Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Houston
Finding the right financial advisor can be a time-consuming endeavor, and Houston residents have a long list of options to choose from. Through dozens of hours of research, SmartAsset narrowed it down, identifying the top 10 financial advisor firms in Houston. Below, we’ve laid out what sets these top 10 firms apart from the pack and from each other.
|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||Avalon Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$7,388,558,648||$100,000 - $250,000|| || |
Minimum Assets$100,000 - $250,000
|2||Linscomb & Williams Find an Advisor||$2,965,411,300||$1,000,000|| || |
|3||USCA RIA, LLC Find an Advisor||$2,577,625,100||$50,000|| || |
|4||Paul Comstock Partners Find an Advisor||$2,228,703,900||$5,000,000|| || |
|5||Chilton Capital Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$1,322,195,800||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|6||Corda Investment Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$1,044,000,000||$5,000 minimum annual fee|| || |
Minimum Assets$5,000 minimum annual fee
|7||Tanglewood Total Wealth Management, Inc. Find an Advisor||$898,179,200||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|8||The Financial Advisory Group, Inc. Find an Advisor||$856,633,900||$5,000 minimum annual fee|| || |
Minimum Assets$5,000 minimum annual fee
|9||Adell Harriman & Carpenter Find an Advisor||$726,187,400||$250,000|| || |
|10||Financial Synergies Find an Advisor||$695,700,800||$1,000,000|| || |
How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in Houston
To determine the top financial advisor firms in Houston, SmartAsset first compiled all U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)-registered firms located in the city, as registered investment advisors have a fiduciary duty to act in their clients' best interest. We then cut any firms that had disciplinary issues so our final list would only include firms with clean records. We also eliminated firms that do not have financial planners or that do not manage individual or high-net-worth accounts. We sorted the remaining firms according to assets under management. The top-ranking firm on this list has the most assets under management, while the No. 10 firm has the least.
Avalon Advisors, LLC
Avalon Advisors, LLC is the first firm in our roundup. The fee-based firm has by far the most assets under management (AUM) of any firm on this list. Its $7.3 billion in AUM is more than twice that of the Houston firm that ranks second in terms of AUM.
Avalon Advisors has a total of 46 advisors, giving it one of the largest teams on this list. The firm has one certified financial planner (CFP), 10 chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and one certified public accountant (CPA) on staff.
Avalon Advisors, LLC Overview
Founded in 2001, Avalon Advisors, LLC is owned by individuals and outside investors, including The Cynosure Group, an investment service located in Salt Lake City, Utah. No one individual or outside investor owns more than 25% of Avalon Advisors. Though it’s based in Texas, Avalon Advisors serves customers across the globe.
Avalon Advisors explains that its investment philosophy is defined by four key tenets: a global approach, an “investor’s perspective” as opposed to a trading mentality, a comprehensive approach and a collaborative culture.
Avalon Advisors, LLC Investment Strategy Committee
A unique feature of Avalon Advisors is its investment strategy committee, which is comprised of domestic and international equity and fixed-income portfolio managers. This group monitors and analyzes the global financial markets to stay on top of trends and opportunities that may be relevant to clients portfolios.
The committee develops asset allocation guidelines that are then tailored to each client’s unique situation. Avalon Advisors develops its customized approach through what it calls the wealth management process. This is a six-step process that starts with an introductory meeting and moves through the creation, implementation and continued monitoring of an investment plan.
The firm’s portfolios may include domestic and international equities, fixed-income and select alternative investments.
Avalon Advisors, LLC Resources
Avalon Advisors offers a variety of resources on its website. The firm periodically posts Avalon Perspectives, in which the firm offers its point of view on topics tied to the news, like inflation and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The firm also posts quarterly and monthly notes commenting on the state of the market.
Linscomb & Williams
Founded in 1971, Linscomb & Williams is the oldest firm on this list. The fee-based firm has expertise in retirement, estate and tax planning. It boasts one of the largest collections of certified financial planners (CFPs) on this list, with 11 CFPs on staff. The firm also has two chartered financial analysts (CFAs), seven certified public accountants (CPAs), one accredited investment fiduciary (AIF) and one accredited estate planned (AEP).
To be a client of Linscomb & Williams, you’ll need at least $1 million in investable assets. Despite the comparatively high account minimum, the firm serves a majority of individuals without a high net worth.
Linscomb & Williams Background
Linscomb & Williams, a firm comprised mostly of attorneys and certified public accountants, was founded more than 45 years ago. Through a series of acquisitions, the financial advisor firm became a wholly owned subsidiary of Cadence Bank, N.A.
Linscomb & Williams operates as a principal offering in Cadence Bank’s wealth management division. Though the firm may refer clients to Cadence, it does not receive payments from Cadence if it does so.
To determine how it will allocate assets in client portfolios, the firm states advisors develops a recommended investment policy, which takes into account a client’s risk tolerance, return goals, liquidity needs and any other special circumstances. The firm mainly uses stocks, bonds and cash equivalents.
Linscomb & Williams Resources
Linscomb & Williams has an impressive assortment of resources. The firm posts monthly commentaries on the economy and quarterly commentaries on the market. There’s a selection of the firm’s white papers. After Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston in August 2017, the firm compiled an array of useful links, from tax-saving opportunities to how to assist those affected by the hurricane.
USCA RIA, LLC
USCA RIA, LLC requires clients have a minimum of $50,000 in investable assets. This is one of the lowest stipulations of any firm on this list. The firm is part of a larger financial services boutique, U.S. Capital Advisors LLC.
The fee-based firm has the most advisors of any firm on this list with 48. Of those advisors, there are six certified financial planners (CFPs), two certified investment management analysts (CIMAs), one chartered financial analyst (CFA) and one certified portfolio manager (CPM).
USCA RIA, LLC Background
USCA RIA, LLC was founded in 2010. The firm is a wholly owned subsidiary of U.S. Capital Advisors LLC, an integrated financial services boutique that also owns USCA Securities LLC, USCA Asset Management and USCA Management LLC. Some of the advisors at USCA RIA are also registered with USCA Securities LLC, a registered broker-dealer.
USCA RIA, LLC Investment Strategy
USCA RIA, LLC offers eight different portfolio approaches, each of which have a different allocation of assets. The total return portfolio, for example, aims for capital appreciation and may be entirely comprised of equity vehicles. The tax efficient portfolio, on the other hand, primarily uses mutual funds, ETFs and closed-end funds. Clients have the option of opting for higher risk or aggressive investment strategies.
Generally speaking, USCA RIA states that it typically opts for asset allocation and diversification, as well as a mix of growth and value strategies. The firm’s approach is guided by clients’ investment objectives and risk tolerance.
Paul Comstock Partners
Paul Comstock Partners, a fee-only firm with a $5 million account minimum, calls itself its clients’ “outsourced chief investment officer.” The firm serves high-net-worth individuals and families, fiduciaries and organizations.
The firm is on the smaller side, with just seven advisors. It does not have any certified financial planners (CFPs) on staff, but it does have a chartered financial analyst (CFA).
Paul Comstock Partners Background
Paul Comstock Partners was founded in 1983 by Paul Comstock, who remains the firm’s principal owner and chief executive officer.
Paul Comstock Partners offers what it calls chief investment officer (CIO)-structured investment advisory services, which the firm explains emphasize a strong working relationship with clearly defined goals, cash flow requirements and risk levels. The firm says it strives to prioritize its fiduciary duty to clients, as well as a sensitivity to costs.
Paul Comstock Partners uses active investment analytics to build an investment plan that considers a client’s existing assets and business acumen. It recommends a diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds and, depending on a client’s needs and preferences, may also recommend alternative investments.
Paul Comstock Partners Resources and Extras
Paul Comstock Partners offers quarterly market commentaries, articles and white papers on its website. In addition to those helpful resources, the firm offers something unique: smart investing webinars. Every quarter, Paul Comstock hosts webinar calls with an accompanying slideshow breakdown of the current investing environment. Past calls are also available to watch on the firm’s website.
Another potentially useful extra at the firm is its beneficiary bootcamp. As its name suggests, beneficiary bootcamp is a program for beneficiaries that teaches how to responsibly manage wealth via hands-on coaching.
Chilton Capital Management, LLC
Chilton Capital Management comes in fifth on our list of the top firms in Houston with $1.32 billion in assets under management. There are 27 advisory employees working at Chilton, including seven chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and three certified financial planners (CFPs). The firm does not institute a minimum investment requirement for new clients.
Some 85% of Chilton Capital’s client base consists of high-net-worth individuals and individuals. The fee-only firm also works with charitable organizations, businesses, government entities, pension plans and profit-sharing plans, along with a single bank and investment company.
Chilton Capital Management, LLC Background
Chilton Capital Management has been in business since 1996. The firm has combined with many different firms over the years. Most recently, Chilton acquired Texan Capital Management, Inc., a Houston-based investment advisory operation. Knapp Brothers, LLC, a holding company, is the majority shareholder of Chilton. The leftover shares are employee-owned.
Nearly all of Chilton’s services revolve around investment management, which it provides as either a discretionary or non-discretionary service. However, if you need financial planning as well, the firm’s proprietary Wealth ePath software can help for a goal plan based on your current assets and liabilities.
Chilton Capital Management, LLC Client Experience
The first thing every new client does when joining Chilton Capital Management is meet with a financial advisor to determine what type of investor he or she is. This entails doing a detailed analysis of your tolerance for risk, time horizon, liquidity needs and any definitive investment goals you may have. Once a clear profile is evident, you are then matched with one of several investment strategies that Chilton has built.
In order to maintain the relevance of each strategy, the firm has appointed a dedicated investment team for each one. This group of financial advisors and market analysts will look over the strategy’s performance and make a three-year projection to determine if the current setup is still desirable. If not, the strategy is altered by the team.
Corda Investment Management, LLC
Corda Investment Management, LLC, a fee-only firm that uses value investing, requires a minimum of $1 million in investable assets. The firm opened with the mission of becoming the “go-to investment firm for families.”
Corda Investment Management has two certified financial planners (CFPs) and three accredited investment fiduciaries (AIFs) on staff.
Corda Investment Management, LLC Background
Corda Investment Management, LLC was founded in 1999. The firm is primarily owned by Bonner C. Barnes, the firm’s president and chief investment officer. Barnes has worked in financial management for over 35 years.
Corda Investment Management believes in value investing, a strategy introduced decades ago by Benjamin Graham and espoused by Warren Buffett. The firm looks for businesses that they believe are temporarily priced at a discount and that will appreciate over time, while also providing steady dividends and cash flow. Portfolios at Corda, which rely primarily on individual stocks, are customized according to client needs and created based on in-house research.
The firm does not prioritize tax efficiency in its asset management strategy unless it explicitly agrees with a client to do so. Though Corda primarily opts for long-term investments, it notes that its strategies and investments could have “unique and significant tax implications,” and it recommends consulting with a tax professional.
Corda Investment Management, LLC Resources
Corda Investment Management, LLC sends out an e-newsletter every quarter. For anyone interested in catching up, previously sent newsletters are available on the firm’s website. The firm also has a blog. The latest posts have focused on retirement planning, wealth management and financial planning for young adults.
Tanglewood Total Wealth Management, Inc.
Tanglewood Total Wealth Management, Inc.'s website describes its client base as the “quietly wealthy.” It serves senior executives, managing partners and principals, business owners, those ready for retirement, women in transition and family wealth. Tanglewood has six certified financial planners (CFPs) and one chartered financial analyst (CFA) on staff.
The minimum investment requirements at this firm vary from service to service. Individual wealth management clients will need at least $2 million in investable assets to join, whereas Tanglewood investment management clients must have $500,000. Institutional clients are bound to a much higher minimum of $3 million.
Tanglewood Total Wealth Management, Inc. Background
Tanglewood Total Wealth Management, Inc. was founded in 1979. In February 2017, the firm slightly tweaked its name from Tanglewood Wealth Management to Tanglewood Total Wealth Management. The stated purpose was to better reflect the firm’s goal of looking after the totality of a client’s financial well-being. The company is primarily owned by John Merrill, its current president and chief investment officer.
Tanglewood’s Total Wealth Management claims that its process is hand-crafted for its clients and designed to meet his or her individual needs and priorities. The firm accomplishes this through what it calls its signature service, which the firm defines as its dedication to giving clients the same care and attention it would a close friend. The firm strives to inspire “uncommon confidence” in its clients.
Tanglewood Total Wealth Management, Inc. Investing Strategy
Tanglewood’s investing strategies are illuminated in the five books that its investment officers John Merrill and Brian Merrill have written. One of Tanglewood’s underlying principles of asset allocation is that financial history is both rational and repetitive in the long term.
Tanglewood’s investment management process is two-part. First, the firm establishes a pre-determined mix of stocks and fixed income. Once that’s set, the firm evaluates, selects and allocates to each individual class. Tanglewood portfolios primarily use domestic stocks, international stocks, real assets, bonds and cash. Each client has an investment policy statement that specifies risk aversion and their rate-of-return for their portfolio.
The Financial Advisory Group, Inc.
The Financial Advisory Group, Inc. requires a minimum annual fee of $5,000 for its investment management services. This means clients with less than $200,000 in investable assets will pay more than 2.5%, the top end of the firm’s fee rates. The firm’s typical client has $1 million to invest.
The fee-only firm has three certified financial planners (CFPs), three certified public accountants (CPAs) and two chartered financial analysts (CFAs) on staff.
The Financial Advisory Group, Inc. Background
Founded in 1997, The Financial Advisory group is owned by its chief executive officer, Richard Alphonso, and its chairman, Steven Estrin.
The Financial Advisory Group offers tax planning, financial planning, wealth management and investment management. Compared to some of the higher firms on this list, it's on the smaller side, which it says gives it a greater ability to customize clients’ wealth maximization strategies.
Alongside the financial planning offered by many firms, The Financial Advisory Group also offers tax compliance, consulting services and personal and business tax planning. The firm has a tax preparation team and, when requested, it will collaborate with other licensed tax and legal advisors for planning purposes.
The Financial Advisory Group, Inc. Investment Strategy
The Financial Advisory Group primarily invests its clients in individual stocks, publicly available alternative investment funds (including no-load mutual funds and exchange-traded funds) and fixed income securities (including individual corporate and municipal bonds and bond funds).
The firm assigns each client to a specific investment risk category. The categories range from 1, the lowest level of risk, to 5, the highest. The firm’s investment management committee invests differently for each risk category.
Adell Harriman & Carpenter
Adell Harriman & Carpenter is one of the smaller firms on our list of the top financial advisors in Houston. It has just four advisors, including one certified financial planner (CFP) and one chartered financial analyst (CFA).
The fee-only firm requires a minimum of $250,000 in investable assets. Unlike many of the firms on this list, it serves equal parts individuals and high-net-worth individuals.
Adell Harriman & Carpenter Background
Adell Harriman & Carpenter was founded in 1995. It’s owned by its three principals: Stephen Adell, Mark Harriman and Leia Carpenter.
In addition to its general financial planning services, Adell Harriman & Carpenter offers financial counseling on college planning, tax efficiency, cash management, retirement income, charitable giving, insurance, company stock options and home refinancing. The firm also offers bill paying, real estate analysis and private placement research, upon request.
Adell Harriman & Carpenter publishes a quarterly, one-page newsletter, which is available on its website. The newsletter offers a market review, updates on the economy and equity markets and a long-term look ahead.
Adell Harriman & Carpenter Investment Strategy
At Adell Harriman & Carpenter, each investment portfolio is personally managed by a principal. The firm’s approach to investing is conservative. It views investing as a “lifelong endeavor” that’s “best served by a conservative approach,” its website explains.
The firm uses high-quality assets, primarily investing clients in individuals equities, individual bonds and exchange-traded funds.
Financial Synergies is the tenth place firm on this list, but it still manages close to $700 million in client assets. Almost three-quarters of the fee-only firm's client base consists of high-net-worth individuals, most likely due to its $1 million account minimum. Individuals, retirement plans, estates, trusts, businesses and charitable organizations are other common clients of Financial Synergies.
Every member of the seven-person advisory staff at the firm holds a certified financial planner (CFP) designation. Other certifications seen at Financial Synergies are chartered financial consultants (ChFCs), certified fund specialists (CFSs) and certified divorce financial analysts (CDFAs).
Financial Synergies Background
Financial Synergies has a long history in the Houston area, as the firm was established back in 1986. Over the years, it has conducted business under multiple names, such as Financial Synergies Pathway. President Michael Booker founded the firm and is still its majority owner. Michael Minter, Heath Hightower and Bryan Zschiesche are all financial advisors and minority shareholders at Financial Synergies.
Services available at this firm include comprehensive wealth management, financial planning, investment management, individual 401(k) management, corporate retirement plan management and more.
Financial Synergies Investment Strategy
Diversification is the most important principle to Financial Synergies' overall investment philosophy. This idea dictates that a portfolio's assets should be diverted across the investment market to avoid dependency on a single investment type for success. This is implemented in each of the asset allocations that this firm develops, with common investments being stocks, bonds, variable annuities, no-load mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).