Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Baltimore, Maryland
The hunt to find a financial advisor that meets your needs can be challenging and lengthy. That’s why SmartAsset gathered all Baltimore-area financial advisors registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and filtered through each company’s paperwork . We did the research to find you the top three choices in Baltimore. Read more about each below.
How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in Baltimore, Maryland
We narrowed the field by only considering Baltimore financial advisor firms that are registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). SEC-registered financial advisors are required to file regulatory paperwork each year and must comply with fiduciary rules. A fiduciary is required to act in the client’s best interest. We cut firms with disclosures or disciplinary issues and eliminated advisors that don’t manage individual accounts. The final list is arranged from most assets under management to least.
1919 Investment Counsel
The first advisor on our list manages a staggering $10 billion of client assets. 1919 Investment Counsel is located in five states, which is part of the reason it manages such a high total of assets. The firm has 45 advisors and is fee-based. This compensation model appeared frequently across the Baltimore firms we profiled. Fee-based, rather than fee-only, firms compensate advisors with management fees as well as fees for selling insurance or mutual funds or other methods. A fee-only model, common in other areas of the country, allows advisors to earn compensation from a set management percentage fee and no other way.
New clients will need at least $2 million to engage 1919 Investment Counsel’s services. The firm has offices in Baltimore, Cincinnati, New York, Philadelphia and Birmingham, Alabama.
1919 Investment Counsel Background
The firm can trace its roots back to 1919, when it was known as Scudder, Stevens & Clark. In 2014, the firm was renamed 1919 Investment Counsel and was acquired by the Stifel Financial Corporation. Stifel is a full service brokerage and investment banking firm that’s headquartered in St. Louis and traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SF.
Harry O’Mealia serves as the CEO and president of 1919 Investment Counsel. He’s worked in the financial services industry since 1985 and previously worked at JP Morgan and other prominent companies. O’Mealia has an MBA from Columbia University and a law degree from Boston College.
Charles King is the chief investment officer and is a portfolio manager. He is a chartered financial analyst and has worked as an investment professional since 1984.
The firm has three certified financial planners (CFPs) and 19 CFAs, but no certified public accountants (CPAs). This means tax planning and strategies are best found elsewhere.
1919 Investment Counsel Specialty Investment Departments
You’ll find some unique investing options at this large firm, including socially responsible investing, global total return investing and multi-cap core equity investing.1919 Investment Counsel has over 40 years’ experience in socially responsible investing. Investments include environmentally focused securities, social and corporate governance.
The global total return option incorporates fundamental analysis to identify global companies to invest in. These companies have to meet a number of criteria, including well established and experienced management, potential for sustained growth, and market cap usually above $500 million.
Multi-cap core equity investing is a strategy that’s focused on U.S. small and mid-cap stocks. This strategy looks a companies of all sizes and invests in stocks for the long term using bottom-up fundamental research.
&Wealth Partners has over $1.8 billion in assets under management and was founded in 2009. It has two advisors, the fewest out of the three firms on this list.
While there isn’t a required minimum account size, the $10,000 minimum annual fee makes the most sense if you have at least $1 million in assets under management. The firm’s clientele reflects this: almost the entirety of clients are high-net-worth, defined by the SEC as $1.5 million or more. &Wealth has less than 100 client accounts.
The firm has offices in Baltimore and Towson, Maryland, as well as New York City.
&Wealth Partners Background
Dorie Fain founded firm in 2009 after spending 12 years as a financial advisor at Smith Barney, now known as Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. She’s a certified financial planner (CFP) and third-generation investment advisor.
The firm has four other employees with one other acting as a financial advisor.
&Wealth Partners Unique Services
You don’t need $1 million to work with &Wealth. You can engage the firm for standalone financial planning, a significant practice at the firm. As &Wealth puts it, “this allows us to work with people who may not have liquid assets, may not be ready to invest or may not want to leave their current broker but still recognize the value of planning beyond picking stocks and bonds.” Financial planning at &Wealth covers net worth sheet preparation, lifestyle analysis, budget preparation and ongoing support, retirement plan analysis, insurance review and investment review.
Another facet of &Wealth is its divorce financial services. The company will work with you and your attorney to help plan finances and help you avoid costly mistakes. This service includes what the firm calls Historical Lifestyle Analysis™, a process that helps you understand your past income and expenses and what you’ll need going forward after a divorce.
The last firm on our list is Armstrong Dixon, another fee-based financial advisor. Founded in 2013, the firm offers financial planning and advisory services, risk management and investment advisory services. The firm has $148 million assets under management and has nine advisors. There is no set minimum asset requirement to become a client.
Armstrong Dixon Background
Roy Dixon and Gregory Armstrong founded the company in 2013. In 2015, they merged with Celestial Wealth Management and became Ade LLC, doing business as both Armstrong Dixon and Celestial Wealth Management. Dixon, Armstrong and Colin Exelby own Ade LLC.
Dixon has been a financial advisor since 1986. He specializes in working with family-owned businesses and business successions. He is a certified financial planner (CFP).
Amstrong is also a CFP and has worked in the financial services industry since 2004. He holds the Series 6, 7, and 63 FINRA registrations. Exelby is a partner but works day-to-day at Celestial Wealth Management.
In total, Armstrong Dixon has nine employees. Four are CFPs and one has the certified retirement planning consultant (CRPC) designation. There are no certified public accountants (CPAs) or chartered financial analysts (CFAs) on staff, two commonly held professional certifications in the investment management field.
Armstrong Dixon Investment Strategy
The firm generally uses fundamental, technical and cyclical security analysis. Armstrong Dixon says, “these types of analysis in isolation have flaws. However, by including all three types of analysis, the strengths outweigh the weaknesses.” In addition to conducting research on specific securities, the firm will also analyze mutual funds, ETFs and separately managed accounts.
Managers are evaluated in an up and down market cycle. Armstrong Dixon advisors will looks at the rate of return, Sharpe ratio, Sortino ratio, beta, alpha correlation, capture ration, manager turner and more. Lastly, long-term purchases, short-term purchases and options are investment strategies that the firm may use when managing your portfolio.