What Are the Top Financial Advisor Firms in the United States?
Choosing a financial advisor can be daunting. There are thousands of firms to choose from, and even more passionate opinions nudging you in every direction. In truth, you’re the only one that knows your finances intimately enough to make an informed decision.
Whether you’re new to the game or a seasoned veteran, you’d do well to familiarize yourself with the top financial advisor firms in the country. Knowing where the majority of Americans are storing their money is certainly a great place to start.
Today, we’re going to take a look at the top financial advisor firms in the United States, as well as answer a few key questions for anyone looking to hire a new financial advisor.
What is a Financial Advisor?
You don’t need a doctorate in economics to reach your financial goals. Financial advisors offer an alternative to going it alone. These educated professionals ask questions, and lean on their expertise to guide their client’s financial decisions and help grow their nest eggs.
Financial advisors can come from a range of backgrounds, and boast a wide variety of specializations, certifications, and credentials. Which is why taking the time to choose the right one for you can be so critical. A financial advisor with a background in risk management is going to offer dramatically different advice than, say, a credentialed Certified Divorce Financial Analyst.
What Does a Financial Advisor Do?
Generally speaking, financial advisors are professionals that use their expertise to help their clients build and execute a financial plan. They may meet with you to discuss your needs and goals, educate you on your options, devise an investment strategy, and monitor your account’s performance over time.
As mentioned earlier, the services that a financial advisor provides can vary based on their area of expertise. Some specialize in divorce, some specialize in investing, while others specialize in retirement. Which is why you should always empower your decision by taking the time to review your personal financial goals ahead of hiring a professional.
What to Ask a Financial Advisor?
It’s OK if you don’t know what to ask your financial advisor. Most of the time, they’ll be the ones asking the questions. The more familiar you become with the process the easier it will be to ask questions and make sense of the answers.
Having said that, here are a few key questions to ask any potential financial advisor:
What is your investment philosophy?
The answer to this question can be quite revealing. Every financial advisor has an investment strategy, and finding one with a philosophy that matches yours can be critical to the long-term success of your partnership.
Are you a fiduciary?
A fiduciary financial advisor is one that’s obligated to operate in your best interest. Fiduciary financial advisors usually require a flat-rate monthly fee.
Non-fiduciary advisors can sometimes work on a commission basis, and may be incentivized to sell you particular investment products whether they’re the best match for your portfolio or not.
There are pros and cons to each, but understanding the difference and knowing which category your financial advisor falls under is very important.
What are your qualifications?
You don’t technically need a specific certification to call yourself a financial advisor, so don’t forget to ask them about their background. Their answer may even highlight areas of expertise that align with your goals.
What are my all-in costs?
The costs that come with investing extend far beyond a flat-rate advisor fee and the odd commission. Some products have additional fees that will certainly add up over the long term. It’s always important to know how much of your hard earned gains are being deducted.
How Much Money do Financial Advisors Make?
The answer to this question largely depends on the advisor, though some may offer up a different pay schedule or a different rate depending on the investor’s particular needs. If all you’re hoping to do is ask a few questions, you may only be charged for a few hours.
It can depend on the firm, too. Some advisors are paid a percentage of the total number of assets that they manage, some advisors are paid through commissions, while others still are paid salaried employees.
A financial advisor’s take-home pay can reach as high as $166,000 a year depending on their state and reputation.
What Are the Top Financial Advisor Firms
Whether you’re new to investing or just like to stay up on the latest trends, knowing who’s at the top of the list is a good idea. CNBC has been ranking the top-rated financial advisor firms in the country for some years now. According to them, the top-five for 2022, their total assets under management (AUM) numbers, and a few additional metrics are as follows:
Woodley Farra Manion
- Total AUM: $1.4B
- Accounts Under Management: 1,106
- Years In Business: 27
Dana Investment Advisors
- Total AUM: $7B
- Accounts Under Management: 1,256
- Years In Business: 42
Albion Financial Group
- Total AUM: $1.4B
- Accounts Under Management: 2,221
- Years In Business: 40
Heritage Investment Group
- Total AUM: $1.7B
- Accounts Under Management: 1,888
- Years In Business: 29
Edgemoor Investment Advisors
- Total AUM: $1.1B
- Accounts Under Management: 320
- Years In Business: 23
What is the Best Financial Advisor Company?
Using data points including the number of years in business, the number of certified financial planners on staff, the total assets under management and more, CNBC named Indianapolis-based financial advisor company Woodley Farra Manion the best in the country.
Woodley Farra Manion is a fee-based firm, which they say helps keep them accountable to their clients and themselves. All of their performance results and calculations are verified by an independent third party too, which their investors no doubt appreciate.
The firm offers a free retirement readiness review tool, which is easy to sign up for and accessible via the Woodley Farra Manion website.
Find Your Financial Advisor
Hiring a financial advisor is a huge decision that can dramatically impact the success or failure of your financial goals. As such, choosing the right one is paramount. Understanding your specific needs, asking the right questions, and familiarizing yourself with America’s top financial advisor firms is the only way to ensure that your money is in the right hands.
There’s no shame in shopping around either. This is your financial security we’re talking about here, so you should never feel pressured to sign a contract or settle for a sub-par financial advisor. Ask around, read as much as you can, and only commit to an advisor that you’re comfortable with. Truly trusting that your money is in good hands is definitely worth however much time it might take to find the fit.