Finding a Top Financial Advisor in Chicago, Illinois
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. You can also use SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool to get connected with local financial advisors, then choose which one best fits your needs.
|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||Mesirow Financial Investment Management, Inc. Find an Advisor||$26,693,197,000||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|2||Segall Bryant & Hamill Find an Advisor||$19,661,201,015||$1,000,000|| || |
|3||DiMeo Schneider & Associates, L.L.C. Find an Advisor||$19,119,137,619||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
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|4||RMB Capital Management Find an Advisor||$8,664,870,131||$1,000,000|| || |
|5||Gresham Partners, LLC Find an Advisor||$7,062,142,381||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|6||Brownson, Rehmus & Foxworth, Inc. Find an Advisor||$5,570,743,864||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|7||Altair Advisers Find an Advisor||$5,097,475,815||$5,000,000|| || |
|8||Kovitz Investment Group Find an Advisor||$5,046,643,783||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|9||Zacks Investment Management Find an Advisor||$4,973,528,399||$500,000|| || |
|10||Gofen and Glossberg, L.L.C. Find an Advisor||$4,968,003,632||$1,000,000|| || |
How We Found the Top Financial Advisors in Chicago, Illinois
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. All information is accurate as of the writing of this article.
Mesirow Financial Investment Management, Inc.
With the largest amount in assets under management (AUM) on this list, 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 certified financial planners (CFPs), chartered financial analysts (CFAs), accredited investment advisors (AIFs) and 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 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 Investment Strategy
MFIM says on its firm brochure that it provides asset allocation and fund strategies by using quantitative and qualitative analysis for mutual funds and other securities. The firm also offers a series of client solutions, including advanced strategies, currency, equity management, investment banking, high yield fixed income and more.
Segall Bryant & Hamill, LLC
Segall Bryant & Hamill (SBH) is an SEC-registered firm offering a range of advisory services. 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 chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and certified financial planners (CFPs).
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 Investment Strategy
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. 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 0.00% to 1.50%.
DiMeo Schneider & Associates 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 Investment Strategy
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.
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 certified financial planners (CFP), chartered financial analysts (CFA), certified private wealth advisors® (CPWAs®), certified investment management analysts (CIMAs) and certified public accountants (CPAs).
Individuals generally need a minimum 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 Investment Strategy
RMB Capital Management characterizes its investment philosophy as taking a long-term approach, conducting fundamental analysis, being opportunistic, yet disciplined and avoiding unnecessary risk, according to its firm brochure. The firm also says it creates asset allocations based on each client's goals.
RMB Capital Management's primary methods of analysis are fundamental analysis and active management strategies, but the firm also employs quantitative analysis, technical analysis and passive or index strategies. The firm also uses the following investment strategies: equity strategies, fixed income strategies, core investment-grade fixed income strategies, tax-advantaged fixed income strategies, treasury inflation-protected "real return" strategies, liability-driven investment strategies and private fund strategies.
Gresham Partners, LLC
Gresham Partners advises 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.
Brownson, Rehmus & Foxworth, Inc.
Brownson, Rehmus & Foxworth, Inc. holds a significant amount money 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 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 features certified financial planners (CFPs), chartered financial analysts (CFAs), chartered alternative investment advisors (CAIAs), fund research manager (FRMs) and certified public accountants (CPAs).
Brownson, Rehmus & Foxworth Investment 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.
Altair Advisers is a private firm that provides a nationwide client base with financial management services, portfolio management and financial education. 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, the team's qualifications include the certified financial planner (CFP), chartered financial analysts (CFA), chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA) and certified private wealth advisor (CPWA) designations.
Altair Advisers Investment Strategy
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.
Kovitz Investment Group Partners, LLC
Kovitz Investment Group Partners, LLC (KIG) is an independent firm serving more than 4,600 individual and institutional clients. The fee-based firm offers an array of advisory services for high-net-worth individuals, non-high-net-worth individuals, investment companies, pooled investment vehicles, pension and profit sharing plans, charitable organizations, corporations and other businesses.
KIG’s staff also presents a variety of backgrounds and qualifications, including the certified public accountant (CPA), certified financial planner (CFP), chartered financial analyst (CFA), chartered retirement planning counselor (CRPC) and certified trust and financial advisor (CTFA) designations.
The firm generally requires clients to have an account minimum of $1,000,000 to establish an advisor relationship. However, KIG’s Wisconsin and California offices generally require $500,000. As for advisory fees, the firm charges asset-based fees, commissions, subscription fees and performance-based fees.
Kovitz Investment Group Background
KIG is an independently managed registered investment advisor (RIA) serving individuals, institutions and financial professionals. The firm is part of the Focus Financial Partners, LLC partnership, and it’s also a wholly-owned subsidiary of Focus Operating, LLC. Focus LLC owns Focus Operating, LLC, and Focus LLC is a subsidiary of Focus Financial Partners, Inc.
KIG has two other offices in Madison, Wisconsin and Aliso Viejo, California.
Kovitz Investment Group Investment Strategy
KIG says on its website that it focuses on long-term investment solutions and that its investment philosophy is built on discipline, patience and perspective. The firm strongly relies on an equity selection philosophy, and it mainly invests in individual equities, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and fixed income securities.
The firm also strives to maximize return while minimizing loss. KIG says on its firm brochure that it generally invests in industry leading and prudently capitalized companies with a competitive advantage.
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. Investment Strategy
Zacks Investment Management utilizes quantitative and qualitative criteria to manage its invesment strategies, as well as proprietary models to assess stocks and market fluctuations, according to its firm brochure. The firm's strategies rely on a range of securities, including stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), master limited partnerships (MLPs) and various other investments.
The firm's Form ADV shows that 95% of its investments were in exchange-traded equity securities. The remaining 5% of investments were in U.S. government bonds, local and state bonds, sovereign bonds, investment grade corporate bonds and cash and cash equivalents.
Gofen and Glossberg, L.L.C.
Fee-only firm Gofen and Glossberg, L.L.C. concludes our list with several advisors managing more than 3,200 clients total. The firm’s client base includes individuals, high-net-worth individuals, trusts, estates, pension and profit sharing plans, charitable foundations, corporations, insurance companies and municipal government agencies.
Featured among the firm’s advisor qualifications are the certified public accountant (CPA), chartered financial analyst (CFA), chartered investment counselor (CIC) designations.
Gofen and Glossberg has a minimum account size requirement of $1,000,000. The firm’s advisory fees include asset-based fees and fixed fees.
Gofen and Glossberg Background
Gofen and Glossberg is a privately held firm that was founded in 1932. The firm’s advisory services include portfolio management and financial planning, and it also provides consulting services and general advice, according to its firm brochure.
Gofen and Glossberg Investment Strategy
In conducting research and offering investment advice, Gofen and Glossberg says it primarily uses fundamental research, macroeconomic analysis and technical research. The firm’s investment strategies include long-term purchases, short sales, short-term trading, margin transactions and options strategies.
Gofen and Glossberg mainly invests in exchange-traded equities, over-the-counter equities, foreign issuers, warrants, corporate bonds, commercial paper, certificates of deposit (CDs), municipal bonds, mutual funds, annuities, U.S. Government securities and securities options.