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Best Financial Advisors in San Diego 2021: 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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America’s Finest City has a fine selection of financial advisors — but the number of options may make the process of choosing a financial advisor in San Diego feel overwhelming. To start, you’ll want to consider your financial needs and goals, as well as how much you can comfortably spend on financial advisor fees. From there, it’s time to start researching the available options.

In the hopes of making that process easier, we’ve compiled a list of San Diego’s top advisors with each company’s key data points. To determine the best financial advisors in San Diego, we only looked at firms that manage individual accounts and provide financial planning. Next, we ranked these companies according to assets under management (AUM), which is a general metric for a firm’s size, and the client-to-advisor ratio, which indicates how much attention the firm’s clients may receive.

While you’ll have to make the final decision yourself on which advisor is truly right for you, this list can hopefully make it easier to narrow that down. Check out our list below for the top firms in San Diego:

8 best financial advisors in San Diego

Methodology and criteria

For our search, we looked at firms across the city of San Diego. 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 January 4, 2021, but urge you to evaluate these firms on https://adviserinfo.sec.gov/.

1. GuidedChoice Asset Management, Inc.

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: No minimum
  • AUM: $11,910,338,194
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 28,061:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
    • Other
  • Firm phone number: 888-675-4532
  • Headquarters address:
    8910 University Center Lane, Suite 700
    San Diego, CA 92122

About GuidedChoice Asset Management, Inc.

GuidedChoice Asset Management, Inc. is a digital advisor that specializes in retirement planning. Clients of the firm are typically individual investors who have access to the firm’s services through employer-sponsored retirement accounts, such as 401(k) plans. You can also access the firm’s services directly through its website.

The firm’s services include investment recommendations for retirement accounts, as well as estimates for how much money clients will have in retirement that take into account Social Security benefits and other outside assets. Although technology is used to manage the account, clients have access to a free individual consultation with their experts, and can set up a call time with the firm to discuss their questions.

Founder Sherrie Grabot was early to the idea of providing financial advice digitally, and started the firm in 1999. Based in San Diego, the group is owned by GuidedChoice.com. The firm also serves institutions, such as financial firms and pension and profit-sharing plans.

GuidedChoice Asset Management, Inc. investing strategy

Retirement plan participants generally have two options when it comes to working with GuidedChoice Asset Management: They can get investment recommendations from the firm and then execute those recommendations themselves if they wish, or they can hire GuidedChoice to manage their account through a discretionary relationship, where they do not approve each trade.

GuidedChoice Asset Management typically makes its investment recommendations based on proprietary analysis that factors in the individual’s unique situation, risk tolerance and investment expenses. The team also crunches many quantitative data sets analyzing economic factors as well as risks. The specific recommendations the firm provides will depend on the products available in the employer-sponsored retirement plan, but typically include mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), money market funds, public securities, real estate investment trusts and variable and fixed annuities, among others.

GuidedChoice Asset Management, Inc. disciplinary disclosures

GuidedChoice Asset Management has a clean disciplinary record. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires all registered investment advisors to disclose disciplinary actions against the firm or its employees from the last 10 years that would materially impact a client’s evaluation of the firm or the integrity of the management team. To learn more, view the firm’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) page.

2. Dowling & Yahnke, LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: $1 million for retail investors
  • AUM: $4,730,371,019
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 51:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
  • Firm phone number: 858-509-9500
  • Headquarters address:
    12265 El Camino Real, Suite 300
    San Diego, CA 92130

About Dowling & Yahnke, LLC

Mark Dowling and Dale Yahnke started their eponymous firm in 1991. Today, the firm has a single office in San Diego and is owned by eight of its key employees.

Dowling & Yahnke’s bread and butter services include investment management and financial planning for high net worth individuals, who the SEC defines as those with at least $750,000 under management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million. However, despite the firm’s typical minimum investment requirement of $1 million, it also serves some non-high net worth individuals. In particular, Dowling & Yahnke notes a focus on helping clients plan for life milestones and hardships, such as coming into sudden wealth, surviving a spouse or retiring.

The firm also has institutional clients, including charitable organizations, endowments, pension and profit-sharing plans and other businesses.

Dowling & Yahnke, LLC investing strategy

When creating client portfolios, advisors at Dowling & Yahnke aim for broad diversification, tax efficiency and low costs. Portfolios typically include a combination of mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and individual securities, with the exact allocation customized based on the client’s individual needs.

In certain circumstances, Dowling & Yahnke may recommend third-party independent managers. Clients typically give the firm discretionary control over their account, meaning Dowling & Yahnke can make investment choices and trades without needing client approval.

Dowling & Yahnke, LLC disciplinary disclosures

Dowling & Yahnke and its employees have no disciplinary marks over the last 10 years that would materially affect an individual’s view of the firm or the integrity of its management team; this includes any civil, criminal or regulatory events. To learn more about the firm, visit its IAPD page.

3. Pure Financial Advisors, Inc.

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: None, but a minimum annual fee of $3,000
  • AUM: $2,266,649,850
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 100:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: 619-814-4100
  • Headquarters address:
    3131 Camino Del Rio North, Suite 1550
    San Diego, CA 92108

About Pure Financial Advisors, Inc.

Pure Financial Advisors, Inc. was founded in 2007 by industry veteran and current owner Michael Fenison. Headquartered in San Diego, the firm has three additional California offices in Irvine, Brea and Woodland Hills.

The team provides portfolio management and pension consulting, as well as one-time or ongoing financial planning services on topics including cash flow, risk management and estate planning. Clients are typically individual investors both with and without high net worths, as well as a limited number of pension and profit-sharing plans and charitable organizations.

Pure Financial Advisors, Inc. investing strategy

At Pure Financial Advisors, client money is typically invested in one of the firm’s numerous model portfolios. These portfolios are generally made up of a diversified global mix of mutual funds and ETFs, and range from 0% to 100% equity exposure. In addition to mutual funds and ETFs, portfolios may also include items such as government securities, corporate debt and municipal debt funds, options and oil and gas. Investment decisions are usually based on information gathered about each client in the financial planning process.

Advisors at the firm generally oversee client accounts through a discretionary relationship, meaning clients do not sign off each trade. Only fixed income portfolios are managed individually by an advisor, though the firm may also offer this option to accommodate existing clients.

Pure Financial Advisors, Inc. disciplinary disclosures

Pure Financial Advisors discloses no legal or disciplinary events in the last 10 years that would be material to a client’s evaluation of the firm or integrity of the management team, thus giving the firm a clean record. You can learn more about the firm by visiting its IAPD page.

4. HoyleCohen, LLC

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: $1 million
  • AUM: $2,420,954,179
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 48:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: 858-576-7300
  • Headquarters address:
    9350 Waxie Way, Suite 500
    San Diego, California 92123

About HoyleCohen. LLC

HoyleCohen, LLC is based in San Diego, but it has additional offices in California in Santa Monica and Sacramento, as well as a location in Phoenix. Clients of the firm can expect to find financial planning and investment management services. The firm’s client list includes individual investors, both with and without high net worths, though in 2020 the firm instituted a new minimum investment requirement of $1 million, limiting new accounts to higher net worth investors. HoyleCohen also works with certain institutional investors, including pension plans, profit-sharing plans, government entities and charitable organizations.

The firm was founded in 2001, and in 2006 it became part of the Focus Financial Partners, a partnership of independent wealth management firms. Thus, today the firm is owned by Focus Financial Partners, LLC, which also owns other advisors as well as broker-dealers, insurance companies, pension consultants and other financial firms. Focus Financial Partners, LLC is primarily owned by Focus Financial Partners, Inc., which has traded publicly on the NASDAQ since 2018.

HoyleCohen, LLC investing strategy

The team at HoyleCohen has created what it calls the CorePlus platform, which is home to a wide variety of investments and strategies handpicked by an investment committee. Core investments and strategies typically include individual stocks and bonds, mutual funds and ETFs and represent the majority of a client’s portfolio. Meanwhile, the Plus strategies can be added to address each client’s unique goals, such as generating reliable income in a low-interest rate environment, achieving broader diversification, reducing taxes or investing in private opportunities.

To choose individual investments for the platform, the team uses fundamental analysis of the particular company’s balance sheet, income statement, earnings estimates and cash flow, in addition to other factors. Sometimes third-party managers also are used.

HoyleCohen, LLC disciplinary disclosures

HoyleCohen discloses no legal or disciplinary events in the last decade that would materially impact a client’s evaluation of the firm or the integrity of the management team. The SEC requires all registered investment advisors to disclose such events in their Form ADV paperwork. To view the firm’s Form ADV and get more information, visit HoyleCohen’s IAPD page.

5. Dunham & Associates Investment Counsel, Inc.

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: Varies by program
  • AUM: $1,796,507,494
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 979:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
    • Performance-based fees
  • Firm phone number: 858-964-0500
  • Headquarters address:
    10251 Vista Sorrento Parkway, Suite 200
    San Diego, CA 92121

About Dunham & Associates Investment Counsel, Inc.

Dunham & Associates Investment Counsel, Inc. dates back to 1985, when it was founded in San Diego by Jeffrey Dunham, who principally owns the firm today through a holding company and serves as its CEO. The firm works with various financial planners who serve individual investors, both with and without high net worths, in addition to many types of institutions, including corporations and other businesses, pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and investment companies.

Individual investors can expect to find proprietary mutual funds as well as investment management and financial planning services. The firm is also a licensed broker-dealer, meaning it can place trades for clients and earn a commission. An affiliated trust company is based in Nevada.

Dunham & Associates Investment Counsel, Inc. investing strategy

Clients who have Dunham & Associates Investment Counsel’s standard wrap accounts are limited to the firm’s mutual funds and unaffiliated mutual funds, and they’re invested in up to six core asset allocation models that the team creates. Alternatively, the firm’s custom accounts are tailored to a particular client and can have as many core allocation models and Dunham mutual funds as the client desires.

High net worth clients also have the option of separately managed accounts. This option offers additional asset types, such as individual stocks, bonds and ETFs, alongside the firm’s mutual funds, which have strategies ranging from current income to total return.

Dunham & Associates Investment Counsel, Inc. disciplinary disclosures

Dunham & Associates Investment Counsel has a clean record. It discloses no disciplinary or legal actions against the company or its employees in the last 10 years that would affect a client’s evaluation of the firm or the management team. To learn more, view the firm’s IAPD page.

6. Private Asset Management, Inc.

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: $100,000
  • AUM: $816,090,371
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 50:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: 858-750-4200
  • Headquarters address:
    5348 Carroll Canyon Road, Suite 200
    San Diego, CA 92121

About Private Asset Management, Inc.

Based in San Diego with an additional office in Indian Wells, Calif., Private Asset Management, Inc. serves a wide variety of clients. Its client base includes both high net worth and non-high net worth individuals, pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations, foundations and endowments and more. In general, the firm requires a minimum family total account value of $100,000.

Individual clients of the firm can find investment management and financial planning services. Extra services clients can tap include bill pay and tax return preparation, as well as private fiduciary trust services.

Founded in 1993, Private Asset Management is owned by the Stephen J. Cohen Trust. The firm’s management committee serves as the co-trustees.

Private Asset Management, Inc. investing strategy

In general, the team’s investing philosophy focuses on long-term growth and value, with low turnover. To select investments, Private Asset Management starts with a “top down” method, meaning they analyze numerous macroeconomic factors to form an economic outlook, then decide which type of investment will perform best in that environment.

Typical custom portfolios created by the firm include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, federal and state government debt, options and American depository receipts (holdings in foreign corporations). In some situations, the firm may use additional methods, including margin transactions, short sales and option writing, as well as buying and selling securities within a 30-day period.

Private Asset Management, Inc. disciplinary disclosures

Private Asset Management discloses no disciplinary or legal events against the firm or its employees or affiliates in the last 10 years that would be material to a client’s evaluation of the firm or the integrity of the management team. For reference, the SEC requires all registered investment advisors to report this information in their Form ADV paperwork. To learn more and to read the firm’s filings, visit its IAPD page.

7. Telos Capital Management, Inc.

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: $250,000
  • AUM: $776,894,754
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 135:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
  • Firm phone number: 858-271-6350
  • Headquarters address:
    12121 Scripps Summit Drive, Suite 350
    San Diego, CA 92131

About Telos Capital Management, Inc.

With its main office in San Diego and an additional office in Westlake Village, Calif., Telos Capital Management’s clients include individual investors, both with and without high net worths, as well as a few pension and profit-sharing plans. It generally requires clients to have accounts of at least $250,000. The firm’s menu of services includes investment management and financial planning, with a particular focus on retirement planning.

Telos Capital Management has rebranded several times during its time in business. Its roots date back to 1986 when its first incarnation, Alexander & Muckermann, opened in San Diego. The firm’s name changed to A&M Investment Management in 2003, and in 2009, it was incorporated and began using its current name. Today, the firm is owned by three of its top-ranking employees.

Telos Capital Management, Inc. investing strategy

Clients of Telos Capital Management can choose from a broad menu of strategies depending on their unique goals and circumstances. Typical investments used in client portfolios include U.S. and foreign stocks, fixed income, ETFs, municipal securities and money market funds. In certain circumstances, some more sophisticated products may be added to the mix, including mutual funds, convertible bonds, preferred securities, real estate investment trusts (REITs), mortgage-backed securities, master limited partnerships and others.

Advisors make trading decisions on clients’ behalfs, without first getting their express approval, which is known as a discretionary arrangement. To make its investment picks, the team at Telos Capital Management typically uses fundamental analysis to actively pick stocks, rounding out the research with some technical analysis of historical market data.

Telos Capital Management, Inc. disciplinary disclosures

Neither Telos Capital Management nor its employees or has had any disciplinary actions over the last 10 years that would be material in the evaluation of the firm or the management team. This includes any civil, criminal or regulatory actions. To learn more about Telos Capital Management, visit its IAPD page.

8. Christopher Weil & Co., Inc.

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: None, but a minimum annual fee of $8,000
  • AUM: $773,547,988
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 71:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
    • Performance-based fees
  • Firm phone number: 858-724-6040
  • Headquarters address:
    11236 El Camino Real, Suite 200
    San Diego, CA 92130

About Christopher Weil & Co., Inc.

Legally known as The Weil Company, the team at Christopher Weil & Co., Inc. works out of a single office in San Diego. Its clients include a mix of individual and institutional investors, including individuals who both are and are not high net worth, charitable organizations, pension and profit-sharing plans, businesses and others.

The firm’s primary services include portfolio management and advice, as well as financial planning, addressing topics such as taxes, cash flow, insurance, retirement and estate planning. The firm also manages a mutual fund that it may recommend to clients, th Christopher Weil & Company Core Investment Fund (CWCFX).

Christopher Weil & Co. began conducting business in 1997, although its roots date back years earlier. Today, the principal owners of the firm are Matthew Weil, Kit-Victoria (Weil) Wells and Caitlin Weil, who all work at the firm.

Christopher Weil & Co., Inc. investing strategy

Clients of Christopher Weil & Co. typically have the choice of how to handle their investments. They can put their money in model portfolios, where the advisors make the buying and selling decisions on their behalf, while their other option is to have their advisors provide custom investment recommendations specifically tailored to their needs.

Specific investment recommendations may include stocks and bonds, mutual funds, CDs, warrants, options contracts, variable annuities and life insurance, as well as interests in real estate or venture capital investments. The firm employs a broad menu of investment strategies including short sales, margin transactions, option writing and sometimes buying and selling within less than 30 days.

Christopher Weil & Co., Inc. disciplinary disclosures

Christopher Weil & Co. discloses no legal or disciplinary issues in the previous 10 years that a potential client would find material when evaluating the firm or the integrity of its leadership team. Visit the firm’s IAPD page to learn more.

Financial advisors in San Diego: FAQ

The Golden State has a reputation for high taxes. The top income tax rate in the state is 13.30%, for single filers with incomes greater than $1 million. That said, Californians do not face state estate or inheritance taxes, although federal estate taxes still apply on very large estates.

Anytime you work with a fee-only financial advisor, you know the firm is not recommending a particular investment or product to receive a commission or reimbursement, thus removing a potential conflict of interest. This is because fee-only advisors solely earn money through their fees clients pay, rather than through additional sources. To learn more about fee-only financial advisors, how they differ from competitors and common industry fees, read this article.

While many firms regularly work with individuals who are saving for retirement, not every advisor specializes in this area. It’s your job to ask potential advisors key questions to learn more about their qualifications and experience to ensure you end up working with an advisor who can meet your unique needs.

A financial advisor who is a fiduciary is legally required to act in the client’s best interest, and to put the client’s interest above the advisor’s interest. You may be surprised to learn not all financial advisors are fiduciaries. That said, all advisors registered with the SEC, known as registered investment advisors or RIAs, are bound by the fiduciary duty. You can look up advisors’ relationship summaries using the SEC search tool, which will specify if the advisors are RIAs. Professional organizations, such as the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), also require advisers to serve as fiduciaries, so you can use their database as a resource to find a financial advisor.

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Best Financial Advisors in North Carolina 2021: 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.

Written By

Reviewed By

North Carolina has plenty of options to offer when it comes to financial advisory companies. But while it’s nice to have choices, it could also make choosing a financial advisor in the Tar Heel State a challenge. Finding the right advisor is a lot about figuring out what your unique financial situation calls for, which will require you to consider your financial needs and goals, as well as how much you can comfortably spend.

Doing the work of comparing firms and data points can feel like a slog, though, so we’re here to help guide your search with our compilation of the most pertinent information. To determine the best advisors in North Carolina, we exclusively considered firms that manage individual accounts and offer financial planning services. We then ranked these firms according to assets under management (AUM), which acts as a general metric for the firm’s size, and also the client-to-advisor ratio, which suggests how much attention you may receive as a client.

While our ranking is not indicative of which firm may be best for you, it can help make the search for a financial advisor easier. Take a look at our list below for the top firms in North Carolina and their key highlights:

10 best financial advisors in North Carolina

Methodology and criteria

For our search, we looked at firms across the state of North Carolina. 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 can 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 10, 2020, but urge you to evaluate these firms on https://adviserinfo.sec.gov/.

1. Captrust

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: $50,000
  • AUM: $389,150,706,027
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 23:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
    • Performance-based fees
  • Firm phone number: 919-870-6822
  • Headquarters address:
    4208 Six Forks Road, Suite 1700
    Raleigh, NC 27609

About Captrust

Captrust provides investment advisory management and financial and estate planning services to individuals — this includes high net worth individuals, who the SEC defines as those with at least $750,000 under management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million. In particular, the firm caters to business owners and professional athletes. In addition to serving individuals, the bulk of the firm’s assets under management comes from retirement plans and other institutional investors, such as charitable organizations, foundations, endowments, government entities, insurance companies and other corporations and businesses.

Legally known as CapFinancial Partners LLC, the firm was started in 1997 by Fielding Miller and David Perkins, and in 2003 registered with the SEC as an investment advisor. Captrust is primarily owned by its co-founder Miller and other employees, although private equity firm GTCR recently made an investment to help the firm grow. Today, Captrust has its headquarters in Raleigh, N.C., and an additional 34 offices scattered around the country, with plans to grow further.

Captrust investing strategy

Clients of Captrust have the choice of having an individual financial advisor or the firm’s investment committee serve as their portfolio manager. Typical investment recommendations made by the firm include a mix of U.S. and global stocks and bonds, mutual funds, commodities, real estate and strategic opportunities.

Clients with separately managed accounts can also choose among third-party portfolio managers who use long-only equity, fixed income strategies and, in some instances, more sophisticated strategies like shorting, options and derivatives, among others.

Captrust disciplinary disclosures

Captrust’s management team and members of its investment committee have a clean disciplinary record. The firm does note that financial advisors who serve as portfolio managers have their own separate disclosures, and as such advises clients to look specifically at their forms.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires all registered investment advisors to disclose any legal or disciplinary events against the company or its employees that would be material to a client’s evaluation of the firm or the integrity of the management team. Learn more by viewing the firm’s public disclosures on its Investment Advisor Public Disclosure (IAPD) page.

2. Aon Hewitt Financial Advisors, LLC

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: None specified
  • AUM: $28,697,845,720
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 4631:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
    • Other (set-up and related fees)
  • Firm phone number: 866-560-7256
  • Headquarters address:
    7201 University Oaks Drive
    Charlotte, NC 28262

About Aon Hewitt Financial Advisors

Legally known as Alight Financial Advisors, LLC, Aon Hewitt Financial Advisors provides advisory services to individual investors with employer-sponsored retirement plans. Specifically, the firm’s team of roughly 60 employees provides portfolio management and financial planning services, as well as educational seminars and workshops.

Founded in 2011, Aon Hewitt Financial Advisors is a subsidiary of Alight Solutions LLC, a benefits administration and HR provider. Alight, in turn, is owned by Blackstone, which trades publicly on the New York Stock Exchange. Aon Hewitt has a single office in Charlotte, N.C. For investors looking for more information on financial advisors in the Charlotte area, we have comprised a list of all our top options.

Aon Hewitt Financial Advisors investing strategy

Retirement plan participants typically have two choices: They can receive investment recommendations online and follow them if they wish (employers typically cover this cost), or give the firm discretionary control to manage their account without them approving each trade. In the latter instance, clients can add on the option to receive steady income payments throughout retirement.

Investment recommendations made by Aon Hewitt Financial Advisors depend on the choices available in the retirement plan, but generally include mutual funds, commingled funds, separate accounts and public equities. The firm uses software from Financial Engines Advisors to create its target allocations.

Aon Hewitt Financial Advisors disciplinary disclosures

Aon Hewitt Financial Advisors discloses a single action against its affiliate, Hewitt Financial Services. In 2008, Hewitt Financial Services paid an $8,500 fine, without admitting wrongdoing, to settle a FINRA accusation. The firm was reported to have used the mail or another form of interstate commerce to place transactions without maintaining sufficient capital, and did not keep accurate books and records of the clients’ capital and indebtedness.

The firm discloses no other legal or disciplinary events over the last 10 years that a client would find material when evaluating the firm or the integrity of the management team. To learn more, read the firm’s public disclosures on its IAPD page.

3. Independent Advisor Alliance, LLC

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: Varies by account type
  • AUM: $5,870,908,960
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 99:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: 888-430-1555
  • Headquarters address:
    11215 N. Community House Road, Suite 775
    Charlotte, NC 28277

About Independent Advisor Alliance, LLC

Independent Advisor Alliance, LLC offers asset management, retirement planning and financial planning services to individuals both with and without high net worths as well as small businesses, pension and profit-sharing plans and charitable organizations.

Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., the firm is made up of a network of independent advisors spread across 132 additional offices; they are primarily located in the East and Midwest, as well as in California. The advisors typically operate under their own branding and ownership, yet affiliate with Independent Advisor Alliance for their licensing and certain support services, such as technology and compliance.

The firm first registered with the SEC as an investment advisor in 2013. Independent Advisor Alliance is owned by its founder Robert Russo, who currently serves as CEO.

Independent Advisor Alliance, LLC investing strategy

Independent Advisor Alliance’s menu features a wide breadth of options depending on a client’s needs and objectives. Additionally, each advisor at the firm can choose their own investment strategies and methods of analysis, allowing for further variation and also necessitating that clients ask their individual advisor representative for further information on the investment process.

One option that advisors offer is discretionary accounts, where clients hand over control of daily trading decisions. Typical asset classes used in those accounts include individual stocks and bonds, no-load and load-waived mutual funds, ETFs and alternative investments, such as hedge funds and real estate investment trusts.

Clients also have access to model portfolios and third-party portfolio managers through Independent Advisor Alliance’s relationship with LPL Financial, a registered broker-dealer, as well as other third-party firms. In addition, clients can opt for an online robo-advisory program, which invests in mutual funds and ETFs.

Independent Advisor Alliance, LLC disciplinary disclosures

Independent Advisor Alliance has a clean disciplinary record, disclosing no material legal or disciplinary events within the last 10 years on paperwork it files with the SEC. This includes any civil, criminal or regulatory events involving the firm or its employees or affiliates. To learn more, view the firm’s disclosures filed with the SEC on its IAPD page.

4. Carroll Financial Associates, Inc.

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: Varies by account type
  • AUM: $3,486,027,227
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 112:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: 704-553-8006
  • Headquarters address:
    4521 Sharon Road, Suite 400
    Charlotte, NC 28211

About Carroll Financial Associates, Inc.

In business since 1980, Carroll Financial Associates, Inc. is the eponymous firm of its principal owner, Kristopher Carroll. The firm manages portfolios and provides financial planning services in the form of a written financial plan or consulting on specific topics, such as elder care or college savings. Clients will also find a robo-advisor program offering ETF strategies managed by Carrol Financial Advisors.

The firm’s clients include individual investors with and without a high net worth, including some retirement plan participants and physicians. Rounding out the firm’s client list are certain institutions, such as charitable organizations, pension and profit-sharing plans and businesses.

Carroll Financial Associates, Inc. is based in Charlotte, N.C., with additional offices in Raleigh, N.C., and Rock Hill, S.C.

Carroll Financial Associates, Inc. investing strategy

Clients of Carroll Financial Associates can choose between discretionary and non-discretionary management, depending on whether or not they prefer to retain control of daily trades in their account. Clients will typically participate in one of the firm’s numerous available portfolio management programs, which include programs sponsored by broker-dealer Cetera Advisors Networks, as well as wrap fee programs (meaning clients are charged a single fee for a bundle of services), non-wrap accounts, separately managed accounts and the firm’s automated investment program.

Typical investments used by Carroll Financial Associates in client portfolios include equities, fixed income, mutual funds and ETFs, and the firm also offers some of its own proprietary strategies. Occasionally, advisors may recommend that clients invest with unaffiliated independent investment managers.

Carroll Financial Associates, Inc. disciplinary disclosures

Carroll Financial Associates has a clean disciplinary record, meaning it discloses no legal or disciplinary actions against the company or its employees in the last 10 years that would be material to a potential client’s evaluation of the company or integrity of the management team. You can learn more about Carroll Financial Associates by visiting the firm’s IAPD page.

5. Parsec Financial

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: No set account minimum
  • AUM: $2,992,247,470
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 46:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: 828-255-0271
  • Headquarters address:
    6 Wall Street
    Asheville, NC 28801

About Parsec Financial

Parsec Financial is based in Asheville, N.C., with additional Tar Heel State offices in Charlotte, Tryon, Winston-Salem and Southern Pines. Clients of the firm include individuals who both are and are not considered high net worth, in addition to some institutional investors including charitable organizations; corporate pension, profit-sharing and 401(k) plans; endowments; and corporations and other businesses.

For individual investors, the firm provides portfolio management and financial planning, which includes help with budgeting, insurance, taxes and estate planning. In addition, the firm prepares taxes for clients, and also offers consulting for employee retirement plans and services for trusts.

Parsec Financial was founded in 1980 by its principal owner, William Barton Boyer. All employees can choose to become shareholders.

Parsec Financial investing strategy

Each client of Parsec Financial is assigned a model portfolio designed by the team to achieve a specific goal. Portfolios may include stocks, bonds, ETFs and no-load and load-waived mutual funds. Occasionally, Parsec recommends third-party advisors, typically for fixed income and alternative investments.

Overall, the firm is focused on creating a diversified portfolio that achieves tax efficiency and is suitable for the client. When selecting stocks, the team at Parsec Financial looks for high-quality companies usually with market capitalizations of $3 billion or more, as well as shareholder-friendly activities, such as dividend payments and share buybacks.

Parsec Financial disciplinary disclosures

Parsec Financial discloses no material legal or disciplinary actions over the last 10 years, giving it a clean record. For reference, the SEC requires that all registered investment advisors report such events involving either the company or its affiliates or employees in their Form ADV paperwork filed with the SEC. You can view this paperwork and learn more about the firm by visiting its IAPD page.

6. Bragg Financial Advisors, Inc.

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: Varies by account type
  • AUM: $1,775,499,964
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 109:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: 704-377-0261
  • Headquarters address:
    1031 S. Caldwell Street, Suite 200
    Charlotte, NC 28203

About Bragg Financial Advisors, Inc.

With roots dating back to 1997, Bragg Financial Advisors, Inc. is a family-owned business in Charlotte, N.C., that offers portfolio management, family office, financial planning and pension consulting services. The firm was founded by J. Frank Bragg Jr., currently the firm’s chairman emeritus. Today’s shareholders include Bragg’s three sons and son-in-law, who are part of the firm’s management team.

Clients of Bragg Financial Advisors include investors who both are and are not high net worth individuals, in addition to institutions such as charitable organizations, pension and profit-sharing plans, mutual funds, corporations and other businesses.

Bragg Financial Advisors, Inc. investing strategy

Bragg Financial Advisors typically manages client money through a discretionary relationship, meaning the advisor controls the daily trading decisions without first getting the client’s express approval.

The firm offers the following seven portfolio models to which clients can be assigned:

  • Aggressive Allocation with Emphasis on Capital Appreciation: 80% to 100% equity and 0% to 20% fixed income
  • Aggressive Allocation with Emphasis on Capital Appreciation: 70% to 90% equity and 10% to 30% fixed income
  • Moderately Aggressive Allocation with Primary Emphasis on Capital Appreciation and Secondary Emphasis on Income: 60% to 80% equity and 20% to 40% fixed income
  • Moderate Allocation with Emphasis on Capital Appreciation and Income: 50% to 70% equity and 30% to 50% fixed income
  • Moderately Conservative Allocation with Emphasis on Capital Appreciation, Capital Preservation and Income: 40% to 60% equity and 40% to 60% fixed income
  • Moderately Conservative Allocation with Emphasis on Capital Preservation, Income and Moderate Capital Appreciation: 30% to 50% equity and 50% to 70% fixed income
  • Conservative Allocation with Emphasis on Capital Preservation and Income. Capital Appreciation is Secondary: 20% to 40% equity and 60% to 80% fixed income

Typical assets used in client portfolios include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate investment trusts, ETFs, CDs, unit investment trusts and money market instruments, as well as other equivalents to cash. Clients particularly interested in getting exposure to small cap growth stocks can take advantage of a specific portfolio consisting mostly of stocks from small companies.

Bragg Financial Advisors, Inc. disciplinary disclosures

Bragg Financial Advisors reports no disciplinary events in its Form ADV paperwork, meaning it has a clean record. The SEC requires that all registered investment advisors report any civil, criminal or regulatory events involving the firm or its employees or affiliates that would be material to a client’s evaluation of the company or its management team. For more details, view the firm’s IAPD page.

7. Colony Family Offices, LLC

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: $10 million
  • AUM: $1,774,103,067
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 70:1
  • Fee structure
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: 704-285-7300
  • Headquarters address:
    4250 Congress Street, Suite 175
    Charlotte, NC 28209

About Colony Family Offices, LLC

Colony Family Offices is based in Charlotte, N.C., with an additional office in Chapel Hill, N.C. The firm serves a limited number of ultra-wealthy individuals and families and institutions. Its services include wealth management and financial planning and consulting, addressing topics such as taxes, education, philanthropy, operations, risk management and insurance. The firm generally requires a minimum collective investment of $10 million for family accounts.

Founded in 2013, the firm is managed and principally owned by Eric Ridenour, who also serves as a wealth advisor at the firm.

Colony Family Offices, LLC investing strategy

The team at Colony Family Offices typically invests clients’ funds in separately managed accounts, mutual funds, ETFs and private funds, including hedge funds and private equity. The diversified portfolios the firm creates use both active and passive investments, and may include domestic and foreign investments. Advisors employ tactical moves to take advantage of short term investment opportunities or defend against losses.

The team enlists the help of Greycourt & Co., another registered investment advisor, for assistance with research (including asset allocation research) and manager due diligence.

Colony Family Offices, LLC disciplinary disclosures

Colony Family Offices has a clean disciplinary record. The firm discloses no legal or disciplinary events over the last 10 years that would materially impact a client’s evaluation of the firm or the integrity of the management team. Learn more about the firm and view its paperwork filed with the SEC on its IAPD page.

8. Dixon Hughes Goodman Wealth Advisors LLC

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: No set minimum (accounts under $500,000 pay a $5,000 minimum annual fee)
  • AUM: $1,691,612,578
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 206:1
  • Fee structure: 
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: 828-236-5898
  • Headquarters address:
    500 Ridgefield Court, Suite 100
    Asheville, NC 28806

About Dixon Hughes Goodman Wealth Advisors LLC

Headquartered in Asheville, N.C., Dixon Hughes Goodman Wealth Advisors has 19 offices total. The bulk of its geographic footprint lies within North Carolina, with a more limited presence in South Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and West Virginia.

The firm provides investment management and financial planning services to individuals, addressing topics like saving for retirement, education and other goals, as well as life events including the death of a spouse, divorcing or selling a business. About two-thirds of the firm’s clients are individual investors who do not qualify as high net worth, while the rest are high net worth individuals and institutions such as pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations, corporations and other businesses and educational trusts.

Dixon Hughes Goodman Wealth Advisors was founded in 1997 as an independent advisory firm. In 2004, it became part of Dixon Hughes Goodman, a large public accounting firm owned by its partners with offices throughout the Southeast.

Dixon Hughes Goodman Wealth Advisors LLC investing strategy

Dixon Hughes Goodman Wealth Advisors generally adheres to modern portfolio theory as its main investment strategy: With modern portfolio theory, diversification is espoused both across and within asset classes, and risk is minimized while returns are maximized. Clients’ asset allocations are designed to take into account both their risk tolerance and tax considerations.

The firm does not invest clients’ funds directly in individual stocks and bonds — instead, its portfolios use passive, low-cost, no-load mutual funds. Advisors avoid funds that actively try to pick stocks since they believe that costs often outweigh performance. The team also shies away from passive index funds, since they lack broad diversification.

Dixon Hughes Goodman Wealth Advisors LLC disciplinary disclosures

Dixon Hughes Goodman Wealth Advisors has a clean disciplinary record. The firm discloses no legal or disciplinary actions involving the company or its employees or affiliates over the last 10 years that would materially impact a client’s opinion of the firm or the integrity of the management team. Learn more by viewing the firm’s IAPD page.

9. Smith, Salley & Associates, LLC

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: $500,000
  • AUM: $1,691,469,449
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 40:1
  • Fee structure: 
    • A percentage of AUM
  • Firm phone number: 336-379-7556
  • Headquarters address:
    324 West Wendover Ave, Suite 301
    Greensboro, NC 27408

About Smith, Salley & Associates, LLC

The eponymous founders and principal owners of Smith, Salley & Associates LLC are Gregory Smith Jr. and Mackay Salley, who launched the firm in 2003 after co-managing the Franklin Street Trust Small Cap Fund. Smith serves as the firm’s CEO and president, while Salley is chairman and a member of the investment committee.

Today, the employee-owned firm serves individual investors — both those of high net worth and not — as well as a few banking and thrift institutions, charitable organizations and other businesses. Smith, Salley & Associates’ offerings include investment management and financial planning, addressing topics including insurance, taxes, estates, education funding, retirement, budgeting and cash flow. A minimum portfolio value of $500,000 is generally required.

Headquartered in Greensboro, N.C., the firm has an additional office in Walpole, Mass., in the Boston metro area.

Smith, Salley & Associates, LLC investing strategy

Smith, Salley & Associates typically invests clients’ money in individual stocks and bonds, based on a predetermined asset allocation. To make their recommendations, advisors use a fundamental research approach that digs into a specific company’s operations and financials. Advisors may use mutual funds or ETFs in special circumstances or when an account is too small to invest in individual securities.

Clients give their advisor discretionary control over their account, meaning clients do not need to sign off each trade. Advisors employ both long- and short-term strategies, including holding stocks for less than a year in order to capitalize on expected price changes. Advisors also use options in some cases.

Smith, Salley & Associates, LLC disciplinary disclosures

Smith, Salley & Associates discloses no material legal or disciplinary items in the last 10 years, thus giving it a clean record. This includes any civil, criminal or regulatory events involving either the firm or its employees or affiliates. Learn more about the firm on its IAPD page.

10. Salem Investment Counselors Inc

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: No set minimum
  • AUM: $1,640,685,984
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 52:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: 336-768-7230
  • Headquarters address:
    480 Shepherd Street
    Winston-Salem, NC 27103

About Salem Investment Counselors Inc

Salem Investment Counselors Inc first opened as a registered investment advisor in 1979 to manage the finances of a wealthy North Carolina family. In 1982, the firm began welcoming the general public as clients. Today, the firm, which is owned by its partners, serves individual investors, including high net worth individuals, as well as a few charitable organizations.

Clients of Salem Investment Counselors can expect to find financial planning and asset management services, typically on a discretionary basis (meaning the client allows advisors to make trading decisions on their behalf). The firm’s main office is in Winston-Salem, N.C., and it has an additional satellite office in Durham, N.C.

Salem Investment Counselors Inc investing strategy

According to the team at Salem Investment Counselors, “equities should be the foundation of most investment portfolios.” In particular, advisors look for established companies with high prospects for growth, small and medium-sized companies that are out of favor or not closely followed and companies with a high likelihood of being acquired.

In addition to equities, portfolios may also include bonds, ETFs, mutual funds, real estate investment trusts, master limited partnerships and private equity. The firm believes that in order to provide effective investment advice, it needs to consider the entirety of a client’s needs and financial circumstances.

Salem Investment Counselors Inc disciplinary disclosures

Salem Investment Counselors has a clean disciplinary record. It discloses no civil, criminal or regulatory actions or events in the last ten years involving the firm or its employees or affiliates that would materially impact a client’s view of the firm or management team. You can find more information on Salem Investment Counselors by visiting its IAPD page.

Financial advisors in North Carolina: FAQ

North Carolina is fairly tax-friendly for residents when it comes to income, estate and inheritance taxes. The state imposes a flat 5.25% income tax, meaning no matter how much money you earn you’ll pay that same rate. North Carolina residents do not currently pay state estate or inheritance taxes, though federal estate taxes could still apply.

While many advisors serve clients planning for, or already in, retirement, not every firm specializes in retirement planning. Thus, it’s your job to ask potential advisors about their areas of experience and expertise to make sure they can provide the services you need.

You’ll need to research and analyze a number of factors to make sure you find a financial advisor who is a good fit for your specific needs. To start, verify that potential advisors offer the specific services you want, such as retirement or cash flow planning. Keep in mind that some advisors focus mostly on managing your portfolio, and less on helping you with a financial plan.

You should also check that you plan to invest enough to meet the advisor’s minimum requirement. As for fees, are the advisors paid only by you, or do they also receive commissions for selling certain products? How much will their fees eat into your bottom line? These are questions worth asking as you continue your search. Finally, interview your financial advisor candidates to find out pertinent information, such as what types of clients they typically serve and if they have a lot of experience serving clients with your needs.

Some clients prefer a face-to-face relationship, where they can quickly get in their car for regular meetings with their financial advisor. That being said, plenty of firms also serve clients outside of their home cities and states, leaning on technology to allow for communication on a regular basis. In other words, it really depends on your personal preferences whether it is important for your advisor to have an office near you.

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Best Financial Advisors in San Francisco 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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Given the sheer number of options to choose from, finding the right financial advisor in San Francisco may feel like an uphill battle as steep as the city’s famous hills. What the search really comes down to is identifying your unique needs, which requires understanding your financial situation and goals and figuring out how much you’re willing to spend.

Still, it can feel overwhelming to sift through all of the firms and their data points to figure that out. In the hopes of making your search easier, we compiled the most pertinent information on San Francisco’s best financial advisors here. To identify the top advisors in San Francisco, we only considered firms that manage individual accounts and offer financial planning. We then ranked those firms based on assets under management (AUM), which is a general metric for the firm’s size, and client-to-advisor ratio, which indicates how much attention clients may receive.

Our ranking won’t definitively decide which firm may be the best choice for you, but it can help make your search easier. Take a look at our list below for the top firms in San Francisco and their highlights:

10 best financial advisors in San Francisco

Methodology and criteria

For our search, we looked at firms across the city of San Francisco. 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 November 19, 2020, but urge you to evaluate these firms on https://adviserinfo.sec.gov/.

1. Hall Capital Partners LLC

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: No set minimum
  • AUM: $41,599,805,285
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 4:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
    • Performance-based fees
  • Firm phone number: (415) 288-0544
  • Headquarters address:
    One Maritime Plaza, Sixth Floor
    San Francisco, CA 94111

About Hall Capital Partners LLC

Founder and co-chair Kathryn Hall originally started Hall Capital Partners LLC in 1994 to manage money for a few wealthy families and their private foundations. Today, the firm continues to provide investment services to high net worth individuals, a threshold the SEC defines as either $750,000 under management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million. The firm also works with institutional investors such as foundations, endowments and others. While Hall Capital Partners does not state a set minimum investment requirement, most of its clients are accredited investors, meaning they have particular investing privileges because they meet certain income or asset thresholds.

The firm is headquartered in San Francisco with an additional office in New York City. Hall Capital is privately owned, largely by the firm’s partners.

Hall Capital Partners LLC investing strategy

The team at Hall Capital Partners generally creates custom portfolios unique to each client. Typical asset classes used include global equities, fixed income, hedge funds, private equity and cash. The team also helps clients factor environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues into their investment decision making.

Hall Capital Partners does not buy and sell individual publicly traded stocks. Instead, client money is usually invested through underlying managers including private funds, separate accounts and some mutual funds. Final approval for these third-party managers is given by founder Kathryn Hall and the firm’s two chief investment officers.

Hall Capital Partners LLC disciplinary disclosures

Hall Capital Partners lists no disclosures over the last 10 years, giving the firm a clean disciplinary record. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires all registered investment advisors to disclose on their Form ADV paperwork any disciplinary actions against the company or an employee or affiliate that clients would find material to their evaluation of the firm or the integrity of the management team. To learn more, view the firm’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosures (IAPD) page.

2. Personal Capital Advisors Corporation

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: $100,000
  • AUM: $12,240,728,055
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 93:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
  • Firm phone number: (855) 855-8005
  • Headquarters address:
    250 Montgomery St, Suite 700
    San Francisco, CA 94104

About Personal Capital Advisors Corporation

Founded in March 2010, Personal Capital Advisors uses a combination of technology and professional financial advisors to offer portfolio management and financial planning services to individual investors both with and without a high net worth. Rounding out the firm’s client list are charitable organizations and other businesses. It typically requires a $100,000 minimum investment, though different tiers of service require a higher minimum relationship size.

The firm is headquartered in San Francisco, with additional offices in Atlanta; Redwood City, California; Dallas; and Denver. It is owned by Personal Capital Corporation.

Personal Capital Advisors Corporation investing strategy

The investing approach and available services provided by Personal Capital Advisors Corporation vary depending on the amount a client has invested. Clients with $100,000 to $200,000 to invest have portfolios of primarily exchange-traded funds (ETFs), while those with $200,000 to $1 million to invest get a custom portfolio of individual securities and ETFs created by two dedicated financial advisors. Meanwhile, private wealth clients with more than $1 million invested have access to even more services and investment vehicles, including private equity. All clients have access to the firm’s socially responsible investing platform.

In general, Personal Capital Advisors Corporation’s investment process emphasizes asset allocation and diversification over the analysis of individual securities. Investment portfolios are built and maintained by the firm’s investment committee, with limited use of outside portfolio managers. The firm also relies on portfolio management software to monitor client portfolios.

Personal Capital Advisors Corporation disciplinary disclosures

Personal Capital Advisors lists one disciplinary disclosure on its Form ADV paperwork filed with the SEC. The disclosure is related to an order entered against one of the firm’s affiliates, Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company, by the Kentucky Department of Insurance in 2013. The state regulatory agency found deficiencies in the company’s marketing and advertising of life insurance products after a market conduct examination, resulting in a $2,500 fine.

For more information on Personal Capital Advisors Corporation and to view its Form ADV, visit the firm’s IAPD page.

3. Jordan Park Group LLC

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: $50 million
  • AUM: $ 11,683,637,375
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 2:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
    • Performance-based fees
  • Firm phone number: (415) 417-3000
  • Headquarters address:
    100 Pine Street, Suite 2600
    San Francisco, California 94111

About Jordan Park Group LLC

Jordan Park Group’s bread and butter offerings are investment management and financial planning for high net worth individuals and families as well as institutions including foundations, charitable organizations, pooled investment vehicles and others. In addition, the team offers family office services, such as bill paying, tax and insurance analysis, budgeting and forecasting and charitable giving and estate planning.

Founded in 2017, this independent registered investment advisor has offices in San Francisco and New York. CEO and president Frank Ghali is the primary owner of the private firm.

Jordan Park Group LLC investing strategy

Jordan Park Group manages clients’ funds through discretionary relationships, meaning the client gives the advisor control over deciding what trades should be made in the account. The firm primarily invests client assets in one of three ways:

  • Separately managed accounts run by third parties
  • Directly in unaffiliated exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds or other investments
  • Through investment vehicles managed by Jordan Park that aggregate client money together, known as pooled investment vehicles

The firm also has a specific advisory team to assist clients interested in aligning their values with their investments in areas such as the environment, social and governance.

Jordan Park Group LLC disciplinary disclosures

Jordan Park Group has a clean disciplinary record. This means the firm has had no disclosures over the last 10 years against the company or its employees or affiliates that would be material to a client’s evaluation of the firm. To learn more, you can visit Jordan Park Group’s IAPD page.

4. Baker Street Advisors, LLC

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: $5 million
  • AUM: $10,200,000,000
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 31:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (415) 344-6180
  • Headquarters address:
    575 Market Street, Suite 600
    San Francisco, CA 94105

About Baker Street Advisors, LLC

The team at Baker Street Advisors, LLC caters to high net worth individuals and charitable organizations, providing them investment advisory services. Separately, the firm also provides financial planning services, such as trust and estate planning, insurance and risk management, bill paying, income tax consulting and more. The firm generally requires its clients to have accounts of at least $5 million.

Baker Street Advisors was founded in 2003 as a San Francisco-based registered investment advisor. Today, the firm is owned by its partners as well as Affiliated Managers Group (AMG), a publicly traded asset management company that has also taken equity interests in some other investment management firms.

Baker Street Advisors, LLC investing strategy

Rather than recommending that clients buy and sell specific stocks, the team at Baker Street Advisors suggests that clients invest with independent, third-party investment advisors, mutual funds or private investment pools — including hedge funds and private equity funds — that align with their objectives.

These unaffiliated fund managers have control over trading decisions in the client’s account. Baker Street Advisors’s role in the process is to identify the appropriate managers based on a client’s goals, risk tolerance and other factors, and then closely monitor their investment strategies and performance. The firm recommends how client money is spread among these managers and when changes are necessary.

Baker Street Advisors, LLC disciplinary disclosures

The firm has a clean disciplinary record over the last 10 years. This means that neither Barker Street Advisors nor its employees or affiliates have been subject to any civil, criminal or regulatory actions within that time frame. Learn more about the firm through its public disclosures available on its IAPD page.

5. Osterweis Capital Management

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: Varies by account type
  • AUM: $6,127,968,436
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 7:1
  • Fee structure: 
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (415) 434-4441
  • Headquarters address:
    One Maritime Plaza, Suite 800
    San Francisco, CA 94111

About Osterweis Capital Management

John Osterweis, the firm’s current chairman and co-chief investment officer, founded Osterweis Capital Management in 1983 to manage money for wealthy families, foundations, endowments and other institutions. Based out of San Francisco, Osterweis Capital Management is currently privately owned by its employees and two outside directors, with no one individual owning more than 25% of the firm.

Presently, the team at Osterweis Capital Management offers portfolio management services primarily to high net worth individuals, though its current client base also includes some individuals who do not meet this threshold as well as trusts, institutions, mutual funds and other entities. In addition, the firm offers certain financial planning services, including the preparation of personal net worth statements, cash flow projections and other reports that can help clients define their goals and risk tolerance.

Osterweis Capital Management investing strategy

On the whole, Osterweis Capital Management takes a fundamental approach to investing, meaning it is attentive to the particulars of the companies in which it invests in addition to noting the overall market environment. The firm typically uses managed accounts to invest client money in one of five strategies: Core Equity, Strategic Income, Flexible Balanced, Small Cap Growth and Total Return. Clients can further customize these strategies to their individual goals and risk tolerance if they are so inclined.

Accounts usually include stocks, bonds or a mix of the two. Generally, Osterweis focuses on U.S. stocks, with international equities serving as a potentially important but secondary option.  In addition, the team also serves as an advisor to a handful of mutual funds that are available to the general public and require much lower investment minimums compared to the firm’s separately managed accounts.

Osterweis Capital Management disciplinary disclosures

Osterweis Capital Management has a clean disciplinary record, meaning it has no civil, criminal or regulatory events from over the last 10 years to disclose in its Form ADV paperwork filed with the SEC. You can learn more about the firm by visiting its IAPD page.

6. Wetherby Asset Management

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: $10 million
  • AUM: $5,340,918,623
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 13:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
    • Other (negotiated or contingent fee and/or reporting fee)
  • Firm phone number: (415) 399-9159
  • Headquarters address:
    580 California Street, Eighth Floor
    San Francisco, CA 94104

About Wetherby Asset Management

Founded in 1990 by Debra Wetherby, Wetherby Asset Management provides investment management and financial planning services, such as income tax planning, education planning, risk management, retirement planning and estate planning. The firm’s clients are primarily high net worth individuals, although it does serve some individual investors who do not meet the threshold for high net worth (defined by the SEC as having $750,000 under management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million) despite its $10 million account minimum requirement. Wetherby Asset Management also serves many institutions including charitable organizations, foundations and endowments, among others.

Today, Wetherby Asset Management is primarily owned by its employees, with 23 team members holding ownership along with four non-employees. In addition to its San Francisco headquarters, the firm also has locations in Los Angeles and New York.

Wetherby Asset Management investing strategy

With a few exceptions, Wetherby Asset Management typically recommends that clients invest in open-end, no-load mutual funds or other pooled investment vehicles rather than investing directly in individual stocks, bonds or ETFs. Some client assets are put into private investment funds and separate account vehicles, or strategies managed by unaffiliated advisors, some of which do invest primarily in individual equities and bonds.

The team at Wetherby also addresses how clients can advance certain social and environmental goals in addition to financial returns. In fact, it has implemented impact investments across nearly all asset classes.

Wetherby Asset Management disciplinary disclosures

Wetherby Asset Management reports no disciplinary disclosures in its Form ADV paperwork filed with the SEC. For reference, the SEC requires all registered investment advisors to disclose any civil, criminal or regulatory events from within the last 10 years involving the company or its employees or affiliates. To learn more about Wetherby Asset Management, go to the firm’s IAPD page.

7. Seven Post Investment Office LP

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: $50 million
  • AUM: $5,215,178,743
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 4:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
    • Performance-based fees
  • Firm phone number: (415) 341-9300
  • Headquarters address:
    One Montgomery Street, Suite 3150
    San Francisco, California 94104

About Seven Post Investment Office LP

Out of its single location in San Francisco, Seven Post Investment Office LP provides investment management, financial planning and family office services to high net worth individuals and institutions. Notably, the firm generally prefers to work with clients who have investable assets over $100 million and a portfolio with a value of at least $50 million.

Seven Post Investment Office was founded in 2011 and is privately owned by its managing directors and principals.

Seven Post Investment Office LP investing strategy

Seven Post Investment Office typically takes control of the day-to-day management of a client’s account, known as a discretionary relationship. Once the team and the client have discussed their goals, risk tolerance and other factors that may impact their portfolio, the team at Seven Post Investment Office will recommend a custom asset allocation and portfolio.

Advisors at the firm lean on some core investments for the foundation of client portfolios, and then tack on ancillary strategies based on the client’s needs and risk tolerance. The firm often taps third-party managers and model portfolio providers for outside recommendations.

Seven Post Investment Office LP disciplinary disclosures

Seven Post Investment Office has a clean disciplinary record, meaning there have not been any material disciplinary actions against the firm or an employee or affiliate within the last 10 years. The SEC requires all registered investment advisors to disclose such information in their Form ADV paperwork. You can view these public disclosure forms for Seven Post Investment Office on its  IAPD page.

8. B|O|S

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  • Minimum assets required: $3 million for individuals
  • AUM: $4,627,347,436
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 29:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (415) 781-8535
  • Headquarters address:
    345 California Street, Suite 1100
    San Francisco, California 94104

About B|O|S

Legally known as Bingham, Osborn and Scarborough LLC and branded as B|O|S, this firm is a registered investment advisor headquartered in San Francisco with an additional Silicon Valley office in Redwood City, California. Its roots go back to its founding as an independent advisor in 1985. The firm is owned by its principals, both active and retired, and the asset management firm Kudu Investment Management also holds a minority interest.

B|O|S primarily serves high net worth individuals, though it also serves individuals who do not meet this threshold, in addition to charitable organizations and other institutions. The firm generally requires individual investors to have at least $3 million in investable assets, with a higher minimum requirement for institutional investors.

Clients of B|O|S can expect to find investment management and financial planning services. The latter includes recommendations for estate, tax, insurance, legacy and retirement planning, generally at no additional fee.

B|O|S investing strategy

B|O|S typically recommends managed portfolios, such as mutual funds, ETFs, annuities and separately managed accounts consisting of individual stocks and bonds. Occasionally, B|O|S suggests alternative investments like limited partnerships, hedge funds and private equity investments.

In general, the firm prefers low-cost investments consisting of large and small U.S. companies, U.S. and foreign bonds, specialty U.S. common stock, foreign stocks, commodities (such as gold and silver) and alternative investments. The firm pays close attention to the downside. The team has created a specific approach called Risk Adjustment Strategy that allows the firm to change the mix of stocks and bonds in participating clients’ portfolios when the team believes analytics point to heightened risk of a major, long-term market decline. The team believes this can help mitigate the effects of major and long-lasting bear markets.

B|O|S disciplinary disclosures

B|O|S has no disciplinary disclosures to report on its Form ADV. This includes any material disciplinary actions — including civil, criminal and regulatory events — over the last decade that involve either the firm or its employees or affiliates. You can get more information about the firm by visiting its IAPD page.

9. Parallel Advisors, LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: $240,000
  • AUM: $3,168,592,443
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 68:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (415) 728-9198
  • Headquarters address:
    150 Spear Street, Suite 950
    San Francisco, California 94105

About Parallel Advisors, LLC

Founded in 2006, Parallel Advisors, LLC is headquartered in San Francisco, with additional offices in Englewood, Colo.; Dayton, Ohio; Honolulu, Hawaii; Oklahoma City; and Lafayette, Calif. Services offered by Parallel Advisors include investment management, retirement plan services and financial planning, addressing topics such as estate planning and insurance. The firm also offers tax preparation services.

Parallel Advisors’s client base consists largely of individual investors who are not considered high net worth as well as high net worth individuals and families. The firm also serves institutions like pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations, corporations, businesses and others.

Because the firm generally requires a minimum fee of $3,000 for its investment advisory services, it recommends that clients have at least $240,000 in investable assets so their fee does not exceed 2% of their managed assets. For investors starting out, however, the firm also offers an automated, online investing program that requires only a $5,000 account balance.

The firm is owned by its founder and CEO Jerry Rendic.

Parallel Advisors, LLC investing strategy

Parallel Advisors invests client money primarily in various fixed income securities, mutual funds and ETFs, as well as with independent managers. The firm also uses options as well as short-term purchases, meaning stocks sold within one year. Clients give the firm discretionary control over their account, which means the team can make the daily trading decisions without the client needing to sign off.

When researching various investment products, the team uses numerous methods of analysis. This includes fundamental factors, such as studying current data to predict future performance, and more technical analysis, such as analyzing historical relationships and patterns around prices and market trends.

Parallel Advisors, LLC disciplinary disclosures

Parallel Advisors has a clean record. The firm discloses no material disciplinary actions over the last 10 years against the firm or its employees or affiliates on its Form ADV paperwork filed with the SEC. You can learn more about the firm by visiting its IAPD page.

10. Sentry Advisors, LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: $1 million
  • AUM: $1,855,868,397
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 22:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
  • Firm phone number: (415) 229-9070
  • Headquarters address:
    100 Pine Street, 27th Floor
    San Francisco, CA 94111

About Sentry Advisors, LLC

Founded in 2015, this registered investment advisor serves individual investors both with and without a high net worth as well as charitable organizations, trusts, businesses and pension plans. The firm, which generally requires a minimum investment of $1 million for its services, provides investment management and financial planning. The latter can include a comprehensive analysis of a client’s financial life, or a consultation on a single topic.

Headquartered in San Francisco, the firm has an additional office in Issaquah, Wash.  Its owners are its managing members, Alex Flagg and Greg Powell.

Sentry Advisors, LLC investing strategy

Sentry Advisors says it does not recommend one primary type of security over another, since clients’ needs vary greatly. Instead, the firm provides a long list of securities it recommends in its individually managed accounts, ranging from the traditional stocks, bonds and mutual funds to sophisticated options and futures contracts, venture capital or private equity, to alternative investments such as variable life insurance, annuities, real estate and oil and gas. Advisors also may recommend mutual funds offered through an affiliated company, or that clients invest with outside sub-advisors.

To choose the recommended investments, the team utilizes many different types of analysis, including digging into a specific company and industry on factors such as the management team and product line, as well as more technical analysis, such as studying historical price and volume patterns and relationships.

The firm notes that tax efficiency is typically not its primary consideration when managing a client’s assets, unless specifically said otherwise. So clients should be sure to work with a tax expert since the firm’s strategies and investments may have significant tax consequences.

Sentry Advisors, LLC disciplinary disclosures

Sentry Advisors reports no material disciplinary actions against either the firm or its employees or affiliates. This includes any civil, criminal or regulatory events from within the past 10 years. Read more about Sentry Advisors by visiting its IAPD page.

Financial advisors in San Francisco: FAQ

When it comes to income taxes, California is generally considered a high-tax state, with a top income tax rate of 13.30% for single filers with incomes greater than $1 million.  The state does not have its own estate or inheritance tax, although a federal estate tax may still apply for the very wealthy.

No, each advisor has their own unique specialties, which may include retirement planning or something else, such as family office services. Be sure to ask each potential advisor for their list of specialized services, as well as the types of clients they typically work with, to help you find the best fit for your needs.

To find an advisor you trust, you’ll want to go through a careful vetting process. Ask all potential advisors a list of specific questions to make sure you fully understand how they are paid and what your all-in costs will be. Also take the time to learn about any disciplinary actions they may have by using either FINRA’s BrokerCheck or the SEC’s Action Lookup.

You also might be able to more quickly narrow your search to reliable, experienced advisors by looking for advisors with certifications that require adhering to certain ethical standards and passing an exam. Certified financial planner (CFP) is one such example of a highly esteemed designation. You can find CFPs in your area by using the search tool at letsmakeaplan.org.

The designation “financial advisor” is a largely unregulated nomer, meaning anyone who sells insurance, stocks or other financial services can use the title. A fiduciary financial advisor, however, must act as a fiduciary to their clients, meaning they are legally required to put their clients’ best interests above their own. By working with a fiduciary financial advisor, you can be more confident that your advisor is making the best recommendations for you.

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