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Hilltop Securities 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.

Hilltop Securities is a financial advisor firm with headquarters in Dallas, and dozens of branch offices across the country. The firm is a full-service broker-dealer and registered investment advisor (RIA). Its advisors provide investment advisory services, financial planning, consulting and retirement plan advisory services clients.

Hilltop Securities Background

Hilltop Securities opened for business in 1946 under the name First Southwest Company. In 1972, it merged with Southwest Securities, Inc., a full-service broker-dealer, and became Hilltop Securities, Inc. Today, the firm is led by chairman Jon Sobel, president and CEO M. Bradley Winges and CFO Mike Edge. Hilltop is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hilltop Securities Holdings, LLC, a financial services holding company.

All 110 of its advisors are aslo brokers and most are insurance agents. Some have professional certifications such as certified financial planner (CFP). Hilltop Securites Holdings, LLC also owns an affiliated investment advisory firm called Hilltop Securities Asset Management, LLC, which is distinct from Hilltop Securities. Hilltop Securities Asset Management serves local and state government entities and manages billions in assets. 

Hilltop Securities Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes

Hilltop Securities works almost entirely with individuals. Additionally, the firm offers services to individual retirement accounts (IRAs), banks and thrift institutions, pension and profit-sharing plans, trusts, estates, charitable organizations, state and municipal government entities and corporations and other business entities.

Hilltop Securities has a minimum account size for just about all of its advisory services. They are as follows:

  • Financial planning/consulting: None
  • Partner Program: $30,000
  • Compass UMA: $25,000
  • Advantage Program: $30,000
  • Premier Advisors: $100,000
  • Direct Access: $25,000
  • Unified Managed Account: $100,000

Services Offered by Hilltop Securities

Hilltop Securities offers a wide range of services, including:

  • Financial planning services
    • Tax and cash flow planning
    • Investments
    • Insurance planning
    • Death and disability
    • Estate planning
    • Retirement planning
    • Business financial planning
  • Financial consulting services
  • Retirement plan advisory services
  • Investment advisory and management services

Hilltop Securities offers its investment advisory services through four programs: 

  • The Partner program is a wrap fee program in which your advisor will act as your portfolio manager, providing a wide variety of investment choices and charging a single, holistic fee.
  • The Advantage program gives you access to a non-discretionary portfolio of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). You and your advisor will determine an asset allocation that makes sense, and your advisor will periodically rebalance your portfolio to maintain this allocation.
  • The Premier Advisors program provides access to separately managed accounts and unified management accounts (UMA). It's available through Envestnet Asset Management's online platform. You can either choose a model portfolio or an actively managed portfolio overseen by an independent money manager. With a UMA, you would choose from money managers and funds.
  • The Direct Access program provides access to fund strategist portfolios that typically hold mutual funds and ETFs. Their approaches range from long-term and strategic to short-term and tactical

Hilltop Securities Investment Philosophy

Hilltop Securities typically engages in a mix of investment strategies depending on what's best for the client. These could include long-term purchase strategies (buying a security with the intent to hold for at least a year), short-term purchase strategies (buying with the intent to hold for less than a year), short sales and options. A short sale is a transaction in which the firm will sell a stock that it has borrowed, then buy the same stock at a later date to return it to the original owner. The bet here is that the stock will go down in price between the sale and the return, allowing them to pocket the difference. In rare cases, the firm may also engage in margin transactions, but this is generally avoided.

When conducting investment research, the firm will give each representative the authority to analyze investments as they best see fit. With regard to the Advantage program, the firm has a set of criteria that a mutual fund or ETF must meet before it can be included in client portfolios.

Fees Under Hilltop Securities

The fee schedule listed here is a collection of maximum rates, and they are negotiable. Here are the fees for the Partner Program:

Partner Program Fees
Account Value Maximum Fee
Up to $249,999 2.25%
$250,000 - $499,999 2.00%
$500,000 - $999,999 1.75%
$1MM and over 1.50%

Fees for the Advantage program adhere to the following schedule. Similarly, these fees are negotiable and serve as a maximum:

Advantage Program Fees
Account Value Maximum Fee
Up to $249,999 1.75%
$250,000 - $499,999 1.50%
$500,000 - $999,999 1.25%
$1MM and above 1.00%

For comparison's sake, the industry average fee for investment management is 0.95%, according to a 2018 study of 1,500 firms by RIA in a Box. Learn more about advisors' typical costs here.

Financial planning and consulting fees are calculated on an hourly basis, and they can range from $250 to $500. Where it falls within that range depends on a few factors including the complexity of services, the duration of the client relationship and more.

What to Watch Out For

Hilltop Securities reported 78 disclosures of legal and regulatory issues in its latest filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Of them, 47 involved Hilltop Securities itself and the remainder involved either an affiliated individual or affiliated firm. These disclosures have to do with, among other things, issuing materially misleading information surrounding the offering and selling of certain municipal securities; incorrectly guaranteeing the purchase of common stock in connection with the purchase of bonds; and an incomplete response to a subpoena by the Illinois Department of Securities. Hilltop Securities has paid fines that range from $250 to $8 million.

Also worth noting: as mentioned before, advisors at Hilltop Securities are all brokers and most are insurance agents. In these non-advisor roles, they earn transaction-based fees or commissions, which can present a potential conflict of interest. That said, as an SEC-registered firm, Hilltop Securities has a fidiuciary duty to work in clients' best interests at all times.

Opening an Account With Hilltop Securities

To find an advisor near you, you can call (800) 562-8041. Alternately, you can fill out the contact form on the firm’s website with your name, email address, phone number and a brief message. 

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

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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.