Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services Review
Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services is an RIA firm with over $55 billion AUM. This page reviews its services, fee structure, and reputation.
A wholly owned subsidiary of Wealth Enhancement Group, Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services (WEAS) is a registered investment advisor (RIA) firm based in Plymouth, Minnesota. Serving individual and institutional clients, it offers services such as financial planning, investment management, and business advisory. In 2023, the company ranked #5 on Barron’s Top 100 RIA Firms list.
This article will review key information about Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services so you can decide if it’s the right firm for you. Specifically, we’ll outline the types of clients it serves, its services, and how its fee structure works. We’ll also discuss the process of becoming a client and break down the company’s current number of disclosures.
Number of Employees
505 North Highway 169, Suite 900
Plymouth, MN 55441
- Offers an initial consultation for free
- Employs professionals with high-quality credentials
- Negotiable and industry-standard fees
- Upholds a fiduciary duty
- Zero disclosures
- Lack of a concretely defined fee structure with AUM percentages
- Potential conflicts of interest due to relationships with affiliates
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Types of Clients
Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services works with several different types of clients. This includes individuals of average and high net worth and institutional investors such as pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations, and corporations. An overwhelming 71% of the firm’s clients are non-wealthy individuals, while high-net-worth individuals make up 26%.
To become a client with WEAS, you must meet a minimum asset requirement. These can vary based on the services you’re receiving or your type of account. According to the firm’s Form ADV Part 2A, minimums can be as low as $25,000 or as high as $1 million for certain strategies and programs.
Financial Advisor Services
WEAS offers various advisory services, such as financial planning, investment management, and tax planning. In doing so, however, it takes somewhat of a unique approach. Using its trademarked Roundtable strategy, the company ensures that clients receive expert input from a team of professionals with different areas of focus, while still working with a dedicated individual.
According to its Form CRS, WEAS’ services break down as follows:
Financial Consulting and Planning
WEAS provides various financial planning and consulting services. In each, the company assesses your holistic financial circumstances and will apply knowledge from each expert to develop a comprehensive plan tailored for you.
Per the firm’s Form ADV, you’ll generally work with your advisor to identify long-term goals you’d like to reach, such as retirement or buying a home. Then, along with the expertise of WEAS’ Roundtable team, they’ll map out a plan to help you reach them.
Below are the primary components of your finances the company can help you plan:
- Cash flow and budgeting
- Paying for education or college
- Building an emergency fund
- Buying a home
- Your estate
- Managing risk
- Saving and maintaining income for retirement
After meeting the minimum requirement, WEAS also offers investment management. The company notes that it primarily extends this on a discretionary basis where your manager will have full authority to make trades in your account on your behalf; however, it might also provide a non-discretionary option for certain clients.
When you enroll in this service, the company will meet with you to understand you as an investor, including your goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon. Then, they’ll recommend a strategy that will best fit your needs and, if accepted, will work to assemble your portfolio. Note that if you’re in a non-discretionary arrangement, you retain the ability to approve each trade before it goes through.
Under the investment management option, you’ll need to select a specific program. This will dictate the types of securities in your portfolio and, therefore, your strategy. Below is a list of the programs the company offers, as well as the securities they focus on:
- WEAS Select Program. This includes mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), stocks, and bonds.
- WEAS Managed ETF Program (MEP). This is a discretionary program that centers solely on ETFs.
- WEAS Access Program. This utilizes actively managed options such as mutual funds, index funds, ETFs, separately managed accounts, and more.
- WEAS Managed Variable Annuities (MVA). This involves investing in a managed model portfolio comprising variable annuities. Strategies may fall on a spectrum of conservative to aggressive.
- SWM/SWM II Program. Available via LPL Financial, this includes a myriad of assets, including equities, fixed-income securities, unit investment trusts (UITs), alternatives, and variable annuities.
In certain cases, WEAS also connects clients with third-party managers who have different strategies. It does so via NorthCrest Asset Management, LLC, an RIA owned by Wealth Enhancement Group, the parent of WEAS. According to the latter’s website, you may receive a referral to a third party if your advisor believes that you’ll benefit more from the other company’s strategies and portfolio models.
Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services’ fees vary based on the service you receive and are negotiable. If you require financial planning or consultation services, you’ll pay an hourly or flat fee. For investment management, however, you must pay a percentage of the dollar amount of your assets under management (AUM). In its Form CRS, the company highlights that it uses a tiered structure, where you’ll pay more as your account’s value grows.
On its website, WEAS says that fees for investment management hover around 1.0% to 1.5% AUM, but, as is noted in its Form ADV brochure, the exact price you’ll pay will depend on how complex your needs are. The company also affirms that its fees will never exceed 2.0% AUM.
WEAS also offers a wrap-fee program. Under this arrangement, you’d pay for both advisory services and the additional costs associated with maintaining your account, such as transaction, brokerage, and fund management expenses, all in one fee. If not enrolled in this program, you’ll need to cover these fees separately from the advisory fees discussed earlier in this section.
A great way to discern how a financial advisor firm will manage your money or recommend strategies is to understand its investment philosophy. Though the full version is available to clients on WEAS’ “Investment Management” product page, the company defines the following as its core approach to investing:
- Maintain tax efficiency to bolster gains for clients.
- Focus on low-cost investments, which may increase returns and savings.
- Keep diversification at the top of mind when building client portfolios, helping mitigate risk and add exposure to various industries and asset classes.
- Actively managing portfolios and employing tactics such as rebalancing.
Because it’s registered as an investment advisor with the SEC, Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services, LLC must report all disciplinary actions it’s received on its Form ADV. This requirement keeps the firm accountable to existing and prospective clients and any affiliated companies it works with. According to its most recent filing, WEAS has zero disclosures.
There are a few ways to reach Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services. The first, and probably easiest, is to visit the firm’s contact page on its website. There, you can fill out a form and send a message directly to its customer service team. Be aware that you’ll need to provide your full name, email address, and ZIP code.
Becoming a Client
To become a client with WEAS, you’ll need to navigate to its website and visit its “Request a Meeting” page. This page includes information about what happens upon scheduling a consultation and how to get started. You’ll also be able to fill out a form that helps the company learn who you are and how to reach you.
The firm mentions that the first meeting with an advisor is free. This is a common practice that lets you get a feel for the company and its professionals. You’ll also get to see if the firm’s strategies are ideal for you.
This review is based on publicly available information directly from Wealth Enhancement 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 WEAS a fiduciary?
Due to its registration as an investment advisor, Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services and its employees must uphold a fiduciary duty while working with clients and managing portfolios. It’s worth noting that the company also employs professionals with high-quality credentials, such as Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Certified Financial Planner (CFP). These titles also bind individuals to act in their client’s best interests.
Is Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services a reputable company?
WEAS is a large advisory firm with locations all over the country. With over $55 billion AUM, it’s right up there with some of the largest corporations in the industry. The company has also garnered recognition from several notable media outlets, earning spots in lists of the top advisory firms in the nation from organizations such as Barron’s and Forbes.
How much money do you need to become a WEAS client?
You’ll need at least $25,000 in investable assets to get your foot in the door with a Wealth Enhancement financial advisor. However, keep in mind that you may need more for other services, such as discretionary portfolio management.
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