Wellington Management Company, LLP is a financial advisor firm headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts that manages $965 billion in client assets. The firm’s client base is quite wide-ranging, including individuals, investment funds, retirement plans, businesses, insurance companies and more.
This is a fee-only firm, meaning it earns income exclusively from the fees that its clients pay. This differentiates it from a fee-based firm, which can also earn compensation from commission-based sources like insurance sales or security transactions.
Wellington Management Company Background
Wellington Management Company was founded way back in 1928. Although Boston is its home, the firm does business around the U.S. and the world, acting as an advisor for clients in more than 50 countries. The firm is owned by many partners, none of whom hold more than 5% of the firm’s shares.
The firm employs more than 570 advisors who are spread throughout its various branches. Many of these advisors have earned professional certifications, such as chartered financial analyst (CFA) or chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA).
What Types of Clients Does Wellington Management Company Accept?
Wellington Management Company’s has roughly 1,600 clients, of which pooled investment vehicles take up the largest share, followed closely by pension plans and insurance companies. The remaining clients are a mix of high-net-worth individuals, banking institutions, investment companies, charitable organizations, government entities, investment advisors, sovereign wealth funds and businesses.
Wellington Management Company Minimum Account Sizes
According to Wellington Management Company’s Form ADV, the firm imposes varying account minimums that depend on the investment strategy you go with. These can range anywhere from $25 million to $300 million, though the firm may waive or lower an account minimum or impose a minimum fee, at its discretion. If you're unable to work with Wellington due to its high account minimum, you can find another advisor in your area with a more attainable minimum investment amount.
Services Offered by Wellington Management Company
The primary offering at Wellington Management Company is its investment management service. Some of the funds that Wellington advises are also sponsored by the firm. Wellington may also provide clients with non-discretionary investment advice on a limited basis.
Additionally, the firm occasionally provides wrap fee program sponsors with proprietary portfolio models. Wellington’s investment management and advice is powered by the firm’s extensive in-house research team and system.
Wellington Management Company Investment Philosophy
The investment approach at Wellington Management Company depends heavily on the specific investment strategy or strategies that are chosen for your portfolio. The firm has a catalogue of strategies that can focus on either a single asset class or multiple asset classes at once.
Equity strategies can be centered around specific market capitalization ranges. The firm also employs widespread global diversification that may adhere to a certain geographic region or industry sector. If your portfolio calls for it, the firm may expand its investments to cover multiple regions or sectors.
The firm also uses investment strategies that zero in on fixed-income securities, currencies, commodities or a combination of asset classes.
Fees Under Wellington Management Company
Wellington typically charges its clients a percentage-based fee for its investment management services. However, the exact percentage clients may pay will vary based on factors such as investment strategy, account size, services and more. Consequently, the firm doesn’t have a standard, “one-size-fits-all” fee schedule.
When it comes time to charge fees, Wellington will base them on your account’s quarter-end market value or the average value for the quarter. These are payable in arrears.
What to Watch Out For
Wellington Management Company focuses exclusively on managing the investment portfolios of its clients. So if access to financial planning is a deal-breaker for you, then Wellington won’t be able to meet your needs in that regard.
The firm may receive performance-based fees from certain clients. As the firm’s Form ADV states, “Many portfolio managers and other investment personnel have responsibility for client accounts with performance-based fees, as well as for accounts with asset-based fees. Strong investment returns increase the performance-based fee paid to us as a firm and the incentive compensation paid to the portfolio manager. As a result, we have an incentive, particularly in the case of hedge funds, to favor an account with a performance-based fee.” Regardless, the firm abides by fiduciary duty, legally binding it to act in clients’ best interests.
Wellington Management Company has six disclosures listed on its Form ADV. Three are associated directly with the firm, while the others are related to an advisory affiliate. All three of Wellington’s direct disclosures are from foreign financial authorities, including the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway, BaFin (Germany’s financial regulatory authority) and the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority. Here’s a breakdown of each:
- In 2012, the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway found that Wellington did not notify authorities that when the firm sold shares of a Norwegian security, its overall ownership in the security fell below 10%. A clerical error apparently caused this violation, which the firm consented to and paid a $17,000 fine.
- Also in 2012, BaFin alleged that Wellington bought shares in a German security that caused it to own more than 3% of the security’s overall shares. Again, a clerical error caused this violation, resulting in the firm consenting to a $33,000 fine.
- The Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority alleged that, in 2017, Wellington held a net short position in a Swedish security, but failed to file a corresponding report with authorities. This violation cost the firm $1,000 in fines.
Opening an Account With Wellington Management Company
There are a few different ways you can get in touch with Wellington Management Company. You can call the firm at (617) 951-5000, or you can visit the firm’s website and fill out the contact form with your name, company, email address and message.
Where Is Wellington Management Company Located?
Wellington Management Company is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts on Congress Street, near South Station. Additionally, the firm has offices in:
- Chicago, Illinois
- Marlborough, Massachusetts
- Radnor, Pennsylvania
- San Francisco, California
- Toronto, Ontario
- Beijing, China
- Hong Kong
- Tokyo, Japan
- Frankfurt, Germany
- London, United Kingdom
- Zurich, Switzerland
- Sydney, Australia
Tips for Retirement Planning
- 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 the account minimums at Wellington and other traditional advisors are out of reach, 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.