Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
You want the very best to manage your money, of course. The challenge is finding the best financial advisor who is right for you. To help you narrow the field, we combed through the SEC data and read the fine print of firms' brochures. The result: this list of the top 10 financial advisors in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. You can also use our advisor pairing tool to find an advisor who’s the right match for you.
|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||Johnson Wealth, Inc. Find an Advisor||$7,321,671,727||No set minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set minimum
|2||Wipfli Financial Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$3,217,529,043||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|3||Sadoff Investment Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$ 1,460,346,509||$1,000,000|| || |
|4||Diversified Management Find an Advisor||$ 1,251,716,121||varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum Assetsvaries based on account type
|5||KLCM Advisors, Inc. Find an Advisor||$ 893,920,294||$500,000|| || |
|6||Northern Oak Wealth Management Find an Advisor||$ 881,904,064|| |
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|7||Riverwater Partners LLC Find an Advisor||$ 595,852,111||$1,000,000|| || |
|8||Oarsman Capital Find an Advisor||$ 520,502,334|| |
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|9||Next Generation Wealth Management Find an Advisor||$ 346,683,480|| |
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|10||McCarthy Grittinger Financial Group Find an Advisor||$ 308,126,735|| |
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How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
For this list, we only considered financial advisor firms in Milwaukee that are registered fiduciaries with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). We removed from consideration any firms that did not have clean records, didn’t offer financial planning services or didn’t manage individual accounts. The top 10 firms are listed here, arranged by assets under management (AUM), starting with the largest. All information is accurate as of the writing of this article.
Johnson Wealth, Inc.
Topping our Milwaukee list with the most assets under management is Johnson Wealth Inc., formerly known as Cleary Gull Advisors.
This firm has been in operation for more than 30 years. It generally recommends minimum investable assets of $1,000,000, but does not require it. For a separately managed account though, you’ll need at least $200,000. Johnson is a fee-based firm, and certain advisors may earn commissions from selling insurance products. However, the firm has a fiduciary duty always to act in its clients' best interests.
One of Johnson's differentiating factors is its airline pilot program, not seen elsewhere on this list. Members in the MyJFG Pilot Program can get help with wealth management and retirement planning.
Johnson Wealth Advisors Background
Johnson Wealth is an SEC-registered investment advisory firm that's part of a large network called the Johnson Financial Group. It provides its services to high-net-worth families, individuals, trusts, not-for-profit hospitals and senior living organizations, and more.
The firm was formerly known as Cleary Gull Advisors before being purchased by Johnson Financial Group on June 1, 2016.
Johnson Wealth Investment Strategy
The firm manages investments on a discretionary or non-discretionary basis. Discretionary accounts are typically assigned to a portfolio model, and trades are executed in mass when there is a strategy change. Alternately, you can have a portfolio manager oversee your account. The firm may invest discretionary accounts in mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), fixed income securities and non-traditional (complementary or alternative) investment vehicles. It may also retain a third-party money manager.
For accounts managed on a non-discretionary basis, the firm uses a third-party technology platform that provides due diligence and a curated menu of private equity, private credit and hedge fund investment opportunities. These opportunities are offered to certain high-net-worth and business clients.
Generally, the firm's investing approach is long term and based on asset allocation.
Wipfli Financial Advisors, LLC
Wipfli Financial Advisors, LLC (WFA) offers financial planning, investment advisory services, retirement planning and insurance solutions. The SEC-registered investment advisory firm's client base is about one-third high-net-worth individuals. Their assets, though, represent about 84% of the assets under the firm's management.
While the firm doesn’t require a minimum investment for its emerging investor program, it does impose a minimum annual fee of $5,000 for standard investment advisory services. Its retirement plan may have no or varying minimum fees.
Wipfli Financial Advisors Background
WFA was formed in 1999 under the name of Hewins Financial Advisors. WFA is now wholly owned by Wipfli Financial, LLC. This latter firm is owned by the accounting firm Wipfli LLP.
WFA offers three different investment advisory programs to individuals: Standard Investment Advisory Services, Key Access Services (for emerging investors) and Retirement Plan Services. Based on your needs and financial situation, WFA can devise a personalized investment policy statement that outlines your asset allocation and investment objective.
In addition, the firm offers individual financial planning services on topics ranging from budgeting to retirement and estate planning. You can receive either investment advisory or financial planning services on a stand-alone basis or as a bundled program.
Wipfli Financial Advisors Investing Strategy
Mainly informed by Modern Portfolio Theory, WFA's investing strategy emphasizes diversification and a long-term focus. The investment committee, which is led by its chief investment officer and includes one WFA principal and two independent contractors who are seasoned investment professionals, develops model portfolios and implements them using mutual funds, third-party asset managers' private investment funds and other investment vehicles. The firm does not utilize tactical or market-timing strategies, though third-party managers and funds may.
Sadoff Investment Management, LLC
Sadoff Investment Management, LLC develops investment portfolios tailored to clients' individual circumstances and financial outlook. To open an account, you’d need a minimum initial investment of $1 million. The firm primarily works with high-net-worth individuals. But it also offers its services to individuals who do not have a high net worth, corporations, charities and profit-sharing plans.
Sadoff Investment Management Background
Sadoff has been providing investment advisory services since 1978. The four-person advisory team manages more than $1.46 billion in assets. There are no certified financial planners (CFPs) on board, but keep in mind that Sadoff prioritizes investment management. So financial planning isn’t a large aspect of its business.
Founder Ronald Sadoff has been in the industry since the 1970s. He previously worked as an institutional investment and research strategist. Michael Sadoff served as senior financial analyst at Green Tree Financial Corporation.
Sadoff Investment Management Investing Strategy
Sadoff offers its investment management services only on a discretionary basis. Once it builds a client's portfolio based on risk tolerance and goals, it will monitor and rebalance the portfolio as required by changes in market conditions and the client's financial circumstances. In evaluating securities, Sadoff uses charting, fundamental, technical and cyclical methods of analysis. Generally, it recommends investing in:
- Exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
- Corporate debt securities
- Municipal securities
- Money market funds
- U.S. government securities
To a lesser extent, the firm may also recommend mutual funds, foreign issues, convertibles, closed-end funds, preferred's, commercial paper and certificates of deposit.
Diversified Management has headquarters in Milwaukee’s historic Third Ward - and an office in North Scottsdale, Arizona. It's one of the few fee-only firms on this list, meaning advisors' compensation comes only from client fees - and not from client fees and sales commissions from vendors.
You need at least $500,000 to become a client, though Cream City Services clients do not have this requirement. Most of the firm's clients are high net worth, which is defined as having at least $1 million in investable assets.
Diversified Management Background
Mark Homan founded this firm in 1993. He is a certified public accountant (CPA) and a certified financial planner (CFP). In fact, all DMI advisors are CFPs. The firm requires the certification to ensure that its advisors are trained in financial planning. The company also has an enrolled agent (EA), which is an advanced tax designation.
Michael Schmidt serves as the president and chief compliance officer. He’s been with the firm since 1996 and owns about 25% of the company.
Diversified Management Investing Strategy
Diversified Management will consider "everything” before making its recommendation. This means getting your full financial picture before designing your investment portfolio.
Your asset allocation will be based on your risk tolerance, cash flow needs, financial goals, time horizon and current assets. Advisors prefer meeting with clients at the end of each calendar quarter to review objectives and go over investment reports.
The firm primarily uses fundamental analysis to evaluate securities. The company also uses Morningstar Advisor Workstation and Charles Schwab Advisor Services for information.
KLCM Advisors, Inc.
In business since 1993, KLCM Advisors, Inc. offers investment management services on a discretionary basis. It manages portfolios as separate accounts. The client base is almost evenly split between individuals who are and aren't high net worth.
The firm generally requires a $500,000 minimum investment, but it may waive the minimum at its discretion.
KLCM Advisors Background
James Kitzinger founded the firm and currently serves as CEO and chief investment officer. He owns the firm along with Carl Fuda, chief operating officer; Mark Sailer, a research analyst; and Katherine Licau, also a research analyst. Kitzinger is certified public accountant (CPA) and chartered financial analyst (CFA). Sailer and Licau are also CFAs, while Fuda as well as Kitzinger have MBAs.
In addition to individuals, KLCM offers it services to pension and profit-sharing plans, trusts, estates, charitable organizations, corporations and other business entities.
KLCM Advisors Investing Strategy
The firm offers three main investing strategies: value equity, fixed income and balanced (value equity and fixed income). For its value equity investing, it says it looks for opportunities with "limited risk and substantial upside over a two to three-year time horizon." When reviewing securities for its fixed income investments, the firm looks for issuers with "sound revenue sources, reasonable leverage and a track record of profitability in most years." Analysts also apply traditional credit analysis, taking into consideration the capacity, collateral and quality of each issue.
Generally, the firm uses fundamental analysis when evaluating securities.
Northern Oak Wealth Management
Founded in 1976, Northern Oak Wealth Management (NOWM) is one of the oldest firms on this list. The registered investment advisor is an employee-owned, fee-only firm. With an account minimum of $100,000. most individual clients base do not have a high net worth.
Northern Oak Wealth Management Background
President and Chief Investment Officer David Becker joined the firm in 2001 and is a part owner. He's also is a chartered financial analyst (CFA).
Chairman Mark Zellmer is also part owner and serves as a portfolio manager. He began his investment career in 1982 and has worked in financial services ever since.
Northern Oak Wealth Management Investing Strategy
This firm uses model portfolios. What this means is your financial goals, risk tolerance, cash needs and retirement timeline are taken into account to determine the pre-set asset allocation that best aligns with your objectives. This differs from customized portfolios, which are designed for clients with those factors in mind.
NOWM offers Income Roadmap, a strategy that uses equities, fixed income and alternative assets to help you achieve a flow of income. Select Dividend Growth Portfolio is an equity-oriented income product that invests in common stocks of large companies with above-average earning growth. Equity Growth Portfolio is invested in exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and follows a core/satellite investment strategy. Fixed Income Portfolio is for clients that need income in a tax-efficient manner. The last portfolio choice is Enhanced Sector Fund. This portfolio consists of industry-specific and sector-based ETFs (but may also include stocks). The goal of this fund is to outperform the S&P 500.
Riverwater Partners LLC
Riverwater Partners provides services to individuals, trusts, estates, charitable organizations, corporations and other business entities. With an investment of $1 million, most of its individual clients have a high net worth. The firm may waive the minimum at its discretion though.
The services the practice offers are: financial planning, consulting and discretionary investment management services.
Riverwater Partners Background
Adam and Laura Peck founded the firm in 2016. He had been a partner and portfolio manager at Heartland Advisors while she formerly practiced law in Miami. Today they have majority stake in the firm and serve as chief investment officer and chief compliance officer, respectively.
Rounding out the firm are two partners (a certified financial planner and a certified employee benefit specialist), a chief mindfulness officer (who is a chartered financial analyst as is Adam Peck) and a research analyst.
Riverwater Partners Investing Strategy
Riverwater Partners will design and implement a portfolio based on the client's profile and goals. It generally considers as investments stocks, bonds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), government-issued securities and other securities. Alternately, it may recommend third-party money managers or their model portfolios.
When evaluating investments, the firm uses charting, fundamental, technical and cyclical methods of analysis.
A fee-based firm in operation since 2000, Oarsman Capital has headquarters in Milwaukee and offices in Appleton, Brookfield and Prairie du Sac. The firm has an investment minimum of $100,000, and the vast majority of its individual clients do not have a high net worth.
Oarsman Capital Background
Robert Phelps, Alan Purintun and Gerald Nackers founded Oarsman Capital in 2000. Phelps is the main principal of the firm and has worked in financial services since 1986. He has been designated a chartered financial analyst (CFA) since 1997.
Purintun has managed investment portfolios for high-net-worth individuals since 1994. Purintun was an intelligence officer with the CIA for six years prior to becoming an investment manager. He has an MBA from Dartmouth and an undergraduate degree from Yale. He’s also a chartered financial analyst (CFA).
Nackers has more than 30 years’ experience as a financial markets professional. He’s an accredited asset management specialist. Nackers specializes in corporate retirement plans.
Oarsman employs one other CFA and one certified financial planners (CFP). Two advisor representatives have passed FINRA's Series 7 General Securities exam and one of them also passed Series 66.
Oarsman Capital Investment Management
If you have less than $500,000 to invest, you’ll be put in the Oarsman Blueprint platform for investment management. This is most similar to a robo-advisor, where your money is managed digitally by algorithms. Your portfolio will consist of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and is automatically rebalanced.
Those with at least $500,000 will have customized portfolio management. The company’s core equity portfolio generally holds 40 to 50 individual common stocks. Your portfolio will be broadly diversified and built with the intention of long-term investing.
Advisors may also add ETFs and some income-producing bonds or bond funds to your portfolio. Less than 15% of the portfolio will hold hybrid securities (such as REITs, natural resource funds and high-yield bonds).
Next Generation Wealth Management
Next Generation Wealth Management is a fee-only firm that serves, roughly as many individuals who do have a high net worth as those who don't. It also works with businesses, trusts, estates, charitable organizations, partnerships and corporations. Individuals need at least $250,000 in assets to open an account, though the firm may waive the minimum at its discretion.
Next Generation Wealth Management Background
David Braaten and David Massart co-founded Next Generation Wealth Management after each had worked on Wall Street for 20 years. The Midwest natives returned to Wisconsin and founded the firm in 2005.
Massart serves at the president of the firm. Braaten is still co-owner of the firm but doesn’t have a day-to-day presence at Next Generation Wealth Management.
The rest of the team consists of two certified financial planners (CFPs), one of whom is also a certified investment management analyst (CIMA).
Next Generation Wealth Management Investing Process
When you work with Next Generation Wealth Management, you’ll be guided through a six-step investment process with your advisor. You’ll discuss investment recommendations “with emphasis on asset allocation, investment selection/evaluation and portfolio risk management.” The firm will create your portfolio using multiple asset classes, including ETFs, mutual funds, hedge funds and separate account managers. If you have at least $250,000 to manage, your portfolio is custom-made.
The company uses fundamental, technical and cyclical analysis when evaluating securities. The company also uses passive and tactical allocation strategies.
McCarthy Grittinger Financial Group
McCarthy Grittinger Financial Group, aka MG Financial Group, is a fee-only firm that primarily offers investment management services on a discretionary basis. It includes financial planning at no additional cost. It also offers stand-alone financial planning and may provide guidance on tax, retirement, insurance and estate planning.
Of its clientele, high-net-worth individuals outnumber those who are less wealthy 136 to 85.
McCarthy Grittinger Financial Group Background
The firm gets its name from its founder, John McCarthy, and from Scott Grittinger, who joined the firm in 2003. McCarthy has since retired, selling his stake to Grittinger, who has majority ownership - and Matthew Miler and Jacqueline Schneider.
All four principals are certified financial planners (CFPs) as is one more advisor on the team. Miler is also a certified public accountant (CPA) - and may provide tax prep services for certain clients.
McCarthy Grittinger Financial Group Investing Strategy
The firm will construct well-diversified portfolios mainly using open-end mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and U.S. Treasury debt. Its investment committee monitors and performs due diligence on investment options. Its primary sources of information include, but are not limited to, financial newspapers and magazines, research subscriptions, annual reports, prospectuses, public filings and company press releases and fund company notifications.