Mariner Wealth Advisors Review 2022 - MagnifyMoney
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Mariner Wealth Advisors Review 2022

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Mariner Wealth Advisors is an investment advisor that also offers financial planning, business consulting, tax preparation and other services. The firm is headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas, but has a number of additional locations throughout the country. The firm caters largely to non-high net worth individuals, and offers customized portfolios based on each client’s unique needs.

The bottom line: Mariner Wealth Advisors is a portfolio management and financial planning firm with a wide range of investment choices.

  • Includes alternative investment options
  • Offers a robo-advisor program
  • Fees may be on the high side

All information included in this profile is accurate as of August 18, 2021. For more information, please consult Mariner Wealth Advisors’ website.

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Overview of Mariner Wealth Advisors

Mariner Wealth Advisors was founded in 2006 and offers portfolio management and financial planning services to individuals, high net worth individuals and other clients. The firm is wholly owned by Mariner Wealth Advisors, LLC, which is in turn wholly owned and managed by 1248 Holdings, LLC, a family-owned private investment company formerly known as Bicknell Family Holding Company, LLC.

Mariner Wealth Advisors has approximately 700 employees, of which over 300 perform investment advisory services. Many of the firm’s advisors — especially those in leadership positions — have certifications such as the certified financial planner (CFP), chartered financial analyst (CFA) and certified personal accountant (CPA) designations.

A look at the founder of Mariner Wealth Advisors

Marty Bicknell founded Mariner Wealth Advisors in 2006 along with seven other colleagues. The founders’ goal was to improve the client experience by offering multiple financial services in one location.

Bicknell continues to serve as the firm’s CEO. In 2016, Bicknell was named one of the top 25 most influential people in the investment/financial industry by Investment Advisor magazine. He was on the Kansas City Business Journal’s Power 100 List from 2014 to 2019. He’s also appeared on Barron’s top 100 advisor ranking for over a decade.

Mariner Wealth Advisors’ pros

  • Customized portfolios: Mariner Wealth Advisors customizes its portfolio recommendations for each client based on their unique goals, risk tolerance and investment preferences. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.
  • Wide range of services: Besides investment management, Mariner Wealth Advisors also offers financial planning, tax management, business consulting, retirement plan consulting and for very high net worth clients, family planning services.
  • Large geographic footprint: Mariner Wealth Advisors has physical offices across several states, so there is ample opportunity for clients to have face-to-face interactions with advisors if that is what they prefer.
  • Robo-advisor option for clients with fewer assets: Clients with less money than the typical $100,000 minimum for managed accounts have the option to open an account for just $5,000 through the firm’s Institutional Intelligent Portfolios program.
  • Highly awarded performance: From 2016 to 2020, Mariner Wealth Advisors ranked among the top five on Barron’s top RIA list. The firm also was named the top advisor in both Ohio and Pennsylvania by Barron’s in 2021. Additionally, Mariner Wealth Advisors ranked on Forbes’ list of Top Women Wealth Advisors in 2020 and 2021. It has also been recognized by the Financial Times, Financial Advisor Magazine and ThinkAdvisor.

Mariner Wealth Advisors’ cons

  • Potentially high fees: Mariner Wealth Advisors’ asset-based rate for its managed investment advisory program can go up to 2.50%. This is much higher than average industry fee, which generally ranges from 0.50% to 1.25% of assets under management.
  • Conflict of interest related to fees: The firm’s brochure notes that its fee structure could create a conflict of interest. Advisors at the firm may have an incentive to recommend products and investments that generate higher revenue for the firm. Some representatives of the firm are also licensed insurance agents and are compensated for the sale of such products, so there could be an incentive to recommend those products.
  • Broker-dealer service could lead to excess trading: Mariner Wealth Advisors could use its broker-dealer service, MSEC, to execute trades for a client’s portfolio. The firm and MSEC have the same owner, and some firm representatives are also registered representatives of the broker-dealer. This could create an incentive to trade more frequently and increase costs, as the firm “receives a benefit from the use of MSEC in executing client trades,” according to its brochure. However, the firm also stresses that it generally does not encourage short-term trading for client accounts.
  • Conflict of interest in recommending third-party managers: When recommending third-party managers, Mariner Wealth Advisors may have an incentive to steer clients toward one that charges a separate fee, instead of paying the manager fee through Mariner’s fee.

Which types of clients does Mariner Wealth Advisors serve?

The firm works primarily with individual investors who do not have a high net worth. High net worth individuals are defined as those who have invested at least $750,000 with an advisor or have a net worth over $1.5 million, per the SEC. The firm’s website notes that it specializes in working with P&G employees, professional athletes, executives, professionals in the tech and financial space and closely-held business owners.

It takes a minimum investment of $100,000 to launch a managed account with Mariner Wealth Advisors, where the firm designs a custom portfolio. An automated investment platform offered by the firm called Institutional Intelligent Portfolios requires a minimum investment of just $5,000.

Services offered by Mariner Wealth Advisors

Mariner Wealth Advisors provides investment advice and portfolio management for clients. The firm usually works in a discretionary fashion, meaning its advisors can make trades on behalf of a client. However, the advisors can accept restrictions and limitations, depending on the client’s goals.

For clients with at least $100,000, Mariner Wealth Advisors runs a managed account program where it builds customized portfolios of equity and fixed income investments. For clients with less than $100,000, Mariner Wealth Advisors offers a robo-advisor.

Additionally, Mariner Wealth Advisors offers financial planning, tax preparation, retirement plan consulting and family office services. To expand its offerings, Mariner Wealth Advisors allows clients to sign up with third parties to access a wider range of investments.

Here is a full list of services that the firm can offer its clients:

  • Investment advisory services/portfolio management
  • Financial planning
    • Trust and estate planning
    • Insurance planning
    • Education planning
    • Tax consulting and preparation
    • Divorce planning
    • Retirement planning
    • Business planning
    • IRA and 401(k) rollovers
  • Robo-advisor
  • Retirement plan consulting and management services
  • Selection of other advisors
  • Workshops and seminars
  • Newsletters and publications

How Mariner Wealth Advisors invests your money

Mariner Wealth Advisors doesn’t offer standardized portfolios for everyone. Instead, the firm customizes its investment recommendations based on each client’s goals, risk tolerance, timeline and other factors. In general, portfolios typically contain a diverse mix of assets including:

  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
  • Exchange-traded notes (ETNs)
  • Mutual funds
  • Closed-end funds
  • Private pooled investment vehicles
  • Structured notes
  • Managed futures
  • Master Limited Partnerships
  • Real estate investment trusts (REITs)

Mariner Wealth Advisors’ portfolio recommendations tend to have a long-term focus, for goals of at least a year, but they can design shorter-term plans depending on a client’s needs. The firm is open to both active and passive strategies, and its brochure lists a range of possibilities depending on the type of portfolio. For instance, the firm may use options strategies.

For stock-focused portfolios, the firm’s primary goal is usually capital appreciation, and can also include dividend-focused strategies, GARP (growth at a reasonable price) and socially conscious investing as secondary goals. For bond fixed income portfolios, the firm’s top priority is capital preservation followed by secondary goals of capital appreciation and steady, tax-efficient revenue.

Mariner Wealth Advisors has an Investment Committee, led by its chief investment officer, overseeing this process. The committee performs due diligence on potential investment strategies, managers and products before they are available for client portfolios. When the Investment Committee approves strategies and products, they go on an approved list so that their advisors know they could potentially recommend them to clients.

Fees Mariner Wealth Advisors charges for its services

Investment advisory services fees: For its investment advisory services, Mariner Wealth Advisors charges clients based on a percentage of assets under management. The maximum rate varies depending on which program clients use, as shown in the table below.

Mariner Wealth Advisors Investment Advisory Fee Schedule
Program Annual asset-based fee
Managed investment advisory program Up to 2.50%
Options strategies Up to 1.50%
Institutional Intelligent Portfolios® through Charles Schwab Up to 1.00%

Besides the asset-based fee, clients could also be responsible for trading costs such as administrative expenses, brokerage commissions and fund expenses.

Financial planning services fees: Mariner Wealth Advisors could include basic financial planning for investment advisory clients. If a client needs more sophisticated financial planning or tax preparation work, they may need to pay an additional fee, which could be based on the client’s net worth, a flat or hourly rate or a percentage of assets under advisement, up to 0.25%. Clients will negotiate their fee structure when signing up.

Tax compliance and consulting fees: Tax clients are typically billed on either a fixed fee or hourly rate basis, or based on a percentage of AUM, with the rate ranging up to 0.25%.

Mariner Wealth Advisors disciplinary disclosures

Mariner Wealth Advisors does report disciplinary disclosures on its Form ADV paperwork. The events are regulatory infractions involving individuals at the firm related to either investment-related regulations or statutes or investment-related activities.

For more information on Mariner Wealth Advisors and the aforementioned events, visit the firm’s IAPD page.

Mariner Wealth Advisors onboarding process

  1. Contact the firm: Mariner Wealth Advisors offers a quick submission form on its website that you can fill out to request a meeting. You will be asked to provide your name, location, contact information and a quick summary of what you’re looking for. You can also use the firm’s website to search through advisors on staff and reach out directly to one who you think is a good fit. You can also search on the site for a local advisor at one of the firm’s office locations.
  2. Have an initial meeting: Once you’ve reached out to the firm, an advisor will schedule an initial meeting to learn more about your goals, portfolio size, risk tolerance and desired investment strategy.
  3. Get a customized portfolio and fee schedule: With the information discussed in your meeting, the advisor will design your customized portfolio and set the fees. Mariner Wealth Advisors’ Investment Committee oversees each manager’s decisions to make sure that what they recommend is appropriate for your portfolio.
  4. Accept the plan: If you like the firm’s proposed arrangement, you can accept the plan to join as a formal client.
  5. Receive regular reviews: The firm will contact investment advisory clients at least annually for review. Reviews are conducted on an “as needed” basis for financial planning and consulting clients.

Where Mariner Wealth Advisors is located

Mariner Wealth Advisors has approximately 40 offices in total. It has locations in the following states:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

Is Mariner Wealth Advisors right for you?

If you’re looking for an advisor that can handle multiple parts of your financial plan, then Mariner Wealth Advisors could be a good choice, thanks to all of its different services. The firm could also be a good choice for investors with smaller portfolios. Mariner Wealth Advisors’ investment minimum is $100,000 for its managed portfolios, and it only takes $5,000 to invest through the firm’s robo-advisor.

If you’re trying to minimize expenses in your portfolio, however, Mariner Wealth Advisors might not be the best fit. The firm’s maximum asset-based fee can run quite high. The fee structure could also increase costs through conflicts of interest, such as commissions from its broker-dealer service leading to excess trading. Before you make your decision, be sure to research multiple firms to ensure you find the right financial 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.