Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Massachusetts
Choosing a financial advisor firm can be complicated, as there are many factors to consider when comparing firms. If you're searching for an advisor firm in Massachusetts, SmartAsset has made the process a little easier by identifying and comparing the top ten firms in the state. Below you can check out each firm’s minimum account size, fee structure, advisory services and other important considerations. SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool can also help you with the decision process by connecting you up with three financial advisors in your area.
|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||SCS Capital Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$22,229,947,139||$25,000,000|| || |
|2||Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge Fiduciary Advisors, LLP Find an Advisor||$9,016,820,065||$2,000,000|| || |
|3||Ballentine Partners Find an Advisor||$7,927,996,955||$3,500,000|| || |
|4||Eaton Vance Investment Counsel Find an Advisor||$7,742,304,852||Varies by account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries by account type
|5||Sentinel Pension Advisors, Inc. Find an Advisor||$7,454,539,073||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|6||Fiduciary Trust International, LLC Find an Advisor||$6,253,699,679||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|7||Welch & Forbes, LLC Find an Advisor||$5,589,936,058||$2,000,000|| || |
|8||The Bollard Group, LLC Find an Advisor||$5,570,524,956||$25,000,000|| || |
|9||Choate Investment Advisors Find an Advisor||$5,147,334,744||$10,000,000|| || |
|10||Ropes Wealth Advisors Find an Advisor||$5,013,720,577||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in Massachusetts
Only SEC-registered financial advisor firms in Massachusetts received consideration for placement on this list. The SEC requires that all registered firms abide by fiduciary duty, legally compelling them to act in client’s best financial interests. We only considered firms that offer financial planning services and primarily serve individual accounts, and eliminated those with disciplinary issues on record. The top ten qualifying firms are ordered here from the most assets under management (AUM) to the least. All information is accurate as of the writing of this article.
SCS Capital Management
The top firm on this list is SCS Capital Management, which is an extremely large firm based in Boston. SCS also holds a spot on SmartAsset's list of the top financial advisors in the U.S. The team at this firm includes four chartered financial analysts (CFAs).
When it comes to individuals, the firm only serves those with a high net worth. This is likely due to the firm's requirement that clients have at least $25 million in investable assets. SCS also has an institutional business, advising pooled investment vehicles, charitable organizations and sovereign wealth funds/foreign official institutions.
Clients are charged for wealth management based on a percentage of assets under management (AUM) and some funds charge a performance fee. Though the firm’s parent company does own broker-dealers, advisors at SCS do not earn commissions.
SCS Capital Management Background
SCS Capital Management was founded in 2002. It is owned by Focus Operating, LLC, which is owned by Focus Financial Partners, LLC. The parent company is a publicly traded company. SCS is actually managed by Partners Perpetual Trust, LLC via an agreement between the firms.
The firm’s services include:
- Wealth management
- Strategic tax planning
- Fund of fund management
- Philanthropic planning
- Investment management
- Risk management
- Family office services
- Estate planning
SCS Capital Management Investment Strategy
At SCS Capital Management, investment strategies are made for each client in a way that makes sense for their situation, considering especially asset allocation and portfolio design. Both risk tolerance and return objective are part of that calculation.
There are a number of funds of hedge funds at the firm, as well has funds of private equity funds.
Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge Fiduciary Advisors
Out of the almost 3,000 individual clients that Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge Fiduciary Advisors, LLP currently has, all of them have a high net worth. The firm has a $2 million relationship minimum, though it may waiver this requirement. Aside from individuals, the firm also manages funds for retirement accounts, foundation, endowments and businesses.
The advisory team at this fee-only firm splits 10 chartered financial analyst (CFA) certifications among them. Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge was also holds a spot on SmartAsset’s list of the top financial advisor firms in Boston.
Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge Fiduciary Advisors Background
Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge Fiduciary Advisors was established in 1994 and is employee-owned by the firm’s 11 trustees, two former trustees and one former senior manager.
This firm has a family office to provide complete financial planning services across generations, as well as other offerings for individuals. These include charitable gift planning, tax planning, estate planning and financial planning.
Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge Fiduciary Advisors Investing Strategy
According to its Form ADV, Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge invests client assets mostly in what it deems “high quality growth stocks.” It does this as a way to combine the benefits of long- and short-term investing, as it will hold onto your stocks for long periods of time to reduce taxes, trading fees and other extraneous costs.
Although the firm has its own set of investment ideologies and is confident in them, it does allow you, the client, some level of control over your account. In other words, if you disagree with a decision from the firm, or you have some of your own ideas, tell your advisor and he or she will like make the change.
What will likely immediately jump out to you about this firm is its $3.5 million minimum account size. This automatically places it as a high-net-worth-centric firm. This is backed up by the fact that firm's entire client base is comprised of individuals with a high net worth.
The sizable group of advisors at this firm combines for a large number of certifications: 26 certified financial planners (CFPs), 14 chartered financial analysts (CFAs), three chartered alternative investment analysts (CAIAs), three certified public accountants (CPAs), one chartered financial consultant (ChFC) and two certified private wealth advisors (CPWAs).
Ballentine is a fee-only financial advisor firm located in Waltham.
Ballentine Partners Background
Ballentine Partners was created in 2010, though it can trace its history back to 1984 when Roy Ballentine founded its original predecessor, Ballentine & Company, Inc. The firm is nearly two-thirds owned by senior employees, with Perspecta Investments, LLC, a holding company, having the remaining ownership stake.
Ballentine’s services include:
- Cash flow analysis
- Balance sheet & budget creation
- Estate planning
- Retirement planning
- Tax planning
- Debt management
- Insurance/risk analysis
Ballentine Partners Investing Strategy
Rather than straight up build your portfolio for you, Ballentine will act as your “CIO” and offer recommendations about asset allocations, diversification and risk management for any investment style you want to apply. The final decisions associated with this will be based on your stated risk tolerance, time horizon and financial goals, though the firm does have its own investment strategies if you’re interested.
Eaton Vance Investment Counsel
Although Eaton Vance Investment Counsel (EVIC) states that it manages assets for trusts, estates, personal holding companies, pension and profit-sharing plans, labor unions, religious organizations, businesses and more, its most common clientele is individuals. As a matter of fact, it has over 2,700 individual clients to its name. However, be sure to have at least $1 million ready to invest prior to approaching this firm.
Eaton Vance Investment Counsel has on hand 14 chartered financial analysts (CFAs), five certified financial planners (CFPs), two chartered investment counselors (CICs), one chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA), one advisor with a certificate in investment performance measurement (CIPM) and one chartered advisor in philanthropy (CAP).
Eaton Vance is a fee-only firm, and it holds a spot on SmartAsset’s list of the top financial advisors in Boston.
Eaton Vance Investment Counsel Background
Eaton Vance Investment Counsel began in 2004, though it’s a subsidiary of Eaton Vance Corp. This company has been involved in the financial advising industry since way back in 1924.
Eaton Vance boasts a fairly large set of advisory services, such as real estate management, charitable gift planning, estate planning, investment management, financial planning for businesses, insurance review, tax management and general cash flow planning.
Eaton Vance Investment Counsel Investing Strategy
All portfolios are customized to a client at EVIC, in an effort to do more than just match someone with a preexisting strategy. Any other advisory services you’re looking for - estate planning, tax management, general financial planning - advisors here will work into your portfolio investment choices because of this personalized ideology.
Like most firms, EVIC has choices that it believes are generally the most reliable and offer a strong chance for growth. These include investment grade bonds, equities, municipal bonds, high yield bonds and floating rate bank loans.
Sentinel Pension Advisors
Sentinel Pension Advisors, Inc. (SPA) is a fee-based financial advisor firm based in Wakefield. The firm's financial planning and education team includes nine accredited investment fiduciaries (AIFs), eight certified financial planners (CFPs), two qualified plan financial consultants (QPFCs), one chartered financial analyst (CFA), two certified plan fiduciary advisors (CPFAs), one certified employee benefits specialist (CEBS), one chartered life underwriter (CLU) and more.
Sentinel Pension Advisors does not have a minimum required account size. None of its individual accounts are high-net-worth. All institutional clients are pension and profit-sharing plans. The firm's fees are based on a percentage of assets under management.
Some advisors at the firm are also licensed to offer certain securities and earn commissions for doing so. This is a potential conflict of interest, but the advisors are still bound by fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of clients.
Sentinel Pension Advisors Background
Sentinel Pension Advisors was founded in 1998 and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Focus Financial Partners, a publicly traded company. The firm is led by CEO Samuel Mitchell.
Services offered by SPA include:
- Investment advisory services
- Managed account services
- Retirement plan advisory services
Sentinel Pension Advisors Investment Strategy
The following four types of assets are the core of Sentinel Pension Advisors' investment strategies:
- Fixed-income: used to generate income, generally through multiple sectors of the bond market
- U.S. equities: a full range of domestic stock investments, across market cap and styles
- Foreign equities: international equities across market cap and style
- Alternatives: funds focused on other strategies, such as on a single style or sector
Fiduciary Trust International
Fiduciary Trust International, LLC (FTI), which used to be known as Athena Capital Advisors, has only 38 individual clients, all of whom unsurprisingly have a high net worth. So while it technically doesn’t have a set account minimum, the firm is extremely exclusive. Charitable organizations, estates, trusts, families and corporations will also find services at this Lincoln-based, fee-only firm.
This firm is part of Franklin Templeton, which is one of the largest investment companies in the world. The team of advisors at this firm includes one certified public accountant (CPA) and two chartered financial analysts (CFAs). This firm operates secondary offices throughout the U.S.
Fiduciary Trust International Background
Dr. Lisette Cooper formed Athena Capital Advisors in 1993. However, in June of 2020, the firm was acquired by Fiduciary Trust Company International, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Franklin Templeton. Cooper still works at FTI, serving as vice chair.
Being that this firm deals almost exclusively with ultra-high-net-worth individuals and their families, its services are extremely customizable. However, the firm still does feature some anchors like estate planning, charitable giving planning, distribution planning and other financial management services.
Fiduciary Trust International Investing Strategy
Athena structures all of its portfolios on the endowment model, which incorporates diversification to attempt to choose a wide range of unrelated investments. In the end, the goal is to achieve “strong and sustainable risk-adjusted returns” over the course of the long-term.
While this might come off as easier said than done, the firm uses a few activities to try and ensure that the above ideology is realized. These include diversifying not only across markets, but also managers, using both future and historical investment reports and minimizing trading and tax costs.
Welch & Forbes
Welch & Forbes, LLC is a Boston-based, fee-only financial advisor firm. The firm's team of advisors includes seven chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and two certified public accountants (CPAs). A minimum account size of $2 million is enforced here, though the firm reserves the right to waive that minimum. The firm advises both non-high-net-worth and high-net-worth individuals. It also boasts a sizeable institutional business, advising pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations, other investment advisers and corporations.
Investment advisory fees paid to Welch & Forbes are based on a percentage of assets under management. Advisors are not registered with a broker-dealer and do not make commissions for selling clients securities or insurance products.
Welch & Forbes Background
Welch & Forbes has deep roots, as the company was founded before the American Civil War, in 1838. The majority of the firm is owned by Affiliated Managers Group, Inc. Employees of the firm own the rest of the equity.
Services offered by the firm include:
- Investment advisory services
- Trust services
- Fiduciary services
- Philanthropic services
- Estate administration
- Tax services
- Cash flow analysis
Welch & Forbes Investing Strategy
A number of portfolio styles are available to clients at Welch & Forbes. They include:
- Multi-cap core equity, with both domestic and international stocks
- Specialty, with a sector or style chosen by the client
- Open architecture, focused on mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
- Income, with fixed-income securities focusing on either income or total return
- Alternative investments, focusing on things like venture capital, private equity, hedge funds or real estate
The Bollard Group
Headquartered in Boston, The Bollard Group is an extremely exclusive financial advisor firm that bases its entire business around high-net-worth individual clients. In fact, despite having billions of dollars in assets under management, the firm only works with 12 high-net-worth clients. Other than these accounts, the firm also manages a collection of pooled investment vehicles.
A fee-only firm, all of The Bollard Group's compensation comes from client-paid fees. The firm provides both discretionary and non-discretionary investment management, as well as multiple types of financial planning. These can include estate planning, income tax advising, tax return preparation, bookkeeping, wealth management, accounting and more.
While the firm may make exceptions to this rule, new clients of The Bollard Group are generally required to have at least $25 million in investable assets. Under certain circumstances, though, the firm may waive this requirement.
The Bollard Group Background
The Bollard Group was established in 1995. Today, the firm is owned by members of its senior management team, with principal Anastasios Parafestas owning the largest share.
In addition to its family office, The Bollard Group owns Spinnaker Capital, LLC. Spinnaker Capital is a set of funds that The Bollard Group manages.
The Bollard Group Investment Philosophy
Prior to making any investment decisions, The Bollard Group will take into account each client's risk tolerance, time horizon, investment goals, income needs and more. This is done to ensure that their portfolio's composition falls in line with their personal needs. More specifially, based on these stipulations, the firm will recommend a specific investment strategy that could include domestic and foreign stocks and bonds, options, futures, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and more.
Choate Investment Advisors
The vast majority of Choate Investment Advisors' (ChoateIA) client base is comprised of individuals. While most of these individuals have a high net worth, about 40 do not. This might sound surprising considering ChoateIA's minimum investment is $10 million. However, the firm states in its Form ADV that it may waive this requirement, which it has evidently done a handful of times. This firm's office is located in Boston's Financial District.
This firm offers a collection of investment, financial planning and wealth management services. Investment management services are customizable based on your needs, and it's typically offered on a discretionary basis.
Choate Investment Advisors Background
Choate Investment Advisors has been in business since 1996. The firm is a subsidiary of Choate, Hall & Stewart, LLP, which is a Boston-based law firm. ChoateIA is run on a daily basis by managing director Todd Millay.
The team of advisors at this firm includes three chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and one certified financial planner (CFP).
Choate Investment Advisors Investment Philosophy
According to its SEC-filed Form ADV, Choate Investment Advisors believes that a strong asset allocation "is the primary determinant of long-term investment performance." As a result, the firm will use your risk tolerance and time horizon to create a collection of investments in your portfolio that are designed to maximize returns for your specific risk level.
This approach naturally lends itself to a long-term focus, and ChoateIA obliges. In other words, the firm will not try to generate heavy returns in the short-term through consistent trading or other methods. These types of strategies can incur high trading costs, which could hurt your returns over the long term.
Ropes Wealth Advisors
Fee-only Ropes Wealth Advisors offers holistic financial planning and investment management services. Financial planning at this firm can be entirely personalized, as the firm aims to address neds that apply to your situation. This could include many different topics, such as retirement planning, estate planning, life insurance planning, cash flow analysis, mortgage and debt management, lifetime family gift planning, education fund planning and more.
This firm has well over 1,100 clients, and all but 26 of them are individuals and families. While the firm currently deals with more high-net-worth individual clients, it does work with a few hundred non-high-net-worth individuals. Institutional clients of the firm include retirement plans, charities and businesses. There is no minimum investment needed to become a client of Ropes Wealth.
Ropes Wealth Advisors Background
Founded in 2013, Ropes Wealth Advisors is a fairly young firm. However, it is owned by Ropes & Gray, LLP, which has a history that reaches as far back as 1865. CEO and chief economist Michelle Knight and chief investment officer (CIO) Joseph Powers run the firm.
The advisory staff at this firm includes one certified financial planner (CFP).
Ropes Wealth Advisors Investment Philosophy
Similar to some of the other firms on this list, Ropes Wealth Advisors' premier focus when building client portfolios is their individual asset allocations. In short, the creation of an asset allocation is meant to maximize returns for a given risk tolerance. As a result, your personal risk tolerance is extremely influential over the composition of your portfolio.
This firm tends to invest using a long-term time horizon. Should your personal financial situation or market conditions call for short-term adjustments, the firm may partially deviate from this philosophy though. Ropes Wealth occasionally invests in individual stocks and bonds, but it usually sticks to mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and separately managed accounts (SMAs).