Overview: Blue Bell Private Wealth Management
Blue Bell PWM, whose motto is: “Remember, it is time invested in the market – not market timing,” is a fee-only investment management firm with headquarters in the Philadelphia suburb of Blue Bell.
The firm focuses on high-net-worth individuals and also numerous institutions among its clients.
The firm is considered to be a “large advisory firm” by the Securities & Exchange Commission and is a Registered Investment Advisor with the SEC.
It has close to 1,000 accounts and has assets under management (AUM) of over a quarter of a billion dollars.
Image Soure: Blue Bell
History – How Did Blue Bell Private Wealth Management Start?
Blue Bell PWM was founded by J. Scott Miller in 2005, with the aim of “achieving reliable investment results through independent management.”
Mr. Miller is an alumnus of two well-respected financial institutions: Morgan Stanley and Prudential Securities.
He served as the senior vice president at both, and he has spent over 40 years working in the investment management industry.
Over the past 10 years, the firm has grown.
According to its SEC filings, it now has 9 employees performing investment advisory functions, and it provides investment advisory services to about 300 clients.
Blue Bell seeks to develop long-term relationships with its clients and does so by being frank and open, keeping clients informed, and serving in a caring way.
It aims to simplify clients’ financial choices and improve their financial positions with steady, reliable results.
The firm has also earned accolades from the Structured Products Association (SPA). In 2008, it was one of five recipients commended as a Chairman’s LeadingEdge Advisor. It has four advisors who have won Five Star Wealth Manager awards. It has also been mentioned several times in the Wall Street Journal, most recently in “Ways to Play China’s Stock Market” (June 2015), and in the Financial Times. It has also been cited by CNBC’s Market Insider segment.
According to SEC filings, in the 5-year period of 2010–2014, assets under management (AUM) grew by 29%. The firm’s 13F filing with the SEC – which reports equity-based instruments – indicates a portfolio with a market value of $165,612.000 at the end of Q2 2015. The portfolio is heavily invested in the SPDR S&P 500 (19% of AUM) but is also well-diversified over 400 securities.
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What We Like About Blue Bell Private Wealth Management
1. Blue Bell is Fee-Only:
A fee-only advisor is one whose sole source of remuneration is the client. A fee-only advisor does not receive commissions or compensation of any sort that is contingent on the purchase or sale of a financial product. A fee-only advisor is also under a fiduciary duty to his or her client and must always place the client’s interest first.
2. Blue Bell is Under a Fiduciary Duty:
Under Section 206 of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, an advisor is liable for any act that is fraudulent, deceptive or manipulative.
3. Blue Bell is Independent:
The firm is not affiliated with any broker-dealer. It uses Charles Schwab & Co. as its custodian, rather than a bank custodian, to keep its options business – the firm sells call options to banks – free from conflicts of interest. A custodian provides safekeeping, settlement, and reporting services.
4. Level of Customized Service:
Blue Bell has a “Goldilocks” size: neither too small nor too big….
Being small means that top management is never too far away from the client. Yet, the firm is large enough to capture economies of scale and has access to bespoke products such as bank-issued structured notes.
5. History of Innovation & Long-term Relationships:
The firm goes out of its way to show its clients that it doesn’t take them for granted. It does this by adding value through innovative return-seeking strategies and by constantly refining its fundamental research methodology. It kills two birds with one stone by employing structured products that reduce both specific risk and systemic risk and boosts returns with the income from its options business.
6. Breadth of Experience & Resource Availability:
The firm has 80 years of combined experience.
7. Account Protection:
Blue Bell is subject to Rule 15c3-3, known as the SEC’s Customer Protection Rule.
Under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, broker-dealers (firms that trade for clients and on their own account) must ring-fence a prescribed amount of cash and securities in special reserve bank accounts.
This ensures that the firm cannot use client funds representing securities that are fully paid for or that are excess margin securities – securities which are not fully paid for but have a market value which exceeds 140% of the client’s liability to the firm – for proprietary trades.
In addition, since the firm uses Charles Schwab & Co. as its custodian, its brokerage accounts are under the aegis of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).
The SIPC protects the securities and cash in your brokerage account up to $500,000. The $500,000 protection includes up to $250,000 protection for cash in your account to buy securities.
Charles Schwab & Co. Brokerage accounts are also covered by international insurers such as Lloyd’s of London.
8. Educational & Information:
Blue Bell provides information on various products and other financial topics. It publishes both a blog and a quarterly newsletter. Recent blog articles were devoted to charitable giving, interest rates, death taxes, and escaping the volatility of the stock market. In the latest issue of its newsletter, the firm discusses, in detail, structured investments and closed-end funds.
Blue Bell Private Wealth Management Review – Team Members
The Blue Bell advisory team includes many Morgan Stanley alumni.
At the helm, is the founder, J Scott Miller.
Justin Capetola is another member of the firm who also spent time at Morgan Stanley and wears many hats.
He spearheads the firm’s client relations function and is also Blue Bell’s chief operating officer and chief compliance officer.
Also from Morgan Stanley are Hank Fox and Scott Miller Jr.
Scott oversees the firm’s structured products.
Completing the team are Vice President Chris Paleologus, Partner Jon Sobotkin, and three others.
Blue Bell Private Wealth Management Fees
Blue Bell derives its compensation on a fee-only basis by one or a combination of (i) AUM percentage, (ii) hourly charges, and (iii) fixed fees.
Assets under management (AUM): $276, 377, 981.00
Blue Bell Private Wealth Management Review – Services
Portfolio management is the firm’s main activity.
Portfolio management involves the creation and trading of financial instruments to achieve rates of return at certain levels of risk.
The firm is active in four investment areas: closed-end funds, structured investments, exchange-traded funds, and options strategies. Blue Bell does not provide financial planning services.
Blue Bell Private Wealth Management’s Address Information (Local Office):
Blue Bell Executive Campus, 470 Norristown Road, Suite 305, Blue Bell, Pennsylvania 19422-2322
To contact Blue Bell Private Wealth Management:
Tel: (610) 825-3540; (888) 425-8323
Fax: (610) 825-9690
E-mail: [email protected]
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