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SunTrust Private Wealth Management Review

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SunTrust Wealth Management

SunTrust Private Wealth Management, a division of SunTrust Bank that formally does business as SunTrust Advisory Services, Inc., is a financial advisor firm based in Atlanta, Georgia, that works with more than 40,000 clients. It has more than $19 billion in assets under management and more than 1,000 financial advisors on staff.

SunTrust has been assisting clients in the South for over a century. Today, the firm offers a range of financial services, including personal wealth management, 401(k) planning, retirement planning and investment management.

SunTrust Private Wealth Management Background

SunTrust Private Wealth Management is the wealth management division of SunTrust Bank, which has been a staple in the South for more than 130 years. The firm is registered with the SEC as SunTrust Advisory Services, Inc. With more than 1,000 advisors, the firm provides advisory and financial planning services to tens of thousands of clients.

While the overwhelming majority of its clients are individuals and high-net-worth individuals, SunTrust also provides services to charitable organizations, pensions and corporations. The firm is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, but it has advisors in nine states in the South and along the East Coast.

What Types of Clients Does SunTrust Private Wealth Management Accept?

SunTrust Private Wealth Management serves more than 40,000 clients, and these clients include individuals, high-net-worth individuals, pensions, profit-sharing plans, pooled investment vehicles, corporations, government entities and charitable organizations.

SunTrust Private Wealth Management Minimum Account Sizes

In general, SunTrust has a minimum account size of $100,000. However, SunTrust may waive this minimum at its sole discretion depending on the nature and complexity of your account.

Services Offered by SunTrust Private Wealth Management

SunTrust Private Wealth Management offers a range of services, which fall into three broad categories. Some services will naturally be more appropriate for some types of clients and less so for others. The firm offers the following services:

  • Investment consulting
    • Asset allocation and investment policy
    • Investment and reinvestment recommendations
    • Performance monitoring and evaluation
    • Cash flow analysis
    • Retirement income process analysis
  • Financial planning
  • AMC Advantage Program (discretionary asset management)

SunTrust Private Wealth Management Investment Philosophy

SunTrust Private Wealth Management advisors rely on diligent research when making investment recommendations to their clients. To do this, the firm uses financial newspapers and magazines, inspections of corporate activities, research material prepared by others, corporate rating services and annual reports, among other things.

The firm employs varying investing strategies depending on factors specific to the individual client. These factors could include risk tolerance, account size, financial goals and preferences. Across all clients, SunTrust emphasizes investing with a purpose, avoiding unnecessary risk and sticking to a disciplined strategy during periods of market turmoil.

Fees Under SunTrust Private Wealth Management

For investment consulting services, fees are charged quarterly in arrears and are generally based on the rates provided in this table:

Account Size Fee Rate
First $500,000 2.25%
Next $500,000 1.25%
Next $4,000,00 1.00%
Over $5,000,000 0.75%

Financial planning fees at SunTrust are negotiable and often depend on the scope and complexity of your plan. In general, though, fees range from $500 to $2,500, although they can be as high as $15,000. SunTrust Advisors don’t charge performance-based fees.

The below table shows how SunTrust Private Wealth Management's fees compare to the national median. Remember that these are only estimates and actual fees may vary.

Estimated Fee Comparison*
Your Assets Suntrust Private Wealth Management National Median Advisory Fees**
$500K $11,250 $5,000
$1MM $17,500 $8,500 - $10,000
$5MM $57,500 $25,000 - $32,500
$10MM $95,000 $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.

What to Watch Out For

Advisors at SunTrust receive partial compensation in the form of a percentage of the revenue that the firm’s investment programs (like the AMC Advantage program) make. This means that they have a financial incentive to recommend these programs over other securities and investment products. This incentive creates a potential conflict of interest.

SunTrust Bank employees who aren’t registered advisors are also incentivized to refer bank customers to SunTrust Wealth Management advisors because doing so will earn the employees a one-time referral bonus that isn’t contingent on whether those customers actually enter into a relationship with SunTrust Wealth Management. This can also be a conflict of interest since the bank employees will have more to consider than just if you could benefit from a wealth management advisor.

That said, SunTrust will disclose these conflicts and any others before entering into an advisory relationship with a client. Further, the firm is bound by fiduciary duty, which means it is legally bound to act in its clients’ best interest.

Disclosures

SunTrust Private Wealth Management has multiple disclosures, meaning that multiple advisory affiliates or representatives have been either charged with a felony or involved in the violation of investment-related regulations in the last 10 years. Specifically, representatives of SunTrust Private Wealth Management have failed to complete continuing education requirements, operated in a state without proper licensing in that state, failed to notify an employer of a regulatory inquiry and, in two cases, been charged with a felony (the charges were dropped in one case and dismissed in another).

Opening an Account With SunTrust Private Wealth Management

If you’re interested in working with SunTrust Private Wealth Management, you can get the ball rolling in a few different ways. You can visit the SunTrust website and click on the Open an Account button at the top of the home page. You can also speak to an advisor on the phone by calling the toll-free number (866) 495-5416. The easiest way to start the process, however, is probably to visit your nearest SunTrust bank in person for a face-to-face consultation.

Where is SunTrust Private Wealth Management Located?

SunTrust Wealth Management has locations in nine states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. The bank also has locations in Washington, D.C. Its headquarters are located in Atlanta, Georgia, on Peachtree Center Avenue between Baker Street and Ralph McGill Boulevard.

Tips for Finding 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.
  • If you find that you don’t have quite enough money to meet the account minimums of many traditional advisors, then you may be interested in a robo-advisor. Robo-advisors often have lower minimums and fees, while also helping you reach your investment and retirement goals.

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