Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Virginia
Without significant research, it would tough to feel like you’ve truly found the right firm for you in a state like Virginia that offers an abundance of options. So SmartAsset did the work for you and came up with this list of 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, what 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||$6,507,697,821||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|2||Signature Family Wealth Advisors Find an Advisor||$4,347,021,846||$5,000,000|| || |
|3||Sullivan, Bruyette, Speros & Blayney, LLC Find an Advisor||$ 3,518,350,523||$1,000,000|| || |
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|4||Wilbanks, Smith & Thomas Asset Management, LLC Find an Advisor||$2,848,662,345||$1,000,000|| || |
|5||Cassaday & Co., Inc. Find an Advisor||$2,398,347,732||$500,000 per family|| || |
Minimum Assets$500,000 per family
|6||Palladium Registered Investment Advisors Find an Advisor||$2,159,257,350||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|7||Andersen Tax, LLC Find an Advisor||$1,865,084,000||No set account minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo set account minimum
|8||The Burney Company Find an Advisor||$1,684,823,900||$750,000|| || |
|9||PagnatoKarp Partners, LLC Find an Advisor||$1,801,499,452||$500,000|| || |
|10||Dyson Capital Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$1,739,933,000||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 is a federal organization, which means its advisors are forced to abide by fiduciary duty, ensuring that they must act in your best financial interests by law. Three stipulations removed a firm from this list: if it didn’t manage individual accounts, if it didn’t have financial planning offerings or if it did have disciplinary issues on file with the SEC. What’s leftover is listed below, in order of the most assets under management (AUM) to the very least.
Mason Investment Advisory Services
Mason Investment Advisory Services ranks first on our list of the top Virginia financial advisor firms with more than $6 billion in assets under management (AUM). The Reston-based financial advisor firm’s team, which includes 27 advisors, has a diverse array of certifications. In total, there are 13 certified financial planners (CFPs), five chartered financial analysts (CFAs), two accredited investment fiduciaries (AIFs), two certified public accountants (CPAs), one certified public accountant/personal financial specialist (CPA/PFS), one chartered life underwriter (CLU), one chartered financial consultant (ChFC) and one chartered retirement planning counselor (CRPC).
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 (SEC-filed paperwork). The firm’s individual investor client base is relatively evenly split between individuals and high-net-worth individuals.
Mason Investment Advisory Services is affiliated with broker-dealer Mason Securities, Inc., which is owed 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 Mason Securities can earn commissions from trades. However, the firm is bound by fiduciary duty.
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 Investment 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.
The first step in the process that investment advisory clients undergo 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, though are typically long term. 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 in Richmond and Charlottesville. It is registered to serve investors in a total of 13 states across the country. The firm's more than $4.34 billion in assets under management (AUM) is overseen by a team of 20 financial advisors. 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 on self-directed retirement plans.
Signature's fees are typically based on a percentage of AUM. 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 Incorporated, 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, though it's principally concerned about 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 has more than $3 billion in assets under management (AUM). Its minimum opening account size is tied for the highest on this list at $1 million, which has caused the client base at this firm to balloon to nearly 75% high-net-worth individuals. The fee-only firm also serves individuals, non-profit organizations, trusts, businesses and retirement accounts.
SBSB easily has several advisor certifications on staff. In fact, you’ll find 29 certified financial planners (CFPs), two certified private wealth advisors (CPWAs), 11 certified public accountants (CPAs), three certified financial analyst (CFAs), two personal financial specialists and two accredited investment fiduciaries (AIFs).
Sullivan, Bruyette, Speros & Blayney, LLC Background
Sullivan, Bruyette, Speros & Blayney, LLC 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.
In order to be as holistic as possible, this firm offers general financial planning and investment management. However, it does have subsections that include tax minimization, estate planning, retirement planning, insurance review and more.
Sullivan, Bruyette, Speros & Blayney, LLC Investing Strategy
Portfolios at SBSB are customized exactly to the needs of clients. More specifically, this will be based on your personal investment objectives, time horizon, risk tolerance and any other stipulations that might be 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 has a minimum investment amount of $1 million, though it does reserve the right to waive this stipulation. 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), four 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, LLC Background
The ownership of Wilbank, Smith & Thomas Asset Management, LLC is split between 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 as well, such as business financial consulting, investment management, asset allocation planning, cash flow planning and net worth determination.
Wilbanks, Smith & Thomas Asset Management, LLC 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 client portfolios is dependent 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 other individuals and corporate pension and profit-sharing plans. This is a fee-only firm.
Although the 18-member advisory staff at this firm is fairly normal for an operation of its size, it boasts many more advisor certifications than its peers. The team as a whole includes 12 certified financial planners (CFPs), 11 chartered mutual fund counselors (CMFCs), four financial paraplanner qualified professionals (FPQPs), three certified fund specialists (CFSs), two chartered retirement planning counselors (CRPCs), two chartered financial analysts (CFAs), two certified investment management analysts (CIMAs), one certified long-term care advisor (CLTC), one certified annuity specialist (CAS), one certified tax specialist (CTS), one certified estate and trust specialist (CES), one certified private wealth advisors (CPWA), one accredited investment fiduciary (AIF), one certified public accountant (CPA) and one chartered advisor in philanthropy.
Cassaday & Co., Inc. has won the distinction of top advisor in Virginia over four of the last five years, according to Barron’s.
Cassaday & Co., Inc. Background
President and CEO Stephan Cassaday established Cassaday & Co., Inc. in 1993, though had been involved in the financial services industry for 16 years before. The firm also 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., Inc. Investing Strategy
Modern portfolio theory (MPT) and a “buy and hold” mindset dictate just about everything that this firm does when it comes to specific investment decisions. This is because both ideologies hold the belief 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 ETFs, fixed income securities and mutual funds. This is done to reinforce the above mindset, as these asset classes are market-based as opposed to being tied to companies that experience much more volatility.
Palladium Registered Investment Advisors
Norfolk-based Palladium Registered Investment Advisors has more than $2.15 billion in assets under management (AUM). The firm 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. It also has the ability to work with estates, trusts, 401(k) plans, charitable institutions, businesses and pension/profit-sharing plans.
This fee-only firm employs a small team of just 11 advisors, with a total of 11 certifications among them. More specifically, there are six chartered financial analysts (CFAs), four 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 at the firm.
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 in the case of 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.
Although this is for some a one-size-fits-all type of approach, this firm will cater how it diversifies your account to your risk profile, tax situation and future investment goals. However, a constant theme within portfolios of these styles are the usage of fixed income securities to afford some sort of consistency to your returns.
Andersen Tax, LLC
Many different types of clients will find services for them at Andersen Tax, LLC. As a matter of fact, the firm usual client base consists of 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, making it one of five firms on this list without one.
Andersen Tax, LLC Background
Andersen Tax, LLC is technically 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.
Contrary to the firm’s name, Andersen Tax, LLC 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, LLC Investing Strategy
Increasing the risk tolerance of your portfolio can have devastating consequences if handled incorrectly, but Andersen Tax, LLC has measures in place to stop such a disaster from occurring. This begins and ends with the firm’s incorporations 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 requirement for return 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 you’re looking for short-term financial gain.
The Burney Company
The Burney Company has the largest advisory staff on this list at 41. The Reston-based financial advisor firm's overall team includes four certified financial planners (CFPs) and six chartered financial analysts (CFAs).
The fee-only firm requires a $500,000 account minimum. It serves nearly twice as many individuals as high-net-worth individuals. The Burney Company also has relationships with estates, trusts, pensions, profit-sharing plans and charitable organizations.
The Burney Company Background
No firm on this list has been around longer than The Burney Company, which boasts a founding date of 1974. Brigadier General John Burney originally created the firm, though it is now also owned by Burney’s wife, Mary Burney; director of IT Martin Walsh; portfolio manager Tom Hunt; Gil Green; portfolio manager Richard Bauchspies; director of research Alex Shen; director of analytical operations Bill Stewart ;and president Lowell Pratt. It is nearly completely employee-owned.
Everything this firm does for its clients fall under either financial planning, retirement solutions or investment management. What direction your advisor takes within these sections is completely up to you.
The Burney Company Investing Strategy
The Burney Company takes pride in finding stocks and investment opportunities that are undervalued by the market and investing its clients’ assets in them. This self-described “stock selection methodology” is based on the relationship between a company’s stock price and its growth prospects, current and future profitability potential, technical attributes and more.
While this firm acknowledges that volatility and market disturbances do occur, recognizing them on time within individual stocks is the key to exploiting them. Exactly how risky the firm is willing to be with your assets throughout this process is dependent on your risk tolerance, time horizon and any needs for liquidity, so make sure you’re clear about what you’re looking for.
PagnatoKarp Partners, LLC
PagnatoKarp Partners, LLC serves three times as many individuals as high-net-woth individuals. Estates, trusts, charitable organizations and businesses are also all welcome at this firm. The fee-only Reston-based finanical advisor firm requires a variable $500,000 account minimum.
Working at PagnatoKarp are five certified financial planners (CFPs), three certified private wealth advisors (CPWAs), two certified investment management analysts (CIMAs), two certified public accountants (CPAs), one chartered financial analyst (CFA), one chartered market technician (CMT) and one certified Medicaid planner (CMP).
PagnatoKarp Partners, LLC Background
Contrary to the firm right above, PagnatoKarp Partners, LLC was created in 2015, placing it as the youngest firm on this list. Co-founders Paul Pagnato and David Karp still own the firm.
This firm offers services for nine different sects of the financial sphere, with specific teams dedicated to each. These include:
- Family office
- Trading & reporting
PagnatoKarp Partners, LLC Client Experience
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 makes 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 fleshed out, it’s applied to the investment recommendations of Rocation, the outsourced “CIO” firm that PagnatoKarp works with. These 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.
Dyson Capital Advisors, LLC
With just six financial advisors on staff, Dyson Capital Advisors, LLC has the smallest team on this list. The team holds one certified financial planner (CFP), however. 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 can also work with chartiable organizations.
This is a fee-only firm, meaning it only earns compensation through the fees its clients pay for advisory services.
Dyson Capital Advisors, LLC Background
Dyson Capital Advisors, LLC 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, LLC Investment Analysis
For Dyson Capital Advisors, LLC, 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 ETFs, real estate investment trusts (REITs) 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.