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 in terms of assets under management, selected through dozens of hours of research. If you are unsure what you are looking for in an advisor, SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool can help.
|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||Brighton Jones LLC Find an Advisor||$4,961,251,898||No set account minimum;$1,500 minimum quarterly fee|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum;$1,500 minimum quarterly fee
|2||Freestone Capital Management LLC Find an Advisor||$4,237,801,685||$1 million ($500,000 for Schwab Advisor Network referrals)|| || |
Minimum Assets$1 million ($500,000 for Schwab Advisor Network referrals)
|3||Pacific Portfolio Consulting, LLC Find an Advisor||$3,648,849,516||$500,000|| || |
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|4||Columbia Pacific Wealth Management Find an Advisor||$3,500,189,996|| |
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|5||Merriman Wealth Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$2,653,062,200||Varies by account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries by account type
|6||McCutchen Group LLC Find an Advisor||$2,499,467,428||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|7||Badgley Phelps Wealth Managers Find an Advisor||$2,489,866,709|| |
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|8||Moss Adams Wealth Advisors LLC Find an Advisor||$2,353,326,665|| |
No set account minimum
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No set account minimum
|9||Laird Norton Wealth Management Find an Advisor||$1,794,729,623||$3,000,000|| || |
|10||Filament, LLC Find an Advisor||$1,644,309,065|| |
No set account minimum
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No set account minimum
How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in Seattle, Washington
This list of the top 10 financial advisor firms in Seattle considers all U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission-registered firms in the city. These firms are bound by fiduciary duty to act in their clients’ best interests. From those registered firms, we eliminated any firms that did not have clean records. We also cut any firms that did not have financial planners or that did not manage individual accounts. The remaining firms were ranked according to assets under management, from highest to lowest.
Brighton Jones LLC
Brighton Jones LLC is a fee-only firm managing more than $4.96 billion, mostly for high-net-worth individuals. However, the firm does have some 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 does have a minimum quarterly fee of $1,500.
There are 57 advisors at the firm. The Seattle location includes 22 certified financial planners (CFPs), eight certified public accountants (CPAs), four chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and one accredited investment fiduciary analyst (AIFA). The firm also has offices in Portland, San Francisco, Scottsdale and Washington, D.C.
Fees for wealth management are based on a percentage of assets under management. Fees for financial planning and consulting are charged on a fixed or hourly basis. The firm does not earn commissions from the sale of financial products.
Brighton Jones LLC 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 LLC 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 LLC
Freestone Capital Management, LLC is a fee-based firm managing nearly $4.24 billion for its clients. Those clients include a fairly even mix of individuals and high-net-worth individuals, as well as pooled investment vehicles, pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and other corporations. There are 24 advisors on staff, including eight certified financial planners (CFPs), five chartered financial analysts (CFAs), four certified investment management analysts (CIMAs), two certified public accountants (CPAs), two chartered alternative investment advisors (CAIAs), two certified public wealth advisors (CPWAs) and one accredited wealth management advisor (AWMA).
Though there is technically no minimum investment, the firm seeks clients who want to have at least $1 million in discretionary assets ($500,000 if referred through Schwab Advisor Network service). Fees for discretionary investment advice are based on a percentage of assets under management. Generally, the minimum fee is $10,000 (except for clients referred by Schwab, in which case the minimum fee is $4,000). The firm may charge performance-based fees. Additionally, Freestone may earn commissions for selling insurance products to clients. This is a conflict of interest, but the firm is bound by fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the client.
Freestone Capital Management, LLC Background
Freestone Capital Management was founded in 1999. The principal owner of the firm is Freestone Capital Holdings, LLC. Additionally, founder Gary Furukawa and his wife Della indirectly own more than 25% but less than 50% of the firm.
Services offered by the firm include:
- Discretionary and non-discretionary investment advising
- Private funds
- Financial planning
- Retirement plan solutions
- College planning
- Corporate benefits
Freestone Capital Management, LLC 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.
Pacific Portfolio Consulting, LLC
Fee-only advisory firm Pacific Portfolio Consulting, LLC manages nearly $3.65 billion in assets for its clients. The individual clients at the firm are a nearly even mix of high-net-worth individuals and other individuals. Institutional clients include pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and other corporations.
The minimum account size required is $500,000. Fees for wealth management are based on a percentage of assets under management. Some services may be billed based on an hourly rate. Advisors do not earn commissions. There are nine advisors on staff at Pacific Portfolio Consulting, including two chartered financial analysts (CFAs), two certified pension consultants (CPCs), one chartered financial counselor (ChFC), one chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA), one certified plan fiduciary advisor (CPFA), one certified public accountant (CPA) and one certified financial planner (CFP).
Pacific Portfolio Consulting, LLC Background
The firm was founded in 1992 and is wholly owned by Pacific Wealth Advisors LLC. That parent company is held between a number of individuals, partnerships and corporations, none of which owns more than 25% of the firm.
Services offered by the firm include:
- Wealth management advisory
- Financial planning
- Investment planning
- Discretionary investment management
Pacific Portfolio Consulting, LLC 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.
Columbia Pacific Wealth Management
Columbia Pacific Wealth Management, or CPWM, is the newest firm on this list. It was founded in 2010. Columbia Pacific Wealth Management manages more than $3.59 billion in assets.
To be a client of CPWM, you’ll need at least $5 million. The firm has four certified financial planners (CFPs), two certified public accountant (CPAs) and one chartered financial analyst (CFA) on staff. For any NFL players searching for a Seattle financial advisor, this is the only firm on this list that has an NFL Players Association (NFLPA) Registered Financial Advisor.
Two members of Columbia Pacific Wealth Management have an ownership interest in an insurance company. CPWM employees may receive commissions for the sale of insurance products that they recommend to clients. However, the firm is first and foremost bound by fiduciary duty to act in its clients' best interests, and it makes an effort to be transparent about this potential conflict of interest.
Columbia Pacific Wealth Management Background
Formed in 2011, CPWM is owned by by multiple individuals, none of whom own more than 25% of the firm’s membership interest.
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, 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.
Merriman Wealth Management, LLC
Merriman Wealth Management has 18 certified financial planners (CFPs) on staff, the second most of any firm on this list. It also has two certified public accountants (CPAs), one accredited investment fiduciary (AIF), one chartered financial counselor (ChFC) and one accredited estate planner (AEP).
Merriman serves a slightly larger percentage of individuals than high-net-worth individuals. The firm’s account minimums vary by account. There is no set account minimum for the firm’s MarketWise account option, the firm’s most widely used strategy. For Merriman’s Leveraged Global Opportunity Fund, the account minimum is $250,000. There’s a $350,000 minimum for the firm’s TrendWise100 and TrendWise80 accounts.
Merriman is one of two firms on this list, alongside Empirical Wealth Management, that charges performance-based fees. It’s a fee-only firm.
Merriman Wealth Management, LLC Background
Merriman Wealth Management, LLC was founded in 1983. In 2012, the firm joined Focus Financial Partners, LLC, the nation’s largest partnership of independent wealth management firms. Merriman is directly owned by its chief executive officer, Jeremy Burger; its chief operating officer, Dave Spratt; its chief financial officer, Colleen Lindstrom and Focus Financial Partners, LLC.
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 Wealth Management, LLC Investing Philosophy
Merriman Wealth Management, LLC 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.
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.
McCutchen Group LLC
McCutchen Group LLC is a fee-only financial advisor firm with nearly $2.50 billion in assets under management (AUM). The firm has seven advisors on staff, including at least two chartered financial analysts (CFAs). Most, though not all, of the firm’s individual clients are high-net-worth. Institutional clients include pooled investment vehicles or charitable organizations.
There is no minimum portfolio size or minimum fee. Independent managers, though, may have individual requirements. Fees at McCutchen may be based on a percentage of assets under management or charged as fixed or hourly fees. Occasionally clients have requested performance-based fees, but this is not the firm’s preferred fee structure. Advisors do not earn commissions for selling products to clients.
McCutchen Group LLC Background
McCutchen Group was founded in 2007 and is principally owned by Matthew McCutchen, who is also the firm's CEO.
Services offered by McCutchen include:
- Financial planning
- Investment advisory services
- Wealth management
McCutchen Group LLC Investment Strategy
Advisors at McCutchen Group look at a number of factors to determine a client’s investing strategy, including:
- Financial goals
- Return expectations
- Liquidity needs
- Tax objectives
- Wealth transfer objectives
A number of investment options may be used, including separate accounts, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), comingled funds, limited partnerships and other investment vehicles.
Badgley Phelps Wealth Managers
Badgley Phelps Wealth Managers, founded way back in 1966, is the oldest firm on this list. The fee-only firm has seven chartered financial advisors (CFAs), three certified financial planners (CFPs), three chartered investment counselors (CIC), one certified private wealth advisor (CPWA) and one certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA).
To be a client of the firm, which primarily serves high-net-worth individuals, you’ll need at least $1 million.
Badgley Phelps Wealth Managers Background
Badgley Phelps Wealth Management has been completely employee-owned since its founding in 1966. The firm currently has 34 employees, and 15 of those employees are shareholders. Badgley Phelps’ chairman Kevin Callaghan and president and chief investment officer Steven Phelps own significant portions of the firm.
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.
Moss Adams Wealth Advisors LLC
Moss Adams Wealth Advisors LLC is a subsidiary of a company owned by Moss Adams LLP, one of the nation’s largest public accounting firms. The fee-based wealth management firm manages $2.35 billion in assets and has a staff of 28 advisors. It 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. Moreover, the firm is bound by its fiduciary duty to act first and foremost in its clients’ best interests.
Moss Adams Wealth Advisors LLC Background
Moss Adams Wealth Advisors LLC has been in business since 1988. The firm is a wholly owned subsidiary of Moss Adams Financial Services, which, as was mentioned earlier, is wholly owned by the national public accounting and consulting firm Moss Adams LLP.
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 LLC Investment Management
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.
Laird Norton Wealth Management
Laird Norton Wealth Management is by far the biggest firm on this list. It has 40 advisors on staff. Of those 40 advisors, there are 13 certified financial planners (CFPs). Laird Norton also has six certified trust and financial advisors (CTFAs), five chartered financial analysts (CFAs), five certified public accountants (CPAs), one accredited estate planner (AEP) and one financial paraplanner qualified professional (FPQP) on staff.
To be a client of this fee-only firm, you’ll need at least $3 million.
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 Wealth Regeneration®
Wealth Regeneration® is Laird Norton’s approach to wealth management. The firm’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.
At Laird Norton, each client works with a three-person team composed of an advisor, an analyst and an associate. The firm’s full-service wealth management includes investment management, financial planning and trust services.
Laird Norton Wealth Management Tax Awareness
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.
Filament, LLC primarily serves high-net-worth individuals and families with complex holdings. The firm does not have a set account minimum. However, the firm does have minimum fees: Filament requires a $50,000 minimum retainer fee for its investment advisory and family office services, and a $15,000 minimum annual fee for its portfolio management services.
The fee-only firm does not have any certified financial planners (CFPs) on staff. It has two certified public accountants (CPAs) and three chartered financial analysts (CFAs).
Filament, LLC Background
Filament, LLC was founded in 2005 on the premise that clients could increase their chances at financial success by working with a team of experts in an independent, fee-only practice that aligned its interests with its clients’ interests. About 90% of Filament, LLC is owned by the firm’s employees.
Filament offers comprehensive services that it tailors according to individual client needs. Because many of its clients have complex financial situations, Filament will work with multiple client accounts, including personal and retirement accounts, education savings accounts, accounts of minor children, revocable and irrevocable trusts, family partnerships and charitable organizations. Filament offers an array of advice on matters related to that range of accounts, such as education planning, philanthropic planning and financial independence and retirement planning. The firm will also collaborate closely with a client’s other advisors, including other investment advisors, attorneys, CPAs, insurance professionals and bill payment services.
Filament, LLC Investment Approach
Filament, LLC is focused on wealth preservation. Instead of chasing the market, Filament stays focused on the long term. The firm’s investment strategies are tailored to clients’ financial goals and needs, risk tolerances and time horizons, all of which is laid out in an Investment Policy Statement.
The firm’s top priority is to develop a diversified mix of assets that aligns with a client’s Investment Policy Statement. Filament most commonly invests its clients’ assets in money market funds, separately managed accounts, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, exchange-traded notes, commingled trusts, real estate investment companies, registered investment companies, private placement limited partnerships and limited liability companies.