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’s 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 find the right advisor near you.
|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||Schwab Private Client Investment Advisory, Inc. Find an Advisor||$91,149,393,168||$500,000|| || |
|2||Hall Capital Partners Find an Advisor||$36,253,881,136||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|3||GuidedChoice Asset Management, Inc. Find an Advisor||$14,246,708,195||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
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|4||Aspiriant, LLC Find an Advisor||$11,669,979,000||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|5||Jordan Park Group, LLC Find an Advisor||$9,237,655,510||$50,000,000|| || |
|6||Personal Capital Advisors Corporation Find an Advisor||$8,558,609,158||$100,000|| || |
|7||Baker Street Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$8,176,385,000||$5,000,000|| || |
|8||Osterweis Capital Management Find an Advisor||$6,291,591,039||Varies based on account type|| |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|9||SEIA Find an Advisor||$6,223,150,162||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|10||Beacon Pointe Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$5,505,870,582||$1,000,000|| || |
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 fiduciary duty to act in clients’ best interest. Then we eliminated any firms that have had disclosures, don’t have financial planners or don’t manage individual accounts. Below are the top 10 firms that made this list, sorted by total assets under management, from highest to lowest.
Schwab Private Client Investment Advisory, Inc.
Schwab Private Client Investment Advisory, Inc. has more than $91 billion in assets under management (AUM), more than 2.5x the total AUM of the next biggest firm on this list, Hall Capital Partners. This firm is part of Charles Schwab, a global bank that offers myriad financial services. It has 603 advisors on staff.
The firm has an account minimum of $500,000. Schwab works with both individuals and high-net-worth individuals. A fee-based firm, Schwab Private Client Investment Advisory is paid by the broader Charles Schwab company for advisory services, and it may also be paid for broker-dealer services. The firm is a fiduciary though, requiring it to always act in clients’ best interests.
Schwab Private Client Investment Advisory, Inc. Background
This firm is the private investment management wing of Charles Schwab, a bank and investment firm founded in 1971 by Charles R. Schwab, who still serves as the chairman of the company. The company’s advisory business was founded in 2012.
In addition to wealth management, the firm has a platform for trading individual stocks and offers banking services. The company has 345 branches in 48 states, plus D.C. and Puerto Rico.
Schwab Private Client Investment Advisory, Inc. Investing Strategy
Schwab Private Client Investment Advisory, Inc. prides itself on offering clients an entire advisory team rather than simply matching them up with an individual advisor. Investors are assigned a financial consultant, a portfolio consultant and an associate portfolio consultant.
The firm looks to blend growth and income in client portfolios, while taking into account each investor’s risk tolerance and financial goals. Schwab also notes that it is “rethinking asset allocation,” supposing that the traditional trio of stocks, bonds and cash is insufficient in the modern era. The firm say it’s thinking about how these three asset classes work together and also considering the advantages of investing in commodities.
Hall Capital Partners, LLC
Hall Capital Partners LLC, the second firm on our list of the top financial advisor firms in California, is located in San Francisco. The firm has an additional office in New York. It has approximately $36.25 billion in assets under management (AUM), with 28 advisors on staff. 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 LLC Background
Hall Capital Partners LLC is an independent firm that is privately owned, substantially 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 LLC Investing Strategy
Hall Capital Partners LLC creates its global multi-asset class portfolios based on each client's unique guidelines. Though this shapes the firm's investment objectives, it does stick 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.
GuidedChoice Asset Management, Inc.
GuidedChoice Asset Management, Inc. is a fee-only firm in San Diego that boasts over $14 billion in client assets under management (AUM). The five-person advisory staff here includes one chartered financial analyst (CFA).
The firm works manages an astounding 195,000 clients accounts. More than 86% of the firm's client base consists of individuals, but it works with many pension and profit-sharing plans as well. The firm devoid of any minimum account size requirements, meaning its services are generally open to most prospective clients.
GuidedChoice Asset Management, Inc. 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 firm 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, Inc. 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 put together an asset allocation that's meant to help you reach your goals according to your tolerance for risk.
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 firm’s client base is a majority high-net-worth individuals.
The fee-only firm has 86 advisors on staff. The firm's team of advisors includes 35 certified financial planners (CFPs), 15 chartered financial analysts (CFAs), 13 certified public accountants (CPAs), six certified investment management analysts (CIMAs), five chartered alternative investment analysts (CAIAs), one certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA), one certified private wealth advisor (CPWA) and one accredited estate planner (AEP).
Aspiriant, LLC Background
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, LLC 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 figure out each client’s strategy.
Jordan Park Group, LLC
Jordan Park Group, LLC is a San Francisco-based firm that has $9.23 billion in assets under management (AUM). The firm, which is a multi-family office, has 17 advisors on staff. It has additional offices in Honolulu and McLean, Virginia.
Jordan Park Group is another firm with a very high account minimum. The firm 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 and foundations and business entities. Additionally, it will manage access vehicles for its clients, which it describes in 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. Jordan Park takes steps to mitigate this conflict of interest and others, and it is also bound by fiduciary duty to always act in clients' best interests.
Jordan Park Group, LLC Background
Jordan Park Group, LLC 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 separate 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, LLC Investment Strategy
The investment process at Jordan Park Group, LLC 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.
Personal Capital Advisors Corporation
Personal Capital Advisors Corporation is a fee-only advisory firm that's affiliated with the robo-advisor Personal Capital. It employs a team of 233 advisory employees that take care of well over $8 billion in client assets under management (AUM). While advisory certifications for most of these advisors are unavailable, the firm's leadership team has four 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 a high net worth. 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 just 2010. The firm is a subsidiary of Personal Capital Corporation, otherwise known as Personal Capital. Personal Capital was founded just before the firm in 2009.
The services at Personal Capital Advisors Corporation are tiered based on the amount of assets you have invested with the firm. As you move up the scale, the services you gain will be available in addition to the services for tiers beneath you. They offer the following:
- 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 (ETFs). It combines the use of these investments with its "Smart Index Weighting" to ensure that your portfolio is diversified globally.
Baker Street Advisors, LLC
Baker Street Advisors, LLC is another firm located in San Francisco. With $8.17 billion in assets under management (AUM), it ranks seventh on our list of the top financial advisor firms in California. It's another firm 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 firm has nine financial advisors on staff, and its overall team has earned an impressive number of certifications. Baker Street Advisors' team includes 12 certified public accountants (CPAs), eight chartered financial analysts (CFAs), seven certified financial planners (CFPs), one certified private wealth advisor (CPWA) and one accredited investment fiduciary (AIF). It is a fee-only firm.
Baker Street Advisors, LLC Background
Baker Street Advisors, LLC was founded in 2003. In 2015, AMG Wealth Partners acquired a majority equity interest in the firm. The remaining interest is held by the firm's principals.
Services provided by the firm include:
- Investment management
- Alternative investments
- Wealth planning
- Family office services
- Taxable transition management
Baker Street Advisors, LLC 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.
Osterweis Capital Management, LLC
Osterweis Capital offers its services to individuals, trusts, institutions, mutual funds and other business entities. The firm's current individual client base includes mostly high-net-worth individuals, with a few non-high-net-worth individuals sprinkled in. The firm's minimum account size requirements vary by account types, but generally range from $5 million up to $250 million.
Most of Osterweis Capital's clients pay a fee based on a percentage of assets under management. Though a number of the firm's employees are representatives of a broker-dealer, they do not earn sales commissions or compensation from the broker dealer. The firm is bound by fiduciary duty.
Osterweis Capital Management, LLC Background
Founded in 1983, Osterweis Capital Management, LLC is an independently owned firm. It's privately held by a number of the firm's employees as well as two outside directors. No single person owns more than 25% of the firm.
Osterweis Capital is focused on providing investment advisory services. It offers a number of investment strategies, which include fixed income securities, equity securities or some combination of the two. The firm will offer certain financial planning services, including net worth statements, cash flow projections and other reports to better define clients' long-term goals and risk tolerance. Notably, the firm does not offer financial services like estate planning, retirement plan administration or tax advice.
Osterweis Capital Management, LLC Investment Strategy
As mentioned above, Osterweis Capital Management's investment strategies involve equity securities, fixed income securities or some combination of the two, with a particular concentration on securities traded on the U.S. markets and exchanges. Its strategies include:
- Core Equity Strategy: focused on identifying undervalued equities
- Emerging Growth Strategy: focused on identifying high-quality companies in emerging industries
- Strategic Income Strategy: uses top down-down and bottom-up analysis to identify investment opportunities
- Total Return Strategy: primarily invests in investment-grade securities and uses tactical shifts to better capture return
- Balanced Strategies: combine more than one of the equity and fixed income strategies listed above
There are four teams at Osterweis Capital Management responsible for overseeing the investment strategies it offers clients: the core equity team, the emerging growth team, the strategic income team and the total return team. All teams may be involved in the management of a client's portfolio. The firm takes a fundamental approach to investing, which entails the in-depth analysis of companies in which it invests.
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 team has an impressive number of certifications, including 31 certified financial planners (CFPs), 25 accredited investment fiduciaries (AIFs), 10 chartered mutual fund counselors (CMFCs), three chartered financial consultants (ChFCs), two chartered life underwriters (CLUs), two retirement income certified professionals (RICPs), one certified private wealth advisor (CPWA), one certified investment management analyst (CIMA), one certified 401(k) professional (C(k)P), one accredited asset management specialist (AAMS), one chartered financial analyst (CFA), one chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA) and one certified wealth strategist (CWS).
SEIA was founded in 1997 by four partners, one of whom still 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, ETFs, individual bonds and individual stocks.
Beacon Pointe Advisors, LLC
Coming in at the tenth spot on our list is Beacon Pointe Advisors, LLC, which has $5.5 billion in client assets under management (AUM). Although the financial advisor firm is based out of Newport Beach, it operates secondary branches in Arizona, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Texas and New Jersey.
Across the 73-person staff at this firm, there are a number of advisory certifications. These include 36 certified financial planners (CFPs), 17 chartered financial analysts (CFAs), three certified investment management analysts (CIMAs), two certified public accountants (CPAs) and more.
This firm carries a $1 million minimum initial investment, and it deals mostly with high-net-worth and non-high-net-worth individuals. Other typical clients of Beacon Pointe are charitable organizations, government entities, businesses, insurance companies and retirement plans.
This fee-based firm employs some advisors that sell insurance products on a commission basis. While this creates the potential for a conflict of interest, Beacon Pointe is bound by fiduciary duty, legally binding it to act in clients' best interests.
Beacon Pointe Advisors, LLC Background
Beacon Pointe Advisors is entirely employee-owned. It was founded in 2002 and is under the ownership of holding company Beacon Pointe Holdings, LLC, which is in turn owned by firm CEO Shannon Eusey. Eusey has worked in the financial services industry for over two decades and co-founded Beacon Pointe.
If you become a client of this firm, there will be a wide range of services available to you. In the most general sense, these split between investment and non-investment consulting and the "Managed Account Program." The Managed Account Program is a robust set of offerings that include a combination of asset management and financial planning services, like estate planning and retirement planning.
Beacon Pointe Advisors, LLC Investing Strategy
First and foremost, Beacon Pointe Advisors looks to ensure that all of its portfolios are diversified as heavily as possible. The firm states in its SEC paperwork that it uses diversification to control you portfolio's risk level. Beyond that, diversification can help protect your assets in the event of a market crash.
Beacon Pointe will diversify your money throughout various securities and asset classes. Its team will consider investments in not only domestic markets, but global markets as well.