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Brinker Capital Review

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Brinker Capital, Inc.

Brinker Capital, Inc.

Brinker Capital, Inc. is an investment management firm based in Berwyn, Pennsylvania. Its 15 investment advisors manage more than $25.39 billion in assets. The firm offers model portfolios that may hold mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), hedge funds and more. 

Brinker Capital Background

Brinker Capital was formed in 1987. Today, it’s wholly owned by Brinker Capital Holdings, Inc. The firm employs more than 150 investment professionals. Daniel Crosby, who holds an IMCA Applied Behavioral Finance certificate, is at the helm. Investing News has ranked him among its top “40 Under 40” professionals. 

Brinker Capital Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes

Brinker Capital generally provides investment advice to individuals, banks or thrift institutions, pension and profit-sharing plans, trusts, estates, charitable institutions and other business entities.

Account minimums vary, depending on the type of program you’re enrolled in: 

  • Core Asset Management Program - $500,000
  • Destinations Program - $100,000
  • Destinations ETF Asset Allocation Program - $25,000  
  • Brinker’s Wealth Advisory Program - $1 million

The firm may waive these minimums on a case-by-case basis. 

Services Offered by Brinker Capital

Brinker Capital provides in-house and outsourced investment management services to its clients. It does this through its model portfolios. Each strategy has a distinct objective, and the firm determines which is appropriate for clients based on a deep analysis of their financial situation and goals. 

Brinker Capital Investment Philosophy

The firm utilizes different model portfolios. Based on your answers to an investment-strategy questionnaire, the firm will recommend one of its model portfolios for you. We describe these models as well as sub-models below: 

Core Asset Manager Program - consists of several model portfolios that may invest in various pooled investment vehicles such as mutual funds, ETFs, real estate investment trusts (REIT), hedge funds and master limited partnerships. Brinker can manage this program on a discretionary or non-discretionary basis. The latter means investors have more say in deciding which securities the firm may buy and sell. The discretionary program, which is managed by one or two portfolio managers, has the following subsets:

Core Guided Portfolios - various Brinker-managed asset allocation models for both taxable and nontaxable accounts that utilize separate account managers, mutual funds and ETFs to implement different risk tolerance-based portfolios

Core Guided Completion Strategies - Brinker-managed model portfolios targeting specific asset classes such as domestic equity, international equity, global credit, real assets and absolute return. 

Destinations Program - invests in mutual funds, including the Brinker-managed Destination funds and ETFs.

Personal Benchmark Program - invests in various Destinations Funds the firm deems suitable for the client based on risk tolerance, investment goals and other personal factors. Utilizing behavorial finance principles, this program focuses on meeting goals rather than tracking the performance of a capital market index. According to the firm's recent filings with the SEC, this “investment approach attempts to counter emotional responses to market volatility by focusing on purchasing power and satisfying spending needs so that the client can sustain their lifestyle and enhance their wealth over time.”

Wealth Advisory Program - uses a separately managed account platform that offers both discretionary and non-discretionary investment management in order to meet the needs of high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth investors, family offices, institutions and endowments. 

Upon request, the firm may build a customized portfolio that may steer away from these models and instead reflects an asset allocation based on the individual client’s risk tolerance, time horizon and other personal factors. Also, Brinker may pay a portion of the investment advisory fee to solicitors who act as liaisons between the client and Brinker.

Fees Under Brinker Capital

Brinker Capital clients are charged an all-inclusive wrap fee that covers expenses for the firm’s asset management services along with custodial services and most brokerage commissions associated with the account. Unless mutual funds are managed by Brinker, it doesn’t cover expenses incurred by them, including maintenance fees.  The wrap fee also doesn’t cover such fees as those charged by the SEC or stock exchanges for security sales. 

Below, we lay out Brinker Capital’s standard fee schedule:

Asset Tier Brinker Fee
Up to $100,000  0.64%
$100,000 to $1 million  0.50%
Next $1 million  0.45%
Next $1 million  0.40%
Next $2 million 0.35%
Over $5 million  Negotiable

Check out the table below to see how Brinker Capital’s standard asset-based fees compare to those at similar financial advisor firms based on median national rates. Note that these fees are only estimates, and actual costs may vary.

Estimated Fee Comparison*

*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 Brinker Standard Advisory Fee National Median Advisory Fees**
$500K $2,500 $5,000
$1MM $4,500 $8,500 - $10,000
$5MM $17,500 $25,000 - $32,500
$10MM Negotiable $50,000

Clients receiving wealth advisory may be charged varying asset-based fees, but the maximum is usually 0.65%. Moreover, those in separate account management programs will generally face asset-based fees ranging from 0.20% to 0.50%, depending on the portfolio selected. Complete details would depend on your portfolio manager, but can be found in your investment advisory agreement (IAA). 

But keep in mind that advisory fees don't account for other expenses that may affect your account. These may include custodial fees and underlying fund expenses among other potential charges. While these won't typically go to Brinker, they'll affect your account size. For full details, carefully review fund prospectus documents associated with the funds you're invested in as well as your IAR with Brinker.

What to Watch Out For

Brinker reported no disclosures of disciplinary or legal action in its more recent filings with the SEC. 

One thing worth noting: Advisors at Brinker Capital may receive compensation from sources other than their clients, such as commissions from third-party firms. This arrangement may create a conflict of interest, as the advisor may be incentivised to sell or recommend specific products over others. That said, Brinker Capital is legally required to uphold its fiduciary duty and work in clients' best interests at all times. In the case that a potential conflict of interest may arise, the firm must disclose this situation. 

Opening an Account With Brinker Capital

To contact Brinker, call (800) 333- 4573 or (610) 407-5500. Alternately, you can find the Brinker Capital advisor closest to you on this page: https://clients0.brinkercapital.com/map/.

All information was accurate as of the writing of this article

Investing Tips

  • If you want to build a diverse portfolio that reflects your individual circumstances, use our asset allocation calculator. This tool helps you see what an appropriate asset mix may look like based on your risk tolerance. 
  • Don’t go it alone. A financial advisor can help you avoid rookie mistakes. To find the right advisor for you, use our SmartAsset matching tool. It links you with up to three local advisors. You can even review their profiles to compare qualifications before you decide to work with one.  

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