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 offers 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 2.00% 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 disclusres 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.
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