Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Fresno, California
Finding the right financial advisor is a challenge. There are a lot of firms to choose from and they’re all trying to get your business. SmartAsset has put in the work to make your choice easier by determining the top financial advisor firms in Fresno. This list of the top Fresno financial advisor firms comes from dozens of hours of research into the city’s numerous firms. Below, we lay out our findings about each of the firms and what differentiates them from one another. If you would like further guidance in your search, SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool can pair you with an advisor near you.
How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in Fresno, California
To create this list, SmartAsset considered all U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)-registered firms in Fresno. We looked at SEC-registered firms because they have a fiduciary duty to put their clients’ best interests ahead of their own. We eliminated any firms with disciplinary issues so only firms with clean records made it to our final list for consideration. We also eliminated firms that did not manage individual accounts or did not have any financial planners on staff. We sorted the remaining firms according to assets under management (AUM), from highest AUM to lowest.
SCF Investment Advisors, Inc.
SCF Investment Advisors, Inc. has $1.2 billion in assets under management (AUM). It is the only firm on this list with more than $1 billion in AUM, and it has over two-and-a-half times more AUM than the second firm on this list. With 115 advisors on staff, SCF Investment Advisors also has more advisors than all of the other firms on this list combined.
SCF Investment Advisors is a fee-based firm. The majority of the firm’s clients are individuals, but it also provides investment advice for pension and profit-sharing plans, trusts, estates, charitable organizations and corporations. If you’re considering working with SCF Investment Advisors, be aware that there is a $10,000 minimum for opening an account.
SCF Investment Advisors, Inc. Background
SCF Investment Advisors is one branch of a larger business called SCF Securities, Inc. SCF Securities is a broker-dealer that has been in service since 1992. Its services are primarily targeted at financial advisors. In 2003, SCF Securities created SCF Investment Advisors.
SCF Investment Advisors provides clients with portfolio management advice and a number of financial planning services. Its planning services include helping clients to get a handle on things like cash flow, investing, retirement, estate planning and education planning. The firm’s parent company, SCF Securities, Inc., also has an insurance business. Assistance with understanding and purchasing insurance products is available to clients working with SCF Investment Advisors.
SCF Investment Advisors, Inc. Investing Strategy
When investing client assets, SCF Investment Advisors bases it strategies on clients’ individual goals and and risk tolerance. That means the firm’s investing strategies could range from simply preventing any loss of capital to growing capital as much as possible.
The firm selects securities by using multiple types of analysis, including charting, fundamental analysis, technical analysis and cyclical analysis. These methods all analyze securities from different angles to determine their inherent values and predict how their pricing will change in the future.
RB Capital Management, LLC
RB Capital Management, LLC has $442 million in assets under management (AUM). The firm mostly serves high-net-worth individuals, foundations, retirement plans and trusts. However, it also works with non-high-net-worth individuals and non-profit organizations. The firm has the highest account minimum on this list at $1 million.
RB Capital Management has 13 individual advisors on staff. While that’s significantly fewer advisors than SCF Investment Advisors (the first firm on this list), it’s twice the number of advisors that Ford Financial Group, Inc. (the third firm) has on staff. Two of RB Capital Management’s advisors are certified financial planners (CFPs) and another is a chartered financial consultant (ChFC).
Because RB Capital Management is a fee-based advisor, individual advisors may receive commissions from the sale of certain securities. This does not change the fact that the firm is a fiduciary and is therefore required to put the best interests of its clients before its own.
RB Capital Management, LLC Background
Robert Ballan founded RB Capital Management in 2000. Ballan remains the firm’s principal owner and CEO.
In addition to its investment management services, the firm offers financial planning services to help clients in a number of life situations. For example, RB Capital Management helps with education planning, insurance planning, tax planning, retirement planning and estate planning.
RB Capital Management, LLC Investing Strategy
RB Capital Management starts every new client relationship with an interview and an investment risk questionnaire. These allow an advisor to understand a client’s financial situation and to create an appropriate asset allocation.
The firm’s investment portfolios are designed for the long term. While advisors may adjust portfolio asset allocations as the markets change over time, they do not attempt to time the market.
Ford Financial Group, Inc.
Ford Financial Group, Inc. is the youngest firm on this list, as it was only founded in 2017. It currently has $204.35 million assets under management (AUM) and there are six financial advisors on staff. Five of the firm’s advisors are certified financial planners (CFPs) and one is a chartered financial consultant (ChFC).
The majority of the firm’s clients are individuals, but it also works with high-net-worth individuals, pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations, corporations and other businesses. There is no minimum required for opening an account with Ford Financial Group.
This is a fee-based firm as some advisors may earn commission-based compensation for selling insurance products. However, don’t forget that Ford Financial Group is a fiduciary.
Ford Financial Group, Inc. Background
As mentioned, Ford Financial Group is the youngest firm in this list. It was founded in 2017 by Carole Ford and James Ford. They are the firm’s sole owners and Carole Ford also serves as CEO.
Ford Financial Group offers comprehensive portfolio management, with annual fees ranging from 0.25% to 2.00% of assets under management. The firm also provides a number of financial planning services, such as education planning, tax planning, retirement planning, estate planning and life insurance planning. Hourly fees for planning services typically range from $300 to $400.
Ford Financial Group, Inc. Investing Strategy
When it comes to creating and managing client portfolios, Ford Financial Group uses modern portfolio theory. This theory is based on the idea that investors can maximize returns and minimize losses through diverse portfolios. The majority of financial advisors use this idea when constructing portfolios, and robo-advisors in particular often tout that they use the theory.
Ford Financial Group also uses a few analytical techniques when deciding which securities to invest in. These include charting, technical analysis, cyclical analysis and fundamental analysis. Each method of analysis considers a security from a different perspective. All of these methods are rather common, but not every firm will use all four methods to analyze securities.
Whelan Financial is the first fee-only firm on this list. Being fee-only means that advisors do not earn commissions from selling any particular products or securities. Rather, the firm’s compensation comes only from the management fees that clients pay. The firm charges a minimum annual fee of $5,000, but there is no set minimum required to open an account.
Whelan Financial has $238.87 in assets under management (AUM) and four certified financial planners (CFPs) on staff. The firm manages accounts for multiple client types, including individuals, high-net-worth individuals, corporations and non-profit organizations. Advisors also help with defined contribution plans, such as 401(k)s, and defined benefit plans, such as cash balance plans.
Whelan Financial Background
Vincent J. Whelan founded Whelan Financial in 1988, making it the oldest firm on this list. Whelan continues to lead the firm as its president. According to the firm’s website, Whelan (known as Vin) has an affinity for change and leads the company under the idea of “creative thinking first, critical thinking second.”
Whelan Financial offers portfolio management services in addition to financial planning services. The firm’s planning services include assistance with taxes and cash flow, retirement planning, insurance planning and social security planning.
Whelan Financial Investing Strategy
Whelan Financial’s investment portfolios typically consist of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). These types of funds are made up of multiple individual securities and make it easy to diversify a portfolio. The firm also uses certificates of deposit (CDs) and treasuries, like treasury bills, treasury notes and treasury bonds, in its client portfolios.
Whelan Financial has an Investment Committee that regularly analyzes a list of securities to ensure that the firm is using the best available options. The committee considers factors like fund expenses, fund performance, a fund’s Morningstar Rating and the fund manager’s tenure and track record.
Private Wealth Advisors, LLC
Private Wealth Advisors, LLC is a relatively small firm with three financial advisors on staff. That is the smallest advisory team of any firm on this list, but all three of the firm’s advisors are certified financial planners (CFPs). The firm has $204.34 million in assets under management (AUM) and requires a minimum of $50,000 to open and maintain an account.
More than three-quarters of the firm’s clients are individuals. However, it also serves high-net-worth individuals, trusts, estates, charitable organizations, corporations and other business entities.
Private Wealth Advisors, LLC Background
Private Wealth Advisors is owned by Martin L. Mazorra and Chris M. Murray. They founded the firm in 2007, and are advisors at the firm. Private Wealth’s third advisor, Nicholas Mazorra, has also been with the company since 2007.
There are two main types services that clients can get with Private Wealth Advisors: portfolio management and financial consulting. Portfolio management involves helping clients to manage their portfolios and meet their investment goals. Financial consulting services include a number of financial planning services like retirement planning, charitable planning, education planning, corporate or personal tax planning and real estate analysis.
Private Wealth Advisors, LLC Investing Strategy
Private Wealth Advisors primarily uses mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in client portfolios. These funds help to maintain diverse portfolios at low costs.
Part of the reason that Private Wealth Advisors has a small staff is because it doesn’t believe it’s necessary to have a huge team to research every aspect of the stock market. Instead, the firm’s small staff focuses its energy on fundamental and technical analysis. Fundamental analysis analyzes a company's financial situation to determine a security’s value, while technical analysis attempts to forecast how a security’s price will change over time.
Portfolio Advisors, Inc.
Portfolio Advisors, Inc. is a fee-only financial advisor firm with $143.1 million in assets under management (AUM). There is no minimum required to open an account, but there is a minimum annual management fee of $1,000.
The firm serves mostly individuals. In fact, more than 75% of the firm’s clients are individuals. However, Portfolio Advisors also serves high-net-worth individuals and pension and profit-sharing plans.
Portfolio Advisors doesn’t have a very large staff, but it does have six financial advisors. Two of those advisors hold the certified financial planner (CFP) designation.
Portfolio Advisors, Inc. Background
Portfolio Advisors is principally owned by CEO Michael Leffler and partners Tina Mistry and Kenneth Hatfield. The firm was founded in 1990 by the Michael Leffler’s father, Gary Leffler, and David L. Williamson. Notably, Williamson is now the owner of the seventh firm on this list, Pathways Advisory Group.
The primary service offered by Portfolio Advisors is the management of an investment portfolio. The firm also provides financial planning services. Consulting services for both investment and non-investment matters are available on a separate fee basis.
Portfolio Advisors, Inc. Investing Strategy
Portfolio Advisors principally creates client portfolios with the goal of using a diverse and robust asset allocation. The firm does not take part in market timing or stock picking. Common investment types the firm uses include large U.S. stocks, small U.S. value stocks, short-term bonds and international stocks. A given client’s asset allocation will depend on individual goals and circumstances.
Advisors ensure that a client’s portfolio stays on track by meeting with the client about twice per year. Those meetings are in addition to ongoing portfolio management.
Pathways Advisory Group, Inc.
The final firm on our list, Pathways Advisory Group, Inc., is a fee-only financial advisor firm with $138.1 in assets under management (AUM). Like the two other fee-only firms on this list, Pathways Advisory Group has no minimum for opening an account. However, the firm does require a minimum annual management fee of $1,250.
Pathways Advisory Group provides advice primarily to individuals and their families, including high-net-worth individuals and trusts. The firm also advises foundations, businesses and participants of pension and profit-sharing plans. Providing this advice is the firm’s small staff that includes four certified financial planners (CFPs).
Pathways Advisory Group, Inc. Background
In 2007, David L. Williamson created Pathways Advisory Group, Inc. Williamson and the Pathways Advisory Group team were previously members of another firm called Portfolio Advisors, the No. 6 firm. Today, Williamson is the principal stockholder of Pathways Advisory Group and he also serves as the firm’s president. Dustin J. Smith and Jeff S. Karst are also stockholders in the firm.
Pathways Advisory Group provides portfolio management for clients in addition to financial planning services. These services range from managing household finances to estate planning. Consulting services are available at an hourly rate.
Pathways Advisory Group, Inc. Investing Strategy
Mutual funds make up the bulk of Pathways Advisory Group’s client investment portfolios. The mutual funds the firm uses include a variety of stock, bond and real estate mutual funds. Investing in mutual funds allows advisors to create diverse portfolios at a lower costs than if they traded individual securities.
However, advisors will provide advice on investing in individual securities for clients who would like it. Notably, Pathways Advisory Group does not invest in any initial public offerings.