Finding a Top Financial Advisor in Chicago
There’s no shortage of financial advisor firms in Chicago. But that can make it tough to figure out which firm is right for you. SmartAsset spent dozens of hours researching to narrow it down to this list of Chicago’s top 10 firms. To figure out which financial advisor best fits your needs there are several things to consider, including account minimum, fee structure, certifications and specialties, all of which we’ve laid out in the charts and tables below. To find an individual advisor, use SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool, which will pair you up with financial advisors near you based on your needs.
|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||HighTower Advisors LLC Find an Advisor||$42,288,906,016|| |
No existing account minimum
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No existing account minimum
|2||Segall Bryant & Hamill Find an Advisor||$19,329,398,352||$1,000,000|| || |
|3||RMB Capital Management Find an Advisor||$9,168,915,505||$1,000,000|| || |
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|4||Gofen and Glossberg, LLC Find an Advisor||$4,374,988,149|| |
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|5||Kovitz Investment Group Partners, LLC Find an Advisor||$ 4,026,500,777|| |
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|6||Cresset Asset Management Find an Advisor||$3,051,100,063||None|| || |
|7||The Mather Group, LLC Find an Advisor||$2,856,853,501||$1,000,000|| || |
|8||Chesley, Taft & Associates, LLC Find an Advisor||$1,760,817,381||$1,000,000|| || |
|9||Interocean Capital, LLC Find an Advisor||$ 1,658,916,857|| |
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|10||Chicago Partners Investment Group LLC Find an Advisor||$1,631,146,218|| |
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How We Found the Top Financial Advisors in Chicago
To narrow it down to Chicago’s top 10 financial advisor firms, we first rounded up all U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)-registered firms, which have a fiduciary duty to act in their clients' best interest. We eliminated any firms with disclosures to keep our list focused only on advisors with clean records.
After that, we cut any firm that doesn’t have financial planners and any firm that doesn’t manage individual or high-net-worth individual accounts. From there, we ranked the firms from highest assets under management to lowest. The top 10 from that list are the financial advisor firms reviewed here.
HighTower Advisors LLC
This national, advisor-owned financial services company has a more than $42 billion in assets under management, by far the most of any firm on this list. That’s not the only impressive number about this firm: Hightower Advisors LLC has 312 advisors. That makes it the firm on our list with the most investment advisors.
HighTower Advisors does not require a set account minimum. However, the firm explicitly advises that its services “may not be beneficial for certain asset levels or account sizes, as the relatively higher advisory fees and trading and transaction costs may have a negative impact on performance.” HighTower primarily serves high-net-worth individuals and institutions.
HighTower Advisors LLC Background
HighTower Advisors LLC was established in 2008. The firm is a wholly owned subsidiary of HighTower Holding, LLC.
HighTower is a licensed general insurance broker and agency and has relationships to registered broker-dealers. The firms may benefit financially from one another.
The capital partners, however, do not have a direct involvement with the firm’s investment management. Instead, the firm has an open source and multi-custodial structure that allows it to employ a variety of resources and options and, according to HighTower, offer more competitive pricing for its clients.
HighTower’s strategy is driven by advanced technology. The team relies on research and sophisticated capital market desks.
HighTower Advisors LLC Resources
HighTower runs a blog called Collective Wisdom. It's updated about once a week. The firm’s podcast, also named Collective Wisdom, comes out weekly with episodes designed to help listeners make smarter, more informed decisions.
Segall Bryant & Hamill, LLC
Segall Bryant & Hamill (SBH) is an SEC-registered firm with more than $19 billion in assets under management. And when you take a look at its long list of client profiles, it’s no surprise. The firm provides services to individuals as well as retirement plans, foundations and charitable organizations. Roughly half of its individual client base consists of high-net-worth individuals.
To establish an individual relationship with SBH, you’d need a minimum investment of $1 million. However, the firm may require smaller or larger initial investments depending on the asset allocation of your portfolio. These minimums can range from $250,000 to $10 million.
The firm’s wealth management division consists of more than a dozen investment professionals including 12 certified financial analysts (CFA) and four certified financial planners (CFP).
Segall Bryant & Hamill Brief Background
SBH has been in business since 1994. The majority owner of SBH is Thoma Bravo, an SEC-registered advisor. SBH is also a member of the National Futures Association.
Some SBH employees are registered representatives of Foreside Fund Services and may sell SBH securities in relation to these business practices. These individuals may receive compensation from such sales, but SBH is not officially affiliated with Foreside. Nonetheless, the firm works under a fiduciary standard.
Segall Bryant & Hamill Brief Resources
As a registered investment advisor (RIA), SBH works under a fiduciary standard. This means it is obligated by law to work in the best interests of the client at all times. And its footprint extends beyond Chicago. The firm also runs offices in Denver, St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Naples, Florida.
In addition, it aims for the strongest investment returns by utilizing proprietary research in addition to other resources. It's portfolios invest in a variety of asset classes including domestic and international equity, as well as alternative investments.
RMB Capital Management
Several of the firms on this list are full of accredited experts, but RMB Capital Management still manages to stand out in this regard. The main leadership team alone consists of four certified financial planners (CFP), two certified financial analysts (CFA), one certified private wealth advisor® (CPWA®), and one certified public accountant (CPA).
Individuals generally need a minnimum investment of $1 million to open an investment account with RMB. However, the firm typically lowers that minimum to $250,000 if you invest in an internally managed private fund.
The firm services a higher percentage of high-net-worth individuals than individuals, according to its Form ADV (SEC-filed paperwork).
RMB Capital Management was ranked among Barron’s top 30 independent advisory firms and among the Financial Times Top 300 Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs). Financial Advisor named it #21 out of the top 50 fastest-growing firms.
RMB Capital Management Background
RMB Capital Management was founded in Chicago in 2005. The independent firm works through two business units to service its clients: The Wealth Management Unit is focused on finding solutions to clients’ financial needs, while the Asset Management Unit is centered on investment strategies.
RMB Capital Management’s investment strategy is centered around “taking a long-term view, conducting fundamental analysis, being opportunistic yet disciplined and avoiding unnecessary risk,” its website explains. All of that comes into play in RMB Capital Management’s “open architecture” model, which lets clients have assets that are managed both internally and externally.
RMB Capital Management Resources
RMB Capital Management has a handy resource called the Insight Library. The library is a compendium of articles and commentaries by the firm on a range of topics.
Gofen and Glossberg, LLC
Founded back in 1932, Gofen and Glossberg, LLC is one of the oldest firms on this list. Gofen and Glossberg skews more toward serving high-net-worth individuals than individuals.
The fee-only firm's employees collectively hold several accreditations in the financial space. The team includes seven chartered financial analysts, two certified public accountants (CPA) and three chartered investor counselors (CIC).
Gofen and Glossberg, LLC Background
Because the firm was founded in 1932, Gofen and Glossberg, LLC, has established experience with managing portfolios through almost any market cycle. The firm takes a long-term approach to investing and constantly monitors economic, political and market conditions to inform its selections.
Most client portfolios are supervised by a team that includes a senior portfolio manager, a second portfolio manager and an account administrator. The senior portfolio manager serves as the primary contact, but by involving a team of experts, the firm says it ensures that clients always have someone familiar with their account to turn to.
Gofen and Glossberg, LLC Resources
Gofen and Glossberg offers reporting tools to its clients that allow them to check in on their portfolio’s performance, track transactions and look back at bank and brokerage records.
Kovitz Investment Group Partners, LLC
Kovitz Investment Group Partners, LLC serves significantly more high-net-worth individuals than individuals.
Kovitz has an impressive 12 certified financial planners (CFPs) on staff, as well as five certified public accountants (CPAs) and a chartered retirement planning counselor (CHRC).
Kovitz Investment Group Partners, LLC Background
Kovitz Investment Group Partners, LLC was founded in 2003. It’s part of the Focus Financial Partners. This is an international group of independent, fiduciary wealth management firms.
At Kovitz, nearly all partner and employees' liquid net worth is invested through the strategies that Kovitz recommends to its clients. Its investment strategies hinge on equities and fixed income, with a focus on investment solutions that have a “longer-than-average time horizon,” the firm’s website explains.
Kovitz aims to invest in businesses that are identified as significantly undervalued. It takes particular note of the price paid for the security, which Kovtiz deems “the single greatest determinant of both expected return and expected risk."
Cresset Asset Management, LLC
Cresset Asset Management, LLC
Cresset Asset Management, formerly known as Cresset Wealth Management, offers a range of portfolio management and financial planning services to individuals, trusts, estates and more. It currently holds more than $3 billion in assets under management.
The firm works under a fiduciary standard in addition to its own code of ethics. Its investment advisory team consists of 17 individuals. Members of the team include six chartered financial analysts (CFA) and one certified financial planner (CFP).
Cresset Asset Management, LLC Background
Cresset Asset Management opened its doors in 2017. It’s a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cresset Intermediate Holdco. The firm is managed by Co-Chief Executive Officers Douglas Regan and Michael Cole.
The firm is also under common control with Cresset Partners. Subsidiaries of this division include private investment and real estate firms. Advisors may recommend clients invest in products offered through these subsidiaries. However, Cresset Asset Management says: “This risk is mitigated as the Advisor will not receive a profit allocation in connection with certain Client investments in Cresset Partners and its Subsidiaries.” Moreover, the firm works in a fiduciary capacity. This means it is obligated by applicable laws and regulations to act in the best interests of its clients at all times.
Cresset Asset Management, LLC Resources
Unlike several advisory firms, Cresset adopts an open-architecture philosophy that allows it to utilize active and passive strategies, as well as public and private investment vehicles. Its investment techniques also focus heavily on tax efficiency and lowering costs.
Cressey's portfolio management approach involves a careful analysis of the mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) it utilizes. According to the firm, it analyzes the performance and track records of fund managers and looks at underlying assets of these funds to determine if there is major overlap in the underlying assets of another fund in the client’s portfolio.
The Mather Group, LLC
Those who prioritize retirement planning and tax protection should consider The Mather Group, LLC. Since 2011, the firm has been providing financial planning and investment advisory services to its clients with an emphasis on retirement planning strategies. So its advisors can help you make the most out 401(k) plan management.
It currently has more than $2 billion in assets under management. With just a few years shy of a decade in service, the firm already houses an impressive staff including founding member Stewart Mather. The advisory is also home to 15 certified financial planners (CFPs) making it one of the firms on our list with the largest concentration of such professionals. The staff also includes four certified financial analysts (CFAs), four certified financial planners (CPAs) and two chartered financial consultants (ChFCs).
The Mather Group, LLC Background
The Mather Group traces its roots back to 2011. Its founder Stewart Mather still serves as a partner in the firm. His clients include executives of Fortune 500 companies and he has been recognized by Barron’s as one of the Top 100 Independent Financial Advisors in the country.
Today, his firm offers a variety of financial planning services to about as many high-net-worth individuals as clients with more modest incomes. These services revolve around tax planning, investment management, estate planning and risk management.
The Mather Group, LLC Resources
The Mather Group emphasizes holistic retirement planning. Its investment strategy is based mainly on low-cost mutual funds. In fact, you can get a free investment audit through its website to get a better glimpse of how much of your earnings are getting eaten up by fees. In addition, the firm has CPAs to help you with developing a comprehensive tax strategy to protect your investments.
Chesley, Taft & Associates, LLC
Chesley, Taft & Associates, LLC
Chesley, Taft & Associates, LLC, primarily focuses on portfolio management and utilizes mainly equity and fixed income asset classes in a three-pronged strategy. According to its website, it does not have any affiliations with any brokerage, insurance or mutual fund firms. This arrangement may significantly reduce potential conflicts of interest, as the advisors can avoid being incentivised to recommend certain products with the prospects of larger compensation.
Having opened its doors at the turn of the Millennium in 2001, it has accumulated more than $1 billion in assets under management. While not the firm with the largest AUM on our list, it employs an impressive number of portfolio managers with a combined average of 35 years of experience in managing assets under various market climates.
Chesley, Taft & Associates, LLC Background
Faris Chesley and A. Richard Taft founded the firm back in 2001. Chelsey currently owns 34% of the firm, while the rest is owned by eight other employees. Each individual aims to bring a different perspective to the firm’s overall portfolio management strategy.
Chesley, Taft & Associates, LLC Resources
CF&T will construct a portfolio based on your personal risk tolerance and investment goals. It may recommend you invest in one or more asset classes including the following:
- Mutual funds
- Taxable bonds
- Tax-exempt bonds
- International bonds
- Certificates of deposit
- Domestic equity
- International equity
- Options and futures
Throughout the years, the firm has earned several accolades. These include recognition among the Forbes Top 100 Fastest Growing Registered Investment Advisors by Growth and Bloomberg’s Top 50 U.S. Registered Investment Advisors.
InterOcean Capital, LLC
InterOcean Capital, LLC boasts an impressive level of expertise for a team of just 10 advisors. Despite having one of the lowest number of advisors on our list, the firm has seven chartered financial analysts (CFAs), three certified financial planners (CFP) and one certified public accountant (CPA).
The minimum investable assets needed to become a client at InterOcean Capital, LLC is $500,000. The firm’s Form ADV (SEC-filed paperwork) indicates that its client base relies much more heavily on high-net-worth individuals.
InterOcean Capital, LLC Background
InterOcean Capital, LLC was formed in 2005. The firm is primarily employee-owned, with about 17.2% owned by outside investors.
InterOcean’s investment philosophy is three-pronged: value investing, risk management and and active management. InterOcean opts for a combination of investment strategies, depending on a client’s risk tolerance, goals and financial circumstances.
Typically, the firm chooses a large capitalization equity portfolio, which it may augment with an equity income and option portfolio or an equity hedge portfolio. The advisor may also recommend exchange-traded Funds (ETFs). Only in some instances does InterOcean completely customize investment strategies for clients.
Chicago Partners Investment Group LLC
Chicago Partners Investment Group LLC is the only firm on this list that mostly serves non-high-net-worht individuals as part of its client base. This segment accounts for more than 75% of its individual client basket. However, the firm requires a minimum of $1 million in investable assets to manage personal accounts.
The fee-based firm has two certified financial planners (CFPs), six chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and one certified public accountant (CPA) on staff.
Chicago Partners Investment Group LLC Background
Chicago Partners Investment Group was founded in 2009. However, the experience of its senior professionals averages more than 20 years.
The firm’s investment recommendations are primarily options like low-cost institutional shares of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). It places an emphasis on tax efficiency and thus tends to opt for low turnover equity funds.
Chicago Partners embraces a five-step approach to providing holistic wealth management services to its clients. These feature investment consulting to understand risk profile, investment management to construct long-term focused portfolios, tax planning and preparation, advanced financial planning, and maintaining a long-term fiduciary relationship.
Chicago Partners Resources
Chicago Partners provides its clients with a personal Wealth Management System (WMS). This platform gives you a digital breakdown on your financial life. You can track your income, expenses and more. Your advisor can also help you use the system to construct a personalized budget and cash flow strategy.
According to the firm, WMS is generally restricted to family offices of the ultra-wealthy, but any client would get the program at no extra cost.