Synovus Securities, Inc. (SSI) is a financial advisor firm that's based out of Columbus, Georgia. The firm is the investment management division of Synovus Bank, which has been serving the American Southeast for more than 100 years. The vast majority of the firm's client base consists of individuals, retirement plans and other institutions.
As a fee-based firm, certain advisors on SSI's advisory staff can earn commissions when they sell specific securities. These commissions are in addition to the typical advisory fees that the firm charges. A fee-only firm works differently, as they only receive client-paid fees as compensation.
Synovus Securities Background
Synovus Securities can trace its origins back to the 19th century, when Synovus Bank was founded. The firm is a wholly owned subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp., which is a publicly-traded corporation.
Today, Synovus Securities has multiple branches throughout Georgia, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Synovus Securities Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes
Synovus Securities works with non-high-net-worth individuals, high-net-worth individuals, pension plans, charitable organizations and corporations. The firm is also known to manage assets for banks, trusts and estates.
Synovus frequently allocates client assets to external money managers or sub-advisors, and these third parties may impose a variety of minimum account requirements. As a consequence, the firm has no singular minimum account size.
Services Offered by Synovus Securities
Synovus Securities offers investment management services in a few different ways. First, the firm provides clients with conventional, risk-adjusted asset management, which includes financial goal-setting, asset allocation planning and regular portfolio monitoring.
Additionally, the firm offers the Synovus Investment Strategies Program (SIS). This is a series of management programs offered through an online platform that are operated by another registered investment advisor (RIA), Envestnet Asset Management, Inc. These programs include the Separately Managed Account Program, the Strategist Program, the Advisor Directed Program and the Unified Managed Account Program. The firm may decide to refer customers to external money managers, including one of the firm's affiliates, GLOBALT, which is another RIA.
Along with investment management, Synovus also provides clients with financial planning services, which can include retirement planning, estate planning, charitable gift planning, income tax planning, education funding and more.
Synovus Securities Investment Philosophy
Most of Synovus Securities' advisory services come in the form of recommending third-party money managers and model portfolios. As such, the firm's investment philosophy is focused much more on selecting these managers and portfolios rather than choosing individual securities.
When analyzing potential managers, the firm's advisors look at their past performance, investing style, compliance, portfolio management tendencies and other factors. Synovus also relies on the proprietary research of Envestnet when formulating recommendations of third-party managers.
Fees Under Synovus Securities
For investment management services at Synovus Securities, clients will pay a fee that's based on a percentage of their assets under management (AUM). A portion of this fee will go to Synovus, with the rest being divided between the client's sub-advisor and Envestnet, a third-party firm that provides Synovus with a number of services. The total rate clients will pay ranges from less than 1% to around 2.50%, though these charges vary considerably depending on your investment program, sub-advisor and other factors.
Financial planning clients of Synovus will be subject to a fixed or hourly fee. Fixed fees begin at around $1,500, while hourly fees can fall somewhere between $150 and $300 per hour. The difficulty of the services you need will dictate where you fall within these ranges.
What to Watch Out For
Synovus Securities is a fee-based firm, meaning that some members of its advisory staff can earn commissions from overseeing certain securities transactions. While this represents a potential conflict of interest, the firm is still bound by fiduciary duty. As a result, all of its advisors are required by law to always act in the best interests of clients.
Synovus Securities has nine disclosures listed on its Form ADV. These relate to multiple incidents, including one from 1998, when the firm was fined by a number of different states for conducting brokerage business prior to the receipt of proper registration. In another disclosure, the firm was alleged to have "failed to establish, maintain and enforce adequate written supervisory procedures reasonably designed with a view towards preventing conversion or misuse of funds." In many cases, Synovus was fined for these various violations.
Opening an Account With Synovus Securities
If you’re looking to speak with an advisor at Synovus Securities, you can pick up the phone and call (800) 332-3403. You can also visit the firm’s website to find an advisor or a local branch near you.
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