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Top Financial Advisor Firms in Maryland

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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. To differentiate the firms, we’ve laid out their various fee structures, advisory services, investing ideologies and more.

Still having trouble narrowing things down? A financial advisor matching tool can make your decision even simpler: Just answer a few questions about your finances and goals and you'll get matched with up to three advisors in your area.

Rank Financial Advisor Assets Managed Minimum Assets Financial Services More Information
1 1919 Investment Counsel 1919 Investment Counsel logo Find an Advisor

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$11,250,678,157

$2,000,000

  • Investment management
  • Financial planning
  • Family office services

Minimum Assets

$2,000,000

Financial Services

  • Investment management
  • Financial planning
  • Family office services
2 WMS Partners, LLC WMS Partners, LLC logo Find an Advisor

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$4,132,675,696 $3,000,000
  • Finanical planning services
  • Portfolio management
  • Selection of other advisors (including private fund managers)

Minimum Assets

$3,000,000

Financial Services

  • Finanical planning services
  • Portfolio management
  • Selection of other advisors (including private fund managers)
3 Heritage Investors Management Corp. Heritage Investors Management Corp. logo Find an Advisor

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$2,478,794,000 $1,000,000
  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management
  • Selection of other advisors (including private fund managers)

Minimum Assets

$1,000,000

Financial Services

  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management
  • Selection of other advisors (including private fund managers)

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4 Pinnacle Advisory Group, Inc. Pinnacle Advisory Group, Inc. logo Find an Advisor

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$2,050,437,552 $500,000
  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management
  • Pension consulting services
  • Publication of periodicals or newsletters

Minimum Assets

$500,000

Financial Services

  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management
  • Pension consulting services
  • Publication of periodicals or newsletters
5 Verdence Capital Advisors, LLC Verdence Capital Advisors, LLC logo Find an Advisor

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$1,511,643,426 None (but $10,000 minimum fee)
  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management

Minimum Assets

None (but $10,000 minimum fee)

Financial Services

  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management
6 Trumbower Financial Advisors, LLC Trumbower Financial Advisors, LLC logo Find an Advisor

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$1,268,375,652 None
  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management
  • Pension consulting services
  • Selection of other advisors (including private fund managers)
  • Publication of periodicals or newsletters

Minimum Assets

None

Financial Services

  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management
  • Pension consulting services
  • Selection of other advisors (including private fund managers)
  • Publication of periodicals or newsletters
7 StratWealth StratWealth logo Find an Advisor

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$1,216,713,101 None
  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management
  • Pension consulting services
  • Selection of other advisors (including private fund managers)

Minimum Assets

None

Financial Services

  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management
  • Pension consulting services
  • Selection of other advisors (including private fund managers)
8 FBB Capital Partners FBB Capital Partners logo Find an Advisor

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$1,135,203,747 $500,000
  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management

Minimum Assets

$500,000

Financial Services

  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management
9 Cornerstone Advisory, LLC Cornerstone Advisory, LLC logo Find an Advisor

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$1,090,660,178 $500,000
  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management
  • Pension consulting services

Minimum Assets

$500,000

Financial Services

  • Financial planning services
  • Portfolio management
  • Pension consulting services
10 Maryland Capital Management Maryland Capital Management logo Find an Advisor

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$1,036,401,558 $500,000
  • Portfolio construction
  • Investment solutions

Minimum Assets

$500,000

Financial Services

  • Portfolio construction
  • Investment solutions

How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in Maryland

We only considered financial advisor firms located in Maryland that are registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). That’s because of the inherent fiduciary duty that comes with registering with the SEC, 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.

1919 Investment Counsel

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 22 chartered financial analysts (CFAs), seven certified financial planner (CFP), one certified trust and financial advisor (CTFA) and one chartered advisor in philanthropy (CAP).

The clients of this fee-based 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 works with 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 - as its name might indicate - 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

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 five certified public accountants (CPAs) on staff. In addition, you’ll find five chartered financial analysts (CFAs), five certified financial planners (CFPs), two accredited wealth management analysts (AWMAs) and one accredited investment fiduciary (AIF).

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 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.

Heritage Investors Management Corp.

Despite having over $2 billion in assets under management (AUM), Bethesda-based financial advisor firm Heritage Investors Management Corp. has a relatively small advisory team, with just seven advisors on staff. The team has an impressive number of advisor certifications - between them, they boast five chartered financial analyst (CFA) certifications and five chartered investment counselor (CIC) certifications, 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. 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.

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.

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. 

Pinnacle Advisory Group, Inc.

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:

  • 17 certified financial planners (CFPs)
  • 4 chartered financial analysts (CFA)
  • 3 certified public accountants (CPAs)
  • 3 chartered financial consultants (ChFC)
  • 1 chartered life underwriter (CLU)
  • 1 registered employee benefits consultant (REBC)
  • 1 chartered advisor for senior living (CASL)
  • 1 certified tax specialist (CTS)
  • 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 the “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.”

Verdence Capital Advisors, LLC

Verdence Capital Advisors, LLC

Verdence Capital Advisors is an advisory shop based in Hunt Valley. It also has an office in Vienna, Va. The firm has more than $1.5 billion in assets under management. It services a mix of individual investors and high-net-worth individuals, along with some pension and profit-sharing plans and other institutional clients. Verdence does not list a minimum account size but does require a minimum annual fee of $10,000.

There are 16 advisors working at Verdence. The team boasts an impressive number of certifications: four certified financial planners (CFP), five accredited investment fiduciaries (AIF), three chartered retirement planning counselors (CRPC), two certified business exit consultants (CBEC), one certified exit planning consultant (CEPA), two qualified family office professionals (QPOC), two chartered investment management analysts (CIMA) and one chartered financial advisor (CFA).

Clients of Verdence pay an annual advisory fee based on a percentage of assets under management. Some advisors at the firm are registered broker-dealers and could make commissions selling securities to clients. Though this represents a potential conflict of interest, fiduciary duty bounds advisors to act in the best interest of clients.

Verdence Capital Advisors Background

Verdence was formed in July of 2017. It is principally owned by Leo J. Kelly III, who also serves as the managing member of the firm.

A number of services are offered by the firm, including:

  • Investment management
  • Philanthropy
  • Estate planning
  • Tax planning
  • Wealth management

Verdence Capital Advisors Investing Strategy

Verdence uses fundamental, technical and cyclical analysis to make choices about how to invest for their clients. The firm engages in both long-term and short-term purchases of mutual funds, stocks, and bonds. 

Trumbower Financial Advisors, LLC

Trumbower Financial Advisors, LLC

Just five employees make up the advisory team at Trumbower Financial Advisors, LLC, a Bethesda-based financial advisor firm managing 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.

The firm aims to provide truly comprehensive management of your finances. 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 you decide on. Lastly, the firm will evaluate the model portfolio’s performance and rebalance your account regularly and as needed.

StratWealth

StratWealth

Fee-based financial advisor firm StratWealth is located in Columbia. 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), eight certified financial planners (CFPs), one chartered retirement plans specialist (CRPS), two certified plan fiduciary advisors (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 Background

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.

FBB Capital Partners

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 eight certified financial planners (CFPs), four 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 buying and 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.

Cornerstone Advisory, LLC

Cornerstone Advisory, LLC

Cornerstone Advisory, LLC has six advisors on staff, though just one has an advisor certification -a certified financial planner (CFP). 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 providing 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.

Maryland Capital Management

Maryland Capital Management

Based in Baltimore, Maryland Capital Management is an advisor with a minimum opening account balance of $500,000 and more than $1 billion in assets under management. All of its individual clients are high-net-worth, and it also does some business with pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and other corporations.

Ten advisors work at Maryland Capital. That includes two chartered financial advisors (CFA) and one certified financial planner (CFP).

Fees paid to the advisory are based on a percentage of assets under management. The firm does work with broker-dealers who provide benefits to the firm, which presents a potential conflict of interest. Like all firms on this list, though, Maryland Capital Management is bound by fiduciary duty to act in a client’s best interest.

Maryland Capital Management Advisors Background

Maryland Capital Management was founded in 1978 and it is 100% owned by employees. The employees with more than 25% ownership are John Blair, Fred Allner and Greg Heard. All three are principals at the firm and Blair also serves as the president.

Services offered by the firm include:

  • Portfolio construction
  • Investment solutions

Maryland Capital Management Investing Strategy

There are four main investing strategies used at Maryland Capital:

  • Equity strategies, focusing on companies that are high quality and have above-average potential long-term growth
  • Fixed income strategies, focused on capital preservation and income generation
  • Alternative strategies, capitalizing on global market trends and providing optimal market exposure
  • Balanced strategies, blending the other strategies offered at the firm

How Many Years $1 Million Lasts in Retirement

SmartAsset's interactive map highlights places where $1 million will last the longest in retirement. Zoom between states and the national map to see the top spots in each region. Also, scroll over any city to learn about cost of living in retirement there.

Least
Most
Rank City Housing Expenses Food Expenses Healthcare Expenses Utilities Expenses Transportation Expenses

Methodology SmartAsset calculated the average cost of living for retirees in the largest U.S. cities. Using that calculation, we determined how many years $1 million would last in retirement in each major city.

First, we looked at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on the average annual expenditures of seniors throughout the country. We then applied cost of living data from the Council for Community and Economic Research to adjust those national average spending levels based on the costs of each expense category (housing, food, healthcare, utilities, transportation and other) in each city.

We assumed the $1 million would grow at a real return (interest minus inflation) of 2%, reflecting the typical return on a conservative investment portfolio. Finally, we divided $1 million by the sum of each of those annual numbers to determine how long $1 million would last in each of the cities in our study.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Council for Community and Economic Research