Level Four Advisory Services
Level Four Advisory Services (also known as Level Four Wealth Management) is part of the LPL Financial independent network of financial advisors and financial institutions. Beyond this, Level Four also provides investment advisory services to a number of other financial advisor firms throughout the U.S.
This firm is a fee-only financial advisor based in Plano, Texas that also has advisors in 17 other states. The firm manages more than $2.8 billion in assets across 139 advisory employees. Level Four deals mostly with non-high-net-worth individuals and families, with services like asset management and financial planning at its core.
Level Four Advisory Services Background
Level Four Advisory Services opened its doors for business in 2005. Level Four Group, a financial services holding company, is the direct owner of Level Four Advisory Services. Furthermore, Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC ultimately owns Level Four Group.
Because of the impressive size of Level Four, the team of advisors at the firm boasts a wide range of advisory certifications. Most notably, this list includes seven certified financial planners (CFP), three chartered life underwriters (CLUs), two chartered retirement planning counselors (CRPCs), two accredited investment fiduciaries (AIFs), one chartered financial consultant (ChFC), one certified public accountant (CPA) and many more.
Level Four Advisory Services Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes
Nearly 95% of Level Four Advisory Services’ client base is made up of individuals without a high net worth. High-net-worth individuals, families, estates, trusts, pension plans, profit-sharing plans, businesses, charitable organizations and pooled investment vehicles flesh out the remainder of the firm’s typical clientele.
If you subscribe to the Wealth Management, Participant Asset Management or Digital Advice programs at Level Four Advisory Services, there are no minimum account sizes. However, some accounts must abide by minimums such as these:
- Proprietary investment strategies
- Asset allocation models: $40,000
- Equity-based portfolios: $250,000
- Unified Managed Account program: $50,000
- LPL Financial Sponsored Advisory Programs
- Manager Access Select and Manager Access Network: $100,000
- Model Wealth Portfolios: $25,000
- Optimum Market Portfolios: $10,000
- Personal Wealth Portfolios: $250,000
- Guided Wealth Portfolios: $5,000
Services Offered by Level Four Advisory Services
Level Four Advisory Services has a fairly diverse selection of planning and management services, especially for individuals and businesses. Here’s an in-depth analysis of the firm’s offerings:
- Comprehensive financial planning
- Long-term focus
- Investment planning
- Tax planning
- Retirement planning
- Asset allocation planning
- Risk management
- Insurance planning
- College fund planning
- Asset management
- Investment management
- Continuous account monitoring
- Proprietary investment portfolios
- Equity portfolios
- Risk-adjusted asset allocation portfolios
- Digital Advisor
- Separately managed accounts (SMAs)
- LPL Financial Sponsored Advisory Programs
- Manager Access Select and Manager Access Network
- Model Wealth Portfolios
- Optimum Market Portfolios
- Personal Wealth Portfolios
- Guided Wealth Portfolios
- Business services
- Business succession
- Key employee retention strategies
- Retirement plan services and consulting for sponsors and participants
- Pension plans
- Profit-sharing plans
- Tax and accounting optimization
- Business owner protection
- “Buy/Sell” agreements
- Business valuations
Level Four Advisory Services Investment Philosophy
As you might expect, Level Four Advisory Services opens all client relationships with a process it calls “The Four Levels.” Here’s more information:
- Level One: This step is all about organization, as it entails collecting all of your finances into a single place so it’s easy to review and monitor.
- Level Two: Collaboration is the focus here. You and your advisor will have an open discussion about what your financial goals are and how you can attain them. This will also lead to the beginnings of your financial plan.
- Level Three: The firm aptly titles this level “Plan,” as your financial plan will now come to fruition. Factors that are considered include taxes, health concerns, market volatility and more.
- Level Four: In this final stage, you and your advisor will remain in constant communication with one another in order to reach consistent portfolio growth.
In an effort to meet the needs of every client, Level Four Advisory Services has built predetermined risk-adjusted portfolios. You’ll be able to select from these options: income with capital preservation, income with moderate growth, growth with income, growth and aggressive growth. Within these portfolios are investments like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), options and more.
Level Four Advisory Services Fees
The fee schedules at Level Four Advisory Services are dependent on the type of services that you’re using. For example, if you want a personalized financial plan, you will need to pay either an hourly or fixed fee. The firm does not release specific rates for the fixed fee, but the hourly fee will generally be beneath $300 an hour. Financial plan consulting services follow a similar structure, but they come with a full year of unlimited office meetings and phone calls.
The asset management fees below operate on a sliding scale, with the complexity of your services determining the exact rate that you’re given. Although these fees are shown in annual percentages, you’ll need to pay them quarterly, in advance.
|Asset Management Fees|
|Program Name||Maximum Annual Fee|
|Wealth Management Program||2.50%|
|Unified Managed Account Program||0.30% - 2.50%|
|Participant Asset Management Program||1.25%|
|Digital Advice Program||0.75%|
One of three fee types is afforded to clients who utilize Level Four’s retirement plan services: a one-time fixed fee, an annual fixed fee or a percentage fee. Unfortunately the firm has not made visible what your fixed fees could look like. Its Form ADV does specify, though, that “at no time will (the firm) require payment of more than $1,200 in fees and more than six months in advance.” On the other hand, the percentage fee is capped at 2.50% annually.
Clients who choose to take advantage of the LPL Financial Sponsored Advisory Programs are subject to an entirely different fee schedule. These rates are divvied up by the program you’re enrolled in, and they go as follows:
|Fees for LPL Financial Sponsored Advisory Programs|
|Program Name||Maximum Annual Fee|
|Manager Access Select and Manager Access Network||3.00%|
|Model Wealth Portfolios||2.83%|
|Optimum Market Portfolios||2.50%|
|Personal Wealth Portfolios||2.50%|
|Guided Wealth Portfolios||1.35%|
|*Estimated investment management fees do not include brokerage, custodial, third-party manager or other fees, which can vary in amount. Fees above represent estimated maximum amounts for Wealth Management Program.|
|Estimated Investment Management Fees at Level Four Advisory Services*|
|Your Assets||Level Four Advisory Services Fee Amount|
According to a 2018 study of 1,500 firms by RIA in a Box, the average financial advisor's investment advisory fee is 0.95% of AUM.
Level Four Advisory Awards and Recognition
Within the past four years, Level Four Advisory Services has earned a spot on Financial Times' 300 Top Registered Investment Advisors list multiple times. In 2018, the firm was also recognized on Accounting Today's list of CPA wealth management firms with more than $1 billion in assets under management (AUM). Most recently, in June 2020, the firm placed 12th out of 150 firms on Accounting Today's Top Firms by Assets Under Management.
What to Watch Out For
According to its SEC-filed Form ADV, Level Four Advisory Services has a clean legal and regulatory record. Level Four Advisory Services is a fee-only firm, meaning it makes all of its money solely from the fees it charges clients. However, some of the firm’s employees are licensed insurance agents and registered representatives of broker-dealers.
These titles indicate that the aforementioned advisors have the potential to earn additional compensation from the sale of insurance products and certain securities, respectively. Despite all of this, Level Four Advisory Services and its advisors are registered fiduciaries, so they are legally bound to act in your best financial interests at all times.
Opening an Account With Level Four Advisory Services
The most direct ways to become a client of Level Four Advisory Services is either to stop by or call one of the firm’s locations in the state nearest you. If you visit Level Four’s website, though, you will also find a directory featuring the contact information for each of the firm’s advisors, along with two forms that ask for your information so an advisor can reach out to you.
Tips to Improve Your Portfolio
- Finding the right financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors, get started now.
- Risk tolerance can sometimes come across as an abstract idea that might not seem to have much real world relevance. By contrast, this couldn’t be any more important to the overall health of your investments. This is because risk tolerance dictates what your asset allocation will be. For help figuring this out, take a look at SmartAsset’s asset allocation calculator.
All information is accurate as of the writing of this article.