Until recently, Summit Financial, LLC was both an investment advisor and broker-dealer, but the firm has transitioned its brokerage business, de-registered and withdrew its memberships in the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). Some representatives at the firm, though, are associated with an unaffiliated broker-dealer, Purshe Kaplan Sterling Investments.
Summit Financial now solely operates as a fee-based firm located in Parsippany, New Jersey. It manages more than $3.4 billion for clients.
Summit offers a number of services to clients, including asset management, financial planning, consulting, managed portfolios, retirement plan advisory services, estate planning, portfolio analysis, retirement planning, education planning and insurance planning.
Summit Financial Background
Summit was founded in 2018 as the successor business to the advisory branch of Summit Equities, Inc. Summit Financial Holdings, LLC owns the firm. That company, in turn, is owned 80.1% by Summit Financial Services, LLC, which is 25% owned by Stanley Gregor, 52.5% owned by Summit Equities (which no longer as its own advisory business but still exists as a corporate entity) and 22.5% by Summit Risk Management, Inc.
As noted above, until recently Summit Equities also had a broker-dealer business, but it recently de-registered.
Summit Financial Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes
Individual clients are the bulk of Summit’s business, with around 80% of the clients not being classified as high-net-worth. There are also institutional clients at Summit, including pension and profit sharing plans, charitable organizations and corporations.
The minimum account size at Summit depends on the program you use. For TDS Managed Portfolios, the minimum is $100,000. There is no minimum for the Strategic Asset Allocation program or for flexible managed accounts. For third party managers, the minimum account size varies from $25,000 to $1 million.
Services Offered by Summit Financial
A number of services are available at Summit. These include:
- Managed portfolios. These are custom designed portfolios managed by the investment committee at the firm. This is traditional wealth management with a portfolio designed for your specific financial situation. Summit takes discretionary control of the assets, meaning they can act without explicit consent from the client.
- Strategic asset allocation. An advisor creates a portfolio for the client. The firm does not have discretionary control, so the client must greenlight every trade.
- Flexible managed accounts. Similar to strategic asset allocation, but the firm does take discretionary control over the assets.
- Third party managers. The firm will recommend a third-party investment advisor from outside the firm to manage the assets.
- SEI mutual fund portfolios. This program lets advisors design mutual fund portfolios for clients, using actively managed SEI mutual fund asset allocation portfolios.
- Outside investment monitoring. This allows Summit advisors to oversee assets managed by other advisors or with brokers.
- Retirement plan advisory services. Advising group retirement plans.
- Financial planning, including estate planning, insurance planning, education planning, retirement planning, business succession planning and portfolio analysis.
Summit Financial Investment Philosophy
The investment philosophy at Summit depends on which program you use. For managed portfolios and some third party managers, advisors look for funds with clearly defined investment style and management processes.
The following investments may be used across the board by advisors at Summit:
- Exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
- Active strategies, including mutual funds
- Master limited partnerships
- Real estate investment trusts (REITs)
- Alternative funds of funds
- Individual stocks and bonds
Summit Financial Fees
Each advisor at Summit sets his or her own fees, based on the services performed and the complexity of the account. There are maximum annual fees for each program, though:
- Summit Managed Portfolios: 1.00%
- Strategic Asset Allocation: 1.50%
- Flexible Managed Accounts: 1.50%
- SEI Platform Managers: 1.50%
- Envestnet Platform Managers: 1.50%
- AssetMark/Genworth: 1.35%
- Other third-party managers: 1.00%
- Outside Investment Monitoring: 1.00%
- SEI Mutual Fund Accounts: 1.50%
- Retirement Plan Advisory Services: 0.60%
|*Estimated investment management fees do not include brokerage, custodial, third-party manager or other fees, which can vary in amount. Fee amounts are based on rate for Summit Managed Portfolios.|
|Estimated Investment Management Fees at Summit Financial*|
|Your Assets||Summit Financial Fee Amount|
What to Watch Out For
There are disciplinary disclosures on the record of Summit in the past 10 years, including:
- Violation of investment-related regulations or statutes
- Order from regulatory agency against the firm in connection to an investment related activity
- Violation of a self-regulatory organization’s rules
Many of the advisors on staff are also registered broker-dealers and insurance agents. This means they can earn commissions for selling securities, insurance and other financial products to clients. This is a conflict of interest, as the advisor has a financial incentive to sell you products that earn higher commissions, even if it is not the best product for you. When acting as an advisor, the representative must act in the best interest of the client, but the standard is different when acting as an insurance agent or a broker-dealer.
Opening an Account With Summit Financial
If you want to open an account with Summit, you can contact the firm with the form on this page. You can also call the office at 973-285-3600.
All information is accurate as of the writing of this article.
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