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Bernstein Private Wealth Management Review

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Bernstein Private Wealth Management

Bernstein Private Wealth Management is an investment firm based in New York City with additional offices throughout the United States, as well as one office located in Tel Aviv, Israel. The firm is the investment arm of the global financial services company AllianceBernstein. It has more than $518 billion in assets under management and employs more than 2,000 financial advisors.

Bernstein caters to high-net-worth investors, and it also has a substantial roster of institutional clients. In addition to financial advisory services, Bernstein Private Wealth Management offers a number of other products and services, including mutual funds and sell-side research. 

Bernstein Private Wealth Management Background

Bernstein Private Wealth Management was founded in 1967. The firm is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange. It is a part of AllianceBernstein, a global financial services company. AllianceBernstein was formed in 2000 as the result of the merger of two companies, Alliance Capital and Sanford C. Bernstein. Alliance Capital was founded in 1971 and Sanford C. Bernstein was founded in 1967.

What Types of Clients Does Bernstein Private Wealth Management Accept?

Bernstein Private Wealth Management offers investment management services exclusively to high-net-worth individuals. The firm is a good fit for high-net-worth clients who are looking to get advisory services from a company with a large investment staff and connections to a global financial services company. With offices located throughout the country, geography is likely not a crucial factor and most people should be able to access the firm’s services regardless of where they live.

Bernstein also serves institutional clients, including:

  • Investment companies
  • Pooled investment vehicles
  • Pension and profit-sharing plans
  • Charitable organizations
  • State or municipal government entities
  • Other investment advisors
  • Insurance companies
  • Sovereign wealth funds 
  • Foreign official institutions
  • Other corporations

Bernstein Private Wealth Management Minimum Account Sizes

The minimum investment required to open a private client relationship at Bernstein Private Wealth Management is $1 million. For Alternative Investment Strategies, a platform that allows clients to invest in hedge funds, a minimum initial investment of $500,000 is required.

Services Offered by Bernstein Private Wealth Management

Bernstein offers a number of services to clients. Its available services include:

  • Wealth planning
  • Charitable giving planning
  • Integrated solutions
  • Investment research
  • Institutional research

Bernstein Private Wealth Management Investment Philosophy 

Bernstein Private Wealth Management uses sophisticated tools to build a wealth management strategy for individuals and families. Its basic investment strategy is a proprietary core/surplus capital strategy that can be used to solve a number of financial planning problems.

Basically, the firm splits a person’s money into core and surplus capital. The amount of core capital an investor needs in his or her portfolio is based on their individual situation. The surplus capital is committed to legacy planning and building wealth that can be passed down through generations. New business ventures and charitable giving are also part of the surplus capital spread. As the client gets older, the money they have in core capital decreases and the amount of surplus capital increases.

Bernstein also offers alternative investments strategies. This includes investments in hedge funds. Bernstein advisors select hedge funds based on manager skill and diversification. Some of these strategies are available to all types of investors, while others have certain requirements for investors.

Fees Under Bernstein Private Wealth Management

Bernstein Private Wealth Management charges clients an annual advisory fee based on a percentage of assets under management. The exact amount charged depends on a client’s total assets and the investment strategy used in the account. In addition, a 0.25% adiministrative and servicing charge applies to the first $3 million in assets.

There is a different fee schedule for all relationships under $1 million. For accounts with less than $1 million, the fee rate is 1.85% on the first $500,000 and 1.50% on the next $500,000. For accounts above $1 million, the firm charges different fees per asset class according to the below schedules:

Return-Seeking and Diversifying Assets
Assets Under Management Fee Rate
$0 to $1 million 1.25%
$1 million to $2 million 1.20%
$2 million to $5 million 1.10%
$5 million to $10 million 1.05%
$10 million to $25 million 0.90%
$25 million to $50 million 0.75%
Above $50 million 0.65%

 

Risk-Mitigating Assets
Mutual Fund Portfolio Type Fee Rate
Tax-Advantaged Bonds 0.55% on all portfolios
Taxable Bonds 0.55% on all portfolios
Intermediate-Duration Institutional Portfolio 0.45% on the portfolios*
*Requires a minimum ivestment of $3 million.

The firm provides additional fee schedules for its range of separately managed portfolios in its Form ADV. The firm estimates the following average total estimated fees (including investment management fees and the administrative and servicing charge) for portfolios that are 60% in return-seeking and diversifying and 40% in risk-mitigating:

Total Estimated Fee
Assets Under Management Fee Rate
$500,000 1.85%
$750,000 1.73%
$1 million - $3 million 1.21%
$4 million 1.13%
$5 million 0.93%


What to Watch Out For

Bernstein Private Wealth Management is part of a very large company. It has more than 20,000 individual clients plus a big base of institutional investors. While this certainly brings plenty of resources and experience to clients, it can also mean that each client might not get the kind of personalized attention they would get at a smaller firm.

Disclosures

There are a number of disclosures on Bernstein Private Wealth Management’s record. This includes disclosures related to the following:

  • Found by the SEC or CFTC to have made a false statement or omission
  • Found by the SEC or CFTC to have been involved in a violation of statutes or regulations
  • Had the SEC or CFTC enter an order related to investment-related activity
  • Had a civil money penalty or cease-and-desist from the SEC or CFTC
  • Been found by a regulatory agency for a violation of an investment-related regulation or statute
  • Had an ordered entered by a regulatory agency
  • Found in violation of rules by a self-regulatory agency

There are a total of 25 disclosures on the firm’s record, including 19 regulatory events and six arbitrations. Several recent disclosures involve the firm promoting employees to jobs despite the fact that they had not passed the relevant licensing exams required to assume those positions.

Opening an Account With Bernstein Private Wealth Management

To have an advisor from Bernstein contact you, fill out this form on the company website. The form is fairly standard and requires you to provide information about your identity and location.  Additionally, it gives you the chance to write a message providing the firm with more background on what you are looking for in your advisory relationship.

Where Is Bernstein Private Wealth Management Located?

The firm is headquartered in New York. It also has branches in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa, Washington and West Palm Beach. Outside of the U.S., it has a branch in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Tips for Choosing a Financial Advisor

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How Many Years $1 Million Lasts in Retirement

SmartAsset's interactive map highlights places where $1 million will last the longest in retirement. Zoom between states and the national map to see the top spots in each region. Also, scroll over any city to learn about cost of living in retirement there.

Least
Most
Rank City Housing Expenses Food Expenses Healthcare Expenses Utilities Expenses Transportation Expenses

Methodology SmartAsset calculated the average cost of living for retirees in the largest U.S. cities. Using that calculation, we determined how many years $1 million would last in retirement in each major city.

First, we looked at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on the average annual expenditures of seniors throughout the country. We then applied cost of living data from the Council for Community and Economic Research to adjust those national average spending levels based on the costs of each expense category (housing, food, healthcare, utilities, transportation and other) in each city.

We assumed the $1 million would grow at a real return (interest minus inflation) of 2%, reflecting the typical return on a conservative investment portfolio. Finally, we divided $1 million by the sum of each of those annual numbers to determine how long $1 million would last in each of the cities in our study.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Council for Community and Economic Research