Woodbury Financial Services, Inc. has one of the largest advisory staff in the country. Woodbury Financial is a financial advisory firm with its headquarters in Oakdale, Minnesota. The firm manages a network of advisor firms that collectively manage assets under management (AUM) across more than 71,000 clients.
Woodbury's affiliated advisor firms work mainly with individual clients, offering services like investment portfolio management, financial planning and retirement plan consulting.
Woodbury and its network of advisor firms are fee-based. This means that in addition to collecting AUM-based client fees, advisors also receive commissions from the sales of certain insurance products and securities to clients. Conversely, a fee-only firm receives client-based fees only.
Woodbury Financial Services Background
Founded in 1968, Woodbury Financial Services has grown to employ nearly 1,000 financial advisors. Rick Fergesen currently serves as president and CEO of Woodbury, as he's worked here since 1998. The firm is a subsidiary of Advisor Group, Inc., a network of four financial advisor networks like Woodbury. Advisor Group is principally owned by Advisor Group Holdings, Inc., a financial services holding company.
The leadership staff at Woodbury Financial Services has no advisory certifications to its name. However, the various affiliated firms of Woodbury employ advisors with a range of certifications, including certified financial planners (CFPs), chartered financial analysts (CFAs), chartered financial consultants (ChFCs), certified public accountants (CPAs) and more.
Woodbury Financial Services Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes
Woodbury itself doesn't manage client accounts, but its network of partnered advisor firms works with tens of thousands of clients, the majority of whom are non-high-net-worth individuals. They also work with high-net-worth individuals, pensions, profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and corporations.
The minimums for advisory programs offered by Woodbury vary by account type:
- Advisor managed portfolios: $10,000
- Unified managed account (UMA) program: $5,500
- Third-party advisory services: At the discretion of the third party
- Financial planning and consulting services: No minimum
- Non-discretionary investment services: No minimum
- Retirement plan consulting services: No minimum
Woodbury and its advisors can negotiate any of these minimums with clients.
Services Offered By Woodbury Financial Services
A plethora of advisory services are available to Woodbury's affiliated firms, which are in turn offered to clients. The principal offerings among these are discretionary and non-discretionary investment management and financial planning.
A few of Woodbury's services are available as wrap fee programs. This means that clients will pay a flat rate that covers both management fees and the transactional costs associated with purchasing securities and working with a broker-dealer.
Woodbury Financial Services Investment Philosophy
Woodbury relies on its large network of advisor firms to deliver its state-of-the-art technology systems and strong results to clients. More specifically, the investment strategies that a firm creates are geared towards sustainable, long-term growth. That being said, each individual advisor and firm can employ their own specific tactics when formulating client portfolios.
When selecting securities to use throughout its portfolio models and strategies, Woodbury uses technical and fundamental analysis techniques. Technical analysis focuses on trends in volatility, trade volume and other factors, while fundamental analysis relies more on factors like interest rates, inflation, past earnings and more.
Woodbury Financial Services Fees
All account and service fees are negotiated by Woodbury Financial Services with its independent advisor firms. As a result, Woodbury itself has little oversight over advisor-specific fee schedules. But according to a study of 1,500 firms by RIA in a Box, the average financial advisor's investment advisory fee is around 0.95% of AUM.
Financial planning, consulting and non-discretionary investment advisory services do follow a specific schedule, though. They charge a fixed fee of $500 to $10,000 or an hourly fee of $50 to $300 per hour.
The fees for retirement plan consulting services can also be either fixed or hourly. Fixed rates vary from $1,000 to $100,000, with hourly fees hovering between $50 and $300.
What to Watch Out For
Woodbury has numerous disclosures listed on its Form ADV. These disclosures include such infractions as failing to properly review the transmittal of client funds, failing to adequately review equity trades for excessive trading and failing to detect a third-party wire transaction scheme created by an employee. The firm has paid multiple fines for these disclosures and others to various regulatory authorities.
Woodbury provides services to a network of independent financial advisor firms, rather than directly employing advisors and working with clients. In other words, you can't work directly with Woodbury. You'll need to work with an advisor in its network in order to gain access to its services.
Woodbury and its network of independent financial advisor firms are fee-based, so advisors can receive a commission from the sale of certain investment and insurance products. This creates the potential for a conflict of interest, though the firm and its advisors are bound by fiduciary duty. This means they are legally obligated to act with clients' best interests in mind.
Opening an Account With Woodbury Financial Services
To open an account with one of Woodbury's advisory partners, you'll need to call the firm at (800) 800-2638 or view listings on its website.
All information is accurate as of the writing of this article.
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