Churchill Management Group Review 2022 - MagnifyMoney
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Churchill Management Group Review 2022

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Los Angeles-based Churchill Management Group provides investment management and financial planning services to individual and institutional investors. The firm offers several different investing strategies based on clients’ individual situations and risk tolerance, and its planners are typically certified financial planners (CFPs). Although there is generally no hard-and-fast investment minimum, the firm prefers to work with those with at least $750,000 to invest.

The bottom line: Churchill Management Group is an industry-recognized wealth manager that offers portfolio management and financial planning to individuals and institutional investors.

  • Typically no extra charge for financial planning
  • Employs multiple investing strategies
  • Offers a real estate fund to some clients

All information included in this profile is accurate as of August 30, 2021. For more information, please consult Churchill Management Group’s website.

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Overview of Churchill Management Group

Churchill Management Group was founded in 1963 and offers portfolio management and financial planning services to individuals and institutional investors. The firm is based in Los Angeles but has additional offices throughout the country. It has close to 60 employees on staff, over 40 of whom perform advisory functions.

The firm’s controlling owner is founder and CEO Fred Fern.

A look at the founder of Churchill Management Group

Churchill Management Group owner and CEO Fred Fern founded the firm in 1963 at the age of 25, without any formal training in investing. He has since amassed over 50 years of experience in multiple areas of the business, including securities and real estate investing, and economic and political analysis. He was a protégé of high-profile stockbroker William O’Neil.

Along with serving as CEO, Fern chairs the Churchill Management Group investment team, which manages all investing accounts for the firm.

Churchill Management Group’s pros

  • Financial planning included: Churchill Management Group offers holistic financial planning via a certified financial planner (CFP) without an additional charge to investment management clients. Some other firms charge extra for this service, or don’t require planners to have a CFP license.
  • Industry recognition: The firm, its advisors and its strategies have earned accolades within the wealth management community over the years. For example, the firm has landed on the Barron’s Top Independent Advisor list for three straight years. And in 2020, the firm’s president, Randy Conner, ranked No. 14 on Forbes’ 2019 list of America’s Top Wealth Advisors.
  • Several different portfolio strategies offered: Churchill Management Group offers several different portfolio strategies, selected for clients depending on multiple factors and each client’s unique situation, rather than taking a cookie-cutter approach.

Churchill Management Group’s cons

  • Preference for wealthier clients: While Churchill Management Group does not have a hard account minimum, it prefers clients who have at least $750,000 invested with the firm, and charges higher fees to clients with smaller accounts. This means the firm may not be the best choice for beginner investors, or those with less money to invest.
  • Potentially higher fees: The firm often uses an active trading strategy. This style of portfolio management may create higher costs for clients than at other firms that favor more passive strategies, especially since they’re responsible for brokerage and other investment fees in addition to the fees they pay to Churchill Management Group. With that being said, at 1.20%, the firm’s rate for those with the lowest account balance aligns with average industry rates, which generally fall between 0.50% to 1.25% though it is at the higher end of that range.
  • Pays for referrals: Churchill Management Group pays some third parties, such as Fidelity, for referrals, and it may direct clients to a broker in exchange for a referral. That could create an incentive for the firm to recommend a brokerage that it might not otherwise recommend, which poses a potential conflict of interest.

What types of clients does Churchill Management Group serve?

The firm’s largest client base is high net worth individuals, although there are nearly as many individual investors without a high net worth. The firm prefers to work with clients with accounts of at least $750,000. Clients with at least $1 million in assets may invest in Chartwell Funds, the firm’s real estate investment fund, though the firm notes it may waive this minimum requirement at its discretion.

Services offered by Churchill Management Group

Churchill Management Group provides clients with investment management services as well as financial planning. It also offers retirement plan services for plan sponsors. The firm typically manages money on a discretionary basis, meaning portfolio managers handle daily decision making for the account without having to check in with the client first.

Here is a full list of services that Churchill Management Group can provide:

  • Investment advisory services
  • Financial planning
    • Retirement planning
    • Existing trust and estate plan outline
    • Education planning
    • Tax review
    • Cash flow analysis
    • Net worth analysis
    • Insurance needs analysis
    • Social Security analysis
    • Risk tolerance assessment
    • Goal identification and achievement plan
  • 401(k) consulting
  • Collaboration with clients’ lawyers, accountants, etc.

How Churchill Management Group invests your money

Churchill Management Group believes that markets behave cyclically. The firm uses a largely active trading strategy, adjusting its approach based on where the markets are in any given cycle. Its investment team employs “top-down” analysis to make decisions about asset allocation, and a “bottom-up” approach when choosing individual investments within asset classes.

The firm creates portfolios based on each client’s individual goals and risk tolerance. Depending on a client’s specifics, it may employ one of four strategies:

  • Tactical strategies: Focus on staying invested in low-risk markets and reducing exposure in high-risk markets
  • Fully invested strategies: Remain invested regardless of market risk
  • Combination strategies: Combine approaches from tactical and fully invested strategies
  • Fixed-income strategies: Use diverse, investment-grade bonds to build a portfolio

Depending on the strategy used, portfolios may include:

  • Exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
  • Mutual funds
  • Individual stocks
  • Bonds

Some clients may also invest in real estate partnerships, or Chartwell Funds, the firm’s real estate investment fund.

Fees Churchill Management Group charges for its services

Churchill Management Group charges clients based on a percentage of assets under management for its services. The rate is negotiable, but the fee schedule for all portfolios – with the exception of the Maximum Tactical Growth Strategy – is as follows in the table below. The rate for clients in the Maximum Tactical Growth Strategy is 1.25%.

Churchill Management Group Fee Schedule
Account size Annual rate
Under $750,000 1.20%
$750,000 or more and less than $2.5 million 1.00%
Next $2.5 million 0.80%
Next $5 million 0.70%
Any remaining balance 0.60%

In addition to the fee that clients pay to Churchill Management Group, they may also owe additional transaction fees or brokerage commissions to third-party firms. Financial planning is typically included as part of the firm’s wealth management services.

Clients who terminate the relationship within the first six month will face a one-time account set-up fee of $1,000.

Churchill Management Group disciplinary disclosures

Churchill Management Group does not have any disciplinary events to disclose, which means that the firm has had a clean record for at least 10 years. All registered investment advisors must disclose any civil, regulatory or criminal actions against the firm, its advisors or its affiliates on their Form ADV, public documents that registered firms must file with the SEC.

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

Churchill Management Group onboarding process

  1. Contact the firm: Potential clients can contact Churchill Management Group via their regional office or by filling out the contact form provided on the firm’s website.
  2. Discuss your situation to create your portfolio: Once you’re in touch, you will work with members of the Churchill team to discuss your financial situation and create a portfolio that makes sense for it.
  3. Receive updates and statements: After that, the team will periodically get in touch to discuss your account, but clients also can call the firm at any time. Clients may receive monthly, quarterly and year-end statements.

Where Churchill Management Group is located

Churchill Management Group has office locations in the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Kentucky
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

Is Churchill Management Group right for you?

Churchill Management Group may be the right firm for you if you have $750,000 or more to invest and would prefer an actively managed portfolio. If you have a lower account balance, however, or would prefer a more passive investing strategy, you may be better served by another firm.

As always, when searching for a financial advisor, it’s important to compare multiple options and ask advisors questions to ensure you’re finding someone to work with who can meet your needs. Before you make your decision, be sure to take the time 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.