Fifth Third Securities (FTS) is a registered investment advisor (RIA) with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and a registered broker-dealer under the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). It sponsors managed account programs on behalf of a diverse group of clients, including high-net-worth individuals and private pension plans.
Fifth Third Securities Background
FTS began operations as a broker-dealer registered with FINRA back in 1939. It became an RIA in 2004. Today, it serves as a direct, wholly owned subsidiary of Fifth Third Bank.
Fifth Third Securities Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes
FTS offers its online managed account program OptiFi and its managed account wrap-fee Passageway programs to the following types of clients:
- High-net-worth individuals
- Charitable institutions
- Private pension plans
The firm's OptiFi Program is a discretionary investment management service designed for individual investors with accounts of $5,000 or more.
Services Offered by Fifth Third Securities
FTS sponsors two managed account programs.
For the Passageway Managed Account Program, an independent advisor representative (IAR) working through FTS would first meet with a prospective client and gather information about the client’s risk tolerance and investing goals. The advisor would then determine whether the program is right for the client (e.g., it’s not recommended for investors who want to frequently switch strategies in reaction to short-term trends). If yes, the IAR would recommend one or more of the subprograms, many of which use only mutual funds and exchange-traded funds.
FTS currently offers the following Passageway programs:
- Separately Managed Account Program
- Investment Management Group Portfolios Program (IMG Program)
- SIGMA Multi-Manager Account Program
- Symmetry Managed Multi Fund Portfolio Program
- S&P Mutual Fund Program
- S&P ETF Program
- UMA Program
- FEG Program
- Advisor Directed Program
- Wilshire Program
- Russell Program
- Vanguard Program
- Brinker Capital Program
The firm’s other offering is the OptiFi Managed Account Program, which is accessible only online. Based on an algorithmic analysis of your financial profile, FTS would recommend an asset allocation model managed by Geode Capital Management, LLC.
Fifth Third Securities Investment Philosophy
FTS engages in an array of investment strategies. The ones applied to your investments depend on the IAR you work with and the Passageway program you’re invested in. You can find more details about investment strategies on the investment policy statement (IPS) you sign with your advisor and applicable program manager brochures, which you can look up on the SEC’s website.
Fees Under Fifth Third Securities
FTS generally charges fees based on a percentage of your assets under management (AUM). These percentages depend on the size of your account and the program you’re enrolled in.
The OptiFi Program assesses an advisory fee of 0.50% of your account’s average daily asset balance, which covers the advisory services provided by FTS, Geode’s ongoing management of your account, certain trading costs, commissions and services (brokerage, clearing and custody) provided by NFS, the brokerage associated with this program. NFS fees included in the gross advisory fee range from 0.16% to 0.18%, but do not include other fees that may be associated with your account.
Learn more about advisors' typical costs here.
What to Watch Out For
As a subsidiary to a very large parent company, FTS works with several affiliated financial services firms, which means fees for its services can come from several sources. In addition, the firm has disclosed some disciplinary events involving regulators. That said, the firm is bound by its fiduciary duty to work solely in the best interests of its clients.
In its most recent SEC filings, FTS reported several regulatory or disciplinary events that were resolved within the last 10 years. Many involved the broker-dealer side of the business. The most recent event was resolved on May 18, 2018. In this action, FINRA found that, among other things, FTS “made material misstatements and omissions about the cost of variable annuity exchanges in 77% of a sample set of 250 variable annuity exchanges randomly selected and reviewed by FINRA.” Without admitting or denying the findings, FTS paid a $4 million fine and $2 million in restitution to applicable clients who bought variable annuity exchanges between 2013 and 2015.
Opening an Account With Fifth Third Securities
To learn more about FTC’s services, visit its website or call (800) 606-9878.
All information is accurate as of the writing of this article.
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