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Best Financial Advisors in Houston 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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With the number of financial advisors in Houston, choosing a financial advisor can be a challenge. Finding the right advisor in the largest city in Texas really comes down to determining the right fit is for your financial situation, which means understanding your needs and goals and how much you can spend.

That being said, we understand digging through all the firms and data points is an undertaking, so we compiled the most important information here for you to make it easier. To identify the best advisors in Houston, we only looked at firms that manage individual accounts and offer financial planning services. We then ranked these firms based on assets under management (AUM), which serves as a general metric for the firm’s size, and client-to-advisor ratio, which indicates how much attention you may get as a client.

Our ranking does not necessarily indicate which firm may be best for you, but it can help simplify the shopping experience. Look at our list below for the top firms in Houston and their key highlights:

10 best financial advisors in Houston

Methodology and criteria

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

1. Avalon Investment & Advisory

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  • Minimum assets required: $5 million
  • AUM: $8,440,689,324
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 36:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Performance-based fees
    • Other (solicitation and client servicing arrangement with other advisor; model portfolios)
  • Firm phone number: (713) 238-2050
  • Headquarters address:
    2929 Allen Parkway, Suite 3000
    Houston, TX 77019-7124

About Avalon Investment & Advisory

Founded in 2001, Avalon Investment & Advisory is an independent firm owned by its employees, clients and investors, including the private equity firm Cynosure Group. It has offices in Houston and San Antonio.

The firm offers financial planning and portfolio management services, primarily to high net worth individuals and families, who the SEC defines as those with at least $750,000 under management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million. Avalon Investment & Advisory generally requires an account of at least $5 million to act as an investment manager, though private funds the firm oversees may have lower investment minimums.

Avalon Investment & Advisory investing strategy

Avalon Investment & Advisory considers each client’s financial situation when creating a personalized asset allocation strategy. That strategy may include a mix of the firm’s fixed income or equity accounts, as well as specialty accounts or private funds.

Taking a fundamental, long-term approach, Avalon Investments & Advisory aims to choose investments that will provide long-term capital gains and higher after-tax returns.

Avalon Investment & Advisory disciplinary disclosures

Avalon Investment & Advisory has had no disclosures over the past 10 years. All registered investment advisors must disclose in documents with the SEC any civil, criminal or regulatory actions against it, its employees or affiliates that clients might consider material when evaluating the firm or its management team. For more information on the firm, visit its IAPD page.

2. Linscomb & Williams

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  • Minimum assets required: $1 million
  • AUM: $3,844,536,498
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 215:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (713) 840-1000
  • Headquarters address:
    1400 Post Oak Blvd., Ste. 1000
    Houston, TX 77056

About Linscomb & Williams

Lawyers Dan Linscomb and George Williams founded Linscomb & WIlliams in 1971. Encore Bancshares purchased the firm in 2005 and was subsequently purchased by Cadence Bank in 2012, but Williams still works at the firm as a director and wealth advisor.

Linscomb & Williams is a full-service firm that provides comprehensive financial planning, investment management and general financial consulting. It mostly serves individuals and high net worth individuals, though it also works with institutional investors. An account of at least $1 million is generally required.

The firm has four Texas offices (in Houston, The Woodlands, Austin and Fredericksburg), and others in Birmingham, Ala. and in Atlanta.

Linscomb & Williams investing strategy

Linscomb & Williams creates individualized portfolios for its clients based on their financial situation. Portfolios may focus on capital growth or stable income, and invest in either mutual funds or individual stocks.

The firm has an investment committee that is responsible for choosing which securities to recommend to clients. When evaluating investments, the committee uses several criteria, including:

  • Prior performance history
  • Portfolio manager data
  • Qualitative and quantitative due diligence
  • Compatibility with the rest of the portfolio

Linscomb & Williams disciplinary disclosures

Linscomb & Williams does not have any disclosures. For reference, the SEC requires all registered investment advisors to disclose in their Form ADV paperwork any civil, criminal or regulatory actions against the firm, its employees or affiliates within the last 10 years that clients might consider material when evaluating the firm or its management team. For more information, visit the firm’s IAPD page.

3. USCA RIA LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: $50,000
  • AUM: $2,764,481,331
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 40:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (713) 366-0500
  • Headquarters address:
    4444 Westheimer, Suite G500
    Houston, TX 77027

About USCA RIA LLC

Founded in 2010, USCA RIA LLC is a financial services firm that is privately owned, primarily by investors and current and former employees. The firm, which also conducts business under the name U.S. Capital Advisors, of which it is a subsidiary, offers wealth management and financial planning to individuals, as well as research, banking and finance services to institutions and companies.

The majority of the firm’s clients are individuals and high net worth individuals, though it also serves various types of institutional investors. It has two offices in Houston, as well as locations in Austin and Dallas.

USCA RIA LLC investing strategy

USCA RIA customizes portfolios based on an individual client’s needs and objectives. Additionally, investment strategies may vary depending on the advisor overseeing the account as well as whether the account is managed by a USCA RIA advisor or a third party.

That being said, the firm’s strategies typically fall into one of the following categories:

  • Equity — Capital Appreciation: This strategy focuses primarily on growing capital and may include a secondary focus on dividend income. It may involve selling covered calls.
  • Equity — Income and Capital Appreciation: This strategy focuses on dividend income, with a secondary focus on capital appreciation. It may include a fixed income allocation of up to 30%, as well as selling covered calls or uncovered puts.
  • Equity — Covered Call Strategy: This strategy primarily involves selling covered calls against equity positions in a portfolio.
  • Balanced: This strategy includes a mix of fixed income, equities and cash, based on a client’s financial situation. It may include selling or buying puts and covered calls, or selling uncovered puts.
  • Fixed Income: Cash and fixed income make up 80% of this portfolio, with the rest invested in equities, including preferred securities.

USCA RIA LLC disciplinary disclosures

USCA RIA doesn’t have any disclosures, meaning there aren’t any civil, criminal or regulatory actions against the firm, its employees or affiliates. The SEC requires all registered investment advisors to disclose such events that clients might consider material. You can visit the firm’s IAPD page for more information.

4. Paul Comstock Partners

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  • Minimum assets required: $5 million
  • AUM: $2,391,151,636
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 14:1
  • Fee structure:
    • Percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (713) 977-2694
  • Headquarters address:
    6363 Woodway Drive, Suite 620
    Houston, TX 77057

About Paul Comstock Partners

Paul Comstock Partners is a fee-only registered investment advisory firm owned primarily by its CEO, Alison Comstock Moss. Moss’ father, Paul Comstock, founded the firm in 1983 and remains a board member and minority owner.

Paul Comstock Partners primarily serves high net worth individuals families with investment assets of at least $5 million, and aims to provide them investment advisory and wealth advisory services as an outsourced “chief investment officer.” The firm’s clients also include foundations and tax-exempt organizations. It has one office in Houston.

Paul Comstock Partners investing strategy

Paul Comstock Partners aims to create a diversified portfolio of stocks and real estate as well as liquid fixed-income assets. The firm recommends investment managers that clients can use to create such a portfolio.

Advisors construct portfolios aimed at minimizing risk, using a mix of both traditional and alternative assets. The firm takes a long-term investing view, and believes that a diversified portfolio will deliver returns, even with short-term fluctuations in value.

Paul Comstock Partners disciplinary disclosures

Paul Comstock Partners has had no disclosures over the past 10 years. The SEC requires all registered investment advisors to disclose in documents filed with the SEC any civil, criminal or regulatory actions against the firm, its employees or affiliates. For more information on the firm, visit its IAPD page.

5. GFS Advisors LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: Not specified
  • AUM: $2,013,868,221
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 25:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Performance-based fees
  • Firm phone number: (713) 968-0400
  • Headquarters address:
    1330 Post Oak Blvd., Suite 2100
    Houston, TX 77056

About GFS Advisors LLC

Private equity firm Lee Equity Partners, LLC principally owns GFS Advisors, which was founded in 2007. The firm is affiliated with Global Financial Services LLC, which serves as a broker-dealer allowing clients to purchase securities directly.

GFS Advisors provides investment advisory and financial planning services to primarily high net worth individuals, though it also works with a number of private investment companies, as well as charitable organizations and other businesses. It has one office in Houston.

GFS Advisors LLC investing strategy

GFS Advisors creates custom portfolios for each client based on their individual financial situation, risk tolerance and long-term goals. These portfolios may include a variety of investments, including individual stocks and bonds, mutual funds or exchange-traded funds, alternative investments and other assets.

To select investments, GFS Advisors considers a variety of factors, including performance, management tenure, portfolio turnover, fees and determinations derived from quantitative analysis, which looks at a company’s balance sheets. Once portfolios are created, GFS Advisors monitors them on an ongoing basis, reallocating assets as needed based on market conditions or other factors.

GFS Advisors LLC disciplinary disclosures

All registered investment advisors must disclose in documents with the SEC any civil, criminal or regulatory actions against it, its employees or affiliates that clients might consider material when evaluating the firm. GFS Advisors reports one disclosure on its Form ADV paperwork involving Global Financial Services, the registered broker-dealer with which the firm is affiliated.

In 2014, Global Financial Services paid $100,000 to settle allegations that it did not implement proper policies to detect and report suspicious activities. Global Financial Services did not admit or deny the allegations.

For more information on the firm and its disciplinary history, visit its IAPD page.

6. Americana Partners, LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: Not specified
  • AUM: $1,986,715,329
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 17:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (713) 429-5552
  • Headquarters address:
    811 Louisiana Street, Suite 2420
    Houston, TX 77002

About Americana Partners, LLC

President and founder Jason Fertitta launched Americana Partners, LLC in 2019, after leaving Morgan Stanley along with a team of 11 co-workers. Fertitta is the primary owner of the firm, which has offices in Dallas, Austin and Houston.

Americana Partners offers investment and wealth management, and a range of financial planning and consulting services, primarily to individuals and high net worth individuals. It can also serve trusts, estates, charitable organizations and businesses.

Americana Partners, LLC investing strategy

Americana Partners creates individualized portfolios for clients using a variety of analysis techniques. Portfolios primarily include traditional assets, though the firm may also recommend that some clients invest in privately placed securities, such as hedge funds.

In addition to stocks, bonds and exchange-traded funds, portfolios also may include investments with third-party managers. To select those, the firm evaluates managers based on those advisors’ public documents, as well as their investment strategy and past performance.

Americana Partners, LLC disciplinary disclosures

Americana Partners has had no disclosures since its founding. All registered investment advisors must disclose in documents with the SEC any civil, criminal or regulatory actions that involve either the firm or its employees or affiliates and that clients might consider material when evaluating the firm or its team. For more information on Americana Partners, visit its IAPD page.

7. STA Wealth Management, LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: $500,000
  • AUM: $1,734,199,264
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 57:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
    • Other (management of pooled investment vehicles)
  • Firm phone number: (281) 822-8800
  • Headquarters address:
    800 Town and Country Blvd, Suite 410
    Houston, TX 77024

About STA Wealth Management, LLC

Radio talk show host Lance Roberts founded Streettalk Advisors in 2002 with business partner Michael Smith. Partner Luke Patterson joined the firm in 2004, and they changed its name to STA Wealth Management in 2013.

Smith and Patterson still work at the firm, serving as president and chief executive officer/chief investment officer, respectively. They co-own STA Wealth Management along with the firm’s chief operating officer and executive vice presidents.

STA Wealth Management provides discretionary investment management services — meaning it has the authority to sign off on investing decisions without the clients express approval — primarily to individuals and high net worth individuals. It also offers stand-alone financial planning services. A $500,000 minimum household asset level is generally required to open a traditional account at the firm.

In addition to its Houston headquarters, the firm has a location in Sugar Land.

STA Wealth Management, LLC investing strategy

STA Wealth Management generally advises clients on a discretionary basis, meaning the firm has the authority to make decisions on a client’s behalf, and only in very limited cases will it offer non-discretionary management.

In general, client portfolios are based on the information they provide at the outset of the relationship, namely their net worth and investment goals. STA Wealth Management uses research from a variety of sources to build diversified portfolios that may include both short-term and long-term purchases, as well as short sales, margin transactions and options.

STA Wealth Management, LLC disciplinary disclosures

STA Wealth Management does not have any disciplinary disclosures. All registered investment advisors must disclose such incidents in documents with the SEC that clients might consider material when evaluating the firm or its management team. You can get more information on the firm by viewing these documents on its IAPD page.

8. Chilton Capital Management LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: No account minimum
  • AUM: $1,595,201,430
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 30:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
  • Firm phone number: (713) 650-1995
  • Headquarters address:
    1177 West Loop South, Suite 1750
    Houston, TX 77027

About Chilton Capital Management LLC

Founded in 1996, Chilton Capital Management is now majority-owned by Knapp Brothers, LLC, a private company owned by firm president, David M. Underwood Jr., and John Knapp Jr., with other employees of Chilton Capital Management owning the remaining 45% of the firm.

The firm offers fee-only investment management and financial planning, mostly to individuals who do and do not qualify as high-net worth individuals per the SEC’s definition (at least $750,000 under management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million). It also serves institutional investors. The firm has its headquarters in Houston.

Chilton Capital Management LLC investing strategy

In general, Chilton Capital Management strives to achieve consistent returns while using an investment strategy that aligns with a client’s goals and objectives. The firm offers a broad array of strategies, each of which is overseen by a dedicated investment team and includes:

  • Growth & Income Strategy: Focused on providing cash flow and preserving capital.
  • High-Quality Tax-Exempt Strategy: Aims to maximize income with the least amount of risk.
  • REIT Strategy Strategy: Uses real estate investment trusts and real estate-related entities as a complement to multi-manager portfolios.
  • Swan Defined Risk: Designed to generate income in all markets and protect investments in down markets.

When creating portfolios for clients, Chilton Capital Management uses a variety of investments, including both public and private stocks and bonds, master-limited partnerships, real estate investment trusts, options and funds.

Chilton Capital Management LLC disciplinary disclosures

Chilton Capital Management has had no disclosures since its founding. All registered investment advisors must disclose in documents with the SEC any civil, criminal or regulatory actions against it, its employees or affiliates that clients might consider material when evaluating the firm or its management team. You can learn more about the firm by visiting Chilton Capital Management’s IAPD page.

9. Corda Investment Management, LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: Not specified, but minimum annual fee of $5,000
  • AUM: $1,159,000,000
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 76:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
  • Firm phone number: (713) 439-0665
  • Headquarters address:
    8955 Katy Freeway, Suite 200
    Houston, TX 77024

About Corda Investment Management, LLC

Firm president and chief investment officer Bonner C. Barnes founded Corda Investment Management in 1999 and remains its primary owner. The firm offers portfolio management and pension consulting. It provides its services primarily to individual investors, both who do and do not meet the SEC’s definition of high net worth, as well as pension and profit-sharing plans, trusts, estates, charitable organizations and businesses.

The firm has its headquarters in Houston and additional offices in Austin and Dallas.

Corda Investment Management, LLC investing strategy

Corda Investment Management creates customized portfolios for its clients, taking into account their personal financial situation. For clients who own a large position in a single company, Corda Investment Management offers an options strategy designed to help them unwind the position in order to create a more diversified portfolio.

Corda Investment Management looks for sustainable businesses when making investment decisions. To identify sustainable businesses, the Corda Investment Management team evaluates companies based on their impact on environmental, social and governance factors.

Corda Investment Management, LLC disciplinary disclosures

Corda Investment Management reports no disclosures from within the last 10 years 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 actions against it, its employees or its affiliates that clients might consider material when evaluating the firm or its management team. You can view the firm’s IAPD page for more information.

10. Inscription Capital, LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: No account minimum
  • AUM: $1,080,534,119
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 16:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (713) 673-8999
  • Headquarters address:
    2925 Richmond Avenue, Suite 425
    Houston, TX 77098

About Inscription Capital, LLC

Former UBS brokers Brian Bova, David Leeds Eustis and Marc Oster founded Inscription Capital in 2018 and remain the firm’s co-owners. The firm provides financial planning, consulting, investment management and family office services primarily to individuals, both high net worth and otherwise. It has two offices in Houston.

Inscription Capital, LLC investing strategy

Inscription Capital uses customized models and portfolio strategies that may include individual securities, funds, structured products, options and alternative investments. Additionally, the firm may also recommend that clients invest a portion of their portfolios with external managers. In some cases, Inscription Capital may recommend that clients use the Betterment Institutional robo-advising platform to implement their portfolios.

In general, Inscription Capital takes a long-term approach to investing, aiming to hold assets for at least a year. However, advisors may sell holdings after a shorter period to rebalance a portfolio, meet client needs or respond to a change in the fundamental value of the asset or sector.

Inscription Capital, LLC disciplinary disclosures

Inscription Capital reports no disciplinary disclosures within the last 10 years. All registered investment advisors must disclose in their Form ADV documents filed with the SEC any civil, criminal or regulatory actions against either the firm or its employees or affiliates. For more information, visit Inscription Capital’s IAPD page.

Financial advisors in Houston: FAQs

While there’s no state income tax in Texas or state inheritance or estate taxes, Houston residents still need to consider the impact of local property taxes on their portfolio. It’s also always important to plan for federal income taxes.

No. While many financial advisor firms can help you with retirement planning, it’s not the primary goal of every firm. Some advisors will focus solely on building your portfolio, while others may take a more holistic approach and address other issues, such as tax minimization or risk management.

It’s typically better for you to hire a fee-only financial advisor. Fee-only advisors earn money from fees their clients pay — whether an hourly rate, flat fee or a percentage of assets under management — but they do not receive commissions for making recommendations or selling products.

On the other hand, fee-based advisors may receive commissions for selling certain products in addition to the fees their clients pay, which could create a conflict of interest. Working with an advisor with fewer potential conflicts of interest can leave you more confident that decisions regarding your portfolio are being made with your best interest in mind.

It’s important to hire a fiduciary financial advisor because this will provide assurance that your advisor is making recommendations based on what’s best for you, rather than what will earn them more money. A fiduciary advisor is legally and ethically bound to put your interests before their own.

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Review of Churchill Management Group

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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Reviewed By

Churchill Management Group provides investment management and financial planning services, primarily to individual investors. The independent firm is a registered investment advisor with 57 employees, 48 of whom serve as investment advisors. It is headquartered in Los Angeles and has an additional 33 offices across the country. The team currently oversees more than $6.5 billion in assets under management (AUM).

All information included in this profile is accurate as of August 28, 2020. For more information, please consult Churchill Management Group’s website.

Assets under management: $6,552,311,084
Minimum investment: $750,000 preferred
Fee structure: A percentage of AUM
Headquarters: 5900 Wilshire Boulevard
Suite 400
Los Angeles, CA 90036
https://www.churchillmanagement.com/
(877) 937-7110

Overview of Churchill Management Group

Churchill Management Group owner and CEO Fred Fern founded the firm in 1963 at the age of 25 without any formal training in investing. Fern, a protégé of high-profile stockbroker William O’Neil, has since grown the firm to 57 employees.

The firm has a presence in the northwestern, western, eastern and central U.S.

What types of clients does Churchill Management Group serve?

Churchill Management Group primarily serves individuals and 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, it also counts as clients pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and corporations and other businesses.

The firm prefers clients with accounts of at least $750,000. Clients with at least $1 million in assets may invest in Chartwell Funds, the firm’s real estate investment fund, though the firm notes it may waive this minimum requirement at its discretion.

Services offered by Churchill Management Group

Churchill Management Group provides clients with investment management services as well as financial planning and retirement plan services for plan sponsors. The firm typically manages money on a discretionary basis, meaning portfolio managers handle daily decision making for the account without having to check in with the client first.

Here is a full list of services that Churchill Management Group can provide:

  • Investment advisory services
  • Financial planning
    • Retirement planning
    • Existing trust and estate plan outline
    • Education planning
    • Tax review
    • Cash flow analysis
    • Net worth analysis
    • Insurance needs analysis
    • Social Security analysis
    • Risk tolerance assessment
    • Goal identification and achievement plan
  • 401(k) consulting
  • Collaboration with clients’ lawyers, accountants, etc.

How Churchill Management Group invests your money

Churchill Management Group believes that markets behave cyclically. The firm uses an active trading strategy, adjusting its approach based on where the markets are in any given cycle. Its investment team employs “top-down” analysis to make decisions about asset allocation, and a “bottom-up” approach when choosing individual investments within asset classes.

The firm creates portfolios based on each client’s individual goals and risk tolerance. Depending on this, it may employ one of four strategies:

  • Tactical strategies: Focus on staying invested in low-risk markets and reducing exposure in high-risk markets
  • Fully invested strategies: Remain invested regardless of market risk
  • Combination strategies: Combine approaches from tactical and fully invested strategies
  • Fixed income strategies: Use diverse, investment-grade bonds to build a portfolio

Some clients may also invest in real estate partnerships, or Chartwell Funds, the firm’s real estate investment fund.

Fees Churchill Management Group charges for its services

Churchill Management Group charges clients based on a percentage of assets under management for its services. The rate is negotiable, but the fee schedule for all portfolios – with the exception of the Maximum Tactical Growth Strategy – is as follows in the table below. The rate for clients in the Maximum Tactical Growth Strategy is 1.25%.

Churchill Management Group Fee Schedule
Account Size Annual Rate
Under $750,000 1.20%
$750,000 or more and less than $2.5 million 1.00%
Next $2.5 million 0.80%
Next $5 million 0.70%
Any remaining balance 0.60%

In addition to the fee that clients pay to Churchill Management Group, they may also owe additional transaction fees or brokerage commissions to third-party firms. Financial planning is typically included as part of the firm’s wealth management services.

Churchill Management Group’s highlights

  • Financial planning included: Churchill Management Group offers holistic financial planning via a certified financial planner (CFP) without an additional charge to investment management clients. Some other firms charge extra for this service, or don’t require planners to have a CFP license.
  • Industry recognition: The firm, its advisors and its strategies have earned accolades within the wealth management community over the years. The firm recently appeared on Financial Times’ 2020 list of the Top 300 Registered Investment Advisors and on Barron’s 2019 list of America’s Best RIA Firms. In 2019, the firm’s president, Randy Conner, ranked No. 14 on Forbes’ 2019 list of America’s Top Wealth Advisors.
  • Clean disciplinary record: Churchill Management Group reports no material disciplinary or legal events against the firm or its employees in the past 10 years (see more on this below).

Churchill Management Group’s downsides

  • Preference for wealthier clients: While Churchill Management Group does not have a hard account minimum, it prefers clients who have at least $750,000 invested with the firm, and charges higher fees to clients with smaller accounts.
  • Potentially higher fees: Many of the firm’s funds use an active trading strategy. This style of portfolio management may create higher costs for clients, especially since they’re responsible for brokerage and other investment fees in addition to the fees they pay to Churchill Management Group. In addition, at 1.20%, the firm’s rate for those with the lowest account balance is slightly above the industry average of 1.17%, according to a 2019 study by RIA in a Box.
  • Pays for referrals: Churchill Management Group pays some third parties for referrals, and it may direct clients to a broker in exchange for a referral. That could create an incentive for the firm to recommend a brokerage that it might not otherwise recommend, which poses a potential conflict of interest.

Churchill Management Group disciplinary disclosures

Churchill Management Group does not have any disciplinary events to disclose, which means that the firm has had a clean record for at least 10 years. 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.

Churchill Management Group onboarding process

Potential clients can contact Churchill Management Group via their regional office or by filling out the contact form provided on the firm’s website. Once you’re in touch, you will work with members of the Churchill team to discuss your financial situation and create a portfolio that makes sense for it.

After that, the team will periodically get in touch to discuss your account, but clients also can call the firm at any time. Clients will also receive monthly, quarterly and year-end statements.

Is Churchill Management Group right for you?

Churchill Management Group may be the right firm for you if you have more than $750,000 to invest and would prefer an actively managed portfolio. If you have a lower account balance, however, or would prefer a more passive investing strategy, you may be better served by another firm.

As always, when searching for a financial advisor, it’s important to compare multiple options and ask advisors questions to ensure you’re finding someone to work with who can meet your needs.

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Review of Brighton Jones

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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Brighton Jones LLC is an independent, full-service wealth management firm that works primarily with individual investors and high net worth individuals. It’s a registered investment advisor (RIA) that has a team of 140 employees across its Seattle headquarters and offices in Portland; San Francisco; Denver; Scottsdale, Ariz.; and Washington, D.C. Together, the team oversees nearly $6.8 billion in assets under management (AUM).

All information included in this profile is accurate as of August 18, 2020. For more information, please consult Brighton Jones’ website.

Assets under management: $6,799,683,585
Minimum investment: N/A
Fee structure: A percentage of AUM; hourly charges; fixed fees
Headquarters: 2030 1st Ave.
3rd Floor
Seattle, WA 98121
www.brightonjones.com
(206) 258-5000

Overview of Brighton Jones

Charles Brighton and Jon Jones founded Brighton Jones in Seattle in 1999. The two then-partners at Deloitte decided they wanted to create a business aimed at providing more-holistic financial advice to clients at a lower cost. Brighton and Jones remain co-owners of the firm. Jones serves as CEO, while Brighton is the managing director of its family office services.

The fee-only firm was ranked in May 2020 as the largest wealth management firm in Washington state as of 2019, and it has offices in an additional four states plus the District of Columbia. It has 140 employees, about half of whom serve as investment advisors. The staff has a range of expertise and includes certified financial planners (CFP), accountants, lawyers and certified commercial investment members (CCIM), who are experts in commercial real estate.

Types of clients that Brighton Jones serves

Brighton Jones serves mostly individual investors. Its client base includes more than twice as many high net worth individuals as other clients. (For reference, the Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC] defines high net worth individuals as those who have at least $750,000 in AUM or a net worth of at least $1.5 million.) In addition, the firm works with pension and profit-sharing plans, as well as pooled investment vehicles and charitable organizations.

The firm has clients from Seattle-based companies, as well as those who work in health care, law, media, finance and technology. Brighton Jones doesn’t list a minimum account balance. However, it charges a minimum quarterly fee of $2,500, so those who have fewer assets might find it cost-prohibitive to engage with the firm.

Services offered by Brighton Jones

Brighton Jones aims to serve as a “Personal CFO,” providing holistic advice to individuals and families as a chief financial officer would for a company. Clients can receive wealth management services on a discretionary basis, in which the advisor makes the daily trading decisions in the account without requiring the client to sign off, or a nondiscretionary basis. Financial planning is offered alongside the firm’s investment advisory services or as a stand-alone service.

The firm also advises clients on managing their real-estate portfolio and helps executives to evaluate and make the most of their compensation packages.

Here is a full list of services offered by Brighton Jones:

  • Wealth management
  • Financial planning
    • Retirement planning
    • Estate planning
    • Charitable planning
    • Tax planning and management
    • Education planning
    • Divorce planning
    • Insurance and risk management
    • Coordination with outside experts
  • Executive compensation analysis
  • Retirement plan consulting and management
  • Financial wellness consulting on behalf of employers
  • Real-estate advisory services

How Brighton Jones invests your money

Brighton Jones’ customized portfolios vary based on each client’s financial situation, but the firm’s overall philosophy is based on an investment approach that includes diversification among and within asset classes. Asset classes might include fixed-income securities, individual equities, funds and real estate investment trusts (REITs), and the firm might invest in them through a combination of short- and long-term purchases, margin transactions or options.

To evaluate potential investments, Brighton Jones uses the following methods of analysis:

  • Fundamental: Analyzes historical and current data to make financial forecasts.
  • Technical: Uses historical and current data on price and trade volume to forecast the direction of prices.
  • Cyclical: Examines the historical relationship between price and market trends to predict the direction of prices.

Fees Brighton Jones charges for its services

For wealth management services, Brighton Jones charges clients based on a percentage of AUM. The rate typically ranges from 0.35% to 1.25% of total AUM, depending on factors such as the level of AUM, the complexity and level of services provided, anticipated future earnings and assets and the account representative assigned to the account. The firm requires a minimum quarterly fee of $2,500, although it might waive or reduce that minimum at its discretion.

The asset-based rate listed above includes financial planning and consulting services if requested by the client, although the firm might charge extra if the client requires extraordinary service. Clients who want stand-alone financial planning or consulting work will pay negotiated fees, which typically range from $2,000 to $15,000 on a fixed-fee basis or $150-$300 per hour.

In addition to fees charged by the firm, clients might owe separate brokerage costs to Fidelity or TD Ameritrade, which typically serve as broker-dealers for Brighton Jones clients.

Brighton Jones’ highlights

  • Fee-only service model: Brighton Jones is a fee-only firm, meaning it only earns money from the fees its clients pay. This model means that clients don’t have to worry that the firm benefits financially from recommending certain products, which could pose potential conflicts of interest.
  • Broad range of services: Brighton Jones is a one-stop shop for clients who seek holistic financial planning or additional services. It offers a wide range of financial planning services as well as real-estate advisory and services for employers.
  • Customized advice and management: The firm doesn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, it works with each client to build and manage a portfolio based on their financial situation. The firm’s holistic approach also goes beyond a client’s portfolio to advise on other financial decisions, such as risk management and estate planning, as requested by the client.
  • Industry accolades: The firm has received numerous awards and recognition. In 2019, Brighton and Jones appeared on Barron’s list of the 100 best independent advisors. The firm appeared on Financial Advisor’s 2019 list of top-ranked RIAs.
  • Clean disciplinary record: Brighton Jones reports no material disciplinary events on its record over the past 10 years. (See more below.)

Brighton Jones’ downsides

  • Unclear fees: Because fees at the firm are negotiated on a case-by-case basis, it’s difficult to know how much you’ll owe until you connect with an advisor. Although Brighton Jones’ fees could be lower than the industry average of 1.17% of AUM, according to a 2019 study by RIA in a Box, the firm’s minimum quarterly fee of $2,500 — $10,000 per year — could make it more costly for clients who have fewer assets.
  • Limited geographic footprint: Brighton Jones has only six offices — five out West and its Washington, D.C., location. Those who want a local advisor might not be able to find one.
  • Pays for referrals: Brighton Jones pays certain third parties to refer clients. Although clients won’t incur any cost, this still is important to keep in mind if someone recommends the firm to you, because you might want to consider whether they’re making the recommendation because the firm truly seems like a good fit for your financial situation or they simply stand to benefit financially from recommending it.

Brighton Jones’ disciplinary disclosures

Brighton Jones has had no disclosures over the past 10 years. All registered investment advisors must disclose in their Form ADV documents filed with the SEC any civil, criminal or regulatory actions against its firm, employees or affiliates that clients would consider material when evaluating the firm or its management team.

Brighton Jones’ onboarding process

Potential clients can contact Brighton Jones directly by contacting a local office, filling out this online form or calling the firm’s main line at (206) 258-5000.

After an initial interview in which the firm learns about a client’s financial situation, the firm will create and manage a portfolio based on that information. The firm will get in touch with clients at least quarterly to discuss the account and whether changes are necessary. Clients also can expect to receive quarterly reports.

Is Brighton Jones right for you?

Brighton Jones might be a good choice if you’re comfortable with a minimum annual fee of at least $10,000 and want access to other financial services beyond portfolio management, such as assistance with understanding and making the most of your compensation package.

Investors who hope to spend less on wealth management or who want in-person service but don’t live near one of Brighton Jones’ offices, might be served better by a different wealth management firm. Whenever you look for a financial-services provider, interview a few candidates to make sure you choose one that’s the right fit for your financial situation.

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