Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Boulder, Colorado
There are many different factors to account for when you’re picking a financial advisor firm. For Boulder, Colorado residents, SmartAsset has put together this list of the top financial advisor firms in the city. For a more tailored recommendation, SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool can take your answers to a short questionnaire and pair you with as many as three local advisors who meet your particular needs.
|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||Crestone Asset Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$2,429,103,718||$25,000,000|| || |
|2||Colorado Financial Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$1,569,961,106||$500,000|| || |
|3||BSW Wealth Partners Find an Advisor||$1,072,376,760||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
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|4||Schoolcraft Capital, LLC Find an Advisor||$430,374,666||$10,000,000|| || |
|5||Colorado Capital Management Find an Advisor||$308,075,330||$500,000|| || |
|6||Meridian Wealth Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$262,068,359||$100,000|| || |
|7||Harbor Wealth Management Find an Advisor||$172,972,300||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|8||Cornerstone Investment Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$137,324,380||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|9||Ludwick & Shirman, LLC Find an Advisor||$123,769,216||$500,000|| || |
|10||Principium Investments, LLC Find an Advisor||$104,413,674||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in Boulder, Colorado
Every firm considered for this list had to be both located in Boulder and registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The latter criteria is important, because SEC registration guarantees that a firm abides by fiduciary duty, legally binding it to act in clients’ best interests. Firms that do not manage individual accounts, do not offer financial planning services or had disclosures on their Form ADV were automatically removed from contention. The firms that passed these requirements are listed below, ordered from the most assets under management (AUM) to the least.
Crestone Asset Management, LLC
With nearly $2.5 billion in client assets under management (AUM) and 16 financial advisors on staff, Crestone Asset Management, LLC is the largest firm on this list. Across its team, the firm employs four chartered financial analysts (CFAs), one certified financial planner (CFP) and one certified public accountant (CPA). Crestone is also recognized on SmartAsset’s list of the top financial advisor firms in Colorado.
In order to become a client of Crestone Asset Management, you must have at least $25 million in investable assets - the highest requirement on this list. As you might imagine, the firm works almost entirely with high-net-worth individuals. Pooled investment vehicles and businesses comprise the rest of the firm’s client base.
As a fee-based financial advisor firm, Crestone Asset Management may earn compensation from the sale of investment products. However, the firm makes an attempt to credit clients for these sales in an effort to offset any earnings.
Crestone Asset Management, LLC Background
CEO and chief investment officer (CIO) Eric Kramer founded Crestone Asset Management in 2001. The firm is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Crestone Capital, LLC, which was created in 1991 under the name The Eric J. Kramer Company. Through this, Kramer is the indirect principal owner of Crestone Asset Management.
As a high-net-worth-focused firm, Crestone has a rather robust set of advisory services. Clients can take advantage of investment management, family wealth planning, estate planning, philanthropic gift planning, tax management and planning, cash flow planning and more.
Crestone Asset Management, LLC Investing Strategy
Crestone Asset Management has an extremely equity-centric investment philosophy, stating in its Form ADV that it believes “over the long term, owners earn more than lenders.” Because of this, the firm makes heavy use of private equity, hedge fund and real estate investments. It does not subscribe to “buy and hold” investing philosophies, preferring active portfolio management.
Despite this strategy, Crestone has not lost sight of the importance of strong diversification, and its advisors work to ensure that client assets are not invested in correlated markets. The firm says that this will help to reduce risk, while maximizing returns.
Colorado Financial Management, LLC
Fee-only Colorado Financial Management, LLC comes in second on our list with over $1.5 billion in assets under management. More than 97% of the firm’s client base consists of individuals, families and high-net-worth individuals, and its minimum initial investment is $500,000. The firm also maintains accounts for businesses, trusts, estates, banks and charitable organizations.
The 17-person staff at the firm boasts the highest number of advisory certifications on this list. You’ll find eight certified financial planners (CFPs), five chartered financial analysts (CFAs), one chartered life underwriter (CLU) and one certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA).
Colorado Financial Management ranks among SmartAsset’s top financial advisors in Colorado.
Colorado Financial Management, LLC Background
The history of Colorado Financial Management can be traced back to 1988, when the firm was founded by Mike Sargent. In 1996, the firm transitioned to the name Sargent Bickham Lagudis (SBL). It was only in 2016 that SBL transitioned to its current name of Colorado Financial Management. Today, the firm is under the ownership of CIO Bradley Bickham, operations manager Patricia Meneley and senior financial advisors Joshua Miller, Meagan D’Angelo, Luke Daniel and Christopher Lagudis.
Most of what Colorado Financial does involves either financial planning or investment management. Here are a few of its services:
- Risk-adjusted portfolio planning
- Retirement planning
- Estate planning
- Insurance needs review and analysis
- Tax management
Colorado Financial Management, LLC Client Experience
In order to build an investment portfolio that’s in line with your personal needs, Colorado Financial Management will meet with you to determine your risk tolerance, liquidity needs and time horizon. Based on the specifics of your situation, the firm will formulate an asset allocation that it believes will ultimately help you reach your goals.
As your portfolio matures, the returns and losses it garners will eventually shift your asset allocation. To keep this from changing your target asset allocation too much, the firm will monitor and rebalance your investments as needed.
BSW Wealth Partners
BSW Wealth Partners is the last firm on this list that manages more than $1 billion in client assets. The firm has a large collection of advisory certifications across its team of 17 financial advisors. This includes nine certified financial planners (CFPs), two chartered financial analysts (CFAs), one certified public accountant (CPA), one certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) and one chartered SRI counselor (CSRIC).
Unlike the two other larger firms on this list, BSW does not institute any sort of minimum investable asset requirement. Regardless, the firm serves mostly high-net-worth individuals. Its client base also includes families, individuals, trusts, estates, pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and businesses.
This fee-only firm makes an appearance on SmartAsset’s list of the top financial advisor firms in the state of Colorado.
BSW Wealth Partners Background
As an employee-owned firm, BSW Wealth Partners’ shares are split between eight individuals: founder Debi Baydush, managing principal David Wolf, COO Matthew Samek and advisors Drew Simon, Benjamin Weaver, Raliegh Riddoch, Tim Wojtalik and Julie Martinez. BSW brands itself as “independent, employee-owned, woman-founded, and built to last.” It has been in business since 1992.
If you’re looking to invest, BSW Wealth Partners offers extensive investment management services that take care of everything from strategy implementation to portfolio reporting. For financial planning clients, services include wealth planning, employee stock option planning, retirement planning and college fund planning.
BSW Wealth Partners Investing Strategy
BSW Wealth Partners utilizes a long-term investment ideology that focuses on diversifying widely across multiple asset classes. To ensure your portfolio is as diversified as possible, the firm will look to invest your assets in non-correlated markets. Some of BSW’s typical investments include equities, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), real estate, hedge funds and private equity placements.
In order to keep your asset allocation intact and take into account other economic conditions, BSW will perform portfolio rebalances no more than twice per year. In the case that the firm has identified opportunistic investments, your allocation may shift a bit.
Schoolcraft Capital, LLC
Ultra-high-net-worth individuals comprise almost all of Schoolcraft Capital, LLC’s client base. In turn, the firm calls for a minimum investment of $10 million from new clients. In addition to individual clients, the fee-only firm is also known to maintain advisory relationships with families, foundations and private investment funds.
Despite Schoolcraft’s $430 million in assets under management (AUM), the firm employs just three financial advisors. Just one of the three holds a formal certification - a chartered financial analyst (CFA).
Schoolcraft Capital is one of two firms on this list (Crestone Asset Management, LLC) that charges performance-based fees as part of its client fee schedule.
Schoolcraft Capital, LLC Background
Although Schoolcraft Capital was organized in 2014, the firm didn’t actually begin advising clients until 2015. The firm is under the principal ownership of portfolio managers Michael Sherman and Theodore Harris.
The services at Schoolcraft consist almost entirely of investment planning and management. That means the firm can create an asset allocation tailored to your needs and then closely monitor how your investments are performing.
Schoolcraft Capital, LLC Investing Strategy
Schoolcraft Capital prefers passive investing. So rather than invest in individual stocks and bonds, it uses mutual funds and ETFs to gain access to the equity and bond markets. The firm does this for a number of reasons, such as low trading fees, income tax efficiency and strong liquidity.
Colorado Capital Management
You’ll need to have $500,000 in investable assets to join Colorado Capital Management (CCM) as a client. The fee-only firm has an individual-centric client base that’s divided nearly evenly between individuals with and without a high net worth. Families, trusts, estates, businesses, foundations, charitable organizations and employee-sponsored retirement plans also work with this firm.
The five-person group of advisors at Colorado Capital Management collectively manage $308 million in client assets. There are two certified financial planners (CFPs) and two chartered financial analysts (CFAs) on staff here.
Colorado Capital Management Background
Colorado Capital Management has been in business for nearly two decades, having been founded in 2000 by firm president Steven Ellis. Ellis has worked in the financial services industry for around 30 years. Financial advisors Lee Strongwater and Randall L. Kryszak also owns shares of CCM.
Like most advisory firms, Colorado Capital offers both financial planning and investment management. Here’s an overview:
- Asset allocation planning
- Ongoing portfolio monitoring
- Estate planning
- Cash flow management
- Retirement planning
- Income tax planning
Colorado Capital Management Investing Strategy
Colorado Capital Management’s Form ADV specifies that nearly three-quarters of the firm’s time is spent researching investment markets and managing current clients’ portfolios. This proprietary analysis involves reviewing financial documents, news and other important data to gain insight into the underlying fundamental characteristics of investments.
At its core, CCM’s investing philosophy is based on a long-term approach that involves holding onto securities for years at a time. When applicable, though, the firm will execute some shorter-term trades. Securities that the firm typically uses include stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds, CDs, annuities, warrants, options, real estate, hedge funds, derivatives and more.
Meridian Wealth Management, LLC
A group of four financial advisors manage $262 million in client assets at Meridian Wealth Management. Three of these advisors have earned the certified financial planner (CFP) designation. This fits in well with the firm’s premier services of asset management, wealth planning and retirement planning.
Meridian Wealth Management works with more than three times as many individuals as it does high-net-worth individuals. The firm also has a history of working with trusts, estates, businesses, charitable organizations and retirement plans. The minimum investment to become a client is $100,000.
Meridian is a fee-based firm, meaning it can earn compensation and commissions for the sale of specific insurance products or securities. While such commissions represent a potential conflict of interest, the firm still abides by fiduciary duty, legally binding it to act in clients’ best interests.
Meridian Wealth Management, LLC Background
This firm was founded in 2012 by three members of its current staff: CEO David Hansen and managing partners Tanya Matthews and Richard “Chip” Mower. It remains independently owned to this day. Collectively, Meridian Wealth Management has about 100 years of experience in the field of financial services.
The firm has a wide range of advisory services, like:
- Investment planning
- College savings planning
- Retirement planning
- Cash flow analysis
- Financial goal planning
- Estate planning
- Business exit planning
- Insurance planning
Meridian Wealth Management, LLC Investing Strategy
When you begin your client-advisor relationship with Meridian Wealth Management, the firm will work with you to identify your personal risk tolerance, time horizon and investment goals. Based on this all-important information, you’ll be paired with a specific management program. These include “income with capital preservation,” “income with moderate growth,” “growth with income” and “aggressive growth.”
Depending on where you ultimately fit in, the firm will invest your assets in securities accordingly. Meridian states in its Form ADV that it often uses mutual funds, ETFs, variable annuities, options, alternative investments and individual stocks and bonds.
Harbor Wealth Management
Harbor Wealth Management, a fee-only firm, is one of four firms on this list that has no minimum initial investment requirements. Accordingly, it works primarily with non-high-net-worth individuals, though it also works with some high-net-worth individuals. Its other clients include businesses, business owners and pension and profit-sharing plans.
Despite being a fraction of the size of some of the larger firms on this list, Harbor Wealth boasts more advisory certifications than six of its peers. The firm employs four certified financial planners (CFPs), two chartered retirement planning counselors (CRPCs) and one certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA).
Harbor Wealth Management Background
Harbor Wealth Management is the oldest firm on this list, with a founding date of 1988. It’s also the only firm that has an entirely female staff. Elyse Foster, Harbor’s founder, owns the firm entirely and has more than 30 years’ experience in the advisory business.
Harbor boils down its advisory offerings to about 10 different services, including:
- Personal financial planning
- Investment management
- Retirement planning
- Portfolio performance reporting
- Insurance analysis and planning
- Estate planning
- Tax and cash flow planning
- Education fund planning
- Investment analysis
Harbor Wealth Management Investing Strategy
Similar to many other financial advisor firms, Harbor Wealth Management believes a diversified portfolio that features long-term securities holdings will help to attain simultaneous capital preservation and appreciation. To achieve this, the firm thinks diversification is a necessary part of the portfolio construction process.
In the interest of wide-ranging diversification, Harbor avoids utilizing just a simple mix of equities and fixed-income securities. As a result, alternative investments have become an integral part of the firm’s asset allocations, as have international holdings.
Cornerstone Investment Advisors, LLC
Fee-only Cornerstone Investment Advisors, LLC has $137 million in client assets under management (AUM) and four financial advisors. Within this team, there are three certified financial planners (CFPs), two certified public accountants (CPAs), one chartered financial analyst (CFA) and one accredited estate planner (AEP).
Individuals are the most common client type at Cornerstone, followed by families, trusts, estates, banks, institutions, pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and small businesses. The firm does not have a minimum initial investment.
Cornerstone Investment Advisors, LLC Background
Cornerstone Investment Advisors has been in business since 2001. The firm's ownership group includes principals Dave Darmour, Dennis E. Channer, Jane W. Engel, Russ C. Rauhauser and Thomas T. Yanari.
Clients of Cornerstone can utilize both financial planning and investment management services. Some specific options include retirement planning, cash flow analysis, investment planning, education savings analysis, estate planning and customized portfolio management.
Cornerstone Investment Advisors, LLC Investing Strategy
Cornerstone Investment Advisors doesn’t necessarily have a standard investment strategy. Instead, the firm will assess a client’s investor profile and create an asset allocation that fits their needs. To do this, one of the firm’s advisors will speak with you about your risk tolerance, time horizon and overall investment goals.
The main investment principles that Cornerstone follows fall within the confines of Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT). This Nobel prize-winning investment strategy attempts to minimize risk for your tolerance level while maximizing returns.
Ludwick & Shirman, LLC
Ludwick & Shirman, LLC is located in northern Boulder. The firm has $124 million in client assets under management (AUM) and two financial advisors on staff. Both of these advisors have chartered financial consultant (ChFC) and chartered life underwriter (CLU) certifications.
This firm principally works with individuals and high-net-worth individuals. However, it also provides advisory services to families, trusts, estates, pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and corporations. You’ll need at least $500,000 in investable assets to become a client.
As a fee-based firm, some of Ludwick & Shirman’s financial advisors can earn commissions for the sale of insurance products. Still, the firm is a fiduciary and therefore must act in clients’ best interests.
Ludwick & Shirman, LLC Background
Firm president Roy Ludwick and vice president Gary Shirman founded Ludwick & Shirman in 1997, and they still own the firm. The duo have spent a combined 70 years working in the financial services industry.
Clients can utilize discretionary investment management services at this firm, along with a plethora of variations of financial planning. This includes estate planning, retirement planning, IRA rollovers, net worth determination, cash flow planning, investment planning and more.
Ludwick & Shirman, LLC Investing Strategy
Your personal investment objectives, risk tolerance, time horizon and liquidity needs will determine your asset allocation at Ludwick & Shirman. To simplify this process, the firm has four portfolio models entitled “Aggressive,” “Growth,” “Growth & Income” and “Conservative” that it can pair you with based on your characteristics.
The more investment volatility you can stomach, the closer to the “Aggressive” model you’ll end up. Conversely, those who are more risk-averse will end up near “Conservative.” If you’re looking for more of a mix and require higher liquidity, your portfolio will likely be somewhere in the middle.
Principium Investments, LLC
Principium Investments, LLC has just over $100 million in client assets under management (AUM). When it comes to clientele, over 80% of Principium’s client base is made up of individuals. High-net-worth individuals, charitable organizations, businesses, trusts, estates and pension and profit-sharing plans are also common clients of the firm.
As for advisor certifications, the team at Principium Investments includes a single certified financial planner (CFP). There are no minimum investment requirements at this fee-only firm.
Principium Investments, LLC Background
Prior to being called Principium Investments, this firm was registered under the name Vinoy Capital, LLC. Vinoy Capital came about through the merger of two preexisting financial advisor firms - Global Capital Advisors, LLC and Sarasota Asset Management, Inc. In 2014 the firm took on its current name. CIO Michael Tracy is the firm’s principal owner.
Depending on your personal needs, Principium can offer services like investment management, general financial planning and estate planning.
Principium Investments, LLC Investing Strategy
Principium Investments offers a unique investment strategy that not only looks to boost your returns, but also takes into account social and environmental factors. For the most part, the firm invests client assets in mutual funds and ETFs, but this can change depending on your needs.
Clients of Principium will have access to a collection of 60 proprietary investment portfolio strategies. These range from appreciation-focused models to overall return-based models. As far as specific securities go, the firm sticks to investments that consistently outperform the rest of the market, as well as any related indexes.