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Ritholtz Wealth Management Review

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Ritholtz Wealth Management

Ritholtz Wealth Management is a relatively recently founded firm, as it’s only been in business since 2013. Since its founding, the registered investment advisory firm has grown to manage more than $708 million in assets and it’s made headlines for its innovative move to lower fees for clients once they've been with the firm for at least three years.

The fee-only firm, which is headquartered in New York City, offers asset allocation, wealth management, corporate retirement plans and institutional wealth management. It provides both traditional asset management services through its team of financial advisors, as well as a robo-advisor program called Liftoff.

Ritholtz works with individuals and high-net-worth individuals, trusts, estates, charitable organizations, pension and profit-sharing plans. It generally requires a minimum balance of $750,000 for its comprehensive portfolio management services.

Ritholtz Wealth Management Background

Ritholtz Wealth Management was founded in 2013 and currently manages more than $708 million in client assets. According to Ritholtz, its mission is to help its clients achieve their financial goals through comprehensive financial and estate plans and goals-based investment planning. The firm is employee-owned, with chairman and chief investment officer Barry Ritholtz owning the largest percentage. CEO Josh Brown, director of wealth management Kris Venne and director of research Michael Batnick also own shares.

Ritholtz founder Barry Ritholtz's presence in the financial industry extends beyond his firm. He is also the creator and host of Bloomberg radio podcast "Masters in Business,” and the author of leading financial blog, “The Big Picture.” Additionally, he currently writes a daily column for Bloomberg View and previously penned a monthly column on personal finance and investing for The Washington Post. In 2009, Ritholtz published a book titled “Bailout Nation,” which was named one of the best finance books of the year by several organizations.

What Types of Clients Does Ritholtz Accept?

Ritholtz works with individuals and high-net-worth individuals, trusts, estates, charitable organizations, pension and profit-sharing plans. Clients interested in the firm’s comprehensive portfolio management services will need to have a minimum account size of $750,000. However, this minimum is negotiable for legacy clients and for individuals who expect to soon exceed this minimum.

Ritholtz Minimum Account Sizes

Ritholtz requires a minimum balance of $750,000 for its comprehensive portfolio management services. However, the firm may group together certain client accounts to achieve this requisite minimum. Additionally, Ritholtz notes that this minimum may be negotiable for legacy clients or for individuals who expect to soon exceed the minimum.

Services Offered by Ritholtz

Ritholtz Wealth Management provides a number of services to individuals and institutions:

  • Wealth management:
    • Financial planning
    • Asset management
    • Wealth services (estate planning, life insurance, asset-backed lending, corporate retirement plans)
    • Investment advice
  • Corporate retirement plans
  • 403(b)
  • Institutional asset management

The firm also has a robo-advisor option called Liftoff. For Liftoff clients, Ritholtz creates diversified model portfolios based on their goals and risk tolerance. These portfolios generally consist of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds, as well as other similar index funds, stocks or investment products.

Investment Philosophy

Ritholtz Wealth Management's top priorities are capital preservation and risk management. The firm uses behavioral economics and asset allocation to build and manage its client portfolios. Though Ritholtz believes that long-term returns are what truly matters, it understands that investors will have short-term needs. To balance the two, Ritholtz says it's developed a "proprietary, low-cost, systematic risk management strategy to ensure that investors can handle periodic volatility without abandoning their investment plan."

The firm believes that financial planning and wealth management should be intertwined, and it makes investment recommendations based on clients’ goals determined throughout the financial planning process. The firm offers a few different types of discretionary portfolio models, of which there may be multiple versions:

  • Core asset allocation: uses institutional share class mutual funds and ETFs
  • Tactical model portfolio: often used to complement asset allocation models
  • Separately managed accounts: may use all-equity or all fixed-income strategies

Fees Under Ritholtz Wealth Management

As mentioned previously, one of Ritholtz Wealth Management’s big selling points is that it offers a loyalty program called Milestone Rewards, which is available for clients of its comprehensive portfolio management program who have maintained an account with Ritholtz for at least three years. Clients who are in the loyalty program will get an average fee discount of 16% across all investment accounts. This discount becomes effective the month clients reach the three-year mark.

For its comprehensive portfolio services, the firm generally charges clients based on a percentage of their assets under management. The rates in the table below are the highest clients will receive, as these fees are negotiable.

Comprehensive Portfolio Management Fee Schedule
Assets Under Management Maximum Annual Fee Rate
$750,000 - $1,999,999 1.25%
$2,000,000 - $2,999,999 1.00%
$3,000,000 - $4,999,999 0.75%
$5,000,000 - $9,999,999 0.60%
$10,000,000 - $20,000,000 0.50%
Over $20,000,000 0.35%

The firm charges different fee rates for its robo-advisor service Liftoff and its retirement plan consulting. For Liftoff, the firm may charge clients up to 0.40% of their assets under management. For retirement plan consulting, plan participants are annually charged 0.0016% to 0.0085% of assets in the plan. Plan sponsors, on the other hand, are charged a flat fee that ranges from $3,000 to $25,000 per calendar quarter.

Here’s how Ritholtz’s portfolio management fees compare to its competitors. Note that these fees are estimates based on the firm's maximum rates, and exact fees may vary depending on certain factors.

Estimated Fee Comparison*
Your Assets Ritholtz Comprehensive Portfolio Management Fees National Median Advisory Fees**
$500K n/a (below required minimum) $5,000
$1MM $12,500 $8,500 - $10,000
$5MM $30,000 $25,000 - $32,500
$10MM $50,000 $50,000
*Fee estimates only consider the maximum base fees for the services each firm provides. You may also pay manager fees and other fees, which can vary in amount. **All figures are based on median fee levels according to Bob Veres' 2017 Planning Profession Fee Survey. The above estimates solely take into account AUM-only fees. Total costs will likely be higher due to additional expenses.

Ritholtz Wealth Management Awards and Recognition

For a relatively new firm, Ritholtz has received a few notable awards in the last year. In 2017, Financial Times named Ritholtz Wealth Management one of the top 300 registered investment advisors in the U.S. Additionally, the firm was named Best ETF Advisor in 2017 by ETF.com, an award that recognizes firms that are using ETFs to build high-quality portfolios. Financial Advisor has also dubbed the firm the fourth-fastest-growing registered investment advisory firm in the nation.

What to Watch Out For

Prospective clients should be aware that Ritholtz's director of wealth management, Kris Venne, and two investment advisor representatives, Brian Rosen and Jonathan Novy, founded an insurance agency, RWM Insurance Services. They sell insurance products to clients of the firm on a commission basis, which could be useful for clients who need insurance solutions. Although this could create a potential conflict of interest, the firm is bound by fiduciary duty, meaning it must always act in clients' best interests.

One other thing to note is that Ritholtz has a higher account minimum for its comprehensive portfolio management services than many its competitors, making the Ritholtz program out of reach for investors with less than $750,000. For comparison, Fisher Investments generally requires a $500,000 account minimum, though it also offers a Wealthbuilder account with a much lower minimum of $250,000. However, Ritholtz's fees for accounts over $5 million are lower than Fisher Investments’, and Ritholtz also offers a fee discount to clients of more than three years.

Aside from those two caveats, there isn’t much else to watch out for with Ritholtz Wealth Management. The firm notably does not have any disclosures.

Disclosures

Ritholtz Wealth Management does not have any disclosures.

Opening an Account With Ritholtz Wealth Management

Ritholtz makes it easy to get in touch. You can reach out via its phone number listed on its website or its informational email address, info@ritholtzwealth.com. Perhaps the most targeted way to strike up a client relationship with Ritholtz, however, is by clicking the bright green “Reach Out” button in the right hand corner of its website. Once you click, you'll be asked to answer a short series of questions, including your email address, first and last name, phone number, zip code, range of investable assets, any other information you'd like the firm to know before contacting you and how you heard about the firm.

For clients who use the firm's comprehensive portfolio management service, Ritholtz will begin the process with at least one meeting, ideally in person. The advisor and client will discuss the client's current financial situation, goals and risk tolerance. The firm may then propose a plan, which the client has the option of whether to accept.

Where Is Ritholtz Located?

Ritholtz’s main office is located in midtown New York City, right near Bryant Park. It has additional offices in Chicago; Newport Beach, California; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Portland, Oregon; Stony Brook, New York and Fort Myers, Florida.

Tips for Choosing a Financial Advisor

  • 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.  
  • Consider financial advisors' certifications, which can be indicative of an advisor's area of expertise and level of experience. For example, if you want some help with life insurance or estate planning, a chartered life underwriter (CLU) might be a good fit. If you're concerned about tax planning, consider a certified public accountant (CPA).

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.

Least
Most
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