What is an 'Advisor Account'

An advisor account is a type of investment account where investment advisory services are included to help a client formulate and implement investment purchases and strategies. With the growth of robo advisory services, advisor accounts can include multiple levels of service and advice. Many platforms also provide a mix of both automated and personal interaction, known as hybrid advisor accounts. The fee structure of any advisor account is typically asset based, with an annual fee paid by the client based on the percent of assets held in the account.

BREAKING DOWN 'Advisor Account'

Advisor accounts provide a range of different services for investors. Advisor accounts are for investors who seek a more holistic approach to investing. However, advisory account services can range broadly for investors. Accounts may support holistic portfolio management, personal financial planning or targeted capital assets. In general, assets managed in advisor accounts are subject to fiduciary standards, which means their investment recommendations are based on comprehensive portfolio fit. These accounts will also usually incur an asset-based fee which includes the cost of operational transactions and portfolio management expenses.

Broadly across the market, advisor accounts are generally structured to target either high net worth investors or investors seeking discount platforms.

High Net Worth Accounts

High net worth investors have the advantage of a broader array of choices and services when seeking professional financial advice and support.

Portfolio Management

High net worth investors can choose from a multitude of personal portfolio management offerings comprehensively overseen by a financial advisor for fees that can range from 1% to 5% of total assets. Investment minimums usually range from $100,000 to $500,000.

Financial advisors offer holistic portfolio management recommendations with services that integrate transactions for stocks, bonds and funds. These portfolios are typically managed to a broad allocation strategy and can also include financial services for non-security assets such as property and artwork.

Prominent advisory platforms for high net worth investors are offered by UBS, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan. These advisory platforms will often include special wrap accounts, which allow a customer to focus on specific investments such as mutual funds. The UBS Pace platform provides one example.

Separately Managed Accounts

Separately managed accounts are an option for high net worth investors seeking to invest capital in targeted portfolios managed by professional money managers. The Fidelity separately managed accounts platform offers an example of this with numerous offerings across various strategies. These accounts allow for targeted investment rather than holistic financial planning. Fidelity minimum investments range from $200,000 to $500,000. Fees can range from 0.20% to 1.10%.

Discount Advisory Accounts

Discount investors will also find a multitude of advisory accounts that will charge a small advisor fee for services. Robo advisors such as Betterment offer services with no minimum investment required. Tiered fee schedules are integrated into the account management process with the Betterment platform, offering a low cost digital advisor account fee of 0.25% while the premium account includes a fee of 0.40%.

Professionally managed discount advisory accounts with a lower minimum investment are available at well known investment companies such as Charles Schwab and Vanguard. These accounts offer robo advisory services as well as wealth management advice from a personal financial advisor.

Charles Schwab offers its Intelligent Portfolios robo advisory services for a low minimum investment of $5,000 with no advisor account fees. Vanguard offers its personal wealth management services which partner with a financial advisor for a minimum investment of $50,000. The Vanguard Personal Advisor Services platform offers a low advisor account fee of 0.30%.

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