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
| || |
No existing account minimum
|2||Mesirow Financial Investment Management, Inc. Find an Advisor||$24,270,497,421||Varies|| || |
|3||Segall Bryant & Hamill Find an Advisor||$19,329,398,352||$1,000,000|| || |
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|4||DiMeo Schneider & Associates, L.L.C. Find an Advisor||$ 13,338,712,251||Determined on individual basis|| || |
Minimum AssetsDetermined on individual basis
|5||Brownson, Rehmus & Foxworth, Inc. Find an Advisor||$11,241,411,000||Case-by-Case|| || |
|6||RMB Capital Management Find an Advisor||$9,168,915,505||$1,000,000|| || |
|7||Gresham Partners, LLC Find an Advisor||$ 6,935,122,645||Minimum annual fee of $180,000|| || |
Minimum AssetsMinimum annual fee of $180,000
|8||Zacks Investment Management Find an Advisor||$4,774,778,847||$500,000|| |
|9||Altair Advisers Find an Advisor||$ 4,528,595,592||$5,000,000|| || |
|10||Gofen and Glossberg, LLC Find an Advisor||$4,374,988,149|| |
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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 the Chicago firms registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as they 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. 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.
Mesirow Financial Investment Management, Inc.
Mesirow Financial Investment Management, Inc (MFIM) has deep roots in the financial industry. Its sole shareholder, Mesirow Financial Services, Inc., was founded in 1937.
MFIM has a notable 17 certified financial planners (CFPs), four chartered financial analysts (CFAs), seven accredited investment advisors (AIFs), and two chartered financial consultants (ChFC).
The minimum at Mesirow Financial Investment Management, Inc. is $250,000 in investable assets. The minimum annual fee is $4,000.
Mesirow Financial Investment Management, Inc Background
Formed in 1986, Mesirow Financial Investment Management is part of a group of affiliated financial services companies. The registered investment advisor’s sole shareholder is the independent firm Mesirow Financial Services, Inc.
MFIM’s investment strategy includes equity investments in value stocks across diversified-cap companies and fixed-income investments in short- and intermediate-term government, corporate, mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities.
Mesirow Financial Investment Management, Inc Resources and Extras
Mesirow offers a series of publications about financial marketplace trends that you can sign up to receive. The firm also publishes an annual report about its activities and financial performances. Past annual reports are available on the firm’s website.
Even if you can’t meet Mesirow’s account minimum, you may still be able to get its expertise, thanks to its SMART Portfolios™ program. There’s just a $5,000 account minimum for the program, which offers customized portfolio management through technology and a nine-person team. There’s also an app for the program, so you can check in on your portfolio at anytime.
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, Colorado; St. Louis, Missouri; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Naples, Florida.
In addition, it aims for the strongest investment returns by utilizing proprietary research in addition to other resources. Its portfolios invest in a variety of asset classes including domestic and international equity, as well as alternative investments.
DiMeo Schneider & Associates, LLC
DiMeo Schneider & Associates, L.L.C.
DiMeo Schneider & Associates, L.L.C. serves mostly high-net-worth individuals and families as well as their related trusts and estates. It delivers these services through its private client practice. Beyond that, the firm is mostly known for working with institutional clients as well as large retirement plan sponsors and corporations.
According to its website, it works with families on the Forbes 400 list. The minimum initial investment would depend on the type of client and the scope of services rendered. However, annual asset-based fees for investment advisory services range from 0.02% to 1.50%.
DiMeo Schneider & Associates, L.L.C. Background
DSA opened its doors in 1995 after Bob DiMeo and Bill Schneider turned Kidder Peabody investment consulting firm in a new direction.
Since then, the firm has expanded its financial planning services. Individuals and families working with DSA can receive guidance on family legacy planning, tax efficiency, and estate planning.
DiMeo Schneider & Associates, L.L.C. Investment Strategies
DSA takes in-depth dive into a client’s financial background to come up with an investment approach it deems appropriate for its clients. From there, it seeks the right independent investment managers by using its own database.
Based on your needs, it can recommend the following:
- Mutual funds
- Venture capital funds
- Exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
In addition, the firm periodically evaluates portfolio and investment manager performance.
Brownson, Rehmus & Foxworth, Inc
Brownson, Rehmus & Foxworth, Inc. holds more than $42 billion in assets under management. It also serves as a fee-only firm. That means the money it collects from your account are based on the services it provides. Neither the firm nor its advisors earn commissions from other activities such as the recommendation of one investment over another, for instance.
The firm aims for a comprehensive financial planning strategy that may touch on the following, depending on your needs:
- Investment advice
- Tax planning
- Estate planning
- Charitable giving
- Debt management
- Financial management around divorce
According to SEC records, all of the firm’s individual clients fall into the high-net-worth pool.
Brownson, Rehmus & Foxworth, Inc. Background
Brownson, Rehmus & Foxworth, Inc. first started doing business in 1969. Today, 10 active principals own the firm. In addition to Chicago, the firm also manages offices in San Francisco, Atlanta and New York.
Account minimums depend on the investment advisor. However, the firm’s minimum fees can range from $15,000 to $200,000.
The firm’s investment advisory staff currently consists of 49 investment individuals. Altogether, the team features 16 certified financial planners (CFPs), five chartered financial analysts (CFAs), one chartered alternative investment advisor (CAIA), one fund research manager (FRM) and three certified public accountants (CPAs).
Brownson, Rehmus & Foxworth, Inc. Investing Strategy
Brownson, Rehmus & Foxworth bases its investment strategies on its client’s personal situations.
For the most part, it adheres to long-term investing. It also keeps an eye on investment managers with little turn over. Your assets may be allocated to mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), as well as real-estate and 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.
Gresham Partners, LLC
Gresham Partners has more than $6 billion in assets under management. The firm currently features 17 investment advisors.
They advise high-net-worth individuals along with their retirement plans, trusts, and estates. According to SEC documents, the firm’s entire private or individual client base consists of high-net-worth investors.
The firm collects annual asset-based fees that can dip to 0.30% for those with more than $50 million in their accounts.
Gresham Partners Background
Gresham Partners opened in 1997. More than a dozen principals today. Steve Czocher, manager of family office services, is the only certified financial certified financial planner (CFP) and a chartered financial analysts (CFA).
Gresham Partners Investment Strategy
Gresham Partners conducts multiple meetings with clients to develop the right asset allocations. It considers risk appetite, net worth, philanthropic goals, liquidity requirements and more.
It then searches for and evaluates investment managers that may be appropriate for the client. According to documents that Gresham filed with the SEC, “The Company tends to select experienced managers with broad mandates who can take relatively concentrated positions based on careful fundamental analysis and tend to have a limit on the amount of capital they will accept, but other types of managers may be selected.”
The firm monitors these managers on an ongoing basis.
Zacks Investment Management
If you value research, you might want to consider Zacks Investment Management, Inc., the offshoot of the well-known independent research firm Zacks Investment Research. Many of the firm’s strategies and philosophies are informed by the ideas of the research firm’s founder, Len Zacks. Its parent company’s affinity for offering information also crops up on the investment firm’s website.
Though Zacks Investment Management has a team of PhDs doing research, it does not have any certified financial planners (CFPs). Unlike many firms on this list, Zacks’ client base is comprised of significantly more individuals than high-net-worth individuals. A client must have a minimum of $5,000 in investable assets.
Zacks Investment Management, Inc. Background
Zacks Investment Management, Inc. was founded in 1992 as an offshoot of Zacks Investment Research, one of the country’s biggest independent research firms. The investment firm is a wholly owned subsidiary of its parent company.
Zacks Investment Management’s research roots largely inform its investment management strategy. The articles published by Zacks Investment Research founder Len Zacks back in 1978 have shaped the firm’s strategies, including its use of earnings estimates to pick stocks and its proprietary stock-ranking model, Zacks Rank.
The firm itself is research heavy, too. Zacks has a staff of PhDs that makes proprietary quantitative models and regularly studies academic investment research articles.
Zacks Investment Management, Inc. Resources
As might be expected from the offshoot of Zacks Investment Research, the investment firm has a robust offering of resources. There’s the Resource Library, wth sections on market reports and commentaries, retirement, personal finance, financial planning and annuities. There are four different types of retirement calculators and an array of client scenarios laid out on the firm’s website. There’s also a private client group blog.
For a more in-depth look at the firm, read SmartAsset's Zacks Investment Management review.
Altair Advisers is a private firm that provides a nationwide client base with financial management services, portfolio management and financial education. It currently holds more than $4.5 billion in assets under management.
To receive investment advisory services from Altair Advisers, you’d need a minimum initial investment of $5 million. The firm charges an annual fee for these services based on a percentage of your assets under management. That fee can range from 0.10% to 1.00%. However, there is a minimum annual fee of $40,000.
Nonetheless, SEC data shows the firm serves about as many high-net-worth clients as it does members outside this sector.
Altair Advisers works as a fiduciary. It charges clients fees for its own services and does not collect commissions or other revenue from outside sources, such as broker-dealers or mutual fund companies.
Altair Advisers Background
Altair Advisers first started doing business in 2002. The firm’s current principals previously served under the Investment Advisory Services practice of Arthur Andersen’s Chicago office. Today, Altair is entirely employee-owned. The largest share or 31.28% of the company is held by PHRM Investments LLC, a firm run by a client who helped fund Altair Advisers when it was formed.
The firm’s advisory team holds an impressive number of professional certifications in the financial space. Collectively, there are 17 certified financial planners (CFPs), seven chartered financial analysts (CFAs), one chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA) and one certified private wealth advisor (CPWA).
Altair Advisers Investment Strategies
Altair Advisers begins its service approach by taking an in-depth analysis of your financial situation. This may cover topics like capital sufficiency, income tax planning, cash flow and retirement planning. It uses this information to form an Investment Policy statement. The firm then devises a portfolio with an asset allocation it deems appropriate for you. Depending on your circumstances, it may invest in the following third-party investment managers:
- Mutual funds
- Exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
- Private investments
But while the firm values asset-allocation strategies and diversification, it also take into account behavioral finance and investor psychology- relatively new fields of study in the financial services space.
The firm’s Investment Committee currently features four members including three CFAs. They share 18 years of investment experience on average.
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.