Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Massachusetts
Financial advisor firms are unique, and the seemingly minute details each has can make a world of difference for your money in the long run. To aid you in identifying what Massachusetts-based firms might work for you, SmartAsset has determined the top 10 firms in the state. Below you can check out each firm’s minimum account size, fee structure, advisory services and other important facts to focus on. SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool can also help you with the decision process by pairing you up with three financial advisors in your area that meet your needs.
|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||Appleton Partners, Inc. Find an Advisor||$9,144,218,600|| |
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|2||Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge Fiduciary Advisors, LLP Find an Advisor||$7,228,334,900|| |
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|3||Ballentine Partners Find an Advisor||$6,698,575,100||$3,500,000|| || |
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|4||The Colony Group, LLC Find an Advisor||$6,309,687,500|| |
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|5||Eaton Vance Investment Counsel Find an Advisor||$6,113,088,000|| |
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|6||Athena Capital Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$5,471,678,900||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|7||Ropes Wealth Advisors LLC Find an Advisor||$3,845,215,300|| |
No set account minimum
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No set account minimum
|8||Seaward Management Find an Advisor||$2,780,147,400|| |
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|9||Twin Focus Capital Partners, LLC Find an Advisor||$2,488,860,700|| |
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|10||Weston Financial Find an Advisor||$2,458,697,500||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. SmartAsset decided on this, because the SEC requires that all registered firms abide by fiduciary duty, legally forcing them to act in client’s best financial interests. We immediately eliminated from this list firms without financial planning services or individual accounts and those with disciplinary issues on record. These are your top financial advisor firms in Massachusetts based on these requirements, in order from the most assets under management (AUM) to the least.
Appleton Partners, Inc.
Appleton Partners, Inc. has just over $9 billion in client funds to its name, making it by-and-large the biggest firm on this list. Even at this massive size, though, it employs just 20 financial advisors. Across this group, you’ll find 12 chartered financial analysts (CFAs), two investment advisor certified compliance professionals (IACCPs), one certified financial planner (CFP) and one certificate in investment performance measurement advisor (CIPM).
You’ll need at least $1 million in investable assets to have an advisory relationship with Appleton. The firm typically works with individuals (both high-net-worth and not), banks, charities, businesses, other investment advisors, government entities and pension/profit-sharing plans. The firm’s fee structure is also unique, as it only consists of charges based off a percentage of your assets under management (AUM), whereas most others will include this with hourly and fixed-rate fees.
This fee-only firm is located in Boston. SmartAsset named it the top financial advisor firm in the city.
Appleton Partners, Inc. Background
Although president Douglas Chamberlain claims a large portion of Appleton Partners, Inc.’s membership, the firm is not completely independently run. Appleton Partners Business Trust is also a shareholder of this firm that was founded in 1987. It is the second oldest company on this list behind 10th place Weston Financial.
Appleton Partners is like many large firms that have non-specific services, so as to remain flexible for different types of clients. In general, though, you can expect to receive comprehensive financial planning and goal-based investment management.
Appleton Partners, Inc. Investing Strategy
Appleton has built 11 different investment and portfolio-building strategies that it will apply to clients’ accounts depending on their risk tolerance, time horizon and other factors. These are divided into three subsections: investment grade fixed income strategies, equity strategies and “BetaCore.”
Fixed income strategies predictably consist of fixed income investments with portfolio options stretching from short- and long-term municipal bonds to strategic municipal crossover fixed income and more. On the other hand, equity strategies have just three different portfolios: large cap growth equity, dividend focus equity and value opportunities equity. As you move further down this list, the risk tolerance gets lower.
BetaCore is the only one that’s more out-of-the-box than the rest. This program is centered around exchange-traded funds (ETFs), as they’re inherently diversified across specific markets. To flesh out your portfolio, the firm will utilize active satellite strategy to aid in building short-term growth and liquidity.
Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge Fiduciary Advisors, LLP
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. This is just about unprecedented, especially because of the firm’s $1 million variable account minimum. Aside from individuals, the firm also manages funds for retirement accounts, foundations, endowments and more.
The 15-man advisory team at this fee-only firm splits eight chartered financial analyst (CFA) certifications among them. Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge was named the second on SmartAsset’s list of the top financial advisor firms in Boston.
Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge Fiduciary Advisors, LLP Background
Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge Fiduciary Advisors, LLP was established in 1994 and is employee-owned across 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, LLP Investing Strategy
Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge invests client assets mostly in what it deems “high quality growth stocks and equities.” 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, though that distinction doesn’t really hold up. In fact, the firm has well over 100 individual clients without a high net worth. It also serves estates, trusts, pension/profit-sharing plans and charities.
The sizable 53-person group of advisors at this firm combines for a whopping 35 certifications: 17 certified financial planners (CFPs), 13 chartered financial analysts (CFAs), two chartered alternative investment analysts (CAIAs), one certified public accountant (CPA), one chartered financial consultant (ChFC) and one certified private wealth advisor (CPWA).
Ballentine is fee-only and 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 Holdings, 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.
The Colony Group, LLC
The Colony Group, LLC employs the largest team of advisors of any firm on this list at 110 members. As you might imagine, its set of advisor certifications is equally as massive: 24 certified financial planners (CFPs), 10 chartered financial analysts (CFAs), four certified public accountants (CPAs), two chartered market technicians (CMTs), one accredited estate planner (AEP), one chartered life underwriter (CLU), one certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) and one enrolled agent (EA).
This fee-only firm has a $500,000 minimum opening account size. It’s headquartered in Boston, SmartAsset named it third on our list of top advisory firms in the city.
Almost 2,000 individual clients currently work with this firm, about two-thirds of whom have a high net worth. Otherwise, individuals, families, trusts, charitable foundations, retirement/profit-sharing plans and institutions make up the rest of the firm’s typical clientele.
The Colony Group, LLC Background
Focus Financial Partners, LLC owns The Colony Group, LLC, making it part of a massive network of financial advisors and firms. It has been around since 2007 as it stands today, though “Old Colony,” an earlier version of the firm, began in 1986.
Not many financial advisor firms offer as many advisory services as Colony. In fact, some of these include:
- Family office services
- Tax planning
- Wealth and lifestyle management
- Estate and philanthropic gift planning
- Investment planning
- Financial counseling
- Retirement planning
- Cash flow planning
- Risk management
- Tax return preparation
- Education cost planning
- Financial management
- Bill pay processing
- Budget creation
- Monthly financial reporting
The Colony Group, LLC Investing Strategy
Colony uses four main investment avenues, depending on your personal needs: fixed-income, ETF, mutual fund and proprietary equity. The firm performs its own research on these investments and the strategies that surround them so as to not solely rely on outside sources. Growth potential, valuation, relative price strength and return are all major factors that are looked into. For applicable investments, the firm will also delve deeper into their account managers.
Eaton Vance Investment Counsel
Although Eaton Vance Investment Counsel states that it manages assets for trusts, estates, personal holding companies, pension/profit-sharing plans, labor unions, religious organizations, businesses and more, its most common clientele is individuals. As a matter of fact, it has over 2,300 individual clients to its name. However, be sure to have at least $1 million ready to invest prior to approaching this firm.
EVIC has on hand 11 chartered financial analysts (CFAs), four 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 fee-only and holds fourth place on SmartAsset’s list of the top financial advisor firms in Boston.
Eaton Vance Investment Counsel Background
Eaton Vance Investment Counsel began in 2004, though it’s a subsidiary of Eaton Vance Corp., a company that’s been involved in financial advising since 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.
Athena Capital Advisors, LLC
Although Athena Capital Advisors, LLC has nearly $5.5 billion in client assets under its management, it has only 38 individual clients, all of which 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 also will find services here at this Lincoln-based, fee-only firm.
There are 31 advisory staff members at Athena Capital. Within this team are eight chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and one chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA).
Athena Capital Advisors, LLC Background
Dr. Lisette Cooper formed Athena Capital Advisors, LLC in 1993 and remains the firm’s majority owner to this day. However, a handful of employees and outside investors do hold some shares of the firm as well.
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.
Athena Capital Advisors, LLC 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.
Ropes Wealth Advisors LLC
No firm on this list has a smaller staff of advisors than Ropes Wealth Advisors, with just 10 employees at a firm with over $3.8 billion in assets under management (AUM). Throughout this team is one certified financial planner (CFP), chartered financial analyst (CFA) and one investment advisor certified compliance professional (IACCP).
There is no minimum account size at Ropes Wealth, though it appears to favor those with a high net worth based on the distribution of its client base. Families, businesses, estates, trusts and charitable organizations make up the remainder of the firm’s clientele.
This fee-only firm principally does business in Boston. It also managed to fall in fifth place on SmartAsset’s list of the top financial advisor firms there.
Ropes Wealth Advisors Background
With a founding date of 2013, Ropes Wealth Advisors is the most recently-formed firm on this list. Ropes & Gray LLP owns 100% of the firm, though.
Ropes Wealth prides itself on avoiding a one-size-fits-all style approach to client services and financial planning/management. When you enter into a relationship with this firm, it will take the time to listen to your needs and subsequently build a corresponding portfolio to match them.
Ropes Wealth Advisors Investing Strategy
To begin your relationship with Ropes Wealth Advisors, you and your advisor will take real look into what your eventual financial goals are, when you want to reach them and what risk tolerance you’re willing to adhere to in order to make the first two factors a reality, safely and reliably. From this information, the firm will pair you with one of its seven investment portfolio options. Depending on your client profile the firm will choose one of these strategies for you: conservative, moderately conservative, balanced, growth, aggressive growth, equity only and fixed income only.
Seaward Management calls for a minimum of $1 million of investable assets for new portfolios. However, this isn’t a strict number and can be shifted depending on your specific situation. The fee-only firm evidently sometimes does this, as it has almost 200 non-high-net-worth clients. Pension plans, retirement plans, banks, small businesses, trusts, estates, charitable organizations and endowments flesh out the rest of Seaward’s client base.
As of now, this firm has just three chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and two certified financial planners (CFPs). SmartAsset titled it sixth on its list of the top financial advisor firms in Boston.
Seaward Management Background
Seaward Management has been in business since 1988. Its ownership shares are split between two holding companies: Seaward Management Business Trust and Prio Wealth Limited Partners.
FinLife® is a software program that Seaward uses to evaluate the financial situations of clients as well as identify areas to make improvements. Aside from this, the firm also offers traditional investment management.
Seaward Management Investing Strategy
Should Seaward Management determine that your client profile suggests a stock-centric portfolio is appropriate, it will search for what it calls “high quality, market-leading companies within growing industries” to invest in. While this presents an inherent level of risk, the firm will look to allocate funds to investments that have reasonable valuations to try and attract growth in the long-term.
Opposite this is the firm’s bond portfolio strategy, which is much more reliable, though it comes with less growth potential. More specifically, it will choose high-quality, investment-grade bonds that mitigate taxes or eliminate them.
Twin Focus Capital Partners, LLC
Twin Focus Capital Partners, LLC has around only 80 individual clients, which might come off surprising based on its $2.48 billion size. But things become a lot clearer when you realize that its account minimum is a rather sizable $50 million. Besides individuals, Twin Focus also manages funds for estates, trusts, charitable organizations, businesses and pension/profit-sharing plans.
SmartAsset ranked the firm seventh on its list of the top financial advisor firms in Boston. Its client cost structure is fee-only.
Seven chartered financial analysts (CFAs), five certified financial planners (CFPs), two chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA) and one certified public accountant (CPA) are peppered throughout this firm.
Twin Focus Capital Partners, LLC Background
Brothers Wesley and Paul Karger co-founded Twin Focus Capital Partners, LLC in 2006. The duo still acts as principals and 100% to this day.
Depending on the type of client you are, the services that Twin Focus will apply will differ. For example, individuals and families will likely receive multi-generational financial planning, tax minimization, estate planning and more. On the other hand, businesses and corporations are larger scale and investment-focused.
Twin Focus Capital Partners, LLC Investing Strategy
Modern portfolio theory (MPT) governs every investment decision that Twin Focus makes. This evergreen strategy is simple, but attempts to implement a “checks and balances” system within each portfolio. It states that investors should only raise their risk tolerance if that uptick has the chance to be accompanied by a proportional rise in return potential.
But because MPT indirectly points to consistent portfolio reevaluation, it’s no surprise that it incorporates rebalancing into its everyday process of managing client accounts. This is not only done to keep your original investment plan in place, but also to identify if there’s an opportunity for a beneficial change.
Although individuals make up most of the clientele of Weston Financial, it also has relationships with corporate pension/profit-sharing plans, foundations, other charitable institutions and endowments.
Between the 12-man advisory team at this firm, there are just three advisor certifications: two certified financial planners (CFPs) and one chartered financial analyst (CFA). Weston Financial has no minimum account size and is located in Wellesley.
As a fee-based firm, Weston Financial employs certain advisors that may be eligible to make bonus commissions off of insurance policy sales. Although this is a conflict of interest, the firm is an SEC-registered fiduciary, and therefore is bound by the law to act in your best interest.
Weston Financial Background
No firm on this list is older than Weston Financial, as it was created in 1983. Rhode Island-based bank The Washington Trust Company owns the firm.
General investment management and financial planning make up the majority of what this firm does for its clients. However, it angles these services to whichever area you’d be interested in working on, such as taxes, retirement, financial objectives, risk management or anything else.
Weston Financial Investing Strategy
When a client joins Weston Financial, he or she will immediately be sanctioned into either the mutual fund/ETF investment strategy or the third-party money manager analysis strategy. Should you fall under the first ideology, your account will be diversified throughout an array of index funds, obviously made up nearly all mutual funds and ETFs. This is geared toward the long-term and will be managed and rebalanced personally by the firm and your advisor.
On the other hand, the third-party route will send your portfolio’s control outside of Weston. So what will the firm do for you? It will delve into each account manager to ensure that your money is being put into the right hands. While this certainly doesn’t garner definite success, it does try to give you peace of mind.