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 in your area.
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|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||Arlington Partners LLC Find an Advisor||$5,314,485,039||Varies by client type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries by client type
|2||Bridgeworth Wealth Management Find an Advisor||$1,865,931,825||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|3||Warren Averett Asset Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$3,291,010,494||$1,000,000|| || |
|4||The Welch Group, LLC Find an Advisor||$1,910,586,230||$3,000,000|| || |
|5||Southern Financial Group, LLC Find an Advisor||$705,414,868||$50,000|| || |
|6||Meld Financial, Inc. Find an Advisor||$427,093,716||$50,000|| || |
|7||Porter White Investment Advisors, Inc. Find an Advisor||$517,210,258||$1,000,000|| || |
|8||Kassouf Wealth Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$326,412,667||$150,000|| || |
|9||Money Management Services Find an Advisor||$294,821,808||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|10||Clark Financial Advisors Find an Advisor||$233,720,210||$100,000|| || |
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.
Among the top of our financial advisor list for Birmingham is Arlington Partners, one of the most exclusive firms we’ve come across: The firm typically requires family or group net worth ($20 million) and $250 million for single family office services. It's a fee-only firm that doesn't receive commissions for selling financial products.
It’s no wonder that the firm’s clients are almost exclusively high-net-worth individuals and families. Arlington 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. He’s the primary owner of the firm. Polk is a certified public accountant (CPA) and certified financial planner (CFP). Prior to founding the firm, he worked as a tax consultant for Deloitte.
Emily Vanlandingham is the COO of the firm and has a minority ownership stake. She also comes from a consulting firm background and has an MBA from Stanford.
In total, the firm has CPAs, CFPs, one certified trust and financial advisor (CTFA) and one chartered financial analyst (CFA).
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.
Bridgeworth Wealth Management
Bridgeworth Wealth Management provides 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: $2,500 minimum annual fee
- LPL sponsored advisory programs: $5,000 - $250,000
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 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 certified financial planners (CFPs), the firm has grown substantially. Several employees own the firm, including CEO DeLynn Zell, chief investment strategist Charles Zachary Ivey and managing partner Brian Hinson, among others.
Several advisors are CFPs, certified public accountants (CPAs), chartered financial consultants (ChFCs) and chartered retirement planning counselors (CRPCs).
Bridgeworth Wealth Management Client Experience
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.
Warren Averett Asset Management
Warren Averett Asset Management (formerly Kinsight) is one of the only fee-only firms on our list. 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.
Warren Averett Asset Management Background
Warren Averett Asset Management is led by Joshua Reidinger, president and a certified public accountant (CPA). Reidinger has been with the firm for over 20 years. John Cox is the chief investment officer and is a chartered financial analyst (CFA) and a chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA). Cox was formerly at Kinsight LLC.
In 2017, Warren Averett Asset Management merged with Kinsight, a top Birmingham financial advisory firm. The combined company now employs more than 50 employees and has offices in Alabama, Florida and Georgia. In addition to financial planning and investment management, Warren Averett offers traditional accounting, corporate advising, tech and risk solutions, human resources solutions and finance team support.
Warren Averett Asset Management Investment Philosophy
Advisors at Warren Averett 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.”
The Welch Group
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.
The Welch Group is one of the few fee-only firms on our list. That means the firm 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 earn your advisors commissions. It’s a higher standard to meet than fee-based advisories.
The firm’s tenets are: communication, solutions, confidentiality, impartial advice and a team approach.
The Welch Group Background
While the company has history as far back 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’s a certified financial planner (CFP) and has been practicing since 1983.
The staff has several CFPs, CPAs and chartered financial analysts (CFAs).
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. Big picture, The Welch Group’s “number one goal is that you never run out of money.” To get you there, your advisor will speak with you to determine your financial situation and discuss what your ideal retirement looks like. You’ll go over things such as cash-flow needs and risk tolerance. These discussions will help build your portfolio’s allocations.
Southern Financial Group
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 this financial advisor firm. As a fee-based firm, advisors may receive commissions for selling financial products. However, the firm is still a fiduciary and is legally obligated to act in the best interests of clients.
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 is a little more than a decade old, each founder has more than 25 years of experience in financial planning and investment.
Both founders are certified financial planners (CFPs) and certified public accountants (CPAs) they also hold the personal finance designation (PFS) granted to accountants with extensive tax expertise and financial planning experience.
Southern Financial Group Financial Planning
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.
While this service can be charged on an hourly basis, if you become a client of the firm’s portfolio management services, it’s likely that the fee will be waived, according to company filings with the SEC.
Meld Financial, Inc. (MFI) provides holistic financial planning, investment portfolio management and educational material to a diverse group of clients. It primarily works with non-high-net worth individuals. So if you’re just starting to embark on your wealth planning journey, this may be a good firm to consider.
You’d typically need a minimum $50,000 account balance for investment advisory services. This is a fee-only firm.
Meld Financial Background
MFI formed in 1986. Today, it provides financial planning as a base service. It also offers single-issue analysis on topics you may need advice on such as estate planning, college savings plans, retirement planning and more.
It can also provide guidance on managing accounts already open in your name and manage certain account programs from third-party advisors.
Its team boasts several financially certified individuals, including a handful of certified financial planners (CFP).
Meld Financial Investing Strategy
MFI can offer advice on managing your own assets, or it can design and manage an investment portfolio for you. The firm generally provides investment advice on the following securities:
- Exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
- Mutual funds
- U.S. government securities
- Corporate debt securities other than commercial paper
In addition, the firm may recommend third-party advisors or “Sub-advisors.” In this case, you would enter into a separate agreement with the sub advisor detailing factors like services and fees.
In addition, the firm offers access to Meld University. This is a series of educational resources, tools and seminars around financial wellness topics.
Porter White Investment Advisors
Porter White Investment Advisors 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.
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.
Porter White Investment Advisors Investing Strategies
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
Kassouf Wealth Advisors
Kassouf Wealth Advisors is a fee-only financial advisory firm providing financial planning and portfolio management to individuals, retirement plans and corporations. It serves about as many high-networth individuals as it does clients who fall below that threshold.
To receive investment management services from the firm, you’d typically need a minimum account balance of about $150,000.
Kassouf Wealth Advisors Background
Kassouf Wealth Advisors is primarily owned by its principals Gerard J. Kassouf and David P. Kassouf. Both are certified financial planner (CFPs) and certified public accountants (CPAs).
Kassouf Wealth Advisors Investing 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 will aim to devise one 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.
Money Management Services
Money Management Services, a small, fee-only financial advisor firm, has been in operation since 1992. You don’t need a set account size to become a client, though you'll pay a minimum fee of $750 per quarter or $3,000 per year.
Money Management services has one office in Birmingham. Services at Money Management include financial planning, tax preparation and wealth and investment management. As a fee-only firm, advisors don't take commissions from the sale of financial products such as insurance.
Money Management Services Background
Money Management Services is a family affair. Donald and Gwendolyn Rice founded the company in 1992 and have owned the firm ever since. Donald is the chairman and chief compliance officer at Money Management. He’s a certified financial planner (CFP) who also holds the accredited investment fiduciary (AIF) designation. Gwendolyn is the director of operations, secretary and treasurer. The couple has been married for more than 40 years. Their son, Andrew Rice serves as president and chief financial officer of the firm. He is a certified public accountant (CPA), holds the AIF designation and is a wealth management specialist (WMS).
Money Management Services Investment Philosophy
Unlike firms that use model portfolio templates, Money Management Services prides itself on unique client portfolios. This means your portfolio is individualized and is exclusively built on your needs. Factors that your advisor will consider include your retirement timeline, cash needs, risk tolerance and financial objectives.
Overall, the company’s primary method of security analysis is fundamental. This means advisors look at the financial condition and competitive position of a company to determine whether it’s a worthy investment. Portfolios are built with mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), stocks and bonds and alternative investments. The company has no proprietary products so your advisor isn’t beholden to a particular investment or mutual fund. The firm says it manages portfolios “with a long-term, controlled-risk perspective.” This means building lasting wealth and investing with a long horizon in mind.
Clark Financial Advisors
Clark Financial Advisors is a fee-based investment advisor. It provides its clients with portfolio management and financial planning services as a bundle or on a stand-alone basis.
The firm doesn’t directly sell insurance or investment products, though certain advisors may earn commissions from selling insurance products in their capacity as insurance agents. It earns its money by charging fees based on a percentage of your assets under management. This fee typically ranges from 0.50% to 1%. To open an account, you’d generally need at least $100,000.
Clark Financial Advisors Background
M. Brooks Clark founded Clark Financial Advisors in 1983. He remains the sole principal owner. Clark along with Laura Baker are the firm’s only investment advisors. Both are certified financial planners (CFPs) with more than 45 years of combined experience in the financial services industry.
The firm also does business under the name B, B, H, & B, Inc.
Clark Financial Advisors Investing Strategy
Clark Financial Advisors typically allocates clients’ assets into one of four risk-based model portfolios. Each is built with an asset-allocation geared toward a specific risk profile. However, the firm will conduct meetings with its clients to determine the framework of an investment portfolio designed to meet his or her individual investment objectives.
If the firm finds it necessary, it may also recommend the use of one or more separate account managers.
Clark Financial Advisors provides investment advice on a discretionary basis, but can allow clients to place some restriction on the types of securities they invest assets in. Upon request, the firm may also develop a financial plan tailored to the client’s individual needs. This plan can address topics like budgeting, risk management, cash-flow control, estate planning and more.