Financial Synergies Wealth Advisor is a Houston-based financial advisor firm serving individuals and institutions on a fee-only basis. This means the company's compensation comes solely from the advisory fees that clients pay, not commissions for selling third-party products and services.
The majority of clients at Financial Synergies are individuals. The firm markets its services to families and individuals, business owners, retirees, oil and gas professionals, as well as young professionals and physicians.
Financial Synergies appeared on the Financial Times' 300 Top Registered Investment Advisers list in 2020. The list recognizes firms based on assets under management (AUM), AUM growth rate, years in existence, advanced industry credentials of the firm’s advisors, online accessibility and compliance records.
Financial Synergies Wealth Advisors Background
Financial Synergies was established in 1986 by firm president Michael Booker. While Booker remains the majority shareholder, Michael Minter, Heath Hightower and Brian Zschiesche are minority shareholders.
Each of the firm’s financial advisors hold the certified financial planner (CFP) designation. But Financial Synergies’ advisor qualifications also include the chartered financial consultant (ChFC), certified fund specialist (CFS) and certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) designations.
Financial Synergies Wealth Advisors Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes
Financial Synergies imposes a minimum account size requirement of $1 million for wealth management services, which include both portfolio management and financial planning. However, the minimum investment requirement for the firm's Pathway program is $150,000.
Services Offered by Financial Synergies Wealth Advisors
Financial Synergies primarily offers both discretionary and non-discretionary portfolio management, as well as financial planning services. The firm can assist clients with a variety of financial needs including:
- College education planning
- Portfolio allocation
- Cash flow
- Budget and savings
- Major purchases
- Basic retirement projections
The firm also offers what it calls Advanced Retirement Planning, which may touch on:
- Living expense projections
- Assets and liabilities
- Income and savings
- Investments analysis
- Portfolio allocation analysis
- Portfolio distribution analysis
- Taxes and inflation
- Growth rates
- Insurance needs
Financial Synergies Wealth Advisors Investment Philosophy
Financial Synergies strives to achieve long-term investment returns by diversifying across asset classes and by basing its investment recommendations on historical, observable market behaviors and price patterns, according to its website.
The firm’s primary investment strategies are long-term purchases and asset allocation. Financial Synergies typically constructs client portfolios using no-load mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), individual equities, bonds, variable annuities, variable life insurance products and other investments.
Fees Under Financial Synergies Wealth Advisors
Financial Synergies is primarily compensated through asset-based fees. The firm’s asset-based fees generally range from 0.75% to 1.50% of assets under management (AUM). Here's a range of what your fees may look like based on the size of your account:
|*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 Financial Synergies Wealth Advisors*|
|Your Assets||Financial Synergies Wealth Advisors Fee Amounts|
|$500K||$3,750 - $7,500|
|$1MM||$7,500 - $15,000|
|$5MM||$37,500 - $75,000|
|$10MM||$75,000 - $150,000|
However, some clients may prefer to hold performance-based accounts. For these accounts, the firm may charge fees up to 20% of the client’s net profits earned per calendar quarter. The firm also offers “held away accounts” services for which it charges an annual fee. The exact fee isn't specified.
What to Watch Out For
The firm’s Form ADV doesn’t list any legal or regulatory disclosures.
The firm’s side-by-side management of asset-based and performance-based accounts could create an incentive for advisors to favor accounts that generate higher fees, potentially neglecting the needs of other clients. However, the firm has a fiduciary obligation and it says it takes steps to educate its representatives about the responsibilities of a fiduciary.
All information was accurate as of the writing of this article.
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