Finding a Top Financial Advisor in Austin, Texas
Finding the best financial advisor in Austin means choosing between thousands of options. Whether you're looking for help with retirement, wealth management, tax planning or a combination of services, you'll find a variety of firms that offer both the skills and insight you need right in Texas' capital. We narrowed down your choices to the top 10 financial advisors in Austin to help you with your decision.
How We Found the Top Financial Advisors in Austin
To determine the top financial advisors in Austin, we considered a number of factors in our analysis. We gathered all U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)-registered firms, as these firms are required to act in their clients' best interest. We eliminated any with disciplinary or regulatory problems. This kept our list focused on only the advisors with clean records.
Then, we excluded any firm that lacked financial planners. We also cut any firm that doesn’t manage individual or high-net-worth individual accounts. For the final ranking, we sorted the remaining firms by assets under management.
Century Management is great for Austinites with a minimum of $500,000 to invest and who believe that steady, value investing is the proper way to grow your money. The company has more than 1,100 accounts and 800 clients. With $1.41 billion assets under management, the west Austin-based Century Management is the largest advisor on our list.
Century Management Investing Philosophy
Century Management is also the oldest firm on our top 10 Austin advisor list. Arnold Van Den Berg founded the company in 1974 and still serves as CEO.
Clients who are firm believers of value investing will likely appreciate Century Management’s multi-faceted philosophy:
- Use a business approach
- Use a margin of safety
- Embrace volatility
- Focus on price
- Put time on your side
Century Management states that they invest based on the intrinsic value of a company and strive to buy undervalued equities to ensure a higher reward-to-risk ratio. It also embraces volatility because of inefficiencies that present themselves in the market during those times. Lastly, Century Management says they focus on finding bargain or wholesale prices and playing the long game with your assets.
Management Style Options at Century Management
Century Management provides a wide array of management styles that suit different individuals, allowing for a wide range of customers to use its service. For example, you choose between four broad management styles:
- Value-based equity-focused portfolios
- Balanced-focused portfolios
- Fixed-income-focused portfolios
- Other strategies
Younger investors who benefit from more equity-heavy portfolios (or anyone who is interested in carrying a greater risk) can choose between all-cap value, large-cap absolute value and small-cap equity value programs. Each strategy is based on the percentage invested in equities, which ranges from around 50% to 90%.
For those closer to retirement (or anyone who is more risk averse), balanced-focused management comes with three options: moderate plus allocation, moderate allocation and conservative allocation. The portion of the portfolio invested in equities ranges from 20% to 80%, depending on your choice.
In a fixed-income-focused portfolio, your money is primarily invested in U.S. corporate bonds and/or U.S. Treasury securities.
The last management style is any variation on the first three strategies, and captured under “other strategies.” It is only offered upon request.
All portfolios require at least $500,000, except two. You’ll need $2 million for small-cap value portfolios and at least $1 million for fixed-income portfolios.
Extras Offered by Century Management
The top financial advisor firm in Austin also publishes a monthly blog covering latest industry trends. If you would like more general information about finance, Century Management provides resources to help you understand the market, in addition to what’s happening at the moment.
CM Advisors Family of Funds
Century Management has its own mutual funds, known as CM Advisors Family of Funds. In addition to other mutual funds, if you are a client here, you can pick the company’s products but you don’t have to do so. The company acknowledges that advisors may recommend the company’s own products but the client isn’t under an obligation to invest in those programs. Century Management doesn’t receive commissions, trading fees or any custodian-generated fees, according to the SEC-filed Form ADV.
Durbin Bennett Private Wealth Management
Second on our top Austin advisors list is Durbin Bennett Private Wealth Management. You’ll need at least $1 million for Durbin Bennett to consider you as a client, which is higher than some of the other firms on this list.
Durbin Bennett History and Awards
The company is local to Austin and San Marcos. It was founded by Richard Bennett and Brent Durbin in 1987. Durbin Bennett was named one of the top 50 registered investment advisors by Bloomberg in 2015 and a top 100 fee-only wealth manager by CNBC in the same year. The firm has over $866 million in assets under management and almost 1,000 active accounts.
Durbin Bennett Investing Philosophy
If you enjoy a healthy amount of market skepticism, you’ll likely agree with Durbin Bennett’s belief that markets can be irrational or inefficient. This belief informs the company’s portfolio strategy which is based on a passive core and more active satellite components.
You’ll decide your ratio of passive-to-active investments when you speak to your advisor to discuss financial goals and planning.
Rebalancing is another Durbin Bennett portfolio tenet. Portfolios are rebalanced as needed by adhering to predetermined tolerance ranges for various asset classes.
The last core tenet is net returns over gross returns. This means your advisor will construct your portfolio with tax impacts in mind. They will capture losses when possible, as well as long-term gains over short-term ones.
Available services for clients include strategic wealth planning and investment management, asset and risk management, generational wealth transfer, retirement planning and family office coordination. For broker-dealer services, Durbin Bennett recommends you use Schwab Advisor Services or Fidelity Investments.
Durbin Bennett Extras
If you like to keep all your financial matters at one company, Durbin Bennett also offers tax advisory services. Durbin Bennett Tax, a separate entity, focuses on strategic tax consulting, planning and compliance services.
Austin Asset Management
Austin Asset Management was one of the first advisors in Austin to provide fee-only financial services. This means the company makes money solely from fees, rather than commissions or third-party referrals. You will need at least $1 million to become a client of this Austin financial advisor. Austin Asset has the highest total number of accounts out of any on our list with over 1,700 (belonging to approximately 200 clients).
Austin Asset Background
Austin Asset Management’s philosophy is that wealth planning is a journey, not a one-time exercise. The company started conducting business in 1986. Austin Asset claims to be one of the first to provide fee-only financial services. It has over $774 million in assets under management. The boutique management company states that the people there believe in a holistic process. This means lots of information up front, to better serve you and eliminate confusion from the start.
Becoming an Austin Asset Client
You’ll be served by a team-based service model during the wealth-planning process. This means you get subject matter experts for your particular needs. The company has more than 12 CFPs and four CPAs, more than found at many other firms.
In the first six months of working with Austin Asset for wealth planning, you’ll meet with representatives about three to six times. The goal of this is to establish financial objectives, review financial documents and discuss any anticipated changes that may affect your financial plan.
According to the company’s website, this can include analyzing investment statements, tax returns, sources of income and expenses, insurance policies, legal and business documents and employee benefits, if applicable. Austin Asset operates on an unlimited access retainer, which means you can reach out to a team member at any time, without additional fees.
Austin Asset Features
Tech lovers will likely enjoy Austin Asset’s unique proprietary tools. The Building Organized Wealth (BOW©) Model aligns your goals with your actual financial situation, while the Actual Rate of Return on Wealth (ARROW©) tracks your portfolio’s performance against a year’s goal, according to the company’s website. These tools help model different savings and income scenarios as well as portfolio performance.
You’ll have access to the company’s online performance reporting tool which will allow you to view your portfolio reports, as well as share sensitive documents with your manager.
Austin Asset Wealth Management
For wealth management, you’ll work with a dedicated wealth manager who will implement and maintain your portfolio. The company strives for the least amount of risk necessary to drive success for your wealth-planning goals, according to the firm’s brochure.
Wealth management clients can generally receive advice on securities such as:
- Exchange-listed securities
- Mutual fund shares
- U.S. governmental securities
- Certificates of deposit
- Variable life insurance
- Variable annuities
You’ll meet with your manager at least once a year to review your portfolio. This company is aimed toward the wealthy and consists of over 51% high-net-worth client accounts.
If you meet Austin Asset’s $1 million threshold to open an account, you’ll be happy to know that the team uses complete discretion in sensitive financial information. Company materials state that trust is the most important factor between advisor and client. Austin Asset maintains awareness that many clients value anonymity.
Venturi Wealth Management
You’ll need a minimum of $2.5 million in investable assets to start a relationship with Venturi Wealth Management, the newest company on our list. The majority of the company’s clients are high-net-worth individuals. Unlike fee-only companies such as Durbin Bennett, Venturi Management is a fee-based company. This means that while Venturi is a fiduciary and obligated to work in the best interest of their clients, they may receive commissions for certain transactions.
Venturi Wealth Management Background
Russell Norwood and George Clarke, two advisors with a combined 44 years at Merrill Lynch, founded Venturi Wealth Management in Austin, in 2015. In just two years, the firm grew to $520 million in assets under management to take the fourth spot on our top financial advisors in Austin list. Venturi Wealth Management isn’t done growing, either. In late June 2017, Bloomberg reported that the company is seeking to acquire wealth management firms from as far as Seattle, Washington to add to its roster.
Working With Venturi Wealth Management
With its goal to “deliver unbiased, objective advice you can trust,” Venturi Wealth Management offers a variety of services. You’ll have the option to choose from discretionary investment advisement, integrated financial planning, legacy and estate planning, business advisory services and more.
The Venturi team is on the small side compared to the rest of the firms on the list, with only a handful of financial planners and advisors. However, more than 76% of the firm’s clients are high net worth, which the SEC defines as at least $1.5 million. Only one other company (Waterloo Capital Management) on our top Austin advisor list has that high of a percentage of high-net-worth clients.
Venturi and LBJ Family Wealth Advisors are the only two firms on our top 10 Austin advisor list with a certified private wealth advisor® (CPWA®) on staff. The CPWA® is an advanced certification for those who advise very wealthy clients.
Each advisor works with fewer than 50 families, which Venturi says allows advisors to perform at a high level.
The company’s investment philosophy includes longer-term investments as well as a bias toward high-quality investment alternatives. Venturi stresses in marketing material that each portfolio is constructed with your objectives in mind.
Per Stirling Capital Management
You don’t have to have a high net worth to become a Per Stirling Capital Management client. With an asset minimum of $250,000, Per Stirling is one of two companies on our top Austin financial advisor list that offers a minimum lower than $500,000.
Per Stirling Capital Management Background
Over on Bee Caves Road, you’ll find Per Stirling Capital Management’s offices. Founded in 2009 by Directors John Per O’Sullivan and Robert Stirling Phipps III, the company merged with Couch Hallum Financial Group, another Austin advisor, in early 2017.
Per Stirling has over $518 million in assets under management and 21 financial advisors and planners, the largest staff on our list. The firm has more than 700 clients, and the size of its staff reflects this.
Per Stirling Capital Services
Per Stirling Capital has three core competencies: management of custom-designed supervisory portfolios, investment management and financial planning services and management of propriety-growth portfolios.
If you choose wealth management, you’ll have the following services available to you:
- Retirement planning
- Cash-flow planning
- Estate planning
- College funding
- Risk analysis and insurance
- Wealth transfer strategies
- Asset protection strategies
- Tax planning
If you’re looking for portfolio management in the form of a separately managed account (SMA), you’ll have three main portfolios to choose from. These include core growth, growth and conservative growth. What type of growth you choose will depend on your risk tolerance and financial objectives.
Those looking for consulting services will find that Per Stirling offers hourly advice for limited scope financial planning.
Per Stirling Capital Investment Philosophy
The firm has three growth strategies for separately managed accounts. Common across all portfolios is the management’s goal of “creating excess alpha.” This means the company attempts to produce high-risk-adjusted returns. Per Stirling, according to their website, aims to accomplish this goal by proactively and tactically adjusting portfolio risk levels in consideration of the anticipated market environment.
Something different that Per Stirling advertises that we didn't find many other places bragging about: Per Stirling’s senior management invests their personal and family assets in the portfolios they manage, according the company’s website. Per Stirling Capital is committed to the Fiduciary Standards of Care, which means it pledges to act in the client’s best interest.
Per Stirling Resources
Latest industry news can be found on Per Stirling’s blog, which covers topics such as how to protect yourself after the Equifax hack along with industry deep dives with a monthly capital outlook. Regular monthly posting sets it apart from other advisors who post sporadically. While the company doesn’t offer a white paper, the monthly Capital Outlook offers in-depth analysis, which is something you won’t find everywhere.
WorthPointe has the second-highest number of clients out of our top Austin financial advisors round-up. With an account minimum of $500,000, you’ll still need to be wealthy to work with this popular firm.
WorthPointe is a self-proclaimed boutique financial planning firm with just three certified financial planners (CFPs) and no CPAs on staff. The company was formed in California as Oncubic in 2007, and changed to its current name as of 2013. Owned by Christopher P. Van Slyke and Anthony Ferreira, WorthPointe operates in California, Wyoming and Texas. The company has over $434 million in assets under management and serves over 500 clients according to its Form ADV (SEC paperwork).
WorthPointe offers options if you're looking for certified financial planning for issues like tax planning, estate planning or investment planning, or searching for a trust solution. The company works with you to create portfolios based on your asset class preferences, time horizon, risk tolerance and expected rate of return.
In an example found on the company’s website, WorthPointe outlines how a young professional, in this case a pediatric surgeon, would benefit from financial planning services. WorthPointe and Waterloo Capital Management are the only companies on our top Austin financial advisor list that used case studies and examples to show you how you’d work with its advisors.
You can also find options if you’re a business owner. WorthPointe offers assistance in building retirement plans for your employees, whether it’s 401(k)s or pension plans. If you need to set up a trust, WorthPointe has solutions ranging from financial, family or business needs trusts.
WorthPointe Investment Strategy
If you’re a patient investor, you’ll likely benefit from WorthPointe’s strategy of buy-and-hold: investing for the long term. Unlike some firms, WorthPointe doesn’t systematically rebalance portfolios, but adjusts as necessary.
The company uses a fundamental analysis approach. This means considering factors like economic conditions, industry outlook, historical data and much more. Its investment strategy is primarily modern portfolio theory. This is an investment portfolio of mixed assets to reduce the risk. Mutual funds are the primary investment vehicle.
The minimum quarterly fee for investment management services is $1,250, which works out to an asset minimum of $500,000. This means you can enroll in WorthPointe’s services as long as you meet the minimum size. While higher than Per Stirling’s $250,000 minimum, WorthPointe’s minimum is lower than almost half of the company’s on our top 10 list.
WorthPointe Digital Experience
Always on the go? You’ll appreciate the WorthPointe 360 client portal that works not only on your desktop but on your mobile device, as well. And you don’t have to travel to an office if you don’t want to. You can use WorthPointe’s conferencing software to video chat from the comfort of your home. No other company on our top 10 list highlights the digital experience like WorthPointe does.
Richard P. Slaughter Associates
Newly wealthy and searching for an Austin financial advisor? Richard P. Slaughter Associates has years of experience working with those who are new to the responsibilities that comes with wealth. You’ll need at least $500,000 to become a client. Along with the suddenly wealthy, Richard P. Slaughter Associates focuses on business owners and business professionals.
Richard P. Slaughter Associates Background
Richard P. Slaughter Associates was founded in 1991 by the firm’s namesake as a fee-based advisor company. Customer service is one of the company’s hallmarks. For six years in a row, the company earned five stars for its customer service from Texas Monthly.
The company has more than 400 clients and more than $432 million assets under management.
Becoming a Richard P. Slaughter Client
You’ll find wealth management solutions, financial planning and asset management at Slaughter Associates. Those who like structure will appreciate the company’s four-part wealth management process.
Step one is the “discovery” phase, during which you’ll discuss immediate financial requirements as well as long-term goals. The next step is financial planning, during which you’ll explore different financial scenarios with varying retirement dates, lifestyle needs, cash flow, budgets and more.
After your financial strategy is in place, the third step is asset management. This is when your assets are selected and allocated and then monitored. The final part is ongoing support. You’ll have service support from your fiduciary advisor team which includes information and education on market trends as advice for other financial matters.
Richard P. Slaughter and Sudden Wealth Clients
When you receive a large sum of money, whether through an inheritance or from a sale of a business, you’ll want a company with experience to usher you into the next chapter of your financial life. Slaughter Associates provides detailed tax consulting, personal and family budgeting, estate planning and wealth transfer along with wealth-management consulting.
Richard P. Slaughter and Business Professionals
If you’re looking for detailed investment planning as an executive, Slaughter Associates provides a number of targeted services. These include management of stock grants and deferred compensation, diversification, retirement strategies, company retirement plans, proactive tax planning and estate planning.
Richard P. Slaughter Resources
You can get started with your financial knowledge by reading Slaughter Associate’s bi-monthly publication that features Worth magazine articles. The company maintains expert articles as well, though these are published more sporadically. However, you’ll find economic analysis and market commentary once a month, which is one of the most robust publishing schedules we’ve come across during our research into the top Austin financial advisors.
Richard P. Slaughter Extras
The company not only treats its clients like “kings and queens,” as the late founder once remarked, but takes care of its employees as well. In 2017 the Austin Business Journal named Slaughter Associates as one of the top five places to work. This marks 13 consecutive years on the “Best Places to Work” list.
LBJ Family Wealth Advisors
Billed as a family-to-family business for the extremely wealthy (you need at least $10 million to be a client), LBJ Family Wealth Advisors has deeps roots in Austin, Texas. You’ll notice the Johnson name everywhere around town, from the LBJ Presidential Library to Lady Bird Lake.
One of the firm’s four employees is a certified private wealth advisor (CPWA). This is an advanced designation reserved for experienced financial advisors who work with high-net-worth clients through the lifecycle of wealth. LBJ Family Wealth Advisors and Venturi Wealth Management are the only two companies on our Austin top 10 financial advisor list with an employee holding that particular certification.
LBJ Family Wealth Advisors Background
LBJ Family Wealth Advisors’ experience stems from more than 60 years of creating, managing and sustaining the Johnson’s family wealth. Formed in 2003, LBJ Family Wealth Advisors still has the original executive officers, who were previously employed by LBJ Holding Company which oversaw the Johnson family’s assets.
Luci Baines Johnson, daughter of former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, owns the company along with Ian Turpin. Turpin is a former international private banking executive and 18-year veteran supervisor of the Johnson’s family holdings.
How to Become an LBJ Family Wealth Client
If you’re interested in LBJ Family Wealth Advisors, you’ll need very deep pockets. New clients need a minimum of $10 million in investable assets. With a company that bills itself as providing investment advice primarily to high-net-worth families, individuals and trusts, you can be sure to enjoy personalized service. LBJ Family Wealth has less than 100 accounts, but manages over $275 million total assets, according to its Form ADV.
The company offers performance reporting, legacy asset management (which includes minerals, real estate, timber and more), private equity, hedge funds, family financial education, foundation management and family business oversight. The company has a CPA on staff. Unlike four of the other financial advisors on the list, LBJ Family Wealth Advisors won’t try to sell you insurance, as the staff doesn’t include an agent.
How LBJ Family Wealth Advisors Invests
You won’t be sold products here. LBJ Family Wealth prides itself on being stewards of your wealth based on advice-driven rather than product-driven approaches, according to the company’s website. An example target allocation with LBJ Family Wealth Advisors may include U.S. fixed-income securities, cash, domestic and international inflation-protected fixed-income securities, domestic and international equity securities, commodities, real estate, private equity and more.
Wealth is allocated based on the client’s financial objectives and lifestyle requirements. With less than 100 accounts to manage, LBJ Family Wealth can focus on your individual needs. Out of our Austin top 10 financial advisor list, LBJ Family Wealth has the lowest number of clients, according to the company’s Form ADV.
Waterloo Capital Management
You’ll need a minimum of $1 million in investable assets to work with Waterloo Capital Management. The company dubs its approach the “Waterloo Way,” which means no cookie-cutter solutions. More than 76% of Waterloo Capital’s clients fall in the high-net-worth category. Only one other company (Venturi Wealth Management) on our top Austin financial advisor has a majority of high-net-worth clients.
Waterloo Capital Background
Over on Congress Ave, you’ll find Waterloo Capital Management company headquarters. In 2012, John Chatmas formed Waterloo Capital from Virtus Private Wealth Management, which was billed as the premier high-net-worth boutique management firm in Austin. Waterloo continues that boutique atmosphere.
The company has just a handful of employees and only one certified financial planner (CFP). It does have more than 200 clients and over $271 million in assets under management, according to the firm’s Form ADV.
Waterloo Capital Investment Strategy
Waterloo Capital Management offers personal wealth management, retirement planning and estate planning. Logical people will likely enjoy the company’s allocation model, described on the website as “structured, systematic and emotion-free.” It’s based on four main approaches:
- The university-endowment model: Based on how endowment managers position portfolios, this model helps keep your assets protected during periods of volatility.
- The mathematical optimization: A tool that analyzes trailing indices’ performance.
- Tactical overlay: This is the human touch that helps reposition portfolios in the face of changing market conditions, which means your advisors are watching your money for you.
The final approach is keeping you, the client, in the forefront through constant conversation.
Waterloo Capital Resources
One of the factors that sets Waterloo apart is the resource center page found on its website. Read through research blog posts, case studies, quarterly updates and commentaries to better understand the market and your finances.
The case studies can help you see what Waterloo recommended for past clients. This is something you don’t find very often. It gives you insight to the company’s approach to actual clients, which is useful.
Waterloo Capital Extras
Waterloo Capital was chosen by the Texas Growth Fund Regional Center for consultation services and financial advice. The Texas Growth Fund Regional Center seeks to open and operate a fund under the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ EB-5 visa program. The EB-5 visa program encourages foreigners to invest in the U.S. economy by providing opportunities for foreign investors to obtain permanent U.S. residency.
Beck Capital Management
Beck Capital Management is the only Austin advisor on our top 10 list that you can work with if you have assets under $250,000. Although the company provides a range of investment services, there are no certified financial planners (CFPs) on staff. The company is numbers-focused: the chief investment officer has a math and economics degree and the company employs a macro-economist.
Beck Capital Management Background
Beck Capital Management was established by James “Frank” Beck as Capital Financial Group in 1997. It incorporated under its current name in 2009. Beck serves as the chief investment advisor and is the principal owner of the firm.
Bill Gregory, vice president of operations, has worked for Beck Capital for over 15 years. With more than 75 years of combined financial, investment and market experience among three members of the investment committee, the company has a deep pool of knowledge.
Beck Capital has over $262 million in assets under management according to its Form ADV.
Working with Beck Capital Management
You’ll find a number of client services at Beck Capital management. All services are fee-based, and include portfolio management, financial, retirement and estate planning. The company provides investment advice to individuals, high-net-worth individuals, trusts, estates, charitable organizations, corporations and businesses, among others.
If you’re going through a divorce, Beck Capital is the only company on the list that has a certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA). This means the company can help you through the financial ramifications and complexities of divorce.
Beck Capital Investment Philosophy
Research lovers take note: Beck Capital follows an investment philosophy that uses a macro-economist to provide guidance and expertise on the “30,000-foot view” of the market. The company’s rigorous research process that uses in-house institutional-grade databases and tools.
What Else Beck Capital Offers
You can find quarterly market reviews as well as market research and comments on the company’s website. This includes commentary such as “The ‘Next Problem’: Jobs or Debt?” and a discussion about the rise of passive investing. Love consistency? While some of the companies on this list post infrequently, at Beck Capital you can find new market research blog posts about once a month. Rather have the information in your inbox? Beck Capital also sends out a quarterly newsletter.