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Alerus Review of Wealth Management Account

Alerus Financial review of wealth management account 2018: full service brokerage rating, investing commissions and fees, managed account minimum, online trading costs, and IRA fees.

Alerus Review: Background

Alerus Financial Corporation, located in Minnesota, North Dakota and Arizona, offers business and consumer banking services, residential mortgages, employer-sponsored retirement plans, as well as financial planning services including retirement planning, tax planning, college funding, philanthropic giving, estate and insurance planning.

Alerus Investment and Fiduciary Services delivers a full range of wealth management products and services, including tax management, management and consulting, estate administration, revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts and conservatorship administration, among other services.

Is Alerus Financial Safe and Legitimate Company or a Scam?

With all the information in this article and from the internet it is obvious that Alerus Financial is not a scam. It is safe and legitimate investment services provider.

Banking and Mortgage

Personal banking options include standard fare: checking, debit cards, savings and CDs, loans and credit cards.

Alerus offers several CD options: Regular Term CD, Blueprint CD, Alerus Flex CD and Individual Retirement Account CD.

The highlights for each type of CD:

Terms: All terms are different, though all begin at six months and can range up to 84 months (except for the Blueprint CD, which ranges from six to 18 months).

Maintenance fees: None, except for the Individual Retirement Account, which charges $25 annually.

Interest rate: Determined at account opening.

Qualifications: Must have a personal Alerus checking account for both the Blueprint CD and the Alerus Flex CD.

Minimum opening balance: $2,500 for the Regular Term CD, $100 for the Blueprint CD, $1,000 for Alerus Flex and $2,500 for the Individual Retirement Account.

Withdrawals: Early withdrawal penalty may apply for all, though the Alerus Flex offers one withdraw without penalty one time per month.

Alerus utilizes a unique banking option called Popmoney, a personal payment service that allows Alerus banking customers to send money to people they know quickly and easily using the recipient’s email address or cell phone number.

Alerus offers mortgage services, but not much information is detailed on the website. The company does offer a closing guarantee in conjunction with its mortgages: If Alerus doesn’t close a home sale according to the terms of the approval letter, Alerus guarantees $10,000 to a home seller.

Industry-Specific Services

Alerus also offers unique banking services targeting clients in specific industries: professional services, small businesses, agriculture and non-profits and/or foundations.

The following banking options are offered to individuals in the following industries:

Professional services (for law firms, medical practices, accounting firms and other professional firms):

  • Flexible approach to credit
  • Flexibility with cash flow cycles
  • Individual private banking options
  • Retirement options for companies
  • Employee stock ownership plans

Small business

- Small business online banking system with specific banking based on the needs of small companies
- Employee retirement and self-employed retirement options (SIMPLE IRAs, Simplified Employee Pension IRA and 401ks)


- Ag loans and credit lines
- Business banking for farmers
- Ag real estate loans
- Ag insurance

Non-profits and foundations

- Planned giving programs
- Planned giving trust administration
- Investment management

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Alerus offers traditional and Roth IRAs, and also handles 401K rollovers and retirement planning for individuals. Alerus also offers retirement plan advisory services for businesses, including employer-sponsored plans and employee stock ownership plans.

Wealth Management and Investing

Within Alerus’ Wealth Management services are financial and estate planning, education funding, trust and fiduciary services, retirement plans and IRA rollovers, philanthropic giving, investment management and private banking.

Alerus’ Blueprint portfolios, a series of portfolios (and the only established portfolios offered by Alerus Wealth Management) are designed to help investors with various investment timelines. They are comprised of mutual funds run by consistent, low-cost fund managers.

These portfolios range from conservative to aggressive, and each has had the corresponding five-year performance returns:

- Conservative Income Portfolio: 2.4%
- Income Portfolio: 5.7%
- Balanced Portfolio: 7.5%
- Growth and Income Portfolio: 8.4%
- Growth Portfolio: 10.2%
- Aggressive Portfolio: 11.5%

Blueprint’s strategy includes the following stocks, bonds and fixed income, and all combinations are dependent on which portfolio investors choose, whether conservative or aggressive:

Diversified bonds/fixed income:

- Baird Aggregate Bond Instl (BAGIX)
- PIMCO Mortgage Opportunities Instl (PMZIX)
- Alliance Berstein High Income Advisor (AGDYX)

Global/international stocks:

- DFA World ex US Core Equity Instl (DFWIX)

U.S. Stocks:

- Vanguard 500 Index Admiral (VFIAX)
- Vanguard Selected Value Inv (VASVX)
- Janus Enterprise I (JMGRX)
- DFA U.S. Small Cap Value I (DFSVX)
- Vanguard Small Cap Growth Index Admiral (VSGAX)

Specialty/Alternatives: - Vanguard REIT Index Admiral (VGSLX)

Note: The Conservative Income Portfolio is comprised completely of funds in the diversified bonds/fixed income category.

The investment management fee for all portfolios is 1%, and the weighted average portfolio expense for each is as follows:

- Conservative Income: 0.34&
- Income: 0.30&
- Balanced: 0.28&
- Growth/Income: 0.27&
- Growth: 0.24&
- Aggressive: 0.24&

Alerus’ account minimum is $5,000, and there are no contribution limits.

Alerus offers very few established portfolios—all others are “self-directed” or “self-created,” meaning they are created specifically for each client based on their specific situation; therefore, no two portfolios are the same.

Alerus investment consultants often work with specific fund families and use those funds’ “portfolio series” – for example, an investment consultant may use American Funds Growth Portfolio to build on an individual client’s goals.

Alerus Review: Website

Alerus’ website can be incredibly frustrating for prospective clients. Unlike other websites which highlight specific fund families, the funds Alerus offers are nowhere to be found. Only after contacting an investment consultant can a prospective client actually get answers about funds, management fees, returns, etc.

There are some valuable educational components on the site; however, they are obscured by the fact that no substantive information exists. It’s possible that they lose clients quickly because of the lack of detailed information on their website.

Alerus Review: Pros

- Alerus offers innovative industry-specific banking options for professionals in many different fields, including small businesses, agriculture, non-profits and foundations as well as professionals in law, medical or other fields.

- Alerus banking customers can utilize Popmoney, a quick way to transfer money to other individuals.

Alerus Review: Cons

- Alerus’ website,, offers vague, nonspecific information, leaving prospective clients in the dark.

- The Blueprint Portfolios are the only established/unique portfolios offered by Alerus; the rest of their portfolios are self-directed, which opens the door for confusion and unfortunately, with the lack of information on their website, only compounds the problem of ambiguous information for potential clients.

- Potential clients have to work with an investment consultant to get any specific fund information, adding unnecessary steps for individuals ready to invest immediately.

Alerus Financial reviewed by Rating: 3.5