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Madison Investment Advisors Review

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Madison Investment Advisors, LLC

Madison Investment Advisors, LLC

Madison Investment Advisors is a financial advisor firm based in Madison, Wisconsin. It manages more than $10.5 billion in assets for a wide range of clients, including individuals (both with and without a high net worth), retirement plans, corporations and other institutional clients. The firm offers both investment management and financial planning services.

Madison Investment Advisors is a fee-only firm. That means it earns revenue solely from the advisory fees that its clients pay. This is in contrast to a fee-based firm, which may earn commissions for overseeing securities transactions or selling insurance products. By eschewing these commissions, fee-only firms avoid many conflicts of interests.

Madison Investment Advisors Background

Madison Investment Advisors was founded in 1974, and it’s a wholly-owned subsidiary of Madison Asset Management, LLC. Madison Asset Management is itself a subsidiary of holding company Madison Investment Holdings, Inc., which is owned by the firm’s employees. Frank Burgess is the principal owner and chairman of the firm’s board.

Madison employs 29 advisors, and it's a well-qualified group: All of them are chartered financial analysts (CFAs). Two of these advisors are also chartered alternative investment analysts (CAIAs).

What Types of Clients Does Madison Investment Advisors Accept?

Individuals make up by far the largest portion of Madison Investment Advisors’ client base. Of these individual clients, about 90% come in below the high-net-worth threshold. The firm also works with high-net-worth individuals, banks, pensions and other retirement plans, charitable organizations, government entities, investment advisors, insurance companies and businesses.

Madison Investment Advisors Minimum Account Sizes

Madison Investment Advisors generally imposes a minimum account size of $500,000 for equity accounts and $1 million for fixed-income accounts.

Services Offered by Madison Investment Advisors

Madison Investment Advisors provides three categories of portfolio management services:

  • Active bond management
  • Risk-managed equity management
  • Personalized balanced portfolios

As the names would indicate, the first two services focus exclusively on fixed-income and equity securities, respectively. The third option is for clients who are looking for a portfolio that encompasses both fixed-income securities and equities.

Additionally, the firm provides management via several wrap fee or model account programs that external brokers and firms sponsor.

Under cerain circumstances, the firm may provide financial planning services like retirement planning, risk management, asset allocation planning, insurance analysis and more.

Madison Investment Advisors Investment Philosophy

Madison Investment Advisors employs separate investment philosophies when analyzing fixed-income investments versus equity investments. For fixed-income, the firm takes an active, top-down approach, actively evaluating bond duration, yield curve positioning, a portfolio’s sector allocation and other factors.

When it comes to equities, the firm looks for high quality, consistent growth that the firm can acquire at reasonable prices. Madison employs a three-step approach to identify these companies:

  1. Evaluate the business model, looking for competitive advantages, high levels of profitability and stable earnings growth.
  2. Evaluate the management team, as well as their operational and capital allocation track records.
  3. Assessing the proper valuation of the company.

Madison generally invests in a combination of corporate bonds, municipal bonds, government bonds, common stocks, preferred stocks, government agency obligations, money market instruments and other investments as needed by clients.

Fees Under Madison Investment Advisors

Madison Investment Advisors charges a management fee that’s based on a percentage of your total assets under management (AUM). The exact rate you will be charged will vary depending on the type of account you open and the size of your account. Equity and balanced accounts follow the schedule below:

Equity/Balanced Account Management Fees
Account Size Annual Fee Rate
Up to $15MM 0.80%
Above $15MM 0.60%

Fixed-Income accounts adhere to a slightly different set of charges:

Fixed-Income Account Management Fees
Account Size Annual Fee Rate
Up to $5MM 0.50%
Above $5MM 0.40%

What to Watch Out For

With certain clients, Madison Investment Advisors may enter into a performance-based fee arrangement, in which the client pays a fee for portfolio performance that exceeds some agreed-upon benchmark. This type of fee arrangement creates the potential for a conflict of interest, as the firm may have an incentive to take risks and favor accounts for which it receives these fees.

The good news is that Madison Investment Advisors is a fiduciary. As such, it has a legal obligation to act in the best interests of its clients at all times.


Madison Investment Advisors doesn’t have any disclosures, which means its regulatory record is clean in the eyes of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Opening an Account With Madison Investment Advisors

If you’re interested in starting a relationship with Madison Investment Advisors, you can reach out in a couple of different ways. You can call the firm’s headquarters at (800) 767-0300, or you can visit the firm’s website and fill out a form with your name, contact info and a message.

Madison Investment Advisors, true to its name, is based out of Madison, Wisconsin on Science Drive, near where South Whitney Way intersects with Mineral Point Road. In addition to this location, the firm also has an office in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Tips for Finding a Financial Advisor

  • Planning out an investment portfolio for the first time can be a complicated process to undertake on your own. Luckily, finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs 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 that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • When searching for a financial advisor to work with, one of the most important things to pay attention to is whether or not the advisors you’re looking into abide by fiduciary duty. This is one of the most important qualifications an advisor can have, as fiduciaries are legally bound to act in clients’ best interests no matter what.

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