First Financial Group is a fee-based firm headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina. The financial advisor offers both discretionary and non-discretionary portfolio management, financial planning and portfolio consulting services. It works with hundreds of clients, all of whom are individuals. This firm is on the smaller side.
First Financial Group Background
Tommy Lewis, First Financial Group's founder and president, established the firm in 1994. The firm offers advice on a range of investments. These include mutual funds, equity securities, corporate debt securities, certificates of deposit (CDs), municipal securities, investment company securities, U.S. government securities, options contracts on securities and commodities and others.
Though the financial advisor chiefly offers portfolio management, financial planning and portfolio consulting services, it also provides asset preservation and protection services.
First Financial Group Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes
The firm provides investment advisory services for individuals, trusts, estates, corporations and other business entities. Currently, however, it only has individual accounts.
First Financial generally requires a $325,000 account minimum. The firm may waive the value for clients who have the potential to increase their AUM. It may also combine account values, between family members or spouses, to help clients meet the minimum.
Services Offered by First Financial Group
First Financial’s services include:
- Portfolio management
- Financial planning
- Broad-based planning
- Annual retainer services
- General consulting services
- Portfolio consulting
- Quarterly portfolio reviews
- In-person reviews
- Asset preservation and protection
- Insurance policies
- LTC insurance policies
FIRST Financial believes in tailoring its investment advice to meet each client’s specific investment objectives. The firm touts on its website that it works to empower clients to make smarter financial decisions and that it prioritizes every client’s unique financial situation. At the beginning of each advisory relationship, the firm says it uses client factors such as risk tolerance and other factors to determine the appropriate investment strategy.
When making investment decisions, the firm may also use investment methods such as fundamental analysis, cyclical analysis, margin transactions and long-term purchases.
Fees Under First Financial Group
For portfolio management services, the firm bases its fee on a percentage of AUM. The annual fee is billed and payable quarterly in advance, based on your account value on the last trading day of the previous quarter. Fees are generally negotiable, and the firm may quote a fixed fee for smaller accounts. The firm may also combine family accounts to determine the necessary advisory fee.
For portfolio consulting services, FIRST financial also bases its annual fee on a percentage of client assets. The fee is billed quarterly in advance, and the firm may negotiate rates depending on individual client circumstances. The firm’s financial planning services consist of broad-based planning, annual retainer services and general consulting services. The fee for broad-based planning is $3,500, and it’s payable in advance. Clients will pay $4,000 for annual retainer services, while the firm’s general consulting services run for a negotiable fee of $500 per hour.
The fee schedules for portfolio management and portfolio consulting are shown below:
|Portfolio Management and Consulting Fee Schedule|
|Up to $249,000||2.00%|
|$250,000 - $999,999||1.50%|
|Greater than $1,000,000||1.00%|
If you're thinking of becoming a client, here's what you might expect to pay in fees over the course of a year.
|*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 First Financial Group*|
|Your Assets||First Financial Group Fee Amounts|
What to Watch Out For
There isn’t much to be wary of when it comes to First Financial. The firm doesn’t have any disclosures, and it has a fiduciary duty to its clients. It is, however, on the smaller side, so if you'd like to work with a big institution, you should look elsewhere.
Opening an Account With First Financial Group
If you’re interested in investing with First Financial, you can contact the firm’s client services email, or you can visit the firm’s office. You can also set up an appointment with an advisor by calling (919) 876-4926.
All information is accurate as of the writing of this article.
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