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 10 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 who serve your area.
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|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||SCS Capital Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$32,181,107,000||$25,000,000|| || |
|2||Fiduciary Trust International, LLC Find an Advisor||$5,833,753,515||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|3||Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge Fiduciary Advisors, LLP Find an Advisor||$12,619,340,883||$2,000,000|| || |
|4||Ballentine Partners Find an Advisor||$10,519,787,346||$3,500,000|| || |
|5||The Bollard Group, LLC Find an Advisor||$5,453,735,112||$25,000,000|| || |
|6||Adviser Investments Find an Advisor||$7,249,890,965||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|7||Welch & Forbes, LLC Find an Advisor||$7,806,734,639||$2,000,000|| || |
|8||Sentinel Pension Advisors Inc. Find an Advisor||$10,503,429,858||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|9||Twin Focus Capital Partners, LLC Find an Advisor||$3,443,575,867||$100,000,000|| || |
|10||Grimes & Company, Inc. Find an Advisor||$4,424,601,462||$500,000|| || |
What We Use in Our Methodology
To find the top financial advisors in Massachusetts, 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.
SCS Capital Management, LLC
The No. 1 firm on this list is SCS Capital Management, an extremely large advisory practice based in Boston. SCS also holds the No. 1 spot on SmartAsset's list of the top financial advisors in Boston.
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.
The team at SCS includes at least three chartered financial analysts (CFAs).
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 managed by Partners Perpetual Trust, LLC via an agreement between the firms.
The firm’s services include:
- Strategic financial planning
- Asset allocation
- Public equity and bond manager selection
- Alternative manager selection (private equity and debt, venture capital, real estate, hedge funds)
- Portfolio construction
- Risk management
- Asset protection and insurance
- Family office and wealth/investment education
- Strategic trust and estate planning
- Strategic income tax planning
- Philanthropic strategies
SCS Capital Management Investment Strategy
At SCS, investment strategies are made for each client in a way that makes sense for their situation, taking into considering asset allocation and portfolio design. Both risk tolerance and return objective are part of that calculation.
SCS relies on low-cost, liquid and passave strategies "in areas of the capital markets where active management has shown difficulties in producing excess returns," the firm states on its website. The firm also looks to partner with highly-skilled active managers to exploit market inefficiencies. To that end, the firm uses both commercially available and proprietary databases to track the universe of investment managers in traditional and alternative investments.
Fiduciary Trust International, LLC
Fiduciary Trust International (FTI), which was previously known as Athena Capital Advisors, has only a few dozen individual clients, all of whom unsurprisingly have a high net worth. While it technically doesn’t have a set account minimum, the firm is extremely exclusive and charges a minimum annual fee of $150,000 for discretionary portfolio management services. Charitable organizations, estates, trusts, families and corporations will also find services at this Lincoln-based, fee-only firm.
FTI is part of Franklin Templeton, which is one of the largest investment companies in the world. In addition to his headquarters in Lincoln, FTI operates secondary offices throughout the U.S., as well as Grand Cayman.
Fiduciary Trust International Background
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 Investment Strategy
FTI 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 strategies 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.
Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge Fiduciary Advisors, LLP
Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge Fiduciary Advisors has a large base of individual clients, all of whom have a high net worth. The firm has a $2 million relationship minimum, though it may waive this requirement. Aside from individuals, the firm also manages funds for retirement accounts, foundations, endowments and businesses.
The advisory team at this fee-only firm features nine advisors with the chartered financial analyst (CFA) certification. 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 remains employee-owned by the firm’s 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 Investment 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 securities 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.
Fee-only Ballentine Partners is the top-ranked financial advisor in Waltham, Massachusetts, and one of the highest-rated practices in the state.
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 firm. This is backed up by the fact that firm's entire client base is comprises high-net-worth individuals with billions of dollars under management.
The sizable group of advisors at this firm combines for a large number of certifications: 32 certified financial planners (CFPs), 16 chartered financial analysts (CFAs), five chartered alternative investment analysts (CAIAs), one certified private wealth advisor (CPWA), three certified public accountants (CPAs), four chartered advisors in philanthropy (CAPs), one chartered financial counselor (ChFC) and one chartered retirement planning counselor (CRPC).
Ballentine Partners Background
While it was founded in 2010, Ballentine Partners can trace its roots back to 1984 when Roy Ballentine founded Ballentine & Company, Inc. Ballentine Partners became 100% owned and controlled by its senior employees or trusts created by those employees, either through direct ownership or indirect ownership through Ballentine & Company, LLC. In 2022, the firm intends privately sell about 30% of equity to clients.
Ballentine’s services include:
- Investment management
- Financial planning
- Estate planning
- Retirement planning
- Tax planning
- Business planning
- Risk planning/management
Ballentine Partners Investment Strategy
Rather than unilaterally 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 firm may invest your assets in a mix of cash, bonds, stocks, real estate funds, hedge funds, private equity funds, timber funds, energy funds and commodity funds.
The Bollard Group, LLC
Headquartered in Boston, The Bollard Group is an extremely exclusive financial advisory 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 about a dozen high-net-worth clients. Other than these accounts, the firm also manages a collection of pooled investment vehicles.
As fee-only firm, all of The Bollard Group's compensation comes from client-paid fees.
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 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.
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.
The firm will then recommend a specific investment strategy, including active management of U.S. and global equity and fixed income securities, options and futures, ETFs, concentrated holdings and hedging as well as management of liquid cash balances. The Bollard Group may use leverage, short sales, margin and other trading strategies based on the client’s financial condition and tolerance for risk.
Adviser Investments in Newton, Massachusetts, is a large, fee-only firm that works primarily with individual clients, both above and below the high-net-worth threshold. The firm also serves pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations, government entities and corporations.
Advisor Investments, which is also the top-rated firm in Newton, requires a minimum relationship size of $350,000, although certain strategies have their own minimum initial account requirements. For example, only $100,000 is required for accounts that use mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and individual equities. For accounts that invest in individual bonds, you'll need at least $500,000.
As a fee-only firm, Adviser Investments' revenue comes solely from the fees that advisory clients pay. The firm's advisors do not collect commissions from third-parties for selling securities or insurance products. The firm charges an asset-based fee ranging from 0.40% to 1.50% of assets under management for investment management. Fees for other services may be determined on a case by case basis.
Members of the Adviser Investments team have a number of financial certifications, including the certified financial planner (CFP), chartered financial analyst (CFA), certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) and chartered financial consultant (ChFC) designations.
Adviser Investments Background
Adviser Investments was founded in 1994 by former investigative reporter Dan Wiener, David Thorne and Dan Silver. Wiener, who remains the firm's chairman, previously published an independent newsletter on Vanguard funds but sold the venture to start Adviser Investments with Thorne and Silver.
Today, the firm offers the following services:
- Portfolio management
- Financial planning
- Tax planning
- 401(k) advisory services
- Managed bond program.
Adviser Investments Investment Strategy
Adviser Investments has a range of investment strategies available for client. Advisors utilize both fundamental and technical analysis when selecting securities, depending on the strategy being implemented. The firm cam invest client assets in exchange-traded funds, mutual funds, dividend income assets and managed bonds.
Welch & Forbes, LLC
Welch & Forbes is a Boston-based, fee-only financial advisor firm with billions of dollars in assets under management. The firm's team of advisors includes seven chartered financial analysts (CFAs), two certified financial planners (CFPs) and two certified public accountants (CPAs). A minimum account size of $2 million is required of clients, although the firm reserves the right to waive that minimum.
Welch and Forbes 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
- Trust services
- Fiduciary services
- Philanthropic services
- Estate administration
- Tax services
- Cash flow analysis
Welch & Forbes Investment Strategy
Portfolio managers at Welch & Forbes determine a unique client asset allocations based on the client’s long-term investment objectives. 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
Sentinel Pension Advisors Inc.
Sentinel Pension Advisors (SPA) is a fee-based financial advisor firm based in Wakefield. Members of the SPA team have a variety of financial certifications, including the accredited investment fiduciary (AIF), certified financial planner (CFP), qualified plan financial consultant (QPFC), chartered financial analyst (CFA), certified plan fiduciary advisors (CPFA) and chartered life underwriter (CLU) designations.
SPA does not impose a minimum account size for investment advisory consulting or retirement plan investment management. However, account minimums that range from $5,000 to $50,000 do apply to different types of portfolio management. None of its individual clients are high-net-worth investors. All institutional clients are pension and profit-sharing plans. The firm's fees are based on a percentage of assets under management. Fees for financial planning may be charged on a flat or hourly basis.
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
- Financial planning services
Sentinel Pension Advisors Investment Strategy
The following four types of assets are the core of SPA's 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
Twin Focus Capital Partners, LLC
Twin Focus Capital Partners, otherwise known as TwinFocus, is a fee-only firm based in Boston. This means that all of its compensation comes from client-paid fees and not financial product sales commissions. The firm mostly works with ultra-wealthy individuals, as it requires clients have a whopping $100 million in investable assets. However, the firm may reduce or waive this minimum. As a result, it does have a handful of non-high-net-worth individual clients, as well as pooled investment vehicles.
A few members of the advisory staff at Twin Focus hold financial certifications. These include two certified public accountants (CPAs), nine chartered financial analysts (CFAs), four certified financial planners (CFPs), one advisor with a certificate in investment performance measurement (CIPM) and one commodity trading advisor (CTA).
Twin Focus Capital Partners Background
Twin Focus Capital Partners has been in business since 2006. The firm is under the principal ownership of its founders, Paul Karger and Wesley Karger, who both still work at the firm as managing partners. Twin Focus also has a second office in London.
Twin Focus offers a number of services for individuals and institutions. When it comes to offerings for the former, the firm can provide family office-style wealth management, financial planning, business management, tax management, estate planning and more.
Twin Focus Capital Partners Investing Strategy
Twin Focus Capital Partners uses two main investment research principles when determining how to allocate client assets: top-down global macroeconomic analysis and bottom-up microeconomic analysis. By combining these approaches, the firm attempts to find favorable trends in specific sectors or security types to invest in. Following this, it works to identify what types of investing strategies should be used to maximize returns and minimize risk within the unique areas mentioned above.
Advisors typically allocate assets among institutional share class mutual funds, separately managed accounts (SMAs), exchange-traded funds, and to a lesser extent, individual equities and fixed income securities.
Grimes & Company, Inc.
Grimes & Company is a fee-based firm where some advisors can earn commissions as broker-dealers or insurance agents. Though this is a conflict of interest, fiduciary duty still bounds the advisors to act in the clients best interest. Fees for investment management are based on a percentage of assets under management.
The firm generally requires clients to have a $500,000 account minimum. Grimes, which is also the top-ranked firm in Westborough, has a number of accredited professionals on staff, including eight chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and 14 certified financial planners (CFPs).
Grimes & Company Background
Grimes & Company was founded in 1999 and became a registered investment advisor in 2000. The firm is principally owned by Kevin T. Grimes, Timothy J. Grimes, and the Timothy J. Grimes Dynasty Trust.
The firm’s services include investment advisory, consulting, private investment funds and portfolio reporting.
Grimes & Company Investment Strategy
More than two-thirds of client money is invested in mutual funds, which provides some built-in diversification to assets. Individual stocks make up around a quarter of client money, with some bonds and cash holdings also used.
The firm uses both fundamental and technical methods of analysis to select securities, which may be invested for the short term or long term. Grimes & Company may also use options.