Since 2003, The Ayco Company, L.P. has been a part of The Goldman Sachs Group, a publicly traded investment and financial holding company. Ayco is headquartered in Cohoes, New York, though its advisory services are also available through offices of affiliate Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC.
Ayco is an extremely large firm, as is evidenced by its staff of over 900 financial advisors. These advisors work to manage nearly $13 billion in assets under management (AUM), most of which belongs to individuals through institutional accounts. The company’s primary business is corporate employer-sponsored financial counseling, but it also offers investment management and family office services. Most of its advisors are also broker-dealer representatives and many are insurance agents, too.
The Ayco Company Background
The Ayco Company’s unusual name comes from combining the first two letters of the surnames of its founders, Bill Aydelotte and Jim Conway. Formed in 1971, the company originally offered corporate-sponsored financial counseling to executives, but it expanded to all employees a decade later. As mentioned earlier, Goldman Sachs became the primary owner of the firm in 2003.
As of its most recent SEC filings, the firm employs 1,357 people, of whom 916 are investment advisors, 974 are brokers and 535 are insurance agents.
The Ayco Company Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes
The Ayco Company works with both individual and institutional clients. Of the former category, about 80% do not have a high net worth. For discretionary portfolio management services, Ayco requires a minimum investment of $50,000 to $750,000, depending on the investment strategy. Financial counseling clients are not required to open an investment account.
The firm’s institutional clients include endowments, public charities, private foundations and other nonprofit organizations through Ayco Institutional Client Solutions, or Ayco ICS. For these clients, there is a $3 million investment minimum.
Services Offered by The Ayco Company
As noted earlier, The Ayco Company started as a provider of executive financial counseling, and that remains its primary business today. These services include coaching (typically provided as an employee benefit), planning (primarily delivered over the phone or on the web), counseling (typically provided to executives and high-net-worth individuals either directly or through a corporate partner), family office and Ayco Personal Advisor Service (APAS), which calls for $250,000 in investable assets.
Ayco also offers discretionary investment advisory and management services. These services are provided by one or more of investment professionals, portfolio management teams or the Ayco Trust Advisory Service (ATAS) investment committee. Accounts can be held either on the Fidelity platform or Ayco’s affiliate Goldman Sachs platform. Ayco may also recommend unaffiliated third-party money managers. Additionally, Ayco sponsors - but does not manage - a wrap fee program on the Fidelity platform, called Ayco Private Access Account Strategies.
The Ayco Company Investing Philosophy
Investing strategies at The Ayco Company depend on the investing professional. Generally, the ATAS investment committee may use strategic and tactical asset allocation models or securities recommendations from the Goldman Sachs Private Wealth Management Investment Strategy Group. However, other strategies and portfolio plans may be used.
Portfolio management teams at Ayco utilize various strategies that invest in specific asset classes. For example, these can include taxable fixed-income, municipal fixed-income, equities, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
Fees Under The Ayco Company
For financial counseling, the individual fee (as opposed to corporate fee) ranges between $2,000 and $100,000, depending on the type of services provided (coaching, planning, etc.) There may be a 15% surcharge for services provided by Ayco’s West Coast office. For family office services, there may be a minimum annual fee of $100,000 for new clients and a one-time integration fee that can be anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000. For financial counseling on an hourly basis, the rate ranges from $180 to $570 per hour.
For investment management services, the fee depends on the platform and strategy or manager. But generally, the fee is a percentage of client assets under management (AUM) and ranges from 0.18% to 1.65% on the Fidelity or Goldman Sachs platform. In addition to strategy-based investment advisory fees, clients pay execution charges, custody and administrative costs and underlying fund fees (if invested in mutual funds or ETFs).
What to Watch Out For
In its most recent SEC filings, The Ayco Company reported 13 disclosures. Three involved individual affiliates of the firm, while 10 involved affiliate The Goldman Sachs Group. Of these 10 actions, the allegation that carried the largest fine was brought by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and involved traders trying to manipulate the U.S. Dollar International Swaps and Derivatives Association Fix, a benchmark for interest rates, from 2007 to 2012. Goldman Sachs agreed to pay a civil monetary penalty of $120 million.
As Ayco points out in its materials, advisors providing financial counseling are not always acting as fiduciaries who must put client interests first. They must only provide suitable recommendations. Advisors who are providing investment guidance, though, are legally bound by their fiduciary duty.
Opening an Account with The Ayco Company
To become a client of The Ayco Company, try calling (518) 886-4000. You can also stop by the firm's Cohoes, New York headquarters or one of its office locations in:
- Atlanta, GA
- Canonsburg, PA
- Philadelphia, PA
- Cincinnati, OH
- Dallas, TX
- Houston, TX
- Deerfield, IL
- Chicago, IL
- Boston, MA
- Irvine, CA
- San Francisco, CA
- Washington, D.C.
- West Palm Beach, FL
- Latham, NY
- New York, NY
- Saratoga Springs, NY
- Minneapolis, MN
- Parsippany, NJ
- Troy, MI
- Seattle, WA
All information is accurate as of the writing of this article.
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