Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Minnesota
Although it’s not a massive state, Minnesota has a surprising number of financial advisor firms. To help you sift through the options, we’ve determined the top financial advisor firms in Minnesota. Each firm’s fee schedule, investment strategy, typical clients and more are detailed below to serve as the differentiating factors that will aid you in deciding which is the right option for you. The SmartAdvisor tool can make this entire process even simpler, as it will match you with financial advisors in your area based on your needs.
|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services, LLC Find an Advisor||$5,800,178,400|| |
$25,000 to $250,000
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$25,000 to $250,000
|2||Riverbridge Partners Find an Advisor||$4,686,654,900|| |
| || |
|3||CliftonLarsonAllen Wealth Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$2,881,241,700|| |
No minimum assets; minimum fee $500 and up
| || |
No minimum assets; minimum fee $500 and up
|4||Meristem Family Wealth Find an Advisor||$2,337,811,900||None|| || |
|5||Focus Financial Find an Advisor||2,254,100,000|| |
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|6||Carlson Capital Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$1,595,865,600||$1,000,000|| || |
|7||Accredited Investors Wealth Management Find an Advisor||$1,577,046,500|| |
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|8||Envoi, LLC Find an Advisor||$1,330,498,100||$25,000,000|| || |
|9||Punch & Associates Investment Management, Inc. Find an Advisor||$1,100,697,600||No minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo minimum
|10||CRI Securities, LLC Find an Advisor||$970,496,300||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in Minnesota
Our SmartAdvisor personal finance experts only considered Minnesota-based financial advisor firms that are registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for this list. That’s because all SEC-registered firms are bound by fiduciary duty, which requires them to act in clients’ best financial interests. We removed a firm from contention if it didn’t manage individual accounts, didn’t offer financial planning services or had disciplinary issues on record. The top firms that met these requirements are listed below, sorted from the most assets under management (AUM) to the least.
Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services, LLC
Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services, LLC is by far the largest firm on this list, as it has more than $5.8 billion in assets under management (AUM) and a network of 212 advisory employees. The team in Plymouth, the firm’s home office location, boasts eight certified financial planners (CFPs), one chartered financial analyst (CFA), one chartered financial consultant (ChFC), one accredited asset management specialist (AAMS) and one master planner advanced studies (MPAS) professional.
The firm serves five times as many high-net-worth individuals as non-high-net-worth individuals. But these groups don’t make up the entirety of Wealth Enhancement’s client base, as it also serves trusts, estates, corporations, pension and profit-sharing plans and charitable organizations.
The firm’s account minimum varies depending on the type of account. More specifically, a $25,000 minimum is imposed for investment management services, a $50,000 minimum applies to WEAS select accounts and a $100,000 minimum is required for a WEAS access program account. You need anywhere from $30,000 to $250,000 for the firm’s core program account.
Wealth Enhancement is a fee-based firm, and some of the firm’s advisors sell insurance policies on a commission basis. However, the firm is a fiduciary and therefore must act in your best interest.
Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services, LLC Background
Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services, LLC has been in business since 2001. WEG Holdings, LLC, a financial holding company, owns it. The firm has received numerous awards throughout its history, including being named a top financial advisor by Barron’s, Financial Advisor magazine and the Financial Times, among others.
Wealth Enhancement keeps its services very general in nature in an effort to keep them pliable for clients. Its most common services include investment management, retirement income planning, financial planning, estate planning, tax strategies, insurance and risk management, business owner consulting and private client services.
Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services, LLC Investing Strategy
Four tenets inform how Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services, LLC builds its clients’ portfolios: active management, effective diversification, cost efficiency and tax efficiency. In order to ensure that each portfolio is reaping the benefits of the current market, the firm actively monitors more than 70 markets around the world to uncover new opportunities and assess when rebalancing is necessary. Diversification goes hand-in-hand with this idea, as it seeks to minimize risk by investing your money in unrelated areas of the market.
Cost and tax efficiency are always in the back of this firm’s mind, and these considerations come into play when the firm is selecting specific investments. This means your advisor will not only search for investments that have low transaction and custody fees, but also for investments that don’t overstep the bounds of your tax profile.
With $2 million in investable assets required to open an account, Riverbridge Partners has the highest account minimum on this list. As a result, this fee-based firm’s individual client base only includes high-net-worth individuals. Other types of clients that this firm works with include institutions, corporations, partnerships, pension and profit-sharing plans, banks, investment companies, trusts and estates.
Riverbridge Partners ranks first on SmartAsset’s list of the top financial advisor firms in Minneapolis. Its team possesses a total of 20 advisor certifications. If you choose to begin a client relationship with Riverbridge, you’ll find seven chartered financial analysts (CFAs), six certified financial planners (CFPs), four certified public accountants (CPAs), two financial paraplanner qualified professionals (FPQPs) and one chartered financial consultant (ChFC).
Along with only one other firm on this list, Punch & Associates Investment Management, Inc., this firm charges performance-based fees. However, these fees only apply should your portfolio exceed projections. The firm also receives trailer and 12b-1 fees on mutual funds, though it does abide by fiduciary duty.
Riverbridge Partners Background
Founded in 1987, Riverbridge Partners is tied with Accredited Investors Wealth Management for the title of the oldest firm on this list. Currently, it is not independently owned, as Northill Capital Group is the majority owner. However, it is partially employee-owned.
Instead of providing goals-based financial planning and wealth management services, this firm offers investment portfolio models that are designed to succeed in different ways, depending on your financial objectives. These models range from small-cap growth to growth and income portfolios. Each portfolio varies in the number of companies it invests in and its time horizon.
Riverbridge Partners Investing Strategy
When choosing specific investments for your portfolio, Riverbridge Partners evaluates each company based on five factors: sound culture and management, strong unit growth, differentiated market position, internally financed growth and conservative accounting. The firm believes that these factors provide strong insight into whether a company has earnings power and intrinsic value.
Once the firm has found enough suitable investments and begins to piece together your portfolio, it will generally look to do so with small- and mid-capitalization companies. At any one point in time, though, Riverbridge prefers to have all of your assets fully invested, regardless of any need for liquidity. The firm estimates that its portfolios will have 30% turnover annually.
CliftonLarsonAllen Wealth Advisors, LLC
Although CliftonLarsonAllen (CLA) Wealth Advisors, LLC has offices across the U.S., its principal location is in Minneapolis. It ranks second on SmartAsset’s list of the top financial advisor firms in Minneapolis. The firm manages portfolios for a wide range of clients, including individuals, banks, trusts, estates, corporations, unincorporated associations, limited partnerships, limited liability companies, charitable organizations and pension and profit-sharing plans. When it comes to individuals, CLA primarily works with non-high-net-worth clients.
While there is no minimum account size required to open or maintain an account, the firm does charge a minimum annual fee that varies depending on your account type. Basic plans start at a $500 minimum fee, while business owner and complex estate planning accounts require a minimum fee of $5,000.
The firm has multiple certified financial planners (CFPs) in it advisor network, among those with other certifications. As a fee-based firm, some of CLA’s advisors may sell insurance policies on a commission basis. However, do remember that this firm abides by fiduciary duty and therefore must act in your best interest.
CliftonLarsonAllen Wealth Advisors, LLC Background
CliftonLarsonAllen Wealth Advisors, LLC was created in 2000. It has gone through many ownership transactions, but CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, a financial services business, now control the firm.
Retirement planning, estate planning, investment advisory services, risk management and education fund planning make up the bulk of the services that this firm offers to clients. But for those who need it, the firm also offers more specific services like business succession planning and retirement plan administration, among others.
CliftonLarsonAllen Wealth Advisors, LLC Investing Strategy
As opposed to selecting specific investments for your portfolio, CliftonLarsonAllen Wealth Advisors, LLC will try to identify an appropriate asset allocation based on your personal risk tolerance and time horizon. The asset classes the firm usually uses are equity securities, fixed income and cash.
The purpose of this strategy is to create a portfolio that is as diversified as possible across market sectors. When deciding which market sectors to include in your account, the firm focuses on factors like the overall economy, inflation, interest rates, liquidity, energy prices, fiscal policy and, of course, market and sector histories.
Meristem Family Wealth
Though it’s a firm with upwards of $2.3 billion in assets under management (AUM), Meristem Family Wealth has just 16 advisors on staff. Throughout that group, there are four certified financial planners (CFPs), three certified public accountants (CPAs), two certified trust and financial advisors (CTFAs), one chartered financial analyst (CFA), one certified investment management analyst (CIMA) and one chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA).
You won’t have to worry about an account minimum at this firm, but there is an annual fee of $30,000. The Minnetonka-based firm says its typical clients are individuals and families and their family estates, trusts, businesses, charitable organizations and partnerships.
If you work with this fee-based firm, your advisor might recommend insurance policies. Although the firm’s advisors may earn commissions from sales, the firm is a fiduciary and therefore must act in your best interest.
Meristem Family Wealth Background
Although employees are the majority owners of Meristem Family Wealth, the venture capital firm PC3 Ventures, LLC does hold a minority stake in the firm. Meristem was founded in 2003.
Like a growing number of firms in the U.S., this firm has chosen to keep its services customizable to the needs and desires of its clients. The services offered by the firm include:
- Holistic financial review
- Portfolio management
- Family wealth management
- Tax planning
- Estate and legacy planning
- Risk management
Meristem Family Wealth Investing Strategy
Diversification is key to how Meristem Family Wealth builds portfolios for its clients. Additionally, the firm takes into account your risk tolerance, financial goals, liquidity needs and time horizon.
Aside from diversifying your investments, Meristem keeps a constant eye on risk management, tax consequences, fee considerations and manager selection. Once the firm has determined the appropriate investments for your portfolio, your advisor will approach you with the plan prior to its implementation. The firm does this, because it subscribes to the philosophy that an advisor and client should work as a team in order to achieve financial success.
Focus Financial is another firm that calls Minneapolis home. It’s the third firm on SmartAsset’s list of the top financial advisor firms in Minneapolis. Focus Financial is technically a network of financial advisors that includes more than 100 advisors who are concentrated throughout the Midwest. The firm’s advisory network holds a few types different certifications, though certified financial planners (CFPs) are the most common.
With no minimum account size required, it’s no surprise that this firm serves more than 6,000 non-high-net-worth individuals and less than 600 high-net-worth clients. Some advisors at this fee-based firm may earn commissions if they sell insurance policies or trade certain securities. The firm is bound by fiduciary duty, though, forcing it to act in your best interest.
Focus Financial Background
Focus Financial is the second oldest firm on this list, as it was established in 1993. The advisors employed by this independently owned firm have a wide range of experience levels and backgrounds.
Asset management and financial planning are the firm’s primary services. Should you be looking for more goal-oriented services, the firm provides the following:
- Tax planning
- Estate planning
- Retirement planning
- Cash flow and debt analysis
- Employee benefit planning
- Asset allocation recommendations
- Accumulation planning
- Insurance review and advice
Focus Financial Investing Strategy
Above all else, the advisors at Focus Financial seek to understand your current financial situation and any future desires you might have. But whereas most firms will focus only on your goals, risk tolerance and time horizon, this firm considers a few other characteristics. These include your cost of living, cash flow, education needs and savings tendencies.
Based on these pieces of information, the firm will choose between a number of investments that fit your profile. Historically, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), closed-end funds, stocks, bonds, options, CDs, variable and fixed annuities, limited partnerships and real estate investment trusts (REITs) are the typical investments that this firm uses in client portfolios.
Carlson Capital Management, LLC
Carlson Capital Management, LLC has a client base split almost exactly down the middle between individuals and high-net-worth individuals. Aside from individuals, the firm also works with trusts, estates, pension and profit-sharing plans, corporations and charitable organizations.
Headquartered in Northfield, this firm requires clients to have at least $1 million in investable assets to open an account. The firm has 11 certified financial planners (CFPs), four certified public accountants (CPAs), three accredited investment fiduciaries (AIFs), one chartered financial analyst (CFA) and one certified employee benefit specialist (CEBS) working in its main offices.
Some of the advisors at this fee-based firm sell insurance policies and may earn commissions from sales. However, the firm is required to act in your best interest, as it’s bound by fiduciary duty.
Carlson Capital Management, LLC Background
Founded in 2015, Carlson Capital Management, LLC is the youngest firm on this list. Careful not confuse it with Carlson Capital Management, Inc., which actually holds principal ownership of the firm. Though it’s more of a holding company now, it was once an SEC-registered investment advisor.
Carlson Capital Management offers a variety of services for investors who are in search of a firm that can handle all of their financial management needs. The firm’s services include:
- Integrated wealth management
- 401(k) plan services
- Risk management
- Tax services
- Education planning
- Retirement planning
- Charitable gift planning
- Trust creation and management
- Stock option analysis
Carlson Capital Management, LLC Investing Strategy
Although Carlson Capital Management, LLC can handle short-term financial needs for clients, its overall desire is to manage assets for the long term. The firm bases its approach on modern portfolio theory, which states that risk and return are inherently related. In turn, the firm thinks that the only time that increasing your risk is appropriate is if there’s a chance for a proportionate boost in return.
Carlson Capital is also a proponent of active asset management. Its advisors are constantly prowling the market for new investment opportunities, all while making sure that their client portfolios are rebalanced when needed and adhere to the original asset allocation plans.
Accredited Investors Wealth Management
With just four advisors on staff, Accredited Investors Wealth Management has the smallest advisory team of any firm on this list. Despite this, the firm’s overall team has a total of 18 certifications, including 12 certified financial planners (CFPs), four certified public accountants (CPAs) and two chartered financial analysts (CFAs). This fee-only firm calls Edina home.
Perhaps because of its $2 million account minimum, this firm has a nearly 10-to-1 ratio of high-net-worth individual clients to non-high-net-worth individuals. As many firms do, Accredited Investors Wealth Management also works with trusts, businesses, foundations, endowments, pension and profit-sharing plan providers and charitable organizations.
Accredited Investors Wealth Management Background
CEO Ross Levin and president Wil Heupel opened Accredited Investors Wealth Management in 1987, which ties it with Riverbridge Partners for the title of the oldest firm on this list. Levin and Heupel have spent a combined 70 years in the financial services industry.
This firm acknowledges that clients never have the same sets of needs. Its advisory services are thus significantly less targeted than most, resulting in broad, customizable offerings like asset protection, income management, debt management, investment planning and estate planning.
Accredited Investors Wealth Management Investing Strategy
The theory of mean reversion states that, in the long-term, all investments will return to their average values, even if they fluctuate along the way. Because Accredited Investors Wealth Management strongly believes in this idea, it purchases investments while they’re low in value and sells them when their value increases.
While this approach may seem risky, the firm claims that it doesn’t intend to chase returns. To focus more on the long term, the firm strives to invest in areas of the market that it identifies as having strong valuations and upside potential.
Envoi, LLC has the simplest fee structure of any firm on this list, as it charges advisory fees based solely on a percentage of your asset under management (AUM). For reference, most other firms charge an asset-based fee in addition to hourly charges and/or fixed fees.
With more than 30 high-net-worth individual clients to its name, this fee-only firm is extremely exclusive. It requires at least $25 million in investable assets to open an account. The firm’s client base also includes entities related to its high-net-worth clients, like legal entities, revocable and irrevocable trusts, family businesses, family partnerships and family-owned charitable organizations.
There is at least one chartered financial analyst (CFA) and one chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA) working here.
Envoi, LLC Background
Founders Brenda Sallstrom, Ryan Steensland and Jim Sand have remained the owners of Envoi, LLC since its creation in 2009. All three have extensive experience working in finance and business.
Because this firm specializes in serving high-net-worth-individuals and their families, its services are centered around these client types. The firm provides:
- Cash-flow and budget management
- Investment management
- Tax mitigation and planning
- Risk management
- Wealth transfer planning
- Young adult financial education
- Charitable organization management
Envoi, LLC Client Experience
Before any investment or portfolio structure decisions are made, Envoi, LLC will assemble a balance sheet that seeks to define your entire financial situation. This will consist of a detailed analysis of your assets, liabilities and cash flow. Once all of the information has been gathered, the firm will work with you to define your risk tolerance, time horizon, liquidity needs and, most importantly, financial objectives.
Diversification serves as the framework for how this firm will draft an investment plan that fits your needs. In order to diversify successfully, the firm will evaluate and utilize a mix of the following investment types: mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), registered funds, master limited partnerships (MLPs), alternative investments, traditional fixed income and equities.
Punch & Associates Investment Management, Inc.
Edina-based financial advisor firm Punch & Associates Investment Management, Inc. is the final fee-only firm on this list. The firm primarily serves high-net-worth individual clients, though its client base also includes families, trusts, private funds, donor advised funds, businesses, government entities, foundations and pension and profit-sharing plans.
Account minimums at Punch & Associates are fluid and depend on the account you want. If you’re an institutional client, you will need no less than $10 million. Individual high-net-worth accounts call for a minimum of $250,000, and wealth planning accounts have no required minimum.
The firm employs two chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and one certified financial planner (CFP).
Punch & Associates Investment Management, Inc. Background
President and CIO Howard Punch and managing partners Andrew Matysik, John Carraux and Jessica Johnson are the joint owners of Punch & Associates Investment Management, Inc. The firm was established in 2002.
This firm takes the personalization of advisory services to a whole new level, as it strategically lists just investment management wealth planning as its service offerings. What exactly you want these services to cover is then more or less up to you.
Punch & Associates Investment Management, Inc. Investing Strategy
Punch & Associates Investment Management, Inc. takes a less common approach to investing client assets. The firm believes that the highest potential for return lies in areas of the market that investors have forgotten and therefore don’t have much activity. According to Punch & Associates, large sects of investors today are ultra short-sighted. As a result, the firm says, these investors vacate the aforementioned market areas while there’s still value there.
Vigilance is extremely important to this firm, as it thinks that there’s truth to the old adage that there are no shortcuts to investing properly and intelligently. To be sure that it remains on the cutting edge, the firm does all of its own market research.
CRI Securities, LLC
Despite being the only firm on this list with less than $1 billion in assets under management (AUM), CRI Securities, LLC has over 5,000 individual clients. Nearly 4,400 of those clients are non-high-net worth individuals. The firm is located in St. Paul.
The required account minimum will vary depending on the style of account you’re looking to open:
- CRI asset allocation program: $50,000
- SEI distribution focused strategies program: $50,000 - $100,000, depending on strategy and tax management
- SEI managed account program: $500,000 to $2,500,000, depending on strategy
Because this firm earns dealer concessions and distribution fees, it is a fee-based operation. However, it is bound by fiduciary duty, which means it is required to act in your best interest.
CRI Securities, LLC Background
CRI Securities, LLC is half-owned by Minnesota Life insurance Company, an insurance broker. Philip C. Richards, who is also the principal owner of the insurance agency, North Star Consultants, owns the other half. CRI Securities has been in business since 2003.
Rather than create an arbitrary group of financial planning and investment management services, CRI Securities, LLC has chosen to allow its clients and advisors to mutually decide on what’s best for their accounts.
CRI Securities, LLC Investing Analysis
In order to select strong investments, CRI Securities, LLC begins with the belief that modern portfolio theory should govern most client accounts, therefore affording the firm a long-term focus. Modern portfolio theory holds that rather than just picking individual stocks, investors can create diversified portfolios that will deliver optimal returns given their particular tolerance for risk. When it comes to selecting specific investments, the firm’s advisors will dig into each investment’s costs, structure and performance history to determine its strength within the context of CRI’s plans.
Because diversification is integral to any modern portfolio theory-based portfolio, this firm typically dabbles in investments that are inherently diversified. Your account will likely be made up of some combination of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, municipal securities, U.S. government securities, bonds, CDs, commercial paper and common and preferred stocks.