Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Boston, Massachusetts
When you’re trying to find a financial advisor, it can be hard to know where to begin. This list of the top 10 financial advisor firms in Boston, which SmartAsset compiled through extensive research, can be just the place. The list lays out the firms’ fees, expertise, investment strategies and more in tables and reviews. If you need some guidance finding the right financial advisor, SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool can find an advisor near you who suits your needs.
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Appleton Partners, Inc.Find an Advisor
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Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge Fiduciary Advisors, LLPFind an Advisor
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The Colony Group, LLCFind an Advisor
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Eaton Vance Investment CounselFind an Advisor
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Ropes Wealth Advisors LLCFind an Advisor
No set account minimum
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No set account minimum
Seaward Management LPFind an Advisor
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Twin Focus Capital Partners, LLCFind an Advisor
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Boston Financial Management LLCFind an Advisor
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RINET Company, LLCFind an Advisor
No set account minimum
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No set account minimum
Crestwood Advisors Group, LLCFind an Advisor
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How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in Boston, Massachusetts
SmartAsset considered all U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)-registered firmswithin the city of Boston to determine this list of the top 10 Boston financial advisor firms. From that list of registered, fiduciary firms, we eliminated any firms that did not have clean records, did not have financial planners on staff or did not manage individual accounts. The remaining firms were ranked according to assets under management (AUM), from highest AUM to lowest.
Appleton Partners, Inc.
Appleton Partners ranks first because it has by far the most assets under management (AUM) of any of the firms on this list. Appleton manages $8.3 billion in assets - about $2 billion more than the second-ranking firm in terms of AUM, Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge Fiduciary Advisors, LLP.
To be a client of Appleton Partners, you’ll need at least $1 million. The firm serves high-net-worth individuals, corporations, foundations and pension and profit-sharing plans in 45 states and abroad, and high-net-worth individuals comprise a majority of its client base.
The fee-only firm has one certified financial planner (CFP) and 11 chartered financial analysts (CFAs) on staff.
Appleton Partners, Inc. Background
Appleton Partners, Inc. has been in business since 1986. The firm’s principal shareholders are its president, Douglas Campbell Chamberlain, and Appleton Partners Business Trust.
Appleton was founded on the principle that the best way to achieve a client's objectives is through separate account management. The firm says that rejects what it calls the "one-size-fits-all mentality" in favor of customizing its advice and portfolios to meet its clients' individual needs and goals.
Appleton Partners offers services for both advisors and private clients. Its primary private client services are investment management and general financial planning.
Appleton Partners, Inc. Investing
Each new client relationship at Appleton Partners, Inc. begins with an information-gathering process. Appleton advisors sit down with clients to discuss their individual investment objectives, time horizons, risk tolerances, tax sensitivities and liquidity needs. This information guides portfolio creation and account supervision.
Appleton says that it specializes in municipal bond, taxable bond and equity strategies. Client assets are generally invested in domestic fixed-income securities, large cap equities, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. Clients have the latitude to impose restrictions on certain securities, types of securities and industry sectors.
Appleton proactively rebalances client portfolios in response to evolving client objectives and the firm's fundamental outlook on individual securities, investment markets and global economies. In addition, portfolios are routinely monitored and teams periodically review individual portfolios to make sure they are adhering to the agreed upon guidelines and the set objectives.
Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge Fiduciary Advisors, LLP
Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge Fiduciary Advisors, LLP (LWC) is a multi-family office that’s a pioneer in socially responsible investing. To be a client, you’ll need at least $1 million. The fee-only firm principally serves high-net-worth individuals, with individuals accounting for 10% or less of its client base.
LWC has eight chartered financial analysts on its team of trustees; it does not have any certified financial planners (CFPs). Notably, one of the firm's trustees, Amy Domini, was named one of the world's 100 most influential people by Time in 2005 for her pioneering work in socially responsible investing.
Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge Fiduciary Advisors, LLP Background
Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge Fiduciary Advisors, LLP was formed in 1994. The firm, which is privately owned, was founded so the trustees of the Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge Office could provide investment management and advisory services to accounts for which they don’t serve as fiduciaries.
LWC aims to encompass every detail of a family's financial life in its integrated wealth management solutions. The firm provides family office services, estate planning and settlement services, financial planning, tax planning and preparation and philanthropic strategies.
Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge Fiduciary Advisors, LLP: The Sustainability Group
Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge Fiduciary Advisors' Sustainability Group is dedicated to investing for social and environmental progress. The Sustainability Group was founded more than 25 years ago by Amy Domini, a nationally recognized leader in the field of socially responsible investing who continues lead the group.
The group fuses sustainability issues with fundamental analysis and a consideration of individual client's goals, needs and priorities. Its approach is three-part:
- Portfolio selection: Portfolios are managed on a standalone basis and are structured around sustainability themes, like socially responsible companies or sustainable technology.
- Shareholder engagement and proxy voting: LWC uses its standing as shareholders to hold companies accountable and to push them to do the right thing.
- Community development investing: The Sustainability Group's clients have almost $50 million invested credit unions, loan funds, community banks and international microfinance institutions, all of which are investments that LWC believes can drive positive change by providing access to capital.
The Colony Group, LLC
The Colony Group, LLC is the newest firm on this list, and it’s also by far the biggest, with 75 advisors on staff. The firm’s large pool of advisors boasts an impressive array of certifications: The Colony Group has 28 certified financial planners (CFPs), which is far and away the most of any of the firms on this list. In addition, The Colony Group has 13 chartered financial analysts (CFAs), six certified public accountants (CPAs), two certified private wealth advisors (CPWAs), two chartered financial consultants (ChFCs) and two chartered life underwriters (CLUs). It also has one certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA), one chartered retirement plans specialist (CRPS), one chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA), one certified investment management analyst (CIMA) and one accredited estate planner (AEP).
The Colony Group’s account minimum is $500,000, which is the lowest set account minimum on this list. The fee-only firm serves a majority high-net-worth individuals. One of its specialities is serving sports professionals: it has worked with dozens of athletes to help them transition into other careers or retirement.
In 2017, The Colony Group's CEO and chairman, Michael Nathanson, was ranked #6 on Barron's list of the top 100 independent wealth advisors.
The Colony Group, LLC Background
The Colony Group, LLC was founded in 2011. It’s the successor of two firms: Old Colony, which began providing investment advisory services in 1986, and The Colony Group of Naples, which started offering advice ein 2007. The Colony Group is part of the Focus Financial Partners, LLC partnership. It's a wholly owned subsidiary of Focus Operating, which also owns other investment advisors, broker-dealers, pension consultants and insurance firms.
The firm provides wealth management services to individuals, families, institutions and businesses. Its services include investment management, family office services and financial counseling services, which encompasses investment planning, retirement planning, tax planning, estate planning, cash flow planning, philanthropic planning, education planning, risk management, tax return preparation and trustee services.
The Colony Group, LLC Investment Philosophy
The Colony Group's investment philosophy is defined by four core principles: fundamental focus, diversification, strategic asset allocation and dynamic asset allocation. The firm espouses a balanced mix of investments that are diversified across asset classes. While it relies on research to strategically select securities or managers that will produce long-term, risk-adjusted returns, it will also take advantage of market trends and economic conditions through an opportunistic approach.
The Colony Group describes its approach to investment management as "enhanced open architecture," as it offers a range of investment strategies and vehicles. These include proprietary equity, fixed-income and alternative strategies; mutual funds and exchange-traded fund strategies; alternative investments and other private offerings and third-party account managers.
Eaton Vance Investment Counsel
Unlike any of the other firms on this list, Eaton Vance Investment Counsel charges its clients a percentage of their portfolio income in addition to a percentage of assets under management and fixed fees. This fee, which isn’t all that common, means that you could end up paying more in fees at Eaton Vance than at other firms on this list. On the plus side, Eaton Vance is a fee-only firm.
Eaton Vance’s clients include business owners, corporate executives, private foundations and families. The firm generally requires a $1 million account minimum, but the account minimum may be higher depending on the investment strategy. For Floating Rate Bank Loan Management, for instance, the account minimum is $100 million.
Eaton Vance has five certified financial planners (CFPs) on staff, as well as 12 chartered financial analysts (CFAs), one chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA) and one chartered advisor in philanthropy (CAP).
Eaton Vance Investment Counsel Background
Eaton Vance Investment Counsel was formed in 2004. It’s the successor of the investment counsel business of Eaton Vance Management, which has been giving investment advice since 1924. Eaton Vance Investment Counsel is a wholly owned subsidiary of Eaton Vance Corp, which is a publicly owned corporation.
Eaton Vance claims that its set-up allows it to offer both the "personalized high-touch service of a smaller firm" and the "resources of a financially sound, well-established corporation." The firm offers investment management, trust and estate planning and financial planning, which includes retirement advice, cash flow analysis, charitable strategies, insurance advice and advice on deferred compensation, concentrated stock and stock options.
Eaton Vance Investment Counsel
Eaton Vance Investment Counsel offers its clients customized advice through a range of investment strategies. Eaton Vance recommends an investment strategy after an investment counselor talks to a client about his or her investment growth objectives and financial situation.
Eaton Vance primarily relies on in-depth fundamental analysis to make its investment decisions, which aim to build and preserve wealth, minimize taxes and meet individual client objectives. The firm typically uses equities, investment grade bonds, high yield bonds, municipal bonds and floating-rate bank loans, but it may also use non-proprietary management strategies that involve funds or third-party managers.
Ropes Wealth Advisors LLC
Ropes Wealth Advisors LLC is one of two firms on this list, alongside Rinet Company, LLC, that does not have a set account minimum. The firm serves individuals, high-net-worth individuals and families, as well as their related entities like trusts and estates, charitable organizations and businesses.
Ropes Wealth Advisors has 10 advisors on staff, making it the second-smallest firm on this list. The fee-only firm has one certified financial planner (CFP) on staff.
Ropes Wealth Advisors LLC Background
Ropes Wealth Advisors was formed in 2013. The firm is a wholly owned subsidiary of the global law firm Ropes & Gray LLP.
Ropes Wealth Advisors takes an integrated approach to wealth management, as the firm says it believes that "each area of your financial life is part of a larger whole." The firm's financial planning services encompass cash flow and budgeting analysis; retirement planning; advice on corporate benefits programs; insurance analysis and advice; education planning and funding and family and charitable gift planning. The firm will also assist with things like mortgage refinancing and long-term care planning. Ropes will also work in coordination with clients' legal and tax advisors.
Ropes Wealth Advisors LLC Investing Approach
Ropes Wealth Advisors’ takes a three-step approach to investing. First, the firm talks to clients understand their objectives, values and preferences. This information allows the firm to help clients select a long-term strategy and asset allocation, and to develop a customized investment plan.
Ropes Wealth Advisors believes that balance and diversification are key to consist returns. Once the building phase is complete, the firm helps its clients select fixed income, equity and alternative investments. The firm picks investments based on fundamental analysis and uses both active and index investing styles.
The final phase of the three-part process is to preserve. Ropes' investing philosophy rests on risk management and disciplined long-term investing and aims to minimize taxes and keep investment plans on track no matter the market conditions. Ropes routinely reviews and rebalances client portfolios to ensure they stay aligned with the agreed-upon objectives.
Seaward Management LP
With just eight advisors on staff, Seaward Management is the smallest firm on this list. Especially considering its size, Seaward Management has a decent array of expertise. There are two certified financial planners (CFPs), two chartered financial advisors (CFAs) and one chartered investment counselor (CIC) on staff.
To be a client of this fee-only firm, you’ll need at least $1 million.
Seaward Management LP Background
Seaward Management LP was founded in 1988. It's owned by its general partner, Seaward Management Business Trust, and its limited partners, which include the firm's five partners/managing directors.
Seaward offers investment counseling and asset management, services that are tailored to individual client needs. Financial planning is not central to Seaward’s offerings. However, the firm does offer clients access to FinLife Partners’ digital financial guidance service, which gives clients a comprehensive evaluation of their current and future financial status and offers several tools to help them get and stay on track. Clients who opt for this service will also get a detailed financial plan.
Seaward Management LP Investment Philosophy
Seaward Management LP believes that investing in "high quality, market-leading companies within growing industries, whose stocks are trading at reasonable valuations" is the key to favorable results over the long term. As such, the firm primarily invests its clients' assets in individual stocks and bonds, though it may also invest in mutual funds or exchange-traded funds to broaden exposure. Client portfolios typically consist of 25 - 50 stocks and Seaward aims to achieve low turnover.
To select stocks, Seaward looks to outside sources like corporate meetings and Wall Street research for ideas and considers changes in the global economy that may drive growth. It looks for several factors in a company, including mid-size to large companies that are already established in growing markets, strong management, above-average revenue, earnings and dividend growth and the incorporation of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors.
Twin Focus Capital Partners, LLC
Twin Focus Capital Partners, LLC has by far the highest account minimum on this list: You’ll need at least $50 million to be a client. Unsurprisingly, the firm’s services are geared toward ultra-high-net-worth individuals and families.
Twin Focus Capital Partners has five certified financial planners (CFPs), eight chartered financial analysts (CFAs), one certified public accountant (CPA) and one chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA) on staff. It’s a fee-only firm and, notably, it’s the only firm on this list that collects a fee based on portfolio performance.
Twin Focus Capital Partners, LLC Background
Twin Focus Capital Partners LLC was founded in 2006 by twin brothers Paul Karger and Wesley Karger as a family office and boutique investment advisory firm. The brothers left their positions at a global investment bank with a vision of providing the "comprehensive and bespoke" wealth management solutions that they felt the industry lacked.
Twin Focus' services include financial planning, wealth advisory, investment management, family office management, institutional consulting, business and tax management and philanthropic services. The firm says that it emphasizes a team approach and it also has placed an emphasis on building technology to better deliver comprehensive family office services.
Twin Focus Capital Partners, LLC Investment Approach
As is the case with many firms on this list, Twin Focus Capital Partners, LLC tailors its advisory services according to its individual client's needs and situation. The firm uses a proprietary total balance sheet approach, and its direct investing platform takes into account all family members' situations, as well as tax, legal, philanthropic and intergenerational planning.
The firm primarily allocates its clients assets to independent managers, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. Notably, Twin Focus also says it has "exclusive access" to "direct investments in private equity and real estate." It may recommend that certain clients invest in these alternative investments.
Boston Financial Management LLC
Boston Financial Management LLC is one of just two firms on this that doesn’t have any certified financial planners (CFPs) on staff. However, its staff does have a decent selection of other notable certifications. Among them are eight chartered financial analysts (CFAs), two certified trust and financial advisors (CTFAs), one certified public accountant (CPA), one chartered investment counselor (CIC), one certified wealth strategist (CWS) and one certificate in investment performance measurement (CIPM).
The fee-only firm requires a $1 million account minimum to open and maintain account. However, Boston Financial Management recommends that its clients have at least $2 million in order to "derive the maximum benefit" of its services.
Boston Financial Management, LLC Background
Founded in 1976, Boston Financial Management, LLC is a close second to Rinet Company, LLC for the title of oldest firm on this list. Boston Financial Management is owned by Richard Morse, its founder and the chairman of the board, as well as by other employees of the firm.
The firm offers wealth management, which encompasses investment management, customized asset allocation, an emphasis on individual securities and transparent reporting. Its estate and financial planning services include customized cash flow analysis, risk tolerance evaluation, estate plan review, wealth transfer and charitable planning. In addition, Boston Financial Management has family office services, which include insurance review, executive compensation analysis and philanthropic strategies.
Boston Financial Management, LLC Investing Strategies
Boston Financial Management, LLC offers six investment management strategies, though it says it may also use specialized or hybrid strategies to manage client portfolios:
- BFM Core Plus Strategy
- BFM Balanced Strategy
- BFM Dividend Appreciation Strategy
- BFM International Equity Strategy
- BFM Fixed Income Strategy
- BFM ETF Strategy
Overall, however, Boston Financial Management emphasizes a long-term point of view in investing. Boston Financial Management focuses on identifying exceptional businesses and it aims to build a concentrated portfolio of these businesses.
The firm primarily invests its clients' assets in investment-grade securities, like common and preferred stocks; bonds and notes of corporations and federal, state and local governments and agencies; mutual funds; and exchange-traded funds. The firm says that it does not usually participate in any initial public offerings (IPOs) or secondary offerings.
RINET Company, LLC
RINET Company, LLC was founded in 1974, edging out Boston Financial Management, LLC by just two years for the title of oldest firm on this list. According to RINET, it’s one of the Boston’s first true fee-only firms.
It’s one of two firms on this list, alongside Ropes Wealth Advisors, LLC, that does not have a set account minimum. However, the firm says that its “target client” is an individual or family with at least $5 million of investable assets. Its clients include multi-generational families, high-net-worth individuals, wealth accumulators, entrepreneurs and people undergoing life transitions.
RINET Company has eight certified financial planners (CFPs), six certified public accountants (CPAs), three chartered financial analysts (CFAs), one certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) and one certified trust and financial advisor (CTFA) on staff.
RINET Company, LLC Background
Founded in 1974, RINET Company, LLC is independently owned by its leadership team. The firm's principal owner is its managing director and CEO, Brian Rivotto.
RINET Company's motto is "360 degrees of guidance." As such, the firm tackles its clients’ financial situations from all angles, using a customized approach. The firm encourages its clients to think of its advisors as a "financial lifeline" and it promises to be easy to reach and quick to respond. To ensure clients are fully informed and fully understand their financial lives, RINET Company provides client education.
RINET offers wealth planning, which encompasses estate planning and wealth transfer; philanthropic planning; income tax planning; liquidity events planning; family office services; retirement planning; cash flow planning and net worth analysis; executive compensation and benefits planning; insurance planning and education planning. Its investment management process, which we delve into in more detail below, includes an investment evaluation, portfolio development, quarterly reporting and ongoing monitoring. In addition, RINET offers trustee services and personal affairs management.
RINET Company, LLC Investment Management
RINET Company's portfolios are designed according to its analysis of clients' current investments and their potential future needs and risk tolerances. Using this information, the firm develops a tailored investment policy statement for each of its clients, which guides long-term investment choices.
RINET does not invest in individual securities. Instead, it develops several model portfolios, including aggressive growth; growth; growth and income; income with moderate growth and income with capital preservation. These models incorporate mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, separate account managers, fixed income and alternative investments, as well as some private equity, real estate and hard assets.
The firm conducts ongoing monitoring and provides its clients with quarterly reports that detail portfolio performance.
Crestwood Advisors Group, LLC
Crestwood Advisors Group, LLC, the final firm on our list of the top Boston financial firms, has $1.5 billion in assets under management (AUM). To be a client, you’ll need at least $1 million.
The fee-only firm has nine certified financial planners (CFPs), six chartered financial analysts (CFAs), one chartered investment counselor (CIC), one certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) and one chartered life underwriter (CLU) on staff.
Crestwood Advisors Group, LLC Background
Crestwood Advisor Group's predecessor firm was founded in 2003. Like the No. 3 firm on this list, The Colony Group, LLC, Crestwood Advisors is part of the Focus Financial Partners, LLC partnership. Crestwood is a wholly owned subsidiary of Focus Operating, LLC, which also owns other registered investment advisors, broker-dealers, pension consultants and insurance firms.
Crestwood's services include investment management and strategy, financial planning and foundation and endowment advisory. The firm will also coordinate with trust, estate and tax advisors.
Crestwood Advisors Group, LLC Investing
Crestwood Advisors Group, LLC believes that global exposure is key to optimizing portfolio growth. The firm's long-term, global market perspective is complemented by its use of methodical, proprietary research, intended to minimize risk and optimize returns. The firm aims to be tax-efficient in its investments and it will use tax harvesting as appropriate.
Crestwood customizes its services to fit individual client needs. It primarily invests its clients' assets in individual equity and debt securities, exchange-traded funds, exchange-traded notes, mutual funds and equity options. However, for certain clients it may also recommend private placement securities like debt, equity and pooled investment vehicles.
Crestwood proactively rebalances client portfolios based on shifting client objectives and its continuous fundamental analysis of individual securities, investment markets and global economies.