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Modera Wealth Management 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.

Modera Wealth Management is a fee-only wealth management firm that’s headquartered in Westwood, New Jersey and has offices throughout the country. The firm has billions in assets under management and a relatively large number of financial advisors on staff.

Modera has no set requirements regarding minimum account size, but it does charge minimum quarterly fees. The firm advises both individuals and high-net-worth individuals, plus a number of institutional clients including a pooled investment vehicles, pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and other corporations.

Modera Wealth Management Background

Modera Wealth Management was formed in 2011 as the result of the merger between Black Bay Financial Group and Modera Capital. Black Bay had been in business since 1997 and Modera Capital had been in business since 1983. 

The firm has grown significantly since its creation. In 2014, Modera Wealth Management merged with Joseph Capital Management, which had been in business since 2001. In 2016, the company purchased Graf Financial advisors, and in 2017 the firm merged again with Southern Wealth Management. 

The firm is owned by Modera Capital, which is owned by various principals and employees of the company.

Modera Wealth Management Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes

Modera Wealth Management serves both individuals and high-net-worth individuals. It doesn’t require a set minimum investment to start an account, so it might be a good choice for some newer, lower-level investors. However, the firm does charge a minimum quarterly fee, so you should make sure what you’re paying in fees makes sense based on how much you are investing. 

No minimum initial investment is required to start an account at Modera, but there is a minimum quarterly fee. The firm charges a minimum fee of $5,000 per quarter for wealth management services, $4,000 per quarter for portfolio management services and $1,375 per quarter for retirement plan consulting.

Services Offered by Modera Wealth Management

Services offered by Modera Wealth Management include:

  • Tax services
  • Retirement planning
  • Cash flow and savings analysis
  • Risk management
  • Retirement plan management
  • Insurance review
  • Disability planning
  • College funding
  • Intergenerational wealth transfer strategies
  • Charitable giving
  • Portfolio management
  • Standalone financial planning and consulting

Modera Wealth Management Investment Philosophy 

Modera Wealth Management creates an individualized plan for each of its clients. The firm notes that just as no two people are alike, neither are any two financial plans. The firm takes a long-term approach when developing a plan so that clients can be taken care of not just in the present but also in the future. 

Investments offered by the firm generally include mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, individual debt securities, bonds and stocks. Stock investments are grouped based on size, valuation and domicile. Bond asset classes are grouped based on maturity length, credit quality, issuer type and domicile. 

Diversification and risk management are key parts of the firm’s strategy. It places an emphasis on downside protection and on achieving the desired rate of return without adding unneeded volatility.

Fees Under Modera Wealth Management

Notably, Modera Wealth Management is a fee-only firm, which means it only earns money from the fees that its clients pay, not through commissions or from selling products. The firm charges clients for its investment advisory services based on a percentage of assets under management. Fees are paid quarterly. The annual fee ranges from 0.15% to 1.00% for wealth management services and 0.10% to 0.80% for portfolio management services. A minimum fee of $5,000 is required for wealth management services. The minimum fee for portfolio management services is $4,000.

For financial planning and consulting services, the firm charges either a fixed fee or an hourly fee. Hourly fees typically range from $200 to $400 an hour. Exact rates depend on the services provided, though the minimum fee is generally $2,000. Modera may offer a full or partial discount to clients who use the firm's wealth management or portfolio management services.

Modera charges an annual fixed fee for investment consulting/investment monitoring services, which ranges from $7,000 to $50,000 a year. These fees can also cover financial planning services.

The chart below compares fees at Modera Wealth Management to those of other firms. These fee estimates are based on the maximum 1.00% fees for the firm’s wealth management services. 

Estimated Fee Comparison*
Your Assets Modera Wealth Management
$500K $5,000
$1MM $10,000
$5MM $50,000
$10MM $100,000
*Estimated investment management fees do not include brokerage, custodial, third-party manager or other fees, which can vary in amount.

Learn more about advisors' typical costs here.

What to Watch Out For

Modera Wealth Management is a relatively small company. Unlike some wealth management firms, it is not connected to a major bank or global financial institution. This means the firm doesn’t have the connections to other financial services that some managers have. If, for instance, you want to do commercial banking at the same company from which you get your wealth management services, know that Modera won’t be able to provide that.

According to the firm's latest SEC filings, there is no disclosure on record for Modera Wealth Management from the past 10 years.

Opening an Account With Modera Wealth Management

To talk to an advisor from Modera, you can fill out a form on the company’s website. The form requires you to answer basic questions about your identity and location. A box is also provided where you can state if you are interested in wealth management, financial planning or something else. There is also an option to write a message to the firm about who you are and what you are looking for in a potential financial advisor relationship.

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

Financial Planning Tips

  • Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs 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 free introductory calls 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.
  • As you’re chipping away at getting retirement ready, it can be helpful to know how you’ll need to save to retire comfortably. You can use SmartAsset’s retirement calculator to estimate your necessary savings based on a number of factors, such as your location and retirement age. 
  • Interested in contributing to a Roth IRA but earning more than the income threshold? A backdoor IRA may be a useful tool for your situation.

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