Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Virginia
In a state like Virginia that offers an abundance of financial advisor options, it can be tough to fing the right firm for you. To make your search easier, SmartAsset dug into the data and identified the top financial advisor firms in the Old Dominion state. Listed below you’ll find the minimum account size for each firm, what type of services they offer, whick cities they operate out of and more useful information. SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool can save you even more time, as it pairs you with advisors in your area that specialize in your needs.
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|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||Mason Investment Advisory Services Find an Advisor||$9,527,636,487||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|2||Wilbanks, Smith & Thomas Asset Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$4,014,207,769||$1,000,000|| || |
|3||SBSB Financial Advisors Find an Advisor||$5,062,963,936||$1,000,000|| || |
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|4||Motley Fool Wealth Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$2,237,972,889||Varies based on account type|| || |
Minimum AssetsVaries based on account type
|5||Brown Advisory Find an Advisor||$7,694,508,273||$5,000,000|| || |
|6||Cassaday & Co., Inc. Find an Advisor||$3,682,692,279||$500,000|| || |
|7||Cary Street Partners Investment Advisory, LLC Find an Advisor||$3,254,677,385||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|8||Andersen Find an Advisor||$2,592,313,522||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|9||Wealthcare Capital Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$2,314,462,705||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|10||The Burney Company Find an Advisor||$2,085,998,868||$750,000|| || |
What We Use in Our Methodology
To find the top financial advisors in Virginia, we first identified all firms registered with the SEC in the state. 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.
Mason Investment Advisory Services
Mason Investment Advisory Services ranks first on our list of the top Virginia financial advisor firms. The Reston-based financial advisor firm’s team holds an array of credentials. On staff there are certified financial planners (CFPs), chartered financial analysts (CFAs), accredited investment fiduciaries (AIFs) and certified public accountants (CPAs), among other financial certifications.
The firm’s clients include individuals, high-net-worth individuals, corporate pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable institutions, foundations and endowments. It does not specify a set account minimum in its Form ADV. The firm’s individual investor client base is almost evenly split between individuals and high-net-worth individuals.
Mason Investment Advisory Services is affiliated with broker-dealer Mason Securities, Inc., which is owned by the same parent company. Certain employees of the firm are also registered representatives of the broker-dealer. This represents a potential conflict of interest, as they earn transaction-based fees. That said, the firm is legally bound by its fiduciary duty to work in clients' best interests.
Mason Investment Advisory Services Background
Mason Investment Advisory Services has been in business since 1982. It's a subsidiary of Mason International, Inc. The firm's parent company also owns Mason Securities, Inc., a registered broker-dealer.
For private clients, Mason offers comprehensive investment management, financial planning, charitable planning and tax preparation. On the institutional side, the firm provides traditional consulting, outsourced chief investment officer (or discretionary investment consulting service), data aggregation and reporting and retirement plan services.
Mason Investment Advisory Services Investing Strategy
Mason Investment Advisory Services grounds its investment approach in strategic asset allocation, which is coupled with rebalancing and the diligent selection of managers. The firm says it believes that there "are no reliable methods to predict market trends," and thus it does not partake in market timing. It typically invests for the long term.
The first step in the investment advisory process is a review of the client's financial goals and current investments, which may also lead to the creation of a comprehensive financial plan. From there, the firm selects one of its five asset allocation models, which match different levels of risk tolerance and varying time horizons. Asset allocations will typically include as many as 16 asset classes and investments are usually a mix of active and passive investments.
Wilbanks, Smith & Thomas Asset Management
Wilbanks, Smith & Thomas Asset Management (WST) has a minimum investment amount of $1 million, though it may waive this requirement at its discretion. The fee-only firm evidently does this relatively often, as it currently works with far more non-high-net-worth clients than high-net-worth individuals. The firm, which is based in Norfolk, also has advisory relationships with financial institutions, retirement plans, estates, trusts, charitable organizations, foundations, businesses and pension and profit-sharing plans.
The advisors at this firm have a number of certifications. This includes such designations include chartered financial analyst (CFA), certified financial planner (CFP), certified public accountant (CPA), accredited investment fiduciary (AIF) and certified investment management analyst (CIMA).
Wilbanks, Smith & Thomas Asset Management Background
The ownership of Wilbank, Smith & Thomas Asset Management is split among its principals and Rosemont, though Rosemont only hold a minority non-voting interest. The firm was created in 1990.
Retirement planning is definitely at the forefront of the services offered by this firm. But it can do much more than that, such as business financial consulting, investment management, asset allocation planning, cash flow planning and net worth determination.
Wilbanks, Smith & Thomas Asset Management Investing Strategy
WST completes every part of the investment decision process in-house, including investment origination, research and strategy implementation. Index funds, bonds and traditional stocks are all part of this research, as well as specific investigations into the companies, exchange traded-funds (ETFs), passive funds and actively managed funds within these categories.
Exactly which investments become part of a client's portfolio depends on the requirements of the client, such as risk tolerance, time horizon and liquidity needs. Because of this, the firm strays from exclusively long-term-centric investing, incorporating short-term purchases and short sales as well.
SBSB Financial Advisors
McLean-based financial advisor firm SBSB Financial Advisors has a minimum opening account size of $1 million. As you might expect, the client base is about 80 % high-net-worth individuals. The fee-only firm also serves individuals who aren't as affluent, non-profit organizations, trusts, businesses and retirement accounts.
SBSB has several advisor certifications on staff, including certified financial planners (CFPs), certified private wealth advisors (CPWAs), certified public accountants (CPAs), certified financial analyst (CFAs), personal financial specialists and accredited investment fiduciaries (AIFs).
SBSB Financial Advisors Background
SBSB Financial Advisors opened its doors in 1991 and was founded by principals Gregory Sullivan, Peter Speros and James Bruyette. It is now owned by holding company SBSB Holdings, LLC.
This firm offers general financial planning and investment management. Financial planning can cover such topics as tax minimization, estate planning, retirement planning, insurance review and more.
SBSB Financial Advisors Investing Strategy
Portfolios at SBSB are customized to the client's financial situation and needs. More specifically, your asset allocation will be based on your personal investment objectives, time horizon, risk tolerance and other factors that are important to you.
Because the firm is interested in the long-term success of its clients, it angles the majority of its investment decisions to securities that will remain a part of your portfolio for no less than a year. To avoid forcing everyone into this style of investment, though, it does implement short-term purchases, short sales, margin transactions and stock-picking as well.
Motley Fool Wealth Management
The next firm on our list is Motley Fool Wealth Management, an Alexandria-based firm. This large firm works with a large client base that consists mostly of individuals. Of these individuals, the majority are non-high-net-worth individuals. In terms of institutional clients, the firm works with a handful of businesses and proprietary accounts.
Motley Fool Wealth Management has a minimum account size requirement of $15,000. However, for certain model portfolios and investment programs, minimums may be greater than just $15,000. This is a fee-only firm, so clients won't need to worry about a conflict of interest stemming from advisors receiving commissions.
Motley Fool Wealth Management Background
Motley Fool Wealth Management is part of The Motley Fool, which is a private financial and investing advice company. While The Motley Fool's roots go back farther, Motley Fool Wealth Management opened its doors for business in 2013. It registered with the SEC as an investment advisor in 2013 as well.
This wealth management firm provides clients with model portfolios and asset allocation services as well as a variety of financial planning services.
Motley Fool Wealth Management Investment Strategy
Motley Fool Wealth Management's investment services are tailored to the individual needs of its clients, even though many of its model portfolios and investment platform have pre-formed asset allocation strategies. However, advisors meet with clients to determine their overall financial profiles so that they can invest client assets most effectively.
Depending on the portfolio and the client, advisors may use a wide variety of different securities to help drive growth in client portfolios.
Brown Advisory is headquartered in Norfolk. The team of advisors here boasts certifications such as chartered financial analyst (CFA), certified financial planner (CFP) and certified public accountant (CPA).
The fee-only firm serves two main types of clients. Family office clients are typically families with a net worth of at least $20 million who have complex financial issues. Its other client category is Family Wealth clients, who are typically families with a net worth ranging from $5 million to $20 million. Generally, the firm requires a minimum investment of $5 million. Though its focus is primarily on individuals, families and family entities, the firm also serves charitable organizations. It may also provide advice to individual investors in self-directed retirement plans.
The firm's fees are typically based on a percentage of assets under management. In some cases, however, the firm may charge a flat fee. Certain investors may have the option to invest in limited partnerships that the firm sponsors, in which case they may pay a performance-based fee in addition to quarterly management fees.
Brown Advisory Background
Brown Advisory can trace its history back to 1994. It is wholly owned by Brown Advisory, Inc., an independent investment management firm that owns other firms as well.
The firm provides the following services to its clients:
- Investment management
- Strategic planning and family governance
- Cash management
- Income tax organization
- Risk management
- Estate and wealth transfer planning
- Household administration
- Philanthropic planning
Brown Advisory Investment Strategy
Brown Advisory believes in investing for the long term, which it defines as a full market cycle, lasting anywhere from seven to more than 10 years. The firm invests globally and employs both active and passive investment strategies. The firm uses active strategies when it identifies a worthwhile manager. Passive strategies are used to enhance market exposure while minimizing fees. Common asset classes used in client portfolios include public and private equities, fixed income, real assets and hedge funds, with portfolio composition ultimately depending on each client's unique risk tolerance, time horizon and liquidity needs.
The firm focuses on balancing risk and return, with an emphasis on protecting against losses. It manages risk through diversification, as well as by noting valuation. Fees and taxes are also taken into account.
Cassaday & Co.
Cassaday & Co., a McLean based advisory firm, has a collective account minimum of $500,000 per client. Its typical client base is made up of primarily high-net-worth individuals and families, but also includes other individuals and corporate pension and profit-sharing plans.
Although the advisory staff at this firm is fairly normal for an operation of its size, it boasts many more advisor certifications than its peers. Credentials include for certified financial planners (CFPs), chartered mutual fund counselors (CMFCs), financial paraplanner qualified professionals (FPQPs), certified fund specialists (CFSs), chartered retirement planning counselors (CRPCs), chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and certified investment management analysts (CIMAs), among others.
This is a fee-based firm. That means certain on-staff advisors can receive commissions from the sale of securities or insurance products to clients. Although this induces a potential conflict of interest, the firm's fiduciary duty requires it to act in clients' best interest, no matter what.
Cassaday & Co. Background
President and CEO Stephan Cassaday established Cassaday & Co. in 1993, after being involved in the financial services industry for 16 years.
Cassaday features several different focus areas of financial planning: personal, investments, retirement, tax/cash flow, death/disability and education. If you’re looking for something more specific, each of these topics can be customized to fit your needs.
Cassaday & Co. Investing Strategy
Modern portfolio theory and a “buy and hold” mindset typically drive investment decisions here. Generally, the firm believes that the market will remain efficient and that a portfolio can take advantage of this if its assets are allocated correctly and in an ultra-diversified way. Cassaday mostly invests in exchange-traded funds, fixed-income securities and mutual funds.
Cary Street Partners Investment Advisory
Cary Street Partners Investment Advisory is the next firm up on our list of the top financial advisory firms in Virginia. This firm works with a ton of different clients. Most of them are individuals, with non-high-net-worth individuals making up the largest portion of the firm's overall client. It also works with high-net-worth individuals. The firm's institutional client base includes pensions, profit sharing plans, charities, insurance companies and other businesses.
Cary Street does not have a minimum account size requirement. The firm is fee-based, meaning that some advisors can receive commissions from selling financial products to clients. While this creates the potential for conflicts of interest to arise, the firm is a fiduciary that is legally obligated to act in the best interests of clients.
Cary Street Partners Investment Advisory Background
Cary Street Partners Investment Advisory was founded in 2003. It registered as an investment advisor with the SEC in 2005, just a few years after opening its doors for business. The firm's parent and holidng company is called Cary Street Partners Financial, LLC. This company owns a number of other affiliated businesses as well.
Cary Street provides clients with financial planning services and investment management services. It also provides a wrap fee program. About half of the firm's assets are managed on a discretionary basis.
Cary Street Partners Investment Advisory Investment Strategy
Cary Street Partners Investment Advisory, like many other financial advisory firms, looks to tailor its investment management services and investment strategies to the individual needs of its clients. This process involves meeting with clients and discussing such factors as risk tolerance, liquidity needs and time horizon.
Advisors at Cary Street tend to invest client assets in mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), annuities, fixed-income securities, structured notes and equities. However, specific investments depend upon the client's situation.
Netx up on our list, Andersen works with many different types of clients, including individuals, families, foundations, estates, trusts, family partnerships, family-owned retirement plans, charitable organizations and endowments. When it comes to individual investors, though, the firm primarily works with those who are high-net-worth. This fee-only financial advisor firm is located in McLean.
This firm has no minimum account size requirement.
Andersen is owned by holding company Andersen Tax Holdings, LLC. But the owners of that company are also the managing directors at the firm, which has been open since 2002.
Andersen divides its offerings into three categories: full-service investment consulting, investment performance measurement and reporting and limited professional consulting. It also offers a plethora of tax-focused services.
Andersen Investing Strategy
Increasing the risk tolerance of your portfolio can have devastating consequences if handled incorrectly, but Andersen has measures in place to stop such a disaster from occurring. This begins and ends with the firm’s strategy incorporation of modern portfolio theory, which states that a jump in risk should only be accepted if there’s a proportional opportunity for a boost in return.
To implement this efficiently, the firm uses software that creates portfolios that have the chance to meet the client’s requirements for returns with the lowest amount of volatility possible. Your investments’ time horizon is also added into this equation, though, which does offer the potential for inflated risk if you’re looking for short-term financial gain.
Wealthcare Capital Management
Wealthcare Capital Management comes in next on our list of Virginia's top financial advisors. The firm has a massive individual client base that largely consists of non-high-net-worth individuals, though there are high-net-worth individuals as well. When it comes to institutional clients, the firm works with pensions, profit sharing plans, charities and other businesses.
Wealthcare does not have a set account minimum, and it is a fee-based firm. There is a potential conflict of interest that arises from the fact that certain advisors can receive commissions from the sale of financial products. The firm, however, is a fiduciary and is legally obligated to act in the best interests of clients at all times.
Wealthcare Capital Management Background
Wealthcare Capital Management became an SEC-registered investment advisor shortly after its founding in 2001. The firm is headquartered in Richmond and is owned by Financeware LLC and VMS Intermediate Inc. The firm's operators are president Matthew T. Regan, chief investment officer Ronald E. Madey, chief financial officer Justin DuBrueler and chief compliance officer James J. Krause.
Wealthcare provides wealth management services and financial planning services to clients. It even has a patented investment system known as GDX360.
Wealthcare Capital Management Investment Strategy
Investment strategies at Wealthcare Capital Management are designed to help clients fulfill their individual investment goals instead of creating a braod-brush approach that they apply to everyone. Investment strategies and financial plans are goal's-driven. The firm uses what it calls the Comfort Zone to provide ongoing management.
Advisors may invest client assets in a variety of different investments, including (but not limited to) mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and alternative investments.
The Burney Company
The Burney Company rounds out our list of the top financial advisor firms in Virginia. This firm works mainly with individual clients. Of these individual clients, about half are high-net-worth individual clients. It also works with institutional clients. Of these institutional clients, there are retirement plans, charitable organizations, corporations and businesses.
The Burney Company has a minimum account size requirement of $750,000, so it makes sense why the firm works with so many high-net-worth individuals. This is a fee-only firm, so you won't need to worry about a conflict of interest arising from advisors selling financial products.
The Burney Company Background
Founded in 1974, The Burney Company isn't just the oldest firm on our Virginia list; it's also one of the oldest financial advisory firms in the state. It opened its doors for business in 1974 and registered with the SEC as an investment advisor in the same year. The firm is owned by General John C. Burney and his wife, Mary Burney, along with Lowell Pratt, Bill Stewart, Martin Walsh, Alex Shen, Richard Bauchspies, Gil Green and Tom Hunt.
The Burney Company provides clients with financial planning and portfolio management services. All assets are managed on a discretionary basis.
The Burney Company Investment Strategy
The Burney Company works with clients to ensure that all investment and asset allocation strategies are tailored to their individual needs and financial objectives. They take into account such factors as a client's temperament, investment experience, income requirements and true time horizon.
Advisors at The Burney Company tend to use a mix of bonds, preferred stocks, real estate investment trusts (REITs), master limited partnerships (MLPs), managed futures and international equities.