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Private Advisor Group Review

Private Advisor Group is an RIA firm that offers both investment management and financial planning. We review its services in this article.

Private Advisor Group is a registered investment advisor (RIA) based in Morristown, New Jersey. It offers investment advisory and management, as well as financial planning services for its clients. In Barron’s 2023 list of top RIA firms, the company impressively made the top ten, coming in at eighth place.

This article will review Private Advisor Group’s financial services, including its ideal client types and how its fee structure works. We’ll also outline the company’s investment philosophy. Finally, you’ll learn other key info about the firm, such as its disclosure history, how to open an account, and contact methods.

Assets Under Management

$28.5 billion

Date Founded



Frank Smith

Fee Structure


Headquarters Address

305 Madison Avenue, Morristown, New Jersey 07960

Phone Number

(973) 538-7010

Pros and Cons of Private Advisor Group


  • No account minimum
  • Transparent investment philosophy
  • Provides financial planning
  • Offers both discretionary and non-discretionary management


  • Limited contact methods
  • Several disclosures

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Types of Clients

Private Advisor Group offers its investment advisory and financial planning services to both individuals and organizations. The latter may refer to corporations, trusts, estates, non-profits, or any other entity with which the firm chooses to do business. According to the company’s Form ADV Brochure 2A, clients generally don’t need to meet any account minimum or set fee to access its services.

While most Private Advisor Group services don’t require a minimum investment, some, such as its separately managed account (SMA) wrap program, WealthSuite, do. For this particular program, you’ll need at least $25,000 to open an account, or $100,000 to use the Brinker strategy. Other account types may also require a minimum. Be sure to ask your financial advisor about these before enrolling.

Financial Advisor Services

Private Advisor Group offers investment advisory and consulting, as well as financial planning services. Depending on your preference, it may do so via either a discretionary or non-discretionary basis. In an initial consultation, you’ll provide an investment advisor representative (IAR) information about your preferences as an investor, such as your goals and risk tolerance. You’ll also tell them about your current financial situation and planning needs.

Once your financial advisor understands what you need as a client, they’ll recommend various services to you. Private Advisor Group’s list of services includes:

  • IAR Advisory Services. As mentioned above, after gaining an understanding of your goals, an IAR will work with you in any capacity you need. This includes an investment manager or financial planner in a discretionary or non-discretionary capacity.
  • Wrap Fee Advisory. The firm allows you to open an account and pay according to a wrap fee. You may opt for in-house options, such as WealthSuite or the Private Advisor Group Wrap Program. Alternatively, you can opt for a third-party program managed by a separate custodian.
  • Financial Planning. In exchange for a flat fee, Private Advisor Group will provide financial planning. This includes services like retirement, estate, cash flow, or insurance planning.

Fee Structure and Cost

Private Advisor Group primarily charges clients based on a percentage of assets under management (AUM) for both its discretionary and non-discretionary services. This percentage is unique for each client and scales up or down depending on the amount you have. Additionally, financial planning clients may pay a fixed fee based on an advisor’s time.

Also, note that you may opt for a wrap- or non-wrap-fee account. With the former, you’ll pay one cost that encompasses an annual advisory fee, as well as additional expenses, such as custody of securities and those associated with transactions. Selecting the latter requires you to bear the responsibility of those extra costs, rather than the firm.

Investment Philosophy

When you open a discretionary account with Private Advisor Group, they will typically employ a very specific approach to analyze securities to invest in. The firm is transparent about its methods and investment strategies in its Form ADV Brochure 2A. In it, they break down as:

  • Asset Allocation. After understanding your goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon, the firm will create a target asset allocation for you. This refers to what proportion of each asset class your portfolio will devote funds to.
  • Charting. This method of analysis refers to looking back on historical data to plot out future trends for various securities and the market.
  • Cyclical. This approach focuses on analyzing the change in prices in the past to predict future cycles and trends.
  • Fundamental. Much like the previous two, this strategy emphasizes looking at data, both past and present, to predict the future performance of a security or the market.
  • Technical. While this approach also focuses on historical and present data, it analyzes specific aspects of a security, such as trade volume and price, to make forecasts.

In addition to the above, Private Advisor Group sticks to three different investment strategies, which correspond to your goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon:

  • Trading refers to an approach in which one sells a security within thirty days.
  • Short-term purchases expand the time frame to securities one sells within the year.
  • Long-term purchases include any securities one holds in their portfolio for over a year.


Because Private Advisor Group, LLC is registered as an investment advisor with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), it must file an annual Form ADV. This document provides details regarding its advisory business, as well as any disciplinary action or conflicts of interest involving it or its representatives. By doing so, it remains transparent and accountable to current and prospective clients.

In its most recent Form ADV, Private Advisor Group had disclosures on file. This includes one in which it or an advisory affiliate pled guilty or no contest to a felony. In another disclosure, the firm had a regulatory action imposed by the SEC for failing to “provide fair and full disclosure regarding the conflicts associated with share classes,” requiring it to pay a fine of $5.8 million.

Customer Service and Becoming a Client

The easiest way to contact Private Advisor Group is by visiting its contact page on its website. From there, you can fill out a form to ask questions, file complaints, or get started as a client. You can also call the firm directly at (973) 538-7010.

Tips for Choosing a Financial Advisor Firm

Finding the right financial firm for your needs can feel daunting, especially if you’re a beginner. What’s most important is that a company’s services align with your goals and current situation. For instance, finding a firm that offers both investment management and financial planning may be beneficial if you’re looking for a comprehensive solution.

You should also be sure to look at firms that are registered with the SEC as an investment advisor and uphold a fiduciary duty. Additionally, you should be sure that the firm offers experts with well-known and prestigious credentials, such as Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), or Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC). You can look up both individuals and firms by using the SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) search tool.

If you need help finding a high-quality financial advisor, we recommend you use this free matching tool. Once you fill out a brief questionnaire, it’ll recommend a professional that suits your unique needs.


This review is based on publicly available information directly from Private Advisor Group’s 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 Private Advisor Group a fiduciary?

Private Advisor Group is a fiduciary because it’s registered with the SEC as an investment advisor. This status requires it and its IARs to uphold a fiduciary duty whenever they’re providing advisory services.

How much money do I need to open an account with Private Advisor Group?

Unlike many other firms, Private Advisor Group doesn’t have a set account minimum to work with it. However, some specific programs do require you to invest a minimum amount. For instance, WealthSuite, a wrap-fee program, requires you to have $25,000 to open an account.

Is Private Advisor Group good?

Private Advisor Group may be a good option if you’re looking for a solution that offers both financial planning and investment management. However, it would be wise to assess the IAR you get assigned to by looking at their credentials and judging your rapport with them.