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IRON Financial, LLC

IRON Financial, LLC is a financial advisor firm located in Northbrook, Illinois with just over $4 billion in assets under management (AUM). The firm’s advisors work mainly with pension and profit-sharing plans, as well as with individuals, investment companies and businesses. The firm focuses on portfolio management, though they also provide retirement plan services.

As a fee-only advisory firm, IRON Financial makes money from just client-based fees. A fee-based firm, on the other hand, is one that makes commissions from insurance or security sales in addition to standard fees.

IRON Financial Background

IRON Financial was founded in Chicago in 1994 by CEO Howard Nixon and chief investment officer (CIO) Aaron Izenstark. Both co-founders have decades of investment experience between them and focus the firm’s strategy around a strategic income philosophy. The firm is under the principal ownership of IRON Holdings, LLC, a financial services holding company.

The financial advisors at IRON Financial hold a number of advisory certifications. Among the firm’s investment professionals, there are multiple chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and one certified financial planner (CFP). 

What Types of Clients Does IRON Financial Accept?

The vast majority of IRON Financial’s clients are non-government pension and profit-sharing plans. Individuals, high-net-worth individuals, investment companies and businesses round out the firm’s client base.

IRON Financial Minimum Account Size

The minimum account sizes of IRON Financial’s managed portfolios range from $100,000 to $500,000. They go as follows:

  • Global Equity Plus Strategy Portfolios: $250,000
  • S&P Equity Plus Strategy Portfolios: $100,000
  • All-Cap Alpha Equity Strategy Portfolios: $300,000
  • Fixed-Income Yield Only Portfolios: $300,000
  • Fixed-Income High-Yield Only Portfolios: $300,000
  • Select Portfolios and Managed Portfolios: $500,000
  • Fixed-Income Total Return Portfolios: $500,000
  • Risk-Based Mutual Fund Total Return Portfolios: $250,000
  • REIT Strategy Portfolios: $100,000
  • Automated advisory services: None

Most of the firm’s corporate retirement plan services call for a minimum balance of $100,000. On a smaller scale, retirement accounts have a $30,000 minimum, whereas 401(k) accounts have no minimum whatsoever.

Services Offered by IRON Financial

IRON Financial offers a number of portfolio management services to its clients. The firm provides a variety of fixed-income strategies, total return strategies and more.

  • EQUITY Plus Strategies
  • Global Equity Plus Strategy Portfolios
  • S&P Equity Plus Strategy Portfolios
  • All-Cap Alpha Equity Strategy
  • Risk-Based Mutual Fund Portfolios
  • Select and managed portfolios
  • Convertible Bond Strategy
  • Real estate investment trust (REIT) strategy

IRON Financial provides ERISA 3(38) and 3(21) Investment Fiduciary Services to sponsors of retirement plans. The firm also provides automated advisory services, as well as fiduciary and IRA rollover solutions.

IRON Financial’s Investment Philosophy

IRON Financial places emphasis on adding value to typical beta investment practices. It uses a wide array of asset classes, coupled with effective risk management and primary research, to drive growth for clients. The investments that fill out these strategies and portfolios are a combination of fixed-income securities, equities, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), options and derivatives.

The firm’s methods of analysis include charting as well as fundamental, technical and quantitative analysis. Each of these techniques attempt to analyze a security’s intrinsic value by looking at various factors, like pricing statistics, performance data, underlying financial conditions of the company and more.

Fees Under IRON Financial

IRON Financial’s fees vary based on the type of investment strategy your account uses. These charges follow the fee schedule below, though the firm reserves the right to negotiate fees on a client-to-client basis. In fact, fees for all accounts in excess of $50 million are negotiable.

Investment Fee Schedule
Account Strategy Maximum Annual Fee
Global Equity Plus Strategy Portfolios 0.70%
S&P Equity Plus Strategy Portfolios 0.50%
All-Cap Alpha Equity Strategy Portfolios 0.75%
Fixed-Income Yield Only Portfolios 0.35%
Fixed-Income High-Yield Only Portfolios 0.50%
Select Portfolios and Managed Portfolios 0.50%
Fixed-Income Total Return Portfolios 0.70%
Risk-Based Mutual Fund Total Return Portfolios 0.75%
REIT Strategy Portfolios 0.70%
Automated advisory services 0.25%

The IRON ERISA 3(21) investment fiduciary services available at the firm abide by a flat annual fee of 0.05%. However, the IRON ERISA 3(38) version of this offering has a much more extensive fee schedule.

ERISA 3(38) Investment Fiduciary Services
AUM Annual Fee
Up to $10,000,000 0.10%
$10,000,001 to $20,000,000 0.09%
$20,000,001 to $30,000,000 0.08%
$30,000,001 to $50,000,000 0.07%
$50,000,001 and up Negotiable

Corporate retirement plans under $5 million are charged a 0.75% annual fee for all the services listed above. This fee becomes negotiable for corporate retirement plans investing more than $5 million.


IRON Financial does not have any disclosures on its Form ADV.

Opening an Account With IRON Financial

If you’d like to open an account with IRON Financial, you can go online and submit a form on their website. You can also call its office toll-free at (888) 396-4766.

Where Is IRON Financial Located?

IRON Financial is headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois, just north of Chicago. This is the firm’s one and only office.

Tips for Financial Planning

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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.

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