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Top Financial Advisors in Columbia, MD

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This review was produced by SmartAsset based on publicly available information. The named firm and its financial professionals have not reviewed, approved, or endorsed this review and are not responsible for its accuracy. Review content is produced by SmartAsset independently of any business relationships that might exist between SmartAsset and the named firm and its financial professionals, and firms and financial professionals having business relationships with SmartAsset receive no special treatment or consideration in SmartAsset’s reviews. This page contains links to SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool, which may or may not match you with the firm mentioned in this review or its financial professionals.

Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Columbia, Maryland

Looking for the right financial advisor is a lot like the proverbial search for a needle in a haystack. There are 10,616 investment advisor firms registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the U.S. - and 2,631 in the Washington D.C./Philadelphia region alone. To help you narrow the field, we pulled all the firms in Columbia and collected such fundamentals on them as their assets under management (AUM), fee basis and investment strategy. Then we put all the info together, here, for convenient comparing and contrasting. Start your search with this list of the top financial advisor firms in Columbia, Maryland. Then use SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching tool to expand your search.

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Rank Financial Advisor Assets Managed Minimum Assets Financial Services More Information
1 Baltimore-Washington Financial Advisors Baltimore-Washington Financial Advisors logo Find an Advisor

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$1,238,302,312 No set account minimum
  • Financial planning
  • Portfolio management
  • Educational seminars/workshops
  • Tax preparation and planning
  • Business succession planning
  • Employer-sponsored retirement plan services

Minimum Assets

No set account minimum

Financial Services

  • Financial planning
  • Portfolio management
  • Educational seminars/workshops
  • Tax preparation and planning
  • Business succession planning
  • Employer-sponsored retirement plan services
2 FAI Wealth Management FAI Wealth Management logo Find an Advisor

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$297,733,364 $500,000
  • Financial planning
  • Portfolio management
  • Pension consulting services

Minimum Assets

$500,000

Financial Services

  • Financial planning
  • Portfolio management
  • Pension consulting services
3 Lowe Wealth Advisors, LLC Lowe Wealth Advisors, LLC logo Find an Advisor

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$361,573,799 No set account minimum
  • Financial planning
  • Portfolio management
  • Pension consulting services
  • Selection of other advisors (including private fund managers)

Minimum Assets

No set account minimum

Financial Services

  • Financial planning
  • Portfolio management
  • Pension consulting services
  • Selection of other advisors (including private fund managers)

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4 Keeney Financial Group Inc. Keeney Financial Group Inc. logo Find an Advisor

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$341,662,538 $500,000
  • Financial planning
  • Portfolio management
  • Selection of other advisers (including private fund managers)

Minimum Assets

$500,000

Financial Services

  • Financial planning
  • Portfolio management
  • Selection of other advisers (including private fund managers)

What We Use in Our Methodology

To find the top financial advisors in Columbia, we first identified all firms registered with the SEC in the city. Next, we filtered out firms that don't offer financial planning services, those that don't serve primarily individual clients and those that have disclosures on their record. The qualifying firms were then ranked according to the following criteria:

  • AUM
    Firms with more total assets under management are ranked higher.
  • Individual Client Count
    Firms who serve more individual clients (as opposed to institutional clients) are ranked higher.
  • Clients Per Advisor
    Firms with a lower ratio of clients per financial advisor are ranked higher.
  • Age of Firm
    Firms that have been in business longer are ranked higher.
  • Fee Structure
    Firms with a fee-only (as opposed to fee-based) compensation structure are ranked higher.

All information is accurate as of the writing of this article. This list may include firms that have a business relationship with SmartAsset, in which SmartAsset is compensated for lead referrals. Such relationships have no impact on our rankings, and firms are included and ranked based strictly on the above criteria.

Baltimore-Washington Financial Advisors

Also a fee-only firm, Baltimore-Washington Financial Advisors (BWFA) oversees more than $1 billion in assets mostly on a discretionary basis. Its team includes certified financial planners (CFPs), certified public accountants (CPAs), certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) and MBAs. 

BWFA has no minimum investment account size. It serves individuals who have a high net worth as well as those who don't, and also works with trusts, estates, foundations, charitable organizations and other nonprofits.

Baltimore-Washington Financial Advisors Background

BWFA was founded in 1986. President and CEO Rob Carpenter became the owner in 2012. Two employees - Chief Operating Officer Joseph Manifredi and Director of Client Services Meghan Manas - have small stakes.

The firm offer investment management services, financial planning, financial planning for business owners, tax planning and preparation and employer-sponsored retirement plan services. Additionally, it hosts free seminars on such topics as annuities and self-care for caregivers.

Baltimore-Washington Financial Advisors Investing Strategy

BWFA offers three model portfolios that range in risk level: Capital Appreciation, Conservative Growth as well as Growth and Income. In special situations, advisors may customize a client’s model. Each model has positions in approximately 80 to 100 securities, which the firm believes are undervalued and aims to hold for typically three to five years.

The firm aims to achieve strong performance over multiple market cycles and its core investment time horizon is typically three to five years.

FAI Wealth Management

The FAI in FAI Wealth Management is short for Financial Advantage, Inc., the firm’s legal name. With hundreds of millions in assets under management, the fee-only practice employs advisors with various professional designations and accreditations, such as certified financial planner (CFP), MBA, chartered financial analyst (CFA), certified public accountants (CPA), accredited investment fiduciary (AIF) and accredited asset management specialist (AAMS). (Some advisors may have multiple designations.)

FAI Wealth requires a minimum $500,000 to open an investment account, though it may waive the requirement at its discretion. The firm serves both individual clients who have a high net worth as well as those who don't. The firm also works with pension and profit-sharing plans, trusts, estates, charitable organizations and other advisors.

FAI Wealth Management Background

J. Michael Martin founded FAI Wealth in 1987. Today, it’s owned to varying degrees by Mark Stinson (president), Curtis R. Gross (chief investment officer) and Andrew L. Smith (vice president).

The firm considers financial planning the centerpiece of its services. It offers it in conjunction with discretionary investment management services, on a stand-alone basis or as ongoing consulting services. It also provides retirement plan consulting.  

FAI Wealth Management Investing Strategy

Strategies depend on the client profile and goals. FAI Wealth generally formulates its advice using fundamental, cyclical and charting methods of analysis. Also, it may use long-term trading (holding securities for at least a year), short-term trading (selling securities within a year) and option writing.

Lowe Wealth Advisors, LLC

With two Lowes on board, Lowe Wealth Advisors is a family shop. The father-and-son duo and four other advisors oversee hundreds of millions in assets under management. The team includes several certified financial planners (CFPs). The elder Lowe is also a licensed insurance agent.

The majority of individual clients do not have a high net worth. This isn’t surprising, since the firm doesn’t have a minimum account size requirement. In addition to individuals, Lowe Wealth also serves pension and profit-sharing plans, trusts and estates.

Lowe Wealth Advisors Background

Harold Lowe originally named the firm Lowe FS, LLC when he founded it in 2011. He renamed it in 2016, shortly after his son Gregory, became part owner of the company that directly owns the firm. The elder Lowe serves as president and the younger Lowe serves as vice president and chief operating officer. Chief Investment Officer Bradley Williams is a small shareholder.

The firm offers investment management services, financial planning or both (which it calls wealth management services). It also provides advisory services specifically for people in the medical profession. Additionally, Lowe Wealth advises retirement plans.

Lowe Wealth Advisors Investing Strategy

Considering itself the watchman for its clients, the advisory breaks down its investment process into six steps: analyze, diversify, evaluate, execute, confirm and rebalance. It uses fundamental and technical analyses when evaluating securities. And it may utilize long-term purchases (holding securities for at least a year), short-term purchases (selling securities within a year), trading (selling securities within 30 days) and options.

Keeney Financial Group Inc.

Last but not least, Keeney Financial Group Inc. manages more than $300 million in assets on a discretionary basis. It’s a full-service, fee-based firm, meaning most of its advisors are also brokers and insurance agents. The team of five represents professional financial designations such as certified retirement planning counselor (CRPC), certified retirement plan specialist (CRPS), certified income specialist (CIS) and chartered institute of management accountants designee (CIMA). (Advisors may have more than one certification).

People who do not have a high net worth make up a majority of Keeney Financial’s individual clientele. The practice also works with trusts, charitable organizations, foundations, pensions and corporations. It requires a minimum $500,000 investment to open an account, though it may lower the amount at its discretion.

Keeney Financial Group Background

John Keeney founded the firm in 1998, and registered it as an investment advisor in 2015. He is the sole owner and serves as president.

Keeney Financial offers discretionary investment management services. In special circumstances, it will provide them on a non-discretionary basis. The firm also provides financial planning on a fixed-fee basis. 

Keeney Financial Group Investing Strategy

For each client, the practice generally selects one of five investment programs or asset allocation strategies, based on the client’s profile and objectives. They range from income with capital preservation to aggressive growth. Keeney financial takes a bottom-up approach to securities analysis and follows Modern Portfolio Theory. For smaller accounts, the firm may recommend third-party managers.

How Long $1mm Lasts in Retirement

SmartAsset's interactive map highlights places where $1 million will last the longest in retirement. Zoom between states and the national map to see the top spots in each region. Also, scroll over any city to learn about the cost of living in retirement for that location.

Least
Most
Rank City Housing Expenses Food Expenses Healthcare Expenses Utilities Expenses Transportation Expenses

Methodology We analyzed data on average expenditures for seniors, cost of living and investment returns to determine how many years of retirement a $1 million nest egg would cover in cities across America.

First, we looked at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on the average annual expenditures of seniors. We then applied cost of living data from the Council for Community and Economic Research to adjust those national average spending levels based on the costs of each expense category (housing, food, healthcare, utilities, transportation and other) in each city. Using this data, SmartAsset calculated the average cost of living for retirees in the largest U.S. cities.

We assumed the $1 million would grow at a real return (interest minus inflation) of 2%. Then, we divided $1 million by the sum of each of those annual numbers to determine how long $1 million would cover retirement expenses in each of the cities in our study. Cities where $1 million lasted the longest ranked the highest in the study.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Council for Community and Economic Research