Hilltop Securities, Inc. is a financial advisor firm in Dallas, Texas with just over $1.1 billion in assets under management (AUM). The firm works with individuals, high-net-worth individuals, trusts and estates, along with a handful of charities, pension plans and corporations. Hilltop is a fee-based firm.
Founded way back in 1946, Hilltop Securities, Inc. (which also goes by the name HilltopSecurities) is a full-service broker-dealer in addition to its status as a registered investment advisor (RIA). The firm provides investment advisory services, as well as financial planning, consulting and retirement plan advisory services.
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 Hill A. Feinberg, 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.
The firm has 167 advisors, some of whom 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 more than $14 billion in assets.
What Types of Clients Does Hilltop Securities Accept?
Hilltop Securities works almost entirely with individuals. Additionally, the firm maintains advisory relationships with 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 Minimum Account Sizes
Hilltop Securities has a minimum account size for just about all of its advisory services. They go as follows:
- Financial planning/consulting: None
- Partner Program: $50,000 ($30,000 if portfolio is comprised of mutual funds, ETFs and UITs)
- Advantage Program: $30,000
- Russell Strategies: $30,000
- Premier Advisors: $100,000
- Direct Access: $100,000
- Unified Managed Account: $100,000
- Outside Manager Access: $100,000
Services Offered by Hilltop Securities
Hilltop Securities offers a good range of services to its clients, including the following:
- Financial planning services
- Tax and cash flow planning
- Insurance planning
- Estate planning
- Retirement planning
- Business financial planning
- Financial consulting services
- Retirement plan advisory services
- Investment advisory services
Hilltop Securities offers its investment advisory services through two programs: the Partner program and the Advantage program. 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.
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 and above||1.75%|
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%|
|$1,000,000 and above||1.00%|
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, Inc., in addition to being an investment advisory firm, is also a registered securities broker-dealer. This means that some advisors may receive commissions when conducting certain securities transactions in their capacity as broker-dealer representatives. The receipt of these commissions generates a potential conflict of interest since advisors could have an incentive to direct clients toward securities that will generate commissions.
Further, some Hilltop representatives are separately licensed to sell insurance products, such as annuities. If representatives sell insurance products to clients, they may earn commissions typical of such transactions. This creates a potential conflict of interest, because representatives have a financial incentive to recommend insurance products.
These potential conflicts of interest are clearly disclosed in the firm's Form ADV, which is a form that all financial advisor firms with more than $25 million in assets under management must file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
While clients should know about these potential conflicts of interest, they can rest easy knowing that the firm is bound by fiduciary duty. This means that it’s bound by law to always act in the best interest of its clients.
Hilltop Securities and several of its advisory affiliates have multiple disclosures of past regulatory issues with the SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). 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.
Opening an Account With Hilltop Securities
To start the account opening process with Hilltop Securities, you can get in touch in a number of ways. You can call the office at (214) 859-6735. You can also fill out the contact form on the firm’s website with your name, email address, phone number and a brief message. If you prefer to do things in-person, you can also stop by the firm’s office on Elm Street in Dallas, Texas.
Where Is Hilltop Securities Located?
Hilltop Securities is headquartered at 1201 Elm Street, Suite 3500 in downtown Dallas near the Crowne Plaza Hotel. However, the firm has representatives in cities all across the country. To find the closest Hilltop representative to you, head to the firm’s website and use its "Find a Wealth Management Advisor" tool.
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