Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Colorado
Finding a financial advisor firm that fits your needs across a massive state like Colorado is easier said than done. So SmartAsset spent hours digging through data to determine Colorado’s top financial advisor firms. Based on the detailed information in this review, including each firm’s investment philosophy, fee structure and more, you should be able to make an informed decision as to which firm suits your needs. The SmartAsset financial advisor matching tool is an automated alternative that you can use to get paired with financial advisors in your area.
|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||IWP Wealth Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$1,424,725,200|| |
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|2||Colorado Financial Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$1,172,496,300||$500,000|| || |
|3||Institutional and Family Asset Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$1,069,793,700||None|| || |
|4||GHP Investment Advisors, Inc. Find an Advisor||$1,057,738,300|| |
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|5||Western Wealth Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$852,521,100||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|6||CoBiz Wealth Find an Advisor||$848,737,700|| |
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|7||BSW Wealth Partners, LLC Find an Advisor||$843,000,000||None|| || |
|8||First Affirmative Financial Network, LLC Find an Advisor||$833,473,600|| |
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|9||Cherry Creek Family Offices Find an Advisor||$828,504,000|| |
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|10||Paragon Capital Management Find an Advisor||$778,038,100|| |
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How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in Colorado
Only financial advisor firms in Colorado that are registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) were considered for placement on this list. That’s because they are bound by fiduciary duty, which requires them to act in clients’ best interests under all circumstances. If any firms didn’t offer financial planning, didn’t manage individual accounts or had any disciplinary issues on record, they were eliminated. The remaining firms that fit these requirements are listed here, ordered from the most assets under management (AUM) to the least.
IWP Wealth Management, LLC
IWP Wealth Management, LLC is a fee-only financial advisor firm based in Denver. It actually ranks first on SmartAsset’s list of the top financial advisor firms in Denver as well.
For a large firm with more than $1.4 billion in assets under management (AUM), it employs a rather small eight-man advisory team. This team has a total of five certifications, including four certified financial planners (CFPs) and one chartered financial analyst (CFA).
IWP currently only manages funds for high-net-worth individuals and corporations. However, the firm claims to have services available for trusts, estates, retirement plans, pension and profit-sharing plans and charitable organizations. IWP does not require a set minimum account size.
This firm utilizes a “family office” structure, meaning that it focuses on the complete financial needs of a family. According to the firm, it applies this holistic approach on a case-by-case basis, allowing clients to customize what they want.
IWP Wealth Management, LLC Background
Founded in 2004, IWP Wealth Management, LLC is one of the more recently formed firms on this list. President Charlie Willhoit created the firm and remains its independent owner. Willhoit has a background in financial research and previously spent more than eight years at J.P. Morgan.
This firm has the most extensive financial management structure of any firm on this list. It’s divided into two different sections: “today” and “tomorrow.” “Today” consists of daily asset management, like insurance and tax reviews, investment planning, wealth creation strategies, paperwork reviews, net worth reporting, budget planning and accounting. The “tomorrow” side consists of stock, bond, cash and real estate investment management, customized portfolio creation, business consulting, tax planning, long-term care planning and estate planning.
IWP Wealth Management, LLC Investing Strategy
Like many modern financial advisor firms, IWP primarily invests its clients’ assets in exchange-traded funds (ETFs), options, fixed-income securities, mutual funds and private investments. These investments are diversified according to the client’s specific risk tolerance. The firm also factors a client’s time horizon, future inheritance and liquidity needs into its investment decisions.
This firm believes that the more hands-on an advisor is, the better he or she will be able to aid the client. Aside from traditional investment management, IWP also provides bill pay, document storage, tax coordination and constant account reporting as necessary.
Colorado Financial Management, LLC
Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado Financial Management, LLC primarily works with non-high-net-worth individuals. To open an advisory relationship with this firm, though, you must have at least $500,000 in investable assets. Aside from individuals, the firm also has experience working with businesses, estates, trusts, pension and profit-sharing plans and banks.
This fee-only firm’s employees hold the highest number of advisor certifications of any firm on this list. There are nine certified certified financial planners (CFPs), four chartered financial analyst (CFAs) and one chartered life underwriter (CLU) on the firm’s team.
Colorado Financial Management, LLC Background
An employee-owned firm, Colorado Financial Management’s owners include CIO Brad Bickham, operations manager Patty Meneley and senior financial advisors Chris Lagudis, Meagan D’Angelo, Luke Daniel, David Eads and Joshua Miller. The firm has been in business since 1998.
Comprehensiveness is at the heart of how this firm manages its clients’ assets. Taking into account you and your family’s assets, income and liabilities, the firm will handle anything related to your retirement, taxes, insurance needs, estate plans and general investments.
Colorado Financial Management, LLC Client Experience
The first step in opening an account with this firm is to communicate your risk tolerance, financial goals and overall time horizon so that your advisor clearly understands your needs. The firm then works to create a tax-minimized investment philosophy that will ultimately dictate your portfolio’s composition. Generally, the firm believes that high-value investments with low volatility levels are best for portfolio health.
Colorado Financial Management, LLC mainly invests in ETFs and fixed-income securities like bonds and mutual funds. These investment types align with the firm’s long-term approach. However, because some clients need liquidity, the firm may also use short-term investments.
Institutional and Family Asset Management, LLC
Based in Fort Collins, Institutional and Family Asset Management, LLC is a fee-based financial advisor firm with more than $1 billion under management. The firm has no minimum account size, making it more accessible for a larger number of individuals than some of the other firms on this list. It has just one chartered financial analyst (CFA) in its offices.
Institutional and Family Asset Management primarily works with three types of clients: individuals and families, business owners and retirement plans and institutions. The firm also serves pension and profit-sharing plans, estates, trusts, corporations and charitable organizations.
This firm and some of its advisors may earn commissions from selling insurance to clients. However, the firm is a fiduciary, legally binding it to always act in your best financial interest.
Institutional and Family Asset Management, LLC Background
Founded in 2014, Institutional and Family Asset Management, LLC is the second youngest firm on this list. However, the firm’s advisors have spent a significantly longer time in the financial services industry, averaging 23 years of experience.
This firm offers a wide range of financial planning and management services, including:
- Investment consulting
- Retirement planning
- Trust and estate planning
- Tax planning
- Insurance planning
- Charitable giving
- Business planning
Institutional and Family Asset Management, LLC Investing Strategy
Institutional and Family Asset Management, LLC knows that clients’ financial needs will often be complex, so it seeks to take as holistic an approach as possible. The firm will focus on your future financial needs as well as your current needs, such as tax mitigation.
When appropriate, the firm mostly uses ETFs and mutual funds in its clients’ portfolios. However, it also utilizes debt securities, equities and pooled investment vehicles to flesh out client accounts.
GHP Investment Advisors, Inc.
GHP Investment Advisors, Inc. is a fee-only firm. It ranks second on SmartAsset’s list of the top financial advisor firms in Denver. The firm’s typical clients includes both individuals and high-net-worth individuals, corporations, pooled investment vehicles, charitable organizations and pension and profit-sharing plans. When it comes to individual clients, the firm services far more individuals than high-net-worth individuals, at a nearly four-to-one ratio.
GHP’s advisors have a relatively wide range of certifications. There are two certified public accountants (CPAs), four certified financial planners (CFPs), three chartered financial analysts (CFA), two personal financial specialists (PFS) and one certified internal auditor (CIA) on staff.
The firm generally requires a minimum investment of $500,000, including for its general supervisory services. GHP is the sole firm on this list that charges its clients performance-based fees. However, these fees are only applicable to investments in the GHP International Reform and Development Fund and solely apply to earnings over a high-water mark.
GHP Investment Advisors, Inc. Background
GHP Investment Advisors, Inc. has been around since 1995, making it one of the older firms on this list. Brian J. Friedman, the firm’s president, is one of eight shareholders in the firm. That group includes an additional five employees. Friedman has accrued 25 years of experience in the financial industry.
The manner in which your funds are invested depends on what services you’re in need of. The firm provides the following services:
- Retirement and estate planning
- Education fund planning
- General investment management
- Risk management
- Income tax planning
GHP Investment Advisors, Inc. Investing Strategy
GHP Investment Advisors builds portfolios based on clients' financial plans. Rather than adhering to a certain number of investments, GHP likes to keep its options open. In its client portfolios, the firm may use exchange-listed securities, warrants, CDs, mutual funds, options, variable annuities, municipal securities, corporate debt securities and foreign issuers.
The firm typically invests for the long term. When crafting an investment strategy, it takes into account a client's goals, time horizon, liquidity needs and risk tolerance, as well as tax impact, economic conditions and international exposure. The firm relies on the GHPIA Valuation Benchmark process to determine the risk versus return of investment opportunities. The benchmark helps the firm to identy whether an investment is overvalued, undervalued, high-risk or low-risk.
Western Wealth Management, LLC
Western Wealth Management, LLC, in Golden, has ten times more non-high-net-worth individuals as clients than high-net-worth individuals. The firm also works with corporations, executives, charitable organizations, investment companies and advisors and pension and profit-sharing plans. Western Wealth Management’s team includes one certified financial planner (CFP), one chartered life underwriter (CLU), one chartered retirement plans specialist (CRPS) and one certified fund specialist (CFS).
The firm’s account minimum varies by portfolio type, ranging from $5,000 to $250,000:
- Guided Wealth Portfolios Program (GWP) - $5,000
- Optimum Market Portfolios Program (OMP) - $10,000
- Model Wealth Portfolios Program (MWP) - $25,000
- Manager Access Select Program (MAS) - $100,000
- Personal Wealth Portfolios Program (PWP) - $250,000
As a fee-based firm, Western Wealth Management, LLC’s advisors may earn commissions if they sell an insurance policy. The firm is a fiduciary, though, requiring it to act in your best financial interest at all times.
Western Wealth Management, LLC Background
Established in 2016, Western Wealth Management, LLC is the youngest firm on this list. It’s not independently owned, as it’s part of a large network of investment advisor representatives (IARs).
Regardless of what your financial planning needs are, the firm likely offers a relevant service. The firm’s offerings include:
- Investment planning
- Asset management
- Retirement income planning
- Estate planning
- Life and disability insurance review
- Tax minimization
- Education planning
Western Wealth Management, LLC Portfolio Options
There are five different types of investment portfolios you can choose from at Western Wealth Management, including a personal wealth portfolio (PWP), a model wealth portfolio (MWP), an optimum market portfolio (OMP), a manager access select portfolio (MAS) and a guided wealth portfolio (GWP). These portfolios have varying account minimums (as is listed above, and each features a specific style of financial management.
A PWP is the most basic option. It features a traditional client/advisor relationship and relies mostly on mutuals funds, fixed income securities and equities. On the other hand, an MWP is completely centered around mutual funds the chooses based on its proprietary research. Optimum fund investments solely make up OMPs, and clients are expected to have an active hand in this portfolio’s management.
The MAS and GWP alternatives are much less traditional. In fact, GWPs are actually robo-advisors that select three separate diversified ETFs for your portfolio. These portfolios also offer automatic rebalancing and tax-loss harvesting. Lastly, MASs are for those who want to outsource their portfolio’s management but want Western Wealth to help choose an appropriate portfolio manager for the job.
Cobiz Wealth is the third-ranked firm on SmartAsset’s list of the top financial advisor firms in Denver. It’s a fee-only firm with 14 advisors on staff. Along with M. J. Smith and Associates, it has a $1 million account minimum, the highest on this list. There are six chartered financial analysts (CFAs), two certified financial planners (CFPs) and one certified private wealth advisor (CPWA) working at this firm.
As far as typical clients are concerned, this firm works with individuals, estates, trusts, businesses and charitable organizations. The firm serves far more high-net-worth individuals than regular individuals.
Cobiz Wealth Background
No firm on this list has been around longer than Cobiz Wealth, which was founded in 1975. The firm is not currently an independent company, as it’s a subsidiary of CoBiz Financial Inc., a financial services firm.
The firm’s services include will and trust review, retirement income planning, insurance review and general investment planning. The firm believes that investment planning is its most comprehensive service offering, as it takes both your current and past financial situations into account.
Cobiz Wealth Investing Strategy
To diversify its clients’ portfolios, Cobiz uses a globalized investment search. The firm primarily uses fixed-income securities and equities in its client portfolios.
The firm’s advisors aren’t the only ones who manage your portfolio, as outside portfolio managers will also weigh in on your investments. While seemingly unconventional, Cobiz says this will increase your portfolio’s chance of success by incorporating complementary investment styles.
BSW Wealth Partners, LLC
Boulder-based firm BSW Wealth Partners, LLC says that most of its clients are individuals, families, trusts, estates, not-for-profit organizations and business. However, it does claim to have a few specialties. The firm particularly focuses on serving entrepreneurs, divorcees, medical professionals, impact investors and high-net-worth individuals.
There is no minimum account size required at this fee-only firm. It currently employs seven certified financial planners (CFPs), two chartered financial analysts (CFAs), one certified public accountant (CPA) and one certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA).
BSW Wealth Partners, LLC Background
BSW Wealth Partners, LLC is an employee-owned firm. Ownership interest is divided between founding principal Debi Baydush, COO David Wolf, director of operations Matthew Samek and financial advisors Ben Weaver, Drew Simon, Raliegh Riddoch and TimWojtalik. The firm has been in business since 1992.
Clients of this firm will find many different financial planning services at their disposal. These are the firm’s most common services:
- Investment planning
- Wealth management
- Diversification planning
- Tax planning
- Estate planning
- Charitable giving strategies
- Employee stock options
BSW Wealth Partners, LLC Investing Strategy
BSW believes that to build a portfolio that fits with a client’s risk tolerance, time horizon and overall financial goals, it must consider all investment types. The firm commonly uses ETFs, mutual funds, real estate investment trusts (REITs), equities, hedge funds and private equity in client portfolios. BSW is dedicated to a long-term investing approach.
This firm says that it keeps a vigilant eye on your portfolio and asset allocation. Its advisors will rebalance your portfolio on an as-needed basis, no fewer times than twice a year. In addition, the firm provides consistent client-advisor communication, so you stay as up-to-date as possible on the status of your portfolio.
First Affirmative Financial Network, LLC
A fee-only firm, First Affirmative Financial Network, LLC ranks first on SmartAsset’s list of the top financial advisor firms in Colorado Springs. The firm primarily works with individuals, pension and profit-sharing plan participants and trustees, estates, trusts, businesses and charitable organizations. It serves far more individuals than high-net-worth individuals.
To work with this firm, you will need at least $50,000 in investable assets. However, that minimum jumps to $200,000 for multi-manager and fixed-income accounts. The firm’s staff includes one certified financial planner (CFP), one chartered financial analysts (CFA) and one certified investment management analyst (CIMA).
First Affirmative Financial Network, LLC Background
Founded in 1999, First Affirmative Financial Network, LLC has a large network of advisors and asset managers who handle your money, depending on where you’re located in the U.S. It’s owned by FOLIOfn, an investment services company.
The firm offers a multitude of financial services. These include portfolio management for individuals and businesses, pension consulting, educational workshops and various publications.
First Affirmative Financial Network, LLC Investing Strategy
First Affirmative takes a unique approach to investing its clients’ assets. It emphasizes investments that take into account elements of environmental and social responsibility, so investors who are interested in these causes can invest according to their principles. Overall, the firm typically invests in stocks, bonds, ETFs, REITs, exchange-traded notes (ETNs), CDs and federal government and Treasury securities.
As is typical for most financial advisor firms, First Affirmative uses your personal time horizon and risk tolerance to determine how your assets will be allocated across the above investment types. For those with a more condensed investment horizon, the firm will utilize short-term investments to a certain degree.
Cherry Creek Family Offices
Cherry Creek Family Offices is a fee-only firm based in Denver, and it ranks fourth on SmartAsset’s list of the top financial advisor firms in the city. The firm, along with Paragon Capital Management, has the smallest team of advisors on this list at just four members. However, Cherry Creek has just 10 clients, all of whom are high-net-worth individuals. It requires a lofty $40 million account minimum to begin a client relationship with its advisors.
This firm employs Just two certified public accountants (CPAs), giving it a far less extensive group of advisory certifications than most of its counterparts. The firm has the simplest fee structure of any firm on this list, as it only charges clients fixed fees. By comparison, the majority of the other firms on this list also charge fees based on a percentage of assets under management, hourly fees and fixed fees.
Cherry Creek Family Offices Background
Cherry Creek Family Offices opened in 2011. Only one other firm on this list, Institutional and Family Asset Management, LLC, was founded more recently. Managing Partner Tim Ulfig and CFO Ben Novak currently own and run Cherry Creek.
This firm combines elements of wealth management, estate planning, tax minimization and investment management to create holistic management accounts and portfolios for each of its clients.
Cherry Creek Family Offices Investing Strategy
Cherry Creek Family Offices is solely interested in helping its clients build and maintain long-term wealth, and its investment strategies reflect that. It’s also very fond of specific investments, such as fixed income, private equity, energy and real estate.
The firm explicitly states that it realizes that market changes will always happen, so it keeps an eye out for investment opportunities to take advantage of these shifts, possibly resulting in short-term gains. While this might seem to be in opposition to its long-term strategy, these short-term investments are meant to satisfy liquidity needs and grow clients’ assets.
Paragon Capital Management
Paragon Capital Management is a fee-only financial advisor firm. It ranked as the fifth firm on the SmartAsset top Denver financial advisor firms list. The firm’s four-member advisory staff includes three certified financial advisors (CFAs). Notably, the firm does not have any certified financial planners (CFPs) on staff.
Paragon has many more high-net-worth individuals as clients than non-high-net-worth individuals. In spite of this, the firm has no set minimum for new accounts. In addition to individuals, the firm also serves families, trusts, estates, retirement plans and pension and profit-sharing plans.
Paragon Capital Management Background
Managing directors Alexander Feick and Henry Lester still independently own Paragon Capital Management after founding the firm in 1990. The advisory staff at this firm averages more than 26 years in the financial management field.
If you become a client of this firm, you’ll be able to choose from a comprehensive array of services. These include:
- Life insurance analysis
- Estate planning
- Retirement planning
- Tax management
- Educational funding
- Employee benefit review
- Risk management
Paragon Capital Management Client Experience
New clients’ opening meeting at Paragon Capital Management serves two purposes: for your advisor to get to know you a little bit and to build an investor profile that he or she can later use to create your portfolio. Not only does the firm assess your tolerance for risk but also reviews your entire financial life, including all current investments and any assets and liabilities.
Based on this information, your advisor will create a detailed overview of your finances and how they think your portfolio will grow based on their plans. You will then have to approve this strategy in order to put the plan into practice.
Paragon uses a distinct investment strategy that it calls the “Paragon Value Stock Strategy.” This approach utilizes a model that vets the U.S. stock market to find cheap stocks that have fallen out of favor with the market. The firm will keep stocks in your portfolio for no less than a year, in an effort to improve your capital gains taxes. The firm claims that this strategy, though possible risky for some, has seen proven levels of success.