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Brown Advisory Review

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This review was produced by SmartAsset based on publicly available information. The named firm and its financial professionals have not reviewed, approved, or endorsed this review and are not responsible for its accuracy. Review content is produced by SmartAsset independently of any business relationships that might exist between SmartAsset and the named firm and its financial professionals, and firms and financial professionals having business relationships with SmartAsset receive no special treatment or consideration in SmartAsset’s reviews. This page contains links to SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool, which may or may not match you with the firm mentioned in this review or its financial professionals.

Brown Advisory

Brown Advisory is a registered investment advisor (RIA) headquartered in Baltimore that has been providing active investment management services since 1993.  

The firm works primarily with high-net-worth and non-high-net-worth individuals, and also offers services to other investment companies and advisors, pooled investment vehicles, pension and profit sharing plans, charitable organizations, state and municipal governments, insurance and corporations.

Brown specializes in actively managed equity, fixed income and balanced investment portfolios. But it can also offer investment-related financial planning services. 

Brown Advisory Background

The firm was formed in 1993 as the investment management branch of Alex Brown & Sons, a Baltimore-based investment bank founded in 1800. In 1998, Brown Advisory became independently owned via an employee-led buyout.

Today, it’s a wholly owned subsidiary of Brown Advisory Management, LLC (BAM). The managing member of BAM and Brown Adsvisory’s controlling entity is Brown Advisory Incorporated (BAI), which is organized as a Maryland C corporation.

With more than 100 investment advisors, Brown Advisory is led by CEO and President Michael D. Hankin. He’s been in the financial services industry since the 1970s. Additionally, Hankin serves as trustee and vice chair of Johns Hopkins Medicine and chair of the board of managers of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab. 

Brown Advsory’s mission is to provide strategic advice in order to achieve first-rate investment performance. 

Brown Advisory Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes

Brown Advisory works with a diverse pool of clients. According to documents it recently filed with the SEC, the firm can help the following types of clients: 

  • High-net-worth individuals and families
  • Pooled vehicles, including registered investment companies, UCITS and private funds
  • Endowments
  • Foundations
  • Charitable organizations
  • Public/government-related clients
  • Pension and profit-sharing plans
  • Insurance companies
  • Corporations
  • Individual retirement plans (IRA)
  • Trusts
  • Estates
  • Charitable institutions
  • Religious institutions
  • Other taxable individual accounts

Although Brown Advisory generally requires a minimum investment of $5 million, it may waive this requirement at its discretion. The decision would depend on the client relationship, client service requirements and other circumstances.

Services Offered by Brown Advisory

Brown Advisory specializes in providing investment portfolio management services. It does this by applying active equity, active fixed income and balanced portfolio investment strategies to different model portfolios

The firm typically offers investment management services on a discretionary basis. This means the firm has the authorization to buy and sell securities within your account as it deems fit based on your individual situation. However, clients may place reasonable restrictions on certain securities by contacting the firm. 

Brown Advisory also offers financial planning under its strategic advisory services wing. Depending on your needs, the firm may advise on the following investment-related financial topics: 

  • Tax planning 
  • Trust management
  • Estate planning
  • Philanthropic inititiaitves
  • Family business advice 

In addition, the firm’s advisors work with clients’ accountants, lawyers and other professionals in order to create a comprehensive wealth management plan. Brown Advisory offers its strategic advisory services to its clients free of charge.   

Brown Advisory Investment Philosophy

By actively selecting securities for investment, Brown Advisory offers equity investment strategies designed to seek long-term capital appreciation. Unlike some firms, Brown Advisory doesn’t aim to track the performance of an equity index of securities. Instead, it attempts to outperform it in the long term by using its own expertise and research. 

This is generally what differentiates active investing from passive investing

Brown Advisory applies this method to its fixed-income strategies, which mainly seek bonds with capital appreciation potential that is not related to the general movement of interest rates. The firm’s balanced strategies combine the objectives of its equity and fixed-income strategies. 

Fees Under Brown Advisory

Clients of Brown Advisory typically pay annual fees for portfolio management services based on a percentage of their account balances. We lay out the firm’s current fee schedule for annual asset-based fees below: 

Assets Fee
The First $5 million under management 1%
The Next $5 million under management 0.75% 
The next $15 million under management 0.5% 
The next $75 million under management 0.35%
Amounts more than $100 million under management 0.3%


In cases where Brown Advisory waives the minimum investment requirement, the following fee schedule applies: 

Assets Fee
The first $3 million under management 1.25%
The next $2 million under management 1%

Brown Advisory presents its fee schedule based on an annual rate. But keep in mind that the firm collects fees on a quarterly basis, so your fees would be charged as one-fourth of the applicable annual fee. 

Also, these asset-based fees don’t include other expenses associated with the management of your account. These may include fees charged by the client’s custodian and fees related to the management of underlying funds that client portfolios invest in. While these fees aren’t paid to Brown Advisory, they’ll reduce your account size accordingly. Still, this structure is nearly universal in the investment management industry.

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

Your Assets Fees for brown Advisory Clients
$5 million $50,000
$10 million $87,500

*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.

What to Watch Out For

Brown Advisory reported no legal or disciplinary events in its most recent SEC filings. 

One thing worth noting: Advisors at Brown Advisory may be affiliated with other related or unrelated firms in the financial services industry. Also, they may be registered representatives of a broker-dealer. These relationships may present potential conflicts of interest.That said, Brown Advisory is legally required to uphold its fiduciary duty and always work in the best interests of the client. Should any potential conflict of interest arise, the firm must disclose this situation to its clients. 

Opening an Account With Brown Advisory

The easiest way to open an account with Brown Advisory is by calling its main line at (410) 537-5400. Or you can visit its official website at https://www.brownadvisory.com/ and click on the “Contact us” tab to send Brown Advisory a secure a message.

All information is accurate as of the writing of this article.

Investing Tips

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How Long $1mm 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.

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

Methodology We analyzed data on average expenditures for seniors, cost of living and investment returns to determine how many years of retirement a $1 million nest egg would cover in cities across America.

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%. 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