Primerica Advisors Review 2022 - MagnifyMoney
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Primerica Advisors Review 2022

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Primerica Advisors is a financial services firm that serves individual investors — namely middle-class families — with a relatively modest minimum balance requirement of $25,000. The firm, which has over 1,600 offices throughout the United States, has nearly 3,800 advisors on staff, many of whom are also life insurance agents. Clients of the firm are invested in one of several model portfolios managed by third-party providers.

The bottom line: Primerica Advisors is a national firm focused on providing financial services to middle-income families.

  • Offers investment services through model portfolios
  • Limited financial planning available
  • Accessible to investors with at least $25,000 to invest

All information included in this profile is accurate as of September 15, 2021. For more information, please consult Primerica Advisors’ website.

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Overview of Primerica Advisors

Primerica Advisors is the name under which PFS Investments, also registered as a broker-dealer, conducts its investment advisory business. PFS Investments is owned by the public company Primerica, Inc., a financial services firm that began as a life insurance agency in 1977. Today, Primerica, Inc. offers term life insurance in addition to mutual funds, annuities and mortgage loans, among other financial products and services.

Primerica Advisors offers its clients an investment management platform through which the firm’s team provides advisory services.

Primerica Advisors’ pros

  • Broad geographic reach: Primerica Advisors is registered to work with investors in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia. This means it should be easy to find an advisor who can work with you, no matter where you’re located.
  • Accessible for more modest investors: While Primerica does have a minimum account balance, at $25,000, it’s one that many may be able to meet. The firm actively markets itself to middle-income North Americans, making it more accessible to the average investor than many financial advisory firms that can require minimums in the millions.
  • Industry accolades: Primerica Advisors has received many awards and recognition, including the Dalbar’s mutual fund service award every year for the past 17 years, which recognizes firms that provide exceptional service.The firm also appeared on Bloomberg’s 2021 Gender-Equality Index, which measures gender equality across five different areas, including female leadership and equal pay.

Primerica Advisors’ cons

  • Potential conflicts of interest: Advisors receive commissions on mutual funds and insurance policies that clients purchase through Primerica Advisors’ brokerage platform, as well as annual commissions based on the value of a client’s account. This can create a conflict of interest, as advisors may have a financial incentive to make certain recommendations.
  • Limited financial planning offerings: While the company does offer a “financial needs analysis” focused on spending and saving, it does not offer ongoing financial planning. Those looking for financial planning assistance will likely need to look elsewhere.
  • No custom portfolios: Primerica Advisors typically puts clients into model portfolios. While the firm chooses the model portfolio for a client based on factors such as the client’s goals and current financial picture, portfolios generally are not custom built to fit an individual investor’s unique situation.

What types of clients does Primerica Advisors serve?

Most of Primerica Advisors’ clients are individuals who are not considered high net worth (for reference, the SEC defines a high net worth individual as someone with at least $750,000 under an advisor’s management or a net worth believed to be at least $1.5 million). In fact, Primerica Advisors specializes in serving middle-income families, which sets it apart from many financial firms that are more focused on serving clients with high net worth.

The firm generally requires a minimum account balance of $25,000. However, it notes that certain model portfolios within its program can have a higher minimum investment requirement.

Services offered by Primerica Advisors

Primerica Advisors specializes in offering investment management as well as term life insurance and other financial products to individual investors.

The firm offers its investment services through a wrap fee program that offers a number of model portfolio strategies. Portfolio management services are offered on a discretionary basis, meaning that Primerica Advisors can make trades on behalf of their clients. However, advisors do not have the discretion to switch model portfolios without a client’s authorization.

The firm does not offer ongoing financial planning. It can offer a financial needs analysis, which examines a client’s current financial situation and offers strategies to help ensure their future financial security.

Here’s a full list of the services offered by the firm:

  • Portfolio management
  • Financial needs analysis
  • Annuity sales
  • Mutual funds
  • Business retirement plans
  • Life insurance

How Primerica Advisors invests your money

Primerica Advisors invests client money into one of four model portfolios, which are run by third-party asset management firms that Primerica Advisors selects. These programs are offered through that firm’s investment management platform designed to support various investment objectives while accounting for a client’s preferences on taxes, market exposure and which securities are used.

Clients are matched with one or more of the following model portfolios based on an investor profile that they complete with the help of their advisor, which looks at factors such as their goals, risk tolerance and time horizon.

Primerica Advisors Model Investment Strategies
Model Investment strategy
Tactical Model Portfolios in this model emphasize shorter term economic conditions and may adjust holdings and asset allocation more frequently than other models.
Strategic Model This model approach takes a longer term view of economic conditions and remains fully invested according to a predetermined asset allocation.
Income Distribution Model These models aim to distribute income in set amounts over a specific period of time.
Tax-Managed Model These models include three general categories: active tax-loss harvesting, tax-exempt strategies and tax-aware investment allocations.

The firm also offers some portfolio solutions using environmental social and governance (ESG) strategies for investors who want their portfolio to align with their values. In those portfolios, advisors incorporate factors such as environmental practices, diversity and inclusion and corporate governance when considering how a company fits into their investing strategy.

Fees Primerica Advisors charges for its services

For portfolio management services, Primerica Advisors charges a fee based on a percentage of assets under management. Since it’s a wrap fee program, investors typically do not have to pay for individual transactions, as wrap fee programs bundle all of these costs into a single fee. However, clients will still be responsible for the fees and charges from the mutual funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) used in their account.

Specifically, the program fees charged by Primerica Advisors include three components:

  • Advisor fee: This fee is for the advice and services your advisor provides.
  • Administration fee: This fee is charged by the firm for its services as the program’s sponsor, portfolio manager and administrator, as well as custody and brokerage services.
  • Asset manager fee: This fee, which varies depending on the models used, is for the services provided to the program by the asset manager.

As evidenced in the table below, rates drop somewhat the larger a client’s account:

Primerica Advisors Program Fee Schedule
Account value Maximum program fee
$250,000 or less 2.24%
$250,000.01 to $500,000 2.21%
$500,000.01 to $1 million 2.17%
$1 million+ to $3 million 1.98%
$3 million+ 1.70%

Primerica Advisors disciplinary disclosures

Primerica Advisors reports several disciplinary disclosures on its Form ADV. For reference, the SEC requires all registered investment advisors to report such information that may be relevant to a client’s evaluation of the firm or its leadership, including any civil, criminal or regulatory actions within the last 10 years involving the company, its employees or its affiliates.

Primerica Advisors notes the following incidents within the last decade in its Form ADV:

  • In June 2013, the firm paid $50,000 in connection with allegations that it had not disclosed compensation that it received from outside motivational speakers at seminars that Primerica representatives paid to attend.
  • In August 2012, the firm reached an agreement with FINRA to pay a $100,000 fine for allegedly failing to detect through programming, design and human error, that certain customers did not receive a copy of their account record as required.

The firm also lists a number of separate disciplinary incidents related to certain individuals at the firm.

For more information on Primerica Advisors’ disciplinary history and to view its Form ADV, visit the firm’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) page.

Primerica Advisors’ onboarding process

  1. Contact an advisor: Clients interested in working with Primerica can find a local advisor using this tool provided on the firm’s website that allows you to see advisors available by state and then by ZIP code and then read an individual advisor’s profile, which includes their contact information. Alternatively, interested clients can call the firm at (800) 544-5445.
  2. Discuss your financial specifics: From there, you’ll have a discussion about your investment objectives, risk tolerance and investment time horizon with your advisor, who will recommend a model portfolio that suits your needs.
  3. Receive quarterly statements and provide updates: Once you are an established client, you will receive quarterly statements showing your account performance, and your advisor will reach out once a year to see if there have been any changes in your financial circumstances.

Where Primerica Advisors is located

Primerica Advisors has over 1,600 office locations throughout the U.S. While Primerica Advisors’ website lists offices in every state, its Form ADV only notes office locations in the following states:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Wisconsin

Is Primerica Advisors right for you?

Primerica Advisors could be a good choice for middle-income families with at least $25,000 to invest, as well as for those who are also interested in purchasing term life insurance. Since the firm has offices throughout the country, you can likely find a local advisor to work with.

Those looking for more personalized services or ongoing financial planning assistance might be better suited by a different firm, as Primerica Advisors uses model portfolios and has limited financial planning help available. Additionally, potential clients should be aware that some Primerica Advisors are also insurance agents, which could create a conflict of interest when they recommend a product.

Before choosing a financial advisor, be sure to research multiple firms to ensure that 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.