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 SmartAsset researched the financial advisor landscape in Maryland to find the top firms in the state. To differentiate the firms, we’ve laid out their various fee structures, advisory services, investing ideologies and more. To find a financial advisor near you, try our free online matching tool.
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|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||Chevy Chase Trust Company Find an Advisor||$35,867,217,775||$3,000,000|| || |
|2||1919 Investment Counsel, LLC Find an Advisor||$17,554,381,658||$2,000,000|| || |
|3||Greenspring Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$5,248,230,568||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
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|4||WMS Partners, LLC Find an Advisor||$4,374,397,680||$3,000,000|| || |
|5||Harbor Investment Advisory LLC Find an Advisor||$3,701,000,000||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|6||Heritage Investors Management Corp. Find an Advisor||$3,083,050,755||$1,000,000|| || |
|7||Verdence Capital Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$2,472,428,702||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|8||Maryland Capital Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$1,946,435,369||$500,000|| || |
|9||Strategic Wealth Management Group, LLC Find an Advisor||$1,772,066,488||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|10||T. Rowe Price Advisory Services, Inc. Find an Advisor||$728,830,645||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
What We Use in Our Methodology
To find the top financial advisors in Maryland, we first identified all firms registered with the SEC in the state. Next, we filtered out firms that don't offer financial planning services, those that don't serve primarily individual clients and those that have disclosures on their record. The qualifying firms were then ranked according to the following criteria:
- AUMFirms with more total assets under management are ranked higher.
- Individual Client CountFirms who serve more individual clients (as opposed to institutional clients) are ranked higher.
- Clients Per AdvisorFirms with a lower ratio of clients per financial advisor are ranked higher.
- Age of FirmFirms that have been in business longer are ranked higher.
All information is accurate as of the writing of this article. This list may include firms that have a business relationship with SmartAsset, in which SmartAsset is compensated for lead referrals. Such relationships have no impact on our rankings, and firms are included and ranked based strictly on the above criteria.
Chevy Chase Trust Company
Chevy Chase Trust Company (CCTC), massive fee-only financial advisor firm located in central Bethesda, is Maryland's top-rated firm.
CCTC's principal business is serving high-net-worth individuals and families. The firm does not currently work with an individuals below the high-net-worth threshold. The firm has a $3 million minimum account size, although it says it may waive this requirement under certain circumstances.
CCTC's large advisory staff has a number of accredited professionals. In fact, there are nine chartered financial analysts (CFAs), four certified financial planners (CFPs), one certified public accountant (CPA), one chartered market technician (CMT) and one certified trust and financial advisor (CTFA). As a fee-only firm, CCTC's advisors do not earn commissions or sell third-party products. Instead, their compensation comes solely from the fees that clients pay for their services.
Chevy Chase Trust Company Background
Chevy Chase Trust Company was first established in 1997. A related holding company called Chevy Chase Trust Holdings, LLC owns the firm as one of its subsidiaries. Today, the firm is led by chief investment officer (CIO) Amy Raskin, president and CEO Jeff Whitaker, president of family wealth services Lawrence Fisher II and chief planning officer Leslie Smith.
Services available to individual clients of this firm include financial planning and investment management. More precisely, financial planning can touch on topics like income planning, risk management, insurance planning, cash flow planning, estate planning, strategic tax planning, charitable gift planning and more.
Institutional services are also a sizable part of CCTC's offerings. In fact, the firm manages assets for charitable organizations, businesses, government entities, pooled investment vehicles, retirement plans, escrow accounts and insurance companies.
Chevy Chase Trust Company Investment Strategy
Investment services are based on the creation and management of personalized portfolios. CCTC relies two main categories of investment approaches: equity and fixed-income.
For fixed-income investing, the firm looks to both preserve your account's principal and beat inflation so your money doesn't lose value. This strategy is used to balance out an equity strategy, depending on your risk tolerance. The firm focuses on your tax situation, income needs and other client-specific considerations when building out a fixed-income portfolio.
For equity investing, the firm will allocate assets to large-, medium- and small-capitalization stocks in an effort to protect those assets from unsustainable highs and extreme lows in the market. CCTC will also invest across various geographical areas and market sectors to furthur ensure diversification. This strategy will be employed alongside its fixed-income counterpart to ensure you have enough liquidity.
1919 Investment Counsel, LLC
Located in Baltimore, 1919 Investment Counsel is the No. 2 firm in all of Maryland. This fee-only firm, which also sits atop the Baltimore rankings, has the largest advisory team on our statewide list. This team includes 23 chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and nine certified financial planners (CFPs) spread out across offices in Baltimore, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Cincinnati and Birmingham, Alabama.
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 and families. It also serves endowments, foundations, government clients, pension and profit-sharing plans, businesses, individual retirement plans, trusts and estates. You will need a minimum of $2 million in investable assets to open an account.
1919 Investment Counsel Background
None of the firms on this list have been around even remotely as long as 1919 Investment Counsel, which — as its name indicates — was established in 1919. The firm is now a subsidiary of Stifel Financial Corp., a financial services holding company.
1919 Investment Counsel 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
- Global total return investing
- Multi-cap core equity investing
1919 Investment Counsel Investment Strategy
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, offered on a discretionary and non-discretionary basis.
Fixed income and equity discretionary services refer to standard investments accounts that use not only fixed-income and equity investments, but also cash equivalents and alternative investments. Because it’s a discretionary account, you are ceding all decision-making ability 1919's advisors. 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 services above, just on a larger scale.
Greenspring Advisors, LLC
Greenspring Advisors is the top-rated financial advisory firm in Towson and No. 3 in the state, according our metrics. Greenspring manages more than $5 billion in client assets, third most on this list. The firm works with individuals and high-net-worth individuals, and their related trusts, estates and charitable endeavors. This fee-only firm also advises businesses, pension and profit-sharing plans and participants.
You generally won't need a minimum investment to open an account with Greenspring, although there is a $5,000 minimum annual fee. According to SEC records, the firm works with slightly more clients who are high-net-worth individuals than those who aren’t.
The firm has a team of 11 certified financial planners (CFPs), four accredited investment fiduciaries (AIFs), two chartered retirement plan specialists, (CRPSs), two enrolled agents (EAs), one chartered financial analyst (CFA) and one certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA). The team also includes one chartered financial consultant (ChFC), a chartered life underwriter (CLU) and one chartered advisor for senior living (CASL). (Some advisors have more than one credential.)
Greenspring Advisors Background
Greenspring opened its doors in 2004. Its principal shareholders are Greenspring Wealth Management, Greg Hobson, Greg Plecher, Jeff Bernfeld and Mary Goetz. John Patrick Collins Jr., the firm's chief compliant officer and managing director, controls Greenspring Wealth Management with Matt Cellini and Robert Bogue.
Greenspring offers clients private money management and wealth planning services. For investment management services, which can be on a discretionary or non-discretionary basis, the firm collects fees based on a percentage of client assets. For financial planning and consulting, which can cover such areas as tax, retirement, estate and insurance planning, fees are billed at an hourly or fixed rate.
Greenspring Advisors Investment Strategy
Like many other firms, Greenspring's investment strategy is rooted in a thorough analysis of a client's financial profile. The firm takes into account factors like a person's risk tolerance, financial situation and goals when designing an appropriate asset allocation. The firm doesn't limit exposure to certain security types. Depending on the client, portfolios may invest in a range of securities, including:
- Exchange-listed securities
- Securities traded over-the-counter
- Corporate debt securities
- Certificates of deposit (CDs)
- Municipal securities
- Commercial paper
- Variable life insurance
- Variable annuities
- Mutual funds
- U.S. governmental securities
- Options contracts on securities
- Interests in partnerships investing in real estate
WMS Partners, LLC
WMS Partners, another fee-only firm located in Towson, is next on our list. With a $3 million account requirement, WMS Partners caters to high-net-worth individuals, but also works with non-high-net-worth clients, pooled investment vehicles, pension and profit-sharing plans, charities and corporations. The firm may waive or lower its account minimum at its discretion.
WMS Partners operates on a fee-only basis so it earns compensation only from its clients based on the services it provides. It doesn’t earn commissions or other compensation from third-party firms for selling or recommending their products like fee-based advisors might.
WMS has an advisory team composed of numerous accredited professionals, including:
- Nine chartered financial analysts (CFAs)
- Eight certified financial planners (CFPs)
- Two certified public accountants (CPAs)
- One personal financial specialists (PFS)
- One accredited investment fiduciary (AIF)
- One accredited wealth management advisor (AWMA)
- One certified trust and financial advisor (CTFA)
WMS Partners Background
WMS Partners has been in business since 1993. Eight equity partners currently own the firm. Timothy Chase, Martin Eby and David Citron hold the majority of shares. All remain active in the firm.
The practice specializes in legacy planning and investment management. It also offers stand-alone financial planning services to its clients.
WMS Partners Investment Strategy
WMS Partners builds portfolios with asset allocations based on the client's personal factors such as risk tolerance, investment goals and time horizon. WMS Partners is an “open-architecture” firm that considers virtually the entire fund universe when building an asset allocation. This may include private funds and other exclusive investments.
When building customized portfolio for a client, advisors may use individual equities, fixed income securities like bonds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and private investment funds.
Harbor Investment Advisory LLC
Harbor Investment Advisory is a fee-based financial advisor firm located in Lutherville. It manages billions for its clients, the majority of whom are high-net-worth individuals. Harbor also advises hundreds of individuals without high net worths and offers services to pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and corporations.
The minimum account size at Harbor varies based on the type of account a client selects, ranging from no minimum at all to $1 million. Fees at Harbor are generally based on a percentage of assets under management, though some services are subject to a flat fee. Harbor advisors may also make commissions for selling products to clients. This represents a potential conflict of interest, but advisors are still bound by fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the client.
There are numerous advisors at the firm with a myriad of professional certifications, including the following designations: certified financial planner (CFP), chartered financial analyst (CFA), chartered retirement planning counselor (CRPC), certified investment management analyst (CIMA), certified private wealth advisor (CPWA), accredited investment fiduciary, among others.
Harbor Investment Advisory Background
Harbor Investment Advisory was founded in 2010. It is wholly owned by parent company Harbor Investment Management, LLC.
The firm’s services include investment advice, separately managed accounts, investment consulting, retirement plan services and financial planning.
Harbor Investment Advisory Investment Strategy
Advisors at Harbor work with clients to develop a strategy that fits their life and goals. A mix of quantitative and qualitative analyses are used to develop investment strategies. Possible investments include stocks, bonds, index mutual funds and alternative investments.
Quantitative analysis is done using only raw numbers; outside factors affecting the company won't be considered. Qualitative anaalysis, on the other hand, looks at the full story behind a company. If a new management team is hired or a new strategy is put in place, this analysis may cause stockpickers to buy or sell shares of the company.
Heritage Investors Management Corp.
Despite having billions in assets under management (AUM), Bethesda-based financial advisor firm Heritage Investors Management Corp. has a relatively small advisory team. The team has an impressive number of advisor certifications. The staff comprises five chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and three chartered investment counselors (CICs), as well as a certified public accountant (CPA).
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. opened in 1974. It’s independently owned by president Michael Cornfeld, who has been in the financial services sphere for more than 40 years.
The firm offers financial services such as portfolio management, retirement planning, trust and estate management and general financial planning.
Heritage Investors Management Corp. Investment Strategy
Heritage Investors Management Corp. primarily invests in stocks, bonds, exchanged-traded funds (ETFs) and money market instruments. 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.
Heritage says that it typically engages in long-term purchases of securities, and the firm’s advisors will usually only hold onto investments long enough to make sure that taxes don’t heavily impact returns. Still, it does not believe that securities should be bought and held forever, and it will adjust portfolios in response to economic and market conditions. It occasionally engages in short-selling and margin transactions, though only after consulting with the client about the risks of these strategies.
Verdence Capital Advisors, LLC
Verdence Capital Advisors, a Hunt Valley-based firm, is next on our list. While this fee-only practice caters to business owners and professionals in the sports and entertainment industries, non-high-net-worth individuals comprise a majority of its client base. Clients also include business entities, pension and profit-sharing plans, trusts, estates and charitable organizations.
You don’t need a minimum account balance to work with Verdence Capital Advisors, but the firm does charge a $10,000 minimum annual fee. For its fiduciary services, the firm collects fees from you based on a percentage of your assets under management. It may also charge flat or fixed fees.
Verdence Capital Advisors Background
Verdence Capital Advisors first opened its doors to the Hunt Valley community in 2017. Leo J. Kelly III is the principal owner and CEO of the business. In addition to its headquarters in Hunt Valley, Verdence maintains an office in Alexandria, Virginia.
The firm offers wealth management, investment advisory and family office services, with an emphasis on its investment-related offerings. Depending on your needs, the firm can advise on topics that include retirement planning, estate planning and tax preparation.
Verdence Capital Advisors Investment Strategy
Verdence manages portfolios with asset allocations based on the client’s investment goals, risk tolerance, time horizon and more. The firm currently invests in mutual funds, individual stocks and bonds. Verdence implements both long- and short-term purchasing strategies. While long-term purchases are held for more than a year, a short-term purchase is when a security is sold within a year of its acquisition.
Maryland Capital Management, LLC
Maryland Capital Management (MCM) is a Baltimore-based financial advisory firm that works on a fee-only basis. MCM requires clients have at least $500,000 to open an account, but may waive this requirement in certain situations. All of MCM's individual clients are high-net-worth individuals. The firm does have some institutional clients that it works with, including pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations, government entities, corporations and other investment advisors.
The firm has several advisors with financial certifications, including chartered financial analyst (CFA) and certified financial planner (CFP) designations. MCM charges an investment management fee based on assets under management. Its advisors do not earn commissions for selling third-party products and services.
Maryland Capital Management Advisors Background
Founded in 1978, MCM is wholly owned by employees. The employees with more than 25% ownership are John Blair and Greg Heard. The two are principals at the firm, and Blair also serves as the president.
Services here include portfolio construction and investment planning. Financial planning can touch on a client's cash flow, income planning and more.
Maryland Capital Management Investment Strategy
Maryland Capital has four main investment strategies that it offers to clients:
- Equity strategies: These portfolios are focused on companies with high quality and potential for above-average growth.
- Fixed-income strategies: Strategies that aim to preserve capital and generate income.
- Alternative strategies: Porfolios using alternative strategies seek optimal market exposure and strive to capitalize on global trends.
- Balanced strategies: Approaches that blend all of the other above strategies at the firm.
Strategic Wealth Management Group
Strategic Wealth Management Group is a fee-only firm managing a significant amount in client assets. The firm has a large staff of advisors with a plethora of financial certifications, including the certified financial planner (CFP) and chartered financial analyst (CFA) designations, among others.
Strategic Wealth works with both individuals and high-net-worth individuals, in addition to pension and profit-sharing plans and corporations. There is no minimum account size requirement, but individual programs may have a recommended account size.
Fees for investment management are based on a percentage of assets under management, while a flat fee is charged for financial planning services.
Strategic Wealth Management Group Background
While registered with the SEC as Strategic Wealth Mangement Group, the firm does business as Wealthspire Advisors since it was acquired by the firm in November 2020. Strategic Wealth was founded in 2001, and is now a subsidiary of Wealthspire.
Strategic Wealth primarily offers portfolio management, financial planning, pension consulting and advisor selection advisory services.
Strategic Wealth Management Group Investment Strategy
Strategic Wealth believes sufficient diversification is essential to limiting investment risk and that asset allocation is key to long-term results, according to its website. In managing portfolios, the firm uses several investment approaches, including passive strategies to keep fees low and manage risk.
When it comes to asset types, the firm typically invests in exchange-listed securities, securities issued by registered investment companies, cash and cash equivalents and bonds.
T. Rowe Price Advisory Services, Inc.
T. Rowe Price Advisory Services, a brand name in the financial services industry, rounds out our list of the top-rated firms in Maryland. Located in Owings Mills, the firm works primarily with non-high-net-worth individuals, as well as one corporation.
Account minimums vary, depending on the services a client signs up for. Minimums can range from as little as $1,000 to $50,000.
As a fee-only firm, T. Rowe Price advisors do not earn commissions for selling products or services. However, unlike most other fee-only practices, this firm does not charge fees that are based on a percentage of a client's assets. Instead, T. Rowe Price is compensated by management fees attached to the underling Price funds that clients will hold in their portfolios.
T. Rowe Price Advisory Services Background
Founded in 2000, the firm is a wholly owned subsidiary of T. Rowe Price Group, Inc. Clients will have access to a variety of investment account options and services, including the company's ActivePlus Portfolios Program, an online discretionary investment management service available for individual retirement accounts (IRAs).
Clients can also utilize the company's Investment Allocation Tool, a non-discretionary advice service that provides point-in-time allocation recommendations. T. Rowe Price offers a similar service called the Retirement Fund Recommendation Service, which is tailored to help clients select a T. Rowe Price retirment fund best suited for their age, investment amount and other considerations.
T. Rowe Price Advisory Services Investment Strategy
The firm currently only selects and recommends T. Rowe Price funds as part of its advisory services. The underlying strategies of these funds are comparable to those of actively managed exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
Model portfolios constructed for the APP Program offer clients broad diversification with equity allocations across small-, mid- and large-cap sectors and global markets.
Investments recommendations offered through the T. Rowe Price Investment Allocation Tool will be based on a client's answers to a special questionnaire. Clients will be able to choose between a multi-fund portfolio or a single fund portfolio.
Retirement funds, meanwhile, rely on diversified, long-term asset allocation strategies that are paired with simplified financial planning so an investor's exposure to risk can be adjusted over time.