Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Madison, Wisconsin
No one claims that finding a financial advisor is easy. That’s why SmartAsset spent hours researching the top candidates in Madison, Wisconsin. Our final list narrows your choices to 10 firms. Read on to find the best financial advisor for your situation.
|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||SVA Plumb Wealth Management Find an Advisor||$2,106,914,700|| |
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|2||Isthmus Partners Find an Advisor||$532,013,900|| |
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|3||Northern Capital Management Find an Advisor||$379,800,000|| |
$100,000 for standard equity and fixed income portfolios
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$100,000 for standard equity and fixed income portfolios
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|4||John F. Suby Wealth Management Find an Advisor||$315,085,800|| |
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|5||Thun Financial Advisors Find an Advisor||$251,131,900|| || || |
|6||Poehling Capital Management Find an Advisor||$218,190,900|| |
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|7||Financial Wealth Management Find an Advisor||$218,000,000|| |
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|8||Jacobson & Schmitt Advisors Find an Advisor||$162,600,000|| |
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|9||EnRich Financial Partners Find an Advisor||$159,115,800|| |
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|10||Mendota Financial Group Find an Advisor||$158,800,000|| |
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How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in Madison, Wisconsin
We only considered firms that are registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Financial advisors that comply with SEC rules and regulations file paperwork annually and are under government oversight, which benefits clients. If a firm had a disclosure or disciplinary issue, we eliminated it from the list. We also eliminated advisors that don’t manage individual accounts. The list below is arranged from most assets under management to least.
SVA Plumb Wealth Management
Topping our Madison list is SVA Plumb Wealth Management, a firm that has 44 financial advisors and more than $2.1 billion in assets under management. Founded in 1987, the firm is the second-oldest on the list after Northern Capital Management (No. 3).
This fee-based firm offers personal wealth management services, including investment management and financial planning, retirement services for individuals and businesses and a number of special services such as tax planning and financial planning for physicians. In addition to specializing in serving physicians, the firm has a university advisory group for education professionals and a female-only team dedicated to the “financial planning for savvy women” initiative.
To become a client of investment management services, the firm prefers that you have at least $250,000 in investable capital.
You can find SVA Plumb Wealth Management offices in Madison, Brookfield and Appleton in Wisconsin and Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
SVA Plumb Wealth Management Background
SVA Planners, Inc, the predecessor to SVA Plumb Wealth Management, was founded in 1987, according to materials filed with the SEC. After two name changes in 2007 and 2011, the firm became what it is today.
Thomas Plumb, chartered financial analyst (CFA), is the CEO of the firm. He has more than 35 years of experience in the financial services industry. The firm is large, with over 30 employees who have a variety of professional credentials, including certified financial planner (CFP), certified trust and financial advisor (CTFA) and accredited investment fiduciary (AIF).
SVA Plumb Wealth Management Investment Strategy
Some firms of this size only offer portfolios that consist of mutual funds and ETFs. That’s not what you’ll find at SVA Plumb Wealth Management. The firm states “based on client objectives, the core holdings will be comprised of selected mutual funds, individual securities, ETFs and/or index funds. Each portfolio is enhanced with complementary assets to diversify the portfolio risk.” Advisors here follow the common sentiment that broad diversification is the best way to combat risk and market volatility.
Before creating your portfolio, you’ll speak with an advisor about your financial situation, tax concerns, time horizon, risk tolerance and cash-flow needs. Based off of your discussions, your advisor will create your investment policy statement, a document that captures your portfolio’s guiding investment strategy.
This fee-based financial advisor has the highest minimum asset requirement, at $2 million for new accounts. Founded in 2014, Isthmus Partners is the youngest firm on our top 10. Five advisors work for the firm, serving clients across the country out of an office in Madison, Wisconsin.
Isthmus Partners has $532 million in assets under management and offers portfolio management, investment advice, financial planning and institutional portfolios. Evident from the high asset minimum, the firm primarily works with high-net-worth individuals and families.
Isthmus Partners Background
In 2014, David Hackworthy, Victor Rodriguez, Frank Gambino and Joel McNeil founded Isthmus Partners after working together for over a decade. They remain the owners of the firm. Gambino is a chartered financial analyst (CFA) and McNeil is a certified financial planner (CFP). The firm has three additional CFAs and a total of 13 employees.
Isthmus Partners Investment Strategies
This firm has three main strategies for portfolio management: core equity, fixed income and international equity. Core equity has two sub-categories: large cap and small cap. Large cap targets 40 to 45 large-capitalization U.S. stocks that have a market cap greater than $2 billion at the time of initial purchase. This strategy uses the S&P 500 index and is managed with tax efficiency in mind.
Small cap core equity will generally contain 50 to 65 small-capitalization U.S. stocks with a market cap between $100 million and $2 billion. The benchmark for small cap core equity is the Russell 2000 Index.
Fixed income strategy invests in bonds, specifically U.S. Treasury and FDIC certificates of deposit (CDs), municipal and corporate. This portion of the portfolio is conservative and the risk is concentrated on the equity allocations.
International equity is the final strategy. This is the only strategy that uses mutual funds as the primary investment vehicle. Isthmus advisors don’t manage international stock allocations, instead, they select third-party managers.
Northern Capital Management
Northern Capital Management offers one service to clients: investment management. Unlike the other firms on this list that offer a range of services such as financial planning, tax planning or retirement planning, Northern Capital hones in on one aspect of financial services, portfolio management.
The fee-based firm has four advisors and has been in business since 1979, making it the oldest company on the list. The firm has $379 million in assets under management and requires $100,000 for new clients choosing the standard equity or fixed income portfolio options. Balanced equity portfolios do not have a specified asset minimum.
Northern Capital Management Background
Stephen Hawk, one of the original founders, is a managing partner of the firm. He has a Ph.D. in finance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Daniel Murphy, another managing partner, owns the majority of the firm. He joined Northern Capital in 1994 and has a MBA from University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a chartered financial analyst (CFA).
Across the firm’s three other employees, there’s another CFA, a law degree and degrees in economics and accounting. Unsurprisingly, the firm has no certified financial planners (CFPs) or certified public accountants (CPAs) - this is due to the investment management focus of the firm.
Northern Capital Management Investment Strategies
The firm offers equity, fixed income and diversified balanced portfolios. Equity portfolios are “constructed with large and mid-cap equity holdings. The portfolio is further diversified both internationally and across equity segments (small-cap and more value-oriented equities) by purchasing exchange-traded funds (ETFs) along with occasional investments in commodities and alternative investments.” This type of portfolio requires at least $100,000 in investable assets.
Fixed income portfolios has fixed income securities such as ETFs, Treasury bonds, government agency bonds, corporate bonds and certain tax-exempt securities among other securities.
The balanced portfolio generally contains equities, ETFs, cash equivalents and fixed income securities.
John F. Suby Wealth Management
John F. Suby Wealth Management has $315 million in assets under management and has four advisors. The company is fee-based, like the majority of firms on this list. Suby Wealth Management offers investment management and monitoring, retirement planning, estate plan review and financial statement review to clients with at least $200,000 in investable assets.
The firm is part of a larger company called The Suby Group, which offers financial planning, tax preparation and planning, retirement planning, restaurant and business bookkeeping services and corporate financial planning. You can find Suby Group offices in Madison, Wisconsin and Rockford, Illinois.
John F. Suby Wealth Management Background
The firm’s namesake, John Suby, has worked in Madison’s financial industry for the past 40 years. He has been a certified public accountant since 1972 and at Suby Wealth Management, he focuses on estate planning and business succession planning.
The firm has five additional employees and two shareholders besides Suby. The team includes a certified wealth strategist (CWS) and another CPA. The firm does not have any chartered financial analysts (CFAs) or certified financial planners (CFPs), two common certifications found at financial advisor firms.
John F. Suby Wealth Management Investment Strategy
You’ll find that the advisors at Suby try to match “efficient, diversified portfolios” with your investment needs and risk tolerance. As a new client, you’ll answer questions such as your projected retirement year, cash-flow needs, investment objectives and risk tolerance. The firm uses sub-advisers and third party managers for investment management responsibility. Your portfolio will mainly consists of mutual funds, ETFs and individual stocks.
Thun Financial Advisors
Our No. 5 firm, Thun Financial Advisors, has a $5,000 minimum annual fee, which makes sense if you have at least $350,000 of investable assets. The six-person firm has $251 million in assets under management. The compensation model here is fee-only, rather than fee-based like the first four firms on the list. Fee-only means that the firm earns compensation from management fees or hourly charges, and that’s it. Fee-based firms can receive compensation from selling insurance or other products in addition to annual management fees.
Services include financial planning, investment management, retirement planning, estate planning, education savings and expat compliance. While Thun is based in Madison, the firm serves clients around the U.S. and the world.
Thun Financial Advisors Background
A young firm, Thun Financial Advisors has been in operation since 2008. David Kuenzi founder and sole owner, previously worked as a securities analyst and institutional broker for Chase Manhattan Bank, Deutsche Bank and other top-tier financial institution. He is a certified financial planner (CFP) and speaks Russian and Spanish.
His team of seven employees include two additional CFPs and one chartered financial analyst (CFA).
Thun Financial Advisors Investment Strategy
Thun Financial Advisors stands behind the investment tactics of diversification, strategic rebalancing, low expenses and tax deferral/minimization. The firm describes these tenets as the “four pillars of long-term investment success.”
The firm uses globally diversified ETFs as the main investment vehicle for your portfolio. The firm diversifies across asset classes, including bonds, stocks, commodities and real estate. The firm invests for the long term, which means advisors trade assets infrequently. Your exact portfolio blend depends on your age, income, risk tolerance, investment goals, cash-flow needs and a variety of personal finance factors. Your advisor will give you investment advice based on your personal situation.
Poehling Capital Management
Poehling Capital Management, a fee-only financial advisory firm, has $218 million in assets under management. With just two advisors, the firm has the the fewest number of advisors out of all the firms on our Madison top 10. Poehling Capital Management requires a minimum of $250,000 for core discretionary investment management services. If you have less than that amount, PCM can give you recommendations for no-load or load-waived mutual funds. Services offered include investment management, financial planning and estate planning.
Poehling Capital Management Background
Thomas Poehling, president and chief investment officer, owns the firm. He has more than 25 years of experience in the investment industry. Patrick Poehling serves as the COO and vice president of the firm. He has more than 10 years of experience in the financial services industry.
Six additional professional work at Poehling Capital Management, including two certified financial planners (CFPs). There are no chartered financial analysts (CFAs) or certified public accountants (CPAs) at this firm.
Poehling Capital Management Portfolio Management
Pheling Capital Management uses model portfolios for managing client assets. Each model portfolio is a template for a certain set of criteria. This means you’re matched to a model portfolio based on a variety of factors, including risk tolerance, investment objectives, income, retirement timeline and cash-flow needs. The firm invests in large-capitalization companies as well as additional investments for diversification. The firm prefers publicly traded equities, ETFs, mutual fund, fixed income and option contracts.
Financial Wealth Management
This fee-based firm was founded in 2006 and has $218 million in assets under management. Financial Wealth Management (FWM) has three advisors, tying it for second-fewest number of advisors with Enrich Financial Partners (No. 9).
You’ll need $200,000 to open and maintain an account through the limited discretionary asset management service. For other services, you likely will not need to meet that minimum, but it’s at the discretion of the firm. Services offered at FWM include retirement planning (including 401(k)s), financial planning, business succession planning, insurance and asset allocation.
Financial Wealth Management Background
Daniel Hyland is the sole owner of the firm and serves as president. He is a certified financial planner (CFP) and has worked in the financial planning and asset management industry for more than 35 years.
Three additional professionals work for Financial Wealth Management, including an additional CFP. The firm does not employ a chartered financial analyst (CFA) or certified public accountant (CPA).
Financial Wealth Management Investment Strategy
At this firm, investment management is captured under the asset allocation services. The firm builds portfolios to reflect your “goals, priorities, investment preference” and tolerance for risk. FWM builds each investment strategy per individual, rather than using a model (template) portfolio. That means an advisor will consider your risk tolerance, taxation, investment preferences, time horizon (until retirement, etc) and investment objectives when constructing your portfolio.
The main method of analysis used by FWM is fundamental. This is the evaluation of investment securities based on the historical and projected financial performance. The firm mainly recommends no-load mutual funds and load mutual funds. However, accounts can include ETFs, stocks, bonds annuities and REITs.
Jacobson & Schmitt Advisors
Jacobson & Schmitt Advisors, founded in 2006, only requires $25,000 for new clients. The fee-based firm has $162 million in assets under management and has four advisors. The fee-based firm offers financial planning and investment services.
Jacobson & Schmitt Advisors Background
Jason Schmitt, chief financial officer, and Milton Jacobson founded the firm in 2006. Jacobson still owns the firm with Schmitt and Richard Boogard, lead advisor, but no longer works day-to-day with the firm.
Schmitt is a certified financial planner (CFP) and a certified private wealth advisor (CPWA). Before co-founding the firm, he was the director of business development for a Madison-based broker-dealer and a vice president of a local bank.
Boogard, the lead advisor and chief investment officer, is a chartered financial analyst (CFA). He was a research analyst at a mutual fund company before joining JSA. He has an MBA from the University of Wisconsin.
The firm has two additional team members: an operations and marketing specialist and a paraplanner.
Jacobson & Schmitt Advisors Investment Strategy
This firm advocates for portfolios that support your goals and values. The firm invests in companies that have a high potential for returns as well as practice corporate social responsibility. JSA wants clients to be proud of the assets they own that match their values.
At JSA, your portfolio will generally include 20 to 30 stocks and a bond allocation (for stability). Your exact portfolio will depend on your risk tolerance, time horizon, cash needs and investment objectives.
EnRich Financial Partners
This fee-based firm has a $250,000 asset minimum for new clients. EnRich Financial Partners offers investment management and financial planning (a combination they call, “Family CFO”). The firm has $159 million in assets under management and ties for second-fewest financial advisors with Financial Wealth Management (No. 3). EnRich serves individuals, families and businesses.
Enrich Financial Partners Background
The aptly named Christopher Rich and Elaine Rich founded the firm in 2003 and remain the sole owners. They serve as wealth advisors and are both certified financial planners (CFPs). Christopher is the firm’s chief compliance officer and has worked in the financial services industry since 1993. Elaine has worked in personal finance and investment management since 1997. She’s been featured in Family Money Magazine and Wisconsin Women Magazine.
They have five additional employees, including another CFP and four support staff. The firm does not have a chartered financial advisor (CFA), a credential commonly found at investment management firms.
EnRich Financial Partners Relationship Choices
When working with EnRich, you choose between three levels of partnerships: full, strategic or portfolio management. A full partnership consists of financial planning and investment management. You’ll need a minimum of $250,000 and the firm will manage at least 80% of available assets. This combined service is what the firm calls Family CFO. EnRich sees it as taking care of the holistic financial picture of an individual or family.
A strategic partnership consists of financial planning only. You’ll pay a flat annual retainer fee, but you will not be subject to the $250,000 minimum. This is best for those without enough funds to invest or those who want advice from the firm but not active investment management.
The last option is just investment management by itself. You’ll need at least $250,000 for this option. The portfolio management option is best if you don’t require financial planning.
Mendota Financial Group
Finishing out our top 10 is Mendota Financial Group, the third fee-only firm on the list. Five advisors work for the firm and there is no account minimum to become a client. Mendota has $158 million in assets under management and offers wealth management, financial consulting, asset allocation and education.
Mendota Financial Group Background
Matt Goetzke co-founded in the firm in 2005 and serves as a principal advisor. He has worked in the financial services industry for more than 15 years. He is a chartered financial analyst (CFA). Before founding the firm, he worked in Chicago as a portfolio manager for a money manager.
The second out of three co-founders is Kurt Ahrens. He is a chartered financial consultant (ChFC) and has worked in the financial industry for 20-plus years. He previously worked as a Charles Schwab branch manager.
Daniel Gresch is the last founder of the firm. He has 18 years of experience in financial planning and is a ChFC as well as a certified financial planner (CFP). Before founding Mendota, he was the lead financial planner at a financial planning firm based in Middleton, Wisconsin.
The firm employs two additional people: a director of operations and a wealth management VP.
Mendota Financial Group Financial Planning
To start, a planner will review your comprehensive financial situation. This means the firm will review your account statements, tax returns, mortgage statements, Social Security benefits, insurance and other sources of income. After discussing your financial situation with a representative and going over your paperwork, you’ll be presented with an initial financial analysis. This analysis will include items such as an income statement, balance sheet, cash-flow statement, retirement projection, estate disposition and insurance.
Next, you’ll discuss factors such as your risk tolerance, tax situation, financial goals and more to inform your investment strategy. The final step is financial plan implementation. Mendota Financial Group states that their “sole focus is investing your portfolio to achieve the highest probability of meeting your long-term financial goals.” That means the firm bases its success on meeting your financial goals rather than meeting a benchmark investment index.