Brighton Jones Review 2022 - MagnifyMoney
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Brighton Jones Review 2022

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Brighton Jones, LLC is an independent, full-service wealth management firm that works primarily with individual investors, particularly high net worth individuals. The Seattle-based firm offers portfolio management and financial planning, and gears complex financial services toward wealthy families.

The bottom line: Brighton Jones is a Seattle-based wealth management firm that offers portfolio management and complex financial planning services for high net worth investors.

  • Offers real estate advisory services
  • Has a minimum quarterly fee
  • Provides tax preparation services

All information included in this profile is accurate as of August 27, 2021. For more information, please consult Brighton Jones’ website.

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Overview of Brighton Jones

Brighton Jones was founded in 1999 and is primarily owned by its founders.

The firm has approximately 150 employees, over 100 of whom serve as investment advisors. The staff has a range of expertise and includes certified financial planners (CFP), accountants, lawyers and certified commercial investment members (CCIM), who are experts in commercial real estate.

A look at the founders of Brighton Jones

Charles Brighton and Jon Jones founded Brighton Jones in Seattle. The two then-partners at Deloitte decided they wanted to create a business aimed at providing more holistic financial advice to clients at a lower cost. Brighton and Jones remain co-owners of the firm. Jones serves as CEO, while Brighton is the managing director of its family office services.

The pair have been recognized as top advisors on Barron’s Top 100 independent wealth advisors list.

Brighton Jones’ pros

  • Fee-only service model: Brighton Jones is a fee-only firm, meaning it only earns money from the fees its clients pay. This model means that clients don’t have to worry that the firm benefits financially from recommending certain products, which could pose potential conflicts of interest.
  • Broad range of services: Brighton Jones is a one-stop shop for clients who seek holistic financial planning or additional services. It offers a wide range of financial planning services as well as real-estate advisory and services for employers.
  • Customized advice and management: The firm doesn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, it works with each client to build and manage a portfolio based on their financial situation. The firm’s holistic approach also goes beyond a client’s portfolio to advise on other financial decisions, such as risk management and estate planning, as requested by the client.
  • Industry accolades: The firm has received numerous awards and recognition. In 2020, Brighton and Jones appeared on Barron’s list of the top RIAs in the state of Washington. The firm also appeared on Financial Advisor’s 2020 list of top-ranked RIAs.

Brighton Jones’ cons

  • Unclear portfolio management fees: Because fees at the firm are negotiated on a case-by-case basis and can range anywhere from 0.35% to 1.25% of assets under management, it’s difficult to know how much you’ll owe until you connect with an advisor.
  • Minimum quarterly fee: The firm’s minimum quarterly fee of $2,500 to $3,500 — totaling $10,000 to $14,000 per year — could make its services more costly for clients who have fewer assets.
  • Pays for referrals: Brighton Jones pays certain third parties to refer clients. Although clients won’t incur any cost, this still is important to keep in mind if someone recommends the firm to you, because you might want to consider whether they’re making the recommendation because the firm truly seems like a good fit for your financial situation or they simply stand to benefit financially from recommending it.

Types of clients that Brighton Jones serves

Brighton Jones’ client base is made up largely of high net worth individuals, though it does also serve a number of individual investors who do not meet this benchmark. (For reference, the SEC defines high net worth individuals as those who have at least $750,000 in AUM or a net worth of at least $1.5 million.)

The firm has clients from Seattle-based companies such as Microsoft, Starbucks and Amazon, as well as those who work in health care, law, media, finance and technology. Brighton Jones doesn’t list a minimum account balance. However, the firm charges a minimum quarterly fee of $2,500 to $3,500, so those who have fewer assets might find it cost-prohibitive to engage with the firm.

Services offered by Brighton Jones

Brighton Jones aims to serve as a “Personal CFO,” providing holistic advice to individuals and families as a chief financial officer would for a company. Clients can receive wealth management services on a discretionary basis, in which the advisor makes the daily trading decisions in the account without requiring the client to sign off, or on a non-discretionary basis, although the vast majority of assets under management are discretionary. Financial planning is offered alongside the firm’s investment advisory services or as a standalone service.

The firm also advises clients on managing their real estate portfolio and helps executives to evaluate and make the most of their compensation packages.

Here is a full list of services offered by Brighton Jones:

  • Portfolio management
  • Financial planning
    • Retirement planning
    • Education planning
    • Divorce planning
    • Estate planning
    • Charitable planning
    • Tax planning, preparation and management
    • Insurance and risk management
    • Coordination with outside experts
  • Executive compensation analysis
  • Retirement plan consulting and management
  • Financial wellness consulting on behalf of employers
  • Real estate advisory services
  • Private equity advisory services
  • Educational seminars, workshops and podcasts
  • Selection of other advisors

How Brighton Jones invests your money

Brighton Jones’ customized portfolios vary based on each client’s financial situation, but the firm’s overall philosophy is based on an investment approach that includes diversification among and within asset classes, and mitigating risk.

To evaluate potential investments, Brighton Jones uses the following methods of analysis:

  • Fundamental: Analyzes historical and current data to make financial forecasts.
  • Technical: Uses historical and current data on price and trade volume to forecast the direction of prices.
  • Cyclical: Examines the historical relationship between price and market trends to predict the direction of prices.

The firm might invest through a combination of short- and long-term purchases, margin transactions or options.

Asset classes will primarily include:

Investments such as real estate investment trusts (REITs) may also be utilized.

Fees Brighton Jones charges for its services

For wealth management services, Brighton Jones charges clients based on a percentage of AUM. The rate typically ranges from 0.35% to 1.25% of total AUM, depending on factors such as the level of AUM, the complexity and level of services provided, anticipated future earnings and assets and the account representative assigned to the account. The firm requires a minimum quarterly fee ranging from $2,500 to $3,500, although it might waive or reduce that minimum at its discretion.

The asset-based rate listed above includes financial planning and consulting services if requested by the client, although the firm might charge extra if the client requires extraordinary service. Clients who want standalone financial planning or consulting work will pay negotiated fees, which typically range from $2,000 to $15,000 on a fixed-fee basis or $150 to $300 per hour.

In addition to fees charged by the firm, clients might owe separate brokerage costs to Fidelity or TD Ameritrade, which typically serve as broker-dealers for Brighton Jones clients, as well as fund-related fees.

Brighton Jones’ disciplinary disclosures

Brighton Jones has had no disclosures over the past 10 years. All registered investment advisors must disclose in their Form ADV documents filed with the SEC any civil, criminal or regulatory actions against its firm, employees or affiliates that clients would consider material when evaluating the firm or its management team.

For more information on the firm, you can go to its IAPD page.

Brighton Jones’ onboarding process

  1. Contact the firm: Potential clients can reach out to Brighton Jones directly by contacting a local office or by filling out this online form to start a conversation.
  2. Discuss your situation and get your portfolio made: After an initial interview in which the firm learns about a client’s financial situation, the firm will create and manage a portfolio based on that information.
  3. Receive regular updates: The firm will get in touch with clients at least annually to discuss their account and whether any changes are necessary. At least quarterly, Brighton Jones will contact clients to remind them to advise the firm if any changes have occurred. Clients also can expect to receive quarterly reports.

Where Brighton Jones is located

Brighton Jones has office locations in the following cities:

  • Seattle
  • San Francisco
  • Newport Beach, California
  • Palo Alto, California
  • Austin
  • Dallas
  • Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Portland, Oregon
  • McClean, Virginia
  • Denver
  • Atlanta
  • Minneapolis
  • Tampa, Florida

Is Brighton Jones right for you?

Brighton Jones might be a good choice if you’re comfortable with a minimum annual fee of at least $10,000 and want access to other financial services beyond portfolio management, such as assistance with understanding and making the most of your executive compensation package and getting real estate advisory services.

Investors who hope to spend less on wealth management or who want in-person service but don’t live near one of Brighton Jones’ offices might be served better by a different wealth management firm. Be sure to research multiple firms to ensure you find the right advisor for you.

The “Find a Financial Advisor” links contained in this article will direct you to webpages devoted to MagnifyMoney Advisor (“MMA”). After completing a brief questionnaire, you will be matched with certain financial advisers who participate in MMA’s referral program, which may or may not include the investment advisers discussed.