long-term view of the industry. This long view evaluates industry sector developments, secular trends, money flows, news events and policies. This also includes foreign currencies and employment statistics.
The company decides what securities to buy by analyzing revenue and earning growth and gross and operating margins. Reasonable valuation relative to growth rate is taken into account as well as determining young industry-leading companies. Advisors at Beck use fundamental, technical and cyclical analysis to formulated investment strategies and evaluate securities.
Sector rotation is another keystone for Beck Capital. This method involves rotating investment sectors in cycles of one to five years based on changing economies.
Out of the 10 Austin-based advisor firms we researched, Beck Capital had one of the most detailed and research-based investment philosophies we came across.
Beck Capital Management Portfolio Management
Your portfolio's construction is derived from your investment return goal. That includes your risk tolerance and volatility tolerance. That said, Beck Capital will keep an eye on wealth preservation and will try to reduce risk when it predicts an increase in market volatility or fundamental company change.
Advisors at Beck Capital focus on individual equities, fixed income and alternative vehicles. Some portfolios also hold ETFs.
Specifically, your account may hold:
- Equity securities
- Corporate debt securities
- Certificates of deposit
- Municipal securities
- Mutual funds
- U.S. government securities
- Option contracts
- Publicly registered non-traded REITs
- Publicly registered non-traded business development companies
Your initial discussions with your advisor will help shape your portfolio’s investment strategy.
Starting an Account With Beck Capital Management
To schedule your first meeting with Beck Capital, call (512-345-6789) or fill out the contact form on the company’s website.
Frank Beck, the company’s president and owner, stated that in the beginning you can meet with your advisor as often as you’d like. There’s no set number of appointments, it’s up to you and how comfortable you feel working with an advisor. Some clients live in other countries or states, so it depends on their schedules. Clients who live in central Texas will generally meet with the firm at least annually.
In those initial meetings you’ll review topics such as your financial situation, objective and goals. This may include retirement planning, education and estate planning as well as insurance and a review of your assets.
Families and high-net-worth individuals can choose from a menu of portfolio management services. Your portfolio is built to meet your return goal and is customized to fit your financial situation.
Beck Capital also offers services for institutions. This includes 401(k)s and defined contribution plans. The company also manages trust and endowment portfolios.
Accounts are managed on a discretionary basis after your consent. This means securities can be bought or sold without your permission. This method allows your portfolio to be managed without your active daily participation.
What Types of Clients Does Beck Capital Management Accept?
Beck Capital works with:
- Individuals and high-net-worth individuals
- Charitable organizations
- Corporations and businesses
Where Is Beck Capital Management Located?
West Austin is home to Beck Capital Management’s office. You’ll find the company located near the Barton Creek Wilderness Park by the Stoneridge Place neighborhood.
You won’t have to pay separately for financial planning services, such as Austin Asset and Venturi Wealth advisor firms. Instead, the company includes financial planning services as part of the asset management service and fee. However, you can engage the firm for separate financial planning projects without an account. If you choose that option you’ll pay a standalone project fee.