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||$90,026,786,406||$500,000|| || |
|2||Hall Capital Partners Find an Advisor||$36,391,944,531||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|3||Aspiriant, LLC Find an Advisor||$12,213,732,000|| |
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|4||Advanced Research Investment Solutions, LLC Find an Advisor||$11,054,520,000||$100,000|| || |
|5||Mercer Global Advisors, Inc. Find an Advisor||$11,053,472,525||$250,000|| || |
|6||Jordan Park Group, LLC Find an Advisor||$8,128,073,539||$50,000,000|| || |
|7||Baker Street Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$7,200,000,000||$5,000,000|| || |
|8||Osterweis Capital Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$6,976,952,606||Varies|| |
|9||Churchill Management Group Find an Advisor||$5,500,283,541|| |
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|10||SEIA Find an Advisor||$5,826,012,000||Varies by account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries by account type
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 $90 billion in assets under management (AUM), more than five times the total AUM of the next biggest firm on this list. This firm is part of Charles Schwab, a global bank that offers myriad financial services. It has 598 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 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 $36.39 billion in assets under management (AUM), the most of any firm on this list. The fee-only firm has 30 advisors on staff. Its portfolio management team includes five chartered financial analysts (CFAs).
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.
Aspiriant is a national financial advisor firm with headquarters in Los Angeles and offices in other major cities including San Francisco and New York. It does not have an absolute minimum for clients to open or maintain an account, but it tends to advise clients with at least $1.50 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 33 certified financial planners (CFPs), nine chartered financial analysts (CFAs), eight certified public accountants (CPAs), five certified investment management analysts (CIMAs), two 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.
Advanced Research Investment Solutions, LLC
Advanced Research Investment Solutions (ARIS) is the only firm on our list that's based in Beverly Hills. Its team of four financial advisors oversees $11.05 billion in assets under management (AUM). One of the firm's partners holds all of the team's certifications, including the chartered financial analyst (CFA), certified financial planner (CFP), chartered life underwriter (CLU) and chartered financial consultant (ChFC) designations.
The firm has a relatively small client base, with just over 60 clients currently on the books. The majority of those clients are high-net-worth individuals. ARIS can also serve pension and profit-sharing plans, pooled investment vehicles, endowments, charitable organizations, guilds and health plans, investment companies, family offices, trusts, estates, corporations and other business entities.
The firm generally requires clients to maintain a minimum portfolio value of at least $100,000. It is a fee-only firm.
Advanced Research Investment Solutions, LLC Background
Founded in 2014, Advanced Research Investment Solutions, LLC is an employee-owned firm. Alex Shahidi and Damien Bisserier, both co-founders and partners of the firm, jointly own ARIS.
The firm provides the following:
- Investment management
- Retirement plan and investment consulting services
- Advisory services to Alpha Funds
Advanced Research Investment Solutions, LLC Investment Strategy
Advanced Research Investment Solutions, LLC customizes its investment advisory services according to each client's investment objectives, time horizon and risk tolerance. However, the firm's overarching investment p philosophy is rooted in four key components: balanced asset allocation, common investor oversights, deeper due diligence and the unbalanced portfolio.
The first is balanced asset allocation, as the firm believes that understanding the relationships between economic outcomes and asset class performance is crucial to achieving more consistent returns. ARIS also places an emphasis on trying to avoid the mistakes that other investment consultants commonly make, including not realizing the impact of fees and failing to balance a portfolio for different economic environments. The firm embraces the "unbalanced portfolio," as it points out that the traditionally balanced portfolio does not do well in all market environments.
Mercer Global Advisors, Inc.
Mercer Global Advisors, Inc. is a sizable fee-only firm with 191 financial advisors on staff and $11.05 billion in assets under management (AUM). It's currently headquartered in Santa Barbara, California, though it is in the process of moving its headquarters to Denver. The firm has a total of 30 offices located throughout the country. It has additional Golden State offices in Los Angeles, Newport Beach, San Diego, San Francisco and Silicon Valley.
The firm's full team includes more than 100 certified financial planners (CFPs), chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and certified public accountants (CPAs). The team works with both individuals and high-net-worth individuals, as well as pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and corporations. The firm generally requires accounts to have a minimum of $250,000 in assets.
Mercer Global Advisors, Inc. Background
Mercer Global Advisors has been in business since 1985. Initially, the firm's founder, Kendrick Mercer, started a law practice focused on estate planning. But after seeing an unmet need, he decided to launch an investment advisory firm with the mission of helping its clients achieve "economic freedom."
The firm offers its clients comprehensive investment management, financial planning, family office services, tax planning, estate planning and retirement plan design and administration.
Mercer Global Advisors, Inc. Investment Strategy
Mercer Global Advisors' investment strategies include:
- Strategically weighted investments
- Broad asset class and multi-factor diversification
- Attention to cost
- Separate account managers and institutional funds
- Systematic rebalancing
- Tax and distribution management
Beyond those basic tenets, the firm offers an array of customized strategies designed to meet varying risk tolerance levels, time horizons and investment objectives. These include total return strategies, defensive strategies and income strategies.
Jordan Park Group, LLC
Jordan Park Group, LLC is a San Francisco-based firm that has $8.13 billion in assets under management (AUM). The firm, which is a multi-family office, has 13 advisors on staff. It has additional offices in Honolulu and McLean, Virginia.
Though not quite as high as CTC myCFO, 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.
Baker Street Advisors, LLC
Baker Street Advisors, LLC is another firm located in San Francisco. With $7.20 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 nine certified public accountants (CPAs), seven certified financial planners (CFPs), seven chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and one certified private wealth advisor (CPWA). 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
Churchill Management Group
Churchill Management Group is a fee-only advisory firm headquartered in Los Angeles with additional offices across California and the U.S. The firm has more than $5.50 million in assets under management (AUM) and employs 43 advisors, including five certified financial planners (CFPs) and one accredited asset management specialist (AAMS).
Churchill Management Group serves clients with at least $750,000 in investable assets. Nearly half of the firm’s clients are high-net-worth individuals.
Churchill Management Group Background
Founded in 1963, Churchill Management Group is the oldest firm on this list. It prominently cites its experience in navigating decades of market turbulence as one of the chief assets it offers clients. Fred Fern, founder of the firm, is still the president and CEO. He is also the firm’s controlling owner.
The firm also advises on retirement plans. Its other services include net worth analysis, Social Security analysis, tax review and planning to save for education.
Churchill Management Group Investing Strategy
Churchill Management Group says it aims to invest in companies with “strong competitive positions.” It has multiple investment strategies including Premier Wealth Tactical, Maximum Growth Tactical and Tactical Opportunities.
Premier Wealth Tactical’s strategy is described as “earnings-growth driven.” Maximum Growth Tactical is more aggressive, while Tactical Opportunity looks for individual stocks to provide short-term growth. The firm typically invests in individual securities, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
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 fee-only 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 analysts (CFA), three chartered financial consultants (ChFCs), two chartered life underwriters (CLUs), two retirement income certified professionals (RICPs), one certified public accountant (CPA), one certified private wealth advisor (CPWA), one certified investment management analyst (CIMA) and one certified 401(k) professional (C(k)P).
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.