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9 Low-Risk Investments to Consider for Your Portfolio

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone and is not intended to be a source of investment advice. It may not have not been reviewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners or the Investment company.

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When you’re constructing an investment portfolio, diversifying is the much-bellied mantra for success, and that includes the level of risk of your investments. Relatively low-risk investments may not have the alluring high-payoff potential of some higher-risk investments, but most financial professionals say that having a stable of low-risk investments — such as money market accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs) and high-yield savings accounts — is important.

These options aren’t without any risk, but in general, they keep your money relatively safe and provide some earned income. Here’s our guide on what to know about low-risk investment options for your portfolio.

What are low-risk investments?

Low-risk investments allow you to earn some sort of interest or gain on your funds. The earnings aren’t unlikely to be sky-high, such as when a particular stock pays off big, but the tradeoff is that there’s little risk to your initial investment.

For example, if you have a hunch about a company and invest aggressively in their stock, you could be right and make a bundle. On the other hand, your hunch may not pay off and you could lose a bundle. If you put the same amount into a low-risk tool, such as a high-yield savings account, you’d experience neither. Instead, your money would earn a bit of interest as it sits safely in the account.

Admittedly, when it comes to money, there aren’t any no-risk options. Even if you hoard cash under your bed or in a safe, there’s not only the potential that it could be stolen or destroyed in a fire, but also, because of inflation, you risk losing purchasing power over time. Still, there are a variety of low-risk investments to consider to play it safe with at least some of your funds.

9 low-risk investment options

1. High-yield savings accounts

What it is: A savings account is a widely available tool that holds your money and provides a bit of interest as long as you leave it there. Various savings accounts come with differing interest rates, so you want to find the one that both meets your needs and provides the highest rate available. High-yield savings accounts are often offered through online banks, and they can provide better rates than typical brick-and-mortar bank savings accounts.

Safety level: The safety level is high for savings accounts, as long as you choose a bank that’s insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or a credit union insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). Both protect your money — up to $250,000 — in case the financial institution should fail. You may also want to inquire with each institution as to safety measures they take including things like firewalls and anti-fraud detection measures.

Liquidity level: You can withdraw funds from your savings account anytime, although your bank may have limits regarding how many times you can withdraw per statement cycle. If you go above those limits, you may owe fees, and/or your account could be closed.

Returns: The return on your investment in a high-yield savings account depends on the current interest rate. You may get 2% at one point, but then under 1% if the interest-rate environment changes for the worse. It’s not usually significant, but with compound interest, it can add up over time. Note, however, that in some cases there are service fees that can eat away at earnings.

2. Money market accounts

What it is: A money market account is much like a savings account, offering a place to hold money while earning interest. The interest rate for money market accounts is typically higher than that of savings accounts, though they also often require a steeper minimum balance. In many cases, the more you deposit, the higher the interest rate. Note that this is different from a money market fund, which invests in securities and comes with more risk.

Safety level: Money market accounts are also insured by the FDIC and NCUA.

Liquidity level: Like savings accounts, money market accounts allow you to withdraw funds as necessary, though you may be limited to a certain number of withdrawals per statement cycle.

Returns: The more you have to deposit in a money market account, the higher the interest rate you’re likely to earn. As is the case with high-yield savings accounts, the rate is variable and will depend on the interest-rate environment. So you may see a 2% rate for a healthy balance in one year, but that could go down below 1% six months later if overall interest rates decrease.

3. Cash management accounts

What it is: Cash management accounts go by several names, including hybrid checking, hybrid accounts and cash management vehicles. They’re all terms, however, for an account that combines the accessibility of a checking account with the higher interest rates of tools like CDs or high-yield savings accounts. Most of these accounts are offered by online institutions.

Safety level: Cash management accounts are also protected by the FDIC and NCUA. While the interest rate is variable, your initial investment isn’t at risk. Cash management accounts also may have higher FDIC insurance limits than savings accounts, as the money may be kept in multiple partner banks at a time.

Liquidity level: Cash management accounts offer limitless transfers between the checking and savings portion of the account. In fact, those transfers happen instantaneously. Some cash management accounts require that you transfer money to a third-party account before you can spend those funds, however, as they may not offer a debit card or checks with which you can spend money directly.

Returns: Many cash management accounts have no monthly maintenance fees and low or no minimum balance requirements. The interest earned is generally more than a typical checking account and depends on the interest rate environment at the time. In a low-interest rate environment, the APY may be well under 1%. In a better interest rate environment, you could see 1% or more.

4. Certificates of deposit (CD)

What it is: Certificates of deposit (CDs) typically offer higher interest rates than savings accounts, money market accounts and cash management accounts. The catch, however, is that in order to get the highest interest rates, you typically must be willing to leave your money in the account untouched for a minimum period of time. Sometimes this could mean you end up losing money in the end, because your cash is stuck in a low-interest CD, even if broad interest rates rise. So you could be making more money in another investment, yet your money remains in the low-interest account. The interest rate on a CD is locked in for the term of the CD, while the interest rate for savings accounts and many low-risk investments is variable.

Safety level: When issued through accredited lenders, CDs are insured by the FDIC and NCUA.

Liquidity level: The liquidity level for most CDs is low. Unless you leave your money in the CD for the predetermined period of time, you face penalties, which may be significant. There are some no-penalty CDs that allow you to withdraw money at any time, but they may come with lower interest rates than other CDs. That said, they can offer a more favorable rate than a savings account, so it may be worth putting your money in one.

Returns: The highest CD interest rates come from online lenders, and the longer the term of the CD, the higher the interest rate. When interest rates are low, you may find a five-year CD with APYs of up to 1.65% or so, while a one-year CD may only offer 0.50% APY. When the interest rate environment is more favorable, you may find a one-year CD at well above 2% APY.

5. Treasury bills, notes and bonds

What it is: Treasury bills (T-bills), notes (T-notes) and bonds (T-bonds) are issued by the federal government in order to raise money. Their terms vary: T-bills come with terms of one year or less, T-notes with terms of two to 10 years and T-bonds with terms of up to 30 years. T-bills are sold at a discount from their face value and can then be redeemed or reinvested for their face value when their term is up. Notes and bonds pay interest every six months. All are purchased in multiples of $100.

Safety level: Because they’re backed by the federal government, Treasury bills, notes and bonds are some of the safest investments available.

Liquidity level: Treasury bills are the most liquid, as their terms are the shortest — some even lasting just a few days. Treasury notes are the runner up with terms of two to 10 years, and Treasury bonds are designed as longer-term investments, with terms of up to 30 years. You can sell any of them before they mature, though your earnings won’t be as significant.

Returns: The interest rate return varies depending on the term you choose, and is determined at auction. Both bonds and notes provide a dependable rate of interest throughout their terms. To give you an idea of where those interest rates may fall, the 10-year government bond rate in 2020 ranged from over 1.8% in January to 0.78% in October.

6. Corporate bonds

What it is: Like government bonds, corporate bonds are issued to raise money, but instead of being issued by the government, they are issued by private companies. An investor buys a bond and agrees to let the company borrow the money for a set amount of time in exchange for interest. When the term is up, the investor gets their original investment back. Terms typically range from one to 30 years. The interest rate typically remains the same for the term of the bond, though floating-rate bonds are also available.

Safety level: Corporate bonds are a bit riskier than the other options we’ve listed above, because if a company doesn’t do well or they go bankrupt, they may not be able to pay interest or pay back the bond. To minimize risk, investors should check a company’s credit rating. In general, those with a higher credit rating, and therefore the lowest risk, pay lower interest rates, while the riskier ones with lower credit ratings pay higher interest rates. There’s also an inflation risk to consider when interest rates dip to very low levels.

Liquidity level: Corporate bonds have a relatively high liquidity level as once you purchase them, you can sell them on the open market.

Returns: Returns depend on the interest rate issued, which varies widely. One other consideration is that unlike government bonds, the interest earned on corporate bonds is taxable. So in some cases, if the interest rate is low, there is a risk that inflation could surpass the money you earn.

7. Dividend-paying stocks

What it is: Much like their name implies, dividend-paying stocks pay investors who own them a dividend. These dividends most often come in the form of cash payments, but in some cases, they’re paid as additional shares of stock.

Safety level: While there are no guarantees when it comes to stocks, you can look at a company’s history of dividend payouts over the years. For example, many mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) only include stocks with dividends that have increased for at least 10 years in a row.

Liquidity level: You can sell dividend-paying stocks at any time. However, you must hold them for a set period of time — usually 121 or 181 days — in order to benefit from reduced capital gains tax rates on the dividends.

Returns: The returns on stocks include both any appreciation in the price of the stock since its purchase as well as the dividends. You should understand that the stock price could go down significantly, which means you can still lose money with dividend-paying stocks. So the returns depend largely on the performance of the stock market as a whole as well as the financial health of the individual companies whose stock you own. You should also understand that companies can cut or even eliminate the dividend payments on their stock.

8. Stable value funds

What it is: Investments in stable value funds are typically offered in 401(k) and other retirement plans, as well as in 529 plans. They invest in fixed-income products that are considered stable, thus their name. The goal of a stable value fund is typically capital preservation.

Safety level: Stable value funds are guaranteed by whoever issues them. You can rest assured that you won’t lose your investment and that the interest rate is locked in from the time you invest.

Liquidity level: Stable value funds aren’t as liquid as some other low-risk investments. In general, they come with terms of six months to a year.

Returns: According to Wealthsimple, the annual return on stable value funds has been 2% to 3%.

9. Fixed annuities

What it is: Fixed annuities are essentially loans to your insurance company that pay off after a set period of time. Similar to a CD, the principal amount invested is protected and a minimum interest rate is set when they’re purchased. From there, your money can grow tax-deferred until the time of payout.

Safety level: The risk level of fixed annuities is low. They’re also good for planning purposes, as you know when you invest how much of a return you can expect down the road at the time of payout.

Liquidity level: Fixed annuities are generally recommended as a long-term investment strategy. You may have to pay additional taxes and fees if you withdraw funds early.

Returns: The returns on fixed annuities depend on the interest rates and rate of inflation. Fees may also lower the return, particularly if you lock in a low interest rate.

When should you consider low-risk investments?

While huge payoffs are great, the fact is the tools that see those payoffs — such as investing in individual stocks — are risky. While some risk may be worthwhile, it’s also good to have a stable base of investments that you can count on.

An ideal portfolio contains investments with varying levels of risk. The proportion of risky investments should be adjusted as your life circumstances change. For example, while you’re young and have years to save for retirement, you may want to take on more risk. The closer you get to retirement and needing the funds, the more conservative you may want to be. A financial advisor can help you weigh the risks and adjust your portfolio accordingly.

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Banking

How to Open a Business Checking Account Online

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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Similar to personal checking accounts, you can easily open a business checking account online online, often in a matter of minutes. However, you will need the correct documentation — ranging from your business’s formation papers to your employer identification number — in order to do so.

Here’s what you need to know about opening a business checking account online.

How do I open a business checking account online?

At many financial institutions, the process of opening a business checking account online is very similar to the process of opening a personal checking account online. You can expect to take the following steps:

  1. Check your eligibility: Not all banks allow businesses to apply for a checking account online. For example, Wells Fargo will not allow customers to open an online checking account for trusts, government agencies or units, American Indian Tribal Governments or publicly traded companies. These types of entities are required to visit a branch in person.Also, banks may limit the kind of businesses that are able to open bank accounts with them at all. Wells Fargo has a list of industries that cannot open bank accounts with them at all, including lending businesses, marijuana dispensary businesses and telemarketing agencies.
  2. Provide your financial institution with information: This includes information about yourself and your business (including the required documentation), which you will provide via an online application.
  3. Make your initial deposit: Many business checking accounts require an opening deposit. This could be a very small amount, such as $25 for Wells Fargo.

What do I need to open a business checking account online?

While the exact requirements differ from bank to bank, typically you will need the following information and documentation in order to open a business checking account online, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA):

1. Your Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Many banks will require you to provide your Employer Identification number (EIN) when applying for a small business bank account. An EIN, which is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, is used to identify business entities. You can apply for an EIN for free online with the IRS. If you’re a sole proprietorship, the bank will likely just ask for your Social Security number instead.

2. Your business’s formation documentation

Your bank may require you to provide your business’s formation documents, which could include documents such as the date your business was formed, the country and state in which the business was legally formed, where it operates, its legal name, its “doing business as” (DBA) name, the personal information of everyone on the application and the personal information of those who own 25% or more of the business.

3. Ownership agreements

Additionally, your bank may require you to provide your business’s ownership agreement documentation upon applying for a checking account. Ownership agreements are typically viewed as the governing document on how your business operates, how it’s owned and how it’s organized.

4. Business license

Another key piece of documentation your bank will likely require you to present is your business license. This document verifies that you are legally permitted to conduct business in a certain region. Depending on your business, you may be required to have a combination of licenses and permits from both federal and state agencies. Be sure to ask ahead of time what you will be required to present before applying for a business checking account.

In addition to these documents, your bank will also require you to provide the personal information you should typically provide when opening a personal bank account — such as your full name and government-issued ID to verify your identity. Keep in mind that if your business is a nonprofit or a C corp, you may also need to provide additional documentation, such as your 501(c) letter from the IRS, or articles of incorporation and your corporate charters.

Benefits of business checking accounts

There are several benefits associated with having a business checking account that is separate from your personal checking account. Those benefits include:

  • Protection: Having a business checking account that is separate from your personal checking account provides you with a limited personal liability protection, as it keeps your business funds separate from your personal funds. Additionally, banks that offer merchant services give your customers purchase protection.
  • Organization: Keeping your business checking funds separate from your personal checking funds not only protects you from liability, but it also allows a much higher level of organization and professionalism. Many business checking accounts even come with additional features, such as QuickBooks integration.
  • Peace of mind: Many business bank accounts also come with the option of a line of credit for the company, which can be used if emergency expenses arise. This can be beneficial to keeping your business afloat if a crisis hits.
  • Added perks: Business checking accounts can come with a plethora of perks, such as interest earned on funds, free transactions, waived monthly fees and more. Be sure to take advantage of these perks if they are available to you.

Best business checking accounts: What to look for

When looking for a business checking account, you should prioritize:

  • Low transaction fees
  • Low minimum opening deposit and minimum balance requirements
  • High interest rates
  • Access to physical bank branches
  • Extensive ATM network

Below, we’ve compiled our top five best business checking accounts, based on data from DepositAccounts, a database of offerings at more than 17,100 banks and credit unions.

To make the cut, the account had to have minimal fees, a minimum of 50 transactions per month and the option to waive monthly fees if certain requirements are met. While offering an APY wasn’t a requirement, it was taken into consideration when developing this list. You can check out our full list of the best business checking accounts here.

5 of the Best Business Checking Accounts
Account nameMinimum balance to waive monthly feeNumber of transactions per month with no charge APY
BlueVine Business Checking N/A Unlimited 1.00%
Axos Bank Business Interest CheckingAverage daily balance of $5,000Up to 50 items0.81%
Radius Bank Tailored CheckingAverage monthly balance of $5,000Unlimited0.10%
TIAA Bank Business CheckingDaily balance of $5,000First 200 items None
First Citizens Bank Basic Business CheckingNone, but must be enrolled in paperless statements to waive monthly feeUp to 175 items None

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Best Financial Advisors in Los Angeles 2020: Fees and Services

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone and is not intended to be a source of investment advice. It may not have not been reviewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners or the Investment company.

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If you’re looking for a financial advisor in Los Angeles, you may feel overwhelmed by the task of figuring out which one of the many options in the largest city in California is right for you. Finding a financial advisor who is the right fit requires figuring out what your needs and goals are and also how much you can comfortably spend to work with a financial advisor.

Beyond that, though, you will also need to filter through and compare the numerous financial advisor companies in L.A. In the hopes of making that process easier, we determined the best financial advisors and compiled the most pertinent information on them. Our process focused only on firms that manage individual accounts and offer financial planning services. We ranked these firms based on assets under management (AUM), which acts as a general metric for the size of a firm, and client-to-advisor ratio, which suggests how much personal attention you may receive as a client.

Our ranking won’t tell you which firm may be best for you, but it can make your search for a financial advisor who meets your unique needs easier. Take a look at our list below for the top firms in Los Angeles and their key highlights:

10 best financial advisors in Los Angeles

Methodology and criteria

For our search, we looked at firms across the city of Los Angeles. All of the firms considered are bound by fiduciary duty, registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and offer individual account management and financial planning services.

The firms that met this criteria were ranked based on their AUM and client-to-advisor ratio. These criteria are weighted equally in our scoring metrics. Firms with a higher AUM and lower client-to-advisor ratios garner higher scores. Our ranking system is designed to help compare firms but does not indicate which firm may be best for you.

In our reviews, we’ve listed several other key features that will help you determine which financial advisor is most fitting for your investing style and financial needs. It is important to note that we did not include disciplinary disclosures as a metric for our ranking. We have listed any disciplinary disclosures current as of December 2, 2020, but urge you to evaluate these firms on https://adviserinfo.sec.gov/.

1. Kayne Anderson Rudnick Investment Management, LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: $1 million
  • AUM: $33,006,189
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 33:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
    • Performance-based fees
  • Firm phone number: (800) 231-7414
  • Headquarters address:
    1800 Avenue of the Stars, Second Floor
    Los Angeles, CA 90067

About Kayne Anderson Rudnick Investment Management, LLC

Investment manager Richard Kayne and now-deceased billionaire entrepreneur John Anderson, founded Kayne Anderson Rudnick Investment Management in 1984 to manage their own money, and investment manager Allan Rudnick joined the firm in 1989. In 2005, the founders completed a sale of the firm to The Phoenix Companies, where it was part of a later spin-off of current owner Virtus Partners, a financial services and technology provider.

Kayne Anderson Rudnick offers investment management and wealth management services primarily to individuals and high net worth individuals, whom the SEC defines as those with at least $750,000 under management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million. The firm generally requires individual investors to have assets of at least $1 million. Aside from individual investors, the firm does also work with various institutions, including pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations, municipal government entities, corporations and more.

The firm is headquartered in Los Angeles, and it has additional offices in California in San Francisco, Newport Beach and Westlake Village. The firm also has locations in Broomfield, Colo.; Salt Lake City; Boston; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Seattle; Providence, R.I.; and Maitland, Fla.

Kayne Anderson Rudnick Investment Management, LLC investing strategy

Kayne Anderson Rudnick Investment Management has roughly two dozen investing strategies that it uses to create customized portfolios for its clients based on their individual financial situations and risk tolerance level. Portfolios may include investments within the firm’s funds, with third-party partners and in alternative investments.

The firm’s equity strategies focus on 25 to 50 diversified domestic stocks — including small-cap, mid-cap and large-cap equities — and the following three investment styles:

  • Quality Value: Self-funding companies that produce a reliable, free cash-flow stream and are not reliant on external capital for growth, and that consistently pay dividends or repurchase shares
  • Sustainable Growth: Fast-growing companies that reinvest their cash flow to sustain growth
  • Core: A blend of the above investment styles

Kayne Anderson Rudnick Investment Management, LLC disciplinary disclosures

All registered investment advisors must disclose any civil, regulatory or criminal actions against the firm, its advisors or its affiliates on the Form ADV, public documents that registered firms must file with the SEC. Kayne Anderson Rudnick reports one such disclosure: In 2018, the firm paid an $18,500 penalty to Norwegian regulators following allegations that it did not disclose share ownership in a Norwegian company in a timely manner under Norwegian law.

You can learn more by visiting the firm’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) page.

2. Aspiriant, LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: None, but typical investors have at least $1.5 million
  • AUM: $12,758,731,000
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 17:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (415) 371-7800
  • Headquarters address:
    11100 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 600
    Los Angeles, CA 90025

About Aspiriant, LLC

Aspiriant, LLC is a full-service, employee-owned firm that provides integrated financial planning and execution along with portfolio management and family office services. Additionally, the firm offers divorce financial consulting to clients going through a divorce.

The firm works with individual investors, including high net worth individuals, as well as institutions, such as businesses, charitable organizations, pension and profit-sharing plans, pooled investment vehicles and more. Though it doesn’t have a set minimum investment requirement, its clients typically have portfolios of at least $1.5 million.

Aspiriant formed in 2008, following the merger of two other West Coast investment advisory firms: Quintile in Los Angeles and Kohcis Fitz in San Francisco. In addition to its headquarters in Los Angeles, Aspiriant has four other California offices in San Diego, San Francisco, Irvine and Mountain View. It also has locations in New York, Boston, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Cincinnati and Austin, Texas.

Aspiriant, LLC investing strategy

Aspiriant takes a long-term, contrarian approach to investing, moving away from risk when the market is going up and toward risk when it is going down. The firm’s investment program involves three steps:

  1. Allocation across asset classes
  2. Strategy and manager selection within each of the asset classes
  3. Execution of the plan

Portfolios may include equities, mutual funds, ETFs, exchange-traded notes, private partnerships, bonds, cash-equivalents and other securities. The firm may also recommend investment in its own mutual funds or private partnerships that it manages.

Aspiriant, LLC disciplinary disclosures

Aspiriant has no disciplinary disclosures on its record. For reference, the SEC requires that all registered investment advisors disclose any civil, regulatory criminal actions against the firm or its advisors or its affiliates from within the last 10 years. To learn more about the firm, visit Aspirant’s IAPD page.

3. Advanced Research Investment Solutions (ARIS), LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: $10 million
  • AUM: $12,072,556,000
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 12:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (424) 283-3800
  • Headquarters address:
    10635 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 240
    Los Angeles, CA 90025

About Advanced Research Investment Solutions, LLC

Founded in 2014 by former Merrill Lynch advisor Alex Shahidi and former Bridgewater Associates advisor Damien Bisserier,  Advanced Research Investment Solutions, LLC, or ARIS, is owned by Evoke Holdings, which is in turn owned by advisor David Hou. Notably, Evoke Holdings also owns advisory firm Evoke Wealth, which also appears on this list, and the two firms share employees and office space.

ARIS offers investment management and retirement plan and investment consulting services out of its single office in Los Angeles. With a typical minimum portfolio value requirement of $10 million, the firm’s clients are primarily high net worth individuals, though it also serves various institutions including charitable organizations, guilds and health plans, pension and profit-sharing plans and pooled investment vehicles.

Advanced Research Investment Solutions, LLC investing strategy

ARIS starts the investing process by creating an asset allocation strategy that aims for consistent returns regardless of economic conditions. To do this, the firm works with a small group of managers that use proprietary research to invest in primarily private markets. The firm chooses those managers based on their long-term record.

Client portfolios typically consist of both active and passive strategies in an effort to mitigate costs and achieve tax efficiency. Decisions are ultimately based on clients’ investment objectives.

Advanced Research Investment Solutions, LLC disciplinary disclosures

ARIS has no disclosures, meaning it has a clean disciplinary record free of any civil, regulatory or criminal actions against the firm, its advisors, or its affiliates from within the past decade. The SEC requires that all registered investment advisors disclose such events in their Form ADV paperwork. To view that paperwork and learn more about the firm, visit its IAPD page.

  • Minimum assets required: Varies by portfolio and service type
  • AUM: $8,235,801,168
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 83:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (310) 712-2323
  • Headquarters address:
    2121 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 1600
    Los Angeles, CA 90067

About SEIA

Financial advisor Brian D. Holmes founded SEIA, legally known as Signature Estate & Investment Advisors, in 1997, and remains its president, CEO and principal owner. The firm offers financial planning and consulting and investment management to individuals, including high net worth individuals, as well as to pension and profit-sharing plans, corporations or other businesses and charitable organizations.

SEIA has its headquarters in Los Angeles, and additional offices in California in Newport Beach, Redondo Beach and San Mateo. It also has locations in Virginia, Texas and Oregon.

SEIA investing strategy

SEIA uses a six-step investment management process with its clients:

  1. Determine investor needs and objectives
  2. Assess risk tolerance and investor suitability
  3. Review asset allocation
  4. Implement strategic plan
  5. Rebalance and monitor portfolio
  6. Report the results

The firm’s portfolios typically use modern portfolio theory, which emphasizes a diversity of asset classes. It uses both strategic macro allocation, which incorporates diverse investment styles and alternative investments, and tactical micro allocation, which reallocates assets based on favorable outlooks or prospects of a particular sector.

The firm’s investment committee is responsible for overseeing client portfolios and includes its chief investment officer, senior partners, financial advisors and members of the research team.

SEIA disciplinary disclosures

SEIA has no disciplinary disclosures on its record. This means that neither the firm nor its employees or affiliates have faced any civil, regulatory or criminal issues over the last decade. For more information on SEIA, visit the firm’s IAPD page.

5. Churchill Management Group

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  • Minimum assets required: $750,000
  • AUM: $6,552,311,084
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 128:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
  • Firm phone number: (877) 937-7110
  • Headquarters address:
    5900 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 400
    Los Angeles, CA 90036

About Churchill Management Group

Churchill Management Group owner and CEO Fred Fern, a protégé of high-profile stockbroker William O’Neil, founded the firm in 1963 at the age of 25 without any formal training in investing. In the decades since, the firm has grown to manage more than $6.5 billion and serve thousands of clients.

Churchill Management Group provides investment management and financial planning services primarily to individual investors, including high net worth individuals. The firm, which generally prefers accounts with a minimum of $750,000, also serves trusts, pension plans, investment funds and other types of entities.

Headquartered in Los Angeles, the firm also has a presence in the Northwest, Eastern and Central regions of the country, with 34 locations in total.

Churchill Management Group investing strategy

The firm uses an active trading approach based on the idea that markets behave cyclically, and it adjusts that approach based on where the markets are in a specific cycle. Churchill Management Group’s investment team makes asset allocation decisions using a “top down” approach, looking at big picture trends, but it chooses investments within asset classes based on a “bottom-up” approach, which looks at the fundamentals of each company.

Churchill Management Group creates customized portfolios based on each client’s needs, using one of the following strategies:

  • Tactical: Aims to reduce exposure in high-risk markets
  • Fully Invested: Remains invested at all times regardless of market risk
  • Combination: Uses elements of multiple strategies when no one strategy fits a client’s needs
  • Fixed Income: Creates a portfolio of diverse, investment-grade bonds

Churchill Management Group disciplinary disclosures

Churchill Management Group has no disciplinary disclosures on its record. For reference, all registered investment advisors must disclose any civil, regulatory or criminal actions against the firm, its advisors or its affiliates on their Form ADV, public documents that registered firms must file with the SEC. You can learn more by visiting Churchill Management Group’s IAPD page.

6. Lido Advisors, LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: $1 million
  • AUM: $5,403,551,006
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 62:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (310) 278-8232
  • Headquarters address:
    1875 Century Park East Suite 950
    Los Angeles, California 90067

About Lido Advisors, LLC

Firm chairman and CEO Greg Kushner founded Lido Advisors, LLC in 1999. Kushner owns a portion of the firm via a holding company. Several other firm executives are partial owners of the firm, along with a family office that’s also a Lido Advisors client.

The firm provides investment management, financial planning, family office services, retirement planning, estate planning and other financial services primarily to high net worth individuals. However, the firm also serves some individuals who do not meet the high net worth threshold despite its $1 million account minimum, and it also works with corporations or other businesses.

Lido Advisors has its headquarters in Los Angeles and 13 additional offices throughout the country, including three other locations in California.

Lido Advisors, LLC investing strategy

Lido Advisors creates custom asset allocation strategies for its clients that are aimed at minimizing correlation between asset types. In addition to traditional assets like stocks, bonds and cash, Lido Advisors might include other asset classes in a client’s portfolio, such as real estate, foreign securities or alternative assets.

The firm typically uses a long-term strategy. Its “Master Allocation Program,” known as L-MAP, incorporates alternative, core and tactical strategies, with an aim toward helping clients achieve their investment goals while reducing market risk and managing volatility.

Lido Advisors, LLC disciplinary disclosures

Lido Advisors has no disciplinary disclosures on its record. All registered investment advisors must disclose any civil, regulatory or criminal actions against the firm, its advisors or its affiliates on their Form ADV documents filed with the SEC. For more information on Lido Advisors, visit the firm’s IAPD page.

7. Evoke Wealth, LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: None
  • AUM: $4,658,641,087
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 19:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (424) 372-1777
  • Headquarters address:
    10635 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 240
    Los Angeles, California 90025

About Evoke Wealth, LLC

Managing partners David Hou and Mark Sear formed Evoke Wealth, LLC in 2019 when they left First Republic Bank in a high-profile split. The firm is wholly owned by Evoke Holdings, which in turn is owned by Hou. Evoke Holdings recently acquired Advance Research Investment Management (ARIS), another firm on this list, and the two firms share office space and employees.

Evoke Wealth offers financial planning and investment management services primarily to high net worth individuals, though the firm’s client base also includes pooled investment vehicles and corporations or other businesses. It has its headquarters in Los Angeles.

Evoke Wealth, LLC investing strategy

Evoke Wealth focuses on investments in which the potential upsides outweigh potential downsides. The firm emphasizes “risk-conscious” investing, aimed at finding opportunities in changing market conditions, minimizing losses during downturns and outperforming in up markets. To do this, Evoke Wealth looks for alternative strategies with a low correlation to public markets.

The firm generally recommends long-term ownership of securities, with broad diversification both within and across asset classes. Portfolios may include traditional investments, such as  stocks, bonds, mutual funds and ETFs, as well as warrants, commercial paper, certificates of deposit (CDs), options contracts or private funds.

Evoke Wealth, LLC disciplinary disclosures

Evoke Wealth has a record free of any disciplinary disclosures, meaning neither the firm nor its employees or affiliates have faced any civil, criminal or regulatory issues within the past 10 years. For reference, the SEC requires that all registered investment advisors disclose this information in their disclosure paperwork. You can learn more about Evoke Wealth by visiting the firm’s IAPD page.

8. AdvicePeriod, LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: None
  • AUM: $3,467,735,678
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 17:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (424) 281-3600
  • Headquarters address:
    2121 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 2400
    Los Angeles, CA 90067

About AdvicePeriod, LLC

Financial advisor Steve Lockshin, who has launched and grown multiple RIA firms, started AdvicePeriod in 2013 and remains the firm’s principal owner. AdvicePeriod is a full-service financial services firm, offering everything from investment management and wealth planning to family office services and a robo-advisory program. The firm’s clients include individuals, including high net worth individuals, as well as corporations and other businesses.

AdvicePeriod is headquartered in Los Angeles, but it has 17 other offices throughout the country.

AdvicePeriod, LLC investing strategy

AdvicePeriod primarily uses passive or quasi-passive investments strategies to invest in publicly traded funds or professionally managed portfolios. However, the firm may occasionally use other types of securities or alternative investments depending on a client’s circumstances.

AdvicePeriod creates customized asset allocation strategies for each of its clients based on their needs and financial situations, with an emphasis on tax efficiency.

AdvicePeriod, LLC disciplinary disclosures

AdvicePeriod does not have any disciplinary disclosures to report on its Form ADV, public documents that registered firms must file with the SEC. That means that the firm is free from civil, criminal, or regulatory events over the past 10 years involving the firm, its employees, or its affiliates. For further information on AdvicePeriod, visit the firm’s IAPD page.

9. Westmount Asset Management, LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: $2 million
  • AUM: $3,062,871,091
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 17:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
  • Firm phone number: (310) 556-2502
  • Headquarters address:
    2049 Century Park East, Suite 2500
    Los Angeles, CA 90067

About Westmount Asset Management, LLC

Father and son, Robert Berliner and Jim Berliner, founded Westmount Asset Management, LLC in 1990 and remain the firm’s principal owners. Robert Berliner is the firm’s chairman, and Jim Berliner serves as president and chief investment officer.

The firm provides investment advisory and certain financial planning services to its clients, who are primarily individual investors who are both high net worth and not, though the firm generally requires a $2 million minimum investment. It also works with charitable organizations, businesses, pension and profit-sharing plans and pooled investment vehicles.

Based in Los Angeles, Westmount Asset Management also has offices throughout California in Newport Beach, Pasadena and El Segundo.

Westmount Asset Management, LLC investing strategy

Westmont Asset Management focuses mostly on long-term investing, but it may use short-term strategies to take advantage of market inefficiencies or risk reduction opportunities. The firm’s customized portfolios mainly include no-load mutual funds, but it also looks for ways to incorporate alternative investments into client portfolios as a complement to traditional stock and bond holdings.

Westmount Asset Management also offers an environmental, social, governance (ESG) portfolio for clients who want to invest in companies driving positive social change. The firm’s ESG managers incorporate companies’ progress toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into their investment decisions.

Westmount Asset Management, LLC disciplinary disclosures

Westmount Asset Management reports no disciplinary disclosures. As a registered investment advisory firm, the SEC requires it to disclose any such events involving either the firm or its employees or affiliates from within the last 10 years. For further information on the firm, visit its IAPD page.

10. Miracle Mile Advisors, LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: $750,000
  • AUM: $1,475,561,624
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 29:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (310) 246-1243
  • Headquarters address:
    11300 West Olympic Blvd, Suite 800
    Los Angeles, CA 90064

About Miracle Mile Advisors, LLC

Brock Mosely, a former Morgan Stanley investment advisor, founded Miracle Mile Advisors, Inc in 2007, and changed the firm’s name in 2010 to Miracle Mile Advisors LLC. Moseley, who serves as a partner and managing director at the firm, owns the firm alongside Duncan Rolph, a managing partner at the firm.

Miracle Mile Advisors offers comprehensive planning, portfolio management and retirement plan consulting to its clients, who are primarily individuals with and without a high net worth. It also serves businesses and pension and profit-sharing plans. In addition to its headquarters in Los Angeles, the firm has offices in Newport Beach and Santa Monica.

Miracle Mile Advisors, LLC investing strategy

Miracle Mile Advisors believes that asset allocation is the most important factor in investor success, and it creates customized portfolios for clients using macroeconomic research to determine strategic allocations that maximize returns and optimize for taxes. The firm then takes an active management approach, adjusting holdings as necessary based on market movement.

Portfolios typically include traditional investments, such as funds or individual bonds, but the firm may also recommend alternative investments like hedge funds or structured notes. Advisors in the firm’s Newport Beach office focus primarily on investments in individual stocks.

Miracle Mile Advisors, LLC disciplinary disclosures

Miracle Mile Advisors has a clean disciplinary record, meaning the firm reports no  civil, regulatory, or criminal actions against the firm, its advisors, or its affiliates from within the last decade. You can learn more about the firm by visiting its IAPD page.

Financial advisors in Los Angeles: FAQ

California residents pay among the highest taxes in the country on a per capita basis. The state’s top income tax bracket is 13.30%, which is the country’s highest. When it comes to financial planning, Golden State residents do not have to worry about state estate or inheritance taxes, since California does not impose them, though they could face federal estate taxes.

No, although many financial advisors do offer retirement planning. If retirement planning is important to you, ask advisors how much emphasis they place on it before you start working together to ensure your advisor can adequately meet your financial needs.

An advisor who holds a CFP designation has gone through extensive training. In addition to being required to have a bachelor’s degree and three years of full-time financial planning experience, certified financial planners also must complete coursework in financial planning and pass an exam. They also must undergo continuing education and comply with an ethics pledge to put clients’ interests ahead of their own.

It’s typically better to look for a fee-only financial advisor. That’s because a fee-based advisor may also receive commissions, which could give them an incentive to recommend products or services on which they’ll earn money, even if they’re not the best fit for you. A fee-only advisor, on the other hand, only earns money from the fees their clients pay for their services, which minimizes potential conflicts of interest that may arise.

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