Cambridge Investment Research Advisors: what do you need to know?

1 min readLast updated May 30, 2024by Unbiased team

Examine the key features and considerations associated with Cambridge Investment Research Advisors' offerings, with insights into the firm’s services, fees, and investment philosophy.

Summary 

  • Cambridge Investment Research Advisors operates a nationwide network of over 3,000 independent investment advisor representatives. 

  • The firm’s fee structures vary across different programs and platforms, with minimum investments ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. 

  • Unbiased can connect you with a trusted financial advisor to help you tailor your investments to meet your financial goals.  

Introduction to Cambridge Investment Research Advisors 

Cambridge Investment Research (CIRA) is headquartered in Fairfield, Iowa, and oversees over $80 billion in client assets. The firm primarily serves a clientele of more than 300,000, consisting of non-high-net-worth individuals, affluent clients, government entities, pension plans, and charitable organizations.  

Established in 1981 by Executive Chairman Eric Schwartz, its investment advisory arm, Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, was formed in 2005. CIRA operates with over three thousand nationwide advisors who function as independent contractors under CIRA, many of whom are also registered with CIRA's broker-dealer sister company, Cambridge Investment Research Inc. 

Find out more about the firm in our Cambridge Investment Research Advisors review. 

What services do Cambridge Investment Research Advisors offer? 

Cambridge Investment Research Advisors offers a comprehensive range of financial services, including financial planning and consulting services, that cater to individuals and corporate entities alike. Whether it's investment management on a discretionary or non-discretionary basis, CIRA provides tailored solutions to help clients achieve their financial goals. Their advisor representatives may also recommend third-party money managers, offering clients access to a broader spectrum of investment opportunities. 

In addition to these core services, CIRA offers a suite of ancillary services designed to support financial advisors in their practice. These include investment products, practice management, marketing services, succession and acquisition assistance, outsourcing solutions, simplified transitions, and compliance support. 

What is Cambridge Investment Research Advisors’ investment philosophy? 

Cambridge Investment Research Advisors' investment philosophy centers on providing tailored guidance to clients while leveraging the expertise and specializations of their advisor representatives.  

While each advisor may employ unique strategies and analysis methods, they typically offer guidance on a wide range of investments, excluding futures and commodity contracts. 

CIRA maintains stringent criteria for recommending outside money managers. They mandate that advisor representatives only suggest managers approved by CIRA and its parent company.  

This approach ensures clients receive recommendations aligned with the firm's standards and objectives, reinforcing trust in their investment advisors' expertise and recommendations. 

What is Cambridge Investment Research Advisor’s pricing and fee structure? 

Cambridge Investment Research Advisors offers a range of investment services with varying fee structures. 

The minimum investment required for the WealthPort Program is $5,000, though higher minimums may apply for specific strategies within the program.  

Other accounts typically have a minimum investment of $25,000, which can vary depending on the advisor representative. 

Fees for financial planning and consulting services can be fixed, with fees generally not exceeding $25,000 for individuals or charged hourly up to $500. Alternatively, fees may be based on a percentage of the client's assets under management. 

For investment management services, CIRA offers various platforms with different fee schedules, such as the Cambridge Managed Account Platform (CMAP), Flexible Managed Account Platform (FlexMAP), WealthPort Wrap, and others. Fees can be flat-rate or based on a tiered or breakpoint fee structure. Tiered fees typically start at 1.50% of client assets under management for the first $100,000, decreasing to 1.25% for the next $150,000 and 1% for amounts over $250,000. Breakpoint fees start at 1.50% for accounts up to $100,000, 1.25% for accounts between $100,000 and $250,000, and 1% for accounts over $250,000. 

Is Cambridge Investment Research Advisors trustworthy? 

Cambridge Investment Research Advisors has faced regulatory scrutiny, with 16 disciplinary actions reported in recent filings with the SEC. One significant issue is highlighted by the fact that the SEC brought charges against the firm in 2022 regarding its failure to disclose material conflicts of interest related to its selection of mutual funds and wrap accounts for clients. These regulatory actions raise concerns about transparency and potential conflicts of interest, impacting the perception of Cambridge Investment Research Advisors' ratings and trustworthiness. 

What are the pros and cons of Cambridge Investment Research Advisors? 

Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of Cambridge Investment Research Advisors offers valuable insight into its performance and reputation in the financial services industry. 

Pros 

  • Advisors located nationwide  

  • A comprehensive range of financial services 

  • Ancillary support services 

  • Diverse client base 

Cons 

  • Regulatory scrutiny 

  • Conflicts of interest 

  • Complex fee structure 

  • Lack of transparency 

How to open an account with Cambridge Investment Research Advisors? 

To open an account with Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, you can contact the firm directly at 800-777-6080.  

The firm’s website also allows you to input your location and annual revenue to be put in touch with a Business Development Director. 

Seek expert financial advice 

Cambridge Investment Research Advisors presents a robust suite of financial services tailored to meet the diverse needs of its clientele. With a nationwide network of over 3,000 advisors and a comprehensive range of offerings, the firm demonstrates its commitment to providing tailored solutions to help clients achieve their financial goals. While facing regulatory scrutiny and challenges regarding fee structures and transparency, clients can benefit from the firm's expertise and broad service offerings. 

Let Unbiased connect you with a trusted financial advisor for expert financial advice tailored to your investment goals. 

Writers

Unbiased team

Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing and retirement, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.