Boston Partners Review
Boston Partners, otherwise known as Boston Partners Global Investors, Inc., is a financial advisor firm with almost $90 billion in assets under management (AUM) and 65 advisors on staff. Despite its name, the firm is headquartered in New York City, though it does have a branch office in Boston. The firm does not offer financial planning services, as it focuses entirely on investment management. (To find a financial advisor who offers financial planning services, we'd recommend using our financial advisor matching tool.)
Boston Partners is a fee-only firm, which means that all of the firm’s compensation comes from the management fees that clients pay. Fee-only is different from fee-based, which is a fee structure that indicates a firm can also earn compensation from outside sources like securities transactions and insurance-related sales. By eschewing such sources of compensation, a fee-only firm is able to avoid conflicts of interest inherent in these transactions.
Boston Partners Background
Although Boston Partners was founded in 1995, its history can be traced back to 1970 through predecessor firms. Mark E. Donovan and Joseph F. Feeney, Jr. act as co-CEOs of the firm, with a combined 72 years of investment experience between them. Boston Partners is a wholly owned subsidiary of ORIX Corporation, a publicly owned financial services company based out of Tokyo, Japan.
The firm employs a total of 65 advisors, some of whom have earned advisory certifications. This list includes 26 chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and two certified public accountants (CPAs).
What Types of Clients Does Boston Partners Accept?
Boston Partners has around 1,750 clients, with a large majority of them receiving advice through externally sponsored wrap fee programs. The firm also works directly with high-net-worth individuals, investment companies, pooled investment vehicles, pension plans, charitable organizations, government entities, insurance companies and businesses.
Boston Partners Minimum Account Sizes
Boston Partners has a range of minimum account sizes that vary depending on the investment strategy the client’s portfolio follows. For the firm’s equity services, minimums can be anywhere from $10 million to $100 million. Services available through WPG Partners, the firm’s affiliate, have $5 million to $10 million minimums.
Clients utilizing the investment trust or wrap fee program services through Boston Partners will have less stringent requirements. For the former, the minimum is $100,000, while the latter ranges from $250,000 to $1 million.
Services Offered by Boston Partners
Boston Partners offers asset management services to its clients. These can be split into two broad categories:
- Discretionary investment management for institutional and high-net-worth individual clients
- Discretionary and non-discretionary management via wrap fee programs
- Boston Partners may provide these services in conjunction with the wrap sponsor or through non-discretionary model portfolios
Boston Partners Investment Philosophy
Boston Partners lives by an equity-centric investment ideology. When fleshing out its portfolios, the firm looks to implement strong diversification in the interest of limiting risk and volatility and maximizing compounding. Equities are chosen based on the firm’s three “fundamental truths,” according to its Form ADV:
- Low valuation stocks outperform high valuation stocks.
- Companies with strong fundamentals, like high and sustainable returns on invested capital, outperform companies with weak fundamentals.
- Stocks with positive business momentum, like rising earnings estimates, outperform stocks with negative business momentum.
To figure out which equities are best suited for its various strategies, Boston Partners uses fundamental analysis and research. This process involves combing through companies’ public filings and financial history, along with information about the industry as a whole. In this way, the firm comes to a conclusion about each equity’s intrinsic value.
Fees Under Boston Partners
For its investment advisory services, Boston Partners charges fees as a percentage of each client’s AUM. These charges are initially broken down by service, and then by the individual strategy that’s being used. Annual fees generally adhere to these ranges, depending on the size of the client’s portfolio:
- Boston Partners Equity services: 0.30% - 2.25%
- WPG Partners Equity: 1.00% - 1.25%
- Investment trust services: 0.75% - 0.80%
- Wrap Fee Programs: 0.28% - 0.70%
Although it offers these standard fee schedules, the firm states that fees are negotiable according to each client’s individual situation. For example, if a client has multiple accounts or a high level of AUM, they may receive a discount. However, clients that require customized services may pay higher fees.
What to Watch Out For
Certain members of Boston Partners’ institutional client base may pay performance-based fees. Such fees can represent a conflict of interest, as the firm acknowledges in its Form ADV: “Boston Partners has an incentive to allocate favorable trades or good investment ideas with limited availability to the performance fee accounts because Boston Partners will be paid greater compensation from the performance fee accounts, if the performance is good, than those accounts with an asset-based fee. This presents a conflict between Boston Partners and its clients.”
Despite this fee arrangement, Boston Partners abides by fiduciary duty. Therefore it is legally bound to act in clients’ best interests at all times.
Boston Partners has no disclosures listed on its Form ADV, giving it a clean legal and regulatory record.
Opening an Account With Boston Partners
To become a client of Boston Partners, call the firm’s headquarters at (212) 908-9500 or visit the firm’s website and fill out the contact form. You’ll then speak with a firm representative who can help you get started.
Where Is Boston Partners Located?
Boston Partners has its headquarters in New York City at the corner of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue, across the street from Grand Central Terminal. Additionally, the firm has offices in Boston, Massachusetts; Greenbrae, California; Los Angeles, California; and London, United Kingdom.
Tips for Retirement Planning
- While Boston Partners does not offer financial planning services, many other advisors do. Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- Don’t forget to take Social Security payments into account when calculating what kind of income you’ll need in retirement. If you don’t know what you’re in line to receive, check out SmartAsset’s Social Security calculator.