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.
|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||SCS Capital Management LLC Find an Advisor||$20,584,867,000||$25 million|| || |
Minimum Assets$25 million
|2||Appleton Partners, Inc. Find an Advisor||$9,144,218,642|| |
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|3||Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge Fiduciary Advisors, LLP Find an Advisor||$7,228,334,933|| |
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|4||Shepherd Kaplan Krochuk LLC Find an Advisor||$6,415,924,000||$10 million|| |
Minimum Assets$10 million
|5||The Colony Group, LLC Find an Advisor||$6,309,687,462|| |
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|6||Eaton Vance Investment Counsel Find an Advisor||$6,113,088,007|| |
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|7||Welch & Forbes LLC Find an Advisor||$4,898,039,950||$2 million|| || |
Minimum Assets$2 million
|8||Choate Investment Advisors LLC Find an Advisor||$4,747,614,588||$10 million|| || |
Minimum Assets$10 million
|9||The Bollard Group LLC Find an Advisor||$4,519,952,548||$25 million|| || |
Minimum Assets$25 million
|10||Ropes Wealth Advisors LLC Find an Advisor||$3,845,215,322|| |
No set account minimum
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No set account minimum
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.
SCS Capital Management LLC
Leading off this list is SCS Financial with more than $20.58 billion in assets under management (AUM). The firm caters to high-net-worth individuals, serving no other individual accounts. This makes sense, considering it requires clients have a minimum of $25 million in AUM. The firm also advises pooled investment vehicles, charitable organizations and sovereign wealth funds/foreign official institutions. Fees for wealth management are charged as a percentage of assets under management, and certain funds charge a performance fee. Advisors at SCS do not make commissions for selling products to clients, but the parent company of the firm does own broker-dealers.
There are 36 advisors on staff at SCS. The investment management team includes four chartered financial advisors analysts (CFAs).
SCS Financial LLC Background
SCS was founded in 2002. It is owned by Focus Operating LLC, which in turn is owned by Focus Financial Partners, LLC. The firm is managed by Partners Perpetual Trust, LLC, by way of an agreement between the two firms. Focus Financial Partners is a publicly traded company.
Services offered by the firm include:
- Wealth management
- Fund of funds
- Tax planning
- Philanthropic strategy
SCS Financial LLC Investment Strategy
SCS develops a strategy that makes sense for each individual investor. It especially considers asset allocation and portfolio design, taking both risk tolerance and return objective into consideration to make the best possible choices for each person.
The firm uses a number of funds of hedge funds as an investment for its clients, all of whom are high-net-worth and likely have the ability to invest in hedge funds, which often have high barriers for entry. There are also funds of private equity funds.
Appleton Partners, Inc.
Appleton Partners ranks second on this list and manages $9.14 billion in assets.
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. High-net-worth individuals comprise a majority of its client base.
The fee-only firm has 13 chartered financial analysts (CFAs), two investment advisor certified compliance professionals (IACCPs), two certified financial planners (CFPs) and one certificate in investment performance measurement advisor (CIPM) on its 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 Strategy
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 (CFAs) 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.
Shepherd Kaplan Krochuk LLC
Fee-only firm Shepherd Kaplan Krochuk LLC manages nearly $6.42 billion in assets and has a minimum account size of $10 million. Because of this high minimum, most of the firm’s individual clients are high-net-worth. In addition, Shepherd Kaplan Krochuk manages money for pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and other corporations. Fees paid to the firm are based on a percentage of assets under management, and performance-based fees may also be paid. Advisors are not compensated in the form of commissions.
Shepherd Kaplan Krochuk has 15 advisors on staff, including three certified financial planners (CFPs), three chartered financial analysts (CFAs), one certified investment management analyst (CIMA) and one chartered alternative investment advisor (CAIA).
Shepherd Kaplan Krochuk LLC Background
Timothy Krochuk founded the firm as GRT Capital Partners, LLC in 2001. The name changed in 2017 when the firm merged with Shepherd Kaplan LLC, which became a majority-owned and wholly-controlled subsidiary. Krochuk, David Shepherd and David Kaplan are still members and managers at the firm.
The firms services include:
- Asset management
- Wealth management
- Tax services
Shepherd Kaplan Krochuk LLC Investment Strategy
There are a number of financial strategies that Shepherd Kaplan Krochuk offers to clients:
- The Topaz Strategy uses a strategy of sorting investing companies into “conceptual buckets” to find undervalued companies for investment. Long-short strategies may be used.
- The Value Strategy also seeks undervalued companies, but does not use the “conceptual buckets” approach and generally avoids options or short option investments.
- Sector Strategies focus on one part of the economy like healthcare, real estate or energy.
Focusing on small companies or only on exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are also options.
The Colony Group, LLC
The Colony Group, LLC is the newest firm on this list, and it’s also by far the biggest, with 110 advisors on staff. The firm’s large pool of advisors boasts an impressive array of certifications: The Colony Group has 35 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 14 chartered financial analysts (CFAs), 12 certified public accountants (CPAs), three certified divorce financial analysts (CDFAs), three chartered life underwriters (CLUs), two accredited estate planners (AEPs), one chartered market technician (CMT) and one enrolled agent (EA).
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 13 chartered financial analysts (CFAs), five certified financial planners (CFPs), two chartered investment counselors (CICs), one chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA), one advisor with a certificate in investment performance measurement (CIPM) 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.
Welch & Forbes LLC
This fee-only firm requires you have at least $2 million in assets to open an account, though it is willing to negotiate that minimum sometimes. Alltogether Welch & Forbes manages nearly $4.90 billion for its clients, made up of a mix of individuals and high-net-worth individuals, plus an institutional business serving pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations, other advisors and corporations.
There are 12 advisors on the team. The staff includes five chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and two certified public accountants (CPAs). Fees paid for investment management are based on a percentage of assets under management. No advisers at the firm are registered as representatives of a broker-dealer and they do not make money from commissions for selling securities or insurance products.
Welch & Forbes LLC Background
Welch & Forbes is a blue-blooded Boston firm, founded in 1838. The majority stake in the firm is held by AMG Wealth Partners, and the remaining equity is held by various employees of the firm.
The firm’s services include:
- Investment advisory services
- Fiduciary services
- Trust services
- Philanthropic services
- Estate administration
- Cash flow analysis
- Tax services
Welch & Forbes LLC Investing Strategy
Advisors at Welch & Forbes can create a portfolio for any client, but there are some models the firm notes as common:
- Multi-cap core equity, with investments in stocks (domestic and international)
- Speciality, with a focus on a style or sector chosen by the client
- Open architecture, with a focus on mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
- Income, with a focus on fixed income products
- Alternative investments, with investments in areas including venture capital, real estate, private equity or hedge funds
Choate Investment Advisors LLC
Choate Investment Advisors LLC is a fee-only firm managing more than $4.74 billion. Its clients include both individuals and high-net-worth individuals, plus institutional clients including pension and profit-sharing plans and charitable organizations. The firm prefers new relationships with a minimum account size of $10 million, though it sometimes accepts accounts of lesser value. Fees for investment management are based on a percentage of assets under management. Accounts also pay an administrative fee of $1,000 per year. Some consulting and financial planning services are billed at an hourly rate. Advisors are not paid commissions for selling products or securities to clients.
Choate has 11 advisors. That includes two chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and one certified financial planner (CFP).
Choate Investment Advisors LLC Background
Choate is a subsidiary of Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP, a law firm in Boston. It was originally founded in 1996 to provide investment advice mainly to attorneys at the firm. It now provides advice to a variety of clients.
Services at Choate include:
- Investment advisory services
- Financial planning
- Wealth management services
Choate Investment Advisors LLC Investment Strategy
The following investment strategies are available:
- All bond: only fixed income investments; focused solely on producing income
- Conservative Income: mainly invests in fixed-income, with some equity-linked investments
- Income and Growth: mix of fixed income and equity investments
- Balanced: focused on balancing capital appreciation and current income; includes equities, fixed income and alternatives
- Growth and Income: similar to balanced, but with total return as a primary goal
- Growth: focused on capital appreciation with a minority of fixed income investments
- Aggressive Growth: primarily equity and alternatives investments, with a diversified portfolio to mitigate risk; current income expectation is low
- Opportunistic Growth: emphasis on tactical decisions based on the market; only for those with high risk tolerance
The Bollard Group LLC
The Bollard Group LLC is a fee-only firm managing more than $4.52 billion for a very small number of high-net-worth clients. The minimum account size for clients is $25 million. The firm also manages money for pooled investment vehicles. There are 11 advisors on staff at Bollard. Unlike most firms, the company does not provide a list of its advisors and their certifications.
Fees are based on a percentage of assets under management, and the minimum fee is $75,000 per year. Some services are billed at an hourly rate. Advisors may recommend clients invest in funds from the firm’s sister company Spinnaker Capital, which will charge a performance-based fee.
Advisors do not make commissions for selling products to clients.
The Bollard Group LLC Background
Bollard was founded in 1995. It is wholly owned by members of the senior management group and is controlled by Anastasios Parafestas, the principal at the firm.
Services from Bollard include:
- Discretionary and non-discretionary investment advisory
- Portfolio management
- Alternative investments
The Bollard Group LLC Investment Strategy
The firm uses charting, fundamental analysis and technical analysis to make investment decisions for clients. Risk tolerance and other factors unique to each client are considered when constructing client portfolios.
A number of asset types are used, including equities, fixed-income securities, options, futures, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and concentrated holdings. Short sales and leverage could be used for some clients.
Ropes Wealth Advisors LLC
Ropes Wealth Advisors LLC 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, making it the 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.