Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Durham, North Carolina
Are you looking to work with a financial advisor in the Durham, North Carolina area? SmartAsset's detailed list of the top financial advisor firms in Durham was compiled to help you find your options. In the tables and reviews below, SmartAsset lays out each firm’s fees, investing strategies, advisory certifications, services and more. Furthermore, SmartAsset also offers a free financial advisor matching tool, which connects you with up to three nearby advisors.
|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||Verity Asset Management Find an Advisor||$522,405,713||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|2||Kuhn Advisors, Inc. Find an Advisor||$395,751,577||$1,000,000|| || |
|3||Arjuna Capital, LLC Find an Advisor||$254,696,072||$2,000,000|| || |
|4||Gordon Asset Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$222,304,581||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|5||Adams Chetwood Wealth Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$220,885,891||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|6||Bull City Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$118,937,492||$2,000,000|| || |
How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in Durham, North Carolina
Financial advisor firms headquartered 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. All information is accurate as of the writing of this article.
Verity Asset Management
Nearly all of Verity Asset Management’s clients are non-high-net-worth individuals. The firm’s account minimum varies depending on the type of account you want to open. They go as follows:
- Fixed-income and bond ladder strategies: $100,000 minimum
- Dividend Builder Strategy: $250,000 minimum
- Custom portfolio through Capital Advisory Services: $1 million minimum
Verity Asset Management is one of the only firms on this list that offers educational seminars and workshops to help clients better understand financial terminology and how to achieve financial stability. The firm’s staff boasts designations like chartered financial analyst (CFA), chartered market technician (CMT) and certified public accountant (CPA).
As a fee-based firm, some of Verity’s advisors may make commissions for selling certain insurance products or trading particular securities. However, the firm is a registered fiduciary, meaning it’s legally required to act in your best interest at all times.
Verity Asset Management Background
Verity Financial Group, Inc. owns Verity Asset Management and its related broker-dealer, Verity Investments, Inc. The firm has been in business since 1996, with its upper-level advisory staff averaging about 25 years of experience in the financial services industry.
The firm typically serves individuals, retirement plans, government entities and businesses. Its services include individual portfolio management, retirement account management, employer-based individual retirement account consultation and support services for business owners.
Verity Asset Management Investing Strategy
Verity Asset Management uses a variety of investment management styles, but they can be narrowed down to three main model portfolios of varying risk levels. These portfolios include the "Conservative Total Return Model," the "Tactical All Asset Model" and the "Social Responsibility Models."
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.
A fee-only firm, Kuhn Advisors, Inc. requires a minimum of $1 million to open an account. The majority of its clients are high-net-worth individuals, followed by non-high-net-worth individuals, charities and businesses. The firm’s advisors include two certified financial planners (CFPs) and one certified public accountant (CPA).
This firm’s advisory fees are based solely on a percentage of your assets under management (AUM). Comparatively, other firms may charge fees based on the above percentage structure, in addition to a per-hour rate and fixed fees, depending on the scope of services you receive.
Kuhn Advisors Background
No firm on this list has been in business for longer than Kuhn Advisors. In fact, the firm was established in 1993 by Mark Kuhn, the current president. Kuhn, Scott Ranby and Carter Ellis are the firm’s principal owners. Together, this trio has 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 Investing Strategy
In essentially every situation, Kuhn Advisors 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 believes clients should be “investing in a sustainable future,” a reference to the various environmentally conscious investment opportunities available nowadays. The firm has one chartered financial analyst (CFA) on staff.
This fee-only firm has a $2 million account minimum, which is one of the highest requirements on this list. As a result, it’s no surprise that more than 80% of Arjuna’s individual clients have a high net worth. The rest of the firm's client base consists of non-high-net-worth individuals, retirement plans, businesses and charities.
Arjuna generally charges advisory fees based on a percentage of your assets under management (AUM). But if you invest in the firm's affiliated private fund called New Summit Investments, you'll also face a research fee.
In addition, managing partner Natasha Lamb 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 Background
Arjuna Capital was created in 2015. That makes this firm one of the youngest on this list. The firm is independently owned by chief strategist Frank Farnum Brown, Jr., chief investment officer (CIO) Adam Seitchik and director of equity research and shareholder engagement Natasha Lamb.
Historically, individuals, businesses and charities are the firm’s typical clients. The firm also works with pooled investments, which give clients the ability to access investment opportunities that may otherwise be out of reach.
Arjuna Capital Investing Strategy
Uniquely, Arjuna Capital 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 environmental-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% to 15% annual return. However, the firm also applies a long-term focus, with a desired portfolio life of at least 10 years.
Gordon Asset Management
Gordon Asset Management, LLC provides holistic financial planning and investment management services to an array of high-net-worth and non-high-net-worth individuals and their families, as well as their related estates and trusts. The firm also maintains advisory relationships with pension and profit-sharing plans and collective investment trusts.
The firm does not require a minimum initial investment. However, it does utilize minimum fees based on the type of services you receive. For example, investment management services come with a $5,000 minimum annual fee, while the minimum annual fee for individual financial planning services is $3,500.
As a fee-only firm, Gordon Asset Management's sole form of compensation is client-paid fees. That means it does not earn third-party commissions from things like insurance sales or securities trades.
Gordon Asset Management Background
Gordon Asset Management was established in 2001. Today, the firm is indirectly owned by founder Joseph Gordon through outside trusts.
Collectively, the team at Gordon Asset Management includes one certified financial planner (CFP), two accredited investment fiduciary analysts (AIFAs), one accredited investment fiduciary (AIF), one certified investment management analyst (CIMA), three certified plan fiduciary advisors (CPFAs) and one qualified 401(k) administrator (QKA).
Gordon Asset Management Investing Strategy
Gordon Asset Management allows clients to choose from discretionary or non-discretionary portfolio management. The firm's non-discretionary services allow approved clients to take more control of their portfolio, meaning the firm won’t act upon any recommendations without your approval.
With discretionary services, the firm creates an investment portfolio and drafts an investment policy statement (IPS) based on the client’s objectives, risk tolerance, asset class preferences, time horizon, tax treatment and other factors. The firm then takes control of the portfolio, makes investment decisions and may rebalance your asset allocation if it deems it to be appropriate based on your objectives.
Adams Chetwood Wealth Management
The entirety of Adams Chetwood Wealth Management, LLC's client base is comprised of both non-high-net-worth and high-net-worth individuals. There is no minimum investment requirement needed to open an account with the firm. The firm’s advisory staff includes three certified financial planners (CFPs).
Certain advisors at this fee-based firm can sell insurance products or trade securities on a commission basis, which causes a potential conflict of interest. Despite this arrangement, the firm is bound by fiduciary duty, so it must act in your best financial interest at all times.
Adams Chetwood Wealth Management Background
Adams Chetwood Wealth Management was created in 2015 by managing partner James “Eric” Chetwood, III and Rick Adams. Today, the firm's sole principal owner is Chetwood, III.
The firm, whose staff averages over 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 Investing 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
Bull City Advisors, LLC is a fee-only firm, which means it only earns compensation from the fees that clients pay. The firm also has a $2 million account minimum. Bull City has one certified financial planner (CFP) on staff.
The firm's entire client base is made up of individuals, with more than half having a high net worth. The firm, which claims to cater to "active, engaged and intellectually curious individuals and families," consistently works with clients who have philanthropic goals, own a trust or are a business owner.
Bull City Advisors Background
Bull City Advisors was founded in 2012 by Susan Carson, the firm’s sole owner. Prior to opening Bull City, Carson co-founded another firm called Kuhn & Carson, Inc.
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 Investing Strategy
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.