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Stifel, Nicolaus & Company Review

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Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated

Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated

Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated calls St. Louis, Missouri home, but it has a total of 390 offices across 45 states. The firm employs more than 3,600 financial advisors throughout these branches and has around $71.5 billion in assets under management (AUM). This qualifies it as one of the largest firms in America, in terms of both the size of its advisory team and AUM. 

The fee-based firm has continued to grow due its purchases of existing firms, including Barclays Wealth and Investment Management. Stifel currently manages 122,000 client accounts, the vast majority of which are held by individuals and high-net-worth individuals. The firm’s advisors each work with an average of 34 clients. 

Stifel, Nicolaus & Company Background

Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated can trace its roots all the way back to 1890, when it was called Altheimer and Rawlings Investment Co. But after Herman Stifel and Henry Nicolaus joined the firm around the turn of the 20th century, it was rebranded as Stifel Investment Company, and eventually became Stifel, Nicolaus Investment Company. Since that time, it has merged with numerous companies, and it is now traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

With such a large group of advisors at its disposal, this firm’s team boasts a number of certifications and specialties. The team includes accredited investment fiduciaries (AIF), certified financial planners (CFP), chartered financial analysts (CFA), accredited portfolio management advisors (APMA), certified divorce financial analysts (CDFA), accredited asset management specialists (AAMS), chartered retirement plans specialists (CRPS), certified investment management analysts (CIMA), chartered financial consultants (ChFC), chartered life underwriters (CLU) and more.

What Types of Clients Does Stifel, Nicolaus & Company Accept?

Likely because of the sheer size of its advisory team, Stifel, Nicolaus & Company works with a number of different client types. It serves individuals, corporations and other businesses, pension and profit-sharing plans, institutions, estates, trusts, employee benefit plans, charitable organizations, educational institutions and banks.

Stifel, Nicolaus & Company Minimum Account Sizes

Stifel, Nicolaus & Company offers a number of different services, portfolio strategies and investment programs that you can take advantage of as a client. Note that the firm has different minimum investment requirements for its various programs and services though:

  • Advisory consulting services
    • Vantage Program: $50,000
    • Morningstar® Managed Portfolios Program: $40,000 - $1,000,000
    • Summit Program: $1,000,000
  • Advisory select programs
    • Select managers: $15,000 - $50,000
    • Select advisors: $25,000
    • Select APM Program: $25,000
    • Select institutional consulting: no set amount
  • Wrap fee advisory programs
    • Score program: $25,000 - $200,000
    • Opportunity and IMC Programs: $100,000
    • Spectrum and Custom Advisory Portfolio Programs: $50,000
    • Solutions and Horizon Programs: $25,000
    • Fundamentals Program: $5,000 - $100,000
    • Connect Program: $100,000

Services Offered By Stifel, Nicolaus & Company

Stifel, Nicolaus & Company provides an impressive number of advisory and management services to its clients. Just be sure to select an advisor within the firm’s network who can provide the service you need. The firm’s offerings include:

  • Financial planning
  • Wealth planning
  • Estate planning
  • Retirement planning
    • Disability, life and long-term care insurance analysis
    • Annuity review
    • Social Security planning
  • Tax management and mitigation
  • Cash management
  • Investment banking
  • Financial consulting services
  • Corporate executive services
  • ETF recommendations
  • Education cost planning
  • Bond underwriting for public entities
  • Proprietary stock-picking research

Stifel, Nicolaus & Company Investment Philosophy

Because Stifel, Nicolaus & Company has such a wide range of services and programs, it adheres to a very general long-term investment ideology. This includes the widespread use of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds and fixed-income securities in its client portfolios. 

In an attempt to standardize its client experience, Stifel uses a similar process when interacting with new and existing account holders. This process begins with a face-to-face meeting to determine your ultimate financial goals and when you want to reach them by. You will also need to present a full picture of your current financial situation so your advisor has something on which to base your plan. Once all applicable information has been communicated, your risk tolerance, liquidity needs and an investment plan will be ironed out.

After that, your plan will be enacted and your money invested in specific areas of the market. From there on out, the firm will regularly monitor your account and rebalance as necessary.

Fees Under Stifel, Nicolaus & Company

Stifel, Nicolaus & Company’s fee schedule varies across the many different services and programs it offers, as show in the below table. For the Select Managers Program and Select  Funds Program, the firm charges both a wrap fee and a product fee, which covers certain portfolio or model management services and/or internal firm units to the portfolio.

Program Name Associated Fees
Summit Program 1.35% annual fee
Select Managers Program Up to 2.50% wrap fee, plus 0.05% - 0.85% product fee
Select Funds Program Up to 2.50% wrap fee, plus up to 0.50% product fee
Select Advisors Program Up to 2.50% wrap fee
Select APM Program Up to 2.50% wrap fee

In most instances, fees are charged to your account on a quarterly basis. That means that if you’re given an annual percentage rate, it will be split into four even charges over the year. The firm does not charge performance-based fees.

What to Watch Out For

Current and prospective clients should note that Stifel, Nicolaus & Company is a fee-based firm, meaning it earns compensation outside of the fees its clients pay. Some of Stifel’s advisors may earn commissions from the sale of specific securities and insurance policies, along with non-cash compensation. This can create potential conflicts of interest, as these advisors may be incentivized to sell these products.

However, Stifel, Nicolaus & Company is a fiduciary, meaning it is legally bound to act in your best interest at all times.


Stifel, Nicolaus & Company has some disclosures and legal issues to note. Most notably, in 2012, a few states filed a combined cease and desist order related to the firm’s mishandling of the sale of auction-rate securities (ARS) to clients. The order states that these investments were marketed under false pretenses from 2006 to 2008. The firm faced a fine of about $30,000 per state. It was also required to repurchase all of the securities that were sold under misleading circumstances.

Opening an Account With Stifel, Nicolaus & Company

There is an advisor directory on Stifel’s website that provides the contact information for advisors in its network. It provides both the advisor’s phone number and the address associated with the firm at which the advisor works. The firm also has a general line you can call for information at (314) 342-2000.

Where Is Stifel, Nicolaus & Company Located?

Stifel, Nicolaus & Company’s principal location is in St. Louis at 501 North Broadway. In total, the firm has branches in 45 states, including in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington D.C., Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Tips to Boost Your Retirement Income

  • 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.
  • Diversification is one of the hallmarks of successful portfolios in today’s market. To put this principle into action, simply make sure that your money isn’t invested too heavily in one area of the market or a single type of investment. Although some opportunities may look too good to pass up, allocating your assets across a wide range of asset classes and investment types can protect you in the event of a decline.

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