Lockwood Financial Groups advisory unit is targeting the emerging affluent by allowing advisers online access to its individually managed accounts which require half the minimum investment that is standard for the industry.
LFG Advisors Inc. of Malvern, Pa., has put its suite of individually managed account models, called Managed Account Xpress, online and is requiring a minimum investment of just $50,000.
Chris Tomecek, president of LFG Advisors, said Wednesday that the product fills a market void by letting advisers offer the accounts to customers with $250,000 to $400,000 to invest.
We are really reaching out to the mid-level investor here, Mr. Tomecek said. There are literally hundreds of billions in assets here just waiting to be taken.
Mr. Tomecek said that Managed Account Xpress offers a collection of diversified managed account models. This includes four risk-level models balanced, moderate growth, growth, and aggressive growth; and five industry sector models health care, financial services, consumer products, energy, and utilities.
LFG put the Managed Account Xpress program online in mid-May, and says it has collected $10 million of assets since. Mr. Tomecek said he expects these will grow as more advisers, including those at banks, begin offering the product. He said he is in discussions with one banking company about Managed Account Xpress, and that he expects to make an announcement within the next few days.
Lockwood caps fees at 110 basis points. Typical mutual funds average 150, and Web firms such as Washingtons Foliofn Inc. and New Yorks Netfolio Inc. charge flat fees of less than $300 per year, with low or no minimums, to let advisers or individuals create personal portfolios.
Steve Cohen, the vice president of marketing for Foliofn, said it offers a system where people can buy fractional shares, so with thousands of dollars you can give an investor the kind of diversification that may cost $50,000 or $100,000 at another site.
But Mr. Tomecek said $50,000 was as low as Lockwood could go to achieve the right level of diversification.
Edward Kountz, a senior analyst at Tower Group in Needham, Mass., said Lockwoods minimums are appropriate for its level of advice and for the market it is trying to reach.
This service is a little more high-touch than some of the personal portfolio sites out there, Mr. Kountz said. This site is really focusing on investors between the high-net-worth level and the low-end, no-touch, self-service group. They dont want the do-it-yourself investor here. They want the soon-to-be rich.