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Earnest Partners 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.

Earnest Partners is a financial advisor firm with advisors that oversee around billions in client assets under management (AUM). This Atlanta-based firm works with a wide variety of individual and institutional clients. However, Earnest Partners only provides portfolio and investment management services; its offerings do not include financial planning or consulting.

As a fee-only firm, Earnest Partners earns all of its income from the advisory fees that clients pay. (A fee-based firm, on the other hand, might also receive third-party commissions, which would present a conflict of interest.)

Earnest Partners Background

Earnest Partners was founded in 1999 by managing partner Paul E. Viera. The firm is owned by two separate firms: Westchester Limited, LLC and EP Partner Pool, LLC. Viera is an indirect owner of Earnest Partners through his ownership stake in Westchester Limited. All principals at the firm have at least 20 years of financial services industry experience.

Of the other employees at the firm, there are chartered financial analysts (CFAs), certified financial planners (CFPs) and certified public accountants (CPAs).

Earnest Partners Client Types and Minimum Account Size

The vast majority of Earnest Partners' client base is comprised of individuals without a high net worth, though the firm does have a few high-net-worth individual clients. Institutional clients of the firm include investment companies, pooled investment vehicles, retirement plans, charitable organizations, state and municipal government entities, insurance companies, sovereign wealth funds, businesses and employee benefit plans.

There is no stated minimum account size for those looking to work with Earnest Partners.

Services Offered by Earnest Partners

Earnest Partners does not include financial planning in its suite of services, instead focusing only on investment and portfolio management. The firm's service are divided between several specific investment strategies:

  • All-cap accounts
  • Small-cap accounts
  • Small/mid-cap accounts
  • Mid-cap accounts
  • Large-cap accounts
  • Balanced accounts
  • International accounts
  • Global equity accounts
  • Emerging markets equity accounts
  • Fixed-income accounts
  • Surplus interest accounts

Earnest Partners Investment Philosophy

Although Earnest Partners invests client assets utilizing specific strategies, advisors at the firm pair clients with strategies that are best suited for their personal financial situation. Advisors use a wide range of investments which may include equities, mutual funds, limited partnership interests, membership interests, fixed-income securities, notes, debentures, convertible securities, depositary receipts, options, warrants, currencies, commodities, futures contracts, swaps and more.

Advisors at this firm tend to use cyclical, fundamental and technical methods of analysis to effectively evaluate investments for client portfolios. They also typically implement investment plans using long- and short-term purchases, only using trading tactics when necessary.

Fees Under Earnest Partners

Fees at Earnest Partners are calculated based on a percentage of each client's total AUM. These fee rates differ based upon the types of strategies used in each client portfolio, which means the firm has a fee schedule for each strategy and makes its fee structure a bit different from other firm fee schedules you might see. Here's a summarized breakdown of what you might pay for advisory services at this firm:

Earnest Partners Fee Schedule
Strategy Annual Fee Range
All-Cap Accounts 0.50% - 1.00%
Small-Cap and Small/Mid-Cap Accounts 0.65% - 0.95%
Mid-Cap Accounts 0.65% - 0.90%
Large-Cap and Balanced Accounts 0.35% - 0.75%
International and Global Equity Accounts 0.50% - 0.80%
Emerging Markets Equity Accounts 0.60% - 0.95%
Fixed-Income Accounts 0.10% - 0.30%
Surplus Interest Accounts 1.00% on all assets

Estimated investment management fees do not include brokerage, custodial, third-party manager or other fees, which can vary in amount.

Learn more about advisors' typical costs here.

What to Watch Out For

Earnest Partners collects performance-based fees from certain client accounts. This is a potential conflict of interest, as there is an incentive to make riskier investments than they normally would. Despite this, the firm is still bound by fiduciary duty, legally obligating it to act in clients' best interests at all times.

Earnest Partners has no disclosures listed on its SEC-filed Form ADV.

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

Opening an Account With Earnest Partners

If you're looking to open an account with Earnest Partners, go to its website and submit a contact form. You can also call the firm at (404) 815-8772 to speak with an advisor.

Tips for Financial Planning

  • While Earnest Partners does not offer financial planning services, many financial advisors will work with you to create a comprehensive, long-term financial plan. SmartAsset’s free tool can match you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If you’re ready to be paired with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • When investing, be sure to keep track of your progress towards your goals. SmartAsset’s investment calculator allows you to enter how much you’re starting with, your time horizon and your investment and growth objectives to help you project your account growth.

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