Finding the Top Financial Advisors in Palo Alto, California
If you’re seeking a financial advisor in Palo Alto, California, the search can be time-consuming and tedious. Certainly you’ve got better things to do than dig through disclosure documents and other material to find a qualified advisor. So we did the leg work for you to bring you the top six financial advisors in Palo Alto. Read on to learn key facts about each firm, such as their qualifications, fee frameworks and services rendered. SmartAsset also offers a free matching tool that can pair you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area.
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|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||Vista Wealth Management Group, LLC Find an Advisor||$3,868,670,360||$2,000,000|| || |
|2||Sand Hill Global Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$3,604,693,870||$2,500,000|| || |
|3||Rebalance, LLC Find an Advisor||$1,462,139,862||$300,000|| || |
|4||Frank, Rimerman Advisors LLC Find an Advisor||$1,378,966,079||$15,000 minimum annual fee|| || |
Minimum Assets$15,000 minimum annual fee
|5||Palo Alto Wealth Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$581,645,652||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|6||Media Wealth, LLC Find an Advisor||$76,117,080||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|7||Holbrook Global Strategies Find an Advisor||$160,000,000||$1,000,000|| || |
|8||Cognizant Wealth Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$110,046,250||$10,000 minimum annual fee|| || |
Minimum Assets$10,000 minimum annual fee
What We Use in Our Methodology
To find the top financial advisors in Palo Alto, 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 accurate as of the writing of this article. 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.
Vista Wealth Management Group
Vista Wealth Management Group is the No. 1 firm in Palo Alto and has a massive client base, working with individuals, high-net-worth individuals, trusts, estates, charities, pension and profit-sharing plans, as well as business entities. The firm requires a $2 million account minimum.
Vista employs a number of accredited professionals, including seven certified financial planners (CFPs), two certified public accountants (CPAs), four chartered financial analysts (CFAs), two personal financial specialists (PFSs) and one certified private wealth advisor (CPWA).
As a fee-only firm, Vista makes money from asset-based fees and other fixed or hourly charges. Vista advisors do not sell insurance or financial products for commissions as advisors at fee-based firms may.
Vista Wealth Management Background
Founded in 1999, Vista is owned by Focus Financial Partners Inc., a registered investment advisory company publicly traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. Vista's management team includes COO James Knight, CEO Michael Spector, principal wealth advisor Eric Swensen, chief growth officer Aaron White, as well as Earl Hines Jr. and Gregory Warner.
The firm offers clients discretionary investment management, financial planning, consulting services, as well as credit and cash management solutions.
Vista Wealth Management Group Investment Strategy
Like other firms, Vista works to understand a client's financial situation, investment experience, time horizon, risk tolerance and other factors. Using that information, the firm designs a portfolio diverse in asset classes and asset locations.
Vista uses what it calls a "rigorous evidence-based approach to long-term investing." Then again, the firm may also engage in short-term purchasing (holding securities for less than a year), trading (selling securities within 30 days) and option writing. The firm relies on charting analysis, fundamental analysis and technical analysis when evaluating investments.
Sand Hill Global Advisors
With the second-highest assets under management (AUM) on this list, Sand Hill Global Advisors (SHGA) is also the second highest-rated firm in Palo Alto.
SHGA serves high-net-worth individuals and individuals without a high net worth. The firm also advises charitable organizations and can offer services to trusts, estates, pension and profit-sharing plans.
The firm works on a fee-only basis, so it doesn’t collect commissions from third parties for selling or recommending their products. For fund management services, you generally need a minimum investment of $2.5 million, the highest of any firm on this list.
The SHGA team comprises 11 certified financial planners (CFPs), four chartered financial analysts (CFAs), one certifed divorce financial analyst (CDFA) and one investment advisor certified compliance professional (IACCP).
Sand Hill Global Advisors Background
SHGA first opened its doors in 1982 and is owned by 13 employees of the firm, including chief operating officer Anthony Craun and chief executive officer Brian Dombkowski.
In addition to managing portfolios, the firm can help its clients address several aspects of their financial lives, including budgeting, retirement planning and starting a business. In addition, the firm can advise on endowments and other philanthropic initiatives.
Sand Hill Global Advisors Investment Strategy
SHGA emphasizes proper asset allocation as the main driver of favorable returns. It will attempt to create one based on your individual circumstances, taking into account your risk tolerance and financial goals. It may also aim for global diversification by investing in domestic and international stocks, as well as mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and other types of securities. The firm invests in both active and passive investments.
"We continuously review and analyze macroeconomic trends, company specific quarterly results and intra-quarter information, as well as technical and fundamental analyses, and these elements form the basis of our research approach," the firm states in its Form ADV.
Rebalance, a fee-only firm, is next on our list of the top financial advisors in Palo Alto. With a $300,000 account minimum, the majority of Rebalance's clients are individuals without a high net worth. However, the firm also works with high-net-worth individuals, as well as pension and profit-sharing plans.
Rebalance has two certified financial planners (CFPs) on staff. As a fee-only financial advisory firm, its revenue comes from the fees that clients pay for their services, not commissions for selling third-party products.
Rebalance emerged in 2011 and is currently owned by Somerset Group Enterprise, Inc. and Penny Investor, Inc., which are in turn owned by Scott Puritz and Mitchell Tuchman, respectively.
In addition to portfolio management services, the firm can assist you on a range of topics, including saving for retirement through individual retirement accounts (IRAs), 401(k) plans and SEP IRAs. The firm specializes in the following areas:
- Investment strategy
- Portfolio rebalancing
- Asset allocation
- Fund selection
- Risk tolerance
- Portfolio monitoring
- Financial planning
Rebalance Investment Strategy
Rebalance aims to diversify portfolios based on factors like your risk tolerance and investing goals. It may recommend constructing your portfolio using its seven investment models, which are mostly invested in four to 10 ETFs. The firm's model portfolios are:
- Diversified income
- Balanced income
- Income ladder
- Balanced growth
- Diversified growth
Rebalance will monitor your portfolio and make adjustments if it deems it appropriate based on market conditions.
Frank, Rimerman Advisors
Frank, Rimerman Advisors (FRA) works exclusively with high-net-worth individual clients. It can also provide advice on retirement plans, estates, trusts and other accounts.
The firm, which works on a fee-only basis, doesn’t require a minimum investment. However, it charges a minimum annual fee of $15,000 for investment advice. It may also collect fees through advisory and referral programs.
FRA is staffed by a large team of professionals who specialize in tax, accounting and financial planning advice.
Frank, Rimerman Advisors Background
Frank, Rimerman Advisors has been in business since 2000 and is wholly-owned by Frank, Rimerman + Co. LLP, a certified public accounting firm founded in 1949.
The firm can provide different financial planning services to meet your needs, including selection of third-party asset managers, estate planning, portfolio evaluations and general investment guidance.
Frank, Rimerman Advisors Investment Strategy
In constructing client portfolios, Frank, Rimerman Advisors doesn’t limit itself to specific securities. A client's asset allocation is based on personal factors like risk tolerance, financial situation and long-term goals.
As part of its securities selection process, the firm typically conducts fundamental and technical analysis using market research and other data concerning the state of the economy.
Palo Alto Wealth Advisors
Palo Alto Wealth Advisors (PAWA) is next on our list. It works entirely with high-net-worth individuals and their related accounts, though services are available for other new individual and institutional clients.
You don’t need a minimum investment to start a relationship with the firm. However, PAWA does impose a minimum annual fee of $15,000. The firm works on a fee-only basis, so its compensation comes directly from clients for the services it provides. It doesn’t earn commissions from third parties such as broker-dealers or insurance companies for selling their products.
Palo Alto Wealth Advisors Background
PAWA first opened its doors in 2016 and is owned by Ryan K. Schmidt and Nathan T. Blair.
The firm offers a wide range of financial services geared towards high-earners in the tech industry. It can advise on a variety of topics ranging from financial education and estate planning to investing and employee stock options.
Palo Alto Wealth Advisors Investment Strategy
PAWA emphasizes risk-and-reward profiles when building client portfolios. It develops this profile by analyzing several personal factors such as risk appetite, investing goals and preferences. Depending on your profile, the firm will primarily invest your assets in various mutual funds and ETFs, but may also utilize individual stocks, bonds, options contracts and alternative investments.
The firm also takes the tax implications of these investments into account and how they may impact you. When making investing decisions, PAWA relies on several sources of information such as readily available market data and research.
A newcomer to the list this year, fee-only firm Media Wealth ranks sixth among top advisors in Palo Alto. Although it has no set minimum to open an account and can work with a wide variety of individuals and businesses, Media Wealth currently only works with high-net-worth individuals.
Media Wealth Background
Media Wealth was founded in 2020 and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Focus Operating, LLC, which in turn, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Focus LLC -- the same company that owns Vista Wealth Management, our top-ranking firm on this list. Managing members include James Knight, Michael Spector, Eric Swensen, Aaron White, Earl Hines, Jr., and Gregory Warner.
The firm offers clients discretionary investment management, financial planning and other consulting services.
Media Wealth Investment Strategy
Advisors at Media Wealth usually assign clients model portfolios that align with their objectives and risk tolerance. The firm uses charting, fundamental and technical analysis to formulate investment recommendations. Typically Media Wealth allocates client assets to exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and executes purchases on long-term, short-term and trading cycles.
Holbrook Global Strategies
Holbrook Global Strategies (HGS), the seventh firm on our list, works exclusively with individual clients, both with and without a high net worth. To establish a relationship with the firm, you’ll need a minimum of $1 million in investable assets. HGS also charges a minimum annual fee of $12,000.
This fee-only firm also accepts foundations, pension plans, family offices and other institutions as clients, though none are clients currently.
Holbrook Global Strategies Background
Rick Holbrook founded his namesake firm in 2003 and remains its principal owner. Several publications such as Businessweek and Money magazine have recognized him as an expert global investor.
HGS focuses on providing investment management services for its clients. It also provides financial planning on a limited basis, “particularly as it relates to their portfolio management or retirement goals,” the company states. In addition, the firm can help manage trusts, estates, retirement plans and more.
Holbrook Global Strategies Investment Strategy
HGS generally focuses on long-term investment strategies. It aims to build diversified portfolios that reflect client risk tolerance, financial goals and other factors. The firm may invest client assets in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, index funds, real estate securities and more. But it notes it generally doesn’t advise on all security types.
"Our strategies encompass a wide array of global investment asset classes (primarily various forms of stocks and bonds) in an effort to find those that offer the best chance of meeting the client’s investment goals," the firm states in its Form ADV brochure. "Our portfolios are diversified across a wide range of investments as opposed to concentrated in just a few securities."
Cognizant Wealth Advisors
Rounding out our list of top advisors in Palo Alto is fee-based firm Cognizant Wealth Advisors. Although it has no set minimum to open an account, the firm does charge a minimum annual fee of $10,000. It works exclusively with individuals, both with and without a high net worth.
As a fee-based firm, Cognizant may receive a share of advisory fees in exchange for recommending its clients use a specific brokerage firm. Although this may represent a conflict of interest, the firm is legally obliged to act in the best interest of its clients.
Cognizant Wealth Advisors Background
Cognizant Wealth Advisors was founded in 2012 and is owned by principals Arthur (Artie) F. Green and Sheetal S. Bagde.
The firm offers clients comprehensive wealth management, financial planning services, consulting services and discretionary investment management.
Cognizant Wealth Advisors Investment Strategy
Cognizant Wealth Advisors bases its investment strategies on client objectives and risk tolerance levels. The firm believes that proper asset allocation is the basis for prudent investment choices and primarily uses exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds for portfolio construction given their diversification levels. On occasion, advisors may also recommend alternative investments and balance a client's portfolio according to environmental, social and governmental (ESG) or socially responsible investment (SRI) goals.