Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Fort Worth, Texas
Financial advisors can play a key part in planning your retirement, helping you establish education funds for your children and helping manage your estate and investments. The problem is you have a lot of choices when it comes time to find a firm to work with. That’s why SmartAsset gathered all the financial advisors in the Fort Worth area and researched each one. Below, we present what makes each top firm unique.
How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in Fort Worth, Texas
The list only contains firms registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). SEC-registered financial advisors follow rules and regulations, including adhering to fiduciary duty standards. If a firm had a disclosure or disciplinary issue, it didn’t make the list. Neither did financial advisors that didn’t manage individual accounts. The firms left after our filtering process are arranged from most assets under management to least.
Founded in 1980, Diesslin Group is the oldest firm on our list. The firm has nine advisors and $782 million in assets under management. The firm offers financial planning, asset management, retirement planning, tax planning and more. Diesslin Group is fee-only, which means advisors cannot accept compensation for selling you certain mutual funds or from selling you insurance. Fee-only is a stricter standard to meet than the other common compensation model, fee-based. Diesslin is the only firm on the list that’s fee-only.
To become a client, it’s best if you have at least $800,000 in investable assets. That amount makes the most sense with the $8,000 minimum annual fee.
Diesslin Group Background
David Diesslin, chairman, founded the firm in 1980. He’s had his certified financial planner designation since 1983, making him the oldest CFP on the list. Diesslin has an MBA from University of Dallas and has been named one of the “Best Financial Advisors” in Worth Magazine, Medical Economics and Money Magazine.
Bradley Bourland, who joined Diesslin Group in 2008, serves as the firm’s CEO and president. He has an MBA from Rice University and is Series 65 licensed.
The 15-person team includes one additional CFP and a chartered financial advisor (CFA).
Diesslin Group Investment Philosophy
Diesslin has three foundations it rests on for investments: a conservative approach that’s fundamentals-based and purpose-oriented. Those three tenets help guide the firm’s investment strategy.
Advisors will build you a globally diversified portfolio that will be monitored a rebalanced as necessary. The firm generally creates portfolios that have no-load stock mutual funds and bond mutual funds. While the firm does have some accounts that have individual stocks and other securities, for the most part, if you invest with Diesslin, your money will go invested in mutual funds.
Whitley Penn Financial
If you’re a native of the Fort Worth area, the name of this financial advisor firm may be familiar to you because its parent company, Whitley Penn, a prominent public accounting firm, shares the same name. Whitley Penn Financial is a fee-based firm and has $395 million in assets under management. The firm has six advisors and was formed in 2000. Services offered include asset management, financial planning, insurance services, estate planning and qualified retirement plans.
Whitley Penn Financial has locations in several cities throughout Texas, namely in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and Texas City.
Whitley Penn Financial Background
This firm is employee owned. More than 13 employees have shares in the company. This differs from firms where one owner/founder holds all the shares (such as firms 7 and 8 on this list), or a company where a larger firm owns the financial advisor.
Tom Rein is the managing director and partner-in-charge. He’s a certified public accountant (CPA) with the personal financial specialist (PFS) designation. He also holds a Series 66 license. He has worked for Whitley Penn since 1985.
Three certified financial planners (CFPs) work for the firm as well as an additional CPA. There are two chartered retirement plan specialists (CRPS) and a certified plan fiduciary advisor (CDFA). In total, 10 employees work at Whitley Penn Financial.
Whitley Penn Financial Investment Strategies
This firm follows five main principles when managing your portfolio: leverage diversification to reduce risk, seek lower volatility to enhance returns, enhance returns and reduce risk through global allocation, employ asset class investing and design efficient portfolios.
Advisors provide advice on cash, stocks, mutual funds, bonds and ETFs. That said, your portfolio will mostly consist of mutual funds, according to the firm’s SEC-filed brochure. This is similar to the No.1 firm on the list, Diessen Financial Group, that invests primarily in mutual funds as well. The biggest difference between the two is that Diessen is fee-only while Whitley is fee-based, meaning that the latter can receive compensation for selling certain mutual funds or insurance.
Karsten Advisors, a fee-based firm, has seven advisors and has been a registered investment advisor since 2011. The firm offers financial planning, investment management, tax planning and insurance planning.
If you start an account with Karsten, you will be subject to a $3,000 minimum annual fee. This means that it makes the most financial sense if you have at least $100,000 in investable assets. About 90% of the firms 700-plus accounts are for clients below the high-net-worth threshold, which is generally set at $750,000 in investable assets or a net worth of $1.5 million.
Karsten Advisors Background
Tom Kartsen is the president and chief investment officer of the firm. The predecessor to Karsten Advisors was Pearson Financial, founded in 1977 by Karsten’s family. He has an MBA from Texas Christian University and is a certified financial planner (CFP). Karsten’s worked in the financial services industry since the 1990s.
The firm has 24 employees, the second-highest out of the Fort Worth firms after Riley Wealth Advisors (No. 8). There are eight certified public accountants (CPAs), two CFPs (including Karsten) and one certified fund specialist. As you can tell by the numbers, the firm specializes in tax. There are no chartered financial analysts (CFA), a common financial advisor certification.
Karsten Advisors Investment Strategies
Karsten offers some unique investment opportunities. Along with providing the typical investment advice on stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, etc, advisors at the firm are familiar with diversified real estate, energy and natural resources hedge funds, leasing and loan portfolios, private note and bond offerings, venture capital and other unique investments. Unlike the first two firms that rely on mutual fund portfolios, Karsten Advisors invests in a variety of securities, using stocks, bonds, ETFs and mutual funds.
Teak Tree Capital Management
Teak Tree Capital Management, another fee-based company, has been in operation since 2009 and has four advisors. The firm is the first on the list that doesn’t have an asset minimum or minimum annual fee. However, Teak Tree and the No. 6 firm, Dean Jacobson Financial Services have the highest percentage (76% - 99%) of high-net-worth clients out of the rest of the advisors on the list. That means more than three-quarters of Teak Tree’s 185 client accounts belong to individuals with at least $750,000 in investable assets or a net worth of $1.5 million.
Teak Tree has $300 million in assets under management and offers financial planning, consulting and investment management services.
Teak Tree Capital Management Background
Adam Deem and Stephen Kaye own the firm. Deem is a certified financial planner (CFP) and has an MBA from Texas Christian University. He got his start in financial services working for Merrill Lynch, the same company Kaye and Red Goldstein (another coworker) previously worked for too. Kaye earned his CFP in 2003. Before his financial advisor career, he was a newspaper reporter and editor.
Eight people total work for the firm, including a certified public accountant (CPA) and a chartered retirement plans consultant (CRPC).
Teak Tree Capital Management Investment Strategy
Teak Tree has three main investment strategies: income-based, income and growth-based and growth-based. The first strategy aims to give you a steady income with the least possible fluctuation. Income and growth-based portfolios have the goal to provide a rising income and portfolio growth. This strategy expects moderate fluctuation in value. The last strategy, growth-based, is a moderately aggressive portfolio that will have the highest fluctuation out of the three.
If you have less than $250,000, your portfolio will consist of mutual funds only. Invest more than $250,000, and your portfolio will contain individual stocks, bonds, mutual funds and ETFs. The reason behind the difference is cost effectiveness for the size of your account. You’ll find a similar structure at most financial advisor firms.
Dean Jacobson Financial Services
Dean Jacobson Financial Services has $226 million in assets under management and offers financial planning, investment management, risk management and retirement plan services on a fee-basis.The four-person firm has been a registered financial advisor since 1997 but has been in operation since 1967, making this one of the oldest firms on the list.
You’ll need at least $10,000 for asset management, as that’s the lowest minimum requirement out of the portfolios the firm offers.
Dean Jacobson Financial Services Background
Dean Jacobson is owned by Don Jacobson, Jeffrey Schmeltekopf and Timothy Lowry. Jacobson, a veteran of the firm since 1980, holds the chartered life underwriter (CLU) and chartered financial consultant credentials (ChFC). He got his start in financial services in 1975. Schmeltekopf has a handful of credentials, including CLU, ChFC, certified financial planner (CFP) and accredited investment fiduciary (AIF). He’s been at Dean Jacobson since 1989 and currently serves as partner, advisor and chief compliance officer. Lowry, the third owner, is the newest, having joined in 2002. Before Dean Jacobson, he was an associate planner at an investment management firm in Nashville, Tennessee. He is a CFP and ChFC. The firm has six additional employees, including one additional CFP.
Dean Jacobson Financial Services Investment Strategy
Dean Jacobson uses LPL Financial, a large corporation, for portfolio management. The firm uses seven model portfolios. The portfolio your advisor chooses for you will be based on your specific needs. This includes the basics, like your financial goals and objectives, plus factors such as risk tolerance, time horizon, cash flow needs and liabilities.
The optimum market portfolios program (OMP) has the lowest minimum, set at $10,000. The personal wealth portfolios program (PWP) requires $250,000. The model wealth portfolio (MWP) requires $25,000 and consists of mutual funds and ETFs.
WWK Wealth Advisors
You might recognize one of the people behind WWK Wealth Advisors by his brand name, “The Retirement Answer Man.” Roger Whitney, one of the founders and owners of the firm goes by that moniker for his podcast and personal site.
The fee-based firm has no asset minimum and has operated as a registered investment advisor since 2009. WWK Wealth Advisors offers investment management and financial planning and has $218 million in assets under management.
WWK Wealth Advisors Background
Roger Whitney, one of the founders, is a certified financial planner (CFP), certified investment management consultant (CIMA), certified private wealth advisor (CPWA) and an accredited investment fiduciary (AIF). He got his start in financial services in 1990. Philip Wetzel, number two out of three co-founders, was a CEO of a corporation before founding the firm. He’s worked in financial services for 17 years. The third and final founding partner is Lorna Kuether-Alvey, the first female co-founder on this Fort Worth list. She serves as head of operations and has more than 30 years of experience.
The firm has four additional employees, including two with CFP designations and two employees with MBAs.
WWK Wealth Advisors Investment Strategies
This firm uses fundamental, technical and cyclical analysis to evaluate investments. Each method of analysis offers insight to whether the company is a good investment or not. At WWK, your assets will be invested in individual equity securities (stocks), mutual funds and ETFs. This is another firm that uses LPL Financial for broker-dealer/custodian for your investment management assets.
Lee Johnson Capital Management/Overridge Wealth Advisors
Lee Johnson Capital Management (LJCM), soon to be known at Overridge Wealth Advisors, is a fee-based financial advisor with $138 million in assets under management. Formed in 2008 from a company that was founded in 1970, the firm specializes in investment and portfolio management, insurance and retirement planning. Financial planning, while technically offered on a consultative basis, is not emphasized at this firm.
There are no specified asset minimums and there are three advisors at LJCM.
Lee Johnson Capital Management Background
Andrew Heinz is the owner, president and CEO of Lee Johnson Capital Management. He’s worked at the firm since 1995, when he started as an intern. Heinz has Series 7 and 63 licenses and a degree in finance from University of Texas at Arlington.
Ten additional professionals work at LJCM. Most of the team has securities licenses and insurance licenses. This is the first firm on the list without any certified financial planners (CFPs), chartered financial analysts (CFAs) or certified public accountants (CPAs). According to the firm’s SEC-filed brochure, financial planning is an offered service, but less than 10 clients used the service in the past year. LJCM focuses most of its business on investment management, retirement and insurance.
Lee Johnson Capital Management Investment Strategy
Advisors at LJCM use proprietary software called BigFoot investments to help guide portfolio management. Two main questions are constantly asked at the firm, “What should we be investing in?” and “When should we be invested?” Those two questions guide the big picture for the team.
As for analysis, the firm uses three primary methods: charting, fundamental and technical. Each type of analysis gives advisors insight to a particular aspect of a security which helps guide investment decisions.
Riley Wealth Advisors
This fee-based financial advisor requires $100,000 in investable assets and has $115 million in assets under management. Riley Wealth Advisors (RWA) has been in operation since 2008 and has just one advisor, the fewest number of advisors compared to the rest of the Fort Worth list.
RWA offers the following services: portfolio management, comprehensive wealth management, financial planning, risk management, estate planning and tax planning. You can find offices in Fort Worth, Graham, Colleyville, and Omaha
Riley Wealth Advisors Background
William Riley is co-founder, sole owner and CEO of the firm. He’s worked in the financial services industry for more than 38 years. He has an MBA from Texas Christian University and is a chartered financial consultant (ChFC), chartered life underwriter (CLU) and wealth management specialist (WMS). Before RWA, Riley worked for Merrill Lynch, UBS, Paine Webber and other prominent financial institutions.
RWA has 35 employees, one of the largest staffs on this list. Employee credentials include seven chartered financial analysts (CFAs), one certified financial planner (CFP) and three certified public accountants (CPAs). This is the only Fort Worth firm that has all three major designations, CFP, CPA and CFA. However, the team that’s at the Fort Worth headquarters only consists of three men: the CEO, William Riley, a wealth manager, Jonathan Loeffler and the VP of operations, Chad Barnett.
Riley Wealth Advisors Investment Strategy
If you become a client, your advisor will assign you a Family Index Number. This number, assigned after your financial goals, risk tolerance, time horizon and cash flow needs are evaluated, helps guide your portfolio’s strategy. The firm provides investment advice and money management for a wide range of investments, including mutual funds, equities, bonds, fixed income, debt securities, ETFs, real estate, hedge funds, third-party money managers, REITs, insurance products including annuities, private placements and government securities.