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 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-based 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 $1 million for its comprehensive portfolio management services.
Ritholtz Wealth Management Background
Ritholtz Wealth Management was founded in 2013. 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.
Ritholtz Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes
Ritholtz works with individuals and high-net-worth individuals, trusts, estates, charitable organizations, pension and profit-sharing plans.
Ritholtz requires a minimum balance of $1 million 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
- 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.
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|
|$1,000,000 - $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%|
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 0.50% of their assets under management. For retirement plan consulting, plan participants are annually charged up to 1.00% of assets in the plan.
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|
|*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.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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