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, 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 in your area.
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|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||Fisher Investments Find an Advisor||$159,611,530,686||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|2||CAPTRUST Find an Advisor||$655,054,291,754||$50,000|| || |
|3||Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services, LLC Find an Advisor||$24,264,055,260||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
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|4||Mesirow Financial Investment Management, Inc. Find an Advisor||$41,037,701,000||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|5||Summit Rock Advisors, LP Find an Advisor||$21,733,298,515||$100,000,000|| || |
|6||Fort Washington Investment Advisors, Inc. Find an Advisor||$78,024,335,638||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|7||Moneta Group Investment Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$32,888,762,887||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|8||Mercer Global Advisors, Inc. Find an Advisor||$34,011,524,251||$500,000|| || |
|9||Buckingham Strategic Wealth, LLC Find an Advisor||$22,858,701,542||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|10||Hall Capital Partners, LLC Find an Advisor||$55,707,371,841||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
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 80,000 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, pooled investment vehicles, charitable organizations, government entities, insurance companies, investment advisors, sovereign wealth funds, businesses, 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.
Outside of the firm's Camas, Washington, headquarters, Fisher Investments operates branches in California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Washington, Pennsylvania, 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 over 11,700 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, no matter what.
CAPTRUST was established in 2003. Today, the firm's leadership team is under the control of co-founder and CEO James Fielding Miller, who also indirectly owns about 40% of the firm. The rest of the firm's shares are owned through two holding companies.
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, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, 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.
Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services
Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services (WEAS) has one of the largest client bases of any firm on this list. In fact, more than 23,000 individuals have a relationship with a WEAS advisor, with around three-quarters of these individuals having less than a high net worth. The firm's institutional client base is fairly limited, as it works with about 250 retirement and pension plans. Investment minimums at WEAS vary by service, with requirements beginning at $25,000 and reaching up to $100,000.
Like you might expect from a firm as large as WEAS, it has branches all over the U.S. In fact, you can access an on-staff advisor in California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.
WEAS operates using a fee-based compensation structure, which means some advisors can receive sales commissions for selling certain financial products to clients. Although this is a potential conflict of interest, the firm's fiduciary duty requires it to act in clients' best interests at all times.
Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services Background
Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services is under the ownership of a holding company called Wealth Enhancement Group, LLC. The firm has been in business since 2001. The firm's advisory staff holds a wide range of certifications, including certified financial planner (CFP), chartered financial consultant (ChFC), chartered financial analyst (CFA) and more.
Clients of WEAS will find its services are largely customized to their personal needs. For example, its offerings can cover investment management, generall financial goal-setting, estate planning, tax minimization, risk management, business owner consulting, retirement income planning and more.
Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services Investing Strategy
There are four main principles Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services uses when managing clients' investments. Here's a breakdown of each of them:
- Active management: According to its website, WEAS monitors "70+ global markets to assess market risks, rebalance when appropriate and take advantage of opportunities."
- Effective diversification: In order to protect your portfolio from becoming overly reliant on a specific security type or sector, WEAS will diversify your investable assets throughout various areas of the market.
- Tax efficiency: WEAS uses strategic asset locations, tax-loss harvesting and other techniques to minimize how much taxes affect your returns.
- Cost efficiency: In the interest of lowering client expenses, WEAS looks to minimize trading costs with custodians and investment managers by using its massive trading power as a bargaining chip.
Mesirow Financial Investment Management
Mesirow Financial Investment Management (MFIM) has about 12,000 individual clients, almost all of whom have less than a high net worth. In fact, fewer than five of its individual clients come in above the high-net-worth threshold. The firm also has a small, but diverse set of institutional clients. These include government entities, businesses, retirement plans, endowments, charitable organizations, pooled investment vehicles, insurance companies, investment companies, sovereign wealth funds and banks.
The wealth advisory services at Mesirow include financial planning, investment planning and investment management. Financial planning can cover a range of topics, such as retirement planning, short-term investing, college fund planning, inheritance planning, tax-efficient investment planning, Social Security planning and more. The firm also provides advisory services to retirement plan sponsors.
If you're interested in becoming a client of Mesirow, you'll need to meet a minimum annual fee of $4,000. However, one of the firm's investment strategies, called the "Micro Cap Strategy," has a separate $250,000 minimum investment. Certain advisors at this fee-based firm can sell securities on a commission basis. While this creates a potential conflict of interest, the firm is legally bound by fiduciary duty to act in your best interest.
Mesirow Financial Investment Management Background
Mesirow Financial Investment Management has been around since 1986. The firm is principally and indirectly owned by Mesirow Financial Holdings, Inc., a holding company. Although the firm is headquartered in Chicago, it has U.S. offices in California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, New York, Texas, Washington and Puerto Rico. It even has international locations in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.
The team at MFIM includes chartered financial analysts (CFAs), accredited investment fiduciaries (AIFs), chartered alternative investment analysts (CAIAs), certified public accountants (CPAs) and more.
Mesirow Financial Investment Management Investing Strategy
First and foremost, Mesirow Financial Investment Management focuses on the client's personal needs. For example, the firm will account for your tax situation, risk tolerance, time horizon, income and liquidity needs and short- and long-term financial objectives. Once these factors are understood, the firm will formulate a portfolio plan and investment policy statement (IPS) for you.
This firm tends to invest in equities, mutual funds, fixed-income securities and alternative investments. In order to figure out which securities are best suited for your portfolio, the firm does its own due diligence and analysis.
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, which states, "Currently, the average client size at Summit Rock is approximately $410 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.
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 high-net-worth individuals. 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 like annuities, which causes a potential conflict of interest. The firm is still required to abide by fiduciary duty, though, legally binding it to act in your best interest at all times.
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 Western & Southern Investment Holdings, LLC. 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.
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, and Denver.
According to the firm's website, its team of advisors hold over 200 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.
Mercer Global Advisors
Mercer Global Advisors is a Denver-based financial advisor firm. The fee-based firm has more than 11,000 individual clients, with a nearly even split between individuals with and without a high net worth. This comes as no surprise given the firm relatively modest $500,000 minimum account size, which is technically negotiable. 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 New Mexico, Iowa, Georgia, Michigan, Texas, Oklahoma, California, Washington, Florida, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Idaho, Louisiana, New York, Tennessee, Montana, New Jersey, Hawaii, Kansas, Virginia, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Oregon, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Illinois, Arizona, 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 at all times.
Mercer Global Advisors Background
Mercer Global Advisors has been in business for over 35 years, as it was founded in 1985. The firm's team of advisors includes many certified financial planners (CFPs), chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and certified public accoutants (CPAs).
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.
Buckingham Strategic Wealth
Buckingham Strategic Wealth, which is headquartered in St. Louis, is a largely individual-centric financial advisor firm. Its nearly 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's investment minimum is $300,000.
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, Colorado, Virginia, California, Indiana, 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).
Hall Capital Partners
Hall Capital Partners is a large fee-only investment advisor firm that's based in San Francisco. While the firm technically does not have a minimum asset requirement for new clients, it does not work with any individuals below the high-net-worth threshold (at least $1 million in investable assets). In fact, the firm states in its Form ADV that it usually works with clients who have at least $100 million in investable assets. Institutional clients of the firm include pooled investment vehicles, charitable organizations, retirement plans and other investment advisors.
The main service that Hall Capital Partners provides is investment management of global, multi-asset class portfolios. To help satisfy the needs of its affluent individual and family clients, though, the firm also offers generational wealth planning, financial education for children and grandchildren, tax optimization, philanthropic planning and budgeting.
Hall Capital Partners Background
Founder and co-chair Kathryn A. Hall originally created Hall Capital Partners in 1994 as a small asset management firm. Today, the firm has grown substantially, and it now has a second office on Third Avenue in New York City. The firm is entirely employee-owned and independent.
The staff of advisors at this firm includes a few chartered financial analysts (CFAs).
Hall Capital Partners Investing Strategy
As we state above, Hall Capital Partners manages its clients' custom portfolios through global, multi-asset class diversification. The heart of the firm's investment operation is its in-house research team. This group conducts due diligence on a number of underlying fund managers to determine which are worth investing in. Then, they will review the performance of the market and choose fund managers that align with their market findings.
In total, the firm has a spectrum of investment strategies that focus on different asset classes and market sectors. These include absolute return/credit strategies, public equity strategies, private equity strategies and real asset strategies. As a result, there really isn't a specific set of securities the firm sticks to investing in, as the market and client needs will dictate how the firm manages its clients' assets.