Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Michigan
Handing over your assets to a financial advisor to manage them can be nerve-wracking. After all, you want to ensure you find an advisor who is well-equipped to do the job and meet your needs. So we’ve done the heavy lifting for you by determining the top financial advisor firms in Michigan after painstaking research. To figure out which firm suits you, take a look at their fee schedules, investment strategies, offered services and more below. The SmartAsset financial advisor matching tool can take care of this process for you by matching you with financial advisors in your area.
|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||Plante Moran Financial Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$11,996,874,100||$500,000|| || |
|2||Advance Capital Management, Inc. Find an Advisor||$2,148,515,100||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|3||Mainstay Capital Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$2,079,749,800||$200,000|| || |
|4||Telemus Capital, LLC Find an Advisor||$2,054,834,200||$300,000|| || |
|5||FormulaFolio Investments, LLC Find an Advisor||$3,186,961,461|| |
| || |
|6||Retirement Income Solutions, Inc. Find an Advisor||$1,532,140,400||$500,000|| || |
|7||Portfolio Solutions, LLC Find an Advisor||$1,438,136,900||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|8||Retirement Wealth Advisors, Inc. Find an Advisor||$1,935,234,532|| |
| || |
|9||Planning Alternatives LTD Find an Advisor||$1,001,783,700||$1,000,000|| || |
|10||Sigma Investment Counselors Find an Advisor||$876,468,600||$500,000|| || |
How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in Michigan
To make this list, a firm had to be based in Michigan and registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as all SEC-registered firms are bound by fiduciary duty. This requires firms to act in clients’ best interests at all times. However, if a firm didn’t manage individual accounts, didn’t offer financial planning services or had disciplinary issues, our SmartAsset personal finance experts eliminated it from contention. The top firms that met these requirements are listed below, ordered from the most assets under management (AUM) to the least.
Plante Moran Financial Advisors, LLC
Plante Moran Financial Advisors, LLC has nearly $12 billion in assets under management, which is almost $10 billion more than the second-ranking firm on this list. The firm principally does business in Southfield.
At $500,000, no firm on this list has a higher account minimum than Plante Moran. The firm serves nearly equal parts individuals and high-net-worth individuals though. Plante Moran says it specializes in working with individuals in the following industries: automotive, construction, manufacturing, not-for-profit, private equity, healthcare and real estate. It also provides family office services.
Plante Moran is a fee-based firm that employs certain advisors who sell insurance policies. While these advisors could earn commissions from sales, the firm is a registered fiduciary and therefore must act in your best interest no matter what.
Plante Moran Financial Advisors, LLC Background
Only one other firm on this list, Sigma Investment Counselors, has been in business longer than Plante Moran Financial Advisors, LLC, which was established in 1977. Plante Moran is part of a large network of accounting and consulting firms titled P&M Holding Group, LLP.
This firm has many services available for its clients, ranging from individual financial planning to institutional client services. Overall though, the firm’s staple offerings are retirement planning, estate planning, tax planning, insurance consulting, business succession planning, tax preparations, employer retirement plan management and financial reviews.
Plante Moran Financial Advisors, LLC Client Experience
Before jumping into any specific financial plans, the advisors at Plante Moran will want to learn more about what you’re looking for in a client-advisor relationship. This is also the point at which your advisor will help you nail down your risk tolerance and any time horizon you might have in mind. Based on this information, the firm will draw up a formal investment policy statement that details your personal financial situation along with the strategy that the firm believes will help you reach your goals.
When it comes to strategy implementation, the firm is likely to invest your assets in exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, separate account managers, hedge fund-of-fund managers and alternative investment vehicles. Once your plan is in place, your advisor will provide you with periodic updates on current performance and any proposed changes or rebalancings.
Advance Capital Management, Inc.
Based in Southfield, Advance Capital Management, Inc. has one of the highest numbers of advisor certifications on this list. Employed at this firm are 11 certified financial planners (CFPs), 11 national social security advisors (NSSAs), one certified public accountant (CPA) and one chartered mutual fund counselor (CMFC).
With more than 5,000 individual clients, the firm manages assets for nearly four times as many individuals as high-net-worth individuals. Aside from these groups, the firm also has working relationships with trusts, estates, corporations, charitable organizations, pension and profit-sharing plans, retirement plans and investment advisors and companies.
This fee-only firm has a variable account minimum that’s dependent on the type of service you want. Institutional clients must have at least $150,000 in assets, while retirement plan participants are required to have a minimum of $300,000.
Advance Capital Management also boasts a simple fee structure that solely includes a fee based on a percentage of your assets under management. In comparison, most other firms on this list also charge hourly fees and other fixed fees for their services.
Advance Capital Management, Inc. Background
Advance Capital Management, Inc. opened its doors for business in 1986. The firm’s parent company, Advance Capital Group, Inc., currently holds primary ownership.
This firm prefers to keep its advisory services as open-ended as possible so they can be more easily tailored to meet clients’ needs. In general, though, the firm splits its services into three categories: financial planning, asset management and investment advice.
Advance Capital Management, Inc. Investing Strategy
Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and open-end mutual funds make up the vast majority of Advance Capital Management’s client portfolios. This is because these investments are inherently diversified across entire markets, and therefore effortlessly satisfy the firm’s requirements. Your personal tolerance for risk, time horizon, investment goals, tax situation and liquidity needs will guide the firm’s decisions on exactly what investments are made.
However, the firm does realize that not all investors will fit into this mold. So its advisors will create custom portfolios that include individual stocks, corporate bonds, municipal bonds, U.S. government securities and CDs, in addition to ETFs and mutual funds.
Mainstay Capital Management, LLC
Fee-only financial advisor firm Mainstay Capital Management, LLC has its home office in Grand Blanc. It boasts the most advisory certifications on this list, with 13 chartered retirement planning counselor (CRPC), 10 certified financial planners (CFPs), five accredited asset management specialists (AAMS), two chartered financial analysts (CFAs), one chartered mutual fund counselor (CMFC), one chartered financial consultant (ChFC), one chartered life underwriter (CLU) and one accredited wealth management advisor (AWMA) on staff.
This firm primarily works with non-high-net-worth individual clients, as it currently manages assets for 2,000 more individuals than high-net-worth individuals. Its account minimum of $200,000 also makes it more accessible than some other firms on this list. While individuals make up the majority of accounts at Mainstay, it does have services available for trusts and corporations too.
Mainstay Capital Management, LLC Background
Mainstay Capital Management, LLC was created in 2000 and is under the principal ownership of CEO David Kudla. He has been in the financial services industry for over 15 years, and has been named one of Barron’s top 100 independent financial advisors in the U.S. for eight years running.
The firm’s main services are comprehensive investment management, individual 401(k), 457 and 403(b) account management and retirement plan transitions. But the firm’s services extend way beyond just that, as it also offers:
- Estate planning
- Retirement planning
- College savings planning
- Charitable gift planning
- Tax minimization
- Debt and mortgage optimization
- Buyout analysis
Mainstay Capital Management, LLC Investing Strategy
Mainstay Capital Management offers a few different pre-built investment strategies, ranging from ultra-aggressive to ultra-conservative. The firm is open to using short-term purchases within its client accounts, but not necessarily for the purpose of market-beating investing. Instead, the firm uses these investments to satisfy a client’s need for liquidity by shooting for quick, albeit risky, returns.
Exchange-traded fund (ETFs) and mutual funds are explicitly stated as the favored investment types of Mainstay Capital Management. But because these investments won’t always fit neatly into everyone’s plans, the firm will also review various stocks and bonds to flesh out certain client accounts.
Telemus Capital, LLC
Telemus Capital, LLC is a bit more exclusive than some of the other top firms on this list, as it serves less than 1,000 individual clients. For reference, the rest of the firms on the top half of this list work with anywhere from 1,500 to 17,000 individual clients. Telemus also works with estates, trusts, families, pension and profit-sharing plan sponsors, retirement plans, businesses and charitable organizations.
To open an account with this firm, you must have at least $300,000 in investable assets. This firm staffs four certified financial planners (CFPs), two certified public accountants (CPAs), two accredited wealth management advisors (AWMAs), one chartered advisor in philanthropy (CAP) and one chartered wealth manager (CWM).
This Southfield-based firm is fee-based, as some of its advisors sell insurance policies. Although the advisors may earn commissions from sales, the firm abides by fiduciary duty and therefore must act in your best interest.
Telemus Capital, LLC Background
Telemus Capital, LLC, in its current incarnation, is the youngest firm on this list. It was founded in 2013.
The firm comes from a long line of predecessor firms that were similarly titled. Focus Operating, LLC, a holding company, now owns the firm.
Telemus Capital has some of the more unique service offerings on the market today, including:
- Financial goal planning
- Cash flow planning
- Tax planning
- Charitable gift planning
- Estate planning
- Retirement planning
- Property, health, life and casualty insurance review
- 401(k) management for plan sponsors
Telemus Capital, LLC Investing Strategy
Rather than attempting to fit clients into predefined categories, Telemus Capital, LLC is in favor of personalizing its investment plans to each client’s needs. The firm also wants to be flexible in its planning, and in doing so will afford you the opportunity to alter your risk tolerance, investment goals and any other variables whenever you please.
Even with this adaptable ideology, Telemus tries to instill some level of consistency across its portfolios by utilizing principles such as tax and fee efficiency. Nearly all of the firm’s portfolios include some blend of individual equities, individual bonds, ETFs, mutual funds and alternative investments.
FormulaFolio Investments, LLC
No other firm on this list manages as many individual accounts as FormulaFolio Investments, LLC, which oversees more than 17,000 accounts. Just 130 of those accounts belong to high-net-worth individuals. The firm also works with estates, pension and profit-sharing plans, trusts, businesses and charitable organizations.
Set at just $25,000, this fee-only firm has one of the lowest account minimums on this list. One chartered financial analyst (CFA) and one certified financial planner (CFP) are on the advisory staff at FormulaFolio, which placed as SmartAsset’s top financial advisor firm in Grand Rapids.
FormulaFolio has also ranked as one of Inc. 500’s fastest-growing companies in the U.S. for three straight years. In fact, it has made its way from No. 944 all the way to No. 10 over that span.
FormulaFolio Investments, LLC Background
Chief Investment Strategist Jason Wenk principally owns FormulaFolio Investments, LLC. He founded the firm in 2011. Wenk also owns, Retirement Wealth Advisors, Inc., the eighth firm on this list.
The firm’s specialties are investment management, tax management, retirement planning and individual employer-sponsored retirement plan management. However, if you have financial planning needs that don’t fit into one of these categories, Formula Folio can create a personalized strategy just for you.
FormulaFolio Investments, LLC Investing Strategy
FormulaFolio Investments takes a research-based approach to investing. Proprietary algorithms determine how this firm invests client assets. To customize the algorithm to your personal situation, the firm incorporates your financial goals, risk tolerance and current taxes.
Based on the findings of these algorithms, the firm will implement and monitor your plan. More specifically, FormulaFolio will determine specific asset allocations, select money managers and provide ongoing management and rebalancings.
Retirement Income Solutions, Inc.
Fee-only financial advisor firm Retirement Income Solutions, Inc. is tied for the highest account minimum on this list. To be a client, you’ll need at least $500,000. The firm’s individual client base is split between those with and without a high net worth. In addition, corporations, trusts, estates, pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and not-for-profit entities will find services available at this firm.
You’ll find the main office of this firm in Ann Arbor. Three certified financial planners (CFPs) and one advisor certified compliance professional (IACCP) are on the firm’s 13-person advisory team.
Retirement Income Solutions, Inc. Background
Managing partners Brock Hastie, Todd Kephart, John Goff and Karen Chapell own Retirement Income Solutions, Inc., which was created in 1992. The quartet averages nearly 22 years in the financial services industry, giving this firm’s management team ample experience.
As its name likely makes clear, this firm’s services revolve around retirement planning. The firm can work with 401(k)s, 403(b)s, 401(a)s, 457(b)s, IRAs, Roth IRAs, trusts and taxable accounts. It also claims to specialize in dealing with retirement accounts for university employees.
Retirement Income Solutions, Inc. Investing Strategy
Active management is one of the cornerstones of Retirement Income Solutions’ financial planning and investment management services. The firm actively manages its clients’ portfolios for a number of reasons, but the most prominent is likely to try to take advantage of brief market trends that could boost long-term returns and help satisfy short-term liquidity needs.
The firm believes that this management philosophy can also guard your portfolio in times of trouble. For example, if a sector of the market you’re invested in takes a dive, the firm can actively manage your portfolio and set it up more defensively.
Portfolio Solutions, LLC
Although it has $1.44 billion in assets under management (AUM), Portfolio Solutions, LLC has just seven advisors on its team. This group boasts numerous certifications, though, including six certified financial planners (CFPs), two chartered financial analysts (CFAs), two chartered retirement planning counselors (CRPCs) and one certified public accountant (CPA). This fee-only firm is located in Troy.
Portfolio Solutions, LLC and Plante Moran Financial Advisors are the only firms on this list that currently serve more high-net-worth individuals than non-high-net-worth individuals. This could be attributed to Portfolio Solutions’ high minimum account sizes. Investment guidance accounts require a minimum of $500,000, while financial planning accounts require a minimum of $750,000. Wealth management accounts have the highest minimum at $1 million.
The fees at this firm consist solely of a percentage of your assets under management. It’s one of just two firms on this list, alongside Advance Capital Management, Inc., that has such a simple fee structure. Most of the other firms on this list will charge some combination of hourly fees, fixed fees and other fees in addition to asset-based fees.
Portfolio Solutions, LLC Background
Portfolio Solutions, LLC was created in 1999. Holding company Liberty PS Holdings, LLC is the firm’s sole owner. Liberty PS is under the ownership of the James S. Gladney 1992 Revocable Trust, which is owned by firm CEO James Gladney. So although the firm’s ownership is a bit convoluted, the firm is independently owned.
Depending on your personal financial situation, this firm will combine any number of nine “custom client strategies” to fulfill your needs. These include:
- Investment portfolio management
- Retirement planning
- Risk management
- Tax planning
- Estate and legacy planning
- College savings planning
- Philanthropic guidance
- Business succession planning
- Attorney and accountant service coordination
Portfolio Solutions, LLC Client Experience
Your introduction to Portfolio Solutions, LLC will be done either in-person or over the phone and will culminate in a conversation about your financial objectives, risk tolerance and time horizon. Based on this conversation, a very specific, goal-driven financial plan will be created with a general focus on the long term.
To put this plan into practice effectively, the firm will find and negotiate a deal with a third-party custodian. Once things have been in place for a bit, the firm will begin updating you quarterly on the recent progress of your portfolio, as well as any plans to rebalance it. The firm allows you to update your plans whenever you like, and your advisor will make the appropriate alterations.
Retirement Wealth Advisors, Inc.
Retirement Wealth Advisors, Inc. ranks second on SmartAsset’s list of the top financial advisor firms in Grand Rapids, its home city. You only need $25,000 in investable assets to join this firm, making it fairly accessible even for lower-level investors. Although Retirement Wealth Advisors primarily serves non-high-net-worth individuals, it can manage assets for pension and profit-sharing plans, trusts, estates, charitable organizations and businesses as well.
Some of the advisors at this fee-based firm sell insurance policies on a commission basis. But because the firm is registered with the SEC, it’s bound by fiduciary duty, requiring it to act in your best interest at all times.
Retirement Wealth Advisors, Inc. Background
Retirement Wealth Advisors, Inc. is principally owned by Jason Wenk, who also owns Formula Folio Investments, LLC, the fifth entry on this list. However, Retirement Wealth Advisors has been around longer than Formula Folio, as it was established in 2005.
Whether you’re planning for retirement or you’ve already retired, this firm can help you manage your assets. As a supplement to these services, you can also take advantage of trust planning, estate planning and tax management.
Retirement Wealth Advisors, Inc. Investing Strategy
Retirement Wealth Advisors’ central focus is on planning for long-term, mainly retirement-oriented goals. The firm believes this approach can be beneficial even for those who aren’t necessarily inclined to invest for the long term. It will provide you with a complete, holistic financial and investment plan that takes into account just about every possible factor that could come into play.
Diversification is key to this strategy, and your advisor will look to accomplish it by investing in primarily exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds and bonds. To further minimize risk, the firm looks to invest both domestically and internationally. It also regularly rebalances client portfolios.
Planning Alternatives LTD
Planning Alternatives LTD is a fee-only financial advisor firm based in Bloomfield Hills. Each of its 11 advisors have earned a certified financial planner (CFP) distinction. Additionally, there is also one chartered life underwriter (CLU), one accredited investment fiduciary (AIF), one chartered financial analyst (CFA) and one chartered mutual fund counselor (CMFC) working at this firm.
Although this firm requires a minimum initial investment of $1 million, non-high-net-worth individuals account for approximately two-thirds of its client base. The firm’s typical clients also include trusts, estates, foundations, charitable institutions, businesses and pension and profit-sharing plans.
Planning Alternatives LTD was given the Trailblazer IMPACT Award™ by Charles Schwab & Co, Inc. in 2016 for exemplifying special initiatives and passion in its business dealings.
Planning Alternatives LTD Background
President Nathan Mersereau is the principal owner of Planning Alternatives LTD, which was formed in 1982. The firm’s advisors have spent an average of 15 years in the financial sphere, though there seems to be a balance between new and old-school viewpoints.
Planning Alternatives places an emphasis on providing a complete and holistic financial planning and wealth management experience. Its services reflect that, and include tax-efficient income distribution planning, estate planning, investment guidance, asset protection planning, risk management analysis and charitable gift planning.
Planning Alternatives LTD Investing Strategy
Modern portfolio theory has become the backbone of many firms’ investing strategies, and Planning Alternatives LTD is no exception. Planning Alternatives adheres to this ever-popular philosophy by maintaining a healthy balance between risk and reward. In other words, the firm will only increase your risk profile if there’s a chance to earn a proportionate increase in returns.
Low-cost investments that are globally diversified and liquid (at least to some degree) are most often utilized by this firm. This has led the firm to invest heavily in exchange-traded funds (ETFs), exchange-traded notes (ETNs) and mutual funds.
Sigma Investment Counselors
With just six advisors on staff, Sigma Investment Counselors has the smallest advisory team on this list. Even so, it has seven chartered financial analysts (CFAs), three certified financial planners (CFPs) and one advisor certified compliance professional (IACCP) on staff. The fee-only firm is based in Southfield.
Sigma specializes in working with women, corporate executives and small business owners. In addition to individuals and high-net-worth individuals, the firm works with foundations, endowments, estates, trusts and pension and profit-sharing plans. If you’re looking to begin a relationship with this firm, be sure to have at least $500,000 available to invest.
Sigma Investment Counselors Background
Sigma Investment Counselors is the oldest firm on this list, as it was established in 1973. It’s also the only employee-owned firm on this list. CEO Robert Bilkie, Jr. is the firm’s principal owner.
As many advisory firms have decided to do nowadays, Sigma doesn’t have preset financial planning services that it offers clients. Instead, it listens to what you’re looking for in an advisory relationship and creates plans to match those needs.
Sigma Investment Counselors Client Experience
Like most firms, your client relationship with Sigma Investment Counselors will open with an information-gathering stage. After that, the firm creates a financial plan and portfolio. Where Sigma Investment Counselors seems to differ from other firms though, is its portfolio implementation and management strategies. The firm will build relationships with your other important advisors, such as your lawyer or accountant.
Additionally, the firm's advisors strive to stay in constant contact through in-person meetings, calls and emails. Sigma says it aims to build truly personal relationships with its clients.