Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Charlotte, North Carolina
Sorting through all the financial advisors in your area to find the best one for you can be daunting. But Charlotte, North Carolina residents are in luck: SmartAsset created this list of the top 10 Charlotte financial advisor firms to make the search easier. Below, in tables and in reviews, you can compare what each firm offers. To make the process even simpler, try SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool, which pairs you with advisors near you after you answer a short series of questions.
|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||Carroll Financial Associates, Inc. Find an Advisor||$2,476,825,260|| |
Varies based on account type
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Varies based on account type
|2||Bragg Financial Advisors, Inc. Find an Advisor||$1,580,310,138|| |
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|3||Colony Family Offices, LLC Find an Advisor||$1,432,866,231||$10,000,000 among family|| || |
Minimum Assets$10,000,000 among family
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|4||Carolinas Investment Consulting, LLC Find an Advisor||$1,419,651,533|| |
Varies based on account type
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Varies based on account type
|5||Biltmore Family Office, LLC Find an Advisor||$1,263,305,526|| |
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|6||Novare Capital Management Find an Advisor||$1,083,373,606|| |
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|7||Linden Thomas Advisory Services, LLC Find an Advisor||$676,450,880||$400,000|| || |
|8||Hayden Royal, LLC Find an Advisor||$622,680,911||None|| || |
|9||Queens Oak Advisors Find an Advisor||$573,861,130||$1,000,000|| || |
|10||McShane Partners Find an Advisor||$489,342,135||None|| || |
How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in Charlotte
For this list, we only considered financial advisor firms in Charlotte that are registered fiduciaries with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). We removed from consideration any firms that did not have clean records, didn’t employ financial planners or didn’t manage individual accounts. The top 10 firms are listed here, ranked from the most assets under management (AUM) to the least.
Carroll Financial Associates, Inc.
Carroll Financial Associates, Inc., the top-ranking firm on our list, has more than $2 billion in assets under management (AUM). The fee-based firm has 25 advisors on staff, making it among the largest on our list. Its team features 18 certified financial planners (CFPs), three certified investment management analysts (CIMAs), three chartered life underwriters (CLUs), four certified financial analysts (CFAs), a retirement income certified professional (RICP), two certified college funding specialist (CCFS), a certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA), an accredited investment fiduciary (AIF), a certified public accountant (CPA), a chartered financial consultant (ChFC), a certified retirement counselor (CRC) and a registered financial consultant (RFC).
The firm’s account minimum varies depending on what type of account you want to open. Clients may also be offered insurance as part of their relationship with Carroll Financial Associates, Inc. However, because the firm is a fiduciary, it’s legally required to act in your best interest.
Carroll Financial Associates, Inc. Background
Carroll Financial Associates, Inc. was founded in 1980 by Larry Carroll, who has more than 38 years of experience in the industry and has been listed by Forbes as as one of the nation’s top 200 wealth advisors. Carroll is the firm’s current president, CEO and chief wealth strategist. His son, Kristopher Carroll, is the firm’s principal owner and a chief investment officer at the firm.
Carroll Financial Associates’ services include retirement planning, 401(k) advice, family financial planning, wealth management, college planning and estate planning.
Carroll Financial Associates, Inc. Strategy
At the outset of your relationship with Carroll Financial Associates, Inc., your account will be assigned to one of the firm’s 10 teams. Each team has a unique area of financial expertise and each team’s members have various certifications associated with that area.
Carroll Financial Associates builds its investments strategies around simplicity, diversification, investment prices and clients’ income needs and risk tolerance. On a bi-monthly basis, the firm reevaluates how well your strategy is serving your financial goals and it rebalances your portfolio if necessary.
Bragg Financial Advisors, Inc.
To open an account with Bragg Financial Advisors, Inc., you will need at least $1 million in investable assets. The fee-based firm has eight certified financial planners (CFPs), five chartered financial analysts (CFAs), two certified public accountants (CPAs), one accredited estate planner (AEP), and one accredited investment fiduciary (AIF) on staff.
The firm’s client base is largely made up of individuals, over half of whom have high net worths. It also serves investment companies, pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable groups and other organizations.
Bragg Financial Advisors, Inc. is one of the few firms on this list that charges commissions when an advisor makes trades for a client’s portfolio. Certain advisors at the firm may also sell insurance products. However, the firm is a fiduciary, so it must act in your best financial interest at all times.
Bragg Financial Advisors, Inc. Background
Bragg Financial Advisors, Inc. was founded by J. Frank Bragg Jr. in 1997. It is now principally owned by Benton Bragg, Phillips Bragg and John Bragg III. The firm’s staff averages about 27 years of experience in finance.
Bragg Financial Advisors offers retirement planning, estate planning, higher education planning and individual charitable-giving services. Retirement-minded investors should note that Bragg’s advisors have specific experience working with pension and profit-sharing plans, 401(k) plans and 403(b)s.
Bragg Financial Advisors, Inc. Strategy
Whether you want to maximize returns or minimize risks, Bragg Financial Advisors, Inc. says it has a portfolio that will match your particular needs. The firm offers clients seven portfolio models to choose from, ranging from a portfolio titled “Aggressive Allocation With Emphasis on Capital Appreciation” to one called “Conservative Allocation With Emphasis on Capital Preservation and Income.”
Bragg relies heavily on its own calculations and research to determine clients’ asset allocations. The firm is consistently focused on the long term and its advisors make investments with the mindset that they will not be sold for at least a year.
Colony Family Offices, LLC
Colony Family Offices, LLC is a fee-only advisory firm that has been registered with the SEC since 2013. The firm provides comprehensive financial and investment management services to ultra-high-net-worth families. To work with the firm, a family generally needs a collective account balance of $10 million.
Today, the firm generates more than $1 billion in assets under management.
Colony Family Offices, LLC Background
Colony Family Offices has been registered as an investment advisor with the SEC since 2013. It is wholly owned by Eric D. Ridenour, who currently serves as managing director. It recently introduced the Colony Trust Company to focus on providing trust and estate planning services to its clients.
The home office team includes two certified financial planners (CFPs), two chartered financial analysts (CFAs), three certified public accountants (CPAs) and one chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA).
Colony Family Offices, LLC Investing Strategy
Colony Family Offices aims to build investment portfolios driven by passive and active passive strategies for long-term growth. But the firm also states, “We will likely recommend and implement tactical allocations in order to seek to capitalize on short-term investment opportunities or defend against market risks or dislocations.”
Based on your needs and goals, the firm may invest your assets in equity, fixed-income, mutual funds or private investments like hedge funds.
In addition, the firm can provide the following services separately upon request:
- Investment Policy Statement Creation and Maintenance
- Asset Allocation Strategies
- Ad hoc Investment Research
- Consolidated Performance Reporting
Carolinas Investment Consulting, LLC
Carolinas Investment Consulting, LLC is a fee-based firm with minimum account sizes ranging from $25,000 to $100,000.
The firm's advisory team features 19 certified financial planners (CFPs), nine chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and four certified public accountants (CPAs).
The firm’s advisors may offer you insurance policies in addition to investment services. However, the firm’s fiduciary duty legally binds its advisors to always act in your best interest.
Carolinas Investment Consulting, LLC Background
George Edmiston, Jr. founded this firm in 2000 and has remained the owner ever since. The firm’s financial advisors average about 20 years’ experience in personal finance.
Typical clients of the firm include individuals and their families, business owners and executives and non-profit organizations. The services available to each client vary depending on the clients’ needs. Some of the firm’s principal offerings are retirement planning, succession planning, trust and estate creation and investment management.
Carolinas Investment Consulting, LLC Strategy
Carolinas Investment Consulting, LLC espouses a long-term investing approach. The firm determines clients’ asset allocations based on this long-term approach and on each client’s individual risk tolerance. Carolinas Investment Consulting also takes liquidity into account, so its clients can earn short-term income alongside anticipated long-term growth.
Biltmore Family Office, LLC
Biltmore Family Office, LLC has one of the highest account minimum on this list. The firm requires its clients to have a net worth of at least $10 million. The firm’s sky-high minimum makes it no surprise that most of the firm’s clients are high-net-worth individuals.
Because Biltmore is family-based, its advisors say they are focused on building and maintaining familial wealth. The fee-only firm’s staff includes a certified financial planner (CFP), a certified public accountant (CPA) and a chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA).
Biltmore Family Office, LLC Background
CEO Chris Cecil created Biltmore Family Office, one of the newest firms on this list, in 2008.
The firm’s staff averages 22 years’ experience in the financial industry.
Biltmore’s typical clients include individuals, estates, foundations and charitable organizations, though it also serves companies and corporations. Services available to families include estate planning, budgeting, charitable giving, tax mitigation and business succession planning.
Biltmore Family Office, LLC Strategy
During your initial advisory meeting as a Biltmore client, you’ll be handed a detailed balance sheet of your family’s assets and liquidity needs. Then, the firm’s advisors will determine how to best use passive and active investment strategies in your portfolio, based on your financial goals.
The firm uses a wide range of investment opportunities, including various securities, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and index funds.
Novare Capital Management
To be a client of Novare Capital Management, you’ll need at least $500,000. The firm serves individuals and high-net-worth individuals. The fee-only firm has six certified financial planners (CFPs), four chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and one chartered financial consultant (ChFC) on staff.
In June 2017, Novare Capital Management was named one of the top financial advisors firms by Financial Times.
Novare Capital Management Background
Novare Capital Management was founded in 1999 by principals William Baynard, Jr. and Don Olmstead. The principal owners are Baynard, Jr., Don E. Olmstead and The Baymen Group, LLC.
The firm provides cash-flow planning, retirement planning, trust and estate creation, education tuition planning and tax minimization services to individuals, families, businesses and charities.
Novare Capital Management Strategy
Advisors at Novare Capital Management go through a six-step process to create your financial plan. Throughout this process, you and your advisor will determine your personal goals, risk profile, time horizon, liquidity needs and current financial status. Once all of that is defined, the firm will determine the proper asset allocation for your goals and needs.
Novare Capital Management Strategy says that it believes diversification across multiple asset classes is necessary for long-term success. The firm typically invests its clients’ assets in individual and preferred stocks, bonds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds and master limited partnerships. Novare may also use alternative investments like private equity firms, hedge funds and real estate.
Linden Thomas Advisory Services, LLC
Fee-only Linden Thomas Advisory Services, LLC is based out of northern Charlotte with $676 million in client assets under management (AUM). The firm serves mostly non-high-net-worth individuals, though it also works with a handful of high-net-worth individuals, retirement plans, businesses and charitable organizations.
Regardless of the type of client you are, Linden Thomas calls for a minimum initial investment of $400,000. However, under certain circumstances, the firm may decide to waive or reduce this requirement.
The staff at Linden Thomas features a few advisory certifications. These include two chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and two certified financial planners (CFPs).
Linden Thomas Advisory Services, LLC Background
As it stands today, Linden Thomas Advisory Services was established in 2017, although it didn't begin managing client assets until 2018. The firm is under the ownership of Linden Thomas Financial Group, LLC, a financial services holding company. Linden Thomas Financial Group is in turn owned by Stephen Thomas, the firm's president.
The firm features a number of advisory offerings across investment management, financial planning and retirement plan services. These include:
- Portfolio customization
- Ongoing investment monitoring
- Retirement planning
- Estate planning
- Tax planning
- Employee benefits planning
- Education fund planning
- Risk management
Linden Thomas Advisory Services, LLC Investing Strategy
Modern portfolio theory (MPT) is an award-winning philosophy that Linden Thomas uses as a basis for all of its investment decisions. MPT attempts to maximize returns and minimize volatility for a given level of risk through a diversified asset allocation. In the case of Linden Thomas, diversification occurs on a global scale, and it invests in various small-, mid- and large-cap stocks as well as bonds.
In order to ensure your original asset allocation remains intact, Linden Thomas' staff will keep a close eye on how your portfolio performs. Depending on how much these returns affect your portfolio's composition, the firm may decide to rebalance your assets.
Hayden Royal, LLC
Hayden Royal, LLC generally provides investment management services to individuals. Unlike for most firms on this list, personal financial planning is not a major aspect of its business and it doesn’t offer it as a stand-alone service.
However, Hayden Royal offers what it calls financial planning services to complement investment management. The firm states, “The goal of this service is to assess the financial circumstances of the client in order to more effectively develop the client’s Investment Plan.”
Limited financial planning services can touch upon the following topics:
- General cash flow planning
- Retirement planning
- Insurance analysis
Hayden Royal, LLC Background
Hayden Royal was founded in 2014 as a limited liability company (LLC) in 2014 under Illinois law. In 2018, it changed its legal domicile to North Carolina. Today, the firm has more than $600 million in assets under management.
Douglas Brown, Louis Dworsky and Jeffrey Hines maintain at least 10% ownership in the firm each. However, none holds majority interest.
Some representatives of the firm are registered to sell insurance products. They may earn commissions from such actions. However, the firm says: “Hayden Royal’ policy is to disclose all forms of compensation before any such transaction is executed. Clients will not pay both a commission to these individuals and pay an advisory fee to Hayden Royal on the same pool of assets.”
Hayden Royal, LLC Investing Approach
Hayden Royal attempts to build a customized investment portfolio based on an individual client’s goals and risk appetite. It uses its own research and portfolio models to drive investment decisions. In addition, the firm uses the OCIO concierge service provided by Maven Asset Partners.
Queens Oak Advisors
Queens Oak Advisors is a fee-only advisory firm registered with the SEC. It provides financial planning and portfolio management for various clients including individuals, corporations and endowments.
The firm has more than $500 million in assets under management. And it serves mostly high-networth individuals. To open an account with Queens Oak, you’d generally need a minimum opening balance of $1 million.
Queens Oak Advisors Background
Queens Oak Advisors was formed in 2009 as a fee-only firm. So it doesn’t sell its own products or earncommissions from making certain recommendations. It collects asset-based compensation based on the services it provides to you.
The team features five certified financial planners (CFPs) and one certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA).
Queens Oak Advisors Investment Strategy
Unlike some of the firms on this list, Queens Oak Advisors places a slightly higher degree of emphasis on active investment strategies. According to its website, the firm says it believes it can "provide exceptional risk-adjusted performance by consistently outperforming the benchmark and our peer group" by implementing a comprehensive investment approach that integrate's a client's goals and risk tolerance.
The firm generally invests client assets in equity, fixed-income, alternative investments and cash. It also deploys the following strategies:
- Global asset allocation
- Institutional fixed income
- Institutional equity
McShane Partners is an SEC-registered advisory firm offering research-driven portfolio management and comprehensive wealth management for its clients. It currently has more than $400 million in assets under management.
The firm does not require a minimum initial investment to open a portfolio account. However, it charges a minimum annual asset-based fee of $10,000. In fact, SEC data shows its individual client base consists of mostly those considered high-net-worth.
McShane Partners Background
McShane Partners was founded in 1985 when it became a registered investment advisor in the state of North Carolina. The firm’s advisory team collectively features two certified financial planners (CFP), two chartered financial analysts (CFA), three certified public accountant (CPA), one certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) and one financial paraplanner qualified professional (FFQP).
These professionals extend their services to individuals and charitable organizations.
McShane Partners Investment Strategy
McShane aims to provide its clients with comprehensive financial planning and portfolio management services by utilizing a team that features a wealth advisor and a portfolio manager. In addition, the firm uses its own proprietary research to drive its investment decisions.
Depending on your goals, the firm may invest your assets among individual stocks and bonds, mutual funds and exchange traded funds (ETFs). It may also seek alternative investments and outside managers if it deems it necessary to align with your objectives.
Unlike some of the firms on this list, McShane Partners specializes in socially responsible investing (SRI). This method of investing seeks securities tied to companies whose actions stand in file with your personal values such as environmental sustainability.