Finding a Top Financial Advisor in New York, New York
Finding the best financial advisor in New York is a challenging undertaking. After dozens of hours of research into the vast array of firms New York has to offer, SmartAsset narrowed it down to this list of the top 10 financial advisors. In the charts and reviews below we’ve laid out what sets these top New York firms apart from the others and from each other, in terms of account minimums, areas of expertise and investment philosophies.
How We Found the Top Financial Advisors in New York City
After gathering a list of all U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)-registered firms in New York City, which are all required to act in their clients' best interest, we eliminated any firms that had disclosures, did not have financial planners or did not manage individuals or high-net-worth individual accounts. From there, we sorted the firms according to assets under management, from highest to lowest. The top 10 firms made this list of New York City financial advisors.
Silvercrest Asset Management LLC
Silvercrest Asset Management has more than $33 billion in assets under management, approximately four times that of the second-ranking firm on this list. The firm’s account minimum is also very high at $10 million. Silvercrest describes its typical client as someone with “significant financial assets, and in the case of families, often spread across multiple generations and among varying individual, retirement, trust and estate-planning vehicles.”
The firm has four certified financial planners (CFPs), 12 chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and two certified public accountants (CPAs).
Silvercrest ranked No. 5 on Barron’s 2017 list of the top 30 independent advisory firms in the U.S.
Silvercrest Asset Management LLC Background
Silvercrest Asset Management LLC was founded in 2001, but its managing directors average 30 years of wealth management experience. The firm handles issues including business succession planning, investing family foundations and endowments, diversifying from concentrated stock holdings or privately held assets, estate and tax planning and investing for retirement, which of course takes into account existing retirement accounts and Social Security benefits.
Each Silvercrest senior portfolio manager is a shareholder in the firm. The company says the goal of this is to add an extra incentive for advisors to perform optimally. The firm also regularly conducts peer reviews to ensure that its clients are receiving the best possible advice and input.
Silvercrest Asset Management LLC Resources
Silvercrest posts quarterly economic commentary and seasonal market and economic insights at least once a month on its website.
TAG Associates LLC
Founded in 1983, TAG is the oldest firm on this list. This is another New York City firm for the uber-wealthy, since it requires clients to have investable assets of at least $10 million.
The multi-client family office and portfolio management services firm has one of the highest numbers of certified public accountants on this list. There are six CPAs on the team. However, TAG only has one certified financial planner (CFP).
The firm collects performance-based fees.
TAG Associates LLC Background
TAG Associates’ senior management group averages more than 25 years experience in finance and investment. TAG takes a team approach. Each client is served by the firm’s managing directors.
The company is registered as a Commodity Trading Advisor and a commodity pool operator. According to the firm, when appropriate, TAG will pool clients’ assets to gain better access and diversification.
TAG’s goal is conservative: To preserve and grow its clients’ wealth from one generation to the next. However, the firm claims to stay on the forefront with the tools it uses to achieve this goal. TAG states that advisors are routinely considering how the latest developments in investmentment strategy, tax law and estate planning may impact its clients.
TAG Associates LLC Investing Strategy
TAG Associates is a recognized leader in the alternative investments space. The firm has allocated more than a third of its assets under management to alternative investments. It also uses separately managed accounts and mutual funds and, on occasion, the firm may recommend the short-term purchase of securities.
TAG Associates has an in-house investment team that performs all investment manager and strategy due diligence. Before the firm selects any manager, its team conducts manager visits, evaluates their portfolio management, strategy and performance and looks into their past performance and experience.
Evercore Wealth Management, LLC
Evercore Wealth Management, LLC, which works in conjunction with Evercore, a top global investment banking advisory firm, boasts the most financial advisors of any firm on this list. Among the firm’s 49 advisors are four certified financial planners (CFPs) and three certified trust and financial advisors (CTFAs).
The fee-based firm’s account minimum is slightly lower than that of the top two firms. To be a client of Evercore Wealth Management, you’ll need at least $5 million in investable assets.
Barron’s has ranked Evercore among the top investment advisory firms in the nation.
Evercore Wealth Management LLC Background
Evercore Wealth Management was founded in 2008 by the investment banking advisory firm Evercore. Evercore Wealth Management collaborate with colleagues at Evercore. Additional fees may apply for these intercompany arrangements.
Evercore Wealth Management states it works to ensure its clients know what to expect, no matter what may happen. To do this, Evercore Wealth Management projects investment returns across an array of scenarios, taking into account all associated costs. The firm then uses that information to build discrete portfolios.
Evercore Wealth Management’s approach can be helpful to clients by showing the impacts of costs and risks, as well as how a market downturn may affect a portfolio.
Evercore Wealth Management LLC Resources
Evercore Wealth Management puts out an extensive quarterly journal. The most recent issue of “Independent Thinking” was 24 pages long and covered topics like investing internationally, estate planning and illiquid assets.
HPM Partners LLC
The staff at HPM Partners LLC has an impressive array of certifications and credentials. There are eight certified financial planners (CFPs) on the team, the most of any firm on this list. If you’re looking for advice on the financials on divorce, this is also the only firm that has a certified divorce financial analyst™ (CDFA). On top of that, HPM Partners has 10 certified public accountants (CPAs) and six chartered financial analysts (CFAs).
The fee-based firm prefers clients to have a minimum of $2 million in investable assets. SilverCrest may collect performance-based fees in certain circumstances, but it generally does not.
In July 2017, Financial Times named HPM Partners a top 300 investment advisor for the third year in a row.
HPM Partners LLC Background
HPM Partners LLC was founded in 2009. The firm is majority-owned by the Milstein family through the Milstein’s Emigrant Bank, which owns an interest in a number of other financial services companies. HPM Partners may recommend investments that are controlled or affiliated with Emigrant Bank, meaning the firm would benefit from those client fees. The firm is also a licensed insurance provider, which means it might recommend providers or solutions. Advisors here are fiduciaries so even if they recommend products, they are legally obligated to do so with their client's best interests in mind.
HPM Partner’s strategy is asset allocation. A client’s assets are doled out to managers according to managers’ specialities in each of HPM Partners’ 16 recognized asset classes. The firm designs individualized investment programs based on a client’s risk profile, which it categorizes as conservative, moderate, balanced, growth or aggressive.
HPM Partners LLC Resources
HPM Partners’ “Library Posts” are a collection of the firm’s quarterly and monthly economic and market outlooks, alongside commentaries hinged on the news cycles and updates about the firm.
Pinnacle Associates, Ltd.
For prospective clients looking for more extensive help crafting a financial plan, Pinnacle Associates, Ltd. might not be a top option. The firm only offers basic financial planning services to investment management clients, including the creation of a goals-based plan.
The $1 million minimum of investable assets at Pinnacle Associates, Ltd. is lower than many of the other firms on this list. Consequently, unlike many of the other firms, Pinnacle’s client base is comprised of more individual clients than high-net-worth clients.
Notably, Pinnacle Associates has experience with managing portfolios with a socially responsible investment approach.
Pinnacle Associates, Ltd. Background
Pinnacle Associates was founded in 1984 by the firm’s president, Thomas Passios, making this the second-oldest firm on this top 10 list.
Pinnacle is employee-owned, and the firm states that it conducts in-house research to make investing decisions. The firm takes a bottom-up and top-down stock picking approach, and it opts for intermediate-term high quality debt securities and investment-grade securities with a two- to six-year maturity for its fixed-income investments.
KLS Professional Advisors Group, LLC
KLS Professional Advisors Group, LLC is the only firm on this list whose fees do not include a percentage of assets under management. Per the firm’s Form ADV (SEC-filed paperwork), the only fees it collects are hourly charges and fixed fees.
To become a client of this NYC firm, you’ll need $1 million in investable assets. The firm has two certified financial planners (CFPs) and two certified public accountants (CPAs) on its team.
KLS Professional Advisors Group, LLC Background
KLS Professional Advisors Group was established in 1989 on the principle that financial advisors shouldn’t be swayed by an incentive to sell products. The fee-only firm does not earn any incremental revenue from the advice that it gives.
After reviewing a client’s financial information, KLS creates a personalized financial management report (FMR). The report includes an analysis of the client’s current financial position, recommendations on retirement planning, cash flow and life and disability insurance and reviews of the client’s income tax, long-term income-planning strategies, wills and estate planning documents.
KLS Professional Advisors Group, LLC Resources
KLS Professional Advisors has a relatively robust offering of resources. The firm issues quarterly reviews and also has a compilation of client communications on issues ranging from portfolio changes to updates on estate and gift tax laws. The firm’s website also has a page of videos featuring different members of the firm talking about a variety of financial topics, like retirement and estate planning.
Sontag Advisory LLC
Sontag Advisory LLC has by far the lowest account minimum of any firm on this list. The account minimum for its Core service model is $100,000. However, Sontag notes in its brochure that the effective fee may be higher for accounts with a portfolio value of less than $500,000.
The fee-based firm is tied for the second-most certified financial planners (CFPs) of the companies on this list, with seven on its team. For clients interested in socially responsible and sustainable investing, the firm has extensive experience researching these strategies.
Barron’s named the firm to its list of the nation’s top 30 independent advisory firms in 2017.
Sontag Advisory LLC Background
Sontag Advisory LLC was founded in 1995 by Howard Sontag, the firm’s chairman and senior managing director.
At Sontag Advisory, advisors will assist any client of the firm in need of their expertise, regardless of whether they’ve been directly assigned to work with that client . In instances where the firm deems it appropriate to provide referrals to clients, it does not accept any commissions or referral fees.
Sontag’s investment philosophy is centered on risk management and disciplined decision making. The company states that the portfolios it builds are comprised of “simple” and liquid investment. Its portfolios don’t include investments in hedge funds, illiquid securities or private investment vehicles.
Sontag Advisory LLC Resources
Sontag Advisory LLC’s website is packed with helpful resources and information. The website also has a News & Insights section that compiles articles from various news sources on topics including financial planning, investing and tax, trusts and estates. Sontag has a collection of 22 whitepapers published on the website.
Joel Isaacson & Co., LLC
Joel Isaacson & Co., LLC’s client base is mainly comprised of high-net-worth individuals and families. Clients need a minimum of $1,000,000 in investable assets.
Joel Isaacson & Co., LLC is tied with Sontag Advisory LLC for the second-highest number of certified financial planners (CFPs) on this list. It has seven CFPs on staff. The fee-only firm also serves business owners, executives and entrepreneurs.
Worth magazine and Barron’s have both named the firm one of the top financial advisory firms in America.
Joel Isaacson & Co., LLC Background
Joel Isaacson & Co., LLC was founded in 1993 by Joel Isaacson, who remains the firm’s CEO. Isaacson started the firm with a vision of clients and advisors working together and an objection to selling products. The firm says its clients like to think of its advisors as their “financial quarterback or personal CFO, designing the right strategy, executing on the plan and staying on top of their situation to modify their strategy if and when needed.”
The firm works on a fee-only basis and claims to strive for complete objectivity in order to grow and protect clients’ wealth.
Summit Trail Advisors, LLC
Founded in 2015, Summit Trail Advisors, LLC is the newest firm on this list. It’s already making waves: In 2017, Barron’s ranked it as one of the top 30 independent advisory firms in the nation.
To be a client of Summit Trail Advisors, you’ll need at least $5 million in investable assets. After the first two firms on the list, this is the highest account minimum.
This is a fee-based firm.
Summit Trail Advisors, LLC Background
Though Summit Trail Advisors is just a couple of years old, its founding partners worked at some of the biggest private wealth management firms for more than a decade. The founders came together to create a financial advisory firm with “the resources and investment prowess of a private bank with the independence of a boutique,” Summit Trail Advisors’ website explains.
Summit Trail Advisors’ approach consists of two parallel processes: an advice team that handles research and an advisor team that builds relationships.
Summit Trail Advisors, LLC Resources
Summit Trail Advisors has a sleekly designed website that clearly illustrates its processes and advantages.
Klingenstein Fields Wealth Advisors
Klingenstein Fields Wealth Advisors is one of two firms on this list with a slightly higher percentage of individuals than high-net-worth individuals. That being said, to be a client of Klingenstein Fields Wealth Advisors, you’ll need at least $3 million in investable assets.
Klingenstein has just 13 advisors, the smallest number of any firm on this list. The firm has two certified financial planners (CFPs) and four chartered financial analysts (CFAs) on staff.
Klingenstein Fields Wealth Advisors Background
Klingenstein Fields Wealth Advisors was formed in 1998. The firm is the successor of SEC-registered advisor Klingenstein, Fields & Co., L.P., which was established in 1988. The firm is principally owned by two trusts for the benefit of the Klingenstein family.
Klingenstein states that the company aims to preserve wealth while minimizing risk and remaining highly aware of taxes and transaction costs. The firm’s approach is the core equity strategy, focused primarily on investing in mid and large capitalization stocks of high-quality companies. The firm believes that more than any other type of securities, equities have the greatest potential for appreciation with tenable levels of risk.