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Forum Financial Management 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.

Forum Financial Management, Inc. is a financial advisor firm based in Lombard, Illinois, about 20 miles west of Chicago. The firm manages billions of dollars in client assets. Its client base consists of individuals, retirement plans, charities and other investment advisors. A plethora of financial planning and investment services are available through Forum Financial. The firm also offers services for independent advisory firms.

This is a fee-based firm. That means that some of the advisors that work here can earn commissions when they sell certain insurance products or securities to clients. This is much different from a fee-only firm, which avoids these potential conflicts of interest by receiving compensation solely from client-paid fees.

Forum Financial Management Background

Forum Financial Management first opened its doors in 2002. The firm is under the ownership of a few partners.

The firm employs many advisors, most of whom hold additional advisory certifications. Specifically, there are certified financial planners (CFPs), chartered financial analysts (CFAs), certified public accountants (CPAs), chartered financial consultants (ChFCs) and chartered life underwriters (CLUs) at Forum Financial.

Forum Financial Management Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes

Forum Financial Management counts non-high-net-worth individuals, high-net-worth individuals, pension plans, charitable organizations and other investment advisors as clients. Individual clients far outnumber each of the other groups.

The firm generally requires at least $25,000 in investable assets to open an account. However, it may decide to waive this minimum at its discretion.

Services Offered by Forum Financial Management

Forum Financial Management provides three categories of portfolio management services:

  • Active bond management
  • Risk-managed equity management
  • Personalized balanced portfolios

The first two services focus exclusively on fixed-income and equity securities, respectively. The third option is for clients who are looking for a portfolio that encompasses both types of security. Additionally, the firm provides management via several wrap fee and model account programs, sponsored by outside firms.

Under certain circumstances, the firm may provide financial planning services like retirement planning, risk management, asset allocation planning, income tax planning, business succession planning, estate planning and more.

Forum Financial Management Investment Philosophy

First and foremost, Forum Financial Management focuses on modern portfolio theory (MPT) when creating clients' investment portfolios. Guided by the fundamentals of MPT, your advisor will look to maximize your projected returns based on the risk tolerance you indicate at the outset of your advisory relationship with the firm.

While the approach above is focused on building customized portfolios, the firm also provides a number of model portfolios. Depending on whether you're risk-averse or more open to high-risk, high-reward investments, the firm will assign you a specific model portfolio. For example, a risk-averse investor might have a portfolio that includes a large number of fixed-income investments, whereas the riskier investor might prefer stocks. Here's a short breakdown of each model portfolio available at Forum Financial:

  • Income: 0% to 30% equities and 70% to 100% fixed-income
  • Income and Growth: 40% equities and 60% fixed-income
  • Growth and Income: 50% equities and 50% fixed-income
  • Growth: 60% to 70% equities and 30% to 40% fixed-income
  • Aggressive Growth: 80% to 100% equities and 0% to 20% fixed-income

Fees Under Forum Financial Management

Forum Financial Management charges an asset-based fee for its portfolio management service. The exact rate you'll be charged will vary depending on the size of your account. On occasion, a fixed fee may be used instead of these asset-based charges.

Portfolio Management Fee Schedule
AUM Annual Fee Rate
Up to $1,000,000 1.20%
$1,000,000 - $2,000,000 1.00%
$2,000,000 - $5,000,000 0.80%
Over $5,000,000 0.75%

Here's a breakdown of about what you can expect to pay for portfolio management services at Forum Financial:

*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 Forum Financial Management*
Your Assets Forum Financial Management Fee Amounts
$500K $6,000
$1MM $12,000
$5MM $46,000
$10MM $83,500

In order to gain access to Forum Financial's financial planning services, you'll need to be an investment client of the firm. Therefore, if you take advantage of these offerings, you won't be on the hook for any related charges.

What to Watch Out For

Forum Financial Management's Form ADV shows no legal or regulatory disclosures on its record.

Forum Financial Management's income structure is fee-based, meaning some advisors at the firm have the ability to earn commissions for selling certain securities or insurance products to clients. This incentives inherent in this arrangement represent a potential conflict of interest. However, Forum Financial Management abides by fiduciary duty, legally binding it to always act in clients' best interests.

Opening an Account With Forum Financial Management

If you’re interested in starting a client-advisor relationship with this firm, you can reach out in a couple of different ways. You can try calling the firm’s headquarters at (630) 873-8520, or you can visit the firm’s website and fill out a form with your name, contact info and a brief message describing what services you're seeking.

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

Tips for Managing Your Investments

  • Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • In order to accurately plan your financial future, you should calculate what kind of returns you’ll need from an investment portfolio to reach your goals. There are a few ways to do this, including SmartAsset’s investment calculator or the rule of 72.

How Long $1 Million 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.

Least
Most
Rank City Housing Expenses Food Expenses Healthcare Expenses Utilities Expenses Transportation Expenses

Methodology We weighed potential expenditures for a prospective retiree with a  $1 million nest egg to assess how many years that fund would cover in retirement in America’s largest cities.

We 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 metro areas across the U.S.

We assumed the $1 million would grow at a net annual return of 2% after inflation. 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.