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DWS Investments 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.

DWS Investment Management Americas, or DWS Investments for short, is a fee-based investment and financial advisor firm based in Germany. It’s owned by Deutsche Bank, an international financial institution. However, all of its stateside business is conducted through this American firm branch. While the German branch is solely centered around financial management for institutions and businesses, the American branch is open to individual investors as well.

When combined, both sides of the firm employ hundreds of financial advisors and other advisory staff members. As far as client assets under management (AUM) go, the firm manages billions of dollars.

DWS Investments Background

Established in 1984, DWS Investment Management Americas was the first investment management branch that Deutsche Bank created in the U.S. But because the firm has its roots in other pre-existing firms, its history dates back to 1956.

For prospective American clients, DWS' headquarters is in New York City. The original financial advisor arm of Deutsche Bank calls Frankfurt, Germany, home.

DWS Investments Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes

DWS Investment Management Americas typically works with large entities and businesses that have massive amounts of money to be managed and invested. More specifically, these include government groups, foundations, endowments, banks, corporations, pooled investment vehicles, private investment funds, international public authorities, pension plans, mutual funds and financial institutions. Individual investors are also regarded as an important part of this client base, though the firm is generally biased toward high-net-worth clients based on its account minimums.

The majority of clients that begin an advisory relationship with DWS Investment Management Americas will need to adhere to some kind of minimum investment. These requirements typically vary depending on the specific service, product or investment strategy the client uses. Minimum annual fees may also be instituted.

Services Offered By DWS Investments

Whereas most financial advisor firms will usually build a portfolio of services that it feels it can offer clients, DWS Investment Management Americas takes the opposite route. What this means is that the firm’s team of advisors will spend time not only listening to the needs and desires of the client, but also researching their current and projected financial situations.

In order to create these services accurately, the firm will work with clients to iron out their risk tolerance, investment and security preferences, time horizon and any possible needs for liquidity. Clients will even have the opportunity to spell out any specific investments that they want to be excluded from their portfolio.

DWS Investments Investment Philosophy

As it currently stands, DWS Investment Management Americas employs 66 distinctly different investment strategies. Each is made up of specific types of investments, depending on the strategy’s main goal. These are split between a number of overarching groups:

  • Alternatives
  • Multi-Asset
  • Liquidity management
  • U.S. equity blend
  • U.S. equity growth
  • U.S. equity value
  • International equity
  • Global growth sectors
  • Fixed-income

If a client prefers it, DWS also utilizes strategies for investments based outside of the U.S. The firm also offers management programs centered around environmental, social and governance factors.

Fees Under DWS Investments

DWS Investment Management Americas is a fee-based firm because some of its advisors earn extra commissions outside of the regular rates charged to clients and their accounts. More specifically, advisors can earn additional compensation through the sale of certain DWS-managed mutual funds and other investment classes. The firm may also charge performance-based fees may, although they don't apply to all client accounts.

Each of the investment strategies employed by DWS Investment Management Americas has its own fee structure based on the market value of the customer’s investments. In other words, how much each client pays is unique to the exact setup of his or her portfolio and the type of investments it contains.

What to Watch Out For

Of the 43 disclosures listed on DWS Investment Management Americas' Form ADV, Deutsche Bank, the principal owner and an advisory affiliate of the firm, is responsible for 42 of them. The lone civil judicial disclosure attributed to DWS Investment Management Americas comes from a 2009 complaint filed by Invesco, in which it states DWS had a "breach of contract, misappropriation of confidential information, tortious interference and unfair competition" in relation to specific portfolio management software applications, according to its Form ADV. DWS shut down these applications following the case.

This firm is fee-based and occasionally charges performance-based fees. These create potential conflicts of interest, which is mitigated by the firm's fiduciary duty to put clients' best interests first.

Opening an Account With DWS Investments

DWS Investment Management Americas offers two ways to get in touch and open an account. You can either call the firm’s phone line at (212) 454-4500 or physically mail in your client application. While email can be used as an extraneous form of communication, the firm indicates that you’re better off not including your Social Security number over the computer.

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

Tips for Choosing a Financial Advisor Firm

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  • There are many factors to look out for when delving deeper into the characteristics that makes a firm what it is. However, almost nothing is as important as ensuring that a firm is a fee-only fiduciary, or at the very least a fiduciary. This means that the firm is legally bound to work in your best interests. Furthermore, fee-only firms don’t make any money outside of the fees they charge clients -- an equally crucial detail.

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.

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