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Your Wealth, Your Choice: Understanding the Landscape of Wealth Management Thumbnail

Your Wealth, Your Choice: Understanding the Landscape of Wealth Management

By: Mireille Keshishian

The wealth management landscape is as diverse and dynamic as the clients it serves. From traditional wire houses and investment banks to the rise of independent Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) and Multi-Family Offices (MFOs), the choices for managing one's wealth have greatly increased. Each avenue comes with its own set of advantages and nuances, that are best suited to a particular clientele.

It’s important to remember that this is a long-term relationship you’re looking to build. Finding the right firm to serve as your trusted partner throughout your financial life can empower you with the tools you need to create wealth for generations, so look for an advisor who can grow with your evolving needs and prioritize your best interests.

In this article, we’ll delve into the different types of wealth management firms available to you and the characteristics that will help you understand which choice is right for you. 

Types of Wealth Management Firms

Wire Houses and Investment Banks

Traditionally, wire houses and investment banks have been pillars of the wealth management industry, offering a broad range of financial services and products to a vast client base. They typically operate large networks of financial advisors serving hundreds and even thousands of clients’ needs on a daily basis. 

Investment banks, on the other hand, specialize in corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, and trading activities for institutional clients. These institutions leverage their extensive resources and global reach to provide financial solutions.

Wire houses and investment banks often have a product-focused approach that may lack transparency around fees and performance metrics. As a result, investors may face challenges in understanding the true costs and benefits of the investment products offered by these institutions. For example: 

  1. Mutual funds or managed accounts may have underlying management fees, administrative fees, and 12b-1 fees, which are marketing and distribution costs passed on to the investor. These fees can significantly erode investment returns over time. 
  2. Wire house and investment bank advisors often receive commissions for selling specific financial products. This means that when an advisor recommends a product, such as an insurance policy or mutual fund, they may be earning a commission from the issuing company. This can create potential conflicts of interest, as advisors might be incentivized to promote products that generate higher commissions rather than what’s in the client's best interest.
  3. Performance metrics provided by these institutions might highlight gross returns without sufficiently detailing net returns after fees. This can lead to an overestimation of the product’s performance and an underappreciation of the impact of fees on overall returns.

Wire houses and investment banks are also often publicly owned entities, which means they must prioritize shareholder interests above all else. This dynamic can sometimes result in conflicts of interest, where the firm's profit motives may overshadow individual client needs. Despite these drawbacks, wire houses and investment banks remain influential players in the wealth management landscape, catering to a broad spectrum of clients with their service offerings and market expertise.

Trust Companies

Trust companies specialize in providing fiduciary services, with a primary focus on estate planning, trust administration, and wealth transfer strategies. These institutions excel in offering expert guidance and support in navigating complex estate planning and fiduciary matters. 

However, their investment offerings may be somewhat restricted compared to other wealth management providers. Despite their expertise in fiduciary services, trust companies may not offer the same breadth of investment options as other financial institutions.

Furthermore, trust companies often cater to a traditional or first-generation demographic, which may limit their ability to connect with younger investors seeking more contemporary wealth management solutions. As a result, they may overlook the perspectives and preferences of those who prioritize digital accessibility, sustainable investing, and personalized financial planning. Nonetheless, trust companies remain valuable partners for individuals and families seeking estate planning support.

Independent Broker Dealers

Independent Broker Dealers (IBDs) typically operate under a transaction-focused model, offering investment products and services to a wide range of clients. These firms often cater to investors seeking access to a diverse array of investment options and trading capabilities. However, the high client-to-employee ratio prevalent at many IBDs can lead to challenges in delivering personalized financial planning and advisory services.

Clients of IBDs may find themselves navigating investment decisions without the benefit of tailored guidance or comprehensive wealth management strategies. Moreover, these advisors may receive transaction fees that can incentivize them to place unnecessary trades in their client’s accounts to boost their own earnings. This transaction-centric approach of IBDs may prioritize individual trades and product sales over holistic planning, potentially leaving clients feeling underserved or lacking in long-term financial guidance.

Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) 

The emergence of Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) such as Simon Quick have revolutionized the wealth management landscape, ushering in a more personalized and holistic approach to financial planning and investment management. These firms typically specialize in serving high-net-worth individuals and families, providing bespoke and hands-on service tailored to each client's specific objectives and financial circumstances. Some also provide family office services to enhance the ability to address even the most complex financial needs and offer a suite of services that are usually reserved for the ultra-wealthy.

Unlike traditional wire houses and investment banks, RIAs prioritize transparency in fee structures and adhere to a fiduciary standard, placing the best interests of their clients above all else. This commitment to transparency and ethical conduct instills trust and confidence in their relationships.

Additionally, RIAs (who are not associated with a broker/dealer) are not limited in the investment products they offer. Firms with an independent status and ‘open architecture’ structure, like Simon Quick, can browse the investment universe and select the investments they find the most compelling for clients. 

RIAs provide ongoing monitoring and proactive adjustments to their clients' portfolios, ensuring that investment strategies remain aligned with evolving goals, market conditions, and regulatory changes. Overall, RIAs represent a paradigm shift in wealth management, emphasizing personalized service, fee transparency, and fiduciary duty to their clients.

How Simon Quick Differs

At Simon Quick, we distinguish ourselves through several key attributes that set us apart in the wealth management landscape:

  • Sophisticated Investment Opportunities: We offer access to a variety of alternative investment solutions, including niche, under-the-radar opportunities that may not be readily available through larger banks and brokers. By tapping into our extensive network and market expertise, we identify unique investment prospects that align with your specific goals and preferences so you can capitalize on emerging trends and market opportunities. 
  • Invest Alongside Clients: Our team members and their families are deeply invested in the success of our clients. With over $500 million invested alongside our clients, we share in the same investment opportunities and outcomes, aligning our interests with yours and reinforcing our commitment to achieving your financial objectives.
  • Fully Employee Owed: As an independent, employee-owned firm, we have no outside shareholders influencing our decision-making or advice. Instead, we are committed to building long-lasting relationships based on trust, transparency, and fiduciary duty.
  • A Dedicated Team of Professionals: Our firm operates with a dedicated team approach, ensuring that multiple professionals are familiar with your accounts and readily available to address your needs. This collaborative structure enhances our ability to provide responsive and personalized service, drawing on the collective expertise of our team members.
  • Personalized Financial Planning: Beyond investment management, we offer comprehensive financial planning services tailored to address your individualized needs, preferences, risk tolerances, and objectives. Our holistic approach encompasses various aspects of your financial life, including retirement planning, estate planning, risk management, and tax optimization. By integrating these elements into a cohesive and coordinated strategy, we provide you with a roadmap for achieving your long-term financial goals.
  • Tailored Family Office Services: In addition to our financial planning and investment management, we offer family office services that cater to the multifaceted needs of high-net-worth families. These services include managing intergenerational wealth transfer, coordinating estate planning, overseeing philanthropic endeavors, and handling complex tax situations. By providing these specialized services, we ensure that every aspect of your financial life is meticulously managed and aligned with your long-term goals.

Navigating the Choices

As you navigate the wealth management landscape, it's essential to consider your individual needs, preferences, and long-term goals. While wire houses and investment banks offer global reach and extensive resources, they may fall short in terms of personalized service and fee transparency. Trust companies excel in fiduciary services but may lack the modern perspective and investment options sought by younger generations.

Independent Broker Dealers provide transactional services but may not offer the comprehensive financial planning and advisory support required for holistic wealth management.

Ultimately, your choice of wealth management provider should align with your values, objectives, and expectations. By evaluating each option, investors can make informed decisions that pave the way for financial success and security in the years to come.

About Mireille Keshishian


Ms. Keshishian joined Simon Quick Advisors in July of 2023 and currently serves as an Analyst on the Marketing Team. She is responsible for website management, event coordination, social media initiatives, and the creation of new marketing materials.

Prior to joining Simon Quick, Ms. Keshishian served as a Marketing Associate at Ampla Technologies, Inc. supporting growing consumer brands through financial services. There, she honed her marketing skills and sharpened her work ethic while gaining invaluable experience working in financial services. Prior to joining Ampla, she worked at Viking Cruises as a Guest Services Specialist where she assisted clients with their inquiries and served as a mentor for new employees. 

Ms. Keshishian graduated from the University of Southern California (USC) in 2019 with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Marketing. She was an active member of Psi Chi, The International Honor Society in Psychology, and worked as a Research Analyst at USC Rossier School of Education. In her free time, Mireille enjoys cooking, traveling, and exploring new places to eat in New York City.



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