The need for unbiased wealth management has become increasingly prominent as the world continues to shift towards a remote reality — and registered investment advisors (RIAs) are at the center of this trend. With growing uncertainty in the markets today, businesses and high-net-worth individuals are turning to RIAs for their self-governing nature, fiduciary value and sophisticated financial expertise. In an effort to shine a light on the RIA space, FINTRX explores three of the largest registered investment advisors (RIAs) based in Virginia.
1. Towers Watson Investment Services, Inc. (TWIS) = ~$44.8B+ in AUM
Towers Watson Investment Services, Inc. (TWIS) is an Arlington, Virginia-based registered investment advisor offering asset allocation, risk hedging, portfolio construction, financial planning and fund monitoring services to clients worldwide. TWIS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Willis Towers Watson US LLC., which is ultimately owned by Willis Towers Watson PLC. TWIS was incorporated in 1993 and became registered as an investment advisor with the SEC in 1994. TWIS provides investment advisory services to help clients manage investment complexity, establish risk tolerance and improve governance, combining innovative thinking with capable execution so clients can balance potential risk and return. The firm develops specific strategies designed to offer financial predictability and stability for a variety of clients that have substantial levels of invested assets including defined benefit, defined contribution, other pension and profit sharing plan trusts, endowments, foundations, institutional trusts, insurance companies and nonprofit organizations.
- Founded: 1993
- Headquarters: Arlington, VA
- Discretionary Assets: ~$41.9B+
- Non-Discretionary Assets: ~$2.9B+
- Total AUM: ~$44.8B+
- Specialties: Asset allocation, risk hedging, portfolio construction, financial planning and fund monitoring services
2. Sands Capital Management, LLC = ~$44.6B+ in AUM
Founded in 1992, Sands Capital Management, LLC is an Arlington, Virginia-based investor in pioneering startups worldwide. The firm's approach combines fundamental analysis with inspired thinking to identify unique businesses (with sustainable above-average growth) that are essentially shaping the future. Often, they possess game-changing qualities that allow them to create their own growth drivers through new product development, entering new markets, or innovating within existing markets. Concentrated investing - allocating more money to (what the firm believes) are the right types of wealth-creating businesses - has been a powerful way to magnify the impact of their stock selection over time. While some investors assert that a concentrated portfolio poses greater risk in terms of higher short-term volatility, Sands Capital Management believes that portfolios diluted with larger numbers of holdings may introduce the risk of not knowing the businesses well enough. Today, the firm serves the long-term growth objectives of institutions and fund sponsors in over 40 countries - though its geographic focus is primarily in the eastern United States and the United Kingdom.
- Founded: 1992
- Headquarters: Arlington, VA
- Discretionary Assets: ~$44.6B+
- Non-Discretionary Assets: $0
- Total AUM: ~$44.6B+
- Specialties: Investment philosophy & approach, stewardship, public & private growth strategies, venture capital
3. Investure, LLC = ~$28.6B+ in AUM
Founded in 2003, Investure, LLC is a Charlottesville, Virginia-based registered investment advisor serving as the outsourced investment office to endowments and private foundations where building a high-quality organization in-house is not economical or preferable. The firm is responsible for asset allocation and manager selection in multiple asset classes including (but not limited) to fixed income, global public equities and alternative investments including hedge funds and private equity. Investure is a growing, fast-paced, high-energy culture where there is a vast opportunity for learning. The firm intentionally limits the number of clients it serves so that they can provide optimal levels of service for each. As an independent, employee-owned company, Investure offers the experience, continuity and infrastructure needed to execute long-term, multi-asset class investment strategies.
- Founded: 2003
- Headquarters: Charlottesville, VA
- Discretionary Assets: ~$17.2B+
- Non-Discretionary Assets: ~$11.3B+
- Total AUM: ~$28.6B+
- Specialties: Fixed income, global public equities, hedge funds
In general terms, a registered investment advisor (RIA) is a firm advising or managing the wealth of high-net-worth individuals or institutions. Directly regulated by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), RIAs offer a wide range of financial services — from wealth and investment management to direct lending and personal finance education, etc. An important distinction regarding RIAs is the fiduciary obligation to always act in the best interest of their clients.
For more information on RIAs, check out our recent blog post: Exploring the Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) Channel, or visit the FINTRX Resource Library below.
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