Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Birmingham, Alabama
Finding someone to help you with your financial future is not easy. You need to find a financial advisor who you can trust, who is results-driven and with whom you have a good rapport. When you have plenty of financial advisors to choose from, the decision can be even harder. Luckily, we make it easier for you with our extensively researched list of the top financial advisors in Birmingham. You can also use our financial advisor matching tool to get connected with financial advisors who serve your area.
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|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||Arlington Partners LLC Find an Advisor||$6,427,792,177||Varies by client type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries by client type
|2||WA Asset Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$4,465,757,285||$1,000,000|| || |
|3||Stonegate Investment Group, LLC Find an Advisor||$4,078,616,982||$1,000,000|| || |
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|4||Bridgeworth Wealth Management Find an Advisor||$2,238,010,310||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|5||The Welch Group, LLC Find an Advisor||$2,449,942,225||$3,000,000|| || |
|6||Southern Financial Group, LLC Find an Advisor||$837,333,601||$50,000|| || |
|7||Park Place Capital Corporation Find an Advisor||$587,283,860||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|8||Meld Financial, Inc. Find an Advisor||$585,944,667||$50,000|| || |
|9||Porter White Investment Advisors, Inc. Find an Advisor||$632,917,434||$1,000,000|| || |
|10||Kassouf Wealth Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$359,906,095||$150,000|| || |
What We Use in Our Methodology
To find the top financial advisors in Birmingham, 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.
Arlington Partners LLC
Arlington Partners is not only the No. 1 financial advisor firm in Birmingham, but it's also the top-rated firm in the state. Arlington Partners is ultra-exclusive, requiring that multi-family office clients have at least a $10 million average net worth per household and a $50 million minimum group/family net worth. Clients receiving single family office services typically must have a least $250 million in family net worth.
It’s no wonder that the firm’s clients are almost exclusively high-net-worth individuals and families. Arlington, which is a fee-only firm, states that it was “purpose-built to independently advise complex, high-net-worth families.” The company’s advisors serve families across the U.S., Canada and Europe and has offices in Birmingham and Franklin, Tennessee.
Arlington Partners Background
Kenneth Polk founded the company in 1998 and serves as Arlington’s CEO and primary owner. Polk holds both the CPA and CFP designations. Prior to founding the firm, he worked as a tax consultant for Deloitte.
Peter E. Barber, Elliot B. Robbins, Stephen J. Rowe, and Emily K. Vanlandingham all own minority stakes in the business. Vanlandingham, who also serves as COO of the firm, comes from a consulting firm background and has an MBA from Stanford.
Arlington specializes in wealth management for ultra-high-net-worth families. Investment advisory services are offered on a discretionary and non-discretionary basis.
Arlington Partners Investment Strategy
Unlike some financial advisors, Arlington Partners doesn’t have specific portfolio models to choose from. Instead, your advisor will give you advice based on your financial objectives and goals, risk tolerance, asset class preferences, investment horizon, cash needs and more.
Arlington considers all the factors that comprise your investment profile within the context of the market landscape. Your advisor then will create an integrated investment plan. Arlington believes in value-driven investment decisions and strategic and tactical asset allocation. Additionally, tax considerations are another important aspect as well as capital allocation. Investments are recommended for the following asset classes: cash, fixed-income, global equities, hedge funds, private equity, real estate and commodities.
WA Asset Management, LLC
WA Asset Management, a fee-only firm, is the No. 2 financial advisor in Birmingham. Warren Averett isn’t for just anyone, however. The firm asks for a minimum of $1 million to invest. As a fee-only firm, advisors don't receive commissions from the sale of financial products to clients. The firm works with individuals, both with and without a high net worth. It also works with pooled investment vehicles, pensions, profit sharing plans, charities and other businesses.
WA Asset Management has large team of advisors who hold a range of financial certifications. The firm has 11 certified finanical planners (CFPs) on staff, as well as seven advisors who hold the certified public account (CPA) designations. WA Asset Management also features three chartered financial analysts (CFAs), among other accredited professionals.
WA Asset Management Background
WA Asset Management, which was founded in 1999, was previously known as Warren Averett Asset Management but has since undergone a change in ownership and a name change. The firm is still led by Joshua Reidinger, president and chief executive officer. Reidinger has been with the firm for over 20 years.
In 2017, Warren Averett Asset Management merged with Kinsight, a top Birmingham financial advisory firm. Today, it's principally owned by WAAM Parent, LLC, an affiliate of Wealth Partners Capital Group, LLC, and ultimately, through intermediate subsidiaries.
The firm provides clients with investment management on both a discretionary and non-discretionary basis, as well as standalone financial planning and consulting services, among other offerings.
WA Asset Management Investment Strategy
Advisors at WA Asset Mangagement generally use fundamental and technical analysis when choosing securities. Fundamental analysis is the study of historical and present data to make financial forecasts about a company. Technical analysis looks at price and trade volume to forecast the direction of prices.
To build your portfolio, you’ll have an initial interview with your advisor where you’ll go over your financial goals and objectives, your potential retirement date, cash-flow requirements and risk tolerance. The firm has portfolio allocation models that are used when your needs fit the situation.
These models include aggressive allocation, growth allocation, moderate allocation, conservative allocation and ultra-conservative allocation. Each model corresponds with a risk tolerance and growth potential. For example, the firms says its ultra-conservative model “is designed for our most conservative investor whose goal is to preserve capital.”
Stonegate Investment Group, LLC
Despite being the youngest firm on our list, Stonegate Investment Group is ranked as the No. 3 advisor in Birmingham. This fee-only firm works with a large number of individual clients, both with and without high net worths. The firm also has retirement plans and businesses as clients. Stonegate typically requires a minimum relationship size of $1 million, although this requirement may be reduced.
As a fee-only firm, Stonegate advisors do not collect commissions for recommending third-party financial products or insurance. The Stonegate team features one certified financial planner (CFP) and one chartered financial analyst (CFA).
Stonegate Investment Group Background
Founded in 2021, Stonegate is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and wholly owned by Stonegate Investment Group Holdings, LLC. The holding company is owned, directly or indirectly by the following employees: Tony R. Smith owns the holding company with Christopher J. Compton, Matthew C. Brown, Mark F. Sommer, James W. Allen, Jerry G. Duncan and William E. Richardson. Smith serves as chief executive officer and chief investment officer of the firm.
As for services, Stonegate offers both discretionary and non-discretionary investment management to individuals and retirement plans, as well as financial planning and consulting services.
Stonegate Investment Group Investment Strategy
Stonegate's investment strategies are rooted in the individual needs of clients. The firm's initial goal is to get to know its clients and understand their financial situations, risk profiles, investment objective, tax situations and liquidity contraints. From there, advisors will allocate a client's assets across a combination of equity securities, bonds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), as well as limited partnerships and pooled investment vehicles focusing on alternative asset classes. Stonegate also uses call options, protective put option and long put options in client portfolios.
Bridgeworth Wealth Management
Bridgeworth Wealth Management, the No. 4 firm in Birmingham, offers a range of services, including comprehensive financial planning, investment management and generational planning. The firm specializes in working with retirees, physicians, executives, attorneys, women and entrepreneurs.
There are a number of different minimum investment requirements at this firm. However, all of these minimums may be waived or reduced at the discretion of the firm. Here's a breakdown of them:
- Investment management: $500,000
- Financial planning: $5,000 minimum annual fee
- Private Client Group Services: $5 million
Bridgeworth is a fee-based financial advisor firm. This is due to the fact that some of the firm's advisors can earn commissions for selling insurance products or securities to clients as registered broker-dealers and insurance agents. Despite a potential conflict of interest, the firm and its staff are bound by fiduciary duty to act in clients' best interests no matter what.
Bridgeworth also has a large team of advisors that includes a total of 23 certified financial planners (CFPs), five chartered retirement planning counselors (CRPCs), three chartered financial consultants (ChFCs), among others.
Bridgeworth Wealth Management Background
Bridgeworth Wealth Management was formally established in 2012 by six advisors who had worked together for two decades. Beginning with these six CFPs, the firm has since grown substantially. Several employees own the firm: CEO DeLynn Zell, chief investment strategist Charles Zachary Ivey and managing partner Brian Hinson, among others.
In addition to its headquarters in Birmingham, Bridgeworth has an office in Huntsville. The firm offers the following services:
- Comprehensive Wealth Management
- Standalone financial planning and consulting
- Standalone investment management
- Robo-advisor programs
- Selection of other advisors
- Retirement plan and pension consulting
Bridgeworth Wealth Management Investment Strategy
You’ll find a team approach at Bridgeworth, where financial planners have a wide range and depth of knowledge of almost every financial situation. Using their collective experience, the staff at Bridgeworth has created a formal financial planning process. First is your initial meeting where you will meet advisors and define goals, as well as learn what documents and information you’ll need to provide. Next is discovery, which is when you'll gather and organize all of your financial records.
The third step is analysis and strategy development where your advisor will work on developing a strategy to help you meet your goals. Plan presentation is the fourth step, and it consists of a collaborative effort between you and your advisor to finalize your financial plans for the future. Only then will your plan finally be implemented. The last step involves the monitoring of your account and plans through monthly and quarterly reports, as well as online account access.
When it comes to picking investments, the firm utilizes quantitative analysis, which may include analysis of management expertise, industry cycles, strength of research and development. Advisors may also employ fundamental analysis and research that includes reviewing financial analysts' reports to gain insight on the future performance of a security to guide our investment allocation decisions.
The Welch Group, LLC
The Welch Group positions itself as a high-net-worth wealth management firm. Unsurprisingly, the majority of the firm’s clients fall into that category, mainly due to the $3 million asset minimum to join.
As a fee-only firm, The Welch Group only makes money from clients through asset management fees. As such you won’t be steered toward certain products, like insurance or mutual funds, that result in your advisor collecting a commission. It’s a higher standard to meet than fee-based advisories.
The advisory team at The Welch Group features certified financial planners (CFPs), certified public accountants (CPAs), accredited estate planners (AEPs) and chartered financial analysts (CFAs).
The Welch Group Background
While the company's roots go back as far as 1984, The Welch Group officially registered as an investment advisory firm in 1999. The company is owned by Stewart Welch III, who founded the company and serves as the managing member. He holds the CFP and AEP certifications.
In addition to portfolio management, The Welch Group may provide clients standalone financial planning or consulting services, as well as investment data storage and periodic comprehensive reporting services.
The Welch Group Investment Strategy
The Welch Group uses the following types of analysis when evaluating securities: charting, fundamental, technical and cyclical. Each method of analysis is a way to gauge the security’s strengths and potential for investment.
The company has its own proprietary money management approach called Growth Strategy with a Safety NetTM. The firm primarily allocates client assets among individual stocks, bonds and/or various no-load mutual funds on a discretionary basis.
Southern Financial Group, LLC
Another Birmingham fee-based firm on our advisor list is Southern Financial Group. This company is among the smallest in terms of registered advisors on staff. As long as you have at least $50,000 in investable assets, you can become a client of Southern Financial Group. Individuals below the high-net-worth threshold comprise the largest percentage of Southern Financial Group's client base, although the firm also works with a considerable number of high-net-worth individuals, as well. Additionally, the firm serves charitable organizations, corportations and businesses.
As a fee-based firm, advisors may receive commissions for selling financial products and insurance. This creates a conflict of interest, as your advisor has a financial incentive to recommend certain products and services over others. However, Southern Financial Group is still a fiduciary and is legally obligated to act in the best interests of clients. Despite its advisors earning third-party commissions, the firm itself collects asset-based fees for portfolio management from advisory clients, as well as hourly fees for specific services.
Two of the firm's advisors hold the certified financial planner (CFP), certified public accountant (CPA) and Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) designations. The firm also has another CPA on staff.
Southern Financial Group Background
David Painter, chief compliance officer, and Christopher Holder, chief financial officer, are the two owners and founders of Southern Financial Group. While the firm was founded in 2006, each founder has more than 25 years of experience in financial planning and investment.
The firm specializes in investment management, financial planning, consulting, income tax preparation and estate settlement services, as well as IRA rollover recommendations.
Southern Financial Group Investment Strategy
Your financial plan at Southern Financial Group will be holistic. This means your advisor will consider your financial goals, family records, budgeting, tax and cash flow, investments, insurance, retirement strategies, estate and more. You’ll also receive advice, as needed, on business planning and tax and budgetary planning. In total, you’ll get to see your financial picture through the eyes of an expert.
The firm invests client assets in a combination of exchange-listed securities, securities traded over the counter, foreign issuers, warrants, corporate debt securities, commercial paper, municipal securities, variable life insurance, variable annuities, mutual funds and U.S. goverment securities.
Park Place Capital Corporation
Park Place Capital Corporation is a fee-only advisory firm with a relatively small client base mainly composed of individuals without a high net worth. The firm also serves high-net-worth individuals, investment companies, retirement plans, charities, government entities and businesses. Park Place Capital does not impose a minimum account size.
As a fee-only firm, Park Place Capital advisors do not sell financial products or insurance. The firm charges clients asset-based fees for advisory services, and in some cases, flat fees or hourly charges.
The team at Park Place Capital includes one chartered financial analyst (CFA), one investment advisor compliance professional (IACCP) and one certified trust and financial advisor (CTFA).
Park Place Capital Corporation Background
Place Place Capital is one of the oldest firms on our list, having been founded in 1988. Although based in Birmingham, the practice maintains offices in Nashville and Tulepo, Mississippi. The business is wholly owned by Rensant Bank, which in turn is a publicly traded company.
Park Place Capital offers both discretionary and non-discretionary asset management, retail financial planning, investment advisory services for mutual funds, a wrap fee program, consulting and referrals to third-party investment advisors.
Park Place Capital Corporation Investment Strategy
Park Place Capital bills its decision-making process as a collaborative effort that emphasizes bottom-up stock selection. Members of Park Place Capital team are responsible for stock selection using quantitative analysis, portfolio construction, and risk management relative to a benchmark.
Meld Financial, Inc.
Meld Financial, another fee-only firm, is the longest-tenured practice on our list of the top advisory firms in Birmingham. The vast majority of Meld clients are regular individuals, although the firm does have a sizable client base high-net-worth individuals. Retirement plans, government entities and businesses also work with Meld as clients. The firm imposes a minimum account size of $50,000.
The Meld team features six advisors who hold the certified financial planner (CFP) designation, as well as one who is a chartered financial analyst (CFA).
Meld Financial Background
Founded in 1986, Meld first registered as an investment advisor in 2004. Mark Alan McGarvey, chairman of Meld, maintains at least a 25% direct ownship stake in the firm.
Meld provides comprehensive financial planning as a base service, as well as single issue analysis and advisory services. Meld advisors may work with clients on a variety of topics, including estate planning, college funding, retirement funding, retirement plan distribution, executive employee compensation analysis, insurance needs, among others.
Meld Financial Investment Strategy
Meld's investing approach is informed by a combination of charting, technical analysis, fundamental analysis and cyclical analysis. The firm generally provides investment advice on exchange-listed securities, mutual funds, over-the-counter equities, equities of foreign issuers, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), U.S. government securities, options, commercial paper, warrants, corporate debt securities and alternative investments, including hedge funds and real estate.
Porter White Investment Advisors, Inc.
Porter White Investment Advisors, the No. 9 firm on our list, is a fee-based firm that provides financial planning and asset management to individuals, corporations, profit-sharing plans and more.
Its wealth management division caters to individuals. According to SEC files, this segment consists mostly of high-net-worth individuals. The firm typically requires a minimum investment of $1 million to open an account.
As a fee-based firm, some advisors on staff are registered representatives of a securities broker-dealer and can receive commissions for selling certain products. This compensation structure creates a conflict of interest, because advisors have a financial incentive to recommend certain services and products over others. However, the firm still must abide by its fiduciary duty to always act the client's best interests.
Porter White Investment Advisors Background
Porter White Investment Advisors has been in the investment advisory business since 1995. James H. White III is the primary owner and currently serves as chairman. The firm is a subsidiary of Porter White Companies, Inc.
The primary services offered at Porter White Investment Advisory include wealth management, financial planning and consulting, as well as fiduciary services for retirement plans.
Porter White Investment Advisors Investment Strategy
Porter White Investment Advisors can offer its clients a Financial Planning Review, where it gathers information to come up with a balance sheet and action plan. It also provides retirement analysis and estate planning services.
But its main efforts steer toward portfolio management. Its investment action plan revolves around the following points:
- Asset allocation
- Investment selection and monitoring
- Cash management
- Performance reports
The firm primarily offers advice on mutual funds, and when suitable, recommends no-load mutual funds that invest in equity and fixed income securities. Advisors may also recommend fixed income securities with maturities that are deemed appropriate for the client.
Kassouf Wealth Advisors, LLC
Kassouf Wealth Advisors, the 10th and final firm on our list, is a fee-only financial advisory practice that serves individuals, retirement plans and charitable organizations. It works with about as many high-net-worth individuals as it does clients who fall below that threshold. To receive investment management services from the firm, you’ll typically need a minimum account balance of about $150,000.
As a fee-only firm, Kassouf advisors do not sell insurance or financial products. Instead, advisors are compensated solely by fees that clients pay directly for advisory services.
The Kassouf team features several accredited financial professionals, including three certified public accountants (CPAs), three certified financial planners (CFPs), one accredited estate planner (AEP) and others.
Kassouf Wealth Advisors Background
Kassouf Wealth Advisors is principally owned by Gerard J. Kassouf and David P. Kassouf. Both are CFPs and CPAs.
The firm specializes in comprehensive wealth management and financial planning, as well as retirement plan services.
Kassouf Wealth Advisors Investment Strategy
Kassouf Wealth Advisers makes investment decisions primarily driven by modern portfolio theory. This school of thought suggests diversification across asset classes is crucial in mitigating risk as one may serve as a buffer when another experiences a downturn.
The firm aims to devise an investment strategy based on your individual risk tolerance and long-term investing goals. In general, Kassouf recommends passively managed index and mutual funds and typically steers clear from utilizing individual stocks and bonds in its asset allocation framework. Of course, it may divert from these strategies if deemed appropriate based on your circumstances.