Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in California
Finding a quality financial advisor is important if you want to make sure you and your family are secure for the long run. But choosing a financial advisor firm in California can be a difficult task, given the size of the state and the sheer number of options out there. You want to make the right choice, finding a financial advisor firm that suits your unique financial situation. This list presents the top financial advisor firms in California, with details on the firms’ account minimums, areas of expertise and investment strategies provided in tables and reviews. You can also use the SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool to connect with local advisors.
|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||Hall Capital Partners Find an Advisor||$41,599,805,285||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|2||Aspiriant, LLC Find an Advisor||$12,758,731,000||$1,500,000|| || |
|3||Personal Capital Advisors Corporation Find an Advisor||$12,240,728,055||$100,000|| || |
|4||Advanced Research Investment Solutions, LLC Find an Advisor||$12,072,556,000||$10,000,000|| || |
|5||GuidedChoice Asset Management, Inc. Find an Advisor||$11,910,338,194||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|6||Jordan Park Group, LLC Find an Advisor||$11,683,637,375||$50,000,000|| || |
|7||Baker Street Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$10,200,000,000||$5,000,000|| || |
|8||SEIA Find an Advisor||$8,235,801,168||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|9||Allworth Financial, L.P. Find an Advisor||$8,095,778,922||$100,000|| || |
|10||EP Wealth Advisors Find an Advisor||$6,930,000,000||$500,000|| || |
How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in California
First, we made a list of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)-registered firms in California, as these firms are bound by a fiduciary duty to act in their clients’ best interest. Then we eliminated any firms that have disclosures on their Form ADV. We also removed advisories that don’t offer financial planning or work primarily with non-individual clients. Below are the top 10 firms that made the list, sorted by total assets under management, from highest to lowest.
All information is accurate as of the writing of this article.
Hall Capital Partners, LLC
Hall Capital Partners, LLC leads our list and is located in San Francisco. The firm has an additional office in New York. Its portfolio management team includes five chartered financial analysts (CFAs). This is a fee-only firm.
Though Hall Capital Partners technically does not have a set minimum investment requirement, it notes in its Form ADV that it oversees more than $100 million in investment assets "for the majority of the firm's client relationships." The firm charges a minimum annual fee of $400,000, or $300,000 for accounts that pay a performance-based fee.
The firm's individual investor client base solely consists of high-net-worth individuals and families. It also serves institutions (including endowments and foundations), pooled investment vehicles, pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and other investment advisors.
Hall Capital Partners Background
Hall Capital Partners is an independent firm that is privately owned, primarily by the firm's partners. Its roots date back to 1994, when it began managing portfolios for select family offices and their private foundations.
The firm offers three main services:
- Customized global multi-asset class portfolios - the creation of custom, diversified portfolios for clients
- HCP pooled vehicles - unregistered funds of funds that the firm manages and which provide investment strategies for certain investors
- Specialized mandates - client investments in a certain asset class, including hedge funds, private equity or real assets
Hall Capital Partners Investing Strategy
Hall Capital Partners creates its global multi-asset class portfolios based on each client's unique financial situation. Though this largely shapes the firm's investment objectives, the firm also sticks to certain core investment principles across its client portfolios. Generally, the firm maintains a long-term horizon, investing assets globally and in a highly selective manner. It diversifies assets across what it defines as "drivers of value," which include fixed income, equities, hedge funds, private equity and real assets.
Overall, Hall Capital says that its goal is to build "relatively concentrated but diversified portfolios of complementary managers with asymmetrical return profiles." It's specifically focused on risk-adjusted returns. The firm has a whole team, The Research Group, that is responsible for analyzing investment opportunities. The Research Group, which includes the firm's co-chief investment officers, is broken down into teams that focus specifically on certain asset classes.
Aspiriant is a national financial advisor firm with headquarters in Los Angeles and offices in other major California cities including San Francisco, Irvine, Solana Beach and Mountain View. It does not have an absolute minimum for clients to open or maintain an account, but it tends to advise clients with at least $1.5 million available to invest. The majority of the firm’s clients are high-net-worth individuals.
The team of advisors have earned a number of certifications including certified financial planner (CFP), chartered financial analyst (CFA), certified public accountant (CPA), certified investment management analyst (CIMA), chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA), certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA), certified private wealth advisor (CPWA) and accredited estate planner (AEP).
Aspiriant was founded in 2008. It was born out of two California firms: Quintile and Kochis Fitz. The firm uses a distributed ownership model to keep its goals in line with clients’ goals. More than 30% of Aspiriant’s employees have an ownership interest in the firm, which is owned by a holding company.
Aspiriant offers wealth planning, investing and family office services. The firm can also help with things like buying a house and saving to put kids through college.
Aspiriant Investing Strategy
Aspiriant’s advisors offer complete customization for clients. Each investor gets to pick his or her own investment blend. The company is forward-looking, as it tries to predict what the market will look like in 10 years and incorporate those projections into a client’s portfolio.
The firm invests in bonds, real estate, global public equity, private equity, hedge funds and commodities. Advisors consider clients’ risk tolerance, personal goals and financial situation to determine each client’s strategy.
Personal Capital Advisors Corporation
Personal Capital Advisors Corporation is a fee-only advisory firm that's affiliated with robo-advisor Personal Capital. While advisory certifications for most of these advisors are unavailable, the firm's leadership team does include certified financial planners (CFPs).
The client base at Personal Capital Advisors is almost entirely individual-centric, as it serves over 19,000 individual clients with and without high net worths. The firm is also known to work with businesses and charitable organizations. To become a client of the firm, you'll need at least $100,000 in investable assets.
The firm charges fees using a wrap-fee program.
Personal Capital Advisors Corporation Background
Personal Capital Advisors has been in business since 2010. The firm is a subsidiary of Personal Capital Corporation, otherwise known as Personal Capital. The robo-advisor was founded just before the financial advisor firm in 2009.
The services at Personal Capital Advisors Corporation are tiered based on the amount of your assets under management (AUM). As you move up the scale, the services you gain will be available in addition to the services for tiers beneath you. They include:
- Up to $200,000 in AUM - access to online dashboard, tools and financial advisory team, 401(k) advice, cash flow and spending analysis, 24/7 over-the-phone services
- $200,000 to $1,000,000 in AUM - two dedicated financial advisors, full financial and retirement planning, college savings and 529 plan planning, tax-loss harvesting, financial decisions support
- Over $1,000,000 in AUM - priority access to CFPs, family tiered billing, private banking services, deferred compensation strategies, estate attorney and CPA collaboration, estate portfolio construction
Personal Capital Advisors Corporation Investing Strategy
This firm utilizes a proprietary variable investment strategy that it has aptly titled "Personal Strategy®." This features a goal-based approach that's customizable based on your personal needs and long-term objectives. Personal Capital Advisors Corporation avoids most standard strategies, opting to stick with equities and exchange-traded funds. It combines the use of these investments with its "Smart Index Weighting" to ensure that your portfolio is diversified globally.
Advanced Research Investment Solutions, LLC
Advanced Research Investment Solutions (ARIS), a fee-only firm, works with high-net-worth individuals pooled investment vehicles, pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations, guilds and health plans. All individual clients have high net worths, which makes sense since the minimum account size is $10 million.
The team at ARIS has a number of advisors including one with the following certifications: certified financial planner (CFP), chartered life underwriter (CLU), chartered financial planner (ChFP) and certified investment management analyst (CIMA).
Advanced Research Investment Solutions Background
Advanced Research Investment Solutions Investing Strategy
GuidedChoice Asset Management, Inc.
GuidedChoice Asset Management is a fee-only firm in San Diego with a team which includes one chartered financial analyst (CFA).
The firm works manages more than 170,000 clients accounts. Most of the firm's client base consists of individuals, but it works with many pension and profit-sharing plans as well. The firm does not impose any minimum account size requirements, so its services are generally available to most prospective clients.
GuidedChoice Asset Management Background
Created in 1999, GuidedChoice Asset Management is one of the older firms on this list. It was founded by Sherrie E. Grabot, the firm's current CEO. The practice is a wholly owned subsidiary of GuidedChoice.com, Inc., a financial services software company that specializes in retirement plan management and retirement income planning.
GuidedChoice's services are angled to help defined contribution plan participants, such as 401(k) account holders. The firm will help clients manage the investments in their 401(k) by offering goal-driven asset allocations, ongoing investment monitoring and more.
GuidedChoice Asset Management Investing Strategy
Rather than adhere to a firm-wide investment philosophy, GuidedChoice Asset Management looks to customize what it recommends based on clients' needs. Because the firm largely works with 401(k) plan participants, the firm's plans are usually meant to help clients reach retirement with an appropriate amount of income.
To do this effectively, the firm will first look to identify and understand your personal risk tolerance, time horizon, expected benefits and preferences. Once this evaluation is complete, the firm will design an asset allocation that's meant to help you reach your goals according to your tolerance for risk.
Jordan Park Group, LLC
Jordan Park Group is a San Francisco-based firm with additional offices in Honolulu and McLean, Virginia.
Another firm with a very high account minimum, Jordan Park Group generally works with clients who have more than $50 million in investable assets. Its clients primarily include high-net-worth individuals, families and their related entities including trusts and estates. It also works with charitable organizations, foundations and business entities. Additionally, it will manage access vehicles for its clients, which it describes on its Form ADV as "vehicles used to aggregate client capital."
The access vehicles that the firm manages charge a performance-based fee. This could create a conflict of interest, as the performance-based fee could incentivize advisors to take greater risks to get higher returns. That said, Jordan Park takes steps to mitigate this conflict of interest and others; it is bound by its fiduciary duty to always act in clients' best interests.
Jordan Park Group Background
Jordan Park Group is a privately held firm that is owned by Frank Ghali, the firm's CEO and president. It was founded relatively recently in 2017.
Jordan Park provides investment management services to its clients through separately managed accounts and access vehicles. The firm also provides family office services, which include comprehensive financial planning services. This can include cash flow analysis and reporting; budgeting and forecasting; tax and insurance analysis; and charitable and estate gift planning. Additionally, senior vice presidents at the firm may serve as a trustee, executor or LLC manager for firm clients.
Jordan Park Group Investment Strategy
The investment process at Jordan Park Group is headed up by the firm's chief investment officer. The firm's 16-person investment team then carries out implementation. The team looks specifically at areas including public equities and fixed income, private equity, real estate, natural resources, derivative strategies, overlay strategies, transaction structuring, risk management, special situations and impact investing.
Once the investment team identifies a potential investment opportunity, it must prepare an investment memorandum that the firm's portfolio management committee will then review and decide whether to approve.
Baker Street Advisors, LLC
Baker Street Advisors is another firm located in San Francisco and focused on serving high-net-worth individuals. Its current client base does not include any individual investors who don't have a high net worth. It also provides investment advisory services to these individuals' associated trusts, estates, pension and profit-sharing plans and other legal entities. It requires a $5 million account minimum.
The team at Baker Street has earned an impressive number of certifications. These include certified public accountant (CPA), chartered financial analyst (CFA), certified financial planner (CFP), certified private wealth advisor (CPWA) and accredited investment fiduciary (AIF). It is a fee-only firm.
Baker Street Advisors Background
Baker Street Advisors was founded in 2003. In 2015, AMG Wealth Partners acquired a majority equity interest in the firm. The remaining interest is held in varying amounts by people who work at the firm.
Services provided by the advisory include:
- Investment management
- Alternative investments
- Wealth planning
- Family office services
- Taxable transition management
Baker Street Advisors Investment Strategy
Baker Street Advisors' investment approach is rooted in three themes:
- Diversify your assets.
- Minimize fees.
- Only pursue active management in markets with great opportunity.
Beyond that, Baker Street believes in controlling risk and ensuring investors fully understand the risks they do and do not take when investing. The firm believes that investors who invest for the long term, and thus can withstand volatility in the short term, have an edge over investors who do not.
Baker Street will typically formulate an investment policy statement and/or asset allocation for clients after analyzing their investment objectives and financial situation. Though a client's objectives, risk tolerance and other parameters will influence investment choices, the firm typically uses unaffiliated independent, third-party advisors, mutual funds or private investment pools.
SEIA is a full-service wealth management firm based in Los Angeles. The firm has four additional offices across California, including in Newport Beach, Pasadena, Redondo Beach and San Mateo, as well as in Houston and Tysons Corner, Virginia. The firm's account minimum requirements vary by account type, with the lowest being a $250,000 minimum for equity/blended portfolios under the firm's investment management program. It works with both individuals and high-net-worth individuals, though it serves more than twice as many high-net-worth clients. Its client base also includes pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and corporations.
The advisor team has an impressive number of certifications, including 19 certified financial planners (CFPs), 15 accredited investment fiduciaries (AIFs), six chartered mutual fund counselors (CMFCs), three chartered financial consultants (ChFCs), three chartered life underwriters (CLUs), one certified private wealth advisor (CPWA), one certified 401(k) professional (C(k)P), one accredited asset management specialist (AAMS), one chartered financial analyst (CFA), and one certified wealth strategist (CWS).
SEIA was founded in 1997 by four partners, one of whom serves as the company’s president. It has five offices in California plus one in Virginia and one in Texas. Assets with SEIA are custodied at Charles Schwab and Fidelity.
The firm emphasizes charitable giving as a pillar of its business, and it uses the firm’s resources to support children’s causes, especially around its home in Southern California. It provides planning for a client’s entire financial life, including tax planning and retirement savings. It can also help clients to manage risk by finding life insurance solutions if desired.
SEIA Investing Strategy
SEIA offers strategic, tactical and dynamic asset allocation. Additionally, it provides socially responsible investing as defined by individual clients.
The firm’s “Signature Elite” strategy has six steps: determining needs and objectives, assessing risk tolerance, reviewing asset allocation, implementing a strategic plan, rebalancing and monitoring the portfolio and reporting results. The firm has several strategies for investing, each using some combination of mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, individual bonds and individual stocks.
Allworth Financial, L.P.
Allworth Financial is a fee-based firm with a $100,000 account minimum. The team at Allworth includes 37 certified financial planners (CFPs), six certified fund specialists (CFSes), six chartered financial counselors (ChFCs), three chartered divorce financial analysts (CDFAs), two accredited asset management specialists (AAMSes) and one certified public accountant (CPA).
This is a fee-based firm, so some advisors collect commissions in addition to advisory fees. This is a potential conflict of interest, but advisors still must act in the client's best interset. Clients include individuals - around 80% of whom are non high-net-worth - pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and corporations.
Allworth Financial Background
Allworth was founded in 1993. Most of the firm - 70% - is owned and controlled by a private equity firm organized and sponsored by Parthenon Capital Partners. A further 29.5% is owned by HMG Holdco, Inc, where Scott Hanson and Patrick McClain are controlling shareholders.
Services include asset management, financial planning, retirement planning, tax planning and estate plan review.
Allworth Financial Investment Strategy
The majority of money at Allworth is invested in funds like mutual funds. Stocks are also used, as are investment-grade corporate bonds, cash holdings and variable annuities.
EP Wealth Advisors
Last but not least, EP Wealth Advisors is a fee-only firm that works with individuals, high-net-worth individuals, pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and corporations. The minimum account size is $500,000.
The firm's team includes 51 certified financial planners (CFPs), nine chartered financial analysts (CFAs), three certified public accountants (CPAs), two accredited investment fiduciaries (AIFs), two chartered divorce financial analysts, one chartered investment management analyst (CIMA) and one certified private wealth advisor (CPWA). Fees are generally based on assets under management though hourly fees may be used also.
EP Wealth Advisors Background
EP was founded in 2004 through the merger of two other firms - Premier Financial Management, LLC, founded in 1999, and Enright Financial Consultants, Inc., incorporated in 1985. EPWA Inc. and Project EPIC Acquisitions are the principal owners of the firm.
Investment management and financial planning are the primary services offered at EP.
EP Wealth Advisors Investment Strategy
Advisors at the firm use charting, technical analysis, fundamental analysis and cyclical analysis to make investment choices for clients. Long- and short-term purchases may be used, plus margin transactions and options trading.