Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Tucson, Arizona
Choosing a financial advisor can be a tough task. SmartAsset made it easier by taking all the largest firms in the Tucson metro area and sorting through each one. Below, we discuss the details of each of the top firms to help you with your decision.
How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in Tucson, Arizona
Our criteria for this list started with looking at financial advisor firms registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). All firms that register with the SEC must comply with rules and regulations including acting in your best interest under fiduciary duty. We eliminated firms with disclosures or disciplinary issues, as well as any firm that doesn’t manage individual accounts. The remaining firms are ranked on the list below from most assets under management to least.
TCI Wealth Advisors
TCI Wealth Advisors is the first firm on our top nine with over $2.2 billion in assets under management. This is almost $2 billion more than every other firm on this list and it’s the only firm in Tucson with assets in the billions. The fee-only (the most fair compensation model for clients) firm was founded in 1990 and has 20 advisors. There isn’t an account minimum to start services with the firm, but you are subject to a minimum annual fee of $1,000.
In addition to Tucson, you can find TCI Wealth in Flagstaff and Scottsdale, Arizona, in Denver, in Reno/Tahoe, Nevada and in Santa Monica, California. Services offered include wealth management, investment planning, retirement planning, insurance planning, education planning and tax planning.
TCI Wealth Advisors Background
The firm is owned by four individuals and three family trusts. Altogether, there are 18 shareholders. Eleven are certified financial planners (CFPs), four are certified public accountants (CPAs), three are chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and two are personal finance specialists (PFS).
The firm doesn’t lack for certifications and has the most out of any financial advisor on the list. In addition to the listed certifications, one of TCI Wealth’s retirement planners has a certified plan fiduciary advisor (CPFA) designation and is an accredited estate planner (AEP).
Catherine Nichols serves as the president and chief compliance officer of the firm. She has a law degree and she is a shareholder, as well.
TCI Wealth Advisors Process
If you become a TCI client, you’ll go through a five-step process. Step one is a discovery meeting where you’ll discuss your values, financial goals, assets and overall preferences and interests. Two weeks after that, you’ll have an investment plan meeting. This meeting will cover what your time horizon is, your risk tolerance and what you expect for a rate of return. After than, it’s the mutual commitment meeting. Your relationship with TCI Wealth is formalized at this point and the investment plan is put in place.
After 45 days, you’ll have a follow-up meeting where you’ll discuss any outstanding issues or questions and review your account paperwork. Finally, the last step is ongoing: you’ll meet regularly to receive updates on your financial progress.
GR Financial Group
Number two on our list, with $285 million in assets under management, has $1.95 billion less in assets under management than our No. 1 firm, TCI Wealth Advisors. GR Financial Group is smaller, with only five advisors to TCI’s 20. You won’t find a minimum annual fee or account size here. In fact, less than 10% of GR Financial Group’s clients have what’s considered high net worths (individuals with $1.5 million or more). The firm caters to those below that threshold and offers investment portfolio services, financial planning, consulting and financial education seminars and workshops.
This financial advisor is fee-based, rather than fee-only. That means your financial advisor could be compensated for recommending certain products, such as insurance or mutual funds. The firm is still considered a fiduciary, however, which means it’s under an obligation to put client needs first.
GR Financial Group Background
Scott Genzman founded the original firm in 2005 after working at Prudential and Paine Webber in various capacities. He’s worked in the financial industry since 1993. Genzman owns the majority of the firm. Lynsey Richter is the only other shareholder of the company and serves as GR Financial Group’s vice president. She has more than 18 years in the financial services industry.
The team is 10 total employees, with no certifications among them. This is one of the only financial advisor firms we’ve seen with no certified financial planners (CFPs), chartered financial analysts (CFAs) or certified public accountants (CPAs) on staff. While certifications don’t always equal experience in all cases, it’s unusual for a firm not to have any specialized designations among its staff.
GR Financial Group Investment Strategy
The firm uses point and figure methodology along with a range of analysis methods when evaluating securities and formulating investment advice. Point and figure methodology is a way to chart data for long-term investments to see entry and exit points in the market.
The strategies GR Financial Group uses in managing your account include long-term purchases, short-term purchases, trading, margin transactions and option writing.
Sterling Investment Management
This fee-only firm has the lowest number of client accounts (at around 100), but one of the highest asset minimums, requiring $500,000 to start a new relationship. Sterling Investment Management’s clients are mostly high-net-worth individuals, which means a net worth of at least $1.5 million, according to the SEC.
Founded in 1995, the firm has five advisors and two offices, one in Tucson and one in Scottsdale. Clients can choose from financial planning or investment management.
Sterling Investment Management Background
John Payne, president and director, is the founder and sole owner of Sterling Investment Management. He has decades of financial industry experience and was a senior portfolio manager at Bank of America before founding the firm in 1995. He has a master’s degree in finance and is a chartered financial analyst (CFA).
The firm’s six employees include a certified public accountant (CPA), a Harvard MBA and several advanced accounting degrees.
Sterling Investment Management Investment Strategies
If you become a client, your advisor will thoroughly review your financial situation in order to recommend the appropriate investment strategy for your objectives. Your cash-flow needs, tax considerations, risk tolerance and time horizon all help build your financial picture. The firm has five main strategies: unconstrained total return, capital appreciation, balance, current income and fixed income.
Each strategy has a different risk tolerance and volatility associated with it and corresponds to certain needs. For example, the current income strategy is for those who want to preserve capital and have a steady income. The balanced strategy seeks to provide all three key components: capital growth, current income and capital preservation.
Cambridge Financial Group
Established in 2001, this fee-only firm has $185 million in assets under management. Four advisors work at Cambridge Financial Group and offer services such as financial planning, investment management and education planning. This firm has no minimum asset requirement. Instead, there are different service levels depending on your budget. You can keep the firm on an open retainer for financial planning or use the standalone services aimed at young professionals with less room in their budgets.
Cambridge’s office is located in northern Tucson near the Catalina Foothills.
Cambridge Financial Group Background
Penny Marchand is the founder and sole owner of the firm. She’s worked in financial planning since 1988 and has a plethora of certifications, including certified financial planner (CFP), registered investment advisor, enrolled agent (EA), insurance license and the Series 6, 7, 63 and 65 securities licenses. That’s the most certifications for one person we’ve seen out of all the advisors on this list.
Marchand’s team includes five employees. Out of those five, two are CFPs and EAs.
Cambridge Financial Group Edge Ahead Services
Cambridge Financial Group has an affordable program designed for young professionals called Edge Ahead. It has a lower bar to entry, with a set $750 fee ($650 if you’re referred) for a financial review, or an annual fee of $2,500 for ongoing services that include financial planning and tax prep.
The process begins with a 20-minute phone call where you discuss your financial situation with one of the two Cambridge advisors dedicated to EdgeAhead. After that, you can engage the firm for a standalone financial review, a two- to three-hour meeting that’ll include topics such as investments, retirement planning, cash-flow management, insurance, tax strategies and stock option strategies.
The long-term option consists of two 90-minute appointments a year that cover tax preparation, investments, goal setting, goal reviews and any financial questions you have. You have phone support with this option, as well. The cost for ongoing services is 1.5% of your gross income, capped at $2,500.
Raskob Kambourian Financial Advisors
Raskob Kambourian Financial Advisors is another fee-only firm and is the oldest on our top Tucson advisors list. It was founded in 1986 and has since grown to six advisors and over $171 million in assets under management. The firm offers a full range of financial services including financial planning, retirement planning, investment management and tax preparation.
RKFA has a minimum annual fee of $5,000, which means it makes the most sense for those with at least $500,000 in assets.
Raskob Kambourian Financial Advisors Background
This is the second firm we’ve profiled on this list with a woman president and owner (the first is Cambridge Financial Group). Patricia Raskob is a founder, serves as president and is the sole owner of the firm. She has a number of certifications, including enrolled agent (EA), certified financial planner (CFP) and accredited tax advisor (ATA).
Seven employees work for Raskob. Two are CFPs, one is also an EA and three have MBAs. According to the firm’s website, the staff has 175 years of combined financial services experience.
Raskob Kambourian Financial Advisors Investment Strategy
When formulating investment advice, advisors at this firm use fundamental, technical and cyclical methods of analysis. Each of these methods examines the fund or issuer in different ways, such as considering the management team, past performance, market data or market conditions.
The company uses a proprietary software to aid in strategic asset allocation of your account. The software ranks asset classes of mutual equity, bond and blend funds and also adds passive ETFs and index funds if necessary. Your strategy will be tailored to your financial particulars, including time horizon, risk tolerance and financial objectives.
This is the second financial advisor firm that’s fee-based on our list after the No. 2 firm, GR Financial Group. Fee-based means your advisor can be compensated for selling you insurance or mutual funds or other products. While it’s a less-strict compensation model than fee-only, the firm is still obligated to act in your best interest under fiduciary standards.
Ironwood Financial has $154 million in assets under management and has four advisors. You’ll need $250,000 to become a client. Services offered include investment supervisory services, financial planning, pension planning and more. The firm aims to work with those retiring within the next 10 years.
Ironwood Financial Background
Ironwood is owned by Robin Dolezal, chief compliance officer and certified financial planner (CFP), Daniel Nentl, certified funds specialist (CFS) and chartered financial consultant (ChFC) and Alexander Parrs, CFP, CFS, ChFC and chartered financial analyst.
The firm is small and has just two other employees besides the founders: an investment professional and an office administrator.
Ironwood Financial Free Retirement Plan
According to Ironwood Financial’s website, you can get a step-by-step, fully customized retirement plan developed for you for free, if you meet certain criteria. You must be within 10 years of retirement and have a liquid net worth over $250,000.
The firm is small, so these sessions are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis to those who meet the two main criteria. If you do, you’ll schedule a call in which you discuss your financial situation, retirement vision and other financial concerns. Ironwood Financial will give you education on investment styles and modern investment theory, investment vehicles and how different life events might impact your retirement plan.
The company claims that it provides as much value as a paid planner in the $900 to $4,000 range. This is a service not found at any of the other eight firms on this Tucson financial advisor list.
Capital West Partners
With just two advisors, Capital West Partners (CWP) has the fewest number of advisors out of our top 10. The fee-based firm has $148 million in assets under management and has two locations, one in northeast Tucson, the other in Phoenix. CWP is another fee-only firm, meaning the advisors can only earn compensation from asset management fee percentages or fixed hourly rates.
If you’d like to become a client, you’ll need at least $100,000. The firm has three main offerings: financial planning, consulting services and investment management.
Capital West Partners Background
The firm is owned by the two founders, Jason “JJ” Ruther and Jason Crane. Ruther has over 19 years’ experience in financial services. Before CWP, he worked as a portfolio manager at a regional brokerage firm. He has an undergrad degree in business.
Crane is a chartered financial advisor (CFA) and has more than 15 years’ experience in the investment management industry. He also has an undergrad business degree.
Capital West Partners Investment Philosophy
Ruther and Crane say “one size does not fit all” when it comes to financial solutions. The firm creates customized portfolios for each client. This means your money won’t go into a model portfolio that’s pre-built. Instead, the advisors will tailor it to meet your situation. They’ll look at aspects of your financial situation such as income needs, tax situation, risk tolerance and investment objectives when developing your financial management plan. The firm says it focuses on “long-term wealth creation.” That means long-term investments rather than short-term trading.
Imus Wilkinson & Mundinger Investment Management
This firm is one of five fee-based firms on our list, meaning the advisors can be compensated by product sale commissions as well as a percentage of assets under management charge. Imus Wilkinson & Mundinger Investment has seven advisors and $132 million in assets under management.
You’ll need at least $500,000 to become a client. That’s the same minimum as the No. 3 firm, Sterling Investment Management, and it’s the highest on our list. Imus Wilkinson & Mundinger Investment offers business retirement plan options, such as 401(k) and 403(b) plan evaluation as well as pension plan services.
Founded in 2011, the firm is the second-newest after GR Financial group (founded in 2014).
Imus Wilkinson & Mundinger Investment Management Background
As you may have guessed, this financial advisor firm was named after its founders and owners: Gary Imus, Elbridge Wilkinson and Richard Mundinger.
Imus spent the last 28 years in the investment industry.
Wilkinson is a former Marine and graduate of Purdue University. He’s worked in the financial services industry since 1987. Mundinger is a chartered financial analyst (CFA) and has more than 30 years of investment management experience.
The firm employs one additional person, a certified financial planner (CFP) with more than 30 years of experience in financial services.
Imus Wilkinson & Mundinger Investment Management Investment Philosophy
The company explains its philosophy in a number of tenets. The first is that your advisor won’t pick individual securities (such as stocks or bonds). Instead, the firm builds portfolios that are “extremely diversified” through mutual funds and ETFs and then hires the best managers available. Imus Wilkinson & Mundinger Investment uses either active or passive management - whichever strategy will produce the best results for your portfolio.
You’ll speak regularly with your advisor about your risk tolerance, cash-flow requirements, legacy planning and investment time frame.
Nova Financial & Insurance Services
The final firm on our list is fee-based and has $129 million in assets under management. With 16 advisors, Nova Financial & Insurance Services has the second-highest number of advisors on this list, after the No. 1 firm, TCI Wealth Advisors.
You won’t need a certain amount of assets to join this firm, there are no account requirements or annual fee minimums at Nova Financial. You’ll choose from a suite of services including investment planning and portfolio services, retirement planning, divorce planning and education planning.
While the firm is headquartered in Tucson, advisors serves clients in all 50 states. You’ll find Nova offices in Tucson, Las Vegas and Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Nova Financial & Insurance Services Background
The firm is owned by a number of trusts and holding companies. Jake Kagele, certified investment management analyst (CIMA), is the managing partner and serves as a financial advisor at the company. Mike Maré is the executive vice president and is based in Colorado.
Among the 19 additional staff members, there’s one certified financial planner (CFP)/certified divorce financial analyst™ (CDFA) and an accredited asset management specialist. For a firm this size, there’s usually at least one chartered financial analyst (CFA) and one certified public accountant (CPA), but with Nova Financial, these certifications are missing from the ranks.
Nova Financial & Insurance Services Investment Strategy
The firm uses fundamental and technical analysis when formulating investment recommendations for securities, mutual funds, ETFs, managers and pooled investment vehicles. When the firm looks at mutual funds and managers, it reviews quantitative and qualitative criteria including the performance history of the fund or manager, the returns and the manager’s tenure.
Your portfolio is created after you have conversations with your advisor during which you discuss your financial goals, time horizon and investment risk tolerance.