Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Knoxville, Tennessee
With so many firms to consider, it can be hard to find a financial advisor. To narrow down your options, SmartAsset created this list of the top Knoxville financial advisor firms. Created through dozens of hours of research into the Knoxville area firms, this review compares and contrasts the area’s top firms so you can more easily determine which firm might be right for you.
How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in Knoxville, Tennessee
SmartAsset considered all financial advisor firms in Knoxville that are registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for this list. We specifically looked at SEC-registered firms because they’re bound by fiduciary duty to put their clients’ best interests before their own. From those firms, we eliminated any that had disciplinary issues to ensure that our final list only included firms with clean records. We also eliminated firms if they did not offer financial planning or did not serve individuals. The remaining firms were sorted according to assets under management (AUM), from highest AUM to lowest.
Patriot Investment Management Group, Inc.
Patriot Investment Management Group, Inc. ranks first because it has more assets under its management than any other Knoxville firm on this list. It manages $760.79. million in assets, which is more than 1.5 times the assets managed by the second firm on this list, Rather & Kittrell, Inc.
Like Rather & Kittrell (No. 2 firm), Patriot Investment Management has seven certified financial planners (CFPs) on staff, the highest number of CFPs offered by any firm on this list. In addition, Patriot’s team includes one certified public accountant (CPA) and one chartered financial analyst (CFA).
The fee-only firm, one of just two on this list, serves individuals, pension and profit-sharing plans, trusts, estates, charitable organizations, corporations and other business entities. It's one of two firms, alongside The Nalls Sherbakoff Group, LLC, that does not require a set account minimum.
Patriot Investment Management Group, Inc. Background
Patriot Investment Management Group has been providing investment advisory services since 1992, making it the oldest firm on this list after only Asset Planning Corporation. Patriot is principally owned by Brad Bower, the firm’s president and CEO.
Patriot Investment Management describes itself as "quarterback" for its clients, coordinating efforts between its accountants, attorneys and any other professionals with whom the firm works. The firm offers asset management, as well as financial planning and wealth management. The latter may include:
- risk management and insurance analysis
- asset allocation and portfolio management
- tax planning
- education planning
- retirement planning
- estate planning and trust management
Patriot Investment Management Group, Inc. Investment Process
Patriot Investment Management Group says that it believes in taking a "conservative, prudent approach to investing, and earning attractive, risk-adjusted returns over the long term." The firm's investment process begins with the identification of a client's risk tolerance, goals and objectives. Next it creates a plan based on that information.
Patriot emphasizes diversification and asset allocation and eschews market timing. The firm argues that actively managed funds have historically underperformed and resulted in higher fees. As a result it tends to invest its clients' assets in index funds, which align with the firm's emphasis on cost efficiency. However, Patriot allows its clients' restrictions and guidelines to shape their portfolios.
Notably, the firm says that tax efficiency isn't one of its primary considerations when constructing client portfolios. It recommends that its clients consult with a tax professional before and during the investment process.
Rather & Kittrell, Inc.
Rather & Kittrell, Inc. is a fee-based firm that specializes in serving those who are going through transitions. Its clients include individuals, families, businesses, pension and profit-sharing plans and banks. Though the firm's clients include both individuals and high-net-worth individuals, it serves a greater percentage of individuals. That may be related to its relatively low account minimum of $100,000.
Like the Patriot Investment Management Group, Inc., this firm has seven certified financial planners (CFPs) on staff, the highest number on this list. In addition, Rather & Kittrell’s team includes one certified public accountant (CPA), one certified investment management analyst (CIMA) and one accredited investment fiduciary (AIF).
Rather & Kittrell may receive commissions when it recommends and sells insurance products to its clients. In addition, some of the firm's associates are also registered representatives of a broker-dealer, and they may limit their securities recommendations to those offered or approved by that broker-dealer. The firm may also earn commissions from certain trades in client portfolios. However, because the firm is a fiduciary it is required to put its clients' best interests before its own.
Rather & Kittrell, Inc. Background
Rather & Kittrell, Inc. started in 2000 as a “two-desk business.” The SEC-registered firm is wholly owned by RK Holdings, Inc., which is principally owned by the firm's co-founders, Lytle Rather and Christian Kittrell. Rather currently serves as the firm's president, while Kittrell is a senior advisor and partner. The firm’s sole office is in Knoxville.
Rather & Kittrell offers wealth management. This encompasses investment management, estate planning, tax mitigation, asset protection and charitable giving. The firm works in conjunction with other professionals to provide these services, collaborating, for instance, with insurance agents for a client's insurance plan or with an accounting firm for a client's tax planning needs.
The firm also offers financial planning services outside of its portfolio management services, guiding clients on matters such as budgeting, insurance planning, retirement planning and death and disability planning.
Rather & Kittrell, Inc. Investing Approach
Rather & Kittrell, Inc. says that its investment advice is personalized to clients' unique needs. Thus, like many firms, its wealth management process begins with personal consultations during which it establishes a client's investment objectives, current financial situation, risk tolerance, time horizon, tax situation and liquidity needs.
Based on that information, Rather & Kittrell determines an appropriate asset allocation. For its discretionary accounts, the firm typically relies on its model allocations, which offer 11 different risk profiles that range from a focus on preserving capital to achieving aggressive growth. The firm says that its core investment strategy consists of "globally diversified, multi-asset class model portfolios designed to deliver expected long-term returns within well-defined ranges of risk." In accordance with modern portfolio theory's assertion that the markets are efficient, the firm primarily uses passive investments in entire asset classes, including managed mutual funds and ETFs.
Asset Planning Corporation
Asset Planning Corporation has the highest account minimum on this list. The firm generally requires a minimum household account size of $500,000. Its clients include both individuals and high-net-worth individuals, as well as pension and profit-sharing plans, trusts, estates, businesses and non-profit organizations. For the past 40 years, the firm says it has specialized in serving healthcare professionals, including family physicians, nurse practitioners, healthcare executives, hospital administrators, dentists and veterinarians.
There are three certified financial planners (CFPs) on staff. In addition, three of the firm’s team members are financial paraplanner qualified professionals (FPQP), an introductory financial planning designation.
The fee-based firm's president, Paul Fain, is also a licensed insurance professional. He may receive commissions from insurance companies when he sells their products to clients. However, clients are not obligated to implement Fain's recommendations. Moreover, because the firm is bound by fiduciary duty, its advisors are required to put clients' best interests before their own.
Asset Planning Corporation Background
Founded in 1975, Asset Planning Corporation has been in business at least two decades longer than any other firm on this list. The firm's president and principal owner is Paul Fain, who has been in the financial services industry since 1988.
Asset Planning Corporation offers wealth management and related advisory services. The firm's financial planning services may encompass areas including investment strategy, financial independence/retirement planning, education funding, insurance, taxes and estate planning. Asset Planning Corporation guides each of its clients through a six-step financial planning process, which begins with the establishment of a client-advisor relationship and culminates in the monitoring of implemented financial planning recommendations.
Asset Planning Corporation Portfolio Management
Asset Planning Corporation says that its portfolio management services aim to maximize clients' returns while keeping their goals and risk tolerance in mind. The firm uses strategic asset allocations that emphasize diversification. Typically, it invests its clients' assets in no-load mutual funds and ETFs, but it may also use CDs or individual bonds.
Asset Planning Corporation says that it reviews client portfolios at least quarterly and makes adjustments as needed. It contacts clients at least annually to review their portfolios and financial plans.
The Nalls Sherbakoff Group, LLC
All but one member of four-person advisory team at The Nalls Sherbakoff Group, LLC is a certified financial planner (CFP). In addition, this is one of just two firms on this list that has a certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) on staff, a certification beneficial to those navigating the unique financial complexities of divorce. Another advisor on the team is also a certified public accountant/personal financial specialist (CPA/PFS).
This is one of a few firms on this list that does not require a set account minimum to open or maintain an account. Its clients include individuals, pension and profit-sharing plans, trusts, estates, charitable organizations, corporations and other business entities. The Nalls Sherbakoff Group is a fee-only firm that is not affiliated with any insurance agencies or broker-dealers.
The Nalls Sherbakoff Group, LLC Background
The Nalls Sherbakoff Group, LLC was founded in 2013, making it the newest firm on this list. The firm's principal owner is Donald Nalls, a principal and financial planner at the firm. Prior to founding The Nalls Sherbakoff Group, Nalls was one of the co-founders of Patriot Investment Management, Inc., the first firm on this list. Nalls served as chief compliance officer and one of two principals at Patriot for 18 years. Both Nalls and T. Lee Sherbakoff, the firm's other namesake and a principal and financial advisor, are U.S. military veterans.
Nalls Sherbakoff says that it places an emphasis on education, to ensure its clients don't make financial decisions that could wreck their goals or objectives. The firm's services include portfolio management, financial planning and pension consulting. Its financial planning services can be broad and comprehensive or consultative and narrow in scope.
The Nalls Sherbakoff Group, LLC Investing Approach
As is customary for many financial advisor firms, The Nalls Sherbakoff Group, LLC begins the portfolio management process with the establishment of a client's investment objectives, risk tolerance and any other relevant financial information. This information informs the firm's investment approach. Nalls Sherbakoff says that it primarily offers advice on equity securities, corporate debt securities, mutual funds and ETFs. It may also advise clients on investments they held prior to opening an account with the firm.
Like Patriot Investment Management Group, Inc., Nalls Sherbakoff says it does not prioritize tax efficiency in its investment approach unless specifically requested by a client. The firm recommends that its clients consult with a tax professional in regards to their investments.
Brogan Financial, Inc.
Brogan Financial is a financial advisor firm focused on retirement planning. The firm strives to help its clients reach their retirement goals, whether that be a securing a stable income or leaving a legacy behind, through the creation of comprehensive retirement plans.
Brogan Financial serves primarily individual investors. Though the firm does serve some high-net-worth individuals, a far greater percentage of its clients fall beneath that threshold. Brogan Financial does not have a set account minimum.
This is a fee-based firm. Certain employees of the firm are independently licensed to sell insurance and/or U.S. rare coins, and they may earn commissions from sales. Brogan, like every firm on this list, is a fiduciary though, requiring it to prioritize its clients' best interests.
Brogan Financial, Inc. Background
Brogan Financial, Inc. has been in business since 2001. The firm's majority owner is Jim Brogan, who founded the firm and who currently serves as president and chief investment officer.
Brogan offers a notable variety of investment advisory services, including:
- Investment planning
- Income distribution planning
- Financial independence/retirement planning
- IRA and retirement account distribution planning
- Income tax planning
- Estate and wealth transfer planning
The firm's retirement plans, one of its emphases, address issues like the need for "dependable, increasing income for life," investment management focused on achieving life goals, tax reduction, healthcare catastrophe and legacy creation.
Brogan offers financial planning, but primarily as part of its asset management services. Financial planning is only available on a standalone basis in "certain limited circumstances."
Brogan Financial, Inc. Investing Approach
Brogan Financial believes that the starting point of investment management should be a thorough analysis of one's life goals. That analysis will guide the creation of an investment plan that's tailored to achieving specific goals.
Brogan believes the markets are inherently "unpredictable and volatile" so it strives to balance risk and reward. To select investments, the firm primarily relies on fundamental securities analysis, which attempts to measure a security's intrinsic value by analyzing related financial and economic factors.
Tennessee Valley Asset Management Partners, LLC
Tennessee Valley Asset Management Partners, LLC has the second-largest advisory staff on this list, with 12 advisors on staff. The team includes just one certified financial planner (CFP) though. In addition, there are two retirement counselors (CRCs) and two accredited asset management specialists (AAMSs).
Tennessee Valley primarily serves individuals, though its client base also includes a small percentage of high-net-worth individuals. The firm also works with pension and profit-sharing plans and corporations. A minimum of $50,000 is required to open an account. However, clients can reach this minimum by aggregating all household accounts. The firm also has set minimum fees, including a $250 minimum fee for consulting services and a $500 minimum fee for financial planning services.
The fee-based firm is also a licensed insurance agency. Its employees may work as insurance agents, and they are also representatives of securities broker-dealer LPL Financial. The firm's employees may earn commissions form both affiliations. In addition, the firm includes solicitation fees from other investment advisory firms in its fee structure. However the firm and its employees are bound by fiduciary duty.
Tennessee Valley Asset Management Partners, LLC Background
Tennessee Valley Asset Management Partners, LLC was founded in 2011. The firm has four Knoxville offices, as well as offices in other Tennessee cities including Chattanooga, Seymour, Jacksboro and Oak Ridge. Notably, the firm's investment advisor representatives may either be employees or independent contractors.
Tennessee Valley Asset Management Partners offers a variety of services. These include asset management, as well as several advisory programs sponsored by the investment advisor and broker-dealer LPL Financial, LLC. The firm provides financial planning and consulting services, the former of which typically addresses investment planning, retirement planning, insurance planning, education planning, portfolios review and asset allocation. In addition, Tennessee Valley offers divorce financial planning and consulting.
The firm also provides pension consulting services to both plan sponsors and individual participants. It occasionally hosts seminars on topics like college planning and retirement planning, and it also offers educational workshops.
Tennessee Valley Asset Management Partners, LLC Investing Approach
Tennessee Valley Asset Management Partners' investment management process is based off of the Advance and Protect strategy. During market upsides, it strives to diligently manage risk. It shifts its focus to asset protection during market downsides.
The firm says that a client's financial plan acts as the "cornerstone and guide for portfolio construction." Thus, the firm's investment process begins with honest discussions that lead to the development of an investment strategy focused on actively managing risk according to a client's financial goals. From there, the firm researches investment options using a range of methods of analysis, including charting, cyclical, fundamental and technical analysis. A client's assets are then allocated. Tennessee Valley says that it primarily recommends mutual funds and ETFs.
Once the portfolio building process is complete, Tennessee Valley says that it regularly monitors, researches and rebalances a client’s investments as needed.
Wealth Management Corporation
Wealth Management Corporation is the only firm on this list that primarily serves high-net-worth individuals. However, its clients do include non-high-net-worth individuals, as well as businesses, pension and profit-sharing plans, trusts, estates, charitable institutions, foundations, endowments, municipalities and trust programs. The firm caters in particular to physicians and business owners. Despite the fact it serves a far greater percentage of high-net-worth individuals than individuals, Wealth Management Corporation does not have a set account minimum.
The firm has the smallest advisory team on this list, with just two advisors on staff. The team does not appear to hold any advanced certifications, such as a certified financial planner (CFP) designation.
The fee-based firm may recommend insurance products and may receive commissions on sales from the insurance company. In addition, certain employees of the firm are representatives of a broker-dealer, and they may receive commissions from products sold to clients. The firm is a fiduciary though, requiring it to always act in clients' best interests.
Wealth Management Corporation Background
Founded in 2012, Wealth Management Corporation is the second-youngest firm on this list, after The Nalls Sherbakoff Group, LLC. The firm's sole managing member is Perry James, who serves as the firm's president and chief compliance officer.
The firm's services include:
- wealth management for affluent individuals and families
- wealth advisory services for physicians
- retirement solutions for business owners and their employees
- exit and transition planning for business owners
Wealth Management Corporation Investing
Wealth Management Corporation works with each of its clients to develop a personalized asset allocation program and create a portfolio customized to a client's investment objectives. To do this, the firm begins the process with a meeting to discuss a client's financial circumstances, investment goals and objectives, other assets and liabilities and any other relevant information.
Based off of that information, the firm devises a targeted strategic allocation of assets by class. On the whole, the firm says that its investment strategy is to reduce risk through global diversification. The firm's primary investment vehicles are mutual funds and ETFs, but it may also use stocks, bonds, equity options, futures and sub-accounts. While the firm says it can manage your account "in a tax aware manner," it does not offer tax advice or tax management strategies.
Once in place, Wealth Management Corporation monitors its clients accounts and makes trades as necessary. The firm provides quarterly account reviews, which it conducts in person, over the phone or through a written inquiry.
Visionary Horizons, LLC
Visionary Horizons, LLC, the final firm on our list of the top Knoxville financial advisor firms, has the least assets under management (AUM). The firm manages $102.87 million in assets, less than one-seventh of the first firm’s AUM.
However, Visionary Horizons has the third-largest advisory team on this list and decent array of certifications for its size. The firm has two certified financial planners (CFPs) on staff. It's also one of just two firms that has a certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) on its team and is the only firm with a certified trust and financial advisor (CTFA).
Visionary Horizons requires a $250,000 account minimum, the second-highest account minimum on this list. However, this minimum can be achieved by combining accounts. The firm primarily serves individuals, with high-net-worth individuals accounting for just a small percentage of its client base. In addition, the firm serves pension and profit-sharing plans and participants, trusts, estates, charitable organizations, corporations and other business entities.
This is a fee-based firm. Certain employees of Visionary Horizons are separately licensed as broker-dealer representatives and/or insurance agents. Though they may earn additional compensation from those activities, they are bound by fiduciary duty.
Visionary Horizons, LLC Background
Visionary Horizons, LLC has been providing investment advisory services since 2009. The firm is principally owned by Roger Kiger, the firm's chief manager and an investment advisor representative.
Visionary Horizons offers portfolio management, broad-based financial planning and consulting services, retirement services and financial reviews. In addition, it offers consulting and advisory services for employer-sponsored retirement plans. For its qualified retirement plan advisory services, the firm charges a percentage of all plan assets.
Visionary Horizons, LLC Investing Approach
Visionary Horizons offers discretionary and non-discretionary portfolio services, and its investment advice is tailored to clients' unique needs and objectives. The firm highlights its “trademark” asset allocation process, which it combines with in-depth research through several methods of analysis and continued portfolio management in an effort to create cost-effective and tax-efficient portfolios.
The firm says that it typically uses equity securities, corporate debt securities, municipal debt securities, certificates of deposit, ETFs, mutual funds, U.S. government securities and options in its client portfolios. When appropriate, it may also utilize private placements and alternative investments.