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||SCS Capital Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$22,229,947,139||$25,000,000|| || |
|2||The Colony Group, LLC Find an Advisor||$11,550,824,070||Varies by account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries by account type
|3||Appleton Partners, Inc. Find an Advisor||$9,144,218,642||$1,000,000|| || |
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|4||Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge Fiduciary Advisors, LLP Find an Advisor||$9,016,820,065||$2,000,000|| || |
|5||Ballentine Partners Find an Advisor||$7,927,996,955||$3,500,000|| || |
|6||Eaton Vance Investment Counsel Find an Advisor||$7,742,304,852||Varies by account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries by account type
|7||Shepherd Kaplan Krochuk LLC Find an Advisor||$6,765,211,514||$10,000,000|| |
|8||Welch & Forbes LLC Find an Advisor||$5,589,936,058||$2,000,000|| || |
|9||Athena Capital Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$5,471,678,924||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|10||Sentinel Pension Advisors Inc. Find an Advisor||$4,874,045,786||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.
SCS Capital Management LLC
The top firm on this list is SCS Financial, based in Boston and managing more than $22.2 billion in assets under management (AUM). The firm only serves high-net-worth individuals and has a requirement that clients have at least $25 million in AUM. 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 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 has 39 advisors on staff and the investment management team includes four chartered financial analysts (CFA).
SCS Financial LLC Background
The firm 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
- Fund of funds
SCS Financial LLC Investment Strategy
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.
The Colony Group, LLC
The Colony Group, LLC employs the largest team of advisors of any firm on this list at 125 members. As you might imagine, its set of advisor certifications is equally as massive: 35 certified financial planners (CFPs), 14 chartered financial analysts (CFAs), 12 certified public accountants (CPAs), three certified divorce financial analysts (CDFAs), three chartered life underwriters (CLUs), two accredited estate planners (AEPs), one chartered market technician (CMT) and one enrolled agent (EA) work at the firm.
This fee-only firm has a $500,000 minimum opening account size. It’s headquartered in Boston, where SmartAsset named it fifth on our list of the 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 and 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.
Appleton Partners, Inc.
Appleton Partners, Inc. has more than $9.14 billion in client funds to its name. The firm employs just 20 financial advisors. Across this group, you’ll find 13 chartered financial analysts (CFAs), two investment advisor certified compliance professionals (IACCPs), two certified financial planners (CFPs) and one certificate in investment performance measurement (CIPM) advisor.
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 and 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. It is second on SmartAsset's list of top financial advisors 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.
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. The firm has a $1 million variable account minimum requirement. Aside from individuals, the firm also manages funds for retirement accounts, foundations and endowments.
The 16-person advisory team at this fee-only firm splits eight chartered financial analyst (CFA) certifications among them. Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge was named the third 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 and profit-sharing plans and charities.
The sizable 58-person group of advisors at this firm combines for a large number of certifications: 20 certified financial planners (CFPs), 14 chartered financial analysts (CFAs), three chartered alternative investment analysts (CAIAs), three certified public accountant (CPAs), one chartered financial consultant (ChFC) and one certified private wealth advisor (CPWA).
Ballentine is 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 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.
Eaton Vance Investment Counsel
Although Eaton Vance Investment Counsel 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 2,300 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 13 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., 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.
Shepherd Kaplan Krochuk LLC
Shepherd Kaplan Krochuk LLC is a Boston-based, fee-only firm that has nearly $6.76 billion in assets under management (AUM). The minimum account size for individuals is $10 million, though that may be modified on mutual agreement. That high minimum means that almost all of the firm’s individual accounts are held by high-net-worth individuals, though a few are not. The firm also manages money for pension and and profit sharing plans, charitable organizations and other corporations.
There are 24 advisors on staff at Shephard Kaplan Krochuk, including three certified financial planners (CFPs), three chartered financial analysts (CFAs), one certified investment management analyst (CIMA) and one chartered alternative investment advisor (CAIA). Fees are charged based on a percentage of assets under management and performance-based fees are sometimes charged. Advisors do not make commissions for selling securities or insurance to clients.
Shepherd Kaplan Krochuk LLC Background
The firm was founded in 2001. Initially known as GRT Capital Partners, LLC, the name changed in 2017 when the firm merged with Shepherd Kaplan LLC, which became a wholly controlled and majority-owned subsidiary. David Shepherd, David Kaplan and Timothy Krochuk are all members and managers of the firm. Timothy Krochuk was the founder of GRT Capital Partners.
Services offered by the firm include:
- Asset management services
- Wealth management services
- Tax planning
Shepherd Kaplan Krochuk LLC Investment Strategy
Shephard Kaplan Krochuk has a number of financial strategies available to clients:
- The Topaz Strategy: This strategy seeks to achieve high total return and invests in publicly traded stocks believed to be undervalued. It breaks up investments into “conceptual buckets” of securities. It may have long-short strategies.
- The Value Strategy: Similar to the Topaz Strategy, this strategy focuses on undervalued stocks. It does not use the “conceptual buckets” approach and generally does not use options or short sales.
- Sector Strategies: This strategy focuses on a single sector of the economy such as health care, energy or real estate.
Other strategies could include investing only in very small companies or focusing only on exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
Welch & Forbes LLC
Welch & Forbes LLC is a Boston-based financial advisor firm with nearly $5.6 billion in assets under management (AUM). The firm has 13 advisors managing that money for clients. The team includes five chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and two certified public accountants (CPAs). A minimum account size of $2 million is enforced, though the firm reserves the right to waive that minimum and it is negotiable. The firm advises both individual investors and high-net-worth individuals. It also does a sizeable institutional business, advising pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations, other investment advisers and other 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 LLC 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 AMG Wealth Partners. 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 LLC 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
Athena Capital Advisors, LLC
Although Athena Capital Advisors, LLC has more than $5.47 billion in client assets under its management (AUM), it has only 36 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 also will find services here at this Lincoln-based, fee-only firm.
There are 31 advisors working at Athena Capital. Within this team are two 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.
Sentinel Pension Advisors Inc.
Sentinel Pension Advisors Inc. is a fee-based financial advisor firm based in Wakefield. It manages more than $4.87 billion and employs 28 advisors. The financial planning and education team includes seven accredited investment fiduciaries (AIFs), five certified financial planners (CFPs), two qualified plan financial consultants (QPFAs), one chartered financial analyst (CFA), one certified plan fiduciary advisor (CPFA) and one certified employee benefits specialist (CEBS).
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. Fees are based on a percentage of assets under management. Some advisors at the firm are also licensed to sell insurance products and earn commissions from selling them to clients. This is a conflict of interest but the advisors are still bound by fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the clients.
Sentinel Pension Advisors Inc. Background
Sentinel Pension Advisors was founded in 1998 and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Focus Financial Partners, a publicly traded company. Focus Financial runs but does not own SCS Capital, the top firm on this list.
Services offered by SPA include:
- Investment advisory services
- Managed account services
- Retirement plan advisory services
Sentinel Pension Advisors Inc. 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