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Mariner Wealth Advisors Review

Mariner Wealth Advisors is a large RIA firm with offices in 34 states. This page reviews its services, fee structures, and reputation.

Mariner Wealth Advisors (MWA) is a registered investment advisor (RIA) firm based in the Kansas City suburb, Overland Park, KS. It offers a full range of services, including investment management, holistic financial planning, and estate planning. It also assists business clients with managing retirement plans, taxes, and cash flow. In 2023, the company took fourth on Barron’s list of the Top 100 RIA Firms, maintaining a spot in the top five for seven consecutive years.

This article will offer a thorough review of MWA, including a breakdown of its ideal types of clients, services, and fee structures. We’ll also detail its investment philosophy and whether it’s received any disciplinary action from government regulatory agencies.

AUM

$65.9 billion

Number of Employees

625

Date Founded

2006

CEO

Marty Bicknell

Fee Structure

Fee-only

Headquarters Address

Nall Corporate Centre II, 5700 W. 112th Street, Suite 500

Overland Park, KS 66211

Phone Number

(800) 384-1756

Pros and Cons of Mariner Wealth Advisors

Pros

  • Many advisory services available, including planning, investment management, and even access to automated investing.
  • Team of professionals with high-quality credentials
  • Adheres to a fiduciary standard
  • Ranked well by reputable outlets such as Barron’s and Forbes
  • Zero disclosures

Cons

  • Somewhat vague fees, only listing maximum amounts
  • High account minimums
  • Not available in many states

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Types of Clients

Mariner Wealth Advisors works with a broad array of clients, including individuals with both an average and high net worth. It also serves institutional clients, such as charitable organizations, trusts and estates, pension and profit-sharing plans, and various types of businesses.

MWA may require you to meet a minimum account requirement. According to its Form ADV Part 2A, this might vary by service. The company doesn’t, however, list minimums for any of its services except for its managed accounts option, which has an initial requirement of $100,000. If you have less than this, you’ll also be eligible for the firm’s Institutional Intelligent Portfolios program.

Mariner Wealth Advisors operates offices and serves clients in the following 34 states:

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

Financial Advisor Services

Mariner Wealth Advisors offers services that suit various client needs, ranging from financial planning and portfolio management to more specialized areas such as estate or trust planning.

Below is a breakdown of the firm’s services:

Financial Planning

MWA offers comprehensive wealth planning as part of its primary set of services. This involves meeting with a professional and discussing several aspects of your financial picture, often including your goals and risk tolerance.

According to the company’s website, your advisor will strive to gain an understanding of you as a person, your family, and how those two components can factor into your financial aspirations. Then, they’ll work closely with you to build a plan that can help you accomplish your objectives.

Per the company’s client-facing brochure, plans may center around one or more of the following:

  • Investing
  • Retirement
  • Budgeting
  • Your estate
  • Saving for education
  • Taxes
  • Marriage and divorce
  • Insurance

The firm notes that its financial planning service may, in most cases, come along with its investment management option. However, in some other situations, it will also offer it as a separate product with its own fee structure.

Investment Management

MWA also offers investment advisory, which it primarily provides on a discretionary basis. This means the company will have the authority to make trades in your account as it sees fit and will not have to get your approval. Because of this, you’ll have to consider the amount of trust you’ll have to put in your advisor to act in your best interest.

After opening an account for portfolio management, you’ll sit down with your advisor and have conversations about your goals, risk appetite, and time horizon. Then, your professional will recommend a viable investment strategy for your portfolio. Under a discretionary arrangement, the company notes that it doesn’t typically let you limit the types of investments your advisor can select, as this could affect your advisor’s ability to carry out your agreed strategy.

As noted, it can take quite a bit of trust to allow an advisor, or team of them, to manage your portfolio and keep it on track. However, Mariner Wealth Advisors’ team comprises individuals with high-quality designations and titles from accredited organizations that require a fiduciary commitment. Below are some of the titles that members of MWA’s investment management team carry:

  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
  • Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA)
  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
  • Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC)

Automated Investing (Robo-Advisor)

MWA also offers access to automated investing via other companies that offer robo-advisors. It may recommend these services if you have a smaller amount of investable assets. It’s important to note, however, that this can look one of two different ways:

  • Institutional Intelligent Portfolios. Available to clients with less than $100,000 AUM, this is a robo-advisor that leverages Charles Schwab’s technology. Your MWA advisor will recommend a strategy made up of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and manage your portfolio, held on Schwab’s brokerage platform.
  • Via a third-party tool. Your professional may also recommend using Betterment’s robo-advisor software to manage your portfolio. Unlike the above, this involves directly using the other company’s platform with limited input from your MWA advisor.

Fee Structure

Mariner Wealth Advisors offers a negotiable fee structure that largely varies based on the service you receive. For investment management, the company charges clients a percentage of their assets under management (AUM) or advisement (AUA), either on a quarterly or monthly schedule. According to the firm’s Form ADV, this can reach up to 2.5% per year. For other services, such as financial planning and tax consulting, you may pay a flat fee or hourly arrangement. You may also see an AUM structure of up to 0.25% annually.

The table below illustrates MWA’s fee structures and percentages (if AUM-based) for each service:

ServiceFee Structure
Investment advisoryAUM (up to 2.5% annually)
Financial planningFlat, hourly, or AUM (up to 0.25% annually)
Tax compliance and consultingFlat, hourly, or AUM (up to 0.25% annually)
Institutional Intelligent PortfoliosAUM (up to 1.0% annually)

Keep in mind that MWA doesn’t offer a wrap fee program for its clients. Therefore, along with the rates you pay for advice and management, it’s likely you’ll also need to pay additional expenses related to your account. This may include maintenance fees for managed funds you invest in, transaction costs, and brokerage fees.  

Approach to Financial Advice and Investing

When researching a prospective advisory firm, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the approaches it uses for investing and delivering advice. This plays an integral role in the strategies and securities they’ll use to develop your portfolio, as well as how your advisor has come up with the plan they’ve built for you.

Mariner Wealth Advisors uses what it calls a 360-degree approach to financial advice. Per its website, this means that the company aims to fully understand a client’s values, goals, and attitude toward money. This allows it to assemble a comprehensive plan tailored to various core aspects of your finances.

MWA lays out its philosophy for investment management within its Form ADV Part 2A. Specifically, when constructing portfolios for clients, it focuses on a diverse variety of assets, which allows for risk mitigation and exposure to several asset classes. This includes:

Disclosures

Mariner Wealth Advisors (Mariner, LLC) holds a registration with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as an investment advisor. Therefore, to uphold transparency and accountability with future and existing clients, the company must report all regulatory actions it’s received or been involved with on its Form ADV, including criminal proceedings, arbitrations, or settlements.

According to its most recent filing with the SEC, MWA has not received any official discipline from government agencies.

Customer Service and Opening an Account

There are two primary ways to contact MWA’s customer service, whether you’d like to become a client, ask a question, or report a complaint:

Methodology

This review is based on publicly available information directly from Mariner Wealth Advisors’ website and the SEC. Neither the firm nor its representatives have any say on what we’ve included on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Mariner Wealth Advisors a fiduciary?

MWA’s registration with the SEC as an investment advisor requires it and its advisory employees to follow a fiduciary duty when working with clients. This means it must be aware of conflicts of interest and let you know if any emerge during your relationship.

Is MWA reputable?

MWA is a highly-ranked advisory firm with a high volume of AUM. And, as mentioned, it’s held up a top-five position in Barron’s list of the top RIA firms, ahead of other much larger firms, and has also been ranked in numerous best-in-state awards by Forbes.

What is the minimum investment at MWA?

To access Mariner Wealth Advisors’ investment management option, you’ll need at least $100,000 under management. However, the company also offers an automated investing service for clients with less than that amount.

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