3-star brokerage rating

Lincoln Financial Investor Advantage Review

Lincoln Financial Group wealth management review, broker rating, and fees. Full service investing account: cost, IRAs, minimums, and stock commissions.

About Lincoln Financial

Lincoln Financial Group is a Fortune 500 financial services firm largely focused in life insurance, annuities and retirement plan services. The company is the fourth ranked life and health insurer by revenue, and it should be noted that the major credit rating agencies all have favorable ratings with respect to the company’s claims-paying ability. All of this size and prestige tend to give clients comfort when investing and purchasing insurance products, but many clients will be exposed to Lincoln through employer-sponsored retirement and supplemental benefit offerings. Employer-sponsored offerings sometimes limit clients’ decision-making ability with respect to choosing one company over another, so many people may find themselves with Lincoln simply because that is who an employer has chosen to administer a plan or benefit.

Lincoln Financial Products

Lincoln Financial could be a “one stop shop” for some investors when one considers the number of options available to meet clients’ needs. As far as annuity products are concerned, the firm offers Lincoln ChoicePlus SM, American Legacy ®, Multi-Fund ®, Wells Fargo New Directions, (Legacy Jefferson Pilot) variable annuities, fixed indexed annuities and fixed annuities. Life Insurance offerings include universal life including MoneyGuard ®, variable universal life, whole life, traditional life and term life, not to mention supplemental disability and health insurance offerings.

Lincoln Financial Advisors are affiliated with Lincoln Financial Group and are fee-based financial advisors that can serve clients with a full spectrum of financial consulting services, including some offered outside Lincoln Financial Group. It should be noted that fee-based financial advisors are not fee-only financial advisors; they are more of a hybrid in that they generate income through fees and commissions. This moniker can be confusing to clients, but is important because investors need to not only like their advisor, they should feel that their interests are being promoted in the relationship. In the case of Lincoln Financial Advisors, they include a disclosure on their website that they may have relationships with companies that share revenue, as well as education and marketing services with Lincoln advisors. Many would argue that an advisor generating even part of his or her income based on commissions will inherently not be able to give advice to a client without bias.

Lincoln Financial Investor Advantage

Because investing for retirement is so important and annuities are a popular area, the Lincoln Investor Advantage is worth taking a closer look. This is a variable annuity product designed to give clients tax-deferred asset growth. The Lincoln Investor Advantage portfolio offers diverse investment options from some of the largest and most well-known companies in financial services, including BlackRock, Fidelity Investments, J.P. Morgan Asset Management, Pimco and Vanguard, just to name a few. Clients are able to allocate assets on their own or call upon Wilshire Associates, who serves as a consultant to Lincoln Investment Advisors Corporation, to design a portfolio that meets clients’ investment needs and risk tolerance.

The Lincoln Investor Advantage menu offers a money market fund with an expense ratio of .48% and the Vanguard Domestic Equity ETF Fund at .65%. These funds constitute the low end of the cost spectrum. As one can imagine, some of the higher expense ratios can be found in alternative and multi-asset investments, with expense ratios in the 2.30% to 2.56% range. These options book-end a menu with numerous options in an array of asset classes that one would expect to see, ranging from bonds (20 fund options) to stocks (60 fund options), both foreign and domestic, from small to large cap.

Through the Lincoln Investor Advantage platform, clients also have access to a selection of over twenty asset allocation funds. These funds allow investors to diversify across multiple asset classes through one fund managed by an investment professional. Each fund has stated objectives which allow investors to align their interests. The current menu offers expense ratios ranging from .79% in a State Street Global Advisors moderate fund that invests in index funds and exchange-traded funds (ETF) to the First Trust/Dow Jones Dividend and Income Allocation Portfolio that seeks dividend-paying stocks and investment grade bonds and has an expense ratio of 1.20%.

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Wilshire Hands On Approach

For investors that prefer a more hands-on approach, they can find asset allocation strategies provided by Wilshire. Armed with the allocation percentage, the investor can choose funds in the appropriate asset classes for different strategies, including rising rates, income, inflation protection, defensive and opportunistic.

Lincoln Financial Website

Clients are able to review and compare pricing for some financial products through Lincoln’s website, and if someone is already a client, their online account. The website offers twenty-four hour access for current clients to view account information and make many types of transactions. There is also twenty-four hour customer service available by phone. Investors not yet decided on Lincoln will find general information describing many of Lincoln’s services, but would most likely need to speak with a customer service representative or financial advisor to collect enough information to make any informed investment decisions. It should be noted that an interest card submitted from Lincoln Financial Group’s website by this reviewer was not followed up on by any Lincoln representative.

Lincoln Financial Investor Advantage Review Summary

Again, Lincoln Financial Group could serve as a “one-stop shop” to meet some clients’ investing needs based on the financial and insurance products they offer. Customers, and potential customers, should be vigilant about the fees and expenses they are paying for various funds. It is also important to have a solid understanding of the motivations behind any financial representative’s advice. As mentioned herein, Lincoln Financial Advisors may receive commissions on some products. It is not being nosey to ask pointed questions to ensure a client’s interests are protected.

Better Priced Alternatives

If you don't want to pay Lincoln Financial' fees, you might be able to find better priced Financial Advisor. If you want a self-directed account, you can open a brokerage account at one of the top rated online brokers, such as Ally Invest free of charge and see if you could beat Lincoln Financial returns.