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GWN Securities Review

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GWN Securities

GWN Securities, Inc. is an investment advisor and broker-dealer with just over $2 billion in assets under management (AUM). Rather than work with individuals and other clients, GWN provides services to independent financial advisors. This includes access to offerings like wealth management, variable annuities, investment research, technological support and more.

As a fee-based firm, some of the advisors partnered with GWN Securities may sell certain insurance products or securities on a commission basis. This differs from a fee-only arrangement in which a firm earns compensation solely from the fees charged to clients. Despite this potential conflict of interest, the firm is a fiduciary, legally binding it to act in your best interest.

GWN Securities Background

GWN Securities opened its doors for business in 2004. The firm is a subsidiary of World Investment Network, which also owns Money Concepts Capital Corp., an investment advisor and broker-dealer firm.

In total, GWN has 350 financial advisors across its network. There are a number of advisory certifications held by these advisors, like certified financial planner (CFP), chartered financial analyst (CFA) and chartered life underwriter (CLU).

What Types of Clients Does GWN Securities Accept?

Through its network of advisors, GWN Securities serves mostly individuals below the high-net-worth threshold. However, these advisors also work with high-net-worth individuals, trusts, estates, pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and businesses.

GWN Securities Minimum Account Size

Because there are a plethora of advisory programs and services available through GWN Securities, minimums vary wildly. Here’s an overview of what you can expect:

  • GWN Managed Account Program:
    • $2,000 for qualified accounts
    • $10,000 for open accounts
    • $25,000 for accounts using Toews portfolio models
  • GWN Premier Select Program:
    • $2,000 for qualified accounts
    • $10,000 for open accounts
  • GWN Premier Fund Choice Program:
    • $2,000 for qualified accounts
    • $10,000 for open accounts
  • GWN Total Access Program: $10,000 for all accounts
  • Money by Design Platinum Program: $25,000 for all accounts

Services Offered by GWN Securities

GWN Securities offers a selection of financial planning and investment management services, including:

  • GWN Managed Account Program
    • Investment management for clients invested in a family of mutual funds or variable annuities
  • GWN Premier Select Program
  • GWN Premier Fund Choice Program
    • Focuses on ETFs and load-waived mutual funds
    • You can choose your own fund or follow the recommendation of a GWN advisor
    • Receive quarterly statements
  • GWN Total Access Program
    • Portfolios are modeled around a wide range of securities, including no-load and load-waived funds
    • Administrative, brokerage and custodial services through Pershing, LLC
  • Money by Design Platinum Program
    • Focuses on ETF and mutual fund asset allocations
    • Models are chosen based on computer-based models that are risk-adjusted to each client
  • Financial planning
    • Cash flow management
    • Budgeting
    • Education funding
    • Insurance planning
    • Retirement planning
    • Survivor income analysis
    • Disability income analysis
  • Consulting

GWN Securities Investment Philosophy

Modern portfolio theory (MPT) is at the core of GWN Securities’ asset allocation strategy. This investing approach is focused on ensuring that a portfolio’s risk level is proportionate to its expected return. To formulate these MPT-based asset allocations, GWN typically recommends investments like equities, fixed-income securities, cash, mutual funds and ETFs.

GWN Securities holds a belief that markets are inherently efficient, meaning it thinks desired returns can be earned simply by delivering an optimized, risk-adjusted asset allocation. As such, the firm prefers investing with a long-term perspective in mind.

Fees Under GWN Securities

GWN Securities uses a variable fee schedule that’s different for each service. For the Managed Account Program, you’ll pay an asset-based fee between 0.50% and 1.50%, depending on your account’s overall value. Although these charges are shown as annual rates, they are paid quarterly in arrears. On top of the rates in the table below, clients will have to pay a 0.50% custodial fee.

Managed Account Program Fees
Account Value Annual Fee
First $250K 1.50%
Next $250K 1.25%
Next $500K 1.00%
Over $1MM 0.50%

For the Premier Select Program, the Premier Fund Choice Program and the Total Access Program, GWN negotiates fees on a client-to-client basis. The firm does guarantee, though, that these fees will not surpass 2.00% annually. Fees for both programs are charged quarterly in arrears, but GWN reserves the right to shift this to a monthly pay schedule.

If you subscribe to the Money by Design Platinum Program, your fees will rely on the schedule below. As you can see, not only will the value of your account determine what you pay, but the type of manager you use will as well. GWN also charges these fees on a quarterly basis in arrears, though it reserves the right to switch to monthly fees.

Money by Design Platinum Program Fees
Account Value Less than $249,999.99 $250,000 - $749,999.99 Over $750,000
Tier I Manager 1.30% 1.05% 0.80%
Tier II Manager 1.40% 1.20% 0.95%

Financial planning and consulting services adhere to completely separate fee schedules. For these, you may be charged either an hourly or a fixed fee. Hourly rates top out at $350 per hour, whereas fixed rates are limited to $750. In certain situations, GWN may ask clients to prepay half of their bill upfront, with the rest due upon completion of the services.

Check out the table below to see how GWN Securities’ fees for its management services compare to those at similar financial advisor firms. Note that these fees are only estimates and actual costs may vary.

*Fee estimates only consider the maximum base fees for the services each firm provides. You may also pay manager fees and other fees, which can vary in amount. **All figures are based on median fee levels according to Bob Veres' 2017 Planning Profession Fee Survey. The above estimates solely take into account AUM-only fees. Total costs will likely be higher due to additional expenses.
Estimated Fee Comparison*
Your Assets GWN Managed Account Program Fees National Median Advisory Fees**
$500K $6,875 $5,000
$1MM $11,875 $8,500 - $10,000
$5MM $31,875 $25,000 - $32,500
$10MM $56,875 $50,000

What to Watch Out For

Some representatives of GWN Securities are able to make commissions or other forms of compensation from the sale of certain securities or insurance products to clients. As this incentivizes advisors to recommend such products or transactions, this represents a potential conflict of interest. Regardless, the firm is legally bound by fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of its clients.

Disclosures

According to GWN Securities’ Form ADV that’s filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), there are no disclosures on its legal or regulatory record.

Opening an Account With GWN Securities

You can reach GWN Securities in person at its office in Palm Beach Gardens, Floria. The firm can also be contacted by phone at (561) 472-2700 or by email to gwn@gwnsecurities.com.

Where Is GWN Securities Located?

GWN Securities’ headquarters is located in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida at 11440 North Jog Road. However, the firm works with financial advisors throughout the U.S. To find options in your area, stop by GWN’s website and go to the “Find an Advisor” tab.

Investing Tips

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How Many Years $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 To determine how long a $1 million nest egg would cover retirement costs in cities across America, we analyzed data on average expenditures for seniors, cost of living and investment returns.

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%. This reflects the typical return on a conservative investment portfolio. 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