Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Athens, Georgia
If you're looking for a financial advisor, it can be difficult to know which one can best meet your needs. In an attempt to streamline your search, SmartAsset compiled this list of the top advisory firms in Athens, Georgia. We dug through company records and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings to bring you essential information about the city's top firms. If you’re still unsure of whom to work with, SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool can connect you with up to three advisors who serve your area.
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|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||Cannon Financial Strategists, Inc. Find an Advisor||$1,125,380,893||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|2||Family WMS, LLC Find an Advisor||$779,103,419||$1,000,000|| || |
|3||Elwood & Goetz Find an Advisor||$558,460,716||$1,000,000|| || |
|4||Elevate Wealth Advisory, Inc. Find an Advisor||$312,545,715||$250,000|| || |
What We Use in Our Methodology
To find the top financial advisors in Athens, we first identified all firms registered with the SEC in the city. Next, we filtered out firms that don't offer financial planning services, those that don't serve primarily individual clients and those that have disclosures on their record. The qualifying firms were then ranked according to the following criteria:
- AUMFirms with more total assets under management are ranked higher.
- Individual Client CountFirms who serve more individual clients (as opposed to institutional clients) are ranked higher.
- Clients Per AdvisorFirms with a lower ratio of clients per financial advisor are ranked higher.
- Age of FirmFirms that have been in business longer are ranked higher.
All information is accurate as of the writing of this article. This list may include firms that have a business relationship with SmartAsset, in which SmartAsset is compensated for lead referrals. Such relationships have no impact on our rankings, and firms are included and ranked based strictly on the above criteria.
Cannon Financial Strategists
Cannon Financial Strategists, Inc. is first up on our Athens list. A fee-only firm, Cannon employs more advisors than any other firm on this list. The client base is mostly comprised of individuals, but the firm also works with retirement plans, charitable organizations and corporations. There is no minimum account size needed to become a client.
Cannon Financial Strategists Background
Cannon Financial Strategists was founded back in 1983. Its three owners are Kim Young, chief executive officer (CEO) Kelly Dixon and senior advisor George H. Williams.
This firm provides investment advisory services, which it divides into four categories:
- Wealth Management: Your advisor develops an asset allocation strategy that is then implemented across all of your accounts. Tax efficiency is a primary focus.
- Asset Management: Similar to the above, but a distinct asset allocation is implemented in each individual account rather than holistically.
- Direct Mutual Fund: You'll receive a portfolio of mutual funds that reflects a tailored asset allocation.
- Donor-Advised Fund: An advisor helps facilitate your charitable gifts through the use of donor-advised funds. These are vehicles for giving that are sponsored by public charities, and provide immediate tax benefits.
Cannon Financial Strategists also provides financial planning services, as well as advice to retirement plan sponsors and participants.
Cannon Financial Strategists Investment Philosophy
Cannon Financial Strategists primarily implements its investment strategies via asset allocations. The firm considers each client’s investment objectives, risk tolerance and time horizon, then ensures those factors are represented in their portfolio. This is done by adjusting the asset class proportions within the portfolio; asset classes include equities, fixed-income securities, alternative investments and cash.
When evaluating potential investments, the firm employs fundamental analysis. This is the practice of using a company or fund’s financial documents to gauge its intrinsic value. The goal is to identify securities that are being undervalued by the market.
Family WMS, LLC is a fee-only firm located in northwestern Athens that deals almost exclusively with high-net-worth individuals, as 87% of its clients fall into this category. The firm requires $1 million minimum to open an account.
The staff of advisors at this firm includes an certified investment management analyst (CIMA).
Family WMS Background
Family WMS has been in business since 2003. The firm is still owned by its co-founders Leslie White Allen and Scott Shows. In addition to its Athens headquarters, this firm runs a second office in Memphis, Tennessee.
The advisory services at Family WMS can be split into three main groups: investment services, tax services and financial planning. While the first two sets of services are fairly self-explanatory, financial planning at Family WMS encompasses many smaller subsets of services. These include cash flow modeling, retirement planning, college fund planning, income tax planning, asset protection planning and more.
Family WMS Investment Strategy
The investment portfolio creation process at Family WMS starts and ends with the client's personal needs and goals. To ensure that the firm builds a plan that aligns with your needs, an advisor will create a customized investment policy statement (IPS) for you. This will include information like your risk tolerance, time horizon, income needs and specific objectives. Due to the ongoing nature of Family WMS' investment services, the firm will continually monitor your portfolio and make adjustments on an as-needed basis.
Elwood & Goetz
Elwood & Goetz ranks third of the list of top financial advisors in Athens, but it boasts the most certified financial planners (CFPs) with a total of 10 CFPs on staff. Two-thirds of its client base is comprised of non-high-net-worth individuals, with high-net-worth individuals and pension/profit-sharing plans filling out the rest. For investment advisory and financial planning services, there is a minimum account size of $1 million.
Elwood & Goetz is a fee-only firm. This means the entirety of its earnings comes from the fees that clients pay. This avoids the conflicts of interest you'll see at a fee-based firm.
Elwood & Goetz Background
Elwood & Goetz was founded in 2010 by chief executive offer (CEO) Lindsay Shae Elwood and chief investment officer (CIO) Joseph William Goetz. Both Elwood and Goetz remain the principal owners of the firm today. Before the firm's founding, it operated under the name Amicus Financial Advisors.
Elwood & Goetz offers ongoing portfolio management and financial planning services to clients. Some of its areas of financial planning expertise include:
- Goal development
- Retirement planning
- Risk management and insurance review
- Tax planning
- Cash flow planning
- Debt management
- Estate planning
- Education funding
- Legacy planning
Elwood & Goetz Investment Philosophy
Elwood & Goetz usually invests in mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), real estate investment trusts (REITs), stocks, bonds, debt securities and insurance contracts. Within each of these asset classes, passively-managed ETFs and index funds are the most common.
When investing, the firm prefers to focus on the long term rather than worrying about market-timing or other short-term concerns. The firm also employs both strategic and tactical asset allocation principles when constructing client portfolios. Both of these strategies involve assembling a diverse collection of securities in order to maximize risk-adjusted return, but they differ in how actively the funds are managed. Strategic asset allocation is more passive, as adjustments are only made when looking to return to a target allocation. Tactical allocation is more active, and allows for tweaking in response to market trends.
To determine the right asset allocation, advisors will consider the client’s risk tolerance, investment objectives, time horizon, income needs and tax circumstances.
Elevate Wealth Advisory, Inc.
Rounding out our list is Elevate Wealth, where 82% of clients are non-high-net-worth individuals, and the rest include high-net-worth individuals, pension plans and charitable organizations. The firm typically requires at least $250,000 in investable assets to become a client, though it may waive this requirement under certain circumstances.
Among the firm’s team of advisors, there is one certified financial planner (CFP), one chartered financial analyst (CFA), one chartered financial consultant (ChFC) and one chartered life underwriter (CLU).
Elevate Wealth is fee-based, meaning some of its advisors may be able to earn commissions through the sale of insurance products. While this could potentially create a conflict of interest, the firm is still a fiduciary, so it’s legally obligated to always act in its clients' best interests.
Elevate Wealth Advisory Services Background
Elevate Wealth was founded by Charles J. Vickery back in 1982. Vickery was the firm’s principal owner up until July 2018, when Deanne S. Rosso assumed full ownership. Rosso now serves as president, CEO and chief compliance officer (CCO). The firm was previously known as Vickery Financial Services, Inc.
Service offerings at the firm can be split into three main categories: financial planning, wealth management and consulting for retirement plans. Financial planning at the firm can encompass a wide variety of topics, such as:
- Business planning
- Cash flow forecasting
- Trust and estate planning
- Financial reporting
- Investment consulting
- Insurance planning
- Retirement planning
- Risk management
- Charitable giving
- Distribution planning
- Tax planning
- Manager due diligence
Elevate Wealth Advisory Investment Philosophy
Elevate Wealth works to personalize its investment strategy to each client by sitting down with them and establishing their risk tolerance, financial needs, investment objectives, time horizon and other relevant factors. The firm takes this information and uses it to create an asset allocation strategy that’s best equipped to produce success over the long term. As your goals change, the firm will adjust your asset allocation accordingly.
The firm typically builds out each client's portfolio using instutional-level mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Together, these funds will be used to represent individual equities and fixed-income securities that span several different economic sectors, countries and market capitalizations.