Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Durham, North Carolina
This detailed list of the top financial advisor firms in Durham was compiled after hours of research into a wide array of firms. In tables and reviews below, SmartAsset lays out each top firm’s fees, investing strategies and more. Furthermore, SmartAsset also offers a financial advisor matching tool, which connects you with nearby advisors who fit your needs.
How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in Durham, North Carolina
Financial advisor firms principally doing business in Durham, North Carolina and registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) were considered for this list. Firms were eliminated from this list if they did not offer financial planning, did not manage individual accounts or did not have clean records. The remaining Durham financial advisor firms are listed below in order of the most assets under management (AUM) to the least.
Verity Asset Management, Inc.
Nearly all of Verity Asset Management, Inc.’s clients are non-high-net-worth individuals. The firm’s account minimum varies depending on the type of account you want to open. Managed composite and bond ladder accounts require a $100,000 account minimum, while dividend builder accounts require a $250,000 minimum.
Verity Asset Management is the only firm on this list that offers educational seminars and workshops to clients to help them better understand financial terminology and how to achieve financial stability. The firm’s staff includes a chartered financial analyst (CFA) and a certified management accountant (CMA).
As a fee-based firm, Verity’s advisors may make commissions for selling certain insurance policies and for trading particular securities. The firm is a registered fiduciary however, meaning it’s required to act in your best interest at all times.
Verity Asset Management, Inc. Background
Verity Financial Group, Inc., a network for financial professionals, owns Verity Asset Management, Inc. The firm has been in business since 2005, with its upper-level advisory staff averaging more than 23 years of experience in the financial industry.
The firm typically serves individuals, charities, foundations and businesses. Its services include individual account management, retirement planning, employer-based individual retirement account consultation and support services for business owners.
Verity Asset Management, Inc. Strategy
Verity Asset Management, Inc. uses a variety of investment management styles, but they can be narrowed down to three model portfolios of varying risk levels. These portfolios include the conservative total return model, the tactical (moderate) all asset model and the aggressive all asset model.
The strategy that this firm’s advisors will ultimately use to invest your assets is entirely dependent on your stated risk tolerance. Specific asset allocations are commonly diversified across multiple asset classes. Some of the firm’s most common investments are exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, individual securities, bonds and cash.
Unlike some firms, Verity is willing to attempt to take advantage of short-term investment opportunities. This involves making investments that will stay in your portfolio for less than a year, with the hope that the investments can beat the market and provide you some liquidity.
Kuhn Advisors, Inc.
A fee-only firm, Kuhn Advisors, Inc. requires a minimum of $1 million to open an account. The overwhelming majority of its clients are high-net-worth investors. The firm’s advisors include two certified financial planners (CFPs).
Like just two other firms on this list, Arjuna Capital, LLC and Bull City Advisors, LLC, Kuhn’s advisory fees are based solely on a percentage of your assets under management. Comparatively, the other firms that are not part of this trio will typically charge fees based on the above percentage, in addition to a per-hour rate and other fees.
Kuhn Advisors, Inc. Background
No firm on this list has been in business for longer than Kuhn Advisors, Inc.. Kuhn Advisors was established in 1993 by Mark Kuhn, the current president. Kuhn and Scott Ranby are currently the firm’s two principal owners. Together, they have more than 40 years of experience.
Beyond individuals, this firm can also manage the assets of charitable foundations and those with trusts. The firm’s financial services include:
- Investment management
- Pre-retirement planning
- Retirement income and distribution strategies
- Education funding
- Risk management
- Charitable giving
- Referrals to other qualified professionals
Kuhn Advisors, Inc. Investing Strategy
In essentially every situation, Kuhn Advisors, Inc. believes that a long-term approach should be the basis of a client’s portfolio. The firm says this approach has been historically shown to decrease turnover and minimize taxes.
Kuhn Advisors takes an unusually deep dive into mutual fund managers and their backgrounds. This is done to ensure that managers have a strong knowledge of the companies they choose to invest in, while finding opportunities that are largely undervalued by the market.
Arjuna Capital, LLC
Arjuna Capital, LLC believes you should be “investing in the new economy,” a reference to the various sustainable and environmentally conscious investment opportunities available nowadays. The firm has one chartered financial analyst (CFA) on staff.
The fee-only firm requires a $2 million account minimum. This account minimum, also required by Bull City Advisors, LLC, is the highest on this list. As a result, it’s no surprise that as much as 90% of this firm’s client base have high net worths.
Arjuna is one of three firms on this list that charges advisory fees solely based on your assets under management (AUM). Bull City Advisors, LLC and Kuhn Advisors, LLC are the only other firms on the list that solely charge this fee. Other firms on this list charge additional fees on top of a percentage of your assets under management.
Natasha Lamb, a managing partner at Arjuna Capital, LLC, was named one of Bloomberg’s 50 most influential people who defined global business in 2017. Lamb won this honor for her pivotal work in pushing large businesses like Facebook, Google and Nike to address the gender pay gap.
Arjuna Capital, LLC Background
Arjuna Capital, LLC was created in 2015. Alongside Adams Chetwood Wealth Management, LLC, which was founded the same year, Arjuna Capital is the youngest firm on this list. The firm is independently owned by chief strategist Frank Farnum Brown and chief investment officer Adam Seitchik.
Historically, individuals, businesses and charities are the firm’s typical clients. The firm also works with pooled investments, which give clients the ability to reach investment opportunities that may otherwise be out of reach.
Arjuna Capital, LLC Strategy
Uniquely, Arjuna Capital, LLC offers clients the opportunity to invest in fossil-fuel-free asset classes, representing a chance to become part of the growing divest/invest/engage movement. This environmentally centric strategy is meant to prepare clients for investing in the increasingly renewable energy-based system of the future.
The firm claims that prospective clients who invest in this area can expect a 10% - 15% annual return.
However, the firm also applies a long-term focus, with a desired portfolio life of at least 10 years.
Secrest Blakey & Associates, LLC
There’s no firm on this list with more advisor certifications than Secrest Blakey & Associates, LLC. It employs four certified financial planners (CFPs). This firm has no set account minimum. Its clients are primarily non-high-net-worth individuals, as well as businesses, charitable organizations and those with trusts, estates and pension or profit-sharing plans.
This fee-based firm may offer you insurance policies and may earn commissions from sales. However, it’s a fiduciary, meaning the firm is required to act in your best interest at all times.
Secrest Blakey & Associates, LLC Background
Secrest Blakey & Associates, LLC was created in 2009. Cavok Wealth Consulting, LLC and Southeast Financial Group, LLC, both financial advisor firms, are Secrest Blakely’s principal owners. Secrest Blakely’s advisors average 17 years’ experience in asset management.
If you’re interested in investing, the firm can open an investment management account for you that will include consultations. If you are instead working toward specific goals, the firm also offers retirement planning, income tax analysis, education funding preparation, insurance evaluation, risk management, estate planning and budget analysis.
Secrest Blakey & Associates, LLC Client Experience
Your relationship with Secrest Blakey & Associates, LLC will begin with a face-to-face discussion. During this meeting, you’ll discuss your risk tolerance, current taxes, investment priorities, time horizon and investment objectives. Final decisions are then made as to how your portfolio will come together. The firm considers asset allocation and diversification key to achieving your investment objectives.
Once these initial steps have concluded, Secrest Blakey’s advisor team will stay in contact to keep you up to date. This involves in-person meetings and phone conversations, giving you the chance to constantly weigh in on how your assets are being invested.
Adams Chetwood Wealth Management, LLC
Adams Chetwood Wealth Management, LLC serves both individuals and high-net-worth individuals, as well as corporations, charities and those with trusts, profit-sharing plans and estates. There is no minimum required to open an account with Adams Chetwood Wealth Management.
The firm’s three main advisors each hold a certified financial planner (CFP) designation. Insurance policies are offered by this fee-based firm. Should you accept, your advisor may earn commissions from the insurance provider. The firm is bound by fiduciary duty though, so it must act in your best financial interest.
Adams Chetwood Wealth Management, LLC Background
Like Arjuna Capital, LLC, Adams Chetwood Wealth Management, LLC was formed in 2015. These two firms are tied for the title of the newest firm on this list. Roderick Adams Jr. and Eric Chetwood III, managing partners, are the firm’s principal owners.
The firm, whose staff averages 15 years in the industry, has experience in many areas of personal finance. Its extensive list of services includes:
- Business and personal financial planning
- Retirement planning
- Estate planning
- Charitable giving
- Education planning
- Tax planning (personal and corporate)
- Real estate analysis
- Debt analysis
- Insurance analysis
Adams Chetwood Wealth Management, LLC Strategy
Your risk tolerance, time horizon and ultimate financial goals are the three factors that make up the backbone of your portfolio at Adams Chetwood Wealth Management. All of the above is determined in a hands-on meeting with an advisor. Adams Chetwood Wealth Management strives to optimize these factors to help you achieve your long-term goals.
The firm says its disciplined investment strategies work at three different levels: long-term securities, short-term securities and margin trading. Long-term investments are held for more than a year and are used as the “north star” of your portfolio. Short-term investments usually have a life span of less than a year, as these investments are much more focused on feeding your liquidity needs. Lastly, margin trading is a risky, but potentially profitable venture, where money is borrowed from a broker so the firm can invest it in typically unreachable areas.
Bull City Advisors, LLC
Bull City Advisors, LLC is a fee-only financial advisor firm. It has a $2 million account minimum. More than half of its overall client base have high net worths. The firm, which claims to cater to “active and intellectually curious” individuals, consistently works with clients who have philanthropic goals or trusts or who are business owners.
The only advisory fee you’ll be charged as a client of this firm is one that is based off a percentage of your assets under management (AUM). In contrast, many other firms on this list also charge hourly rates and fixed fees. Kuhn Advisors, Inc. and Arjuna Capital, LLC are the only other firms reviewed here that solely charge a percentage of your AUM.
Bull City has two certified financial planners (CFPs) on staff.
Bull City Advisors, LLC Background
Bull City Advisors, LLC was founded in 2012 by Susan Carson, the firm’s owner. Between Carson and the firm’s other advisor, B.J. Whisler, the firm’s advisory staff averages more than 20 years’ experience in investment management.
Bull City offers clients services like retirement planning, charitable giving, business exit planning and socially responsible investing. The firm also provides investment consulting services, including reviewing existing portfolios for areas of improvement.
Bull City Advisors, LLC Client Experience
Based on your risk tolerance, liquidity needs and life objectives, Bull City’s advisors will formulate a long-term investment plan to get you where you want to go. However, the firm essentially only works with clients who have a time horizon of five years or more, as it believes this is amount of time is necessary for realistic growth.
Rebalancing is the final management step that this firm provides. This process is triggered if one of two things happens: namely if one part of your portfolio is outperforming or underperforming the rest of your portfolio or if your long-term strategy has shifted because of changes in your life circumstances.