Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Connecticut
Managing your finances can be a difficult proposition. So SmartAsset has determined the top financial advisor firms in Connecticut that can make it easier. Throughout this review, we’ll discuss each firm's investing strategies, its specialties and more so you can become a more informed prospective client. SmartAsset also offers a free financial advisor matching tool that will pair you with up to three advisors in your area.
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|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||Bradley, Foster & Sargent, Inc. Find an Advisor||$6,124,652,315||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|2||GYL Financial Synergies, LLC Find an Advisor||$5,316,699,381||$1,000,000|| || |
|3||Northeast Financial Consultants, LLC Find an Advisor||$3,811,085,990||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
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|4||RZH Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$1,341,371,332||$3,000,000|| || |
|5||Johnson Brunetti Find an Advisor||$896,665,754||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|6||Coastal Bridge Advisors Find an Advisor||$2,759,431,503||$5,000,000|| || |
|7||Apella Capital Find an Advisor||$2,357,000,000||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|8||Connecticut Wealth Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$2,385,202,351||$1,000,000|| || |
|9||AdviceOne Advisory Services, LLC Find an Advisor||$1,299,488,224||$25,000|| || |
|10||Greenwich Wealth Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$2,197,148,626||$1,000,000|| || |
What We Use in Our Methodology
To find the top financial advisors in Connecticut, we first identified all firms registered with the SEC in the state. 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:
- AUMFirms with more total assets under management are ranked higher.
- Individual Client CountFirms who serve more individual clients (as opposed to institutional clients) are ranked higher.
- Clients Per AdvisorFirms with a lower ratio of clients per financial advisor are ranked higher.
- Age of FirmFirms that have been in business longer 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.
Bradley, Foster & Sargent
With more assets under management than any other firm on our list, Bradley Foster & Sargent (BFS) is Connecticut's top-rated financial advisory firm.
BFS primarily advises individuals with and without a high net worth. The firm also works with pension plans, profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations, businesses, a pooled investment vehicle and an investment company.
BFS does not require a specific minimum account size, but it does charge a $5,000 minimum annual fee. Clients who are referred to the firm through the Schwab Advisor Network or the Fidelity Wealth Advisor Solutions Program will need a balance of $500,000 or $250,000, respectively.
As a fee-only firm, BFS makes money solely through client-paid fees, not third-party commissions for selling insurance and other financial products. The financial advisors at BFS hold various certifications, including the chartered financial analyst (CFA), certified financial planner (CFP) and certified public accountant (CPA) designations.
Bradley, Foster & Sargent Background
BFS has been in business since 1994. The firm currently has 13 principal owners, all of whom are employees of the firm. Robert H. Bradley serves as the BFS chairman, and he's the only principal to own more than 25% of the business.
The core services offered at BFS are investment advisory and portfolio management. The firm also provides financial planning and consultation services. While its headquarters are located in Hartford, BFS also has offices in Wellesley, Massachusetts and West Palm Beach, Florida.
Bradley, Foster & Sargent Investment Strategy
BFS strives to develop investment plans tailored to the specific needs of each of its clients. Advisors use a wide range of strategies, investments and methods of analysis. The firm focuses on determining an effective asset allocation that incorporates strong diversification.
Since capital preservation is one of the primary goals of the firm, it typically invests according to long-term strategies that utilize equities, fixed-income securities and cash. However, the firm believes that common stocks are the best assets for crafting an effective client portfolio. The firm does not utilize market-timing strategies, though.
GYL Financial Synergies
GYL Financial Synergies, a fee-only firm based in West Hartford, works with individuals and high-net-worth individuals, as well as pension and profit-sharing plans, charities, government entities and businesses. If you're an individual, you'll need at least $1 million to become a new client. Institutional clients are held to a $10 million minimum requirement.
This firm's advisors have a wide range of certifications, including eight certified financial planners (CFPs), four certified investment management analysts (CIMAs), three certified public accountants (CPAs), two accredited estate planners (AEPs), one certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) and more.
As a fee-only firm, all of GYL's revenue comes from client-paid fees. A fee-based firm may also receive compensation from other sources, such as commissions for insurance sales.
In addition to being the No. 2-ranked firm in the state, GYL is the top-rated advisory firm in West Hartford.
GYL Financial Synergies Background
GYL was founded in 2016 by CEO Gerald Goldberg, senior wealth advisor Martin Resnick and Jonathan Yolles, who serves as the firm's president of private wealth services. The triumverate of co-founders is equipped with nearly 80 years of experience in the financial services industry. Focus Financial Partners Inc., a network of registered investment advisors (RIAs), owns GYL through a series of subsidiaries.
The firm provides investment management and financial planning services to individual clients through a company it operates called GYL Resnick. These services include:
- Retirement planning
- Risk management
- Cash flow planning
- Charitable giving
- Next generation planning
Its investment management services are available on both a discretionary and non-discretionary basis, meaning some clients give GYL full authority to manage their accounts, while others require the firm to consult them when making portfolio decisions.
GYL Financial Synergies Investment Strategy
GYL advisors begin each relationship by defining a client's goals and expectations. Based on these factors, advisors will come up with an investment plan and portfolio that fit the cleint's risk tolerance, time horizon, income requirements and more. Each client has the right to make amendments to their investment plan at any time.
The firm tends to pursue long-term strategies based on asset allocation rather than market timing and stock picking. To do this, it relies on the principles of Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT), which seeks to optimize the balance between risk and expected returns.
Northeast Financial Consultants, LLC
Northeast Financial Consultants (NFC), the next firm on our list, primarily works with high-net-worth individuals but also advises individuals beneath the high-net-worth threshold.
NFC, the top-rated advisory firm in Westport, does not require clients to maintain a minimum account size. Its team of advisors features a chartered financial analyst (CFA) and certified public accountant (CPA).
As a fee-only firm, NFC makes its money from client fees, not commissions or other hidden forms of compensation for selling third-party products and services.
Northeast Financial Consultants Background
Independently-owned, NFC has been in businesss since 1983, making it the longest-tenured firm on our list. Elwood Davis, NFC's current president, founded the firm after spending nine years working in the financial services industry.
NFC offers the following services:
- Investment management
- Retirement planning
- Estate planning
- Tax planning and management
- Family office services
- Legacy planning
- Special needs planning
- Employee benefits planning
- Risk management
- Alternative investments
Northeast Financial Consultants Investment Strategy
When you become a client at NFC, your advisor will work with you to define your risk tolerance and time horizon. The firm notes in its Form ADV brochure that "we are not 'traders.'" Instead, NFC typcially assumes a long-term investment view.
RZH Advisors, LLC
Located in Stamford, RZH Advisors is the fourth-rated financial advisory firm in the Constitution State. Operating on a fee-only basis, RZH's revenue comes solely from the asset-based fees, hourly charges and fixed fees that clients pay.
The firm features a range of professional designations. Its team of advisors includes five certified financial planners (CFPs), two accredited investment fiduciaries (AIFs), two certified public accountants (CPAs), as well as one certified investment management analyst, a chartered financial analyst and certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA).
RZH works primarily with high-net-worth individuals, but the firm also advises individuals without a high net worth, trusts, estates, charities and businesses. The firm generally requires a minimum asset level of $3 million for wealth management services, which include portfolio management and financial planning. However, that requirement may reach $5 million, depending on the services provided.
RZH Advisors Background
Founded in 2000, RZH has been a registered investment advisor firm since 2010. Principals Carl Zuckerberg, Dana Hanson and Spencer Cooper own the firm, which offers clients investment management, financial planning, divorce consulting and other consulting services.
RZH Advisors Investment Strategy
RZH begins its relationship with a new client with a planning process that it describes as "comprehensive, rigorous, and highly customized." This phase typically takes between six and eight weeks to complete, during which an advisor will learn about the client's risk tolerance, cash flow needs, tax situation and other elements of their financial life.
The firm's investment strategies are typically geared toward asset preservation followed by growth. RZH sees asset allocation and diversification as key tenets of its investment approach, though it also strives to keep fees and other costs low for clients. The firm may engage in both long- and short-term purchasing, and typically allocates client assets among various open-end mutual funds and/or ETFs, as well as independent managers and private investment funds.
Johnson Brunetti, a fee-based firm with headquarters in Wethersfield, has a massive list of individual clients who fall below the high-net-worth threshold. Despite not having a minimum account value requirement, the firm also advises high-net-worth investors, corporations and business entities.
The firm's advisory team includes six certified financial planners (CFPs), one certified kingdom advisor (CKA) and one retirement income certified professional (RICP). Because some advisors are also licensed insurance agents, they can earn commissions on policies sold to clients, creating a potential conflict of interest. However, Johnson Brunetti is required to act in clients' best interests as a fiduciary despite this potential conflict.
Johnson Brunetti Background
Founded in 2003, Johnson Brunetti has been a registered investment advisor since 2014. The firm is 100% owned by Financial Retirement Solutions LLC.
With offices throughout Connecticut and one in Needham, Massachusetts, Johnson Brunetti offers a variety of services to clients, including:
- Retirement planning
- Estate planning
- Asset management
- 401(k) guidance
- Wealth protection
- Long-term care insurance options
Johnson Brunetti Investment Strategy
Johnson Brunetti generally uses fundamental analysis when evaluating investments and advising clients. This commonly used method of analysis attempts to measure the intrinsic value of a security by looking at a host of factors, including the overall economy and industry conditions, as well as the management and financial condition of the asset itself.
The firm typically provides investment advice on ETFs, securities traded over the counter, foreign issues, U.S. government securities and partnerships that invest in real estate. Johnson Brunetti does not attempt to time the market, but it may increase cash holdings when it deems appropriate.
Coastal Bridge Advisors
Coastal Bridge Advisors, No. 6 on this list, requires a minimum initial investment of $5 million. As a result, a majority of clients are high-net-worth individuals, although the firm also works with non-high-net-worth investors and insurance companies.
The firm's staff has a wide array of financial certifications, including the certified financial planner (CFP) and certified investment management analyst (CIMA) designations. Coastal Bridge Advisors also has at least one chartered retirement planning counselor (CRPC) and chartered financial analyst (CFA) on staff.
Because some of its advisors can sell insurance products for a commission, Coastal Bridge Advisors is a fee-based firm. While this creates a potential conflict of interest, the firm abides by its fiduciary duty to act in your best interest.
Coastal Bridge Advisors Background
Founding partners Kevin Burns, Jim Pratt-Heaney and Bill Loftus opened the firm in 2009. The trio has a combined 90 years worth of experience managing clients’ money and investments.
Coastal Bridge Advisors offers clients financial planning services, investment management (including a wrap program), advice to retirement plan participants and retirement plan consulting.
Coastal Bridge Advisors Investment Strategy
When formulating the composition of a client’s portfolio, Coastal Bridge Advisors will first talk with them about their risk tolerance, liquidity needs and time horizon. Through these convesations, the firm will create a template by which it can determine whether a specific investment falls in line with the client's personal needs.
The firm states in its Form ADV brochure that it believes the most effective asset management strategy is selecting independent managers for its clients. Coastal Bridge Advisors takes into account the investment strategies, past performance and risk results of an independent manager when choosing one for a client.
Apella Capital, located in Glastonbury, primarily advises individuals and high-net-worth individuals. However, the firm's client base also comprises pension and profit-sharing plans, a government entity, as well as corporations and businesses. With no minimum account requirement, Apella currently has twice as many individual clients who don't have a high net worth as those who do.
With additional offices scattered around the country, the firm's Glastonbury team of advisors includes two certifieid financial advisors. Because some of its advisors also sell insurance policies, Apella Capital may earn commissions on those transactions, making it a fee-based firm. Despite the potential conflict of interest that commission-based compensation creates, Apella has a fiduciary duty to always put its clients' best interests first.
Apella Capital Background
Established in Glastonbury in 2013, Apella also has offices in Massachussets, Rhode Island, New York, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, California and Washington. Founded by David Connelly Jr. and Patrick Sweeny, the firm remains under the pair's ownership through Strategic Holdings, LLC.
Apella Capital provides investment management on both a discretionary and non-discretionary basis. It also offers financial planning services and retirement plan solutions.
Apella Capital Investment Strategy
Apella formulates investment strategies and advice based on its clients financial circumstances, objectives and risk tolerance. The firm has model portfolios constructed for each investment strategy that it uses, and then tailors those portfolios to the needs of individual clients.
These model portfolios comprise a range of investments including equities and fixed income allocations in varying percentages. They typically include mutual funds, ETFs and other products. Some of the model portfolios that Apella uses are designed and maintained by the investment committee at Symmetry Partners, another Connecticut-based advisory firm that Sweeny and Connelly founded.
Connecticut Wealth Management
Connecticut Wealth Management (CTWM) comes next on our list of the state's top financial advisors. This Farmington-based firm works mainly with individuals, those both with and without a high net worth. CTWM also works with pensions, profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations, businesses, as well as a single government entity. The firm has a $1 million minimum investment requirement.
CTWM's team of advisors includes 13 certified financial planners (CFPs), six certified public accountants (CPAs), one certified investment management analyst (CIMA) and one certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA). (Advisors may have more than one credential.)
As a fee-based firm, some CTWM advisors earn commissions from the sale of securities or insurance products on top of their client fees. While this presents a potential conflict of interest, the firm is a fiduciary and is therefore legally bound to act with clients' best interests in mind at all times.
Connecticut Wealth Management Background
CTWM was founded in 2010. The principal owners of the firm are CEO Kevin C. Leahy, Denis M. Horrigan and COO Michael A. Tedone. The trio has around 80 years of combined experience in financial services.
CTWM provides financial planning and consulting services, along with retirement plan advising and investment management. The firm can specifically offer clients help with:
- Tax planning
- Risk management
- Investment planning
- Advanced estate planning
- Business succession planning
- Asset allocation planning and review
Connecticut Wealth Management Investment Strategy
CTWM works with each client to determine their financial needs and objectives so that its advisors can craft an appropriate portfolio strategy to help clients meet their goals. The firm examines your risk tolerance, time horizon and liquidity preferences. Advisors typically use a range of mutual funds and ETFs with a long-term investing mindset when constructing portfolios. From there, your portfolio will receive ongoing monitoring.
CTWM generally relies on fundamental analysis when evaluating investments for clients' portfolios and asset allocation when managing portfolios.
AdviceOne Advisory Services, LLC
Located in Glastonbury, AdviceOne Advisory Services is the No. 9 firm on our list. Clients have access to five certified financial planners (CFPs), two chartered financial counselors (ChFC), a registered financial consultant (RFC) and a chartered life underwriter (CLU).
Despite a relatively low account minimum -- $25,000 -- this fee-only firm primarily works with high-net-worth individuals. However, it also serves non-high-net-worth individuals, pensions, profit-sharing plans, charities and business entities.
AdviceOne Advisory Services Background
Established in 1999, AdviceOne is wholly owned by Michael P. Grossman, the firm's president and chief compliance officer. Grossman, who holds the CFP designation, has been providing financial advice since 1990.
Today, AdviceOne offers wealth management services, portfolio management and financial planning services.
AdviceOne Advisory Services Investment Strategy
AdviceOne has two primary portfolios available to clients that mostly comprise open-ended mutual funds. The firm's fixed income portfolio strives to provide current income to clients, while its equity portfolio is designed to provide long-term growth.
When the firm identifies a potentially viable open-ended mutual fund to invest in, it has a proprietary process for evaluating the fund and determining whether client assets should be invested. This process includes interviewing members of the fund's portfolio management team and learning about the investment methodologies and processes used within the fund.
Greenwich Wealth Management
Greenwich Wealth Management, a fee-only firm based in its namesake community, rounds out our list of the top-rated financial advisory firms in Connecticut. It primarily works with high-net-worth individuals, with a few other non-high-net-worth individual investors on the books. This makes sense as the firm has a relatively high minimum account size of $1 million for portfolio management. It also has an institutional business advising charitable organizations, pension and profit-sharing plans and other corporations.
Fees paid to Greenwich Wealth Management are based on a percentage of assets under management. It is also a fee-only advisor, meaning all of its compensation comes from client-paid fees, which may also include hourly charges and fixed fees.
The firm has three chartered financial analysts (CFAs) on staff.
Greenwich Wealth Management Background
Greenwich Wealth Management was founded in 2006 by Michael J. Freeburg. He remains the principal owner and acts as an advisor at the firm. Services at Greenwich include investment advisory and custom-tailored portfolio building. The firm also offers its Nascent Investors Course, an introduction to finance aimed at educating teenagers and young adults.
Greenwich Wealth Management Investment Strategy
Advisors at Greenwich Wealth Management use fundamental, technical and macro-economic analysis to come up with an investment strategy for each client. It considers things like income and liquidity requirements, investment time horizon, risk profile, financial goals and special needs when devising a strategy.
Investments may include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, futures contracts, ETFs, foreign exchange, alternative investments, structured products and others.