Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services Review 2022 - MagnifyMoney
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Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services Review 2022

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Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services is an investment advisory firm headquartered in Plymouth, Minnesota. The firm has additional locations throughout the country. Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services offers investment management, along with financial planning, tax advice, retirement plan consulting and other services. The firm promotes a team-based experience, where specialists in different financial areas work together to advise clients.

The bottom line: Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services is a wealth management and financial planning firm with relatively low account minimums that offers a high level of personalized attention.

  • Works mostly with non-high net worth individuals
  • Several customized investment management plans offered
  • Fee schedule not very transparent

All information included in this profile is accurate as of August 25, 2021. For more information, please consult Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services’ website.

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Overview of Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services

Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services has operated as an investment advisory firm since 2001. The firm is wholly owned by The Wealth Enhancement Group, LLC, which opened in 1997 in Minnesota.

Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services has approximately 400 employees, nearly all of whom perform investment advisory services. Advisors at the firm hold a wide range of professional credentials including the certified financial planner (CFP), chartered financial analyst (CFA) and certified public accountant (CPA) designations, as well as JD and MBA degrees.

Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services’s pros

  • Diverse mix of financial specialties: Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services doesn’t just focus on one financial area. Instead, its Roundtable process tries to cover all of a client’s financial needs at the same time so they don’t have to juggle multiple advisor relationships or accounts.
  • High level of personalized attention: When you sign on with Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services, your advisor creates a customized portfolio for your situation. They also discuss your needs with a team of other advisors in different fields before coming back with a recommendation.
  • Low account minimums: You can open an account at Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services for just $25,000, which is lower than many other portfolio management firms. Even if you can’t make this minimum, the firm might waive the requirement in special circumstances, like if it believes you’ll reach the minimum within a year.
  • Impressive advisor credentials: Many of the advisors at Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services have high-end financial credentials like the CFP, CFA and CPA, as well as advanced degrees including JDs and MBAs.
  • Awards for performance and customer service: Both Barron’s and The Financial Times have ranked Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services as a top registered investment advisor (RIA). Several of the firm’s branches have also won the Five Star Wealth Manager award from Five Star Professional.

Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services’s cons

  • Relatively opaque fees: The asset-based fee at Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services can go up to 2% of assets under management, per the brochure, although the website states that the maximum is typically 1.00% to 1.50%. Overall, because your exact fees for all services will depend on the complexity of your situation, you won’t be able to know what rate you’ll be charged until you have a detailed conversation with an advisor. Some other firms offer more transparent fee schedules so you can know how much you may pay in advance.
  • Advisors receive commissions on investment products: Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services advisors can earn commissions for recommending investments. This financial incentive can get in the way of giving unbiased advice, posing a potential conflict of interest.
  • Potential conflict of interest related to trust services: Financial advisors at Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services may be trust officers of the firm’s affiliate, Wealth Enhancement Trust Services. In this case, the firm’s employees may have a direct financial incentive to refer clients to the trust service, which poses a potential conflict of interest.

What types of clients does Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services serve?

Most of the firm’s clients are individual investors without a high net worth. However, the firm works with several thousand high net worth investors as well, and the majority of the firm’s managed assets are from those clients. For reference, high net worth investors are defined by the SEC as having at least $750,000 with the advisor or a total net worth over $1.5 million.

It takes a minimum investment of $25,000 to open an account with Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services, so the firm is accessible for lower-level investors. In addition, Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services could accept even smaller portfolios under special circumstances or if the firm has reason to believe the client will reach the minimum within 12 months.

Besides its standard investment management services, Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services has other programs with higher minimum portfolio requirements. The ones with high minimums offer a wider range of possible investments and strategies.

Investment Minimums for Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services Programs
Program Minimum required investment
Standard Investment Management Services $25,000
WEAS Core Program $30,000 to $250,000
WEAS Select $50,000
WEAS ACCESS Program $100,000
SEI Program $25,000 to $1 million, depending on the strategy
Schwab Managed Account Select Program $100,000 for most equity styles
$250,000 for fixed income styles

Services offered by Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services

Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services follows a system called the Roundtable approach, where specialists from different financial fields work together to advise clients. The firm looks at six different areas for each plan: investment management, financial planning, retirement income planning, estate planning, tax strategies and risk management and insurance.

The firm’s financial advisors can design plans with different levels of complexity. They can create comprehensive plans that cover all parts of your financial situation, along with less intensive financial plans, where they give you some recommendations but not for all parts of your financial life. The more complex the plan, the higher the cost. You can also sign up for both ongoing financial planning or for a one-time review of a specific topic.

For investment management, Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services typically uses a discretionary approach, where advisors can make trades on a client’s behalf. However, clients can request to use a nondiscretionary approach, where the client must approve trades themselves.

Here’s a comprehensive list of services offered by Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services:

  • Investment advisory services/portfolio management
  • Financial planning
    • Retirement planning
    • Trust and estate planning
    • Charitable planning
    • Education planning
    • Tax planning, preparation and management
    • Cash flow forecasting
    • Budgeting
    • Long-term care planning
    • Insurance and risk management
  • Family office services
  • Retirement plan consulting for businesses
  • Educational financial planning seminars

How Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services invests your money

For each individual investor, Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services’ advisors design customized portfolio recommendations. The advisors will look at your risk tolerance, time horizon, goals, tax status and other objectives to create your portfolio. Investments made by the firm tend to focus on long-term purchases, which are defined as investments made for one year or longer, but the firm is willing to make short-term trades when it makes sense.

Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services’s investment philosophy is based on four broad principles: diversification, cost efficiency, tax efficiency and active management. Through diversification, the firm looks to minimize risk by building portfolios with a mixed asset allocation. Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services also believes that through its size and experience, it can help clients save money on trades and also on their taxes.

Finally, the firm aims to identify investments that earn above-average market returns through active management. While the firm primarily uses passive, broad market investments to keep costs low, advisors still research chances to generate a higher level of return for a given risk level by looking at factors like momentum, valuations and volatility.

As noted earlier, Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services has different programs with different investment minimums. The one you sign up with determines what kinds of investments are available along with what type of advice you receive. The programs include:

  • WEAS Core Program: This program limits your portfolios to exchange-traded funds (ETFs), passive mutual funds and active mutual fund managers, who can buy individual stocks and bonds for your portfolio.
  • WEAS Select: This program uses the same possible investments as the WEAS Core Program, but you have more flexibility to request changes to your portfolio.
  • WEAS Managed ETF Program (MEP): This program provides discretionary advisory services to clients wanting to invest in ETFs.
  • WEAS Access Program: This program expands your portfolio to also include securities, municipal securities and separately managed accounts, in addition to ETFs and mutual funds.
  • Tax Advantaged Asset Location Program (TAALP): Only certain clients are eligible for this program that seeks to maximize the tax benefits of different accounts, such as individual retirement accounts (IRAs.).
  • WEAS Managed Variable Annuities (MVA) Program: This program offers various model portfolios that use variable annuities.

The firm also offers programs that use investments from certain third parties, such as Charles Schwab and SEI Investments.

Fees Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services charges for its services

For investment advice, Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services charges clients based on a percentage of assets under management. This asset-based fee covers both the firm’s investment advisory services and administrative work. The advisors do not earn a fee for their performance, but they can earn commissions for selling certain investments.

The Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services brochure states that its maximum fee is 2%, though its website notes that it typically keeps fees within 1% to 1.50% of assets under management. Clients negotiate their costs when they first sign up, and your rate will depend on your portfolio size and the complexity of your needs. Clients may also be responsible for covering brokerage costs and other investment fees, unless they are in a wrap fee program, which includes these costs already.

Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services also works with multiple third-party advisors and platforms to offer investments. In these cases, the fees can be different and may exceed 2%. However, Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services notes that the maximum it will earn is 2%, with the excess going to the third party.

While Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services’ fee schedule depends on each client’s situation, the firm’s brochure lists these ranges as an example:

Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services Sample Fee Schedule
Total portfolio size Asset under management fee
$999,999 or less 1.50%
$1,000,000 to $2,000,000 1.25%
Over $2,000,000 1.00%

If a client wants standalone financial planning, they can pay by the hour or by the plan. Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services charges an hourly rate of up to $600 an hour or a flat fee of between $250 to $25,000 for a plan, depending on the complexity.

For retirement plan consulting, Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services charges either up to $600 per hour or an asset-based fee of up to 1%.

Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services disciplinary disclosures

Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services does not have any legal or disciplinary events to disclose on its filings, showing that the firm and its advisors have a clean record. The SEC requires RIAs to disclose any major disciplinary incidents from the past 10 years on both their Form ADV filing and their company brochure. These disclosures should include any criminal charges, government fines or sanctions and civil suits.

For more information on the firm, visit Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services’ IAPD page.

Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services onboarding process

If you’d like to learn more about working with Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services, you can:

  • Go to the firm’s website to request a meeting through the firm’s website, which requests your name, contact information and portfolio size.
  • Contact the office closest to you to get paired with a nearby advisor.

There is no cost for an initial consultation. During this first meeting, the advisor will collect your financial and investment information, while discussing your goals, risk tolerance and time horizon. They will then share this information with their team of different financial specialists to put together your portfolio recommendation and a fee quote.

The firm contacts its clients at least annually to offer a review of investments, manager performance and any ongoing needs.

Where Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services is located

Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services has offices in the following states:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin

Is Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services right for you?

If you’re looking for an advisor that covers all parts of your financial plan — not just investments — Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services could be a good choice. Through its team-based approach, you’ll get feedback from experts across all areas. You can get this high level of service even as a smaller investor, as you can open a plan with Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services for just $25,000. Finally, with over 50 locations throughout the U.S., the firm has a large footprint and is accessible for investors in many parts of the country.

On the other hand, Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services might not be a good choice if you’re trying to control costs. The firm can charge fairly high fees, with its maximum asset-based fee ranging up to 2%, and you won’t know what you’re going to pay until you have a detailed conversation with an advisor at the firm. Advisors may also earn commissions for recommending certain products, which could pose a potential conflict of interest that can also get in the way of a cost-effective portfolio.

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.