Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in San Francisco, California
There’s a lot to consider when you’re trying to choose a financial advisor. To make the search a little easier for San Franciscans, SmartAsset spent dozens of hours researching to determine the top 10 San Francisco financial advisor firms. We’ve ranked the firms from most assets under management to least, and outlined the firms’ fees, expertise, investment strategies and more in tables and reviews. You can also turn to SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool to get some help finding the right advisor.
How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in San Francisco, California
SmartAsset considered all U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)-registered firms in San Francisco to determine this list of the city’s top 10 financial advisor firms. By looking only at SEC-registered firms, this narrowed the list down to only include firms that have a fiduciary duty to act in their clients’ best interests. From there, we cut any firms that did not have clean records, did not have financial planners or did not manage individual accounts. We ranked the remaining firms from most assets under management to least40
Wetherby Asset Management
Wetherby Asset Management, a fee-only firm that serves a majority high-net-worth individuals, has an impressive array of expertise on its team. The firm has nine certified financial planners (CFPs), the second-most of any firm on this list. It also has 11 chartered financial analysts (CFAs), four certified private wealth advisors (CPWAs), one financial services certified professional (FSCP) and one investment advisor certified compliance professional (IACCP).
Wetherby manages $4.29 billion in assets, the most of any of these 10 firms. To be a client, you’ll need at least $10 million. That’s the second-highest account minimum on this list.
Wetherby Asset Management Background
Wetherby Asset Management was founded in 1990. The firm has 19 individual owners, 15 of whom are employees of the firm.
Wetherby focuses on portfolio management and wealth planning, services that it customizes to individual client needs and objectives. It advises its clients on a wide range of topics, including asset allocation, manager selection, cash flow analysis, tax and estate planning, intergenerational wealth transfer, impact investing, retirement planning, philanthropic planning, education funding, insurance analysis, equity ownership and stock option advice and tax efficiency.
At Wetherby, wealth managers are typically required to have a professional license, advanced degree or a certification, such as a CFP, CPA, CFA or CPWA.
Wetherby Asset Management Investment Approach
Wetherby Asset Management takes a research-driven approach to investing. The firm has an in-house research team that’s responsible for evaluating asset classes and making recommendations on investment strategies and vehicles.
At start of each client relationship, Wetherby does a complete assessment of the client’s financial objectives, life goals and risk tolerance. This assessment informs the investment approach that the firm takes on that client’s behalf. Wetherby typically invests its clients’ assets in open end, no-load mutual funds or other pooled investment vehicles. It may also invest in individual equities, exchange-traded funds or fixed-income securities and other closed-end mutual funds. In certain instances, the firm may uses private investment funds or other separate account vehicles that are managed by other advisors.
Seven Post Investment Office LP
Seven Post Investment Office LP has by far the highest account minimum of any firm on this list: To be a client, you’ll need at least $50 million. That’s five times the next highest account minimum. Moreover, the firm says that it “generally seeks” to advise clients who have $100 million or more in assets.
As the firm’s account minimum makes abundantly clear, the firm principally serves high-net-worth clients. Seven Post is a fee-only firm, which means that it does not accept commissions for selling or recommending certain products.
Seven Post Investment Office LP Background
Seven Post Investment Office LP was founded in 1985, which makes it one of the older firms on this list. The firm is entirely owned by its managing directors, principals and related estate planning structures. In addition to being employee-owned, the firm says that co-investment is one of its "core philosophical tenets."
The firm manages broadly diversified, global, multi-asset class portfolios, and it also offers customized financial and asset allocation analysis, overall portfolio risk management, capital markets expertise, coordinated tax planning, family office services and consolidated investment reporting. Seven Post customizes its services to fit clients' specific investment and management needs.
Seven Post Investment Office LP Investment Strategy
Seven Post Investment Office LP believes that a key determinant of investment risks and returns is the establishment of and tactical rebalancing of asset allocation. To identify risks and opportunities across various global investment classes, the firm looks at asset class valuation, quantitative research on economic conditions and fundamental factors. During periods of market volatility, Seven Post will also take into account short-term behavioral indicators to spot potential investment opportunities.
The firm constructs its portfolios based on the investment objectives and constraints that its clients lay out in introductory conversations and in an ongoing dialogue. Typically, the firm will invest its clients assets in both passive indices through exchange-traded funds and active strategies.
B|O|S has 14 certified financial planners on staff, the most of any firm on this list. If you’re in need of financial advice regarding a divorce, it’s also the only firm that has a certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA). On top of that, B|O|S also has eight chartered financial analysts (CFAs), one certified public accountant (CPA) and one retirement income certified professional (RICP).
B|O|S requires a $3 million account minimum and it’s a fee-only firm.
In 2017, Financial Times ranked B|O|S as one of the nation’s top Registered Investment Advisors. Barron's has named B|O|S principal Jennifer Ellison as one of the nation's top 100 women financial advisors for four consecutive years, including in 2017.
B|O|S was founded in 1985 as Bingham, Osborn & Scarborough. A Boston-based holding company, Boston Private Financial Holdings, owns a majority of B|O|S. The remaining third of the company is owned by nine individuals who are employed at B|O|S and involved in the firm's management and three individuals who were once principals at the firm but who are now retired.
B|O|S was founded on three fundamental principles: The first is no bias or conflict of interest, the second is the advisory relationship and an integrated approach and the final principal is modern portfolio theory and efficient markets. Before it offers its clients financial and investment advice, B|O|S strives to get the “complete picture” to ensure its advice aligns with clients' objectives and financial reality. The firm will customize its approach to its clients' individual wants and needs, whether that’s existing concentrating stock positions or an interest in socially responsible investing.
In addition to its comprehensive wealth management and customized financial planning, B|O|S offers trust and estate planning.
B|O|S Investing Strategy
As the firm’s fundamental principles reflect, modern portfolio theory and the theory of efficient markets are central to the firm’s investment philosophy. As such, B|O|S builds long-term portfolios that it believes can succeed in a variety of market environments and it invests its clients in a highly diverse mix of major investment markets based on research and data. The firm strives to maximize after-fee and after-tax returns, and it prefers low-cost investment vehicles.
B|O|S primarily diversifies portfolios among cash equivalents, U.S. and foreign bonds, speciality U.S. common stocks such as technology and real estate, large and small company U.S. common stocks, foreign stocks and commodities. It typically recommends managed portfolios, like mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, fixed and variable annuities and separately managed accounts of individual stocks or bonds.
Ashfield Capital Partners
Ashfield Capital Partners is the smallest firm on this list with just seven advisors, yet it manages $1.40 billion in assets. Its staff includes one certified financial planner (CFP) and two chartered financial analysts (CFAs).
The fee-only firm serves a slightly greater percentage of individuals than high-net-worth individuals and many of its services are geared toward families. To be a client of Ashfield Capital Partners, you’ll need at least $1 million.
Ashfield Capital Partners Background
Formed in 1973, Ashfield Capital Partners is the second-oldest firm on this list. The firm is employee-owned, and all management team members, senior investment professionals and a majority of the firm's staff have an ownership stake in the firm.
Ashfield's mission is to help investors build wealth over time through a "consistent and understandable" process. In addition to its wealth management services, Ashfield offers a slew of other services, many of which fit in with its multi-generational approach to wealth management. Ashfield offers personalized financial planning, family office services, family foundation oversight, advice on trustee selection advisory, family continuity and education, wealth transfer planning, transition consulting for family businesses, integrated personal budgeting and cash flow forecasting.
Ashfield Capital Partners Portfolios
Ashfield Capital Partners’ portfolio building process follows a similar approach to that of the previous three firms. Ashfield first establishes a client’s risk tolerance, income requirements, current financial situation and goals, and then creates an investment strategy that aims to maximize risk-adjusted returns with a client’s parameters.
Ashfield believes that diversification delivers the most optimal risk adjusted returns, and it selects individual equities through a bottom-down fundamental analysis and a top-down thematic overlay that's intended to determine which companies within which sectors are best to invest in. Ashfield's portfolios typically include liquid securities, including stocks and bonds, and alternative investments, like hedge funds, private equity, debt investments, commodities and real estate.
Parallel Advisors, LLC
Unlike the other firms on this list that manage more than a billion dollars in assets, Parallel Advisors, LLC does not have a set account minimum. The firm serves both individuals and high-net-worth individuals, though its client base is comprised of slightly more individuals.
The fee-only firm has a decent spread of expertise. It has five certified financial planners (CFPs), two chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and one certified public accountant (CPA). One of its principals has a master’s degree in financial services.
Parallel Advisors, LLC Background
Parallel Advisors, LLC was founded in 2006. It's principally owned by its CEO, Jerry "C.J." Rendic.
As its name implies, Parallel Advisors aims to work in parallel with its clients and their interests and objectives. The team at Parallel Advisors works collaboratively and it also collaborates with its clients' accountants, estate planning lawyers and institutional money managers. The firm's services include portfolio management, retirement planning and tax and estate consulting and solutions, as well as philanthropic planning, bond and cash management, risk, insurance and annuity analysis and 401(k) fiduciary services.
Parallel Advisors, LLC Investing Approach
Parallel Advisors' portfolios are designed for the long term, and each portfolio is built on an asset allocation that matches that particular client's individual objectives and risk tolerance. The firm's primary investment strategies are long-term purchases and short-term purchases.
The core of Parallel Advisors' portfolios are equity and fixed income, and the firm also includes strategic satellites and alternatives to further reduce core equity risk concentration. The firm primarily allocates is clients' assets among various fixed-income securities, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and independent managers.
Osborne Partners Capital Management, LLC
Osborne Partners Capital Management, LLC has eight decades of experience under its belt. The fee-only firm has been in business since 1937, making it by far the oldest firm on this list.
Osborne Partners has two certified financial planners (CFPs) on staff, as well as four chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and one certified investment management analyst (CIMA). It has a $500,000 account minimum, which is among the lowest set account minimums on this list. However, it serves a majority high-net-worth individuals.
Osborne Partners Capital Management, LLC Background
Osborne Partners Capital Management, LLC was founded in 1937 as an investment management boutique for sophisticated investors. Since its founding, the firm has undergone various name changes and ownership transitions. The firm is currently majority employee-owned.
A unique aspect of Osborne Partners is its four pillars of wealth management, each of which represents a key part of the firm's services:
- Pillar I: Methodical investing discipline
- Pillar II: A customized financial plan
- Pillar III: A trusted advisor
- Pillar IV: Power financial tools
The firm offers these personalized services to individuals, families, trusts, estates, conservatorships, foundations, endowments, corporations or businesses, pensions and profit sharing plans, IRAs and retirement plans.
Osborne Partners Capital Management, LLC Investing
One thing that Osborne Partners emphasizes in its first pillar, methodical investing discipline, is its “invest like an institution” approach. At Osborne Partners, portfolios are customized across six major asset classes, similarly to those of large foundations and endowments. The six types of strategies that Osborne Partners offers are Equity Investment Strategy, Global Growth Strategy, Global Moderate Growth Strategy, Global Balanced Strategy, Global Income Strategy and the Fixed Income Strategy.
The firm’s portfolios are managed in-house and use nearly all individual securities, as opposed to mutual funds. According to Osborne Partners, the firm has "a long history of generating stock-like returns with less than 60% allocated to stocks."
Notably, Osborne Partners has a policy against buying any tobacco-related stocks. Clients also have the power to impose restrictions on investing in certain securities, types of securities or asset classes.
BakerAvenue Wealth Management
BakerAvenue Wealth Management is the final firm on this list that has more than $1 billion in assets under management. To be a client, you’ll need at least $500,000.
The fee-only firm’s team is stacked in terms of expertise. BakerAvenue has six certified financial planners (CFPs), six certified wealth strategists (CWS), six chartered financial analysts (CFAs), one certified public accountant (CPA) and one certified investment management analyst (CIMA).
BakerAvenue Wealth Management Background
BakerAvenue Wealth Management was founded in 2004. It’s principally owned by its CEO, Simon Baker.
BakereAvenue offers portfolio management services and wealth planning services, which include family continuity planning, estate planning and trustee oversight, integrated tax and financial planning, lifestyle management, family philanthropy and risk management.
On the whole, the firm actively manages asset allocation to manage risk, and all of its portfolios strategies embrace fundamental, technical and macro perspectives. It has seven different portfolio strategies to choose from, including Dynamic Core, All Cap Growth, International Equity, Blue Chip Income, Global Income, Impact and Fixed Income.
BakerAvenue Wealth Management MOSAIC Method
BakerAvenue says that it has spent many years creating and refining its BakerAvenue MOSAIC Method, which it deems a key differentiator of the firm. Through the MOSAIC Method, BakerAvenue aims to gain an unbiased view of what its clients need and value.
Each letter of the acronym MOSAIC stands for a step of the firm's process:
M: "Map where you are today and think about where you want to be tomorrow."
O: "Organize all your assets, so that you can begin creating your customized MOSAIC."
S: "Structure an investment portfolio that optimizes your investable assets."
A: "Align other components that are critical to your financial life."
I: "Integrate the expertise of other trusted professionals, such as your CPA/ATTY."
C: "Communicate our progress effectively and in a timely manner."
Each BakerAvenue client gets a customized MOSAIC map, which the firm then uses to fully understand that client's aspirations and situation.
Veris Wealth Partners, LLC
Veris Wealth Partners, LLC specializes in sustainable investing. The firm believes that its combination of sustainable and impact investing is not only the best way to achieve strong financial performance, but also to benefit future generations.
To be a client of Veris Wealth Partners, LLC, you’ll need at least $2 million. Veris is one of three firms on this list, including Perigon Wealth Management, LLC and True Capital Management LLC, that has less than $ 1 billion in assets under management. It has two certified financial planners (CFPs) on staff.
Veris is a fee-based firm that's duly licensed as an insurance agency. Individuals at the firm may receive commissions for the sale of insurance products. However, the firm is first and foremost bound by its fiduciary duty to act in clients' best interests.
Veris Wealth Partners, LLC Background
Veris Wealth Partners LLC was founded in 2007. The firm's principal owners include CEO Patricia Farrar-Rivas, CFO and CIO Michael Lent, business development officer Anders F. Ferguson and several firm partners, including Steve Fahrer, Alison Pyott, Lori Choi and Nicole Davis.
Veris provides a range of services to individuals, families, private foundations and mission-driven organizations, including strategic planning, portfolio management and financial plan review and refinement. The firm will collaborate with other professionals, as well as family offices, to provide fully comprehensive wealth management services.
Veris Wealth Partners, LLC Sustainable Investing
Veris Wealth Partners' investment decisions weigh business, social, environmental and economic factors. The firm argues that, particularly in a world where global issues and individual choices are increasingly connected, this will only strengthen investment decisions.
Veris uses a variety of sustainable investment practices including:
- Sustainable/ESG Investing: ESG investing relies on environmental, social and strategic governance business factors to identify companies that are forward thinking and environmentally and socially conscious.
- Mission Related Investing: Mission Related Investing (MRI) is mainly used by foundations and other mission-driven organizations. This strategy combines traditional investments, which seek market-rate returns, with program related investments, which are mainly intended to drive mission-aligned impact.
- Impact Investing: Impact and Community Investing balances the generation of financial returns with addressing social and environmental challenges by building portfolios with varying levels of impact across asset classes.
- Socially Responsible Investing: This investing strategy aims to maximize returns while sticking within a personal values framework.
- Values Alignment: Also known as Ethical Investing, this approach aims to align individual's personal ideals and beliefs with their financial decisions.
The firm offers seven risk models for client portfolios.
Perigon Wealth Management, LLC
Perigon Wealth Management, LLC does not have a set account minimum. However, the firm primarily serves high-net-worth individuals. In addition to individuals, Perigon also works with families, executives, business owners and organizations.
The fee-only firm has three certified financial planners (CFPs) and two chartered financial analysts (CFAs) on staff. Certain staff members at the firm are licensed as independent insurance agents, and they earn commissions for the sale of insurance products. These commissions are separate from and in addition to the firm’s advisor fees. Though this could create a potential conflict of interest, the firm has a fiduciary duty to put its clients’ best interests first.
Perigon Wealth Management, LLC Background
Perigon Wealth Management, LLC was founded in 2004. The firm’s principal shareholder is its parent company, Perigon Partners, LLC. Though the firm does business in San Francisco under the name Perigon Wealth Management, in other areas it my also do business under the names Anthem Advisors or Collaboration Capital.
Perigon’s goal is to provide “clear, actionable advice” that will help people on their paths toward financial freedom. It places a big emphasis on making things simple and easy to understand. The firm’s core services include investment management, risk management, retirement planning, financial planning and family office services.
Perigon Wealth Management, LLC Investment Process
Perigon Wealth Management’s investment process begins with its comprehensive financial planning, which follows the framework of the Certified Financial Planner Six-Step Financial Planning Process. Once the firm has an understanding of a client’s finances, values and life goals, it creates a customized plan that drives its investment selections and recommendations.
The firm’s investment strategies include individual securities, risk management and dimensional funds (DFA). Its philosophy regarding individual securities is rooted in fundamental analysis and the price-to-value-dynamic, while DFA combines the insights of modern portfolio theory and the efficient markets hypothesis to help investors take advantage of the opportunities that exist in all dimensions of the market.
In addition to individual portfolio management, Perigon also offers model portfolio management. Clients can choose from several strategies, each designed to meet a particular investment goal.
Notably, unless otherwise agreed to, the firm does not prioritize tax efficiency in asset management. Perigon recommends that its clients consult with a tax professional regarding their investments.
True Capital Management LLC
True Capital Management LLC, the final firm on our list of the top 10 San Francisco financial firms, primarily serves people in the sports and entertainment industries. The firm’s clients include entertainers and more than 175 professional athletes. Though its services are geared toward high-net-worth individuals, True Capital Management is one of three firms on this list that does not have a set account minimum.
True Capital Management has two certified financial planners (CFPs) and one chartered financial analyst (CFA) on staff. It’s one of two firms on this list, including Veris Wealth Partners, LLC that’s a fee-based firm.
The firm also provides through True Capital Insurance Services, LLC. Though certain employees of the firm who also act as insurance agents may receive commissions for the sale of insurance products, they are first and foremost obligated to act in their clients’ best interests.
True Capital Management LLC Background
True Capital Management LLC was founded in 2006 by Doug Raetz, its CEO, and Heather Goodman, its COO and president. Raetz and Goodman are the principal owners of the firm.
The firm provides individualized investment supervisory services, financial planning and consulting and banking services. Its extensive family office services include bill pay and bookkeeping, cash management and budgeting, concierge services, custom reporting and personal financial statements, estate planning and administration, financial and retirement planning, foundation and charitable giving guidance, investment services, lending and credit monitoring, private banking, real estate services, risk management and tax advisory services and legal coordination.
True Capital Management LLC Asset Allocation Models
True Capital Management LLC tailors its advisory services to fit each client’s individual needs, which it determines through interviews and questionnaires. The firm works with its clients to create an investment policy statement that outlines income needs, risk tolerance and performance goals, and which is used to determine asset allocation. Clients are able to impose restrictions, including on specific investment selections and sectors.
True Capital Management offers five asset allocation models that include both traditional and alternative investments and that aim to minimize volatility, maximize returns and preserve capital. The models include equity, fixed income, managed real estate, hedging strategies and private equity and venture.