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Top Financial Advisors in Burlingame, CA

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This review was produced by SmartAsset based on publicly available information. The named firm and its financial professionals have not reviewed, approved, or endorsed this review and are not responsible for its accuracy. Review content is produced by SmartAsset independently of any business relationships that might exist between SmartAsset and the named firm and its financial professionals, and firms and financial professionals having business relationships with SmartAsset receive no special treatment or consideration in SmartAsset’s reviews. This page contains links to SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool, which may or may not match you with the firm mentioned in this review or its financial professionals.

Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Burlingame, California

There are a plethora of financial advisor firms to choose from in Burlingame, California, so SmartAsset's experts compiled this list to help you choose one. In order to differentiate between the firms, we go over their typical client bases, investment strategies, fee structures, advisory services, minimum investments and more. Do you still feel unsure of who you want to work with? Try our financial advisor matching tool. It will connect you with up to three advisors in your area.

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Rank Financial Advisor Assets Managed Minimum Assets Financial Services More Information
1 Emery Howard Emery Howard logo Find an Advisor

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$1,627,796,970 No set account minimum
  • Financial planning
  • Portfolio management
  • Selection of other advisors
  • Pension consulting

Minimum Assets

No set account minimum

Financial Services

  • Financial planning
  • Portfolio management
  • Selection of other advisors
  • Pension consulting
2 Ensemble Capital Management, LLC Ensemble Capital Management, LLC logo Find an Advisor

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$1,399,255,000 $3,000,000
  • Financial planning
  • Portfolio management

Minimum Assets


Financial Services

  • Financial planning
  • Portfolio management
3 Occidental Asset Management, LLC Occidental Asset Management, LLC logo Find an Advisor

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$422,085,914 $750,000
  • Financial planning
  • Portfolio management
  • Selection of other advisors

Minimum Assets


Financial Services

  • Financial planning
  • Portfolio management
  • Selection of other advisors
4 Elm Advisors, LLC Elm Advisors, LLC logo Find an Advisor

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$338,973,424 $1,000,000
  • Financial planning
  • Portfolio management

Minimum Assets


Financial Services

  • Financial planning
  • Portfolio management

What We Use in Our Methodology

To find the top financial advisors in Burlingame, we first identified all firms registered with the SEC in the city. Next, we filtered out firms that don't offer financial planning services, those that don't serve primarily individual clients and those that have disclosures on their record. The qualifying firms were then ranked according to the following criteria:

  • AUM
    Firms with more total assets under management are ranked higher.
  • Individual Client Count
    Firms who serve more individual clients (as opposed to institutional clients) are ranked higher.
  • Clients Per Advisor
    Firms with a lower ratio of clients per financial advisor are ranked higher.
  • Age of Firm
    Firms that have been in business longer are ranked higher.
  • Fee Structure
    Firms with a fee-only (as opposed to fee-based) compensation structure are ranked higher.

All information is accurate as of the writing of this article. This list may include firms that have a business relationship with SmartAsset, in which SmartAsset is compensated for lead referrals. Such relationships have no impact on our rankings, and firms are included and ranked based strictly on the above criteria.

Emery Howard

Emery Howard is the first firm in our roundup. Its client base is largely centered around individuals, both with and without a high net worth. Other clients of the firm include pension plans, businesses and charitable organizations.

The firm doesn’t impose a minimum account size. There are three certified financial planners (CFPs) on staff.

This is a fee-only firm, which means the entirety of its compensation comes from the fees that clients pay it for its services. This avoids the conflicts of interest found at fee-based firms, where compensation includes transaction-based fees.

Emery Howard Background

Emery Howard was founded in 1991. Michael K. Howard is the firm's president and principal owner; he has been working in the financial services industry since 1980. 

This firm specializes in investment management and financial planning services. The latter can cover cash flow planning, education funding, risk management, retirement planning and transition planning, among other areas of need.

Emery Howard Investment Philosophy

When investing for clients, Emery Howard generally focuses on equity and fixed-income investments. Rather than invest directly in individual stocks, the firm tends to do so through exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and institutional-class mutual funds. The firm may invest in individual bonds, though.

While expected future performance is obviously important when selecting securities to fill out a portfolio, the firm also considers transactional costs. In addition to this, your advisor will evaluate how the prospective security could help or hurt your portfolio's diversification. Possibly the most important considerations are the client’s investment preferences, investment objectives and risk tolerance.

Ensemble Capital Management, LLC

The Ensemble Capital Management team includes chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and certified financial planners (CFPs). The firm could be considered relatively exclusive, as it requires at least $3 million investment to become a client. However, this requirement may be waived or reduced at the firm's discretion.

Ensemble is a fee-only firm. High-net-worth individuals make up much of its client base, with non-high-net-worth individuals, retirement plans, charities, businesses and trusts making up the rest.

Ensemble Capital Management Background

Ensemble Capital Management first opened its doors back in 1997, and it has three principal owners today: President and Chief Investment Officer Sean Stannard-Stockton, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Compliance Officer Matthew Pearson and Director of Wealth Management Ludo Thomasson. This trio has around 50 years of financial services experience between them.

Investment management is the flagship offering at Ensemble Capital Management, but clients who subscribe to this service can also receive financial planning services. This involves retirement planning, income planning, multigenerational wealth planning, asset allocation planning and estate planning.

Ensemble Capital Management Investing Philosophy

When creating portfolios for each client, Ensemble Capital typically uses a focused portfolio of between 15 and 30 individual equities. The firm has strategically chosen this number of individual stocks, as its Form ADV states, "Research shows that the benefits of diversification are optimized at between 15 and 30 holdings." This diversification is meant to ensure that your portfolio's returns aren't overly attached to one area of the market, making it vulnerable to a crash.

To reduce portfolio volatility, the firm may also invest in a range of fixed-income instruments. These can include Treasurys, FDIC-insured certificates of deposit (CDs), A-rated (or better) corporate and municipal bonds and investment-grade bond mutual funds.

Occidental Asset Management, LLC

Occidental Asset Management, LLC is a firm that works exclusively with individual clients and institutions with separately managed accounts. According to the firm's latest SEC fiiling, all of these current clients are high-net-worth individuals, which aligns with the firm’s minimum account size of $750,000. The firm's Form ADV does state that its minimum requirement is waivable, however.

The fee-only firm's team includes four certified financial planners (CFPs). On occasion, you may also see the firm operating under the name "Your Mental Wealth."

Occidental Asset Management Background

Occidental Asset Management was established in 2013. The firm is wholly owned by Occidental Capital, LLC, a financial services holding company. In turn, Occidental Capital is owned by A. Charles Cattano III, executive director of wealth management and family office services, and Nathan H. Walsh, executive director of asset management and chief compliance officer. The firm's team also includes partner Dr. Brad Klontz, who is a financial planner and financial psychologist.

Occidental provides its clients with both wealth management and financial planning services. Financial planning at the firm encompasses areas like income, expenses, taxes, investments, retirement plans and insurance. The firm also has a unique service called Your Mental Wealth® Discovery Process that seeks to help clients have a "healthy relationship with money and a sound blueprint for financial success," according to the firm's website.

Occidental Asset Management Investing Philosophy

Occidental Asset Management doesn't adhere to a specific investment strategy. That's because the firm formulates a customized portfolio plan for every client based on their risk tolerance, time horizon, income needs and overall investing goals. When analyzing potential investments, Occidental applies several techniques, including cyclical analysis, technical analysis, fundamental analysis and charting.

Technical and cyclical analysis involve seeking to identify trends in historical price and volume data, with cyclical analysis doing so specifically in the context of a business cycle. Fundamental analysis is the practice of analyzing a company or fund’s financial documents, as well the overall economy, in an attempt to gauge its intrinsic value. Charting involves visualizing price analyses with charts and graphs in order to better identify trends.

Elm Advisors, LLC

Elm Advisors, LLC is a fee-only firm that’s been serving clients in the Burlingame area for more than a decade. Certain members of firm's team hold professional designations such as certified financial planner (CFP) and chartered financial analyst (CFA).

Most of the firm's clients are high-net-worth individuals. Indeed, the firm maintains a $1 million minimum account size. Currently, charitable organizations are the only institutional clients. However, the firm also serves foundations, businesses and pension plans.

Elm Advisors Background

Elm Advisors was first established in 2005. Elana M. Lieberman and Lorne Abramson are the founders and principal owners of the firm, with their names being represented as the “E” and “L” in Elm, respectively. The duo opened the firm after individually spending several years at another portfolio management and financial advisory firm, the now-defunct Smith Barney.

Investment management is the primary service provided at Elm Advisors. The firm’s advisors tailor this service to the needs and objectives of each new client. The firm also provides financial planning services at no additional charge, and this can cover a wide variety of services, such as:

  • Cash flow analysis
  • Education funding needs
  • Risk management
  • Financial independence strategies
  • Retirement planning
  • Transition planning

Elm Advisors Investment Philosophy

Elm Advisors believes that asset allocation is much more important to a portfolio's success than market timing or individual security selection. This goes hand in hand with the firm's belief in investing specifically for the long term. As such, the firm seeks to achieve a broad diversification of asset classes in each client portfolio. It does this to help ensure that the returns your portfolio earns are not based in just a single area of the investment market.

When implementing these diversified portfolios, Elm Advisors typically goes with a combination of mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), individual equities, individual bond ladders and fixed-income funds. The firm may focus specifically on fixed-income investments if the client has a particular set of income requirements.

How Long $1mm Lasts in Retirement

SmartAsset's interactive map highlights places where $1 million will last the longest in retirement. Zoom between states and the national map to see the top spots in each region. Also, scroll over any city to learn about the cost of living in retirement for that location.

Rank City Housing Expenses Food Expenses Healthcare Expenses Utilities Expenses Transportation Expenses

Methodology We analyzed data on average expenditures for seniors, cost of living and investment returns to determine how many years of retirement a $1 million nest egg would cover in cities across America.

First, we looked at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on the average annual expenditures of seniors. We then applied cost of living data from the Council for Community and Economic Research to adjust those national average spending levels based on the costs of each expense category (housing, food, healthcare, utilities, transportation and other) in each city. Using this data, SmartAsset calculated the average cost of living for retirees in the largest U.S. cities.

We assumed the $1 million would grow at a real return (interest minus inflation) of 2%. Then, we divided $1 million by the sum of each of those annual numbers to determine how long $1 million would cover retirement expenses in each of the cities in our study. Cities where $1 million lasted the longest ranked the highest in the study.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Council for Community and Economic Research