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 10 financial advisors in Birmingham.
|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||Warren Averett Asset Management Find an Advisor||$2,505,924,099|| |
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|2||Arlington Partners Find an Advisor||$1,557,798,908||$10,000,000|| || |
|3||The Welch Group Find an Advisor||$1,398,044,266|| |
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|4||Bridgeworth, LLC Find an Advisor||$1,290,393,652||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|5||Porter White Investment Advisors, Inc. Find an Advisor||$536,027,553||$1,000,000|| || |
|6||Southern Financial Group Find an Advisor||$535,554,432|| |
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|7||Meld Financial, Inc. Find an Advisor||$406,860,651||None|| || |
|8||Kassouf Wealth Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$301,500,000||$150,000|| || |
|9||Money Management Services Find an Advisor||$222,771,885|| |
Minimum annual fee: $1,000
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Minimum annual fee: $1,000
|10||Clark Financial Advisors Find an Advisor||$186,848,000||$100,000|| |
1400 Urban Centre Drive
Birmingham, AL 35242
1400 Urban Centre Drive
Birmingham, AL 35242
How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in Birmingham, Alabama
We began with a list of all Birmingham metro area financial advisor firms that are registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). SEC-registered companies must file paperwork with the government each year which means more oversight and accountability - all plusses for potential clients. We eliminated firms that had disclosures or disciplinary actions on their records and then cut any firm that didn’t manage individual client accounts. The list you see below is ordered by assets under management, from most to least.
Warren Averett Asset Management
Warren Averett Asset Management (formerly Kinsight LLC) has more than $2 billion in assets under management. This is one of the only fee-only firm on our list. Warren Averett isn’t for just anyone, however. The firm asks for a minimum of $1 million to invest, making it among the highest amount required.
Warren Averett Asset Management Background
The firm 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.”
Among the top of our financial advisor list for Birmingham is Arlington Partners, one of the most exclusive firms we’ve come across: It requires a minimum of $5 million in investable assets for wealth management. Arlington Partners requires even more for multi-family office services ($10 million per household) and $200 million for single family office services.
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 eight advisors manage more than $1.5 billion in assets for their clients. Arlington serves roughly 40 families across the U.S., Canada and Europe and has offices in Birmingham and Nashville, Tennessee.
Arlington Partners Background
Kenneth Polk founded the company in 1998 and serves as Arlington’s CEO. He’s the majority 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 three CPAs, two CFPs, one chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA), one certified trust and financial advisor (CTFA) and two chartered financial analysts (CFAs).
Arlington Partners Investment Strategy
Unlike some financial advisors, this firm 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.
The Welch Group
While not quite as exclusive as the No. 1 firm, 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 $2 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.
Grey Weyandt is the director of operations and chief compliance office of The Welch Group. He’s worked in financial services and healthcare for the past 40 years. Weyandt is a certified public accountant (CPA).
In total, the staff has 12 CFPs, four CPAs and two 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.
Bridgeworth, LLC was recognized in both 2017 and 2018 by Financial Times as one of the Top 300 Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) in the U.S. Service offerings include 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: $250,000
- Financial planning: $2,500 minimum annual fee
- LPL sponsored advisory programs
- Manager Access Select Program (MAS): $100,000
- Optimum Market Portfolios Program (OMP): $10,000
- Model Wealth Portfolios Program (MWP): $25,000 - $100,000
- Personal Wealth Portfolios Program (PWP): $250,000
- Guided Wealth Portfolios (GWP): $5,000
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 to clients. 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, LLC Background
Bridgeworth, LLC 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 to more than 50 total team members. A total of 11 employees own the firm, including CEO DeLynn Zell, chief investment strategist Charles Zachary Ivey, managing partner Brian Hinson and partners David Wayne Harris, Henry Ware, Jeffrey McCormack, Jennifer Sneed, James Samuel Fitch, William O'Neal Hocutt, Robert W. Johnson and Jeris B. Gaston.
The firm has more female owners and employees with certifications than most on this list. In fact, over 20 advisors are CFPs, two are certified public accountants (CPAs), four are chartered financial consultants (ChFCs), four are chartered retirement planning counselors (CRPCs), one is a chartered advisor for senior living (CASL) and one is a chartered financial analyst (CFA).
Bridgeworth, LLC 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.
Porter White Investment Advisors, Inc.
Porter White Investment Advisors, Inc. is a fee-based firm that provides financial planning and asset management to individuals, corporations, profit-sharing plans and more. It currently has more than $500 million assets under management.
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, Inc. 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 firm’s team includes two chartered financial analysts (CFAs).
Porter White Investment Advisors, Inc. 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
Southern Financial Group
Another Birmingham fee-based firm on our advisor list is Southern Financial Group. This company is among the smallest with just two registered advisors. Despite its size, the firm has over 1,000 client accounts and manages more than $500 million in assets. As long as you have at least $50,000 in investmentable assets, you can become a client of this financial advisor firm.
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.
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.
It currently holds more than $400 million in assets under management.
Meld Financial, Inc. 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 three certified financial planners (CFP) and one chartered financial analyst (CFA).
Meld Financial, Inc. 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.
You’d typically need a minimum $50,000 account balance for investment advisory services. In addition, the firm offers access to Meld University. This is a series of educational resources, tools and seminars around financial wellness topics.
Kassouf Wealth Advisors, LLC
Kassouf Wealth Advisors, LLC 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. The firm currently generates more than $300 million in assets under management.
Kassouf Wealth Advisors, LLC Background
The firm 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, LLC 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
This small, fee-based financial advisor has been in operation since 1992. You don’t need a set account size to become a client, but the firm does advise that the $1,000 minimum annual fee isn’t the most advantageous if your account is less than $33,334.
Money Management services has one office in Birmingham and three employees who serve in an investment advisory role. In total, the firm has just eight employees. Services at Money Management include financial planning, tax preparation and wealth and investment management.
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 director, president 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. The couple has been married for more than 40 years. Their son, Andrew Rice serves as vice 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-only investment advisor with more than $100 million in assets under management. 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. 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. This minimum is considerably lower than the limits required by some of the firms on this list.
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. (DBA Clark Financial Advisors).
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.