Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Washington, D.C.
Choosing a financial advisor can be a long and arduous process, especially if you have a lot of options to choose from. To make it easier, SmartAsset created a list of the top financial advisors in our nation's capital. Throughout this review, you can compare each firm’s investment philosophy, account minimums and more. The SmartAsset financial advisor matching tool can also help you pick out an advisor; just answer some questions about your goals, and you'll be matched with advisors in your area who can help you achieve those goals.
|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||Farr, Miller & Washington, LLC Find an Advisor||$1,483,342,603||$100,000-$500,000|| || |
|2||Alexandria Capital Find an Advisor||$991,220,000|| |
| || |
|3||Armstrong, Fleming & Moore, Inc. Find an Advisor||$674,010,247|| |
| || |
|4||United Income, Inc. Find an Advisor||$351,692,116||$100,000|| || |
|5||Capital Investment Advisors Find an Advisor||$188,863,542|| |
| || |
|6||Bryspen, Incorporated Find an Advisor||$156,132,900||No stated minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo stated minimum
|7||Geometric Wealth Advisors, LLC Find an Advisor||$124,770,000||No stated minimum|| || |
Minimum AssetsNo stated minimum
How We Found the Top Financial Advisor Firms in Washington, D.C.
To create this list, SmartAsset considered all U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)-registered firms in Washington, D.C. All firms that are registered with the SEC are bound by fiduciary duty to act in their clients’ best interests. If any of the firms considered had disciplinary issues with the SEC, did not manage personal accounts or did not have financial planners on staff, they were deemed ineligible. The remaining firms are listed below in order of the most assets under management (AUM) to the least.
Farr, Miller & Washington, LLC
With over $1.48 billion in assets under management, Farr, Miller & Washington, LLC has by far the highest AUM of any firm on this list. The firm’s account minimum varies by account type. To open a wealth builder portfolio, you’ll need at least $100,000. For a small or mid-cap account, you’ll need at least $500,000. More than two-thirds of the firm’s client base is comprised of high-net-worth individuals.
Farr, Miller & Washington, LLC is an independently owned, fee-only firm. The firm’s employees each hold a stake in the business as well.
The 13 members of the firm’s advisory staff hold a total of eight certifications. These certifications include three certified financial planners (CFPs), three chartered financial analysts (CFAs), one certified public accountant (CPA) and one certified investment management analyst (CIMA).
Farr, Miller & Washington, LLC Background
Farr, Miller & Washington, LLC was created in 1996 by principal owner, Michael Farr, former managing director, Elmon Miller and current managing director, John Washington. As a team, the advisors at this firm have been in the financial industry for an average of 15 years.
Regardless of what step you’re looking to take in your personal financial life, this firm likely offers relevant services. The firm offers tax mitigation, retirement planning, trust creation, estate planning, wealth transfers and pension and profit-sharing management. Advisors of this firm also have experience dealing with the financial issues faced by businesses, charitable organizations, foundations and state and municipal governments.
Farr, Miller & Washington, LLC Strategy
Quality investments, sustained growth, fundamental analysis and a long-term focus are the four pillars of the firm's business. But before any of these principles can be put into practice, your advisor will create a balance sheet of your assets. During this initial conversation, you’ll discuss your tax status, risk tolerance, time horizon, cash-flow needs and any other relevant factors.
The firm's core investment products are large cap growth equity; small/mid cap core equity; fixed income; and growth and income. A fifth investment approach, Wealth Builder, uses model portfolios investing in ETFs, and can be adjusted to fit any risk tolerance.
Alexandria Capital is a fee-based financial advisor firm. It boasts the highest number of advisor certifications, with eight chartered financial analysts (CFAs), four certified financial planners (CFPs) and one certified private wealth advisor (CPWA) on staff.
This firm calls for a minimum account size of $1 million, making it inaccessible for lower-level investors. Nearly three-quarters of the firm’s clients are high-net-worth.
Alexandria Capital is the only firm on this list that offers tax preparation as one of its main services. The firm also operates as an accounting firm, so you know you're in good hands if you choose to take advantage of these services.
You may also be offered insurance should you enter into a relationship with this firm. If you accept, this will result in financial gain for your advisor. However, the firm is a fiduciary, so it is legally required to act in your best interest at all times.
Alexandria Capital Background
Alexandria Capital is controlled by two separate and larger investment companies: Botree Capital Partners and Alexandria PHL. The firm was founded in 1987 and is currently run by managing partners Jonathan Ferguson and Augustine Hong.
Individual investors will find typical services like retirement planning and budgeting offered at Alexandria Capital. The firm also offers insurance evaluation, analysis for employee benefit plans, higher education funding and tax planning.
If you’re a business owner, services like company-wide investment planning and 401(k)/retirement plan assessments are also available.
Alexandria Capital Investment Strategy
For every account it manages, Alexandria Capital implements what it calls its six “value factors”: independence, best thinking, customized portfolios, tax-sensitive investing, legacy of trust and people.
Independence refers to the firm’s desire to provide as much objectivity as possible throughout the investment process. This concept very much relates to the firm’s legacy of trust and people factors, as the firm says that it wants its advisors to become a permanent part of your financial life and vice versa.
The remaining three elements - best thinking, customized portfolios and tax-sensitive investing - all inform what your final portfolio will look like. Alexandria Capital Investment strives to use investments that are diversified and low-tax. The firm typically invests its clients’ assets in ETFs, common and preferred stocks, bonds, reserves and mutual funds.
Alexandria Capital believes that these characteristics, when paired with your risk tolerance, liquidity needs and current tax position, are what will make your financial goals a reality.
Armstrong, Fleming & Moore, Inc.
Armstrong, Fleming & Moore, Inc. requires a notably high account minimum of $1.5 million. The firm primarily serves high-net-worth individuals. There are five certified financial planners (CFPs), two accredited investment fiduciaries (AIFs) and one registered paraplanner on AFM’s staff.
Armstrong, Fleming & Moore is a fee-based financial advisory firm. It’s the only firm on this list that charges commissions for its advisory services. The firm also earns commissions from trading securities through Commonwealth, its affiliated broker-dealer.
The firm may also offer insurance to its clients, resulting in compensation for its advisors. The firm is a fiduciary, however, so its advisors are legally required to put your best interests ahead of their own.
Armstrong, Fleming & Moore, Inc. Background
An employee-owned firm, Armstrong, Fleming & Moore, Inc. was founded by chairman Alexandra Armstrong and principals Ryan Fleming and Mary Moore in 1983. This makes it the oldest firm on this list. More recently, Chris Rivers and Carl Holubowich were added to the team as principals.
No matter where you are in your financial timeline, the firm believes it has a relevant service to offer. Armstrong, Fleming & Moore lists the following as its most common services:
- Cash-flow planning and debt analysis
- Retirement planning
- Tax planning
- Education planning
- Estate planning
- Insurance planning and risk management
Armstrong, Fleming & Moore, Inc. Strategy
Armstrong, Fleming & Moore’s investment committee, which is comprised of its five principals and other advisors, ultimately decides where to invest your assets. The firm’s investment committee meets bi-weekly to discuss investment opportunities. Typically, the firm uses ETFs, mutual funds, stocks and bonds.
The firm says that its investment committee bases its decisions for individual portfolios on an investor’s risk tolerance and financial goals. As your account matures, Armstrong, Fleming & Moore will rebalance your account should your asset allocations drift from target.
United Income, Inc.
United Income is an advisory firm that works with individuals and high-net-worth individuals, corporations, charitable organizations and pension plans. United is a fee-based firm.
The firm has 15 advisors, and among those 15 are five chartered financial analysts (CFAs), two certified financial planners (CFPs), two accredited investment fiduciaries (AIFs). The firm has a $100,000 account minimum.
United Income, Inc. Background
Matt Fellowes founded United Income in April 2016. Previously, he had held positions at HelloWallet, Morningstar and The Brookings Institution. Fellowes still acts as CEO of the firm and is a principal owner along with Morningstar, Inc. and Capital One, National Association.
The firm offers portfolio management services on both a discretionary and non-discretionary basis, as well as financial planning services and retirement plan consulting services. The firm also sponsors two wrap fee programs.
United Income, Inc. Investment Philosophy
United Income prioritizes global diversification in its clients’ portfolios, taking into account each client’s time horizon, risk tolerance, other income sources and financial goals. The firm relies on correlation analysis and projections from Morningstar, Inc. to help it determine investments that capture assets classes well while being low-cost relative to other investments in the same asset class.
The firm primarily invests in low-cost exchange-traded funds (ETFs), but it may also recommend stocks, bonds, mutual funds, corporate debt securities or governmental securities.
Capital Investment Advisors
To become a client of Capital Investment Advisors, you’ll need at least $25,000. This account minimum is on the lower end for financial advisor firms. As such, it’s unsurprising that the firm serves significantly more individuals than high-net-worth individuals.
Capital Investment Advisors employs four financial advisors. Among those four advisors are numerous certifications: two certified financial planners (CFPs), two certified public accountants (CPAs), one chartered financial consultant (ChFC), one chartered life underwriter (CLU) and one certified fund specialist (CFS).
Capital Investment Advisors is a fee-based firm. Advisors at this firm, and the firm itself, may earn commissions for the sale of insurance or for trading of securities with specific organizations. However, the firm is a fiduciary, meaning it is legally bound to always act in your best interests.
Capital Investment Advisors Background
While it’s not really a young firm, Capital Investment Advisors is the most recently formed firm on this list. It was founded in 1998 by the firm’s current president and CEO, John Girouard, who has more than 30 years of experience in the industry. Aside from Girouard, the rest of the firm’s staff averages almost 20 years’ experience in asset management.
Capital Investment Advisors emphasizes the importance of financial independence. The firm strives to help its clients achieve financial independence through its various services, which include:
- Financial planning
- Retirement planning
- Investment management
- Risk management and insurance services
- Estate and legacy planning
- Charitable and philanthropic gifting strategies
- Social Security, Medicare and employer benefit strategies
- Long-term care planning
- Education savings plans
- Comprehensive tax analysis and preparation
Capital Investment Advisors Strategy
Capital Investment Advisors says it “subscribes to ‘Conditionomics,’ the psychology of money.” In other words, the firm thinks holistically about an investor’s financial life. Capital Investment Advisors says it believes that all financial decisions are equally important and valuable, no matter how small or large those decisions appear to be.
Capital Investment Advisors typically invests its clients’ assets in stocks, bonds, government securities, mutual funds, unit investment trusts and limited partnerships. The asset allocations applied to your account will vary depending on your risk tolerance and cash flow needs.
A unique feature of Capital Investment Advisors is the extensive introductory workshop it provides to new clients. This meeting is centered on teaching new clients the ins and outs of the financial industry, with the idea that this knowledge will allow you to better understand the firm’s decisions regarding your assets.
Bryspen, Incorporated is a two-advisor firm. Neither of the two advisors are certified financial planners (CFPs) or chartered financial analysts (CFAs). While the firm doesn’t say that it has a specific account minimum, it works almost entirely with high-net-worth individuals.
Bryspen, Incorporated is a fee-only firm, which means it earns income exclusively from charging management fees. As stated, a large majority of the firm’s clients are high-net-worth individuals, with a few individuals and pension plans as well.
Bryspen, Incorporated Background
John S. Bryan founded Bryspen, Incorporated in 1993 in Atlanta, Georgia. The firm has since moved its principal place of business to Washington, D.C. Bryan is still the firm’s president and 100% owner.
Bryspen provides financial planning services to its clients in the form of a “Financial Profile” report. The firm also offers investment supervisory services and consulting services.
Bryspen, Incorporated Investment Philosophy
Bryspen primarily relies on fundamental analysis when evaluating potential securities. This method of analysis attempts to discern the intrinsic or “fundamental” value of a company or stock by examining overall economic and financial factors, then using that value to determine if the stock is overpriced or underpriced.
The firm also seeks to maintain diversification across several different asset classes in client portfolios. It sticks to a long-term purchasing strategy for the most part, which means purchasing investments with the intent to hold onto them for a year or more. In certain situations, however, the firm may employ a short-term purchasing strategy if it feels conditions could soon result in a significant price increase.
Geometric Wealth Advisors
The final firm on our list, Geometric Wealth Advisors has grown to manage just under $125 million in assets since its founding in 2015. The firm has three advisors on staff. Two are chartered financial analysts (CFAs), and one is a certified financial planners (CFPs).
Geometric Wealth Advisors is a fee-only firm, and it doesn’t have any stated account minimum. The firm works with only individuals and high-net-worth individuals, in roughly equal proportions.
Geometric Wealth Advisors, LLC Background
Geometric Wealth Advisors was founded in January 2015. It’s owned by Andrew S. Leonard, who also serves as a wealth advisor. Patrick McGough is the firm’s chief compliance officer.
The firm offers investment management services, financial planning services, tax preparation and tax planning services. The financial planning services cover retirement savings, college savings, debt management, financing of large purchases, estate planning and charitable giving.
Geometric Wealth Advisors, LLC Investment Philosophy
Geometric Wealth Advisors begins every client relationship by meeting with the client several times to establish her time horizon, risk tolerance, investment objectives and life situation. From there, the firm will develop an investment plan that outlines the asset allocation strategy the firm has devised for the client as well as the philosophy behind it. Once the client agrees to the investment plan, the firm will construct and manage the client’s portfolio.
The firm primarily invests in passively managed mutual funds, which attempt to mimic the returns of a particular index, sector or industry, rather than attempt to select securities that might outperform within that asset class.