Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Maryland
Choosing a financial advisor is easier said than done, but the process can become much less intimidating if you have the choices narrowed down for you. So through hours of research, SmartAsset came up with this list of the top financial advisor firms in Maryland. To differentiate the firms, we’ve laid out their various fee structures, advisory services, investing ideologies and more. The SmartAsset financial advisor matching tool can make your decision even simpler: just answer a few financial and personal questions to get paired with advisors in your area.
|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||Chevy Chase Trust Company Find an Advisor||$25,528,177,600||$3,000,000|| || |
|2||1919 Investment Counsel Find an Advisor||$10,438,008,500|| |
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|3||WMS Partners, LLC Find an Advisor||$3,442,000,100||$3,000,000|| || |
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|4||Heritage Investors Management Corp. Find an Advisor||$2,137,354,400||$1,000,000|| || |
|5||Pinnacle Advisory Group, Inc. Find an Advisor||$1,800,000,000||$500,000|| || |
|6||Trumbower Financial Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$1,125,380,700||None|| || |
|7||StratWealth Find an Advisor||$1,035,331,200||None|| || |
|8||Cornerstone Advisory, LLC Find an Advisor||$991,065,300||$500,000|| || |
|9||FBB Capital Partners Find an Advisor||$977,680,700||$500,000|| || |
|10||Edgemoor Investment Advisors, Inc. Find an Advisor||$828,037,100||$1,000,000|| || |
How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in Maryland
Financial advisor firms located in Maryland that are registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) were the only firms considered for placement on this list. That’s because of the inherent fiduciary duty that comes with such a registration, which requires these firms to act in clients’ best interests at all times. We removed any firm from contention if it didn’t offer financial planning, didn’t manage individual accounts or had disciplinary issues on record. The top firms that qualified based on these requirements are listed on this page, in order of the most assets under management (AUM) to the least.
Chevy Chase Trust Company
With more than $25.5 billion in assets under management (AUM), Bethesda-based financial advisor firm Chevy Chase Trust Company should seemingly have a massive number of clients. However, the firm’s client base is made up of fewer than 1,000 individuals, all of whom have a high net worth. The firm also works with families, institutions, business owners and executives and eligible qualified plans. Like the third firm on this list, WMS Partners, LLC, this fee-only firm requires its clients to have at least $3 million to open an account. This is the highest account minimum on this list.
As its name might suggest, Chevy Chase Trust Company is also a trust company. The advisory team has a total of 15 advisor certifications. This includes seven chartered financial analysts (CFAs), five certified financial planners (CFPs), one certified trust and financial advisor (CTFA), one chartered market technician (CMT) and one certified anti-money laundering specialist (CAMS).
Chevy Chase Trust Company Background
Chevy Chase Trust Company has been in business since 1997. It’s owned by Chevy Chase Trust Holdings, LLC, a holding company. The firm’s team of 34 advisors averages more than 20 years in the financial services industry.
The firm personalizes its service offerings once clients communicate their needs to their advisor. Its services include goal-based financial planning, estate planning, fiduciary services and family wealth services.
Chevy Chase Trust Company Investing Strategy
Most firms will center their investing philosophies around value/growth, small/mid/large capitalization and domestic/international categories. But Chevy Chase Trust Company chooses instead to focus on investing themes, specific sectors and industries that present opportunities for growth.
Additionally, the firm will attempt to diversify client funds across as many asset classes as possible. Chevy Chase Trust Company uses a multitude of investments in client portfolios, including exchange-listed securities, warrants, corporate debt securities, CDs, municipal securities, investment company securities, U.S. government securities, options and partnerships.
1919 Investment Counsel
1919 Investment Counsel is based in Baltimore, where it placed first on SmartAsset’s list of the top Baltimore financial advisor firms. No firm on this list has a larger advisory team than this one, which has 47 advisors on staff. This team includes 18 chartered financial analysts (CFAs), one certified financial planner (CFP) and one chartered advisor in philanthropy (CAP).
The clients of this fee-only firm include a wide range of individuals and institutions. More specifically, the firm works with both high-net-worth and non-high-net-worth individuals, families, endowments, foundations, government clients, pension and profit-sharing plans, investment companies, businesses, individual retirement plans, partnerships, trusts and estates. You will need a minimum of $2 million in investable assets to open an account with this firm.
1919 Investment Counsel Background
None of the firms on this list have been around even remotely as long as 1919 Investment Counsel, which was established in 1919. This firm is now a subsidiary of Stifel Financial Corp., a financial services holding company.
This firm employs various styles of investing, rather than goal-specific services. Clients of this firm can choose from the following traditional and alternative investment styles:
- Fixed income investing
- Equity investing
- Socially responsible investing
- Estate planning
- Tax minimization
- Charitable giving
- Global total return investing
- Multi-cap core equity investing
1919 Investment Counsel Portfolio Options
1919 Investment Counsel strives to build investment and financial plans that will meet its clients’ needs. It does this across two main verticals: equity and fixed income discretionary services and non-discretionary investment advisory services.
Fixed income and equity discretionary services refer to standard investments accounts that this firm fills with not only fixed-income and equity investments, but also with cash equivalents and alternative investments. Because it’s a discretionary account, you are ceding all decision-making ability to the firm. On the other hand, non-discretionary investment advisory services leave control in your hands. The firm will come up with a set of investment recommendations, which you’ll be able to approve or reject.
The firm has family office services available as well, though these aren’t available to every client. These services are meant to ensure that an entire family’s financial needs and desires are being met and will include all the above services, just on a larger scale.
WMS Partners, LLC
Fee-only financial advisor firm WMS Partners, LLC is headquartered in Towson. To begin a client relationship with an advisor at this firm, you must have at least $3 million ready to invest. So it should be no surprise that a large portion of this firm’s client base is currently made up of high-net-worth individuals. However, the firm’s policy of sometimes waiving its minimum has opened the door for some individuals without a high net worth to work with this firm too.
If you’re looking for help managing your taxes, this firm has four certified public accountants (CPAs) on staff. In addition, you’ll find five chartered financial analysts (CFAs), four certified financial planners (CFPs), two accredited wealth management analysts (AWMAs), one accredited investment fiduciary (AIF) and one chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA).
This is the only firm on this list that includes performance-based fees in its fee structure. These are only charged if your portfolio outperforms projections. WMS does abide by fiduciary duty, though.
WMS Partners, LLC Background
Opened in 1993, WMS Partners, LLC is employee-owned. Co-founders Timothy Chase, David Citron and Martin Eby are the firm’s principal owners. The trio has spent, on average, more than 25 years in the financial services field.
This firm has three main areas of service: multi-family office, wealth planning and investment management. It combines these resources when deciding what each client needs. These service areas may include:
- Personal and family business consulting
- Philanthropic advisory
- Cash flow management
- Estate planning
- Risk management
- Fringe benefit planning
- Retirement planning
- Tax planning
- Investment planning
- Family education
WMS Partners, LLC Investing Strategy
WMS Partners typically invests its clients’ assets in mutual funds, fixed income securities, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and individual stocks. Because mutual funds and ETFs are inherently diversified, they’ve become increasingly popular and make up a solid portion of most clients’ investments.
But these investment opportunities are just the vehicle by which financial goals are realized. So as a supplement to your investment plans, the firm says it will work with your personal accountants, attorneys, insurance professionals and consultants to ensure success.
Heritage Investors Management Corp.
For a firm with over $2 billion in assets under management (AUM), Bethesda-based financial advisor firm Heritage Investors Management Corp. has a very small advisory team with just seven advisors on staff. The team has an impressive number of advisor certifications though, as five chartered financial analysts (CFAs), five chartered investment counselors (CICs) and one certified public accountant (CPA) are employed here.
This fee-only firm calls for a $1 million account minimum. Individuals make up the majority of the firm’s client base. However, it also works with IRAs, trusts estates, businesses, foundations, partnerships, endowments, conservatorships, associations, guardianships and pension and profit-sharing plans.
Heritage Investors Management Corp. Background
Heritage Investors Management Corp. was opened in 1974. It’s independently owned by president Michael Cornfeld, who has been in the financial services sphere for more than 40 years, giving him one of the longest tenures of any firm’s leadership.
The firm offers financial services such as retirement planning, trust and estate management and general financial planning. It will also incorporate additional investment services that it believes will benefit you, even if they aren’t listed above or on the firm’s website.
Heritage Investors Management Corp. Investing Strategy
Heritage Investors Management Corp. primarily invests in U.S. stocks, bonds and exchanged-traded funds (ETFs). The decisions it makes about specific investments are not only affected by clients’ needs, but also by any domestic or foreign events that occur that could affect the market.
Although it doesn’t engage in short-selling and margin transactions very often, the firm believes that a client’s portfolio shouldn’t remain the same for a long period of time. The firm’s advisors will usually only hold onto investments long enough to make sure that taxes don’t heavily impact returns.
Pinnacle Advisory Group, Inc.
Pinnacle Advisory Group, Inc. is based in Columbia, although this fee-only firm also has branches in Miami and Naples, Florida. The firm manage accounts for more than 1,200 families around the globe. A smaller section of its client base includes charities, foundations and private company retirement plan providers. You’ll need at least $500,000 to open an account with the firm.
Pinnacle has more advisor certifications than any other firm on this list. The firm’s staff includes:
- 15 certified financial planners (CFPs)
- 3 certified public accountants (CPAs)
- 1 chartered life underwriter (CLU)
- 1 chartered financial consultant (ChFC)
- 1 registered employee benefits consultant (REBC)
- 1 chartered advisor for senior living (CASL)
- 1 certified wealth preservation planner (CWPP)
- 1 certified tax specialist (CTS)
- 1 chartered financial analyst (CFA)
- 1 certified trust and financial advisor (CTFA)
- 1 certified college planning specialist (CCPS)
- 1 chartered advisor in philanthropy (CAP)
Pinnacle Advisory Group, Inc. Background
CEO John Hill, CIC Kenneth Solow and CFO Dwight Mikulis are the co-founders of Pinnacle Advisory Group, Inc., which has been in business since 1993. The majority of this firm’s employees have spent more than 10 years in the financial services industry.
The firm offers financial planning and general investment management. Its financial planning services may include:
- Cash flow analysis
- Strategic tax planning
- Retirement planning
- Estate planning
- Insurance review
- Education fund planning
Pinnacle Advisory Group, Inc. Investing Strategy
The advisors at Pinnacle Advisory Group, Inc. claim they’ve found the perfect medium between what they believe to be the issue-riddled “buy and hold” investment strategy and the hedge fund investment strategy. Paramount to the firm’s investing ideology is the belief that active investment management is necessary to achieve maximum returns.
But active management is just one half of the equation, which also includes diversification. The firm believes that this combination of diversification and active management is what makes its philosophy unique. Above all, the firm believes that “asset classes will earn the best returns if [it] buy[s] them at prices that represent good value.”
Trumbower Financial Advisors, LLC
Just five employees make up the advisory team at Trumbower Financial Advisors, LLC, a financial advisor firm based in Bethesda. This small staff size is surprising, considering the firm manages more than $1.1 billion in client assets. The team’s designations include four certified financial planners (CFPs), two chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and one certified public accountant (CPA).
This fee-only financial advisor firm supplements its services with an internal accounting practice. No other firm on this list has a secondary operation like this, giving Trumbower a unique advantage in tax minimization and preparation.
The firm’s typical clients include individuals and their families, small pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations, estates, trusts and personal service corporations. There is no minimum required account size.
Trumbower Financial Advisors, LLC Background
Managing member Victoria Trumbower founded Trumbower Financial Advisors, LLC in 1996. Trumbower, who began providing financial services in 1981, remains the firm’s sole owner.
Comprehensivity is the clear target of this firm, and it shows up in its financial services. If you become a client at Trumbower, you’ll have cash flow and wealth accumulation management, estate planning, investment management, retirement distribution planning, proactive tax planning, tax preparation services, insurance analysis, marriage and divorce financial planning and personal record keeping services available to you.
Trumbower Financial Advisors, LLC Client Experience
Trumbower Financial Advisors builds its clients’ portfolios around three factors: risk tolerance, liquidity needs and financial goals. Once these are determined, your current investments and asset allocations are reviewed.
Once everything is out in the open, you and your advisor will choose one of the firm’s model portfolios, all of which are based on modern portfolio theory. The firm will utilize its technology-based tools to aid in this process, as well as to implement the portfolio that’s ultimately decided upon. Lastly, the firm will evaluate the model portfolio’s performance and rebalance your account regularly and as needed.
Fee-based financial advisor firm StratWealth is located in Columbia. It is the last firm on this list with more than $1 billion under management. It does not enforce an account minimum. The firm’s most common clients are individuals, pension and profit-sharing plans and businesses.
This firm has 12 financial advisors on staff, and its team holds an impressive number of certifications. You’ll find eight accredited investment fiduciaries (AIFs), seven certified financial planners (CFPs), one accredited asset management specialist (AAMS), one chartered retirement plans specialist (CRPS), one certified plan fiduciary advisor (CPFA) and one certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) at this firm.
Certain advisors at this firm earn commissions when they sell proprietary insurance policies or trade specific securities within your portfolio. StratWealth does abide by fiduciary duty, though, so its advisors are required to act in your best interest.
StratWealth has been in business since 2001. It’s an independently owned firm, with ownership split between nine of the firm’s highest-ranking principals. This group has spent an average of more than 20 years in the financial services industry.
The following services are offered through this firm:
- Retirement planning
- Insurance review/analysis
- Business succession planning
- Investment management
- Qualified plan/401(k) provider management
- Wealth management
- Divorce navigation
- Tax-efficient investing
StratWealth Client Experience
This firm utilizes an eight-step process to build and maintain its client portfolios. The process begins with the “Get Acquainted” stage, which consists of conversing with you and learning about your risk tolerance, life and financial goals and time horizon. This stage meshes with the second stage, “Discovery Experience.”
The next steps, “Fortified Future,” “Empowered Investor” and “NexitPlan,” are when you and your advisor collaborate and create an investment plan that fits your principal needs. Following the creation of this plan, the firm will begin to implement your portfolio. This is also when the “Personal Legacy” and “Professional Integration” stages occur, which allow your financial present and future to be factored into your plan. Lastly, the “Dynamic Synchronization” step is meant to ensure that your liquidity and any other needs are being met.
Cornerstone Advisory, LLC
Cornerstone Advisory, LLC has six advisors on staff, but it can claim only a single advisor certification. Its team includes just one certified financial planner (CFP). However, the Financial Times ranked the Hunt Valley-based firm as one of the top 300 financial advisor in 2017.
Cornerstone manages assets for individuals, trusts, estates, pension and profit-sharing plans, businesses and charitable organizations. It may also work with private pooled investment vehicles, though this isn’t nearly as common. The firm calls for a $500,000 minimum account balance for new clients, though it does reserve the right to waive that requirement.
Specific advisors at this fee-based firm also sell insurance policies in conjunction with financial planning services. They could earn commissions from sales, though the firm does abide by fiduciary duty.
Cornerstone Advisory, LLC Background
Cornerstone Advisory, LLC is the youngest firm on this list, as it was founded in 2006. It remains independently owned, with senior portfolio managers Donald Huber, Erik Johnson and Thomas Biddison holding complete ownership.
Rather than provide a set group financial planning services, this firm has chosen to leave its offerings very general and therefore easily customizable. It has created four service categories that you can further personalize based on your needs: portfolio management, financial planning and consulting, pension consulting and private fund advising.
Cornerstone Advisory, LLC Investing Strategy
Mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), stocks, bonds and structured products are the primary investment types that this firm uses in its client portfolios. Depending on the circumstances, Cornerstone’s advisors may even use pooled investment vehicles so clients can gain access to otherwise unattainable higher level investments.
Unlike many of its peers, Cornerstone Advisory does use some short-term trading strategies. While many firms will do this to satisfy the liquidity needs of clients, Cornerstone claims that buying and selling investments often during times of high volatility can allow for quick returns.
FBB Capital Partners
Fee-only financial advisor firm FBB Capital Partners is mainly focused on managing assets for clients without a high net worth, as it has more than 2,500 such clients. But the Bethesda-based firm also provides services for high-net-worth individuals, businesses, pension and profit-sharing plans and charities. You must have at least $500,000 in investable assets to work with this firm.
While FBB has just 12 members on its advisory team, the team has a total of 17 certifications. These include seven certified financial planners (CFPs), five chartered financial analysts (CFAs), one certified public accountant (CPA), one chartered life underwriter (CLU), one chartered financial consultant (ChFC), one chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA) and one chartered advisor for senior living (CASL).
FBB Capital Partners Background
Founder Susan Emma Owens Breakefield Fulton opened FBB Capital Partners in 1987. She remains the sole owner to this day. Under Fulton’s leadership, the Financial Times named the firm one of the top 300 financial advisors from 2014 to 2016.
The financial services this firm offers are holistic and will likely cover a significant portion of what most prospective clients will seeking. The following services are available, among other more specific services:
- Budget creation
- Estate planning
- Retirement planning
- Cash flow analysis
- Tax mitigation
- Investment management
- Insurance review
- Wealth transfer planning
- Asset protection services
FBB Capital Partners Investing Strategy
FBB Capital Partners generally aims to hold investments in portfolios for at least a year in an effort to grow client assets securely. Aside from this strategy, the firm will also sometimes engage in options purchases. These can consist of buying or selling options, with each decision dependent on whether the firm feels it can take advantage of possible short-term returns.
Portfolios at this firm are heavily dependent on your risk preference, liquidity needs, time horizon and overall financial objectives. However, the firm will also take into account your past investment investments, background and family structure. Once a plan has been established and enacted, your evolving financial objectives and any new tax considerations will determine how your portfolio changes and is rebalanced.
Edgemoor Investment Advisors, Inc.
Most firms on this list charge clients fees based on a percentage of their assets under management, as well as hourly charges and fixed fees. Edgemoor Investment Advisors, Inc., however, only charges its clients asset-based fees, giving it the most simplistic fee structure of any firm on this list.
The fee-only firm, which is based in Bethesda, calls for a minimum account size of $1 million. Its most common clients include high-net-worth individuals, non-profit organizations, trusts, estates, businesses, retirement plan providers, foundations and registered investment advisors (RIAs).
There are two certified financial planners (CFPs) and two chartered financial analysts (CFAs) at this firm, which has six advisors on staff.
Edgemoor Investment Advisors, Inc. Background
Thomas Meehan is the sole owner and founder of Edgemoor Investment Advisors, Inc. Meehan’s firm has been around since 1999. He has spent a lengthy 50 years in financial planning and management, while the rest of the team averages more than 15 years in the industry.
Edgemoor takes into account tax, retirement, familial and personal factors when building its clients’ financial plans. Because this is a highly individualized process, you won’t find cookie-cutter services at this firm.
Edgemoor Investment Advisors, Inc. Investing Strategy
Value investing informs how Edgemoor Investment Advisors builds its client portfolios. The value investing approach evaluates companies in three ways: assets, earning power and profitable growth. Value investing is intended to help investors find investment opportunities that are selling for less than their intrinsic worth. The firm pairs that investment strategy with active investment management to help families and individuals grow their funds over the long term.
Edgemoor typically invests its clients’ assets in equities, foreign issuers, warrants, corporate debt securities, certificates of deposit (CDs), commercial paper, municipal securities, mutual fund shares, U.S. government securities and options contracts. The firm claims that using the above strategies and investment types in conjunction with one another will lead to high returns and low risk.