Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in San Rafael, California
There’s a lot to consider when choosing a financial advisor. It’s partly what makes the important decision so hard. To help you, we collected a number of factors you should take into account - fundamentals such as assets under management (AUM), fee basis and investment strategy. Then we put all the info together here for convenient comparing and contrasting. Start your search with this list of the top financial advisor firms in San Rafael, California. You can also use SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching tool to connect with as many as three advisors in your area.
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|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||Private Ocean Find an Advisor||$2,439,106,550||$2,000,000|| || |
|2||Ohana Advisors Find an Advisor||$1,274,038,464||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|3||Polaris Wealth Advisory Group Find an Advisor||$1,822,338,925||$500,000|| || |
|4||Westhill Financial Advisors, Inc. Find an Advisor||$429,433,996||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|5||Marin Wealth Advisors LLC Find an Advisor||$266,242,725||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|6||Stewart Wealth Management, Inc. Find an Advisor||$238,829,651||$100,000|| || |
|7||JLFranklin Wealth Planning Find an Advisor||$160,347,183||$1,500,000|| || |
|8||O’Donnell Financial Services, LLC Find an Advisor||$169,271,938||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|9||Hutchinson & Ziegler Financial Advisors, Inc. Find an Advisor||$143,618,506||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|10||Spectrum Financial Management Find an Advisor||$167,185,711||$500,000|| || |
What We Use in Our Methodology
To find the top financial advisors in San Rafael, 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.
Private Ocean, a fee-only financial advisor firm, is the top-rated outfit in San Rafael. With additional offices in San Francisco and Seattle, Private Ocean has nine certified financial planners (CFPs) working out of its headquarters in San Rafael, as well as other accredited professionals, including a chartered financial analyst (CFA), a certified investment management analyst (CIMA), a certified private wealth advisor (CPWA), among others.
With a $2 million investment requirement, a majority of Private Ocean's clients are high-net-worth individuals, although the firm also works with individuals who don't have a high net worth, as well as pension and profit-sharing plans and business entities.
As a fee-only firm, Private Ocean makes its money from client fees, not commissions from selling financial products or insurance policies.
Private Ocean Background
Founded in 2009, Private Ocean is primarily owned by Wealth Management Advisors. Gregory Friedman, owner of Wealth Management, serves as president and CEO of Private Ocean. He and three other people or entities own the biggest stakes in the firm, while some advisors have small stakes.
The practice offers investment management, retirement plan consulting and financial planning. It can advise on retirement, business succession, college funding, stock option planning, leaving a legacy and more.
Private Ocean Investment Strategy
In constructing client portfolios, Private Ocean primarily invests in mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and separate account managers, taking both long and short positions. Its methods of security analysis include fundamental analysis and technical analysis.
Private Ocean generally follows a long-term investment strategy and avoids trying to time the market. The firm also notes on its website that more and more individuals are becoming interested in environment, social and governance (ESG) investing. As the result, Private Ocean offers ESG portfolios for socially conscious clients.
Ohana Advisors, the No. 2 firm on our list, has been in business the longest and has the best client-to-advisor ratio on this list. While Ohana does not have a minimum account requirement, its clients typically have an average net worth of $100 million. New clients will generally be expected to have a net worth of at least $30 million within the short term.
Its small client base is composed entirely of ultra-high-net-worth families, although it also serves revocable and irrevocable trusts, charitable trusts, family limited partnerships, limited liability companies, family foundations, and donor advised funds.
The Ohana team includes one certified public accountant (CPA).
Ohana Advisors Background
Ohana Advisors started as a sole proprietorship in 1993. In 2010, its owner, Dennis Covington, converted it to a limited liability company. He now owns it with Josh Richter, Edward John Schneider IV and David Schrader.
The firm offers comprehensive family office and financial services, functioning as each client’s private family office.
Ohana Advisors Investment Strategy
The firm says that it “strives to create and implement an optimal, risk-managed, diversified strategy tailored for each client.” Typically, each client utilizes family limited partnerships to co-invest across family entities. In constructing portfolios, Ohana employs diversification across geographies, asset classes, sub-sectors, and levels of expected return and risk. It notes that the “majority of the families’ portfolios also have significant allocation to private investment funds.”
As of its most recent SEC filing, assets under its management were invested as:
- 67% in securities issued by pooled investment vehicles (other than registered investment companies or business development companies)
- 10% in cash and cash equivalents
- 10% in private investments and charitable contributions
- 9% in securities issued by registered investment companies (such as mutual funds) or business development companies
- 6% in state and local bonds
- 4% in exchange-traded equity securities
Polaris Wealth Advisory Group
Third on our list is Polaris Wealth Advisory Group, formerly known as Polaris Greystone Financial Group. PWAG has nine certified financial planners (CFPs) on staff, to go along with two chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and one certfied trust and financial advisor (CTFA).
PWAG works primarily with individuals and high-net-worth individuals, but it offers services to pension and profit-sharing plans, corporations and other business entities. The firm requires its clients' accounts have a minimum aggregate value of $500,000.
PWAG is a fee-only firm, whose revenue comes from client fees, not sales commissions on third-party products, like securities or insurance policies.
Polaris Wealth Advisory Group Background
Founded in 2011 as Polaris Wealth Advisors, the firm later changed its name to Polaris Greystone Financial Group and subsequently reorganized into two separate firms: Polaris Wealth Advisory Group and Greystone Financial Group. Today, chief investment officer Jeffrey Powell and Jeremy Witbeck own Polaris Wealth Advisory Group.
The firm offers investment management and financial planning services, including education planning, estate planning, tax planning, business succession planning and more.
Polaris Wealth Advisory Group Investment Strategy
PWAG bases its investment choices for individual clients after hearing about their financial goals and risk tolerance. The firm then matches a client with a particular strategy that best suits their profile as an investor, including approaches that are reliant on diversified ETFs and others that are driven by stocks or bonds.
The firm believes that a well-managed portfolio is built using technical and fundamental methods of analysis, and by examining market sentiment and macroeconomic conditions.
Westhill Financial Advisors, Inc.
Westhill Financial Advisors, a fee-based firm formerly known as Taddei, Lugwig & Associates, is next on our list. WFA works with individuals, high-net-worth invidivuals, trusts, estates, pension and profit-sharing plans, as well as corporations and other business entities. There is no minimum investment, although the minimum annual fee of $8,000 may not be cost-effective for small balances. Most accounts are managed on a discretionary basis, meaning advisors have full control over the accounts.
WFA's advisory team includes five chartered financial consultants (ChFCs), four certified financial planners (CFPs), two chartered life underwriters (CLUs), one accredited investment fiduciary (AIF) and one certified 401(k) professional.
Because many WFA advisors are also insurance agents who can earn commissions on certain transactions, WFA is considered a fee-based firm. Despite the potential conflict of interested created by commission-based compensation, the firm must act in its clients' best interests no matter what.
Westhill Financial Advisors Background
Founded by Matt Taddei and Kirk Ludwig, the firm has been a registered investment advisor since 2010. In 2021, it rebranded and changed its name form Taddei, Ludgwig & Associates to Westhill Financial Advisors to "better describe our visionary perspective to financial planning and advice." They, along with Diane McCracken, who leads the qualified retirement team, own the business.
In addition to investment management, insurance and risk management services, the firm offers financial planning and pension consulting.
Westhill Financial Advisors Investment Strategy
WFA primarily uses strategic asset allocation, with core investments in index funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). It may also invest in actively managed funds when the opportunity arises. Portfolios are globally diversified. As part of its securities selection process, TLA’s methods of analysis include charting, fundamental, technical and cyclical analyses.
According to its most recent SEC filings, assets under WFA's assets under management (AUM) were allocated as:
- 86% in securities issued by registered investment companies (such as mutual funds) or business development companies
- 8% in exchange-traded equity securities (like common stocks)
- 6% in cash and cash equivalents
Marin Wealth Advisors LLC
Marin Wealth Advisors is headquartered in San Rafael and has offices in San Francisco and Oakland. The team in San Rafael includes three certified financial planners (CFPs) and one chartered financial analyst (CFA).
The majority of Marin clients are not considered high-net-worth individuals, although some are. The fee-only firm also serves trusts, estates, corporations, non-profit organizations, as well as pension and profit-sharing plans. Investment accounts are managed on a discretionary basis only. There is no published account minimum.
Marin Wealth Advisors Background
In 2013, Robert Hunter reformed his 18-year-old financial advisory practice as a limited liability company and named it Marin Wealth Advisors. He remains its majority owner, while Gerald Fegler and James Castro also owns stakes in the business.
The practice offers investment management and consulting. It also provides financial planning that includes retirement planning and education funding.
Marin Wealth Advisors Investment Strategy
Marin Wealth primarily uses strategic asset allocation, along with individual stock and bond selection. In its Form ADV, the firm notes that many of its clients are “investors who realized finding the best place to invest money required more time and research than they had.” Its methods of security analysis include charting, fundamental, technical and cyclical methods of analysis.
The most recent SEC data shows that assets under the practice’s management were allocated as:
- 78% in exchange-traded equity securities (like common stocks)
- 18% in securities issued by registered investment companies (such as mutual funds) or business development companies
- 2% in securities issued by pooled investment vehicles (other than registered investment companies)
- 1% in cash and cash equivalents
- 1% in investment-grade corporate bonds
Stewart Wealth Management, Inc.
With a minimum investment of $100,000, Stewart Wealth Management (SWM) serves far more individuals who don’t have a high net worth than those who do (about five to one). Its team includes two certified financial planners (CFPs) and one retirement income certified professional (RICP).
The firm also offers services to pension and profit-sharing plans, retirement plan participants, foundations, institutions and business entities. The great majority of accounts are managed on a discretionary basis, which means clients authorize SWM to make changes to their investments without getting prior approval.
SWM is a fee-only firm who's compensated through asset-based fees, hourly charges and/or fixed fees -- not commissions.
Stewart Wealth Management Background
Benjamin Stewart registered the firm with the SEC in 2007. He is the sole owner and serves as its CEO and chief compliance officer. Prior to founding SWM, Stewart served as a vice president at Wachovia Securities for seven years.
SWM offers financial planning, investment advisory services, as well as pension and qualified retirement plan consulting.
Stewart Wealth Management Investment Strategy
SWM aims to build low-cost, tax-efficient portfolios with consistent performance over the long term. It does this by investing in institutional-class stock mutual funds with low expense ratios, and at times, low-cost exchange-traded funds (ETFs), bond funds, individual fixed income securities and other products. When appropriate, SWM may also recommend real estate investments.
According to its most recent SEC filings, assets under SWM’s management were allocated as:
- 71% in exchange-traded equity securities (like common stocks)
- 15% in private equity real estate
- 12% in cash and cash equivalents
- 1% investment-grade corporate bonds
- 1% U.S. government/agency bonds
JLFranklin Wealth Planning
JLFranklin Wealth Planning is a fee-only financial advisor firm serving individuals, high-net-worth individuals, trusts and estates. With a $1.5 million account minimum, a majority of assets under JLFranklin's management belong to high-net-worth investors.
JLFranklin has an advisory team that features two certified financial planners (CFPs) and one certified public accountant (CPA).
As a fee-only firm, JLFranklin makes its money from client fees that are based on a percentage of each account, as well as hourly charges and fixed fees. Its advisors do not sell third-party financial products or insurance for commissions.
JLFranklin Wealth Planning Background
JLFranklin, which has several offices in the Bay Area, has been offering advisory services since 1999. Joyce Franklin, an advisor with the CFP and CPA designations, is the firm's principal owner. Having previously worked at Deloitte and Erst & Young, Franklin has 25 years of financial planning experience and three decades worth of experience as an accountant.
JLFranklin focuses on financial and tax planning, as well as investment management, catering to tech workers. "Our firm is uniquely qualified to help people in the tech community make smart financial decisions by explaining the benefits and tradeoffs of various choices you face as part of a rapidly growing company," the firm says on its website.
JLFranklin Wealth Planning Investment Strategy
JLFranklin primarily relies on passive mutual funds, which it believes provide low-cost exposure and global diversification. The firm typically invests in equity and fixed income mutual funds and ETFs that do not have any loads. JLFranklin does not manage individual equity porfolios or analyze individual securities, and instead relies on strategic asset allocation and gives advice guided by these four principles:
- Financial markets are extremely efficient
- Risk and return are related
- Broad global diversification is the best way to allocate assets
- Investor discipline is vital for remaining exposed and allocated to the markets
O'Donnell Financial Services, LLC
Founded in 2015, O’Donnell Financial Services is a fee-based firm with three offices in the Bay Area. The majority of O'Donnell Financial's clients are individuals without a high net worth, but the firm also serves high-net-worth investors, as well as pension and profit-sharing plans.
O'Donnell is considered fee-based because its advisors earn commissions when selling financial products or insurance. But as fiduciaries, O'Donnell and its advisors must always act in the client's best interest.
O’Donnell Financial Services Background
Greg O’Donnell is founder, principal and CEO of the firm. According to the website, he also hosts a weekly radio show and has a series of books on retirement available for free download.
The firm provides investment management services through a wrap fee program which charges one all-inclusive fee. In addition to wrap asset management, financial planning and pension consulting, the firm offers mortgage and insurance services.
O’Donnell Financial Services Investment Strategy
O’Donnell Financial’s methodology involves charting, cyclical, fundamental and technical analyses. In managing assets, it may use long-term purchases, short-term purchases, trading, short sales, margin transactions and option writing. As of its most recent SEC filings, assets under O’Donnell Financial’s management were invested as follows:
- 79% in exchange-traded equity securities (like common stocks)
- 11% in structured notes
- 7% in securities issued by registered investment companies (such as mutual funds) or business development companies
- 2% in cash and cash equivalents
- 1% in investment-grade corporate bonds
Hutchinson & Ziegler Financial Advisors, Inc.
Hutchinson & Ziegler Financial Advisors is a fee-only firm earning most of its compensation as a percentage of assets under management (AUM). The firm, which also charges hourly fees and fixed fees, has a client base that includes individuals, high-net-worth individuals, trusts, families, corporate pension and profit sharing plans and charitable organizations. The firm doesn’t have a minimum account size requirement.
Hutchinson & Ziegler Financial Advisors Background
The firm was founded in 2003 by Heather Hutchinson, but Eric Ziegler became a 50% owner after the firm reformed to become Hutchinson & Ziegler Financial Advisors in 2007.
Hutchinson & Ziegler mainly offers investment management and financial planning services. The firm’s financial planning services may include cash-flow management, goal-based planning, insurance planning, estate planning, tax planning and more.
Hutchinson & Ziegler Financial Advisors Investment Strategy
Hutchinson & Ziegler uses asset allocation to build diversified portfolios designed for the long-term and based on each client’s unique needs, according to its firm brochure. The firm says it strives to keep expenses and investment costs low, and it aims to minimize the effect of taxes through asset location and tax-efficient investment vehicles.
The firm mainly uses no-load, low-cost mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
Spectrum Financial Management
Rounding out our list of the top financial advisor firms in San Rafael is Spectrum Financial Management, a fee-only firm working with individuals and high-net-worth individuals. Spectrum has a $500,000 minimum investment requirement and the vast majority of accounts are managed on a discretionary basis.
The firm's small team of advisors includes a certified financial planner (CFP), an enrolled agent (EA) with the IRS and a certified public accountant (CPA). As a fee-only firm, Spectrum does not charge commissions or sell third-party products like insurance.
Spectrum Financial Management Background
Having worked at Spectrum Financial Management since 1992, Brenda Friedlander took over the firm as sole proprietor in 2003. She is the firm's enrolled agent and certified financial planner.
The practice offers investment management, which includes such things as financial goal setting, risk assessment, strategic asset allocation and the selection and management of securities and investments. Spectrum also offers financial planning and consulting, as well as tax planning and preparation.
Spectrum Financial Management Investment Strategy
The firm takes the long view with investments and cautions clients that asset withdrawals may interfere with portfolio goals. Generally, Spectrum uses fundamental analysis and invests in no-load mutual funds. According to the most recent SEC data, assets under Spectrum’s management were allocated as:
- 79% in securities issued by registered investment companies (such as mutual funds) or business development companies
- 12% in exchange-traded equity securities (like common stocks)
- 3% in cash and cash equivalents
- 6% in non-exchange-traded equity securities