TAG Associates Review 2022 - MagnifyMoney
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TAG Associates Review 2022

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TAG Associates is a boutique independent investment advisory firm headquartered in New York City. It primarily caters to high net worth individuals and families, offering portfolio management and family office services, although the firm also serves some institutional investors. TAG Associates does not list a minimum investment but suggests that clients have at least $10 million to invest.

The bottom line: TAG Associates is a portfolio and wealth management firm that caters to the wealthy and offers comprehensive family office services.

  • Strong focus on alternative investments
  • Transparent fee schedule for portfolio management
  • Limited geographic footprint

All information included in this profile is accurate as of September 12, 2021. For more information, please consult TAG Associates’ website.

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Overview of TAG Associates

Founded in 1983, TAG Associates is focused on serving the family office and investment needs of ultra wealthy individuals. The independent investment advisory firm is privately owned by TAG Associates Holding LLC, which is majority owned by CEO David Basner and chairman Gary L. Fuhrman.

TAG Associates has over 70 employees, approximately 26 of whom perform investment advisory functions.

TAG Associates’ pros

  • Offers a wide range of family office services: As a firm that was founded as a multi-family office, TAG Associates’ mission is centered around serving those needs.
  • Competitive rates for portfolio management: For portfolio management, TAG Associates’ maximum annual fee for portfolios of up to $10 million is 1%, and lower for amounts above that. This is competitive compared to industry average rates, which generally fall between 0.50% to 1.25% of assets under management.
  • Diversity of investments: TAG Associates offers a range of portfolio choices, including alternative investments such as real estate, private equity and hedge funds.
  • Industry accolades: The firm has received numerous accolades, receiving the Private Asset Management award for investment due diligence by a family office in 2021, and appearing on Barron’s list of the top 100 independent advisory firms in 2020. Also in 2021, portfolio manager Stacey Haislip was recognized as one of Crain’s Notable Women on Wall Street.

TAG Associates’ cons

  • High minimum investment: While TAG Associates doesn’t state a specific minimum investment requirement in its brochure, its customer relationship summary states that it recommends that its clients have a starting account balance of at least $10 million. Thus, the firm is not a good choice for beginner or non-wealthy clients, and indeed there are no individual clients currently working with the firm who are not high net worth.
  • No published fee schedule for wealth management services: While the firm does publish a clear fee schedule for its portfolio management services, for which it charges competitive rates, it doesn’t offer such clarity around its wealth management services. Clients won’t know how much they’ll be paying for wealth management services until they receive a written agreement from the firm, as TAG Associates does not even provide a general range in its brochure for these services.
  • Limited geographic footprint: As a New York-based wealth management institution, clients from the rest of the country might be better served by an investment advisory firm with offices in their area for ease of in-person meetings or communication. The firm’s Form ADV does list one additional office in Ketchum, Idaho, but also notes that there is only one advisor located there.

What types of clients does TAG Associates serve?

The vast majority of the firm’s clients are high net worth individuals; the firm does not currently serve any individual investors who do not meet this threshold. (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). On its website, the firm describes its typical clients as “successful entrepreneurs, corporate executives, endowments, foundations and multigenerational families.”

Additionally, although there is no stated minimum investment requirement, TAG Associates states in its client relationship brochure that it suggests clients have at least $10 million to invest to open an account with the firm.

Services offered by TAG Associates

Clients of TAG Associates have the choice of standalone portfolio management or a comprehensive package of services.

For standalone portfolio management, TAG Associates acts as an overall portfolio manager. Advisors from the firm will evaluate a client’s financial situation and needs and discuss their investment goals and objectives to formulate an asset allocation strategy. Once that is determined, the firm will select and oversee investment managers and monitor the client’s strategies.

Comprehensive wealth management, or family office services, includes a broad range of services alongside portfolio management, including financial management, tax-related services and administrative and controllership services.

The following is a list of services offered by TAG Associates:

  • Portfolio management
  • Family office services/financial planning
    • Financial management
    • Administrative services
    • Tax planning
    • Philanthropic giving
    • Estate and trust services
    • Consolidated reporting
  • Pension consulting services
  • Selection of other advisors

How TAG Associates invests your money

As a client of TAG Associates, your portfolio’s asset allocation will be determined based on your discussions about your financial situation with an advisor. This process includes taking inventory of existing assets, identifying goals, setting objectives, considering risk tolerance and gaining a clear understanding of cash flow needs.

TAG Associate’s investment philosophy includes active and passive portfolio management. Active portfolio management is where an investment manager makes decisions in an effort to outperform the market, while passive management attempts to match the performance of an index rather than beat it.

The firm also touts using opportunistic and tactical ideas when investing, and aiming for absolute return, which means seeking a positive return regardless of market fluctuations. Tax impacts are taken into account as well.

TAG Associates uses computer software and databases to evaluate investment options. Specifically, the firm considers and uses the following investment tools in client portfolios:

  • Separate accounts
  • Exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
  • Mutual funds
  • Direct investments

Alternative investments are used by the firm in an attempt to generate additional return, smooth volatility, hedge risk and deliver better returns on investment through investing in assets that may not reflect true market value (read: inefficient markets).

TAG Associates also serves as the general partner or manager to several funds of funds, which are available to its clients and third-party investors.

Fees TAG Associates charges for its services

How TAG Associates charges clients for their services depends on whether the client opts for standalone portfolio management or comprehensive wealth management.

Fees for wealth management clients: TAG Associates charges an annual retainer to comprehensive wealth management clients. The rate is based on an analysis of the client’s finances, including the complexity of their situation. Such clients may also pay a fee based on a percentage of assets under management, or they may be charged a fixed fee for all services. These clients will receive a written agreement outlining their specific fees.

Fees for portfolio management clients:Clients who engage the firm for standalone portfolio management services pay a fee that’s based on a percentage of assets under management. Below is the firm’s fee schedule for standalone portfolio management clients. Note that rates may vary from what is stated and are subject to negotiation at the firm’s discretion.

TAG Associates Fee Schedule for Portfolio Management
Assets Under Management Annual Fee*
First $10 million 1.00%
Next $10 million 0.75%
Assets above $20 million 0.50%

Other fees: Clients of both categories of service also are subject to additional investment fees, including investment advisory fees paid to investment managers, as well as brokerage costs and other related fees.

Investors who are not clients of the firm but invest in its funds may be subject to performance-based fees, which are based on a share of capital gains on the investor’s assets, or the capital appreciation of those assets.

TAG Associates disciplinary disclosures

TAG Associates does not have any disciplinary disclosures to report, meaning the firm has a clean record. Financial advisory firms registered with the SEC are required to report their disciplinary history — including any criminal, regulatory and civil actions related to the firm, its employees or its affiliates — on their Form ADV paperwork to provide transparency for prospective or current clients evaluating the firm.

For more information on TAG Associates, you can go to its IAPD page.

TAG Associates onboarding process

  1. Reach out to the firm: Potential clients can contact TAG Associates by filling out the contact form provided on its website, calling the firm at 212-275-1519 or emailing jbergman@tagassoc.com.
  2. Meet with an advisor: As a new client of TAG Associates, you’ll meet with an advisor to discuss your financial needs. This conversation typically includes taking inventory of your existing assets, identifying your financial goals, setting objectives and understanding your cash flow needs. For comprehensive wealth management clients, the discussion might also cover special needs, such as art inventory, aviation and property management services.
  3. Receive regular reports: Portfolio management and wealth management clients receive monthly or quarterly reports. Comprehensive wealth management clients also get balance sheets, income statements, cash flow statements and tax projections as well as portfolio reporting.

Where TAG Associates is located

TAG Associates has just two offices, which are in the following locations:

  • New York
  • Ketchum, Idaho

Is TAG Associates right for you?

As a firm that was founded to serve the needs of wealthy individuals and families, clients who fit the bill — those who have significant wealth and are in need of comprehensive family office services and portfolio management — are generally the best match for TAG Associates. With a low client-to-advisory ratio and services that range from property management to tax planning and bill paying, clients seeking a financial advisory firm as a one-stop-shop might be well-served here.

Potential clients who wish to regularly visit their advisors in person but who aren’t New York-based might be better served by a financial advisory firm with an office in their area. TAG Associates does list one additional office in Ketchum, Idaho, but it notes that there is only one advisor located there. The firm also suggests a minimum investment of $10 million, which eliminates potential clients who don’t have significant funds.

Before you make your decision, make 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.