Finding a Top Financial Advisor Firm in Washington, D.C.
Choosing a financial advisor can be a long and arduous process. To make it easier, SmartAsset devised a list of the top financial advisors in Washington, D.C. Throughout this review, you can compare each firm’s investment philosophy, account minimum and more. The SmartAsset financial advisor matching tool can also help you pick out an advisor, all you have to do is answer a short series of questions.
|Rank||Financial Advisor||Assets Managed||Minimum Assets||Financial Services||More Information|
|1||Farr, Miller & Washington, LLC Find an Advisor||$1,255,849,100|| |
Varies based on account type
| || |
Varies based on account type
|2||Alexandria Capital Find an Advisor||$505,600,000|| |
| || |
|3||Armstrong, Fleming & Moore, Inc. Find an Advisor||$504,646,900|| |
| || |
|4||Capital Investment Advisors Find an Advisor||$114,288,800|| |
| || |
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 $1.25 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. The firm’s client base is comprised of more than two-thirds 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 16 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, state and municipal governments and foundations.
Farr, Miller & Washington, LLC Strategy
Quality investments, sustained growth, fundamental analysis and a long-term focus are the four pillars that Farr, Miller & Washington, LLC bases its business on. 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 offers five styles of asset management: large cap growth equity, small/mid cap core equity, fixed income, growth and income and wealth builder. Beginning with large cap growth equity and ending with growth and income, these products range from conservative to aggressive. However, the wealth builder has its own built-in risk choices for you to make, allowing you to decide how much risk you’re willing to take on.
All investments the firm makes throughout these five approaches are diversified as completely as possible, both domestically and internationally. The firm is intent on sticking to its “buy and hold” ideology.
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. This isn’t especially surprising, as the firm also operates as an accounting firm.
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 not independently nor employee-owned. Rather, it 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. There’s plenty more than that available, though. 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, various 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 it advisors. The firm is a fiduciary however, so its advisors are legally required to put your best interest 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, financial goals and risk tolerance. As your account matures, Armstrong, Fleming & Moore will rebalance your account should your asset allocations drift from target.
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. As for certifications, there are 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 interest.
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.