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United Capital Financial Advisers Review

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United Capital Financial Advisers, LLC

Headquartered in Newport Beach, California, United Capital Financial Advisers provides a national client base with wealth counseling and investment advisory services. It also supports its thousands of clients with a suite of technological tools and platforms designed to help them reach and maintain financial wellness. 

These advisors work out of 100 offices throughout the country. Together, they are responsible for more than $22 billion in assets under management (AUM). They also helped the firm land the No. 2 spot on Barron’s "2018 Top 40 Independent Advisory Firm" list. 

United Capital Financial Advisers Background

United Capital has been offering its services as a registered investment advisor (RIA) since 2005. Joe Duran, its founder, previously sold his firm, Centurian Capital, to General Electric. He currently leads an executive team that includes a chartered financial analyst (CFA) and a certified financial planner (CFP). 

Today, the principal owner of United Capital is The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. The firm also does business in the following names: 

  • United Capital Financial Life Management SM
  • United Capital Private Wealth Counseling SM
  • United Capital Retirement Advisers
  • FinLife Partners

United Capital Financial Advisers Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes

United Capital serves individuals, high-net-worth individuals, corporate pension and profit-sharing plans, corporations, government entities, charitable institutions, foundations, endowments and other investment advisors.

The firm generally works with clients who have at least $500,000 in household assets. The typical investment advisory account minimum is $100,000. However, United Capital may at its discretion reduce or waive these minimums. 

Services Offered by United Capital Financial Advisers

Advisors with United Capital may help people meet various financial goals including:

  • Cash flow management
  • Investment management recommendations for 401(k) and 403(b) plans
  • Retirement planning
  • Insurance needs analysis
  • Education planning through 529 plans
  • Estate planning
  • Tax planning (not including tax preparation and filing)
  • Divorce planning

The firm’s advisors can also design and continuously manage investment portfolios tailored to the client’s individual risk tolerance, tax situation and investment goals. With the InvestmentViewfinder platform, clients can visualize how their investment preferences may affect their portfolios.

In addition, the firm offers access to the following technological tools: 

  • MoneyMind Analyzer - helps clients understand behavioral finance to make better decisions
  • HonestConversations - guides clients through creating a set of priorities in order to make better financial decisions
  • FinancialControlScorecard - helps clients visualize whether they are on track to meet their financial goals

United Capital advisors also can provide clients with asset-allocation recommendations, net-worth summaries, portfolio snapshots and more. They regularly meet with clients to evaluate their financial plans and help them know if they are on the right track or need to make adjustments. 

United Capital Financial Advisers Investment Philosophy

United Capital generally believes in investing for the long term. However, it may implement short-term strategies if it deems them appropriate to help the client meet personal objectives. The firm prioritizes the following four points when making investment decisions: 

  • Performance - seek higher relative returns through full market cycles
  • Low-cost tracking - aim for closely matching benchmarks while keeping costs down
  • Protection - engage in strategies that can mitigate downfalls in severe bear markets
  • Tax advantage - lower taxes while investing for the long term 

Fees Under United Capital Financial Advisers

For financial planning services, United Capital may charge fees as a percentage of assets under management, a flat dollar amount or by the hour. The minimum hourly fee is generally $200, with the maximum typically climbing to $500. 

Investment advisory fees are negotiable, but are usually charged as a percentage of assets under management (AUM) according to the following tiered fee schedule: 

Asset Levels Fees for Financial Planning and Investment Management Fees for Investment Management Only Estimated Fees for Financial Planning Only
First $0 to $2,000,000  1.25% 1.00% 0.50%
Next $2,000,001 to 5,000,000 1.00% 0.85% 0.40%
Next $5,000,001 to $10,000,000 0.85% 0.75% 0.30%
Greater than $10,000,000 Negotiable Negotiable Negotiable

Keep in mind, however, that these advisory fees are separate from other expenses associated with your account, such as brokerage and custodian costs that aren’t paid to United Capital. 

United Capital Financial Advisor Awards and Recognition 

In 2018, Barron’s ranked United Capital as No. 2 on its list of the "Top 40 Independent Advisory Firms." 

What to Watch Out For

As a part of Goldman Sachs, United Capital is affilliated with a number of other financial services entities. Some advisors may also be registered representatives of broker-dealer Cetera. These affiliations may present conflicts of interest, as advisors may earn commissions or have an interest in recommending an affiliated product over others. That said, as a fiduciary registered with the Securities and Exchange Commisions (SEC), United Capital is legally obligated to provide advice only in the best interests of the client. 

Disclosures

According to United Capital’s Form ADV, the firm underwent some disciplinary events in the past ten years. The SEC and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) may have found the firm or an advisory affiliate to have been involved in the violation of a statute or regulation. And the firm or an advisory affiliate may have entered an order in connection with an investment-related activity. 

The firm or an advisory affiliate may also have been involved in a civil money penalty imposed by a regulator. An advisory affiliate may have had a registration or license denied, suspended or revoked due to an investment-related activity. 

For more information, access the firm’s Form ADV through the Investment Advisor Public Disclosure database on the SEC website. 

Tips for Finding the Right Financial Advisor

  • Don’t have at least $100,000 to invest? You can still find a financial advisor who works with investors at your level. Our interactive advisor matching tool will help you find them. It recommends up to three advisors in your area based on your preferences and needs. 
  • Ask prospective advisors how much liability insurance they have. The right answer should cover how much you plan on putting in the advisor’s hands. So if they say $25,000 per incident and you have $50,000 to invest, that’s not enough coverage.

All information was accurate as of the writing of this article.

 

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