Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Memphis, Tennessee
Finding the best financial advisor in your area is no easy task. Trying to compare advisors may even be harder. That’s where SmartAsset comes in. After gathering the largest firms in the Memphis area, we narrowed it down to the top 10 and highlighted what you need to know about each firm.
|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
Green Square CapitalFind an Advisor
| || |
Legacy Wealth ManagementFind an Advisor
| || |
TelarrayFind an Advisor
| || |
Let us help match you with the right financial advisor for your needs.Answer a few questions to get a personalized match.
Waddell & AssociatesFind an Advisor
$500,000; or $5,000 for robo-advising
| || |
$500,000; or $5,000 for robo-advising
Summit Asset ManagementFind an Advisor
| || |
Kelman LazarovFind an Advisor
| || |
Brandon Financial PlanningFind an Advisor
$3,000 minimum fee
| || |
$3,000 minimum fee
Silverleafe Capital PartnersFind an Advisor
| || |
Duncan Williams Asset ManagementFind an Advisor
| || |
W AdvisorsFind an Advisor
| || |
How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in Memphis, Tennessee
SmartAsset considered all Memphis metro area financial advisor firms registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Firms that comply with SEC standards have a fiduciary duty to act in their clients’ best interest. We eliminated firms that have disclosures or disciplinary issues. If a firm doesn’t manage individual accounts, it’s not on the list. Lastly, we ordered the firms from most assets managed (AUM) to least assets managed.
Green Square Capital
At the top of our list is Green Square Capital, which manages more than $2 billion in client assets. The firm is fee-based and has been in operation since 2001. While company materials state that there’s no minimum asset requirement, the entirety of the firm’s 200-plus clients are considered high-net-worth. That’s those with at least $1.5 million in assets by SEC standards.
With that in mind, the best clients for this company are wealthy families. Green Square Capital offers family office services which are ideal for the complex needs of high-net-worth families. The firm has 15 advisors and is located on the eastern side of Memphis.
Green Square Capital Background
Darrell Horn and Steven Samson, former Goldman Sachs senior professionals, founded the firm in 2001 with the goal of being an independent boutique wealth management firm. Horn is the CEO and senior managing director and has over 25 years of financial industry experience.
Samson is the senior managing director and has more than 20 years of experience managing client portfolios. Prior to Green Square and Goldman Sachs, he worked for Merrill Lynch.
While the firm has two certified public accountants (CPAs), one chartered financial analyst and plenty of advisors with Series 65 licenses (for investment advisors), it has no employees with the certified financial planner (CFP) designation. This is somewhat unusual for a financial advisor firm. All other firms except Telarray (no. 3) on this list have at least one CFP.
Green Square Services
This financial advisor firm offers services such as wealth advisory, family office and institutional asset management. Wealth advisory clients will have access to web-based reporting, tax reporting and investment commentary as well as portfolio rebalancing.
Family office clients are those who have complex financial needs. Green Square Capital states that most of its clients “generated their wealth through building and liquidating a privately held family business.” With that in mind, the company created client services. This could mean customized reporting, legal, account and insurance help, asset liability and insurance or other needs. Institutional asset management is provided to business or nonprofit owners.
Legacy Wealth Management
With almost $1 billion less in assets under management than Green Square Capital (the No. 1 firm), is Legacy Wealth Management at No. 2. Legacy Wealth Management has $1.07 billion assets under management. It’s the first fee-only firm on our list, which means advisors are compensated through annual fees, not commissions or fees from selling products or funds. This firm has 17 advisors and more than 800 accounts, four times the amount of Green Square’s accounts.
While the firm has more accounts, that doesn’t mean it’s not exclusive. You’ll need at least $500,000 to open an account with Legacy Wealth Management.
Legacy Wealth Management Background
John Ueleke founded the firm in 1982 as one of the first fee-only firms in the area. Although he’s no longer part of the company, Legacy Wealth Management still operates on those principles. The company states it follows “four Cs”: clients, commitment to honesty and integrity, compassion and culture.
Legacy Wealth Management has a significant number of certifications. The team has 13 certified financial planners (CFPs), two chartered financial analysts (CFAs), two employees with JDs and nine with MBAs.
Legacy Wealth Management Investment Strategy
This firm subscribes to the commonly held belief that globally diversified portfolios are the best option for asset management. The company’s website even says “a diversified portfolio is a sound portfolio.” Legacy Wealth advisors advise that equities have a higher potential for investment returns than cash or fixed income investments. Generally, the proportion of equities needs to increase to get a higher return, however, there is also a higher risk of volatility. Most client portfolios are invested in stocks and bonds through mutual funds and ETFs.
Telarray is a fee-based Memphis firm that has $743 million assets under management. With more than 600 accounts, the company manages the third-most accounts out of the top 10 behind Legacy Wealth Management (No. 2) and Waddell & Associates (No. 4). The company has nine advisors and has been in operation since 2005. If you want to engage the firm for investment management services, you’ll need at least $500,000.
This firm stands out in that you’ll find limited financial planning rather than comprehensive. Telarray is owned by Financial Strategy Group (FSG) which provides fee-only financial planning. Telarray doesn’t directly compete with its parent company. That means if you want a wealth manager that offers the full spectrum of financial planning, you might be better served at a different Memphis-based firm.
Telarray and FSG (its parent company) are owned by John “Cliff” Paessler, Michael “Andy” Shaul and the McGehee family. Paessler is Telarray’s president and chief manager. He holds a Series 65 securities license and is a certified public accountant (CPA) and personal finance specialist (PFS).
Shaul, also a CPA and PFS, co-owns Telarray, but does not play an active role in the company. His focus is FSG where he serves as the managing member and has worked since 1999.
Warren Coleman is the chief investment officer and COO of the firm. A former Naval Commander, he has an MA in management from Bowie State University and is a chartered financial analyst.
Telarray employs four more professionals with certifications such as CPA and PFS. There are no certified financial planners (CFPs) on staff, likely because financial planning can be found at FSG.
Telarray Investment Strategy
Telarray advisors will primarily use strategic asset allocation to manage your portfolio. This means your advisor will take information gathered in your initial meetings, such as your risk tolerance, cash-flow needs and financial objectives to establish your exposure to asset classes.
According to the firm’s SEC-filed brochure, advisors do “not engage in attempting to ‘time’ financial markets.” Speculators have not been successful in this. Telarray will construct your portfolio with long-term gains in mind and will globally diversify your portfolio to maximize the return.
Generally, your portfolio will consist of mutual funds and ETFs which help in exposing it to various asset classes. The firm does not use managed futures, hedge funds, privately held real estate, precious metals or commodities (alternative asset classes).
Waddell & Associates
This firm is the second fee-only firm on our list after Legacy Wealth Management. You’ll pay your advisor a percentage of your assets under management in fees. Your advisor isn’t compensated for selling you insurance products or mutual funds which can happen with a fee-based firm.
Waddell & Associates has almost $700 million in assets under management and imposes at $500,000 account minimum for new clients. The firm has 10 advisors and 940 client accounts, the most out of any firm on this list.
Originally founded in 1986, the firm is the third-oldest on the list. You can find Waddell’s headquarters in East Memphis.
Waddell & Associates Background
David Waddell is the president, CEO and director of his namesake firm. He has an MBA from Babson College and is a certified financial planner (CFP). Before working for Waddell, he was part of Charles Schwab & Co. Perry Green serves as the senior vice president. A former tax professional at Ernst & Young, he has CFP, certified public accountant (CPA) and chartered financial analyst (CFA) certifications.
Tara Meeks is the chief compliance officer. She is a chartered retirement planning counselor (CRPC) and former Charles Schwab & Co professional.
Waddell & Associates is owned by Focus Financial Partners. This LLC owns other advisors, broker-dealers, insurance firms and more.
Waddell & Associates Portfolio Management
As a client of the firm, you’re likely to have your money managed in a model portfolio. This means the firm has already developed several template portfolios to fit specific financial needs and situations. This differs from some firms that will create your portfolio completely from scratch. The primary investments made at Waddell are no-load mutual funds, ETFs, individual securities, money market funds and CDs, corporate bonds, U.S. treasury bonds and municipal bonds.
For those with less than $500,000, the firm offers access to its robo-advising platform called W&Ai. This is the Schwab Intelligent Portfolio. Trading and rebalancing is determined by an algorithm. Your money is managed digitally without hands-on management, resulting in lower fees and minimums.
Summit Asset Management
Summit Asset is a five-person, employee-owned firm. Like Legacy Wealth Management and Waddell & Associates, the firm is fee-only. That means advisors don’t earn commissions or charge transaction fees or loads. Summit Asset manages more than $506 million and more than 400 accounts. It was formed in 1991.
The firm’s core services are investment management and financial planning. To engage Summit Asset’s services, you’ll need at least $500,000, the same minimum as Legacy Wealth Management, Waddell & Associates and Terraray.
Summit Asset Management Background
Samuel “Alex” Thompson is the majority owner of the firm. Part of Summit since 1999, Thompson is a principal financial advisor and serves as chairman and chief compliance officer. Before Summit, he worked for The Equitable for more than 20 years. Thompson holds a chartered life underwriter (CLU) and chartered financial consultant (ChFC) designation.
Lance Hollingsworth and John Laughlin own the remaining shares of the firm. Hollingsworth is the senior vice president of trading and operations. He’s a certified financial planner (CFP) and has worked in finance since 1993. Laughlin has worked for Summit since 2001 and is also a CFP. His industry experience stretches back to 1997.
The firm employs two additional CFPs but no chartered financial analysts (CFA).
Summit Asset Management Investment Process
As a client of Summit, you’ll go through a four-step investment process. The first step is articulating and determining your financial goals and objectives. This includes factors such as your time horizon, risk tolerance, tax bracket and income. Each portfolio’s investment mix is tailored to meet your objectives.
Collaborating is the next part of the process. The investment committee is involved with all advisors, ensuring shared knowledge and advisors work with each other to provide the best mix of services to each client.
Creation and continuity are the two final steps. This is when your advisor constructs your portfolio with investments such as mutual funds, ETFs and stocks and bonds.
Kelman Lazarov has $350 million in assets under management. The firm has five insurance agents on its staff of 10 advisors, which means you can expect to be offered insurance products at this fee-based firm.
The firm has no stated minimum to start an account. In fact, more than three-quarters of the firm’s business are clients below the high-net-worth threshold of $1.5 million. Kelman Lazarov emphasizes that education and understanding your current financial situation is vital for you to make prudent decision. You can expect a hands-on approach to financial guidance at the firm.
Kelman Lazarov Background
The two namesakes of the firm, Ron Lazarov, president, and Marty Kelman, chairman, have worked in the financial industry since the late 1970s. Lazarov and Kelman are both certified financial planners (CFPs) and Kelman also is a certified retirement counselor (CRC).
The firm employs four additional CFPs for a total of six, the third-highest number after Legacy Wealth Management (No. 2) and Telarray (No. 3). There’s one chartered financial analyst (CFA), one additional CRC and two employees with law degrees.
Kelman Lazarov offers investment management and financial planning, as well as retirement planning.
Kelman Lazarov Asset Management
Asset management is provided through three programs at this firm: the Kelman-Lazarov Traditional Asset Management Program, Kelman-Lazarov Wrap Fee Program and Kelman-Lazarov Select Asset Management Program. Each program has a different fee structure.
The traditional program charges a lower annual management fee and you’re responsible for paying all the transaction fees that accompany your account. This includes brokerage commissions, clearance and settlement services and more. The wrap fee program has a higher annual fee, but covers the cost of all transaction services. The last program has a slightly higher annual fee than the traditional program and you are responsible for transaction fees, but the bulk of your assets are invested in no transaction fee mutual funds and ETFs. Most clients have at least $200,000 in one of these accounts.
Brandon Financial Planning
This fee-based firm has a long history of financial planning. In 1980, E. Denby Brandon, Jr., founder of Brandon Financial Planning, was the first chairman of the board of affiliated associations, the organization behind the certified financial planner (CFP) certification.
While this financial advisor firm has a long history and ties with Legacy Wealth Management (No. 2) for oldest on the list, it stayed small with just three advisors, tying it for fewest advisors on our top 10 list with W Advisors (No. 10). It manages more than 200 accounts and has more than $239 million assets under management. The firm has a minimum fee of $3,000.
Brandon Financial Planning Background
E. Denby Brandon, Jr. co-founded the predecessor to his current firm with his father, E. Denby Brandon, Sr. in 1952. The family has a long history in financial planning and Brandon Jr. was one of the pioneers and leaders of the industry, worldwide, according to his biography and various awards and honors. He co-authored the book “The History of Financial Planning: The Transformation of Financial Services” in 2009.
His two sons, E. Denby Brandon, III and Raymond Brandon, are the co-owners of the firm. Naturally, they’re both third-generation CFPs. Raymond is also a chartered financial analyst (CFA), chartered life underwriter (CLU) and chartered financial consultant (ChFC). The firm has one additional advisor, Gary Kieffner, also a CFP.
Brandon Financial Planning Family Atmosphere
A family-operated firm, Brandon Financial Planning also sees its clients as family. According the the firm’s website, its “personal service is legendary.” Brandon Financial Planning serves third- and fourth-generation clients, a legacy established when the firm first opened in 1952. The firm highlights its gentle touch in tough financial and emotional situations such as death, divorce, addiction or illness.
The company uses four tenets to describe its services: save well, live well, give well and sleep well. Each tenet ties to financial planning and the services the firm offers.
Silverleafe Capital Partners
The fourth fee-only firm on our list, (the others are Legacy Wealth Management, Waddell & Associates and Summit Asset Management ), Silverleafe Capital is not for the average customer. The minimum account size is $2 million, higher than any other firm on this list by $1.5 million. The firm manages more than $191 million and almost exclusively serves high-net-worth clients.
Established in 2004, this boutique firm employs four advisors and believes in using the team approach to manage your money. Billed as having fewer accounts than most advisors in the Memphis area, the firm emphasizes that it is prepared to meet the needs of high-net-worth clients with complex wealth profiles.
Silverleafe Capital Partners Background
This is one of the very few firms we’ve seen that has just one owner. Silverleafe Capital is 100% owned by William “Dan” Patterson, the founder. He started the firm in 2004 after more than 10 years at Merrill Lynch’s private client group. Patterson is a certified investment management analyst (CIMA) and holds a Series 65 securities license.
His employees, all men, include two certified financial planners (CFPs) and one chartered financial analyst (CFA) and combined, total more than 60 years of financial industry experience.
Silverleafe Capital Partners Lifestyle Planning
As a firm that has fewer clients with higher net worths, the services offered correspond with the needs of complex wealth situations. Strategic lifestyle planning is one of those offerings. The process looks at the economy, such as taxation, regulation and investment climate, as well as your personal financial situation. Advisors will perform stress-test analysis to see how the environment might impact your plan.
You can also use the company’s family office services. These are offered through a partnership with Fidelity Family Office services, a program that gives access to a virtual investment firm. This can help integrate portfolio reporting across various investment managers, multiple custodians and investment firms.
Duncan Williams Asset Management
Duncan Williams Asset Management, a fee-based firm, is the newest company on our list. It was registered in 2015 and has over $146 million in assets under management. You’ll need at least $50,000 to become a client. Choose from services such as investment management, financial planning and retirement planning.
The firm has seven advisors and is affiliated with Duncan-Williams, Inc, a large institutional investment firm with offices in nine states.
Duncan Williams Asset Management Background
Duncan Williams is the founder and sole owner of the firm and founder of parent firm Duncan-Williams Inc (founded in 2000). He serves as the chairman and is a Memphis native.
David Scully, chartered financial analyst (CFA) is the president and chief investment officer. The firm’s other employees include another CFA and two certified financial planners (CFPs).
The company serves individual investors as well as non-profits and small businesses. If you have less than the $50,000 minimum, you can enroll in the firm’s robo-advisor called IMAGINE with $5,000 or more.
Duncan Williams Asset Management Investment Strategy
The company uses fundamental, technical, cyclical and charting analysis when researching investments and making recommendations. Overall, the strategies used by the firm include long-term purchases, short-term purchases, trading, option writing and margin. Your portfolio will be based on the needs you discuss in your first few advisor meetings. You’ll cover what money you’ll need in retirement, your risk tolerability, cash-flow needs and more.
If you don’t meet the $50,000 minimum, you can enroll in IMAGINE, a robo-advising service offered through a partnership with Schwab. Your money will mostly be invested in ETFs and the software will automatically trade and rebalance your portfolio.
You won’t need a specified amount of money to become a client at W Advisors. Operating since 2013, this fee-based firm is second-youngest on the list after Duncan Williams Asset Management (No. 9).
W Advisors has three advisors, which ties it for fewest advisors out of our top 10 with Brandon Financial Planning (No. 7). The firm has $104 million assets under management and has a mix of high-net-worth clients and those below that $1.5 million threshold.
W Advisors Background
This is the second firm on our Memphis top 10 that’s owned by one individual, a rare occurrence in the financial advisor business. Robert Wade is the sole owner and managing member of the firm. He is a certified public accountant (CPA) and has 25 years of investment experience.
His colleagues are Larry Lombardo, MBA and Angela Cox, client service manager. The firm serves individuals, trusts, estate and non-profits, pensions and profit-sharing plans and businesses.
W Advisors Portfolio Management
The advisors at W try to help you meet financial goals through the use of your investments. You’ll meet at least once with your advisor to discuss your financial situation, existing resources, financial goals and risk tolerance. After that information is gathered, your advisor develops an investment approach. This generally will consist of a portfolio with ETFs, mutual funds, stock, bonds or other securities.
To select securities, the company uses charting, cyclical, fundamental and technical analysis.