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Summit Financial LLC Review - SmartAsset

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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.

Summit Financial, LLC

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 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 75.2% by Summit Financial Services, LLC, which is 33.2% owned by Stanley Gregor and 46.8% owned by Summit Equities (which no longer has its own advisory business but still exists as a corporate entity).

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

Non-high-net-worth individuals make up the bulk of Summit’s business, but it also manages assets for high-net-worth individuals. Institutional clients at Summit include pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and corporations. 

The minimum account size at Summit depends on the program you use. Managed portfolio minimums can range between $25,000 and $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 $250,000 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, 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 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 styles 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. The maximum annual fee for the programs is 1.5%.

What to Watch Out For

There are a couple of disclosures reported on Summit's ADV form.

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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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