Facet: Comprehensive Financial Planning in an Online-Only World

Business process - flat design style illustration on blue background.
ilyaliren / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Facet is a modern take on the traditional brokerage industry. A combination of the professional guidance of Certified Financial Planners with online capabilities and a unique twist on fee-based service, Facet is hard to cubbyhole into just one specific category. 

Facet stands out from its competitors in several ways. In one sense, the firm is an online brokerage, as it doesn’t offer in-person consultations and financial plans are provided electronically. But the company also offers a level of service that online stock brokers simply can’t compete with — personalized financial plans developed by well-trained CFPs. For this reason, the firm is better compared with robo-advisors that also provide CFP-based financial services. 

In a world moving toward zero commissions, Facet’s all-inclusive fee may seem high to some; for others, who may be used to paying an asset-based fee that’s a percentage of total assets, Facet’s fees may seem low. To help sort out whether or not Facet is a good option for you, here’s an overview of the products and services offered by the firm, including comparisons with other brokerages.

Quick Take

Facet gets credit for combining professional-grade financial advice in an online package. However, it’s primarily for the mid-level “mass affluent,” as its services may be too pricey for smaller investors and too hands-off for the wealthy.

Equity Trades $0 (monthly fee between $100 and $500) 
Account Minimum $0 (none listed)
Promotion N/A

Here’s the information you’ll find in this Facet review:

Investing for Everyone

About Facet

When it comes to the world of wealth management, Facet is just a baby. Based in Baltimore, Maryland, the firm only came into existence in 2016. As of January 2020, Facet listed just 99 employees, with its primary $33 million investment coming from investment firm Warburg Pincus and venture capital firm Slow Ventures.  

[Back to top]

Pros and Cons of Facet

Facet is one of just a few online-based firms that provide CFP-based consultations. But like its competitors, it has both pros and cons. 


  • Portfolios professionally managed by CFPs
  • Management fees based on level of service; assessed annually
  • No account minimums
  • $0 commissions (part of overall fee package)


  • Costs and offered services not clearly outlined on website
  • Can only interface with CFP advisors online or via web conferencing

[Back to top]

Facet at a Glance

Here’s a quick look at the features and benefits of Facet:

Facet at a Glance
Account Minimum $0 (none listed)
Stock Commission $0 (part of monthly fee)
Option Commission $0 (part of monthly fee)
Commission-Free ETFs Unlimited (part of monthly fee)
Zero-Transaction-Fee Mutual Funds Unlimited (part of monthly fee)
Investment Selection Broad; at CFP professional’s discretion, unless clients choose to manage their own
Customer Service Dedicated CFP professional available at nearly any time
Mobile App N/A
News and Research N/A (provided directly from CFP professional)
Miscellaneous Fees N/A (part of monthly fee)
Current Promotion N/A

Facet isn’t like other most online brokerages that offer DIY trading and per-transaction or AUM fees. When it comes to individual services, most are provided by the company’s CFPs, including advice on when to buy or sell a stock. Here’s a breakdown of how Facet delivers its services to customers across various parameters. 

Investing for Everyone

[Back to top]

Individual Services Reviews

As a full-service financial services firm that operates entirely online, Facet doesn’t offer the do-it-yourself individual services that many popular online brokerages do. In some ways, however, this unique approach offers capabilities beyond those of traditional online firms. Here’s a look at some standard points of comparison.

Trading Experience

Facet doesn’t offer the traditional trading experience you might get with other online brokers, such as Fidelity or E-Trade. Facet, in this sense, is more akin to a full-service brokerage. Your CFP-professional will handle your trading for you, in line with your investment objectives and risk tolerance, as established in your mutually developed financial plan. In other words, Facet doesn’t offer a retail-facing trading platform — all of your trading is handled in-house by your hired professional, based on your personalized needs.

A Beginner’s Guide: How To Invest in Stocks

[Back to top]

Account and Investment Minimums

Facet has no account minimums.

Commissions and Fund Expenses

All of the costs of managing your account are wrapped up into a single annual management fee at Facet. As such, you don’t have to worry about individual trading commissions or mutual fund expenses. This makes it harder to make an apples-to-apples comparison of trading costs with popular online trading firms. 

Learn: How To Decide Between Mutual Funds and Stocks

Trading Technology

As Facet doesn’t offer an online trading platform, it doesn’t have the same types of trading technology as online trading firms. All trades are executed at no additional charge by Facet’s CFP professionals.

Investing for Everyone

[Back to top]


Usability is in the eye of the beholder. For certain types of clients, Facet may seem not very usable at all, in the sense that there is no facility for online trading or other customizable interface for DIY traders. However, those who need the full services of a financial professional and don’t need or want a usable interface won’t mind. 

Mobile and Emerging Tech

As Facet isn’t a do-it-yourself platform, it doesn’t offer customers the traditional mobile trading app that other online brokers have. 

Range of Offerings and Investment Selection

Facet has a theoretically unlimited range of offerings and investment selection. Your CFP professional will work with you to determine the investments that best suit your needs and will develop a financial plan on your behalf, buying and selling various securities. That being said, Facet focuses on passive management, so you can anticipate that when it comes to investments, the firm will focus primarily on index funds, ETFs or both. 

Perhaps it’s best to think of Facet more as a full-service financial provider rather than just an asset manager. In addition to investments, Facet’s CFP professionals can assist you with everything from company stock option plans and 401(k) plans to IRAs and employee benefits. You can even link your outside accounts with Facet so that the firm can better manage your overall client experience. Facet has the capability to directly manage accounts at four investment firms: Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, Pershing and Fidelity. 

ETF vs. Mutual Funds: Same Objectives, Different Methods

[Back to top]

News and Research

Facet isn’t set up as an online dispenser of financial education and information. If you’re looking for daily news on the latest hot stock, for example, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Similarly, although Facet specializes in providing information about retirement planning, employee stock options, investment options and the like, it offers this information firsthand from a CFP professional — not through a link on a website. For hands-on access to online information, you’ll want to use other sites as a supplement to the comprehensive financial planning offered by a Facet advisor.

Investing for Everyone

Customer Service

Facet offers phone and video support to its customers. Meetings can be arranged with CFP professionals at nearly any time. When you call in to Facet, you’ll be connected with your own dedicated CFP professional and you can ask as many questions as you want. Advisors are available for consultation in the evenings and on weekends as well, and the consultations can be as short or as long as customers need. 

See: Wall Street’s Biggest Winners and Losers in 2019


Facet uses industry-standard security measures to keep client data safe. Data always belongs to clients and is hosted on servers using Amazon Web Services. Whether the data is in-transit or at-rest, Facet uses encryption to protect it. 


Clients are charged a monthly fee that ranges between $100 and $500, or between $1,200 and $6,000 annually. There is no minimum time-length sign-up requirement. On the plus side, all you’ll ever pay is that monthly fee. On the other hand, costs aren’t quite as clearly defined as with other online brokerages, which charge a set fee per transaction or an annual fee based on the amount of assets you hold at the firm. You also won’t know the specific fees you’ll pay until you actually meet with your Facet advisor. Clients requiring a “more extensive relationship” will be charged a monthly fee on the higher side of the range. 

Facet maintains that their “pay-as-you-go” style matches client costs with the level of service they need, rather than how many transactions they make or how many assets they hold. 

Investing for Everyone

Learn: Investing for Beginners: What First-Time Investors Need To Know

[Back to top]

What Facet Is Best For

Facet is best for the following features:

  • Customer service
  • Range of offerings and investment selection
  • Commissions and fund expenses

Note that your broad range of investment choices are in the hands of your CFP advisor and are not ones that you can pick from via an online trading platform. Note also that your commissions and fund expenses are covered by your annual fee, which depending on your perspective, may be high or low. If you’re a very active trader, this fee may seem quite low. But if you never trade your own portfolio and don’t need much advice, the fee may seem high. 

[Back to top]

Where Facet Falls Short

Here’s where Facet comes up short compared with some other brokers:

  • Mobile and emerging technologies
  • Trading experience
  • News and research 

Bear in mind that it’s hard to make an apples-to-apples comparison to other online brokers in these areas because your CFP professional will handle your actual trading and is your primary source of news and research.

[Back to top]

Current Promotions

Facet doesn’t currently offer any sign-up bonuses or promotions. 

[Back to top]

Comparison: Facet vs. Other Brokers

Facet doesn’t really match up well in comparison with traditional online brokers like E-Trade and Fidelity. However, there are some other firms that offer CFP-provided advice on a fee-based platform, as outlined below. 

Investing for Everyone
Broker Comparison
Broker Account Minimum CFP Access Fees
Betterment Premium $100,000 Unlimited 0.40% annually
Personal Capital $100,000, $200,000 or $1 million Either a financial advisory team or two dedicated financial advisors 0.89% annually on amounts up to $1 million 
Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium  $25,000 Unlimited One-time planning fee of $300, then $30/month

Remember that the above firms aren’t exact matches with Facet. Betterment and Schwab, for example, operate robo-advisor services with a CFP overlay and do not provide clients with a dedicated CFP, like Facet. Personal Capital is more of a hybrid advisor, providing both digital management services and CFP support. Other online brokers, such as E-Trade, offer zero commissions on most equity and ETF trades but don’t offer dedicated CFP professionals for an annual fee.

[Back to top]

Should You Invest With Facet?

If you’re a do-it-yourself trader, Facet isn’t the best option for you. The firm is most like a traditional, full-service firm wrapped in an online brokerage package. Facet is most appropriate for clients in need of full-service financial planning but who are comfortable with working via video calls and online conferencing rather than meeting in person. 

One of the major strengths of Facet is that it only employs Certified Financial Planners. CFPs are specially trained financial advisors that must act as fiduciaries — meaning, they are required by law to put client interests ahead of their own. This may seem like a rule that all financial advisors should follow, but the truth is they don’t.

The average advisor at your local or online brokerage firm is simply a registered representative, and they are only held to the “suitability” standard. This means they can only make recommendations that are considered “suitable” for you, but they aren’t required to meet the higher “fiduciary” standard that CFPs are. For many clients, this is an important distinction and consideration when choosing a brokerage. 

Of course, beyond standard online brokerages, Facet has competitors in the “digital-meets-CFP” category as well. Robo-advisors like Betterment and Schwab Intelligent Portfolios have elevated their game by adding fee-based, CFP-directed financial planning services to their standard digital platforms.

Overall, Facet offers an attractive package for clients that need fiduciary-based, comprehensive financial planning. Investors should, however, consider the costs and service levels provided by competitors to determine which is the best option for their money. 

Keep Reading: Beginning Investors, These Are the 10 Best Online Stockbrokers for You

 [Back to top]

For the latest GOBankingRates evaluations of other top retirement accounts, online brokerages and other information on investing, check out these articles:

Information is accurate as of Dec. 3, 2019; commission rates are accurate as of March. 10, 2020. This content is not provided by Facet. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by Facet. This site may be compensated through the bank advertiser Affiliate Program.


See Today's Best
Banking Offers