Congress Wealth Management is a financial advisor firm headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. The firm provides advisory services to mostly high net worth individuals, but it also works with pension and profit sharing plans, charitable organizations and pooled investment vehicles, among others. The firm was founded in 1985, and it is led by President Paul Lonergan and Managing Director Ken Zannoni. With its headquarters in Boston and a satellite office in Westport, Connecticut, the firm offers a range of wealth management, portfolio management and financial planning services.
Congress Wealth Management Background
Congress Wealth Management was founded in 1985 in Boston. Since then, it has grown to provide services to approximately 600 clients and to open a satellite office in Connecticut.
Congress Wealth Management Client Types and Account Minimums
Congress Wealth Management provides advisory services to individuals, high net worth individuals, pooled investment vehicles, pension and profit sharing plans, charitable organizations, corporations and other businesses.
In general, Congress Wealth Management requires an account size of at least $1 million for its services. Advisors have the right to waive this minimum requirement at their own discretion.
Services Offered by Congress Wealth Management
Congress Wealth Management provides a standard range of services to its clients, including the following:
- Wealth management
- Family Office services
- Estate planning
- Tax planning
- Wealth distribution
- Family budgeting
- Investment portfolio management
- Financial planning
Congress Wealth Management Investment Philosophy
The core tenet of Congress Wealth Management’s investment philosophy is that asset allocation is the primary determinant of long-term returns. With the assistance of Congress Asset Management, an affiliate company, the firm bases its asset allocation recommendations on each client’s individual time horizon, risk tolerance, cash needs and other preferences.
The firm also adheres to what it calls a core and satellite approach. The “core” portion allows the firm to provide a broad, efficient representation of the market within each portfolio. This typically means investing in a mix of equity and fixed income instruments. The “satellite” portion allows the firm to potentially enhance returns through investments that may rely on active management or deal with less mainstream risk factors. In practice, this could include investing in REITs, energy MLPs, commodities or high yield bonds.
Fees Under Congress Wealth Management
Congress Wealth Management doesn’t maintain a set fee schedule for its wealth management services. Rather, it typically charges between 0.50% and 1.30% of assets under management, billed quarterly in arrears. Fees for financial planning services and family offices services are negotiable and dependent on the size and complexity of your account. All of your fees will be discussed and included in your investment management agreement before the beginning of your relationship with the firm.
What to Watch out For
For many of its wealth management clients, Congress Wealth Management serves as what it calls a "manager of managers." This means that rather than recommending specific securities or funds to its clients, it recommends investment managers who will then recommend specific investments. The primary investment manager it recommends is Congress Asset Management, an affiliated investment adviser which is owned by Lagan Holding Company. Lagan Holding Company is also the owner of Lagan Wildwood Investments LLC, which in turn is a minority owner of Congress Wealth Management. Two senior executives at Congress Asset Management also serve on the Board of Directors of Congress Wealth Management. Further, Paul Lonergan, the president of Congress Wealth Management, is a non-voting member on the management committee of Congress Asset Management, a role for which he receives compensation.
All of these connections represent a potential conflict of interest. Congress Wealth Management disclose these and other potential conflicts before entering into an investment agreement. This is pursuant to its fiduciary duty to act in its clients’ best interest.
Congress Wealth Management has reported one disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In 2016, Congress Wealth Management was sanctioned for negligently relying on the strategy of another firm, F-Squared Investments, Inc., that had falsely represented the performance of that strategy. Congress Wealth Management used this strategy to manage less than 5% of the assets under its purview from May 2009 to October 2013.
Opening an Account With Congress Wealth Management
If you’re looking to strike up a relationship with Congress Wealth Management, you can fill out the contact form on its website. The form requires your name, email and a short message. You can also contact the firm by phone. The phone number for the Boston office is (617) 428-7600 and the number for the Westport office is (203) 557-6429.
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