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Investment Firms That Specialize in Wealth Management for Professional Athletes

Leaving a legacy is extremely important for professional athletes. Stats and trophies are a part of it, however what to do with accumulated wealth also plays a major role in the legend you become.

That’s why many that are in this field hire a dedicated financial advisor that specializes in wealth management for athletes. A truly unique job requires a unique set of financial services.

What makes financial planning for professional athletes unique?

Professional athletes, as well as others in the entertainment industry, experience a very large influx of money very quickly; In the case of boxers – sometimes overnight. 

Oftentimes the individuals come from humble beginnings and are thus more susceptible to making rash decisions with their sudden earnings. Many athletes make major purchases immediately after making it to the professional level – and rightfully so. But creating good saving and investment habits is an absolute necessity in order to avoid disasters in the future.

What are some benefits of hiring a financial advisor?

Most professional athletes make the bare minimum amount of money (which is about $250,000) which requires to start thinking about hiring a financial advisor. Usually, this is true even in the athlete’s first contract year.

This is also the year when hiring a wealth management firm can be the most beneficial, because setting up your habits early is absolutely essential. Did you know that 15% of NFL players eventually go broke? 

Let’s say you’ve made it to the NFL and have begun making the minimum salary of $660,000. The top NFL financial advisors will help you plan to both set aside money when your first and second contract is signed as well as plan for the future on your third and fourth contracts. A good advisor will tailor their service for you and work to help you provide for generations to come.

This is true not only for the NFL, but for the NBA, PGA, MLB, NHL, UFC, and many other leagues. Benefits include help with:

  • Charitable donations
  • Tax planning
  • Estate planning
  • Investment portfolio management and risk assessment
  • Leading negotiations for sponsorship deals and other investments
  • Guidance on financial teams (publicist, accountants, insurance, etc)
  • Avoiding mistakes

What to look out for?

Aside from hiring another schmuck that just wants to take your money, professional athletes should be aware of potential fraud; and in the worst case scenario, schemes that can potentially cost them millions. Hiring an advisor from a reputable agency can mitigate these risks. Always do your due diligence and be sure to get a second opinion.

Top Financial Advisors for Athletes

Edward Jones

You know what would be a great quality of someone that takes care of your money? Them actually truly believe that you are going to live a long and healthy life.

That’s exactly what Edward Jones financial advisors do. They assume that you are going to live to the ripe age of at least 90 in all of their financial planning. If you like the sound of that, then you too believe that EdWard Jones is off to a great start.

One of the major benefits of working with Edward Jones is that they help you prepare for the unexpected events in life like inflation (a hot topic in 2021), market declines, long term care, and legacy.

Wells Fargo

With 140 years of experience, you’ll be hardpress to find many others that have the proven track record of Wells Fargo Advisors. They have more than 12,400 advisors worldwide and 1.8 trillion in assets managed (although that number doesn’t apply to all clients, not just professional athletes). 

Wells Fargo as a whole represents all clients in many different fields – however they have some of the most renowned agents in the sports business. They believe that wealth management centers around family governance, philanthropy, trust, and estate planning, and risk management in making investments.

Wells Fargo also has groups that specialize in professional athletes, like the Curley Wealth Management Group, that prides itself on their trademarked “Envision” process.

Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanly employs financial advisors that are no strangers to complicated situations that can arrive.  In fact the unique financial profile of professional athletes and coaches is exactly what inspired the creation of Morgan Stanley Global Sports & Entertainment

Their traditional wealth management firm has local agents in 27 different states, and has financial educational material for all sports outfits including athletes at the collegiate level. They have a mission to give back 80 years of experience, and are working behind the scenes.

Meryl Lynch

Rick Baker, a managing director and wealth management advisor at Meryl, says that he’s never been off the clock since working with entertainers (including athletes).  His outfit believes that working with athletes requires delivering a 24 hour, 7 day a week concierge service. 

Meryl Lynch has also recently joined forces with the College for Financial Planning to start a new designation program for wealth advisors that serve the unique need of athletes. 

Intersect Capital

Intersect is a firm that manages over $2 billion in contract wealth. It is also one that believes in being very straightforward and even has a list of the top 50 reasons athletes stay wealthy that includes “wearing condoms.” 

Their goal is to break the cycle of how their clients feel, think, and manage money. One of their wealth advisors, a former comedian and columnist for ESPN, opts for a casual approach and believes that one of the reasons that athletes have the ability to handle their money so well is because they learn how to golf. 

AWM Capital

This firm was founded by former athletes and aims to represent athletes in hopes to keep them from being exploited by building a foundation for generational wealth. They even have professional athletes on staff, including Zach Miller who played 8 years in the NFL. 

The firm has an entire section of their website dedicated to Football, but also specializes in other sports like the PGA and MLB. They even produce a podcast on financial planning dedicated to the MLB, PGA, and NFL!

Mariner Wealth Advisors

We really like Mariners ultimate goal: To help you figure out what’s important so that you can achieve your goals. And one thing that’s important is doubling down when your earnings are the highest. Financial management in your peak earnings years is extremely important and helping pro athletes when it matters most is one of the trademarks of this firm. 

Mariner helps over 100 professionals at any given time, and they even have a dedicated tax team. Mariner has many unique services as it pertains to individuals like their trust service, insurance solutions, and wealth planning.

RBC Wealth Management

RBC plays right into their clients’ strengths which is discipline and coach-ability. Their team also has some high profile athletes on the roster, like former Canadian Olympian John Hastings. 

He and others at RBC can help you create a spending plan, change your attitude about money, and help you to create an investment playbook. Their solutions include wealth planning and protection, investments, private wealth services, trust  and estate planning, business services, and credit and lending services.

UBS Wealth Management

UBS is the firm that famously received a 1.5 million dollar donation from Kyrie Irving to provide support via the KAI empowerment initiative and  for more than 12 WNBA players that opted to sit out in a recent prior season.

And for good reason. This firm takes a unique approach by looking at the challenge from your point of view. They find a solution that works for you, no matter what the economy or life unfolds. They operate on three L’s: Liquidity, Longevity, and Legacy.

OFS Wealth

OFS Wealth isn’t made up of Athletes, but to compensate they spend a lot of time educating their clients to gain trust in the long term. Since they have a diverse client base, they are well versed in the differences between the typical client versus the Athlete. 

Managing director Frank Zecca believes one of the challenges with Athletes is that they don’t often hear the word “no”, however the positive side is that they are goal-oriented.

Summit Trail Advisors

Peter Lee, an advisor at Summit Trail, played quarterback at Wisconsin and has a multi-tiered approach to working with his clients. Summit changes gears throughout the lifecycle of a player’s career.  

Approaching the first contract will be more about budgeting and forecasting while generational wealth and estate planning is the focus of the subsequent contracts.

Summit Trail aims to strike an investment alliance with their clients – one that is supported by 6 valuable resources like market research and white paper publications.

Homrich Berg

Homrich Berg manages close to $10 billion for over 2,000 family relationships throughout the US. We really like their 7 resources that create an amazing client experience

One long-time agent there is Drew Klepchick who’s based in Atlanta, GA. He’s been a wealth advisor for close to 40 years and has found his niche with professional golfers. 

He says he makes time to find his clients, and sit them down because of the busy and chaotic schedule that can come with being a Pro Golfer.

There are other jobs where a large influx of money comes in a short span of time and this isn’t something that is limited to athletes. However the nature of the game changes since it’s such a unique job, That’s why it’s important that the advisor, or firm you go with knows what it takes to handle the unique financial situations of a professional athlete.