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.
|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||CAPTRUST Find an Advisor||$389,150,706,027||$50,000|| || |
|2||Fisher Investments Find an Advisor||$120,948,538,616||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|3||Fort Washington Investment Advisors Inc Find an Advisor||$62,466,368,235||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|4||Hall Capital Partners Find an Advisor||$41,599,805,285||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|5||Chevy Chase Trust Company Find an Advisor||$33,997,884,407||$3,000,000|| || |
|6||Mesirow Financial Investment Management, Inc. Find an Advisor||$26,693,197,000||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|7||Silvercrest Asset Management Group, LLC Find an Advisor||$25,070,080,215||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|8||Cerity Partners, LLC Find an Advisor||$24,682,540,139||$2,000,000|| || |
|9||Moneta Group Investment Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$23,734,428,158||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|10||SCS Capital Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$22,229,947,139||$25,000,000|| || |
How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in the U.S.
To put together this list of the top financial advisor firms in America, we began by identifying all firms that are registered with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) and headquartered in the U.S. All SEC-registered firms are legally required to abide by fiduciary duty and must report essential information about their business to the SEC. To further refine our list, we removed any firms that have disclosures on their Form ADV, as well as firms that do not offer financial planning services or do not work primarily with individual clients. The firms that made the cut are listed below in order of the most assets under management (AUM) to the least.
CAPTRUST, the top firm on our list, is a fee-based financial advisor firm based out of Raleigh, North Carolina. The firm has over 7,500 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 initial 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, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, 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.
Fisher Investments is a massive, fee-only financial advisor firm based in Washington that has nearly 70,000 individual clients to its name - about 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 and proprietary accounts.
Fisher Investments Background
Fisher Investments has a long history, as it was founded back 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, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Colorado, New York, Illinois, Arizona and Virginia. It also has offices in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Denmark and the Netherlands.
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.
Fort Washington Investment Advisors
Fort Washington Investment Advisors, Inc. 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, 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.
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. 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.
Chevy Chase Trust Company
All of Chevy Chase Trust Company's individual clients have a high net worth. This is likely a result of the firm's very high $3 million minimum account size and $35,000 minimum annual fee. Clients with less than $3 million may be accepted, but only if the firm decides to waive the minimum or there's an assumption that their future relationship size will meet the minimum requirement. The firm also maintains advisory relationships with pooled investment vehicles, retirement plans, charitable organizations, government entities, insurance companies and businesses.
This fee-only firm has a suite of investment management and financial planning services. The former features personalized portfolio creation, as well as management on a personal basis. Financial planning services usually include estate planning, income planning, strategic tax planning, cash flow planning, risk management and more.
Chevy Chase Trust Company is ranked on SmartAsset's list of the top financial advisors in Maryland.
Chevy Chase Trust Company Background
Located in Bethesda, Maryland, Chevy Chase Trust Company has been in business since 1997. The firm is a subsidiary of Chevy Chase Trust Holdings, LLC, a holding company. The firm's executive team includes president and CEO Peter Welber, chief investment officer (CIO) Amy Raskin, chief technology officer (CTO) Jeffrey Bishoff and chief financial officer (CFO) Joel Friedman.
Clients of this firm will find five certified financial planners (CFPs), nine chartered financial analysts (CFAs), one certified trust and financial advisor (CTFA), one chartered market technician (CMT) and one certified public accountant (CPA) on staff.
Chevy Chase Trust Company Investing Strategy
Chevy Chase Trust Company looks to generate above average returns relative to appropriate benchmarks. Rather than focus on market capitalizations when diversifying a portfolio, the firm invests client assets across varying themes, industries and market sectors. In fact, the firm essentially has no limit to the number of asset classes it will invest in.
In addition, the firm prefers to invest in a basket of themed equity investments, as choosing stocks individually can be quite risky. The firm also tries to identify short-term market trends that can open up investment opportunities.
Mesirow Financial Investment Management
Mesirow Financial Investment Management, Inc. (MFIM) has over 12,000 individual clients, the vast majority of whom have less than a high net worth. In fact, fewer than 10 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 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 Strateg,y" 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 offices in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Texas and Washington. It even has international locations in Puerto Rico, China 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.
Silvercrest Asset Management Group
Silvercrest Asset Management Group, LLC is based out of New York City. Despite having no specific minimum account size for new clients, the firm's entire individual client base is made up of individuals and families with a high net worth. Like many of these very large financial advisor firms, institutional services are also a major offering at Silvercrest. The firm manages assets for charitable organizations, businesses, retirement plans, government entities, investment companies, insurance companies, banks and pooled investment vehicles.
This fee-only firm offers complete investment services, including equity management, fixed-income management and outsourced investments. It also has a selection of family office services that include consolidated financial reports, wealth planning, tax planning, personal accounting, budgeting, cash flow planning, retirement planning, estate planning and more.
Silvercrest claims the top spot on SmartAsset's list of the top financial advisors in New York City.
Silvercrest Asset Management Group Background
Silvercrest Asset Management Group opened in 2001. The firm is now led by chairman and CEO Richard Hough III, Richard Burns, Winthrop Conrad, Jr., Brian Dunn, Wilmot Kidd III and Albert Messina. Silvercrest is a wholly owned subsidiary of Silvercrest, LP, which is a publicly traded corporation. This firm has secondary branches in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Virginia, Wisconsin and California.
On-staff advisory certifications at Silvercrest Asset Management include chartered financial analyst (CFA), certified financial planner (CFP), certified public accountant (CPA) and more.
Silvercrest Asset Management Group Investing Strategy
Silvercrest Asset Management Group has a series of equity- and fixed-income-focused investment strategies that it uses when it invests clients' assets. Its equity strategies are based on various market capitalization tiers, with some focusing on top-end, large-cap stocks and other being built around growth-centric, small-cap stocks. The fixed-income strategies utilize either municipal bonds or taxable bonds.
Regardless of the specific investment strategy that used with your portfolio, the firm will ensure that your investments are diversified. Silvercrest uses this diversification as a way to ensure that your assets are protected from unsustainable highs and extreme lows in the market.
Cerity Partners, LLC, a fee-only financial advisor firm in New York City, has a $2 million minimum account size for prospective clients. This minimum also comes with a $25,000 minimum annual fee. Each of these requirements may be waived at the discretion of the firm.
Despite these high minimums, less than half of the over 2,000 individual clients at Cerity Partners have a high net worth. Other clients of the firm include retirement plans, businesses, charitable organizations and government entities.
Individuals and families have access to a multitude of investment management and financial planning services at Cerity. Clients can take advantage of offerings like family office services, cash flow analysis, risk management, insurance planning, marital financial planning, estate planning, charitable gift planning, tax planning and preparation, business owner advisory services, investment planning and more. The firm also boasts sets of services specifically for businesses and nonprofits.
Cerity Partners currently holds a spot on SmartAsset's list of the top financial advisors in New York City.
Cerity Partners Background
Cerity Partners formed back in 2009. Today, the firm is owned by Cerity Partners Equity Holding, LLC, which is in turn owned by Cerity Partners EOE, LLC. Both of these companies are owned by employees of Cerity Partners. The firm operates secondary branches in California, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Texas.
The firm employs accredited investment fiduciaries (AIFs), certified public accountants (CPAs), certified financial planners (CFPs), chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and more.
Cerity Partners Investing Strategy
Cerity Partners' primary focus when managing investments for a client is creating a personalized asset allocation that adheres to the tenets of modern portfolio theory, or MPT. This involves optimizing clients' asset allocation within the boundaries of their risk tolerance level.
The firm has an exceptionally large pool of investments that it analyzes and invests in. These include cash, cash equivalents, domestic fixed-income securities, emerging market debt securities, high-yield and investment-grade credit, global bonds, equities of all market capitalizations, international equities, real estate, commodities, treasury inflation-protected securities, hedge funds and private equity.
Moneta Group Investment Advisors
Moneta Group Investment Advisors, LLC 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 are 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.
This firm employs advisors that have an opportunity to earn commissions from insurance product sales. Despite the potential conflict of interest that this involves, the firm is required to act in clients' best interests due to its fiduciary duty.
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 Partners. The firm also has offices in Clayton, Missouri 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.
SCS Capital Management
SCS Capital Management, LLC in Boston is a fee-only financial advisor firm. This firm has by far the highest account minimum on this list, at $25 million. As such, the firm does not work with any non-high-net-worth individuals. Instead, its client base is made up of high-net-worth individuals, pooled investment vehicles, charitable organizations and sovereign wealth funds.
Individual-centric services at this firm are offered through its wealth management service. This holistic program allows affluent families and individuals to have all of their investment and financial planning needs taken care of in a single place. Specific services available through this service include tax planning, cash flow planning, philanthropic strategizing, income planning, estate planning, long-term goal determination, asset allocation planning and more.
SCS Capital Management Background
SCS Capital Management was founded in 2002 by co-founders Antony Abbiati and Douglas Ederle. Today, Abbiati is the firm's CEO and Ederle is co-head of the private client division of the firm. In addition to its Boston headquarters, this firm has offices in New York City and Beverly Hills.
The advisory staff at SCS includes 14 chartered financial analysts (CFAs), seven certified financial planners (CFPs), one chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA) and one certified private wealth advisor (CPWA).
SCS Capital Management Investing Strategy
On a firm-wide basis, SCS Capital Management wants to make sure that your investment and financial needs are completely in sync. In turn, the firm will use the insights and information from your wealth plan to create an appropriate asset allocation that accounts for all your needs and goals. More specifically, the firm will focus on your risk tolerance, time horizon, tax situation and income needs.
Based on the plan created above, the firm will put together an asset allocation that features a diversified selection of securities across specific percentages of asset classes. For example, a risk-averse investor closer to retirement will see more bonds in their portfolio, whereas a younger, risk-tolerant investor may have more stocks. Specific securities will be chosen solely based on your needs.