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Boston Private Wealth Review

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Boston Private Wealth

Boston Private Wealth

Boston Private Wealth, LLC (BPW) is the fee-only financial advisor arm of Boston Private Bank & Trust, a full-service banking and wealth management company. Individuals and families represent the vast majority of the firm’s client base. Boston Private Wealth’s staff of 56 advisors are in charge of roughly $7.4 billion in assets under management (AUM).

Although Boston Private Wealth is based out of Boston, it also runs branches in other areas of the country. In fact, you’ll find Boston Private locations with wealth management services in San Francisco, California; Beverly Hills, California; Naples, Florida; Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; and Madison, Wisconsin.

Boston Private Wealth Background

Boston Private Wealth can trace its roots back to 1986. The firm is a wholly-owned subsidiary of financial services company Boston Private Bank & Trust Company (BPBTC). BPBTC itself is owned by Boston Private Financial Holdings, Inc., a holding company.

The total number of advisory certifications at Boston Private Wealth is unclear. However, the firm’s leadership team boasts eight chartered financial analysts (CFA), seven certified financial planners (CFP), one accredited wealth management analyst (AWMA) and one certified investment management analyst (CIMA).

What Types of Clients Does Boston Private Wealth Accept?

Boston Private Wealth’s client base includes individuals, high-net-worth individuals, families, trusts, estates, charitable organizations, corporations, banking and trust companies, retirement and profit-sharing plans, outside investment advisors, state/municipal government entities and foundations.

Boston Private Wealth Minimum Account Size

For those who become a client of Boston Private Wealth, the services you subscribe to will determine the minimum size you must meet. They go as follows:

  • Equity and Blended Strategies: $1,000,000 (relationship)
  • Covered Call Equity: $250,000 (account) or $1,000,000 (relationship)
  • Tactical Strategies: $250,000 (account) or $1,000,000 (relationship)
  • Investment Grade Fixed Income Strategies: $250,000 (account) or $1,000,000 (relationship)
  • High Income Bond Strategy: $1,000,000 (account)
  • Short-Term Bond Strategies: $3,000,000 (account) or $1,000,000 (relationship)
  • Custom Option Overlay: $2,500,000 (relationship)
  • Concentrated Holdings Service: $2,500,000 (account)
  • Investment Advisory Services to Retirement Plans: $1,000,000 (account)

Services Offered by Boston Private Wealth

Boston Private Wealth has a diverse array of services to cater to its sizable client base. Take a look over the list of offerings here:

  • Discretionary investment management
    • Specific investment analysis
    • Personal investment objective assessment
    • Risk-adjusted asset allocation planning
    • Proprietary separate account strategies
    • Comprehensive review of existing investments
    • Tax-efficient strategies
    • Custom reporting, research and manager searches
    • Investment policy development
    • Consulting
  • Wealth advisory and holistic financial planning
    • Financial goal review
    • Retirement planning
    • Cash flow planning
    • Estate planning
    • Trust planning
    • Debt management
    • Risk management/insurance review
    • Legacy and estate planning
    • Business succession planning
    • Philanthropic gift planning
    • Education fund analysis
    • Investment planning
    • Financial protection planning
    • Compensation and benefit analysis
  • Retirement plan advisory services
    • Education for plan participant communication
    • Risk assessment
    • Expense analysis
    • Plan governance
    • Fiduciary responsibility review
    • Investment planning and selection
  • Wrap fee programs

Boston Private Wealth Investment Philosophy

Boston Private Wealth has an extensive set of investment management services that are designed to meet the needs of each client. Once you officially join the firm, your advisor will look to iron out your financial goals for the future, overall time horizon, risk tolerance and liquidity needs. Based on these factors, your profile will be matched with one of these strategies:

  • Equity: This consists of 40 to 60 individual stocks with strategies like core, growth, small-mid cap, all cap and income-oriented.
  • Tactical: BPW will morph these portfolios by protecting your assets with cash and fixed income holdings when the market is volatile or by increasing your stock holdings when things are safer.
  • Fixed income: In an effort to offer ample liquidity, return reliability and tax minimization, the fixed income strategy includes bonds and ETFs.
  • Equity Options: This strategy is the most customizable, as it allows clients to combine the benefits of equity investing with the security of option overlays. Portfolios adhering to this strategy typically hold 20-25 individual stocks.

Just because your assets are invested doesn’t mean that Boston Private is finished working with your portfolio. When this time comes, the firm will instead center its services around the management of your investments. This involves rebalancing your account to better fit current market trends and your initial investment plans, as well as strategic moves that help minimize the capital gains tax.

Fees Under Boston Private Wealth

In order to remain as transparent as possible, Boston Private Wealth will provide your entire set of fees before you actually become a client of the firm. Although the fees below illustrate most of the charges you’ll come across, rates are negotiable and may vary from client to client depending on the complexity of your needs.

Regardless of the services you are receiving, you pay all fees in advance on a quarterly basis. How you pay your fees will depend largely on who BPW utilizes as your account’s custodian. In other words, these fees will either be automatically deducted from your account’s balance or you’ll be charged via an invoice to pay by check.

Fees for Equity and Blended Strategies
Portfolio Value Annual Fee
First $1,000,000 1.25%
Next $1,500,000 1.15%
Next $7,500,000 0.90%
Over $10,000,000 0.70%


Fees for Investment Grade Fixed Income Strategies
Portfolio Value Annual Fee
First $5,000,000 0.50%
Next $10,000,000 0.40%
Over $15,000,000 0.30%


Fees for High Income Bond Strategy
Portfolio Value Annual Fee
First $5,000,000 0.75%
Over $5,000,000 0.50%


Fees for Short-Term Bond Strategies
Portfolio Value Annual Fee
First $10,000,000 0.25%
Next $15,000,000 0.20%
Over $25,000,000 0.15%

Check out the table below to see how Boston Private Wealth’s fees for its asset management services compare to those at similar financial advisor firms. Note that these fees are only estimates and actual costs may vary.

*Fee estimates only consider the maximum base fees for the services each firm provides. You may also pay manager fees and other fees, which can vary in amount.  **All figures are based on median fee levels according to Bob Veres' 2017 Planning Profession Fee Survey. The above estimates solely take into account AUM-only fees. Total costs will likely be higher due to additional expenses.
Estimated Fee Comparison*
Your Assets Boston Private Wealth Equity and Blended Strategies Fees National Median Advisory Fees**
$500K n/a (below required minimum) $5,000
$1MM $12,500 $8,500 - $10,000
$5MM $52,250 $25,000 - $32,500
$10MM $97,250 $50,000

What to Watch Out For

Charles Schwab, Fidelity Investments and TD Ameritrade are affiliated broker-dealers of Boston Private Wealth. This trio of firms may sometimes offer investment management software or other technology perks to BPW. The nature of this relationship could conceivably create a conflict of interest, as Boston Private may be inclined to utilize these broker-dealers regardless of whether their services are in the best interest of the clients.


Boston Private Wealth technically has a legal issue disclosed on its Form ADV. However, the allegations are in relation to executive managing director David Bottoms, who at the time of the regulatory action was employed by another firm called Financial Assets Corporation. Therefore Boston Private Wealth itself has a clean legal and regulatory record.

Opening an Account With Boston Private Wealth

If you want to become a client of Boston Private Wealth, there a few different ways to do so. You can stop by Boston Private’s website and visit its employee directory to find the contact information for advisors in your area. Prospective clients can also email Boston Private through its website or call the following phone numbers depending on the region you live in:

  • Boston area: (617) 912-1900
  • Los Angeles area: (818) 501-1700
  • San Francisco area: (650) 378-3700

Where Is Boston Private Wealth Located?

Boston, Massachusetts is home to Boston Private Wealth. The firm also operates offices Naples, Florida; Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; San Francisco, California; Beverly Hills, California; and Madison, Wisconsin.

Tips for Your Retirement Savings

  • 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.
  • Because particular strategies for retirement saving vary according to a particular person’s needs, it can be tough to know how well you’re doing for your age. To gain some insight into the quality of your savings, take a look over our analysis of the average retirement income in the U.S.

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 the cost of living in retirement for that location.

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

Methodology To determine how long a $1 million nest egg would cover retirement costs in cities across America, we analyzed data on average expenditures for seniors, cost of living and investment returns.

First, we looked at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on the average annual expenditures of seniors. 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. Using this data, SmartAsset calculated the average cost of living for retirees in the largest U.S. cities.

We assumed the $1 million would grow at a real return (interest minus inflation) of 2%. This reflects the typical return on a conservative investment portfolio. Then, we divided $1 million by the sum of each of those annual numbers to determine how long $1 million would cover retirement expenses in each of the cities in our study. Cities where $1 million lasted the longest ranked the highest in the study.

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