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Hefren-Tillotson 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.

Hefren-Tillotson, Inc.

Hefren-Tillotson, Inc. is a Pittsburgh-based firm serving various individual and institutional clients. With more than $7.7 billion assets under management (AUM), the fee-based financial advisor has 95 advisors who advise nearly 25,000 clients. 

Hefren-Tillotson, Inc. Background 

Founded in 1948 and licensed as both a securities broker-dealer and investment advisor, Hefren operates as a private wealth management firm with multiple offices throughout Pennsylvania. The firm has two offices in Pittsburgh, but it also offers advisory services through its Butler, Greensburg, Wexford and Canonsburg offices. 

The firm’s management team possesses a range of backgrounds and specialties. The team includes four certified financial planners (CFPs), four chartered financial analysts (CFAs), two certified public accountants (CPAs), two accredited investment fiduciary auditor (AIFAs) and one personal financial specialist (PFS). 

Hefren-Tillotson, Inc. Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes

Hefren serves non-high-net-worth and high-net-worth individuals, pension funds, non-profit organizations, endowments and foundations. The firm’s minimum account size varies based on account type. Specifically, the minimum sizes for its investment advisory programs generally range from $25,000 to $100,000. 

Services Offered by Hefren-Tillotson, Inc.

Hefren-Tillotson primarily offers the following advisory services:

  • Portfolio management
  • Financial planning
  • Educational seminars/workshops

Hefren-Tillotson, Inc. Investment Philosophy

The firm’s website describes its investment ideology as one that strives to earn its clients’ trust by giving them comprehensive, unbiased advice surrounding all aspects of their financial situation. 

Hefren says its investment approach consists of a conservative, long-term philosophy and diversified strategy focused on asset allocation and sector weightings. The firm also regularly manages and monitors portfolios, and its advisors select investment managers with specific knowledge regarding certain areas of the market.  

Fees Under Hefren-Tillotson, Inc.

The firm is primarily compensated through asset-based fees, as well as through a percentage of commission or fee-based revenue. Below are the fee schedules for Hefren’s investment advisory programs. When it comes to assets that are more than $10,000,000, the firm makes fees negotiable. 

Asset Management*, MasterPlan Pathway*, Advisory*, Pathway Pro*, Managed Account Program** 
Amount of assets Annual management fee
First $1,000,000 plus 1.00%
Next $1,000,000 plus 0.75%
Next $8,000,000 0.50%

(*)$6.00 transaction service charge will be incurred on equity and ETF transactions

(**)Portfolio Manager Fee (0.25% - 0.80% est) for separately managed accounts

Retirement Plan Review 
Amount of assets Annual management fee
N/S 0.35%

The firm charges a flat management fee of 1.0% for its American Funds F-2 Direct Program, and it charges 0.25% for its hybrid brokerage and investment portfolio review program. For the firm’s MASTERPLAN financial review, it charges hourly rates ranging from $50 to $250. For 401(k) and profit sharing plans, Hefren’s annual rates range from 0.25% to 0.75%. The firm’s personal retirement services typically require 0.35% of AUM and a minimum annual fee of $500. Hefren’s advisory fees are generally billed and payable quarterly in advance. 

Hefren-Tillotson, Inc. Awards and Recognition

The firm was recently named as one of the Pittsburgh Business Times’ 2019 Best Places to Work. Companies were chosen and ranked based on online surveys completed by employees. 

The firm’s executive vice president, James Meredith, was recently named one of Barron’s 2019 Top 100 Independent Wealth Advisors. The magazine recognizes advisors based off AUM, revenue generated and quality of service. 

What to Watch Out For

Firm representatives can earn commissions from certain transactions, creating a conflict of interest if advisors favor commission-based products over client needs. The firm’s fiduciary obligation ensures that the firm honors and prioritizes each client’s best interest. 


The firm’s Form ADV lists 15 disclosures, which primarily include regulatory action and civil judicial action disclosures. The firm’s most recent regulatory action disclosure occurred in September 2019. 

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) found that Hefren breached its fiduciary duty and violated Section 206(3) of the Advisers Act by receiving undisclosed financial compensation from an unaffiliated clearing broker. The case resulted in an $80,000 fine, censure, cease and desist, disgorgement of $254,060 and prejudgement interest of $45,905.29. 

Opening an Account With Hefren-Tillotson, Inc.

You’ll have several options for setting up an account with Hefren. You can visit any of the firm’s Pennsylvania locations to speak with an advisor, or you can fill out the firm’s contact form on its website. You can also reach the firm’s headquarters through its toll-free number or local number. Its toll-free number is (888) 405-0990. The firm’s local number is (412) 434-0990.

Tips for Finding a Financial Advisor

  • One way to prepare for working with a financial advisor is to identify which areas of finance you’d like assistance with. Advisors can offer guidance in many aspects of wealth management, including estate planning, insurance planning, retirement planning or investing. Once you’ve narrowed down your specific needs and time horizon, your search will be much easier.
  • SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool connects you with up to three local advisors within minutes. You’ll simply need to complete a short questionnaire about your financial situation, and the free service will match you with the appropriate advisor(s). 

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

How Long $1mm 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.

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

Methodology We analyzed data on average expenditures for seniors, cost of living and investment returns to determine how many years of retirement a $1 million nest egg would cover in cities across America.

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%. 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