Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Seattle, Washington
It can be hard to know where to start when you’re trying to find a financial advisor. For investors in Seattle, this list of the top 10 Seattle financial firms can help narrow the field by offering an overview of some of the city’s biggest firms. We've ordered these firms by assets under management, and included essential info on fees, minimums, investment approaches and more. SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching tool can also help you connect 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||Brighton Jones, LLC Find an Advisor||$10,050,806,699||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|2||Freestone Capital Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$8,929,179,793||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|3||Merriman Find an Advisor||$3,694,333,640||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
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|4||Laird Norton Wealth Management Find an Advisor||$4,869,125,652||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|5||Columbia Pacific Wealth Management Find an Advisor||$6,062,687,271||$5,000,000|| || |
|6||Badgley Phelps Wealth Managers Find an Advisor||$4,769,433,917||$1,000,000|| || |
|7||Empirical Wealth Management Find an Advisor||$4,166,875,809||$1,000,000|| || |
|8||Moss Adams Wealth Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$3,561,560,865||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|9||Pacific Portfolio Consulting, LLC Find an Advisor||$4,531,801,840||$500,000|| || |
|10||McCutchen Group, LLC Find an Advisor||$3,909,225,169||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
What We Use in Our Methodology
To find the top financial advisors in Seattle, 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.
Brighton Jones is a fee-only firm that typically works with high-net-worth individuals. However, the firm does have some individual clients who are not high-net-worth. Brighton Jones also advises institutional clients, including pooled investment vehicles, pension and profit-sharing plans and charitable organizations. The firm does not set a minimum account size, but its does have a minimum quarterly fee of $2,500 to $3,500.
The advisory team at Brighton Jones' headquarters in Seattle includes a variety of financial certifications, including certified financial planner (CFP), certified public accountant (CPA), chartered financial analyst (CFA) and accredited investment fiduciary analyst (AIFA). The firm also has offices in Portland, San Francisco, Scottsdale, Denver, Washington, D.C. and more.
Brighton Jones Background
Brighton Jones was founded in 1999. It is principally owned by Charles Brighton and Jon Jones. Jones is the CEO and Brighton serves as the managing director of the family office.
The following services are available at the firm:
- Wealth management
- Retirement plan consulting
- Financial planning
- Financial wellness consulting
Brighton Jones Investing Strategy
Advisors at Brighton Jones use both long-term and short-term purchases as part of a client’s investing strategy. This means securities may be bought and held for more than a year or may be sold within a year of purchase. Margin transactions and options may also be used.
The firm uses fundamental, technical and cyclical analysis to determine which securities in which to invest.
Freestone Capital Management
Freestone Capital Management is a fee-based firm that serves a majority of high-net-worth and non-high-net-worth individuals and families. It also works with pooled investment vehicles, pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and businesses. The firm is headquartered in Seattle, but it operates secondary branches in Santa Barbara and San Francisco.
The advisory staff at Freestone's location includes such advisory certifications as certified financial planner (CFP), chartered financial analyst (CFA), certified investment management analyst (CIMA), certified public accountants (CPA), chartered alternative investment advisor (CAIA) and accredited wealth management advisor (AWMA).
Though there is technically no minimum investment for new clients, the firm seeks to work with clients who can invest at least $1 million. Additionally, some advisors at Freestone may earn commissions for selling insurance products to clients. This represents a potential conflict of interest, but the firm is bound by fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of clients at all times.
Freestone Capital Management Background
Freestone Capital Management was founded in 1999. The principal owner of the firm is Freestone Capital Holdings, LLC. Founder and chief investment officer (CIO) Gary Furukawa and his wife Della own a part of the firm.
Services offered by this firm include:
- Discretionary and non-discretionary investment advising
- Private funds
- Financial planning
- Retirement plan solutions
- College planning
- Corporate benefits
Freestone Capital Management Investment Strategy
Advisors at Freestone Capital Management seek to build a portfolio with a proper balance of risk and reward, based on what the client wants and what the client's financial goals are. The firm’s strategy is summed up in the motto “stay wealthy.”
Long-term investments are the hallmark of the investing strategy at Freestone. Still, other strategies, including short-term purchases, trading, concentrated positions, short sales and other techniques, could be used.
Merriman boasts one of the largest collections of certified financial planners (CFP) on this list. It also has advisory certifications such as certified public accountant (CPA), accredited investment fiduciary (AIF), chartered financial counselor (ChFC), accredited wealth management advisor (AWMA) and accredited estate planner (AEP). This is a fee-only firm.
Merriman serves a combination of high-net-worth and non-high-net-worth individuals, along with some institutional clients. The firm’s account minimums vary by service. There is no set account minimum for the firm’s MarketWise account option, its most widely used strategy. For Merriman’s Leveraged Global Opportunity Fund, the account minimum is $250,000.
The firm has secondary branches in Spokane, Bellevue and Eugene.
In business since 1983, Merriman became an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Focus Financial Partners, LLC in 2012. The parent company, Focus Financial Partners Inc., also owns other registered investment advisers, broker-dealers, pension consultants, insurance firms and other financial service firms. It is also a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ Global Select Market.
Merriman offers a comprehensive slate of services alongside investment planning, including tax planning, estate planning, risk management and charitable donations. When clients sign on with Merriman, they’ll go through an extensive, five-step introductory process, during which the firm will develop a complete client profile and develop a wealth management plan. To come up with the plan, an advisor will meet with a network of experts in tax, estate planning and insurance to ensure that it considers all parts of a client’s financial situation in the development of a wealth management plan.
Merriman Investing Philosophy
Merriman takes a fact-based approach to investing. The firm’s investing philosophy emphasizes the importance of controlling risk, carefully selecting assets and taking a long-term approach.
Merriman prefers to use a global diversified portfolio of mutual funds and some specialized securities. Exact allocations vary according to a client’s chosen approach. The firm’s MarketWise strategy are customized according to a client’s risk tolerance and are designed to always be fully invested, mainly in low-cost mutual funds. The TrendWise approach trades according to changes in market conditions, with investments primarily made through exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
For investors looking for a more aggressive approach, Merriman is also the investment manager of the Leveraged Global Opportunity Fund, L.P., which aims to make gains by timing the market. This option is only available to “sophisticated investors who are ‘accredited investors’ and ‘qualified clients,’” the firm says.
Laird Norton Wealth Management
Laird Norton Wealth Management is the next firm on this list. It has a large team of advisors on staff. Of those advisors, there are financial certifications such as certified financial planner (CFP) certified trust and financial advisor (CTFA), chartered financial analyst (CFA), certified public accountant (CPA) and accredited estate planner (AEP). The firm works with both individual and institutional clients.
Laird Norton is a fee-only firm, so you won't have to worry about conflicts arising from an advisor receiving commissions. There is no minimum account size requirement here either.
Laird Norton Wealth Management Background
Laird Norton Wealth Management began in 1967 to serve members of the Laird Norton family. It evolved over the decades, and in 2001 the firm acquired Tysee Asset Strategies, which was founded in 1995.
The merged entity, which is Laird Norton Wealth Management, is wholly owned by the Laird Norton Company and its family member shareholders. The Laird Norton Company is now in its seventh generation as a family-owned holding company.
Laird Norton Wealth Management Investment Strategy
Laird Norton's full-service wealth management services are aimed at meeting clients’ current needs, achieving future financial goals and safeguarding their legacy for future generations. The approach is focused not only on optimizing financial capital, but also human capital, to weave together all aspects of wealth. The firm’s full-service wealth management includes investment management, financial planning and trust services.
Notably, all of Laird Norton Wealth Management’s investment plans are tax-aware, with asset allocations optimized for after-tax returns. The firm primarily recommends various mutual funds and other investment funds.
That tax awareness also extends to Laird Norton’s financial planning and trust services. Each plan includes tax planning for the coming year and beyond, as well as retirement planning and college funding. Laird Norton’s trust and estate planning services are built around minimizing estate taxes.
Columbia Pacific Wealth Management
Columbia Pacific Wealth Management (CPWM) typically imposes a $5 million minimum account size, though it states in its Form ADV that this requirement is waivable. The firm's client base is made up of a majority of high-net-worth and non-high-net-worth individuals, as well as pooled investment vehicles, retirement plans, charities and businesses.
Outside of its Seattle headquarters, the firm has another branch in San Francisco. The advisory team at its Seattle location includes certified financial planners (CFP) and certified public accountants (CPAs), among other certifications.
Certain employees at CPWM may receive commissions for the sale of insurance products, which is a potential conflict of interest. However, the firm is first and foremost legally bound by fiduciary duty to act in its clients' best interests.
Columbia Pacific Wealth Management Background
Formed in 2010, CPWM is owned by CI Private Wealth US, LLC. Columbia Pacific Wealth Management believes "wealth is personal." So, the firm aims to create customized, comprehensive and coordinated wealth management solutions for its clients. The firm will provide investment management, tax and wealth transfer, multi-generational planning, risk management, employer benefits ann philanthropic planning.
Though CPWM is large in terms of AUM, the firm says that it aims to create a boutique-like experience. The firm claims to only work with a select number of clients to better ensure quality of service and of relationships. It boasts a low client-to-advisor ratio, though it’s not the lowest on this list.
Columbia Pacific Wealth Management Investing
Columbia Pacific Wealth Management creates portfolios that emphasize cost, taxes and risks and are customized according to clients’ goals and risk tolerance. The firm deems asset allocation the main driver of investment returns, and it aims to diversify its portfolios across markets, asset classes and third-party managers.
CPWM primarily invests its clients’ assets in exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, separately managed accounts and limited partnerships. It may also use individual stocks and bonds when appropriate. The firm claims to have access to unique investment opportunities, including dimensional fund advisors, SNW asset management, global endowment management, real estate investing and private lending.
Badgley Phelps Wealth Managers
Badgley Phelps Wealth Managers, founded in 1966, is the oldest firm on this list. This fee-only firm has lots of certified individuals on-staff. These certifications include chartered financial analyst (CFA), certified financial planner (CFP), chartered investment counselor (CIC), certified private wealth advisor (CPWA), certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) and chartered financial consultant (ChFC).
To be a client of this firm, which primarily serves high-net-worth individuals, you’ll need at least $1 million in investable assets. The firm also maintains advisory relationships with non-high-net-worth individuals, retirement plans, charities and businesses.
Badgley Phelps Wealth Managers Background
Badgley Phelps Wealth Management has been completely employee-owned since its founding in 1966. The firm is under the ownership of Focus Financial Partners, LLC, a large nationwide group of advisory firms.
Badgley Phelps Wealth Management provides an array of wealth management-related services, including wealth transfer planning, asset protection, investment management, cash flow planning, college planning, retirement planning, estate planning, tax planning, foundation management, risk management, legacy planning, philanthropic planning and investment policy development.
Badgley Phelps Wealth Management Investment Strategy
Badgley Phelps Wealth Management invests its clients’ assets in a mixture of growth stocks, value stocks, international stocks, small and midcap stocks, taxable bonds, municipal bonds, short-term bonds and multi-strategy alternative funds. The exact allocation depends on the portfolio strategy, as well as a client’s financial situation and goals and risk tolerance. Badgley Phelps offers three investment strategies: equity-only, fixed-income only and balanced portfolio management.
Equity management uses fundamental/bottom-up research to identify companies to invest in that have strong earnings or valuation, while fixed-income management seeks to create a diversified portfolio composed of high quality, intermediate-term bonds. Balanced management combines those two strategies with an alternative investment methodology to create a portfolio that’s balanced to a determined target allocation ratio.
Empirical Wealth Management
The vast majority of Empirical Wealth Management's client base is comprised of individuals. However, the firm does have a number of institutional clients, including businesses, government entities, charitable organizations, pooled investment vehicles and pension and profit-sharing plans. Although the firm has a $1 million minimum investment for new clients, this requirement is waivable.
Empirical Wealth Management offers customizable investment management services through both a wrap fee program and a more traditional advisory fee arrangement. The former bundles together all transactional and outside fees with advisory fees into a single flat rate, whereas the latter only includes advisory fees, with transactional charges being separate. Financial planning services include retirement planning, estate planning, tax planning and more.
Some of the on-staff advisors at this firm can earn commissions from insurance sales. Although this fee-based status creates a potential conflict of interest, the firm is bound by fiduciary duty to act in clients' best interests.
Empirical Wealth Management Background
Empirical Wealth Management was founded in 2009 by Kenneth Smith. Smith remains the firm's principal owner and CEO. Minority owners of the firm include director of financial planning Ethan Broga, chief financial officer (CFO) Lorne Enquist, chief investment officer (CIO) Michael Kelly, lead financial advisor Shan Zubair, director of tax and wealth transfer James Jones II, chief marketing technology officer Simon Liu and chief investment officer (CIO) Erik Lehr.
Outside of its Seattle location, the firm has several branches in Bellevue, Portland, Anchorage, Spokane, Irvine, San Francisco, Los Gatos, Santa Monica, Fort Worth, Reno and San Diego.
The firm's advisory staff boasts a number of certifications, including certified financial planner (CFP), certified public accountant (CPA), chartered financial analyst (CFA), chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA) and more.
Empirical Wealth Management Investment Strategy
In general, Empirical Wealth Management tends to invest with a long-term time horizon in mind. However, on occasion, the firm may decide to include some short-term investments in your portfolio for the purpose of meeting a specific goal you might have.
The firm looks to invest in between 12 and 21 asset classes within any one portfolio. It does this to ensure your portfolio's asset allocation is well diversified. Empirical Wealth Management tends to invest in mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), though stocks, bonds, futures, options and other investments may be utilized as well.
Moss Adams Wealth Advisors
Moss Adams Wealth Advisors is a subsidiary of a company owned by Moss Adams LLP, one of the nation’s largest public accounting and consulting firms. This fee-based wealth management firm does not have a set account minimum.
The firm’s clients can buy insurance products through the firm’s affiliated insurance agency, Moss Adams Securities & Insurance LLC. Certain members of the firm’s insurance team are also representatives of other financial institutions. Any commissions are paid directly to the firm, not to the advisors, which is a potential conflict of interest. Moreover, the firm is bound by its fiduciary duty to act in its clients’ best interests at all times.
There is no set account minimum.
Moss Adams Wealth Advisors Background
Moss Adams Wealth Advisors has been in business since 1988. The firm is a wholly owned subsidiary of Moss Adams Financial Services, which, as is mentioned above, is wholly owned by Moss Adams LLP, a national public accounting and consulting firm.
With Moss Adams’ wealth of affiliated companies and extensive staff, there is no shortage of services offered. Moss Adams Wealth Advisors provides an array of services, including investment management, investment consulting, fixed income management, personal financial planning and insurance management and consulting. The firm’s insurance review services are offered in conjunction with MASI.
The firm also offers family office services, including tax planning and preparation, stock option planning, estate planning, personal finance planning, investment management and consulting, insurance management and consulting, bill paying, household employee payroll, bookkeeping, cash flow and budgeting, liquidity management, reporting and communication, coordination of key advisors, heir preparation and family vision and governance.
Moss Adams Wealth Advisors Investment Strategy
Moss Adams Wealth Advisors, LLC takes its clients through a four-step wealth management process that integrates financial planning. In the first step, organize, the firm consolidates a client’s financial information and develops a personal profile of his or her goals, risk tolerance and time horizon. From there, the firm formalizes its plan for the client with an investment policy statement that will serve as a roadmap to future decisions. Step three is the implementation of that plan, and the final step is the continued monitoring of it.
Moss Adams builds its portfolios with the long term in mind. It aims to strategically diversify assets among several asset classes, so as to ensure exposure to disparate risk factors.
Pacific Portfolio Consulting
Fee-only Pacific Portfolio Consulting has a client base that features a nearly even mix of high-net-worth individuals and non-high-net-worth individuals. The firm's institutional clients include pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and businesses. The minimum account size required by this firm is $500,000, though this requirement is waivable.
The advisory staff at Pacific Portfolio Consulting includes advisory certifications such as chartered financial analyst (CFA), certified pension consultant (CPC), chartered financial counselor (ChFC), chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA), certified plan fiduciary advisor (CPFA) and certified financial planner (CFP).
Pacific Portfolio Consulting Background
Chairman of the board and CEO Lawrence Hood founded the firm in 1992. He and several investors own the firm, primarily through parent company Pacific Wealth Advisors, LLC.
Services offered by the firm include:
- Wealth management advisory
- Financial planning
- Investment planning
- Discretionary investment management
Pacific Portfolio Consulting Investment Strategy
All investment research used to manage client money is done in-house by the analysts employed by Pacific Portfolio Consulting.
The firm uses modern portfolio theory, an investing strategy that stresses the impact of individual investments on the entire portfolio and seeks to maximize the efficiency of the portfolio. In other words, the firm aims to get the most return possible out of a given risk level.
McCutchen Group, which wraps up our Seattle list, is a fee-only financial advisor firm. This means that the firm and its advisors do not receive commissions from the sale financial products. The firm primarily works with high-net-worth individuals, though it also provides services to non-high-net-worth individuals, investment funds and charitable organizations.
McCutchen Group does not have a specific minimum investment amount for its clients. The firm's website also does not detail its advisors' certifications.
McCutchen Group Background
McCutchen Group was founded back in 2007. The firm is a wholly owned subsidiary of CI Private Wealth US, LLC, which is majority-owned by CI Financial Corp.
Financial planning, investment management and a combination of both are available at McCutchen. Financial planning can cover topics like retirement planning, wealth transfer planning, risk management, tax minimization and more.
McCutchen Group Investing Strategy
McCutchen Group typically recommends client investments with independent managers. Through these managers and in-house methods, the firm consistently invests client assets in mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and individual securities, such as stocks and bonds. Investments are chosen based on clients' investor profiles, with characteristics like their risk tolerance and time horizon governing the strategy.