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Carnegie Investment Counsel Review

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Carnegie Investment Counsel

Carnegie Investment Counsel

For four years running (2016 to 2019), Carnegie Investment Counsel has been a Financial Times "Top 300 Registered Investment Advisor." It's also on SmartAsset's top advisor list for Pepper Pike, Ohio, where the firm is headquartered. In fact, Carnegie Investment tops our list.

Responsible for more than $2.4 billion in assets under management (AUM), Carnegie Investment Counsel provides financial planning and portfolio management services. In addition to Pepper Pike (Cleveland), the fee-only firm has offices in Cincinnati and Toledo, Ohio; Ft. Myers, Florida; Los Angeles, California; New York, New York; and Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

Carnegie Investment Counsel Background

Carnegie Investment Counsel became a registered investment advisor (RIA) in 2009. Gary P. Wagner and Richard L. Alt are the principal owners, while Chief Compliance Officer Stephanie Bush has a small stake. The firm is the successor to Carnegie Capital Management Corporation, which dates back to 1974. 

Carnegie Investment Counsel Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes

Carnegie Investment Counsel provides investment management services and advice to the following types of clients: 

  • Individuals
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Pension and profit-sharing plans
  • Corporations and other business entities
  • Independent trust companies
  • Government entities

 The firm requires a minimum $500,000 investment. But it may waive or lower the amount at its discretion.

Services Offered by Carnegie Investment Counsel

Carnegie Investment Counsel designs, constructs and regularly monitors investment portfolios tailored to the risk tolerance and financial goals of its clients. In some cases, the firm may direct clients to other investment managers outside Carnegie Investment Counsel. 

Upon request, the firm can also provide financial planning advice on the following topics: 

  • Investments
  • Retirement
  • Cash flow projections
  • Estate planning
  • Insurance
  • Education
  • Employee benefits
  • Family business continuation and general business consulting
  • Financial planning advice incident to a divorce

Additionally, the firm provides consulting services to employee benefit plans such as 401(k) and pension plans. 

Carnegie Investment Counsel Investing Philosophy

The firm aims for risk-adjusted returns for the long term. When evaluating securities, the firm engages in the following research methods: 

  • Charting analysis - identifies patterns that may help project a favorable climate for buying or selling a certain security 
  • Fundamental analysis - entails the examination of financial statements and other documents outlining the general financial health of companies, industries and the overall economy. The firm uses this method to unearth potential advantages and opportunities in the market. 
  • Technical analysis - involves protecting potential price and volume movement by examining past trends. 

Fees Under Carnegie Investment Counsel

Carnegie Investment Counsel charges an annual asset-based fee for its investment advisory services. These fees, which are generally paid quarterly and sometimes in arrears, follow the schedule, below: 

Assets Managed Annual Fee
Up to $500,000 1.75% or less
Over $500,000 1.50% or less


*Estimated investment management fees do not include brokerage, custodial, third-party manager or other fees, which can vary in amount.
Estimated Investment Management Fees at Carnegie Investment Counsel*
Your Assets Carnegie Investment Counsel Annual Fee Amount
$250K $4,375 or less
$500K $8,750 or less
$750K $11,250 or less
$1 MM $15,000 or less

The maximum fee of 1.75% is high compared to the average of 0.95%, according to a 2018 study of 1,500 firms by RIA in a Box. Learn more about advisors' typical costs here

Fees for stand-alone financial planning or special projects are negotiable. Generally, they are charged on an hourly basis that will not exceed $300 per hour or as a flat fee.

What to Watch Out For

Carnegie Investment Counsel has no disclosures of legal or disciplinary actions on its latest Form ADV

One thing to be aware of, though, is that in some cases, Carnegie Investment Counsel may direct clients to other advisors. These clients would pay fees to these third-party advisors in addition to the advisory fee they pay Carnegie for applicable services. The third-party advisor fees would vary, but may be more expensive than they would be had the client gone directly to the external advisor. 

Also, Carnegie Investment Counsel stands to earn a double fee when clients invest in the mutual funds that the firm provides investment management services to. 

That said, Carnegie Investment Counsel must uphold its fiduciary duty to work in the best interests of their clients. This applies to all advice, including third-party advisor and mutual fund recommendations. 

Opening an Account With Carnegie Investment Counsel

Investors with more than $500,000 can schedule a phone consultation by calling (800) 321-2322. For an advisor to call you, submit your email on the firm's website.

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

Tips for Finding the Right Financial Advisor

  • Ask candidates about their credentials. Certified financial planners (CFPs) have a fiduciary duty to provide financial planning advice solely in the best interest of their clients. According to the CFP Board, which issues the designation, only 20% of financial advisors have it.
  • Use our free advisor matching tool. After you answer a handful of questions, it will recommend up to three advisors in your area. 

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