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Key Investment Services 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.

Key Investment Services (KIS) is a financial advisor firm that offers clients investment management, retirement planning, long-term financial planning and other financial services. Though KIS accepts a wide range of clients, it works primarily with individuals.

KIS is a fee-based advisory firm. This means that some of its advisors collect transaction-based fees from third parties on top of fees from clients. This differs from a fee-only operation, whose only compensation comes from client fees.

Key Investment Services Background

Established in 2005, Key Investment Services is a subsidiary of KeyBank Capital Markets, Inc. KIS is one of several subsidiaries of KeyBank, one of the largest banks in the U.S.

Key Investment Services Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes

KIS currently manages assets for non-high-net-worth and high-net-worth individuals, as well as pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and corporations.

For most of the firm's advisory services, there are no specific account minimums. If you subscribe to any of the firm’s wrap fee programs though, you may need to meet a minimum.

Services Offered by Key Investment Services

KIS helps with five main categories of wealth management:

  • Asset allocation planning
  • Education savings planning
  • Retirement planning
  • Saving for a major purchase
  • Life, annuity and long-term protection planning

Investors with KIS offer a number of investment account options, including individual retirement accounts (IRAs), education savings plans and HSA investment accounts.

KIS provides some of its financial advising services through third-party firms, such as Lockwood Advisors, Inc. These account options include:

  • Lockwood Investment Strategies
  • Lockwood AdvisorFlex portfolios
  • Lockwood WealthStart program
  • 11 model strategies programs
  • Envestnet Asset Management, Inc. programs
  • Separately managed account program
  • Lockwood/American Funds core portfolios

Key Investment Services Investing Philosophy

KIS pursues different portfolio management strategies for clients depending on the type of account they wish to open. However, each account typically pursues a strategy of long-term sustainable growth that limits risk to a level deemed acceptable by the client. KIS and its advisors use financial models and other software to analyze current market conditions and pick investments that will help clients meet their investment goals.

Many clients hold their money in mutual funds managed by KIS advisors. Managed investment portfolio accounts may also invest in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) as well as mutual funds. As noted, the specific investment strategy of each of these various programs depends on which account you’re looking to open.

Fees Under Key Investment Services

KIS charges a fee based on a percentage of your total AUM but also receives compensation from other sources. More specifically, some members of the advisory staff at the firm earn commissions from certain insurance or securities transactions.

The two exceptions to the above fee schedule are the Lockwood AdvisorFlex Portfolio Program and the Digital Portfolio Advisor Program. For the former, fees range from 1.80% for balances up to $500,000 to 1.00% for balances above $1 million. The latter charges a 0.50% flat fee for all accounts.

Almost every other KIS account follows the same fee schedule below. Note that this doesn’t include individual money manager fees, which typically hover around 0.20%.

The MoneyGuidePro™ software offered by KeyBank is completely free to use.

What to Watch Out For

Key Investment Services has two disclosures reported on its Form ADV. One of those disclosures dates back to 2016 when the firm “failed to identify and apply sales charge discounts to certain customers’ eligible purchases of UITs resulting in customers paying excessive sales charges of approximately $95,254.34.” As a result, Key Investment was censured, fined $100,000 and ordered to pay $100,247.02 in restitution to customers. Furthermore, a second disclosure from 2019 resulted in a fine of $425,000 and a disgorgement of $134,169.40 plus interest

Also worth noting: As is the case with any fee-based firm, the fact that certain KIS financial advisors can be compensated for the sale of insurance products or securities creates the potential for a conflict of interest. That said, the firm is legally obligated by its fiduciary duty to act in clients' best interests at all times.

Opening an Account With Key Investment Services

To open an account with KIS, you can sign up on its website, visit a branch or call (888) 547-2968. 

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

Tips for Finding a Financial Advisor

  • Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Ask prospective advisors what their median account size is. You don’t want to be one of their smallest accounts —or one of the largest. In the first case, you probably wouldn’t get the attention you need. In the latter case, the advisor may not have the experience, know-how or resources to help your account grow.

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