Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Norfolk, Virginia
If you’re in need of a financial advisor, it can be difficult to know which ones are best suited to help you. SmartAsset streamlined the search process by compiling this list of the top advisor firms in Norfolk, Virginia. Our experts dug through company records and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings to find the top firms in the city, along with crucial details like their fees, minimums and investment approaches. If you’re still unsure of whom to work with, SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool can connect you with up to three options who serve your area.
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|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||Brown Advisory Find an Advisor||$6,606,613,781||$5,000,000|| || |
|2||Wilbanks, Smith & Thomas Asset Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$4,754,536,565||$1,000,000|| || |
|3||Courage Miller Partners, LLC Find an Advisor||$360,165,268||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
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|4||Wealthway Financial Advisors Find an Advisor||$164,311,000||$500,000|| || |
|5||Heritage Wealth Management Group, LTD Find an Advisor||$134,157,967||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
What We Use in Our Methodology
To find the top financial advisors in Norfolk, we first identified all firms registered with the SEC in the city. Next, we filtered out firms that don't offer financial planning services, those that don't serve primarily individual clients and those that have disclosures on their record. The qualifying firms were then ranked according to the following criteria:
- AUMFirms with more total assets under management are ranked higher.
- Individual Client CountFirms who serve more individual clients (as opposed to institutional clients) are ranked higher.
- Clients Per AdvisorFirms with a lower ratio of clients per financial advisor are ranked higher.
- Age of FirmFirms that have been in business longer are ranked higher.
All information is obtained through public records and is updated annually after the firms’ form ADV filing. This list may include firms that have a business relationship with SmartAsset, in which SmartAsset is compensated for lead referrals. Such relationships have no impact on our rankings, and firms are included and ranked based strictly on the above criteria. SmartAsset is not a client of the aforementioned firms, and did not receive compensation for including any of the firms on the aforementioned list.
Up first on our Norfolk list is Brown Advisory, also known as Signature Family Wealth Advisors. This firm has been in business for more than 25 years. The firm is rather exclusive, as you’ll need at least $5 million in investable assets to become a client.
As a result of the above minimum requirement, Brown Advisory's client base is comprised almost entirely of high-net-worth individuals. It also works with some individuals below the high-net-worth level, as well as pooled investment vehicles and charitable organizations.
This fee-based firm employs one of the largest advisory staff of any firm on this list. Across this team, there are certifications such as certified financial planner (CFP), chartered financial analyst (CFA) and certified public accountant (CPA).
Brown Advisory Background
Founded in 1994, the firm is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Brown Advisory Incorporated, which is a Maryland-based holding company. The firm offers its clients a wide range of services, including investment management, strategic planning and family governance, cash management, income tax organization, risk management, estate planning, wealth transfer planning and philanthropic planning.
Brown Advisory Investment Philosophy
Brown Advisory generally takes a long-term approach to investing, which it defines as more than 10 years. The firm may blend active and passive strategies within a portfolio, seeking fund managers that have demonstrated success, passive exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and index funds that provide exposure to many different asset classes, industry sectors and markets.
The firm manages risk in clients' portfolios through diversification, ensuring that each portfolio represents investments from across the globe. According to the firm’s Form ADV, “[W]e are willing to sacrifice on the upside in order to protect the downside.”
Wilbanks, Smith & Thomas Asset Management
Next on our list is Wilbanks, Smith & Thomas Asset Management, which boasts the largest client base of any firm on this list by a large margin. The firm’s clients include non-high-net-worth individuals, high-net-worth individuals, investment companies, pooled investment vehicles, pension plans, charitable organizations, government entities, businesses and more.
The firm's list of advisory certifications is quite extensive. Among the firm’s advisors are certifications such as chartered financial analyst (CFA), certified financial planner (CFP), certified investment management analyst (CIMA), accredited investment fiduciary (AIF), chartered market technician (CMT) and more.
You’ll need at least $1 million in investable assets to become a client of this fee-only firm. However, this stipulation is waivable under certain circumstances.
Wilbanks, Smith & Thomas Asset Management Background
Wilbanks, Smith & Thomas Asset Management is the oldest firm on our list, having first opened for business back in 1990. Ownership of the firm is split between one employee and two separate companies: managing principal Wayne Wilbanks, Thomas Investment Properties, LLC and Rosemont.
This firm specializes in investment management services, which it usually provides on a discretionary basis, although non-discretionary management is also available. The firm also focuses on wealth management, which is a more broad offering that includes investment management as well as general financial planning, retirement planning and cash flow planning.
Wilbanks, Smith & Thomas Asset Management Investment Philosophy
Wilbanks, Smith & Thomas Asset Management generally approaches each client portfolio with a goal of diversifying among several asset classes. Advisors achieve this goal by investing in a mix of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds and individual stocks and bonds.
The firm also relies on strategies fueled by quantitative research and modeling performed by a division of the firm known as WST Capital Management. Based on a given client’s risk tolerance, investment objectives and other specific factors, the firm will choose the strategy and asset allocation that makes the most sense.
Courage Miller Partners
Courage Miller Partners is the next firm on our list, and it is a fee-only operation. This means that all of its compensation comes from client-paid fees rather than third-party sales commissions.
This firm works primarily with non-high-net-worth individuals. However, it also maintains advisory relationships with high-net-worth individuals, retirement plans and charitable organizations. There is no stated minimum account size needed to become a client of the firm.
Courage Miller's advisory team boasts a handful of certifications. These include the certified financial planner (CFP), certified investment management analyst (CIMA), chartered life underwriter (CLU), accredited investment fiduciary (AIF) and certified private wealth advisor (CPWA) designations.
Courage Miller Partners Background
Courage Miller Partners opened up shop in August of 2008. It's currently owned by one of its founders, Ralph Courage. Courage is a managing member and chief compliance officer (CCO).
Investment management is the primary service offering at this firm. To the extent that a client explicitly requests it, the firm will also provide financial planning and related consulting services. Investment management at Courage Miller comes in both discretionary and non-discretionary variations.
Courage Miller Partners Investment Philosophy
Courage Miller Partners usually constructs client portfolios with a relatively standard combination of securities, including individual equities, bonds and other fixed-income instruments, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The firm employs a range of methods when analyzing these investments, including technical analysis, cyclical analysis, fundamental analysis and charting.
Technical and cyclical analysis both involve attempts to find trends in historical price and volume data. However, the latter does so explicitly in the context of the business cycle. On the other hand, fundamental analysis is a method of analyzing a company or fund’s primary financial metrics, as well as the overall economy, in an attempt to give it a valuation. This can then be used to uncover securities that the market is either over or under-valuing. Charting is a data visualization practice that helps to better identify trends.
Wealthway Financial Advisors
Rounding out our list is Wealthway Financial Advisors, which is a fee-only firm. As a result, advisors who work here don't earn commissions aren't subject to that potential conflict of interest.
This firm has grown to serve a large group of clients since its founding over two decades ago. Apart from a handful of businesses, the firm's client base is split between non-high-net-worth individuals and high-net-worth individuals. To become a client, you'll need to meet the firm's minimum account size of $500,000, though this requirement can be altered.
Wealthway Financial Advisors Background
Daniel C. Bunting founded Bunting Capital Management, the predecessor firm to Wealthway Financial Advisors, in 1995. In 2015, though, Bunting sold the firm to its current principal owner, Kevin J. Zywna. The firm adopted its current name in 2018.
Wealthway has various financial planning services, such as cash flow analysis, tax analysis, net worth review, estate planning, investment review, retirement planning and more. The firm also offers investment management.
Wealthway Financial Advisors Investment Philosophy
Wealthway Financial Advisors seeks to tailor the asset allocation of each client's portfolio to that client's timeline to retirement, investment objectives, comfort with risk, liquidity needs and other important factors. To construct such a plan, the firm will typically use mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and separately managed accounts (SMAs).
Often, the firm will act as a manager of managers, allocating client assets among a collection of third-party money managers. When doing so, the firm will rely on the tenets of modern portfolio theory (MPT) to optimize the balance between risk and return.
Heritage Wealth Management Group
Heritage Wealth Management Group is a fee-only firm with no minimum account size. Advisors at the firm work mostly with individuals, the majority of whom do not qualify as high net worth. The only institutional clients at the firm are charitable organizations and corporations.
No advisors at the firm earn commissions. Advisory fees are paid based on a percentage of assets under management.
The team at HWMG includes one chartered life underwriter (CLU), one chartered financial consultant (ChFC), and two certified financial planners (CFP).
Heritage Wealth Management Background
HWMG was founded in 2004. It is principally owned by Mark H. Tekamp and Peter H. Bryan.
Services offered at the firm include investment management, financial planning, estate planning, insurance planning, debt analysis, divorce planning, college planning and tax planning.
Heritage Wealth Management Investment Strategy
Nearly half of the money held at HWMG is invested in mutual funds, with a round a quarter more going to individual stocks. The best is split between bonds, derivatives, cash and annuities.