Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Buffalo, New York
There are plenty of financial advisor firms in Buffalo, but it can be difficult to compare options and evaluate which firm will best suit your needs. That’s where SmartAsset comes in. We've layed out all the pertinent info on these advisors, including their investment approaches, expertise and minimum account sizes.
|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||Courier Capital Find an Advisor||$1,908,732,305||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|2||Sanderson Wealth Management Find an Advisor||$780,464,655||$500,000|| || |
|3||Sterling Investment Counsel Find an Advisor||$423,807,671||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
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|4||Pratt Collard Advisory Partners Find an Advisor||$233,896,801||$50,000|| || |
|5||Hudson Advisor Services, Inc. Find an Advisor||$232,398,761||$1,000,000|| || |
|6||Miller Gesko & Company Find an Advisor||$148,653,000||$1,000,000|| || |
|7||Winthrop Partners - WNY, LLC Find an Advisor||$126,455,736||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|8||Collins Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$103,386,942||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|9||Western New York Financial Group, LLC Find an Advisor||$56,117,232||$500,000|| || |
|10||Winthrop Partners - WPA, LLC Find an Advisor||$51,472,184||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in Buffalo, New York
We only considered financial advisors that are registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These are all firms that have a fiduciary duty, which means they are legally required to act in their clients' best interests. We cut any firm that had disclosures or disciplinary issues, as well as those that didn’t manage individual client accounts. The final top 9 firms are arranged from most assets managed to least.
All information is accurate as of the writing of this article.
As the only firm out of our top 10 Buffalo financial advisors to have over $1 billion in assets under management, Courier Capital leads the way as the firm managing the most money. Founded in 1967, Courier Capital is the oldest firm on the list. The fee-based firm has multiple advisors and hundreds of accounts.
Despite managing billions, the firm isn’t exclusive; the firm has no stated account minimums or minimum annual fees, and most of its clients are non-high-net-worth individuals.
The firm has offices in Buffalo, Jamestown and Williamsville, New York. It offers investment management, retirement planning, individual financial planning and investment consulting. In 2015 and 2014, Financial Times named Courier Capital as one of the top 300 financial advisers in the U.S.
Courier Capital Background
Courier Capital was founded in 1967 and was known as Courier Capital Corporation. Now, the firm is an LLC and is owned by Financial Institutions, Inc. The company also owns Five Star Bank, a commercial and consumer bank, and Scott Danahy Naylon, an insurance agency. All of these institutions serve the western and central New York regions near Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse.
Thomas Hanlon is the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Courier Capital. He has a number of credentials, including chartered financial analyst (CFA), certified financial planner (CFP) and certified employee benefits specialist (CEBS). He has an MBA in finance from SUNY Buffalo, and previously worked for M&T Bank and HSBC Bank.
The nine-person investment team has two more CFAs and one CFP.
Courier Capital Investment Strategy
When you work with Courier Capital, your advisor will create a tailored investment management solution. Your investment and financial objectives will be used to create your asset allocation. This allocation will include fixed income, domestic equities, foreign securities and alternative asset classes.
Your first few discussions with Courier Capital will help shape your client profile. This includes your investment objectives, risk tolerance, investment guidelines, time horizons and other relevant information. This information is used to create a portfolio that syncs with your objectives.
Courier Capital uses model portfolios. That means your profile will be matched with a pre-made asset model (conservative, moderate conservative, moderate, moderately aggressive or aggressive). High-net-worth clients (those with $1.5 million) may have a more tailored account and not see their portfolio in a model.
Sanderson Wealth Management
Sanderson Wealth Management comes in at number two, with hundreds of millions in assets under management (AUM). Unlike Courier Capital, which has no account minimum, Sanderson Wealth Management requires at least $500,000 to become a client. The firm's client base is split evenly between individuals and high-net-worth individuals.
Sanderson has several advisors and was founded in 2001. The firm is fee-only, meaning it makes money solely from a percentage of assets under management - and doesn’t make money selling you insurance or other financial products.
Sanderson Wealth Management Background
John Sanderson founded the firm in 2001 and remains the majority owner. He is a certified public accountant (CPA) and earned the designation of certified investment management analyst (CIMA). Before creating the firm, Sanderson spent 27 years at Ernst & Young, one of the largest accounting firms in the world. A graduate of Niagara University, Sanderson is a lifelong resident of western New York.
The other owner of the firm, with a minority stake, is James Warner. He is a CPA, certified financial planner (CFP) and holds the CIMA designation, as well. Warner’s main role at Sanderson Wealth is a client relationship manager, but he also serves as the compliance officer. He’s a former Ernst & Young employee.
John Gullo is the chief investment officer and chief operating officer of the company. He’s worked for Sanderson Wealth since 2007. Before joining the firm, he was a portfolio manager for M&T Bank and worked for UBS and The Horizon Group. He has an MBA from Canisius College.
Sanderson Wealth Management Investment Strategy
Wealth management specialists at Sanderson Wealth use a five-step process with clients. First, they’ll analyze your current position and future needs. Next is your investment policy statement. This is built on your time horizon, risk tolerance, cash-flow needs and other relevant personal financial information.
Step three entails determining your asset allocation. The company categorizes investments into three buckets: core bonds and cash, global stocks and non-traditional assets. After that, your specialist will select managers and implement your personal investment strategy. The last step is ongoing portfolio monitoring, reporting and rebalancing.
The firm is a follower of the popular modern portfolio theory, which heavily emphasizes balancing risk and return through asset allocation.
Sterling Investment Counsel
This fee-based firm is the newest in our Buffalo top 10, having formed in 2016. Sterling Investment Counsel (SIC) has several advisors managing hundreds of accounts. The firm has millions in assets under management and has no required minimum to become a client.
More than three-quarters of the firm’s client base are individuals below the high-net-worth mark. The company offers portfolio management and financial planning to individuals, high-net-worth individuals, corporations or business entities, trusts, estates and charitable organizations.
Sterling Investment Counsel Background
The principal owners of the firm are Christopher Michael Marks, Cynthia Eileen Vance, Philip Kenneth Vance and John Lawrence Langer. Vance serves as the CEO of the firm and has over 30 years in the financial services industry. Vance is a certified financial planner (CFP), chartered financial consultant (ChFC), accredited investment fiduciary (ACF) and has an MBA from Xavier University and a J.D. from SUNY Buffalo School of Law.
Christopher Marks is the chief compliance officer and founding partner of the firm. Like Vance, he has a J.D. and MBA. Marks has more than 20 years of industry experience. James Goede is the firm’s chief investment officer and chief operating officer. He is a chartered financial analyst (CFA) and has experience from working at Ernst & Young and several other large firms.
Sterling Investment Counsel Investment Strategy
This company is a follower of modern portfolio theory, a theory developed by Harry Markowitz and used by many investment managers and advisors. The emphasis is to maximize portfolio expected returns for the given amount of portfolio risk by choosing proportions of various asset classes.
Sterling Investment Counsel uses charting analysis and fundamental analysis to evaluate securities. Charting analysis is the study of patterns in performance charts to help find ideal times to buy or sell a security. Fundamental analysis involves considering a company’s financial health and management situation.
SIC usually advises clients on mutual funds, fixed-income securities, real estate funds, equities, ETFs, treasury inflation protected/inflation linked bonds and non-U.S. securities.
Pratt Collard Advisory Partners
Pratt Collard Advisory Partners is a fee-based financial advisor with millions in assets under management (AUM). Two of the firm's advisors are certified financial planners (CFPs) and is a chartered financial analyst (CFA).
If you want to become a client, you’ll need at least $50,000. You’ll find Pratt Collard right in downtown Buffalo on Genesee Street.
Pratt Collard Advisory Partners Background
Matthew Collard and Michael Pratt started the firm in 2011 and remain the sole owners. Pratt serves as the chief compliance officer. According to Financial Magazine, Collard got his financial industry start in 1996, working in Germany. After two years spent in the German financial industry, he returned to western New York and started working at Harold Brown & Co., an independent brokerage and investment firm where he worked with Pratt, then a senior portfolio manager at the firm.
Pratt Collard Advisory Partners Investment Strategy
In general, your advisors advocate for a long-term, value-driven investment process. This means limited portfolio turnover through holding positions for three to five years. Your portfolio will hold equities, bonds, mutual funds and ETFs. To choose these securities, advisors use fundamental analysis as their primary method of analysis.
Pratt Collard examines the competitive position of the company and uses a bottom-up approach. This means starting at a microeconomic level (starting with a specific company to research) before looking at global macroeconomic indicators (the top-down approach).
Hudson Advisor Services, Inc.
Hudson Advisors Services is an advisory firm that works exclusively with individuals and high-net-worth individuals, although it also offers services to pension plans, trusts, estates, charitable organizations and businesses. The firm is made up of multiple advisors, one of whom is a certified financial planner (CFP).
The firm requires new clients to have at least $1 million in investable assets, although the firm can waive this minimum at its discretion. Hudson Advisors is a fee-only firm.
Hudson Advisor Services Background
Hudson Advisor Services, in its current form, was founded in 1997. Its founder, William N. Hudson, previously operated as a sole proprietorship from 1994 to 1997. Hudson is the principal owner of the firm along with Frances Miley.
Hudson Advisor Services provides comprehensive investment management services to its clients, which can include record keeping, tax services, asset management and selecting independent money managers. The firm can also provide special services such as managing tax-deferred plans, engaging with real estate agents and other specific issues the client needs addressed.
Hudson Advisors Services Investment Strategy
Hudson Advisor Services primarily employs fundamental analysis when it comes to evaluating securities, although it may use technical and cyclical analysis when it deems such methods appropriate. Fundamental analysis is the attempt to discern a company’s intrinsic economic value rather than focusing only on the movement of its stock price.
The firm typically recommends investing in domestic and foreign equity, corporate debt securities, certificates of deposit (CD), municipal and government securities, mutual funds, options, warrants and commercial paper. Alternative investments such as commodities, futures, hedge funds, private equity and venture capital investments are less common, but the firm may recommend them in some situations.
Miller Gesko & Company
Miller Gesko & Company is the next firm on our list, and it has a $1 million minimum investment to become a client. Despite this fairly high minimum, the vast majority of the firm's clients are non-high-net-worth individuals.
Founded in 1986, Miller Gesko & Company is a fee-based firm, meaning it earns income from additional sources beyond management fees. The firm has three advisors and is located downtown on Main Street near the Buffalo Bisons baseball field. You can also find Miller Gesko & Company in Sarasota, Florida.
Miller Gesko & Company Background
Robert Miller, Jr. and Paul Gesko founded the firm and remain the primary owners. Gesko is the president of the firm and a member of the firm’s investment committee. He manages the Florida office. Gesko founded the original company behind the current firm in 1969 and has been in financial services ever since.
Miller is the vice president and head of operations and management. He joined the firm in 1999 after services as a retirement planning specialist. He is a certified financial planner (CFP).
Henry Urban holds a minority stake in the company and is the chief compliance officer. Urban has a background in law, loans and trusts.
Miller Gesko has four other employees, including a chartered financial analyst (CFA) who serves as director of research.
Miller Gesko & Company Investment Strategy
Fundamental analysis is the method of choice at Miller Gesko for evaluating securities. This type of analysis focuses on a company’s fundamentals, such as management, financials and more.
The firm generally will offer you advice on the following types of securities: exchange-traded funds (ETFs), warrants, domestic and foreign equity securities, commercial paper, corporate debt securities, certificates of deposit, municipal and U.S. government securities, mutual funds, options and master limited partnerships.
Winthrop Partners - WNY, LLC
Formed in 2015, Winthrop Partners has multiple advisors managing its accounts, which add up to more than $115 million in assets under management (UM). One of these advisors is both a certified financial planner (CFP) and a chartered financial analyst (CFA). Another is a CFP and an accredited investment fiduciary (AIF).
The firm has no requirement for minimum assets, and almost 75% of its clients are non-high-net-worth individuals. The company is fee-based.
Winthrop Partners Background
The firm was founded in 2015, and its principals are Thomas J. Saunders, R. Brian Werner and Ryan J. Carney. Saunders and Werner also act as managing members of the firm.
The firm offers financial planning and consulting services as well as investment management services. Financial planning services can cover cash flow analysis, retirement income needs, college funding, retirement travel, savings and survivor needs, among other matters.
Winthrop Partners Investment Strategy
Winthrop Partners approaches its construction of client portfolios by starting with asset allocation. The firm seeks to develop a broad asset allocation that's in line with a client's inevstment objectives, risk tolerance and time horizon. Then, relying on fundamental analysis as well as screening from external sources such as Credit Suisse and Raymond James, the firm selects an appropriate mix of large cap securites that fit the client's situation.
The firm invests most frequently in large cap stocks and bonds, and it also uses mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to gain access to different asset classes and industry sectors.
Collins Advisors, LLC
Collins Advisors, LLC is an advisory firm that counts individuals, high-net-worth individuals, pension plans and charitable organizations as clients. The firm has no minimum account requirement.
Collins Advisors is a fee-only firm, which means it only earns money by charging its clients management fees.
Collins Advisors Background
Collins Advisors was founded in 2003 by Mary Collins, who has more than thirty years of experience in the industry. She is the principal owner of the firm in addition to acting as president and CEO.
The firm provides portfolio management services and advises clients on matters such as income tax planning, insurance planning and risk management, estate planning and retirement planning.
Collins Advisors Investment Strategy
Collins Advisors starts the investment process using fundamental analysis, which works to determine the economic value of companies and stocks independent of the stock price. From there, the firm will examine the fit of potential investments within a specific client’s investment strategy, making sure it aligns with the client’s risk tolerance and investing goals.
The firm primarily makes investments in individual equity and fixed income securities; to a lesser extent, it also invests in mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
Western New York Financial Group, LLC
The penultimate firm on our list is fee-only firm Western New York Financial Group, LLC (WNYFG). This fee-only investment advisory firm manages about 20 clients, including non-high-net-worth individuals, pension and profit sharing plans, high-net-worth individuals, corporations and other business entities.
For its advisory fees, WNYFG charges asset-based fees, hourly fees and fixed fees. The firm requires that all clients meet a minimum account size of $500,000 before establishing an advisory relationship.
Western New York Financial Group Background
Founded by Michael Anquino, WNYFG began its operations in 2019. Mark Narby is the firm’s co-owner. As for advisory services, WNYFG provides portfolio management, financial planning, advisor selection and pension consulting services.
Western New York Financial Group Investment Strategy
When making investment decisions, WNYFG says it uses technical analysis to evaluate market statistics such as price and volume, according to its firm brochure. As for investment recommendations, WNYFG’s Form ADV shows that it mainly allocates client assets among exchange-traded equity securities and cash and cash equivalents.
Winthrop Partners - WPA, LLC
Fee-only firm Winthrop Partners - WPA, LLC finishes off our list with millions in client assets. The firm has a small staff of advisors managing fewer than 30 clients, and its client base consists of individuals, high-net-worth individuals, trusts, pension and profit sharing plans, estates, charitable organizations, corporations and business entities.
The firm’s staff presents a few notable qualifications, including the certified financial planner (CFP), chartered financial consultant (ChFC) and chartered financial analyst (CFA) designations.
Winthrop Partners doesn’t impose a minimum account size requirement. Its advisory fees include asset-based fees, fixed fees and hourly fees.
Winthrop Partners - WPA Background
Established as an affiliate of Winthrop Partners - WNY LLC, Winthrop Partners’ principals are Thomas J. Saunders, R. Brian Werner and Ryan J. Carney. This firm specializes in portfolio management, financial planning and pension consulting services.
Winthrop Partners - WPA Investment Strategy
This firm’s investment philosophy emphasizes a top-down/bottom-up investment approach, according to its firm brochure. Winthrop Partners typically applies fundamental analysis and quantitative and qualitative analysis when making investment decisions.
Winthrop Partners says it mainly allocates its clients’ assets among individual debt and equity securities, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds.