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Brinker Capital Review

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Brinker Capital, Inc.

Brinker Capital Inc. is an investment management firm based in Berwyn, Pennsylvania. It currently holds more than $20.83 billion in assets under management (AUM) and more than 10 investment advisor experts. The firm manages a range of model portfolios that invest in a variety of securities, including hedge funds, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). 

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. 

What Types of Clients Does Brinker Capital Accept?

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. 

Brinker Capital Minimum Account Size

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 apply one of its portfolio models to your assets. 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, exchange-traded 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 behavioral finance principles, this program focuses on meeting goals rather than mimicking the performance of a capital market index. According to official documents the firm filed recently 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 steers 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 IAA with Brinker.

What to Watch Out For

Brinker Capital is a fee-based firm. This means the firm and its advisors may receive compensation from sources other than its clients. For instance, its advisors may receive commissions from third-party firms for selling or recommending the products of such firms. This arrangement may create a conflict of interest, as the advisor may be incentivised to sell or recommend specific products regardless of whether they’re fit for the client. However, all advisors at Brinker Capital must uphold their fiduciary duty. This means they’re legally required to work in your best interests at all times. In the case that a potential conflict of interest may arise, the firm must disclose this situation. 

Another important point to note is that Brinker Capital generally focuses on investment management. Unlike other firms, it doesn’t offer a wide scope of stand-alone financial planning services around non-investment related topics like budgeting and building good credit. If you require such services, you may want to seek help elsewhere. 

Brinker Capital Disclosures

Neither Brinker nor its representatives have any disciplinary events to disclose at the time of this writing, according to official disclosure records filed with the SEC. 

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/. 

Where Is Brinker Capital Located?

You can find Brinker Capital at 1055 Westlakes Drive, Suite 250, Berwyn, Pennsylvania, 19312. You can also visit the firm’s website at http://www.brinkercapital.com/. 

All information was accurate as of the writing of this article


Investing Tips

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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.

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