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.
|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||Mason Investment Advisory Services Find an Advisor||$8,330,740,673||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|2||Signature Family Wealth Advisors Find an Advisor||$6,594,088,907||$5,000,000|| || |
|3||Sullivan, Bruyette, Speros & Blayney, LLC Find an Advisor||$4,294,682,184||$1,000,000|| || |
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|4||Wilbanks, Smith & Thomas Asset Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$3,507,543,255||$1,000,000|| || |
|5||Cassaday & Co., Inc. Find an Advisor||$3,043,036,873||$500,000|| || |
|6||Palladium Registered Investment Advisors Find an Advisor||$2,532,263,985||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|7||Dyson Capital Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$2,465,405,000||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|8||Heritage Wealth Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$2,269,445,793||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|9||PagnatoKarp Partners, LLC Find an Advisor||$2,204,970,017||$10,000,000|| || |
|10||Andersen Tax, LLC Find an Advisor||$2,088,213,000||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in Virginia
For this list, we considered only U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)-registered financial advisor firms that have their main offices in Virginia. The SEC requires advisors to abide by a fiduciary duty to act in clients' best financial interests. From this list, we removed any firms that have disciplinary issues on file with the SEC. We also eliminated firms that don't offer financial planning or whose clients aren't at least half individials. Finally, we took the top 10 firms based on assets under management. We list them below, starting with the largest. All information is accurate as of the writing of this article.
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. There are on staff 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.
Signature Family Wealth Advisors
The second firm on our list is Signature Family Wealth Advisors, which is headquartered in Norfolk and also has offices in Virginia cities Richmond and Charlottesville. It is registered to serve investors in a total of 13 states across the country. The team includes five chartered financial analysts (CFAs), three certified financial planners (CFPs) and two certified public accountants (CPAs).
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.
Signature'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.
Signature Family Wealth Advisors Background
Signature Family Wealth Advisors has been in business since 1994. It is wholly owned by Brown Advisory Inc., an independent investment management firm.
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
Signature Family Wealth Advisors Investment Strategy
Signature Family Wealth Advisors 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. Signature manages risk through diversification, as well as by noting valuation. Fees and taxes are also taken into account.
Sullivan, Bruyette, Speros & Blayney, LLC
McLean-based financial advisor firm Sullivan, Bruyette, Speros & Blayney, LLC (SBSB) has a minimum opening account size of $1 million. As you might expect, the client base is nearly 75% 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).
Sullivan, Bruyette, Speros & Blayney Background
Sullivan, Bruyette, Speros & Blayney opened its doors in 1991 and was founded by principals Gregory Sullivan, Peter Speros and James Bruyette, all of whom still work at the firm. 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.
Sullivan, Bruyette, Speros & Blayney 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.
Wilbanks, Smith & Thomas Asset Management, LLC
Wilbanks, Smith & Thomas Asset Management, LLC (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 10 chartered financial analysts (CFAs), five certified financial planners (CFPs), one certified public accountant (CPA), one accredited investment fiduciary (AIF), one chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA) and one certified investment management analyst (CIMA).
Wilbanks, Smith & Thomas Asset Management Background
The ownership of Wilbank, Smith & Thomas Asset Management is split among five employees: Managing Principal Wayne Wilbanks and Principals Kyle Elliott, Roger Scheffel, Larry Bernert and Mark Warden. 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, 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.
Cassaday & Co., Inc.
Cassaday & Co., Inc., a McLean based financial advisor firm, has a collective account minimum of $500,000 per family. 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. This is a fee-only firm.
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.
Cassaday & Co. Background
President and CEO Stephan Cassaday established Cassaday & Co. in 1993, after being involved in the financial services industry for 16 years. The firm has three other principals: Justin Harris, Christopher Young and Christopher Krell.
Cassaday features six 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.
Palladium Registered Investment Advisors
Norfolk-based Palladium Registered Investment Advisors has no set account minimum. This has led to a relative balance between individual clientele with and without a high net worth joining the firm. The advisory also works with estates, trusts, 401(k) plans, charitable institutions, businesses and pension/profit-sharing plans.
This fee-only firm has six chartered financial analysts (CFAs), three certified financial planners (CFPs) and one certified investment management analyst (CIMA).
Palladium Registered Investment Advisors Background
Palladium Registered Investment Advisors was formed in 2008, making it the third oldest firm on this list. James Izard II, Katherine Willis, Dickinson Phillips, Michael Disharoon and Henry Harris III are all principals.
Your stated investment objectives are what will drive the type of services you’ll receive at this firm. For example, this could be anything from investment goals to retirement planning needs to cash flow planning.
Palladium Registered Investment Advisors Investing Strategy
Diversification is an important principle in the investment strategies of many firms, but this is especially true at Palladium. The firm actually takes two different routes to achieve diversification: either purchasing pre-diversified ETFs and mutual funds or combining individual stock investments that are diversified across various markets.
The practice customizes your asset allocation to your risk profile, tax situation and future investment goals. However, a constant theme within portfolios is the usage of fixed income securities to boost returns consistency.
Dyson Capital Advisors, LLC
The team at Dyson includes one certified financial planner (CFP). The Alexandria-based financial advisor firm has no minimum account size requirement. Its current client base is exclusively comprised of high-net-worth individuals. It also offers its services to chartiable organizations.
This is a fee-only firm, meaning its only compensation is the fees it collect from clients. It does not receive transaction-based fees, which may pose conflicts of interest.
Dyson Capital Advisors Background
Dyson Capital Advisors was founded in 2007. Managing Director Nicholas Perrins is the majority owner. Perrins has about 20 years of experience in financial and investment management.
Wealth management and family office services are the primary offerings at Dyson.
Dyson Capital Advisors Investment Strategy
For Dyson Capital Advisors, thoroughly analyzing an investment is just as important as diversification or any other modern investing principle. Because nearly all of its recommended investments are passively-managed exchange-traded funds, real estate investment trusts and other index funds, this consists of evaluating the managers of these funds.
It investment committee will dig into the managers’ investment philosophies/processes, risk management, past performance, portfolio construction and other essential characteristics. Only after this considerable search process will Dyson decide to work with a manager or not.
Heritage Wealth Advisors, LLC
Heritage Wealth Advisors, LLC is a fee-only firm with no minimum account size. The Richmond-based firm works mostly with individuals, roughly half of whom are high-net-worth. The only institutional clients at the firm are charitable organizations and pension plans.
The firm's team includes three certified financial planners (CFPs), four chartered financial advisors (CFAs) and three certified public accountants (CPAs). The only way the firm makes money is through advisory fees -- no advisors earn commisisons.
Heritage Wealth Advisors Background
Heritage was founded in 2005 and is owned by Delors Ann Remo, John Gwyn Jordan III, Charles Thomas Hill, Jr., Marshall Ogden Chambers, Caroline Elizabeth Baronian and Jonathan Michael Fortin.
Services offered at the firm include investment advisory, financial planning, tax planning, retirement planning, estate planning, insurance planning, charitable giving planning, income tax preperation and family education.
Heritage Wealth Advisors Investment Strategy
- Mutual funds
- Exchange-traded funds
- Pooled investment vehicles
- Cash holdings
PagnatoKarp Partners, LLC
PagnatoKarp Partners, LLC serves individuals both with and without a high net worth. Estates, trusts, charitable organizations and businesses are also all welcome at this firm. The fee-only Reston-based finanical advisor firm requires a $10 million account minimum, though it may waive the requirement at its discretion.
Working at PagnatoKarp are a handful of certified financial planners (CFPs), certified private wealth advisors (CPWAs), certified investment management analysts (CIMAs) and certified public accountants (CPAs).
PagnatoKarp Partners Background
Created in 2015, PagnatoKarp Partners is the youngest firm on this list. Co-founders Paul Pagnato and David Karp own the firm.
This practice offers services for nine different sectors of the financial sphere, with specific teams dedicated to each. These include:
- Family office
- Trading & reporting
PagnatoKarp Partners Investing Strategy
Before the advisors at PagnatoKarp make investment decisions, they prefer to have a complete knowledge of what kind of investor you are. The firm titles this process as “Dangers, Opportunities and Strengths” and identifies not only your risk tolerance and time horizon clear but also your liquidity requirements and any objectives you might have in relation to estate planning, education cost planning or other large financial needs.
Once your profile is complete, it’s applied to the investment recommendations of Rocation, the outsourced “CIO” firm that PagnatoKarp works with. Investmentsa mostly include cash, cash equivalents, fixed income securities, variable assets and non-directional asset classes. Of course, you always have the right to veto these suggestions.
Andersen Tax, LLC
Last but not least, Andersen Tax, LLC works with many different types of clients, including individuals, families, foundations, estates, trusts, family partnerships, family-owned pension and profit-sharing 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 Tax Background
Andersen Tax 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.
Despite the firm’s name, Andersen Tax handles much more than just your tax minimization needs. In fact, it divides its offerings into three categories: full-service investment consulting, investment performance measurement and reporting and limited professional consulting.
Andersen Tax Investing Strategy
Increasing the risk tolerance of your portfolio can have devastating consequences if handled incorrectly, but Andersen Tax 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.