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 in your area.
|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||Brighton Jones, LLC Find an Advisor||$6,799,683,585||$2,500 minimum quarterly fee|| || |
Minimum Assets$2,500 minimum quarterly fee
|2||Freestone Capital Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$5,401,931,749||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|3||Columbia Pacific Wealth Management Find an Advisor||$4,472,086,609||$5,000,000|| || |
|4||Pacific Portfolio Consulting, LLC Find an Advisor||$3,766,120,225||$500,000|| || |
|5||Badgley Phelps Wealth Managers Find an Advisor||$3,195,691,947||$1,000,000|| || |
|6||McCutchen Group, LLC Find an Advisor||$3,006,186,605||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|7||Moss Adams Wealth Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$2,804,450,165||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|8||Merriman Find an Advisor||$2,715,273,783||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|9||Empirical Wealth Management Find an Advisor||$2,664,418,384||$1,000,000|| || |
|10||The Clarius Group, LLC Find an Advisor||$2,039,356,089||$2,000,000|| || |
How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in Seattle, Washington
This list of the top 10 financial advisor firms in Seattle considers all advisor firms registered with the SEC in the city. These firms are bound by fiduciary duty to act in their clients’ best interests. From this initial list of registered firms, we eliminated any firms that had any disclosures of past legal and regulatory issues. We also removed from consideration any firms that do not have financial planners or that do not manage individual accounts. The remaining firms were ranked according to assets under management, from highest to lowest. All information is accurate as of the writing of this article.
Brighton Jones, LLC
Brighton Jones, LLC 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.
The advisory team at Brighton Jones' headquarters in Seattle includes 22 certified financial planners (CFPs), 10 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, Denver and Washington, D.C.
Fees for wealth management are based on a percentage of clients' assets under management. Fees for financial planning and consulting are charged on a fixed or hourly basis.
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 that serves a majority of 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 Portland, Santa Barbara, San Francisco and Sunnyvale.
The advisory staff at Freestone's location includes seven certified financial planners (CFPs), four chartered financial analysts (CFAs), four certified investment management analysts (CIMAs), two certified public accountants (CPAs), two chartered alternative investment advisors (CAIAs), one certified public wealth advisor (CPWA) and one 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 ($500,000 if referred through the Schwab Advisor Network). Fees for discretionary investment advice are based on a percentage of assets under management. Generally speaking, the minimum annual fee is $6,000, except for clients referred by Schwab. For these individuals, the minimum fee is $4,000.
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, LLC 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 as well.
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, 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.
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 five certified financial planners (CFPs), two certified public accountants (CPAs) and one chartered financial analyst (CFA). This is also the only firm on this list that has an NFL Players Association (NFLPA) Registered Financial Advisor.
Certain employees at CPWM may receive commissions for the sale of insurance products. 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 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.
Pacific Portfolio Consulting, LLC
Fee-only Pacific Portfolio Consulting, LLC 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.
Wealth management fees at this firm are based on a percentage of assets under management. Some services may be billed based on an hourly rate.
The advisory staff at Pacific Portfolio Consulting includes three 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) and one certified financial planner (CFP).
Pacific Portfolio Consulting, LLC Background
President 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, 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.
Badgley Phelps Wealth Managers
Badgley Phelps Wealth Managers, founded in 1966, is the oldest firm on this list. This fee-only firm has seven chartered financial advisors (CFAs), five certified financial planners (CFPs), three chartered investment counselors (CICs), one certified private wealth advisor (CPWA), one certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) and one 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 currently has 35 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.
McCutchen Group, LLC
McCutchen Group, LLC is a fee-only financial advisor firm, meaning all of its compensation comes from client-paid fees. The firm employs two chartered financial analysts (CFAs). Almost two-thirds of the firm's clients are high-net-worth individuals. Institutional clients of the firm include pooled investment vehicles and charitable organizations.
There is no minimum portfolio size or minimum fee at this firm. Fees at McCutchen may be based on a percentage of assets under management (AUM) or charged as fixed or hourly fees.
McCutchen Group, LLC Background
McCutchen Group was founded in 2007. Today, the firm is principally owned by Matthew McCutchen, who is also the firm's CEO.
Services offered by McCutchen include:
- Charitable gift planning
- Risk management
- Income tax coordination
- Wealth transfer planning
- Investment advisory
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. The firm looks to diversify clients' assets, so your portfolio will likely include multiple types of securities.
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 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. Moreover, the firm is bound by its fiduciary duty to act in its clients’ best interests at all times.
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 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, LLC 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.
With 16 certified financial planners (CFPs) on staff, Merriman boasts one of the largest collections of CFPs on this list. It also has two certified public accountants (CPAs), one accredited investment fiduciary (AIF), one chartered financial counselor (ChFC), one accredited wealth management advisor (AWMA) and one accredited estate planner (AEP). This is a fee-only firm.
Merriman serves a combination of high-net-worth and non-high-net-worth individuals. 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. There’s a $350,000 minimum for the firm’s TrendWise100 and TrendWise80 accounts.
The firm has secondary branches in Spokane, Washington and Eugene, Oregon.
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.
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 and chief marketing technology officer Simon Liu. Outside of its Seattle location, the firm has seven branches in Bellevue, Portland, Anchorage, Spokane, Irvine, San Francisco and Los Gatos.
The firm's advisory staff boasts a number of certifications, including 14 certified financial planners (CFPs), six certified public accountants (CPAs), five chartered financial analysts (CFAs), one chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA), two enrolled agents (EAs), one certified management accountant (CMA), one chartered mutual fund counselor (CMFC), one chartered life underwriter (CLU) and one certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA).
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.
The Clarius Group, LLC
The Clarius Group, LLC offers wealth management and family office services. Included within these offerings is a selection of financial planning and investment management services, such as bill pay services, cash flow management, insurance management, tax and estate planning coordination, philanthropic strategy and coordination, banking and credit support, investment planning and more.
The Clarius Group works with individuals and families of both a high-net-worth and non-high-net-worth nature. While the minimum account size at the firm is $2 million, it reserves the right to accept clients with less than that. The firm's wealth management clients typically have a net worth of $2 million to $20 million, whereas family office clients often have a net worth above $20 million.
As a fee-only firm, The Clarius Group only earns compensation from client-paid fees.
The Clarius Group, LLC Background
The Clarius Group has been in business since 2015, when it was founded by partners Keith Vernon and Matthew Talbot. Talbot and Vernon continue to principally own the firm today. Vernon is also a chartered financial analyst (CFA), and has spent more than 20 years working in the financial advisor industry.
The Clarius Group, LLC Investment Strategy
The Clarius Group works to develop an asset allocation for every portfolio it builds. This involves utilizing a number of different types of securities, which all come together to create a risk profile for the portfolio. This approach may include both passive and active investment strategies. The firm also accounts for taxes and advisory fees during these processes.
While the strategies above describe the way The Clarius Group usually invests, the firm always focuses on clients' specific needs and goals in its investment plans. This involves reviewing the client's financial situation, detailing factors like risk tolerance, short- and long-term financial goals, time horizon, investment constraints, income needs and more.