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 advisors who serve your area.
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|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||NFP Retirement, Inc. Find an Advisor||$78,717,910,074||$25,000|| || |
|2||Allworth Financial, L.P. Find an Advisor||$13,782,219,676||$500,000|| || |
|3||Hall Capital Partners, LLC Find an Advisor||$55,707,371,841||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|4||Beacon Pointe Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$23,674,542,188||$1,000,000|| || |
|5||EP Wealth Advisors Find an Advisor||$14,670,000,000||$500,000|| || |
|6||Jordan Park Group, LLC Find an Advisor||$17,600,559,329||$100,000,000|| || |
|7||Gerber Kawasaki Wealth & Investment Management Find an Advisor||$2,028,386,000||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|8||Portola Partners Find an Advisor||$5,571,108,837||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|9||SEIA Find an Advisor||$12,726,442,318||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|10||Aspiriant, LLC Find an Advisor||$15,477,032,000||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
What We Use in Our Methodology
To find the top financial advisors in California, we first identified all firms registered with the SEC in the state. 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:
- AUMFirms with more total assets under management are ranked higher.
- Individual Client CountFirms who serve more individual clients (as opposed to institutional clients) are ranked higher.
- Clients Per AdvisorFirms with a lower ratio of clients per financial advisor are ranked higher.
- Age of FirmFirms that have been in business longer 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.
NFP Retirement is a large financial advisor firm that has many different angles to its services. While the firm is heavily focused on manging the assets within corporate retirement plans, it also has an arm with wealth management and financial planning services for individual clients. In fact, the majority of its clients are individuals both with and without a high net worth, as well as the aforementioned retirement plans.
Generally speaking, NFP Retirement requires clients to have at least $25,000 in investable assets to start an advisory relationship. However, the firm may be willing to waive this stipulation under certain circumstances.
Certain on-staff advisors at NFP can receive commissions and other compensation from the sale of specific financial products. This creates a potential conflict of interest, though the firm's fiduciary duty means it must act in clients' best interests.
NFP Retirement Background
NFP Retirement was founded in 1980, and it's under the ownership of its larger company, NFP Corp. The firm is headquartered in Aliso Viejo, but it has branch offices around the U.S.
As we state above, NFP Retirement has services ranging from investment portfolio management to financial planning. Its institutional services are centered around the management of corporate retirement plans.
NFP Retirement Investing Strategy
NFP Retirement bases its investment strategy for each client based on the specifics of their situation. That means you and your advisor will have an in-depth conversation about your needs, desired future and any other factors that may play a role. This could involve your income and liquidity needs, risk tolerance, time horizon, long-term goals and more.
For the most part, NFP tends to invest client assets in some combination of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). It, however, isn't opposed to investing in individual securities as well.
Allworth Financial is a fee-based firm with a $500,000 account minimum. While the firm has advisors all over the country, its California offices have certified financial planners (CFPs), certified fund specialists (CFSs) and other accredited professionals.
As a fee-based firm, some advisors collect commissions in addition to advisory fees. This creates a potential conflict of interest, but advisors still must act in the client's best interests. Allworth serves thousands of indiviudal clients, both with and without high net worths. The firm also has pensions and profit-sharing plans among its clients, in addition to charitable organizations and business entities.
Allworth Financial Background
Founded in 1993, Allworth has been an investment advisor since June 1996. The firm is 80% owned and controlled by subsidiaries of the Ontario Teacher's Pension Plan and Lightyear Capital. Scott Hanson and Patrick McClain oversee the firm as its co-founders.
Allworth offers asset management, financial planning, retirement planning, tax planning and estate plan review.
Allworth Financial Investment Strategy
Allworth typically builds client portfolios using low-fee mutual funds, no-load mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The firm generally does not attempt to time the market but it will increase cash holdings when appropriate.
Allworth has over 15 different investment strategies ranging from its "active plus" offering that has no limit on allocations among active mutual funds to a pure index strategy, which relies on low-cost, market cap-weighted ETFs.
Hall Capital Partners
Hall Capital Partners, a fee-only firm based in San Francisco, is the next firm on this list. Its portfolio management team includes several advisors with the chartered financial analyst (CFA) designation. While Hall Capital Partners does not have minimum account size requirement, it does charge an annual fee of $500,000, or $350,000 for accounts that also pay performance-based fees.
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, pensions 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, which also has an office in New York, 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 or its affiliates manage
- Specialized mandates: Client investments in a certain asset class, including hedge funds, private equity or real assets
Hall Capital Partners Investment 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 Partners says that its goal is to build "relatively concentrated but diversified portfolios of complementary managers with asymmetrical return profiles." The firm is specifically focused on risk-adjusted returns and has an entire 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.
Beacon Pointe Advisors
Beacon Pointe Advisors, a fee-based firm located in Newport Beach, is next on our list of the top firms in California. With offices throughout California and 14 other states, Beacon Pointe has the largest advisory staff of any firm on this list. Individuals with and without a high net worth make up the majority of the firm's client base, which also includes pensions, profit-sharing plans, estates, trusts, charities, investment funds, business entities and others. You'll need to have a minimum of $1 million to become a client at Beacon Pointe.
Some of the firm's California-based advisors hold the certified financial planner (CFP) and chartered financial analyst (CFA) certifications, along with an array other financial credentials. Because some of Beacon Pointe's advisors sell insurance and securities on a commission basis, the firm is considered fee-based. Despite the potential conflict of interest that commission-based compensation creates, Beacon Pointe is a fiduciary and must act in its clients' best interests.
Beacon Pointe Advisors Background
Founded in 2002, Beacon Pointe is majority-owned by its employees. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. an outside investor, owns a stake in the firm. Beacon Pointe provides consulting services and portfolio management, but also offers educational seminars and publishes periodicals. The firm will also help clients select third-party investment managers.
Beacon Pointe Advisors Investment Strategy
Beacon Pointe's investment strategies focus on asset preservation and growth. The firm utilizes asset allocation modeling programs and its own analysis to develop investment plans for its clients. Advisors rely on "core" asset classes of domestic and foreign equities, emerging markets, U.S. fixed income, global fixed income, public and private real estate, hedge funds, real assets and others.
The firm's investment philosophy is heavily based on diversification. "Proper asset allocation diversification produces a portfolio with more appealing risk/return characteristics than investing in one single asset class or with one investment manager," the firm states.
EP Wealth Advisors
EP Wealth Advisors, a fee-only firm headquartered in Torrance, works with non-high-net-worth individuals, high-net-worth individuals, pensions, profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and corporations. The minimum account size here is $500,000, though the firm may be willing to waive this.
The firm's large team of advisors features certified financial planners (CFPs), accredited investment fiduciaries (AIFs), chartered divorce financial analysts (CDFAs) and other accredited professionals. Fees are generally based on assets under management, though hourly fees may also apply.
EP Wealth Advisors Background
EP was founded in 2004 when two other firms - Premier Financial Management, LLC and Enright Financial Consultants, Inc. - merged. EPWA Inc. and Project EPIC Acquisitions are the principal owners of the EP Wealth Advisors.
Investment management and financial planning are the primary services offered at EP, although the firm also provides tax preparation services, estate planning, retirement planning and help selecting other advisors, including private fund managers.
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.
Investments and asset allocations are typically based on a client's financial situation, their objectives, risk tolerance, time horizon, liquidity needs and other factors. The firm primarily invests in mutual funds and equity securities, although ETFs, corporate debt, commercial paper, certificates of deposit, municipal debt and U.S. government securities may also be used.
Jordan Park Group
Jordan Park Group is a San Francisco-based firm with an additional office in New York. With a minimum account size of $100 million, Jordan Park caters to high-net-worth investors, but also serves trusts, estates, investment funds and charitable organizations. Jordan Park is a fee-only firm that takes steps to mitigate conflicts of interest. It is bound by its fiduciary duty to always act in clients' best interests.
Jordan Park Group Background
Founded in 2017, Jordan Park Group is owned by Frank Ghali, the firm's CEO and president. Ghali owns the firm through a separate holding company called Jordan Park Holding Company, LLC.
Jordan Park provides investment management services to its clients through separately managed accounts (SMAs) 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 of the firms strategies. 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.
Gerber Kawasaki Wealth & Investment Management
Gerber Kawasaki Wealth & Investment Management works an incredibly large number of individual clients. In fact, between high-net-worth and non-high-net-worth individuals, the firm has more than 10,000 clients. Its institutional client base is much smaller, but features a variety of investment companies, retirement plans, charities and businesses.
When it comes to becoming a client, Gerber Kawasaki doesn't have a specific minimum needed to do so. This is also a fee-based firm, as some advisors can receive commissions from the sale of insurance products to clients. Although this presents a potential conlict of interest, the firm's fiduciary duty means it must act in clients' best interests.
Gerber Kawasaki Wealth & Investment Management Background
Gerber Kawasaki Wealth & Investment Management has been in business since 2010. The firm was founded by president and CEO Ross Gerber and vice president and chief operating officer (COO) Danilo Kawasaki. This duo still owns the firm today.
Investment management is the premier service available to clients of Gerber Kawasaki. Its financial planning offerings include retirement planning, estate planning, tax minimization and more.
Gerber Kawasaki Wealth & Investment Management Investing Strategy
According to Gerber Kawasaki Wealth & Investment Management's SEC-filed Form ADV, its " investment advice is tailored to meet our clients' needs and investment objectives." To make sure this relationship is as clear as possible, your advisor will personally discuss with you the circumstances currently surrounding your finances.
Then, once your investment plan is in place, your advisor will continue to monitor your situation and account for any changes in your situation or goals. This process is called rebalancing, and it'll be done on an as-needed basis.
The next firm on our list of California's top financial advisors is Portola Partners, a fee-only firm based in Menlo Park. Portola Partners has a relatively small client base made up entirely of high-net-worth individuals. While the firm does not require a minimum account size, it typically advises individuals and families with at least $5 million in investable assets.
As a fee-only firm, Portola Partners does not sell third-party products like insurance or commissionable securities. Instead, it is compensated via asset-based fees, hourly charges and fixed fees.
Portola Partners Background
Portola Partners started conducting investment advisory business in 2020, making it the youngest firm on our list. CI Private Wealth US, LLC owns the firm, which provides personalized financial counseling and investment advisory services.
Portola Partners can also assist clients in a variety of financial needs, including buying and selling major illiquid investments like businesses or real estate, managing cash flow and liquidity, making political contributions, estate planning and more.
Portola Partners Investment Strategy
The firm implements strategies that "emphasize long-term investment in a diversified portfolio of marketable and non-marketable investments intended to provide superior after-tax, inflation-adjusted, economic returns," according to the Portola Partners brochure.
The firm typically seeks broad diversification both across different asset classes and within individual classes of assets. The firm generally relies on no-load mutual funds and ETFs, but clients assets may also be invested in equities, warrants, corporate debt, commercial paper certificiates, contracts and other securities. An advisor may also reccommend third-party investment vehicles that are not available to the general public.
SEIA is a full-service wealth management firm based in Los Angeles. The firm has four additional offices across California in Newport Beach, Pasadena, Redondo Beach and San Mateo, as well as Colorado, New York, Texas, Oregon and 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.
SEIA works with both non-high-net-worth and high-net-worth individuals, though it serves nearly twice as many high-net-worth clients. Its client base also includes pensions and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and corporations.
As a fee-based firm, SEIA advisors may earn commissions on certain transactions, including the sale of insurance or financial products, creating a potential conflict of interest. However, the firm is a fiduciary and must act in its clients' best interests. SEIA's team of advisors has a wide array of certifications, including the following and more:
- Certified financial planner (CFP)
- Accredited investment fiduciary (AIF)
- Chartered mutual fund counselor (CMFC)
- Chartered financial consultant (ChFC)
- Chartered life underwriter (CLU)
- Accredited asset management specialist (AAMS)
SEIA was founded in 1997 by four partners. This group includes Brian D. Holmes, Gary K. Liska, Mark Copeland and Paul Taghibagi. Holmes is the firm's principal owner.
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 Investment Strategy
SEIA's Department of Investment Management and Economic Strategy (DIMES) researches and develops the firm's asest allocation targets, basing its approach on strategic and tactical asset allocation.
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.
Aspiriant is a national financial advisor firm with headquarters in Los Angeles and offices in San Francisco, Irvine, San Diego and Mountain View. It also has branches in New York City, Boston, Minnetonka, Cincinnati, Austin and Pewaukee, Wisconsin.
The firm 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 this fee-only firm’s clients are high-net-worth individuals, although it also works with pensions, profit-sharing plans, investment companies, businesses and charitable organizations.
Aspiriant's large team of advisors includes a wide array of accredited professionals. These include certified financial planners (CFPs), chartered financial analysts (CFAs), certified public accountants (CPAs), certified investment management analysts (CIMAs) and more.
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 a third of Aspiriant’s employees have an ownership interest in the firm through holding companies.
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 Investment Strategy
Aspiriant’s advisors offer complete customization for clients. Each investor gets to pick his or her own investment blend before an advisor selects specific securities to fulfill the desired asset mix. 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.