Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Louisville, Kentucky
Finding a financial advisor to help you plan for your future and manage your assets is no easy task. That’s where SmartAsset comes in. We combed through financial advisors in the Louisville metro area to develop this top 10 list. Keep reading to find out what makes each firm unique.
How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in Louisville, Kentucky
We researched financial advisors that are registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. SEC-registered firms are required to file paperwork annually, and have to adhere to certain rules and regulations that protect consumers. Any firm with disclosures or disciplinary issues was cut and we also eliminated firms that don’t manage individual accounts. The top 10 below is arranged from the most assets under management to the least.
ARGI Investment Services
As the only firm out of our top 10 Louisville financial advisors to have over $1 billion in assets under management, ARGI Investment Services leads the way as the firm managing by far the most money. In fact, the No. 2 firm on our list, Atlas Brown, has more than $1 billion less in assets under management than this firm.
The fee-based firm has 59 advisors, the highest number of advisors out of our top 10. ARGI also has the most client accounts with more than 2,800. The firm has a minimum asset requirement of $50,000.
In addition to Louisville, ARGI has offices in Elizabethtown and Bowling Green, Kentucky; Cincinnati; Indianapolis; Grand Rapids, Missouri and Norwalk, Connecticut.
ARGI Investment Services Background
ARGI’s origins stem back to 1995 when the firm was founded as a franchise of American Express Financial Advisors. In 2003, the firm separated from American Express and in 2010, the firm officially became an SEC-registered investment advisor.
The firm is owned by Patrick Reeves as well as ARGI employees through an employee stock ownership plan.
The Louisville office has 47 employees: 18 are certified financial planners (CFPs), six are certified public accountants (CPAs), two are chartered financial consultants (ChFCs), one is a chartered life underwriter (CLU) and one is a chartered financial analyst (CFA).
ARGI Investment Services Investment Options
While $50,000 is the lowest amount needed for ARGI’s asset management program (for strategic and core investments), if you want different portfolio options you’ll need to invest more money. The SmartCap portfolio requires $75,000 and is based on common stock indices. You’ll need at least $100,000 for the tactical or individual stock portfolios, which have higher risk and are for aggressive growth and capital appreciation. If you’re hoping to limit downside risk, you’ll need $150,000 for an option portfolio that aims for less risk and an increase in income.
The baseline accounts (strategic and core) use ETFs as investments. The rest of the accounts will have individual stock selections with a mix of other investment vehicles. Like most modern financial advisors, ARGI uses asset allocation as one of its main strategies for maintaining appropriate risk and return for each portfolio.
This fee-based firm of six advisors has just over $375 million in assets under management, more than $1 billion less than our No.1 firm. Atlas Brown, founded in 2004 by William Hancock, III, has no minimum investment requirement, but bills itself as a multi-generational family wealth manager. What that means is Atlas Brown aims to serve wealthy families with services under the family office moniker such as legacy planning, family governance, tax planning and lifestyle management. If you’re not looking for family services, you can still engage the firm for investment management services.
Atlas Brown Background
M. Scott Robinson is the CEO of the firm and has worked for Atlas Brown since 2008. He started his investment career in 1996 and in 2006 he opened a registered broker-dealer firm.
Cherri Lamkin is the chief compliance officer and senior vice president of the firm. Lamkin, Robinson, Timothy Corley, senior vice president, and Cheryl Hesen, vice president, are all former employees of Hilliard Lyons, a large wealth management firm.
The firm has one chartered financial analyst (CFA) and no certified public accountants (CPAs) or certified financial planners (CFPs), which is unusual for a firm this high on a top 10 list.
Atlas Brown Wealth Management Process
Atlas Brown advisors use a multidisciplinary approach to managing your assets. The firm uses traditional and alternative strategies as well as multiple asset classes foreign and domestic.
Your portfolio, according to the firm, “is tailored to meet the growth, income, tax and capital preservation needs of our clients.” The firm invests in non-traditional asset classes such as real estate, natural resources and minerals. You also might find your portfolio containing investments in private equity and hedge fund sectors. Atlas Brown uses all these investments and a variety of management styles to help manage risk and increase reward, claiming that “volatility is less extreme than any single investment style.”
Meritrust Wealth Management
Meritrust Wealth Management (also known as MWM Advisory) began conducting business since 2014. The fee-based firm has $269 million in assets under management and employs 20 advisors, more than three times the number of advisors in our No. 2 firm, Atlas Brown.
Meritrust offers investment management services, strategic wealth management and financial planning among other services. You can find the firm’s office in the heart of downtown Louisville on 4th Street.
Meritrust Wealth Management Background
This company is tied to LPL Financial Corporation, a registered investment advisor and broker-dealer. Meritrust’s advisory programs are sponsored through LPL Financial. LPL Financial Holdings, the parent company of LPL Financial, is a publicly traded company that owns a number of subsidiaries, including LPL Insurance Associates and LPL Financial LLC, the second-largest independent broker-dealer in the U.S.
Meritrust is primarily owned by Diane Medley, Stephen Lukinovich and John Kallis. Medley is a certified public accountant (CPA) and co-founder of MCM CPAs & Advisors. She is one of three female managing partners in a top 100 firm in the U.S. Lukinovich works with Medley and is a partner at MCM. Kallis is the chief operating officer of Meritrust. He has an MBA and a law degree. Before Meritrust, he served as a financial advisor and associate resident director at Merrill Lynch.
The firm has two certified financial planners (CFPs) and one CPA, but no chartered financial analysts (CFAs), which is a common certification among financial advisor firms.
Meritrust Wealth Management Portfolio Programs
If you work with Meritrust, you’ll have the option to choose to invest in one of the portfolio program. Each program has a different asset minimum requirement and invests with a certain strategy. The optimum market portfolio has a $10,000 minimum. Your account is managed by LPL and optimum funds are used to build the account.
The personal wealth portfolio requires $250,000 and is also managed by LPL. The model wealth portfolio takes $25,000 to get started and is a professionally managed mutual fund asset allocation program ran by LPL.
The manager access select portfolio and manager access network portfolio require $100,000 and provides access to institutional portfolio managers. Lastly, strategic wealth management, which is personalized, non-continuous asset management that’s reviewed semi-annually, has no minimum requirement.
Saling Wealth Advisors
Formed in 2016, Saling Wealth Advisors is the second-newest registered firm on the list after Reliant Wealth Management, No. 7. The fee-based firm has four advisors and offers a number of services including portfolio management, business planning, retirement planning and financial planning.
You’ll need at least $500,000 to become a new client of the firm, the first firm on our top 10 with a minimum asset requirement in the six digits. Saling Wealth Advisors has $181 million in assets under management and primarily works with retirees, business owners and wealthy professionals.
Saling Wealth Advisors Background
James “Jay” Saling is the primary owner, chairman and senior executive of the firm. He has 30 years of experience in the financial services industry and a number of certifications including certified financial planner (CFP) and chartered wealth advisor (CWA).
The other shares of the firm are owned by Eric Saling, executive director, CFP and certified business exit planner, and Jason Stuber, chief investment officer and chartered financial analyst (CFA).
The firm has a total of seven employees, including one additional CFP. Saling Wealth Advisors has no certified public accountants (CPAs) on staff.
Saling Wealth Advisors Portfolio Management
When you sign up to work with Saling Wealth for portfolio management services, you’ll discuss your financial objectives, tax situation, risk tolerance and time horizon in your initial meetings.
The firm will perform research and analysis to develop your investment plan. The plan guides how your portfolio is built and managed. Saling Wealth manages accounts on a discretionary basis, meaning your advisor has the authority to supervise and direct your portfolio (buy and sell investments) on your behalf. Your portfolio will generally consist of mutual funds, common stocks, ETFs, bonds and other fixed income products.
Sortino Advisory Partners
Sortino Advisory Partners is another fee-based financial firm. Like Saling Wealth (No. 4), Sortino is a small firm with just four advisors. However, the firm does have $143 million in assets under management. While the firm has no minimum fee or minimum portfolio value, about three-quarters of the 100-plus clients the firm serves are considered high-net-worth, which is defined by the SEC as having $1.5 million in assets.
You’ll find investment management, family wealth services, financial planning and more offered at Sortino.
Sortino Advisory Partners Background
Daniel Hutcherson and Kevin Maynard are the primary owners of the firm. Hutcherson is a certified investment management analyst (CIMA), chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA) and an accredited investment fiduciary analyst (AIFA). He’s worked in the financial services industry since 1996, working in various capacities for companies such as Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley. Hutcherson is also a Marine Corps veteran.
Maynard is a chartered financial analyst (CFA) and has worked in financial services for 20 years. He’s also a former Morgan Stanley employee and a veteran.
The third advisor highlighted by Sortino is Stephen Heitz, accredited investment fiduciary (AIF) and chartered retirement plans specialist (CRPS). The newest of the three, Heitz started working in the financial services industry in 2003.
Sortino Advisory Partners Investment Strategy
Fundamental analysis is the primary method of evaluating securities employed by Sortino Advisory. Fundamental analysis looks at the competitive position of a fund or issuer. The company will look at the issuer’s management team, style drift, past performance, investment strategies, reputation, and financial strength.
In general, your assets will be invested in mutual funds and ETFs. Occasionally, the firm invests in individual debt and equity securities. This is something to keep in mind if you choose to work with the firm. Unlike other firms that build a fully diversified portfolio, Sortino will tend to heavily weight your portfolio with mutual funds and ETFs rather than individual stocks or alternative investments.
Pillar Financial Advisors
Pillar Financial Advisors has the distinction of tying with Lanier Asset Management (No. 2) as having the fewest number of advisors on our list with just two. While the firm may be small, it distinguishes itself from the pack with its compensation model. Pillar Financial is the first firm on the list that’s fee-only, rather than fee-based. This means the firm does not receive or accept commissions from brokerage firms, mutual funds, insurance companies or from any financial vehicles they recommend.
Formed in 1997, the firm is the oldest out of the rest of our Louisville financial advisors. Pillar Financial Advisors has $131 million in assets under management and offers clients investment management, financial planning, tax planning and legacy planning. The firm has a minimum asset requirement of $200,000 or more depending on what type of services you decide to engage the firm in.
Pillar Financial Advisors Background
Gregory Curry is the firm’s founder, chief compliance officer and main financial advisor. He’s a certified public accountant (CPA) with the personal financial specialist (PFS) designation and a chartered financial analyst. Before founding the firm, he worked for Aegon, a financial services company and PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the largest accounting and financial consulting organizations in the world.
Pillar’s other advisor is Ben Allison, a 20-year veteran of the investment services industry. He joined in 2013, having previously worked for Deutsche Bank, INVESCO and Aegon. Allison is also a CFA.
While the firm has accounting and investment credentials, neither advisor holds the certified financial planner (CFP) designation, generally common among financial advisor firms.
Pillar Financial Advisors Investment Strategy
When you first begin a relationship with Pillar Financial Advisors, you’ll develop an initial investment plan. This plan is based on your financial situation, your objectives, risk tolerance, time horizon and cash needs. Your account will be managed on a discretionary basis, which means transaction decisions are made without your input. Your investment plan guides these trading decisions.
The firm primarily invests your money in mutual funds. Curry and Allison generally select passively managed mutual funds after evaluating factors such as past performance, portfolio manager, fee structure, fund sponsor, ratings and more.
Reliant Wealth Planning
Founded in 2017, this fee-based firm is the newest on our Louisville list. Reliant Wealth Planning is the first on our list that has a woman as a co-founder. The firm has $126 million in assets under management and does not have a minimum asset requirement to become a client.
Services offered include wealth management, financial planning, retirement planning and investment management.
Reliant Wealth Planning Background
Shaun Chelf is a founding partner of the firm and serves as the primary financial planner and portfolio architect. He’s a certified financial planner (CFP) with financial services industry experience stretching back to 2000.
Laura Clark, also a CFP, is the co-founder of Reliant Wealth Planning. She’s worked in the financial services industry since 1991 and has an MBA from University of Louisville.
Seven additional professionals work for the firm including a chartered financial analyst (CFA) who serves as the analytics manager. It’s worth noting that the firm doesn’t count a certified public accountant (CPA) among its ranks, a common feature of financial advisor firms for tax planning and tax preparation expertise.
Reliant Wealth Planning Investment Philosophy
According to Reliant Wealth’s materials, advisors here are strong believers in investing for “total return.” This means dividends, interest and capital gains. The firm states that “it is not unusual for retirees and their advisors to build income portfolios… this is both inefficient and causes the portfolio to become dangerously under-diversified.” Instead, Reliant Wealth focuses on total return to provide the most flexibility and ability to reach client financial goals.
Another focus of the firm is on cash flow. The firm believes that financial planning can be boiled down to money flowing in and out and all the laws, behavior and emotions that encompass that flow. That means working with Reliant Wealth will include a focus on your financial situation to see where positive cash flow can be increased or optimized.
Centerline Wealth Advisors
Another firm without a new client asset minimum, Centerline Wealth Advisors has three advisors, tying it for second-fewest number of advisors with Access Wealth (No. 9). The firm has $121 million in assets under management and is a fee-based firm, like the majority of financial advisors on our Louisville list.
Centerline Wealth Advisors offers investment management, wealth management, retirement planning and tax planning as well as a number of services related to wealth management.
Centerline Wealth Advisors Background
Andrew Arnold is the founder and sole owner of the firm. He serves as CEO and is the senior wealth advisor. Arnold has worked in the investment industry for more than 20 years and has an MBA from University of Louisville.
While the firm has three additional employees with significant financial services industry experience, there are no credentials among them. This is the rare financial advisor firm employing no certified financial planners (CFPs), chartered financial analysts (CFAs) or certified public accountants (CPAs).
Centerline Wealth Advisors Advice Philosophy
Centerline Wealth Advisors claims to have separated the three key pieces of a financial advisor business: advice, custody of client assets and financial products/services. Traditionally, the firm states, advisors operate with those three aspects linked resulting in a company-focused approach rather than a client-needs-first approach. At Centerline, each aspect stands alone so that you get the full benefit of each.
The firm uses Charles Schwab to hold your assets on its behalf and has a strategic partnership with Dynasty Financial Partners for access to products and services including investment banking relationships, asset management strategies, estate planning and more
Access Wealth Management
While Access Wealth Management shares fee-based compensation, number or advisors and even founding year (2015) with our No. 8 firm, Centerline Wealth Management, it stands out with its minimum asset requirement. You need $1 million to become a client of this firm, the highest amount out of any firm on our Louisville top 10.
Access Wealth Management has $123 million in assets under management and generally targets high-net-worth individuals, business owners, professional athletes and entertainment professionals as potential clients. Services offered at the firm include investment management, financial planning, family office services, tax management and asset protection.
Access Wealth Management Background
Anthony Christensen is the founder, sole owner and president of the firm. He has more than 20 years of financial industry experience. Prior to founding Access Wealth, Christensen was an associate vice president at Morgan Stanley.
Three additional people work at the firm, including Brad Hellman, certified financial planner (CFP) and certified investment management analyst (CIMA). There are no certified public accountants (CPAs) or chartered financial analysts (CFAs) at Access Wealth, two common designations often found at financial advisor firms.
Access Wealth Management Investment Strategy
This firm generally employs fundamental analysis when selecting individual stocks for your portfolio. Fundamental analysis considers the investment issuer’s price-to-earnings ratio, dividend yields, growth rate-to-price earnings ratio, financial strength ratio and more. Your portfolio will consist not only of individual stocks, but mutual funds, ETFs, individual bonds and alternative investments.
Lanier Asset Management
Last on our list is Lanier Asset Management, a fee-based firm with $114 million in assets under management. The firm ties with Pillar Financial Advisors (No. 6) as having the fewest advisors, with just two at this small firm.
There isn’t an account minimum for new clients, however, there is a $50 minimum annual fee which is one of the least expensive minimum fees we’ve seen.
Lanier Asset Management Background
The firm has three owners, Mark Hoffman, Junius Beaver and Carl Hafele. Hoffman serves as the CEO and has decades of experience in the financial services industry. He has an MBA from Harvard University and previously served as a partner at the Boston Consulting Group.
Beaver is the co-chief investment officer and holds Series 7, 31, 63 and 65 securities licenses. Hafele is co-chief investment officer and has more than 30 years of investment experience. He is a chartered financial advisor (CFA) and certified public accountant (CPA).
Lanier Asset Management has five additional employees, including an additional CPA. The firm has no certified financial planners on staff (CFP), a rarity among financial advisor firms.
Lanier Asset Management Investment Philosophy
Lanier believes that a well-constructed portfolio is based on projected returns rather than historic returns. In order to achieve that, the firm diversifies and tries to reduce reliance on stocks and bonds.
The firm uses four main strategies for portfolio management: conservative, balanced, growth and traditional. Each strategy corresponds with an asset allocation. For example, the conservative portfolio has almost 50% of diversifying strategies, around 10% real assets, and about 15% fixed income. All portfolios generally include those three strategies plus international equity, domestic equity and cash.
Your portfolio will be determined by your risk tolerance, time horizon, financial objectives, income needs and more.