Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm
Looking for help managing your money and investments? It may be time to start working with a financial advisor. SmartAsset put together this list of the top financial advisors in America to help you understand your options. Below, you'll find a description of each of the top 10 financial advisor firms in the country, including information about each firm's services, fees, advisory certifications, office locations, minimum investment amount and more. Alternatively, SmartAsset's financial advisor matching tool can do the work for you by connecting you with fiduciary financial advisors who serve your area.
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|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||Fisher Investments Find an Advisor||$208,905,102,124||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|2||CAPTRUST Find an Advisor||$655,054,291,754||$50,000|| || |
|3||Mercer Global Advisors, Inc. Find an Advisor||$34,011,524,251||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|4||Madison Investment Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$19,427,234,565||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|5||Summit Rock Advisors, LP Find an Advisor||$21,733,298,515||$100,000,000|| || |
|6||Buckingham Strategic Wealth, LLC Find an Advisor||$20,855,259,683||$3,000 minimum annual fee|| || |
Minimum Assets$3,000 minimum annual fee
|7||Moneta Group Investment Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$32,888,762,887||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|8||Fort Washington Investment Advisors, Inc. Find an Advisor||$78,024,335,638||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|9||Beacon Pointe Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$23,674,542,188||$1,000,000|| || |
|10||NFP Retirement, Inc. Find an Advisor||$78,717,910,074||$25,000|| || |
What We Use in Our Methodology
To find the top financial advisors in the U.S., we first identified all firms registered with the SEC in the country. 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.
Fisher Investments is a massive, fee-only financial advisor firm based in Washington that has over 100,000 individual clients to its name - more than half of whom have a high net worth. If you're an individual interested in working with Fisher, you'll generally need at least $500,000 in investable assets, though this minimum is waivable. Clients who use the firm's WealthBuilder program are only required to have $200,000 in investable assets.
Fisher offers a vast range of services to its individual clients, including working with clients to create and manage investment portfolios. The firm also has an extensive set of retirement planning services, as well as other financial planning services like goal planning, income tax planning and more. Fisher also has an annuity conversion service, which is a fairly unique offering among advisor firms.
Institutional services are also a part of Fisher's suite of offerings. Institutions that typically work with Fisher include retirement plans, businesses, banks, pooled investment vehicles, charitable organizations, government entities, insurance companies, investment advisors, sovereign wealth funds, investment companies and proprietary accounts.
Fisher Investments Background
Fisher Investments was founded in 1979 by Ken Fisher. Fisher still principally owns the firm. He also had a hand in creating the theory behind the "Price-to-Sales Ratio," and he was a Forbes investment columnist from 1984 until 2016. Fisher has also been ranked on Forbes' list of the Richest Americans, as well as its list of Global Billionaires.
Outside of the firm's Camas, Washington, headquarters, Fisher Investments operates branches in California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Washington, Colorado, New York, Illinois, Arizona and Virginia. It also has offices in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Germany, Dubai, Japan and Australia.
Fisher Investments Investing Strategy
According to its SEC-filed Form ADV, Fisher Investments principal goal is "maximizing returns relative to risk compared to particular benchmarks."
Depending on your long- or short-term goals, risk tolerance and time horizon, the firm will recommend a distinct set of investments. For example, riskier investors will have portfolios centered around common stock and cash equivalents. Risk-averse investors will have their assets invested more in fixed-income secuties, such as bonds and cash. For those in between those two extremes, Fisher recommends a blended portfolio that features some proportionate allocation of stocks, fixed-income and cash.
CAPTRUST, the firm with the highest AUM on our list, is a fee-based financial advisor based out of Raleigh, North Carolina. The firm has tens of thousands of individual clients, with about two-thirds of them having less than a high net worth. CAPTRUST works with many institutional clients too, including retirement plans, charitable organizations, businesses, banks, government entities, insurance companies and investment companies. In general, the firm has a $50,000 minimum investment for new clients, though this requirement can be waived.
According to its website, CAPTRUST specializes in working with individuals, families, executives, business owners, professional athletes and retirement plan participants. Services available through the firm's various individual-centric programs include wealth planning, investment management, retirement planning and advice, risk management, tax review, estate planning, charitable gift planning, cash flow planning and more.
Certain on-staff advisors at CAPTRUST can earn commissions from insurance sales. Despite the potential conflict of interest this creates, the firm is bound by fiduciary duty to act in your best interest.
CAPTRUST was established in 2003. Today, the firm's leadership team is under the control of co-founder and CEO James Fielding Miller. The firm's shares are owned by a holding company called The CapFinancial Group, LLC.
The advisory team at CAPTRUST boasts a wide range of certifications, including multiple certified public accountants (CPAs), accredited investment fiduciaries (AIFs), chartered financial analysts (CFAs), certified fund specialists (CFSs), certified investment management analysts (CIMAs), certified financial planners (CFPs), chartered financial consultants (ChFCs) and more.
CAPTRUST has a number of branches around the country. In fact, you'll find offices in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
CAPTRUST Investing Strategy
CAPTRUST utilizes an investment philosophy that features the customization of a portfolio for each individual client. While clients are allowed to set some restrictions to how their money is managed, portfolios will generally be based on their personal risk tolerance, financial goals, time horizon, income needs, tax situation, net worth and any other applicable factors. As this portfolio ages and returns affect its allocations, though, the firm may decide to either reallocate assets or redesign the portfolio entirely.
The firm may utilize long- or short-term purchases within your portfolio, depending on your needs and goals. CAPTRUST tends to invest in stocks, mutual funds, fixed-income securities and options. Additionally, the firm offers a wrap fee program, which bundles all transactional and advisory fees into a single rate.
Mercer Global Advisors
Mercer Global Advisors is a Denver-based financial advisor firm. The fee-based firm has thousands of individual clients, with a slightly slanted split in favor of individuals without a high net worth. This variation is reflected in the firm's minimum annual fee requirements, as these differ wildly from $800 all the way up to $75,000. The firm's institutional client base is comprised of retirement plans, charitable organizations and businesses.
Mercer's reach is spread throughout the U.S. In fact, the firm has over 50 branches in Colorado, New Mexico, Iowa, Georgia, Michigan, Texas, Oklahoma, California, Washington, Minnesota, Florida, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Idaho, Missouri, Louisiana, New York, Tennessee, New Jersey, Hawaii, Kansas, Virginia, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Arizona, Mississippi, Ohio, Connecticut and Delaware.
Some of Mercer's on-staff advisors have the opportunity to sell insurance products on a commission basis. Although this represents a potential conflict of interest, the firm's fiduciary duty means it must act in clients' best interests.
Mercer Global Advisors Background
Mercer Global Advisors has been in business for nearly 40 years, as it was founded in 1985. The firm's team of advisors includes many certified financial planners (CFPs), chartered financial analysts (CFAs), certified public accoutants (CPAs) and more.
Financial planning, investment management and family office services are all available at Mercer. Investment portfolios are managed on a custom basis, and financial planning can cover a wide range of topics.
Mercer Global Advisors Investing Strategy
Mercer Global Advisors focuses on investing for the long term. It does this in an effort to avoid the "emotional reactions to short-term market movement," according to its Form ADV. In concert with this approach, the firm believes ample planning is necessary to achieve success over time. Advisors therefore stress this planning specifically around clients' personal financial situations and goals.
Unsurpisingly, Mercer works to diversify clients' assets throughout various securities and market sectors. This is done to protect portfolios from heavily earning returns from very specific areas of the market, which can create higher-than-intended volatility. As your portfolio ages, the firm may decide to rebalance your investments back to their intended allocations.
Madison Investment Advisors
Madison Investment Advisors is a fee-only financial advisor firm that's based in a city that bears its own name, Madison, Wisconsin. The firm principally provides advisory services to individuals, with non-high-net-worth individuals outnumbering their high-net-worth counterparts nearly 10-to-1. Madison also has a robust institutional client base that includes retirement plans, charitable organizations, government entities, investment advisors, insurance companies and businesses.
The minimum investment requirements at this firm are fairly simply and broken up by the type of investment account you're looking to open. Equity accounts have a $500,000 minimum, whereas fixed-income accounts call for a $1 million minimum.
The advisory services at Madison are heavily focused around investing. However, the firm's Form ADV does state that it also provides financial planning services.
Madison Investment Advisors Background
Madison Investment Advisors has been in business for nearly 50 years, as it was established in 1974. The firm is a wholly owned subsidiary of Madison Asset Management, LLC, which is in turn owned by Madison Investment Holdings, Inc. The latter is under the ownership of Madison's founder and certain employees.
The advisory staff at Madison hold a range of certifications. These include chartered financial analyst (CFA), chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA), certified investment management analyst (CIMA) and more.
Madison Investment Advisors Investing Strategy
Madison Investment Advisors says in its Form ADV that its "core expertise is active bond management (including corporate, government, and municipal bonds), risk-managed equity management (primarily common stocks), and customized multi-asset portfolios." As that statement makes clear, the firm tends to invest client assets using balanced portfolios, as well as equity- and fixed-income-focused options.
All investment decisions at Madison are made with client needs in mind. This could include your risk tolerance, time horizon, income needs and more.
Summit Rock Advisors
New York City-based Summit Rock Advisors is the quintessential exclusive family office, as the firm has fewer than 50 individuals clients, all of whom have a high net worth. This becomes even more clear when you look at its Form ADV brochure, which states, "Currently, the average client size at Summit Rock is approximately $475 million." In short, only those with at least $100 million in investable assets have a chance at becoming a client of Summit Rock Advisors.
This is a fee-only firm, which is again common for a family office. What this means is that none of the advisors at Summit Rock, nor the firm itself, earn compensation from any source other than client-paid fees. A fee-based firm, on the other hand, may have advisors who sell insurance products or securities on a commission basis.
Summit Rock Advisors Background
Summit Rock Advisors' headquarters is in Manhattan. The firm is independently owned by its co-founders: CEO David Dechman and chief investment strategist Nancy Donohue. The firm has been in business since 2007.
Clients of Summit Rock will receive intensely close attention on their investment portfolios and long-term financial plans. The firm works with clients in a holistic manner, attempting to account for all of their financial specifics and goals when making decisions.
Summit Rock Advisors Investing Strategy
Summit Rock Advisors works to understand clients' personal needs and objectives prior to investing any of their money. In turn, a Summit Rock advisor will personally work with you to determine exactly what you're looking for in the short and long term. The firm often looks to incorporate multiple investment managers within clients' portfolios According to its Form ADV, it chooses managers that it "believes are the most talented across a wide universe of choices, encompassing all sectors of the market, all geographies and all liquidity spectrums."
As you can tell from the above, diversification is incredibly important to Summit Rock's overarching investment philosophy. Strategic asset allocation planning is also a focus point, as the firm will use your risk tolerance and time horizon to select investment allocations in a manner that aligns with those factors.
Buckingham Strategic Wealth
Buckingham Strategic Wealth, which is headquartered in St. Louis, is a largely individual-centric financial advisor firm. Its over 10,000 individual clients are a mix of those with and without a high net worth, with the latter slightly outnumbering the former. Pension plans, charitable organizations and businesses round out Buckingham's client base. The firm doesn't have a traditional asset minimum for new clients, but rather a $3,000 minimum annual fee.
Like most of the firms on this list, Buckingham has many branches throughout the U.S. Prospective clients can find offices in Oregon, Georgia, Texas, Maryland, Florida, Illinois, New York, Iowa, Wyoming, South Carolina, West Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, Virginia, California, Michigan, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Arizona and New Jersey.
This is a fee-only firm. That means all of Buckingham's advisors only earn compensation from the fees that clients pay. A fee-based firm, on the other hand, earns commissions from the sale of financial products, too.
Buckingham Strategic Wealth Background
Buckingham Strategic Wealth was founded back in 1994. The firm is indirectly owned by Focus Financial Partners, and is run by CEO Adam Birenbaum. The firm's advisory staff boasts a number of certifications, such as certified financial planner (CFP), chartered financial analyst (CFA), certified private wealth advisor (CPWA) and more.
Investment management services at Buckingham are adjusted to each client's needs and situation. Financial planning can also cover a number of issues, like cash flow analysis, divorce planning, tax planning, budgeting, estate planning, retirement planning and more.
Buckingham Strategic Wealth Investing Strategy
First and foremost, Buckingham Strategic Wealth works with clients to develop their personal investment policy statement, or IPS. This covers the factors that will govern your portfolio's management, such as your risk tolerance, time horizon and income needs. Should your goals change over time, the firm may adjust your IPS to account for them.
There are a number of different investment Buckingham uses when populating clients portfolios. These include passively managed mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), individual fixed-income securities, certificates of deposit (CDs) and seprately managed accounts (SMAs).
Moneta Group Investment Advisors
Moneta Group Investment Advisors has a client base mostly comprised of individuals above and below the high-net-worth threshold. Although the firm works with more high-net-worth individuals than not, it does not have a specific account minimum for new clients. The firm has a number of institutional relationships as well, with retirement plans, businesses and charitable organizations rounding out its client base.
There is no shortage of individual, institutional and retirement plan advisory services available at Moneta. As a matter of fact, individual clients will have access to services like investment management, estate planning, risk management, retirement planning, business succession consulting, tax planning and more.
Moneta Group Investment Advisors Background
Moneta Group Investment Advisors can trace its history all the way back to 1869. The firm is owned by Moneta Group, LLC, which is in turn owned by Moneta's partners. The firm also has offices in Mission Woods, Kansas; Worcester, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois; and Denver, Colorado.
According to the firm's website, its team of advisors hold a wide range of certifications. These include certified public accountants (CPAs), certified financial planners (CFPs), chartered financial analysts (CFAs), accredited wealth management advisors (AWMAs), certified divorce financial analysts (CDFAs), accredited investment fiduciary analysts (AIFAs) and more.
Moneta Group Investment Advisors Investing Strategy
At the start of each client relationship, the advisors at Moneta will review what type of investor the client is. This will involve discussing and determing their risk tolerance, income needs, financial goals, time horizon and investment preferences. Once the information-gathering process is complete, the firm will write up an investment policy statement (IPS). This will eventually dictate how your portfolio is built and managed.
Generally speaking, the firm tends to invest in the interest of garnering long-term returns. In turn, it will invest in some combination of fixed-income securities, equities and alternative investments. As your portfolio ages, the firm will review its allocations and make adjustments as they become necessary.
Fort Washington Investment Advisors
Fort Washington Investment Advisors is a Cincinnati-based advisory firm that offers a wide range of services, including individual and family wealth management, investment services for institutions and private equity fund management. Services for individuals include goal-based financial planning, investment management, insurance planning, trust and estate planning, tax planning, charitable gift planning, risk management, charitable gift planning, executive compensation planning and more.
When it comes to individual clients, Fort Washington only serves those with a high net worth. The rest of the firm's client base is entirely institutional, including the likes of charitable organizations, businesses, pooled investment vehicles, investment companies, retirement plans, government entities and insurance companies. The minimum account size for individual clients is $500,000.
As a fee-based firm, certain on-staff advisors at Fort Washington can receive commissions from the sale of insurance products, which causes a potential conflict of interest. The firm is still required to abide by fiduciary duty, though, meaning it will act in your best interest.
Fort Washington Investment Advisors Background
Founded in 1990, Fort Washington Investment Advisors has grown considerably over the last three decades. The firm is the investment branch of Western & Southern Financial Group, Inc., a large financial services company. As a result, the firm is a wholly owned subsidiary of a handful of Western & Southern's child companies. Fort Washington has secondary offices in Albany, New York; Beachwood, Ohio; and San Francisco.
There is no shortage of advisory certifications among the advisory staff at Fort Washington Investment Advisors. More specifically, the staff boasts designations like chartered financial analyst (CFA), certified financial planner (CFP), chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA), certified investment management analyst (CIMA) and more.
Fort Washington Investment Advisors Investing Strategy
Fort Washington Investment Advisors believes in aligning all of your financial needs into a single strategy. This will principally involve the creation and maintenance of an investment portfolio, as well as a detailed financial plan. Before any asset management decisions are made on your behalf, the firm will do a deep dive into your ultimate financial goals, risk tolerance, time horizon, liquidity needs, anticipated returns and investment preferences. Based on the insights gleaned from this information, a holistic investment and financial plan will be built for you.
The firm doesn't have a specific set of securities that it prefers to invest in. Instead, it will devise an asset allocation that considers whatever investments fit your needs. That could mean your money will be invested in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), cash allocations or any other investments the firm deems appropriate.
Beacon Pointe Advisors
Beacon Pointe Advisors works with over 10,000 individual clients, most of whom don't have a high net worth. The firm's general investment minimum is $1 million, though it may be willing to waive this under certain circumstances. The rest of its client base consists of investment funds, retirement plans, charitable organizations, government entities, insurance companies and businesses.
The firm's private wealth management services are designed for individuals and families looking for a holistic financial planning and investment service. Beacon Pointe says on its website that it specializes in working with mutli-generational families, entrepreneurs and individuals going through a life transition.
Certain members of Beacon Pointe's advisory staff can receive commissions from the sale of insurance products. Although this represents a potential conflict of interest, the firm's abides by fiduciary duty.
Beacon Pointe Advisors Background
Beacon Pointe Advisors has been in business since 2002. The firm is owned by an investment vehicle called KKR Polyphony Aggregator L.P. The firm also has 35 office locations across the country.
The team of advisors who work here boast a selection of certifications. These include chartered financial analyst (CFA), certified financial planner (CFP) and more.
Beacon Pointe Advisors Investing Strategy
Before investing client assets, Beacon Pointe Advisors will work with you to build an investment policy statement that breaks down not only what type of investor you are, but what the plan for your portfolio's management looks like. More specifically, this will include your risk tolerance, time horizon, income needs, financial goals and any other relevant points of information.
As its name implies, NFP Retirement's advisory services are heavily focused around helping clients with retirement planning and the management of their retirement assets. In terms of assets under management, the firm's client base is dominated by retirement plan sponsors, though it technically works with a majority of individuals with and without a high net worth. The firm's investment minimum is just $25,000.
Certain on-staff advisors at NFP can sell insurance products and securities on a commission basis. Although this presents a potential conflict of interest, the firm's fiduciary duty means it acts in clients' best interests.
NFP Retirement Background
Founded in 1980, NFP Retirement is under the ownership of its parent entity, NFP Corp. The firm's leadership team is headed by chairman and CEO Doug Hammond and president and chief operating officer (COO) Mike Goldman.
NFP Retirement also has offices in New York, New York; Toronto, Canada; Birmingham, United Kingdom; Dublin, Ireland; and San Juan; Puerto Rico.
NFP Retirement Investing Strategy
NFP Retirement's individual investing and financial planning services are based on the needs each individual client has. For instance, your advisor will discuss with you your risk tolerance, income needs and financial goals before making any decisions on your behalf.
Generally speaking, NFP's advisors tend to invest in some combination of mutual funds and ETFs. However, the firm also sometimes utilizes a Schwab-created automated asset allocation service. This uses model portfolios that are chosen based on the client's goals.