Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation (LFA) is an investment advisor firm that also acts as a broker-dealer. Sometimes marketed as SageMark Consulting, the firm offers a variety of financial services and products. Headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the fee-based company has a network of more than 1,100 investment advisors who currently oversee more than $26+ billion in assets.
The vast majority of this firm's client base is comprised of individuals with less than a high net worth. Therefore it should come as no surprise that the firm specializes in individualized investment management and custom financial planning.
Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation Background
Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation kicked off its operations in 1968, before becoming a registered investment advisor (RIA) in 1992. Today, it’s wholly owned by The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company, which is, in turn, owned by Lincoln National Corporation, which is a Fortune 250 company and trades on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker symbol LNC.
LFA refers to its advisors as investment advisor representatives (IARs) and, as noted earlier, sometimes uses the name Sagemark Consulting.
Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes
Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation works with non-high-net-worth individuals, high-net-worth individuals, pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations, corporations and other businesses and community properties.
Minimum account requirements at this firm vary depending on the type of service you choose. However, they typically range from $25,000 to $100,000. Financial planning services do not require a minimum, though.
Services Offered by Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation
Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation offers financial planning services, as well as various types of investment advisory programs. With a brokerage account, for example, an advisor, as your broker, can provide investment recommendations. You pay a transaction-based fee such as a sales load when purchasing shares of a mutual fund. This type of service may suit you if you prefer a hands-on-approach to investing with advice when you want it.
On the other hand, you can opt for a separately managed account (SMA). In this case, the advisor tailors your portfolio to your individual needs and risk tolerance. The advisor would take control of the account and monitor it continuously while making adjustments when needed. This program typically involves an asset-based fee for ongoing investment management services - along with other expenses such as transaction and custodial costs. Alternately, you could enroll in a wrap-fee program, where there's one all-inclusive fee that covers the advisory fee, brokerage fees and other expenses.
In addition, LFA offers access to model portfolios developed and managed by third-party investment advisors. Each model portfolio is designed to reflect a different risk tolerance level.
Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation Investment Philosophy
Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation and their affiliates work together to develop investment strategies appropriate to the risk tolerance and financial goals of each client. Your portfolio may invest in mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), individual securities like stocks and bonds and even alternative investments.
Advisors evaluate securities based on publicly available market research. They may also utilize fundamental, technical and charting methods of analysis.
Fees Under Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation
Management fees at Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation vary widely based on the program you’re enrolled in. Generally speaking, they are a percentage of your assets under management (AUM), though. Because some programs involve other entities including LFA's affiliates, advisory fees may not fully go to Lincoln Financial Advisors in all cases.
Below is the maximum fee rates for the firm's various services and programs. To help you compare, a 2018 study by RIA in a Box found the average annual advisory fee is 0.95% of AUM.
|Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation Fees|
|Program Name||Fee rates|
|Premier Plus Program|| |
|Premier Strategist Program|| |
|Premier SMA Program|| |
|Premier Manager (Mutual Fund) Program|| |
|Personal Financial Planning|| |
Unless you're enrolled in a wrap-fee program, your advisory fee generally won't include other expenses such as transaction and custodial costs. Keep in mind that these fees are subject to change at any time. You should carefully review fees in agreement documents you sign with the firm and any third-party advisors.
What to Watch Out For
Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation has multiple disclosures listed on its SEC-filed Form ADV. The firm’s Form ADV also notes that Lincoln Financial Advisors or an affiliate was charged with a misdemeanor within the past 10 years. In its brochure, the firm listed the following matter as material to a potential client’s evaluation of the firm’s business:
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) claimed that between 2007 and 2009, Lincoln Financial Advisors failed to protect customer information adequately in the firm’s client portfolio management system and allowed certain employees to access its web-based customer account system by using shared log-on credentials without establishing proper procedures and without monitoring who had access to the common login credentials. As a result, the firm was fined $150,000 for the violation, which was paid in full on February 23, 2011.
Also, Lincoln Financial Advisors is a registered broker-dealer as well as an investment advisor. These dual roles can present a potential conflict of interest, as the firm may receive additional compensation. Despite this, the firm abides by fiduciary duty, legally binding it to act in clients' best interests at all times.
Opening an Account With Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation
To work with an advisor at Lincoln Financial, simply call the firm at (800) 237-3813. You can also visit the firm's website to find advisors in your area.
All information is accurate as of the writing of this article.
Tips for Finding the Right Financial Advisor
- If you think you haven't found the right advisor yet, try SmartAsset's free and interactive financial advisor matching tool. It can connect you with up to three advisors in your area.
- Ask prospective advisors about their formal training. Believe or not, but you don’t actually need any to be a financial advisor. So those who have gone to the trouble of earning professional credentials will have that much more preparation - and probably a speciality.