Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Oakland, California
Oakland, California is a large city with many financial advisor firms, making it tough to find the the right financial advisor for you. To make it easier, SmartAsset created this list of the top Oakland financial advisor firms. Below, you can compare and contrast the firms’ services, fee structures and account minimums. The SmartAsset financial advisor matching tool is another way to find a financial advisor in your area, and it only requires you to answer a few simple questions.
How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in Oakland, California
SmartAsset considered only U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)-registered financial advisor firms located in Oakland, California for this list. Only these firms were considered because of the inherent fiduciary duty that comes with being an SEC-registered firm. Under fiduciary duty these firms are required to act in clients’ best interests. If any firms didn’t offer financial planning, didn’t manage individual accounts or did not have a clean record, they were eliminated. The remaining firms are listed below in order of the most assets under management (AUM) to the least.
Liberty Wealth Management, LLC
Liberty Wealth Management, LLC is a fee-based financial advisor firm that has the lowest set account minimum on this list at $10,000. The firm has three certified financial planners (CFPs), one chartered life underwriter (CLU) and one chartered financial consultant (ChFC) on staff.
Liberty’s client base is made up of individuals, corporations, businesses, estates, trusts, pensions, profit-sharing plans and charitable organizations. When it comes to individual clients, the firm serves roughly equal parts individuals and high-net-worth individuals.
Advisors at this firm may earn commissions from selling insurance policies or from trading certain securities in your portfolio. However, the firm is a fiduciary and therefore it must act in your best interest.
Liberty Wealth Management, LLC Background
Liberty Wealth Management, LLC has been in business since 1999. Its advisors have spent, on average, about 20 years in financial services. President David Hollander independently owns the firm.
A wide range of services are made available by Liberty Wealth Management, including estate and trust creation and planning, retirement planning, insurance analysis, tax management and mitigation and general investment management.
The firm also runs a financial blog through its website that is aimed at keeping clients informed of the latest happenings in the markets.
Liberty Wealth Management, LLC Investing Strategy
Liberty Wealth Management places an emphasis on long-term investing. The firm relies on the investment philosophy of modern portfolio theory to guide how it handles the relationship between investment risk and the ensuing returns. Modern portfolio theory states that you can maximize gains and minimize risk by constructing a balanced and diversified portfolio.
Liberty Wealth Management uses a number of specific investment strategies, including long-term and short-term purchases, margin transactions, option-writing, trading and short sales. Though a strategy like short-term purchases might seem counterintuitive to what the firm says it believes in, these are used to satisfy clients’ liquidity needs.
Bell Investment Advisors, Inc.
A fee-only financial advisor firm, Bell Investment Advisors, Inc. employs more certified financial planners (CFPs) than any other firm on this list. It has five CFPs on its team. The firm also uniquely offers career counseling, which involves putting together an “actionable plan and a strategy that helps you build positive momentum in your life and career.”
You will, however, need at least $500,000 in investable assets prior to opening an account with this firm. This is the second-highest minimum on this list. The firm principally serves high-net-worth clients. Its client base also includes non-high-net-worth individuals, trusts, estates, mutual funds, businesses, charitable foundations and pension and profit-sharing plans.
Bell Investment Advisors, Inc. Background
Husband and wife duo James and Bonnie Bell founded Bell Investment Advisors, Inc. in 1991. James Bell serves as the firm’s president, while Bonnie Bell serves the director of career and life coaching. The firm’s team boasts more than 100 years of combined financial advisory experience.
Depending on what type of financial management help you’re looking for, a different set of advisory services will be offered to you. As a whole, the firm can handle:
- Current financial evaluations
- Employee stock option analysis
- Risk management reviews
- Education funding plans
- Insurance review
- Estate planning
- Net-worth and cash flow statements
- Debt management plans
- Retirement planning
Bell Investment Advisors, Inc. Investing Strategy
Bell Investment Advisors is a major believer in utilizing various index funds to build its clients’ portfolios. It primarily uses mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and, occasionally, individual securities. The firm says that it believes these investments will offer both strong diversification as well as low trading fees, making it easier for your portfolio to be successful.
However, your portfolio’s success also depends on the exact investment choices made. To make investment decisions, the firm uses two types of analysis: technical analysis and fundamental analysis. Fundamental analysis looks at the economic and company-specific factors of an investment opportunity to determine its value. Technical analysis is much more driven by statistics, like past prices of an investment and overall market activity, to forecast how an investment’s price will change over time.
John W. Brooker & Co., CPAs, PC
As you can likely tell by its name, John, W. Brooker & Co. CPAs, PC is not only a financial advisor firm. It can also handle your tax preparation needs. In support of this service, there are two certified public accountants (CPAs) at this firm, as well as two certified financial planners (CFPs) and one chartered financial analysts (CFAs) for financial planning and management.
John W. Booker & Co. says it serves both individuals and high-net-worth individuals, as well as employer-sponsored pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable foundations, corporations, estates, trusts and non-profit organizations. This fee-only firm calls for a minimum of $100,000 in investable assets to open an account.
John W. Brooker & Co., CPAs, PC Background
As it was established in 1983, John W. Brooker & Co., CPAs, PC is the oldest financial advisor firm on this list. Partners and principal owners Daniel Beatty, Larry Jakubowitz and Joseph Wells independently own the firm.
The firm offers comprehensive financial planning, which takes into account all aspects of your financial life to create a workable plan. It also offers more goal-based services, like retirement planning, real estate investment analysis, higher education funding analysis, estate plan creation and review, mortgage and refinancing evaluation and insurance review.
John W. Brooker & Co., CPAs, PC Investing Strategy
Your personal risk tolerance, liquidity needs and time horizon will dictate how your assets are ultimately invested. However, the firm does have its own set of preferred investment types that it tends to use in client portfolios. These include domestic and foreign stocks and bonds, no-load mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), certificates of deposit (CDs) and U.S. government securities.
The firm says it is focused on long-term, sustainable portfolio growth, but it also utilizes shorter-term investments to meet clients’ liquidity needs.
Ginsburg Financial Advisors, Inc.
No other firm on this list has a higher minimum account size than the $1 million threshold imposed by Ginsburg Financial Advisors, Inc. The firm’s typical clients are Individuals and their families, businesses, trusts, estates, pension and profit-sharing plans and charitable organizations. The firm’s small team of three advisors has a total of four certifications, including three certified financial planners (CFPs) and one chartered financial analyst (CFA).
Ginsburg Financial Advisors is the only firm on this list that charges clients commissions when certain trades are made within their portfolios. This fee-based firm may also attempt to sell you insurance policies to supplement your advisory account, and advisors may earn commissions from sales. The firm is a fiduciary though, requiring it to act in your best financial interest at all times.
Ginsburg Financial Advisors, Inc. Background
Ginsburg Financial Advisors, Inc. is principally owned by its founder and president, Larry Ginsburg. Notably, Ginsburg has also served as an industry expert witness in various securities litigations since 1991. The firm, which was founded in 2007, is the youngest on this list. However, its advisors average 30 years in the financial field.
The financial planning and investment management services offered by Ginsburg can be customized according to your personal needs and financial information. The firm has the ability to create estate plans, education funding plans, tax minimization analyses, retirement plans and employee benefits reviews.
Ginsburg Financial Advisors, Inc. Investing Strategy
Ginsburg Financial Advisors uses tactical asset allocations to construct portfolios for clients. Through this, the firm aims to achieve diversification to avoid overinvesting in one or more currently overvalued markets. The firm instead looks to place your money into undervalued markets that are expected to increase in value in the future.
Ginsburg Financial Advisors intends for your investments to remain in your portfolio for a long time, but that doesn’t mean it won’t check in. The firm will periodically rebalance your portfolio to ensure that the original investment plan created for your account is still being enacted.
Financial Avengers, Inc.
Financial Avengers, Inc. works with individuals and their families, businesses and self-employed individuals. The firm says it focuses on serving the financial needs of gay men, lesbians, HIV-positive individuals and other minority groups. It’s the sole firm on this list that does not require a minimum account size.
This fee-based firm has two advisors on staff, tying it with John W. Booker & Co., CPAs, PC for the smallest advisory team on this list. Clients of this firm may be offered insurance policies and sales may result in commissions for advisors. But because this firm is a fiduciary, it is required to act in your best interest.
Financial Avengers, Inc. Background
CEO Thomas Swift and COO Arthur McCord opened Financial Avengers, Inc. in June 2000. They remain the principal owners of the firm.
Financial Avengers customizes its services to fit clients’ individual needs and financial situations. The firm has experience with areas like debt management, estate transfer, investment management, company-sponsored benefit plan review and budget planning.
Financial Avengers, Inc. Investing Strategy
Financial Avengers, Inc. self-identifies as a buy-and-hold investor. It focuses on the long term and it avoids strategies like market timing, short selling and margin transactions.
Where your money is ultimately invested is determined based on your stated level of risk tolerance and any personal financial objectives you may want to achieve. To give a rough idea of how the firm typically invests its clients’ assets, Financial Avengers says it currently has 60% of its AUM allocated to stock, bond and balanced mutuals funds. The remaining 40% is invested in individual stocks, bonds and cash.