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What Does a Financial Advisor Do?

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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Financial advisors can help you manage your money, which may include budgeting, creating a plan to save or pay down debt or offering advice on how to invest. When you need help mapping out your financial future, working with a financial advisor is one option you can pursue if you’re looking for something beyond a DIY approach.

We’ll delve into what financial advisors do and how they can help you achieve your financial goals to help you decide if working with one is right for you.

What do financial advisors do? A breakdown by advisor type

Financial advisor is a general term that can be used to describe professionals who offer financial advice and guidance to individuals, businesses and/or other entities. The services and advice a financial advisor provides can vary based on the type of advisor.

What in-person financial advisors do

Working with a financial advisor in person may be the most comprehensive option, in terms of the range of services they may provide. For example, your financial advisor may assist with college and retirement planning, insurance planning, legacy planning and/or investment planning.

Financial advisors that offer these types of services can take a narrow or broad approach. An investment advisor, for instance, provides advice about investments for clients who need help building a portfolio. Financial planners, on the other hand, may help with a broader range of services, including investments, insurance, retirement planning, taxes and estate planning.

Working with a financial advisor in-person can offer advantages. For instance, a human advisor can help guide investment decision-making during periods of stock market volatility, or offer recommendations for insurance products that could be helpful for rounding out your financial plan. (Keep in mind that an in-person financial advisor needn’t work with you literally in person; you can have a relationship that is mostly based on video chats and phone calls as well.)

What robo-advisors do

Robo-advisors offer investment advice with little or sometimes no interaction with a human financial advisor. Instead, your investment strategy is guided by the robo-advisor platform’s unique algorithm. Generally, these algorithms take into account specific factors, such as your age, risk tolerance and time horizon for investing to create a portfolio management strategy.

Robo-advisors charge a range of fees that may be less than working with a human advisor, but there are some potential downsides. For example, a robo-advisor’s algorithm wouldn’t be able to offer personalized advice about how to adjust your portfolio in an unstable market the way a human advisor could, and it cannot offer detailed, holistic financial planning.

What online financial planning services do

Online financial planning services can offer a more personalized approach to advice than a simple robo-advisor, acting as a hybrid of automated and comprehensive planning services. Human interaction is typically limited to phone calls, emails or live chats with a professional advisor.

Online financial advisors can take a holistic approach to planning. Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, for instance, can help with retirement planning, estate planning, creating a goal-centered strategy, managing your finances and more. Though you won’t meet with an advisor in-person, online financial planning services can offer a similar level of financial advice. There is an account minimum of $50,000 for the Vanguard service.

Robo-advisor Betterment also offers a hybrid service with access to certified financial planners (CFP), but you have to invest $100,000 to get the Premium plan that allows access to human advisors.

How much does a financial advisor cost?

In addition to what do financial advisors do, another important question to ask is how much they charge for their services. The costs to hire a financial advisor can vary based on the type of advisor and the services they offer.

The cost of an in-person financial advisor

The amount you’ll pay for an in-person financial advisor depends largely on whether they are fee-based or commission-based.

Fee-based: A fee-based advisor may take fees from third parties along with charging you a fee, in contrast to fee-only advisors, who are solely paid through fees for services. Both fee-based and fee-only advisors can charge by the hour, as a percentage of assets under management or as a flat rate.

A report by Advisory HQ found that average financial planner fees can range from $6,000 to $11,000 per year for a retainer, depending on the advisor, the location and how complex your financial needs may be. Your rate may also decrease the larger your portfolio is.

Commission: Commission-based advisors charge nothing to their clients in terms of fees for services rendered. Instead, they earn commissions from financial institutions for purchasing specific investment or insurance products on behalf of their clients.

One risk of working with a commission-based advisor (or a fee-based advisor who uses a combination of fees and a commission structure) is that they may recommend products you don’t need in order to earn compensation. They may also encourage frequent trades to earn commissions, a practice known as churning.

The cost of a robo-advisor

Robo-advisors usually charge their fees as a percentage of assets under management. These fees are typically charged on an annual basis and the amount you pay can vary from advisor to advisor and by account balance. Some robo-advisors may also charge commission for making investment trades.

Wealthfront and Betterment, for instance, both charge a basic digital portfolio management fee of 0.25%. SoFi, on the other hand, charges no annual management fee and instead charges fees based on the expense ratios of running the ETFs in your portfolio.

The cost of online financial planning services

Online financial planning services can base fees on a percentage of assets under management, though they may apply an hourly or flat rate fee instead. Similar to robo-advisors, annual management fees may decrease as you accumulate more assets under management.

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, for example, charges 0.30% for accounts up to $5 million but just 0.05% for accounts of $25 million or more (which, of course, will not apply to the vast majority of investors).

5 signs you need a financial advisor

Wondering whether you need a financial advisor? Here are five signs that it’s time to get professional help with managing your money.

  1. You’re struggling to get your financial life organized. Organization is key for items such as budgeting, saving and staying on top of your financial goals. If you’re looking for ways to organize and simplify your finances, a financial advisor can offer help with streamlining your money.
  2. You need investment advice. Investing is important for building wealth, but it can be overwhelming if you’re unfamiliar with how stocks and other securities work. And even if you’re an experienced investor, you may still need a sounding board for investment questions. Talking to a financial advisor can help with creating an investment strategy that fits your needs and goals.
  3. You’re debating whether or not to retire. Retirement is a major life change and it can also have significant financial implications. And if you are looking to retire early, you need a finely-tuned plan for saving and investing. If you’re on the fence about whether the time is right to leave your 9-to-5, a financial advisor can help weigh the pros and cons.
  4. You’re facing a big life change, such as getting married or having a family. Getting married or having kids can affect how you budget, save and plan for the future. Financial advisors can offer guidance on items, such as merging finances with your spouse, budgeting for a new baby, college planning or navigating how to raise a family on one income if you or your partner opt to become a stay-at-home parent.
  5. You have a high salary or net worth. Earning a higher income and having more assets can present challenges when it comes to strategies like minimizing taxes. Your financial advisor can review your income and expenses to help manage your tax liability year to year, which may include maxing out tax-advantaged retirement accounts or going over your spending to find deductions. Also, the larger your estate, the more likely it may be that you need help managing it and making financial decisions that will affect how much you leave your heirs.

How to find a financial advisor

When looking for a financial advisor, you may start your search online but you can also ask friends and family for recommendations. In comparing advisors, be sure to ask questions about the types of services they offer, the typical kinds of clients they work with and how they’re paid. Specifically, be sure to ask whether they’re a fee-only fiduciary or a commission-based advisor, as that can influence the type of advice they offer and how much you’ll pay for their services.

When comparing advisors, you can check for each one’s Form ADV. This form will indicate how they collect their fees, any potential conflicts of interest, the types of services they offer, their assets under management and more. You may also be able to find financial advisors who specialize in serving certain groups, such as women or business owners.

Like some in younger generations, you may decide that a robo-advisor is best for you at this time, or you may want to consider a hybrid advisor that offers both automated and human-touch services. Consider every factor before you make your decision, and understand that you can always switch up your strategy when your life circumstances change.

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Vanguard Personal Advisor Services Review

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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Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is a hybrid investment option that incorporates both human and robo-advisory services into one convenient package. Investors get the benefits of professional expertise and automated investing for a low relatively annual fee. However, there is a $50,000 minimum required to open an account, which may put it out of reach for some.

The Vanguard Group Inc.
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The bottom line: Vanguard Personal Advisor Services offers professional investment advice at an affordable price for those who can meet the $50,000 minimum.

  • Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is a robo-advisor that utilizes a hybrid approach, incorporating automated management with comprehensive planning services.
  • Professional investment advice is offered, though dedicated advisors are reserved for investors who meet a minimum investment threshold.
  • This platform is designed for investors who have at least $50,000 to invest, which is a higher barrier to entry compared to other online advisory services.

Best for...
  • Investors who want a human touch without steep advisory fees
  • Individuals who have at least $50,000 to invest
  • People who want to invest in low-cost index funds
  • Investors who also need help with estate and tax planning strategies
Investment minimum$50,000
Management fee0.05% to 0.30% annual fee, depending on assets under management
Accounts offeredTaxable brokerage accounts, traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, trusts
Access to human advisorsYes
Banking servicesNo

What is Vanguard Personal Advisor Services and how does it work?

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services offers a unique take on robo-advisory investing. While your portfolio is shaped using the algorithm method favored by other robo-advisor platforms, Vanguard Personal Advisor Services first gives you the opportunity to speak with a human advisor. You tell a Vanguard advisor what your goals are and fill in the details of your financial situation, and that information is then used to craft your customized automated investment plan.

In addition to the accounts available with Vanguard Personal Advisor Services — which includes taxable brokerage accounts, traditional and Roth IRAs and trusts — you can also get guidance on 401(k) and 403(b) accounts, 529 accounts, UGMA/UTMA accounts and other investment accounts you hold outside of Vanguard.

Pros

  • Low management fee: Vanguard Personal Advisory Services has a maximum advisory fee of 0.30%, with the rate decreasing as your assets under management increase. Vanguard cites the industry average annual management fee of 1.01%, as measured by PriceMetrix, to illustrate its low-cost fee structure. (That study measures annual management fees for investors with $1 million to $1.5 million invested, which is quite a bit higher than the $50,000 minimum Vanguard requires.) The Vanguard fee of 0.30% applies to the first $5 million invested.
  • Low-cost investment options: Portfolios are built around Vanguard funds, which typically carry expense ratios well below the industry average. Vanguard Mutual funds and index funds carry a 0.10% expense ratio on average. By comparison, the average expense ratio across the entire fund industry, excluding Vanguard, was 0.57% in 2019.
  • Professional help always available: As a Vanguard Personal Advisory Services investor, you have access to Vanguard‘s professional advisors if you have questions or need help. You can reach an investment professional by Phone Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Vanguard also offers Chat assistance for general account questions.
  • Comprehensive management: In addition to assistance with your investing strategy, Vanguard Personal Advisory Services can help with areas like tax and estate planning and charitable giving, for a well-rounded financial plan.

Cons

  • High account minimum: The $50,000 account minimum may be difficult for the everyday investor to reach.
  • Tax loss harvesting is not automatic: Tax loss harvesting can help minimize taxes on capital gains. While some robo-advisors offer this service automatically, Vanguard does it at the individual client level, which may not satisfy those who want automated monitoring.
  • Plan development takes time: New investors work with an advisor to shape their financial plan and investment strategy. This step can take several weeks to finalize, so there’s a bit of lag in the beginning in comparison to other robo-advisors, where you may be able to get started right away.
  • Dedicated advisor only available to eligible investors: While all levels of investors have access to Vanguard‘s team of advisors, only those with $500,000 or more are assigned a dedicated financial advisor.

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services investment approach

Investment optionsLow-cost Vanguard ETFs and mutual funds
Tax loss harvesting (though not automatic)
Portfolio rebalancing
Smart Beta
Socially Responsible Investing
Fractional shares

Asset allocation

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services builds client portfolios using Vanguard’s selection of Mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). These funds can include a diverse mix of assets, such as domestic and international stocks, bonds and short-term reserves.

Clients’ assets are allocated based on the information they provide about their financial goals, time horizon for investing and risk tolerance. If you’re closer to retirement or already retired, for instance, you may be offered a portfolio composed of 60% bonds, 35% stocks and 5% short-term reserves. On the other hand, Vanguard may recommend a split that leans more on stocks if you’re at the beginning or middle of your investing journey and have more time left before retirement.

Vanguard reviews your portfolio on an ongoing basis, automatically rebalancing when needed to ensure that your investments still align with your goals and risk tolerance. Additionally, Vanguard provides some simple online tools that allow you to explore “what if” scenarios to see how making changes to your investment plan could result in different outcomes.

Tax strategy

Tax management is an important part of investing — the more you can minimize taxes, the more of your investment returns you get to keep. One way to manage taxation is tax loss harvesting, a strategy that involves selling off stocks that have declined in value to offset capital gains.

With Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, tax loss harvesting is available, though it is not automatic; instead, it is offered on a client-by-client basis. Clients can choose from one of two tax strategies: the average cost method, which divides your gains and losses equally across all shares you own, or the minimum tax (MinTax) basis method, which clients must opt into. While the MinTax method is designed to enhance tax efficiency by identifying specific securities to sell, Vanguard acknowledges that it may not do so in every case.

Additionally, Vanguard offers help with tax planning as it relates to estate planning and charitable giving if you’re interested in creating a lasting legacy of wealth to pass on. The goal with those efforts is to maximize tax savings for things like gift tax, estate tax and inheritance tax so you have more wealth to leave to your heirs or the charities of your choice.

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services fees

  • Annual management fee: 0.05% to 0.30%; advisory fee decreases as assets under management increase
  • Investment expense ratios: Average Vanguard mutual fund expense ratio is 0.10%

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services’ fees are tiered based on the amount of assets you have under management. As you can see, the cost of Vanguard Personal Advisor Services could end up being much lower if you have a higher account balance:

  • 0.30% up to $5 million in managed assets
  • 0.20% above $5 million to $10 million
  • 0.10% above $10 million to $25 million
  • 0.05% $25 million and above

There are also separate fees to consider for the products you invest in, namely Vanguard’s Mutual funds and ETFs. The average expense ratio for Vanguard Mutual funds and ETFs offered through Personal Advisor Services is 0.10%. Expense ratios represent the cost of owning a particular fund over the course of a year, so the lower the expense ratio, the more of your investment earnings you’re able to keep.

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services features and tools

Financial planning

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services takes a comprehensive approach to financial planning. Your portfolio is built around your risk tolerance and time horizon, as well as your goals. In your initial discussion with a Vanguard advisor, they will create a plan for you that outlines your specific goals (i.e. saving $2 million for retirement or stashing away $100,000 for college savings) and includes a timeline and specific numbers or milestones to aim for along the way.

Additionally, Vanguard Personal Advisor Services can offer specific assistance with tax planning, estate planning and charitable giving planning.

Investment profiles

If you have a brokerage or retirement account through Vanguard, you can review its library of investment profiles. This allows you to analyze individual stocks or explore the finer details of thousands of Mutual funds from Vanguard and other firms.

Portfolio analysis

Vanguard‘s portfolio analysis tool allows you to check your portfolio’s risk level and performance. You can see how your portfolio has done historically and how your assets are currently allocated. This can be helpful in deciding whether any adjustments to your asset allocation are necessary to stay on track.

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services user experience

Beacon is Vanguard‘s mobile app, which is available for download on Android and Apple devices. Introduced in 2020, the app is designed to serve as an upgrade of the existing Vanguard app. The updated app includes features like:

  • A biometric login that uses fingerprint ID
  • A dashboard that highlights fund performance
  • New ways to view your accounts and balances

The mobile app is fairly straightforward and streamlined. You can easily check your balance and get an overview of how your portfolio is performing. The website has more features, including a large library of educational resources.

If you need help that the app isn’t able to offer, you can contact Vanguard Personal Advisor Services support. Advisors are available by Phone at 800-414-8740 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET Monday through Friday. When you call, be prepared to verify your identity with a Vanguard representative before they’re able to access your account.

If you’re just getting started with Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, you can start the account setup process online, then schedule an appointment to Chat with an advisor to discuss your financial plan.

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services safety and security

  • SIPC-insured
  • Encryption and SSL certificate
  • Optional security features

Vanguard takes a number of steps to ensure your safety and security. The brokerage is SIPC-insured, up to $500,000 and including $250,000 for claims for cash.

Vanguard uses encryption and SSL certificate security to protect your information. If you log on to your account, Vanguard will automatically log you out after a period of inactivity. You also have the opportunity to take advantage of optional security features, including:

  • Two-factor authentication
  • Account alerts
  • Voice verification when calling Vanguard

You can name a trusted contact who can access your account on your behalf if that’s ever needed. Plus, you can set a PIN or password to verify your identity when calling Vanguard yourself.

Is Vanguard Personal Advisor Services worth it?

Overall, Vanguard Personal Advisor Services could be a good fit for an investor who can meet the $50,000 minimum and is interested in low advisory fees while putting their investments on autopilot. Investors with higher net worths may appreciate the reduced advisory fee as their level of assets under management increases.

The higher minimum obviously makes Vanguard Personal Advisor Services less attractive for someone who is looking to invest on a smaller scale. If you’re a beginning investor or can’t meet the $50,000 minimum, you may want to consider another robo-advisor to help with managing your money. We cover a couple alternative options below.

Alternatives to Vanguard Personal Advisor Services

 Account minimumAnnual feeAccounts offered
Vanguard Personal Advisor Services$50,000Minimum 0.30%; fees decline as assets under management increaseIndividual taxable accounts, trusts, traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs
Betterment$0 for Digital accounts; $100,000 for Premium0.25% for Digital accounts; 0.40% for PremiumIndividual and joint taxable accounts, trusts, traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, SEP IRAs
Schwab Intelligent Portfolios$5,000NoneIndividual and joint taxable accounts, trusts, traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, SEP IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs, rollover IRAs, custodial accounts

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services vs. Betterment

Betterment offers personalized advice with robo-advisory services, but those come with a higher fee and a higher minimum balance requirement compared to Vanguard Personal Advisor Services. While you could open a Digital account with $0 at Betterment and pay just 0.25% each year, that only includes robo-advisor services without help from professional advisors.

On the other hand, Digital accounts at Betterment include both automatic rebalancing and tax loss harvesting, and you can invest in more than just Vanguard index funds. However, you may pay higher expense ratios with Betterment‘s fund selection compared to Vanguard‘s low-cost options — Betterment‘s average expense ratio ranges from 0.07% to 0.15%, versus Vanguard’s 0.10% average.

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Vanguard Personal Advisor Services vs. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios

When comparing Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, there are a few things that stand out. First, you can start investing in a diversified portfolio of ETFs with as little as $5,000 with Schwab, a fraction of the $50,000 you need for Vanguard. There are no advisory fees and no commissions to trade either.

Automatic rebalancing and tax loss harvesting are included, another edge of Schwab Intelligent Portfolios over Vanguard. But you don’t get one-on-one access to a financial advisor automatically: If you want that service, you’ll have to upgrade to Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium, which requires a $25,000 minimum, a $300 upfront fee and a $30 monthly advisory fee. Compared to Vanguard, the initial investment is lower but you could still pay less in advisory fees with Vanguard if you had under $120,000 in your account.

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Best Financial Advisors in New York 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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Choosing a financial advisor can be challenging, given the number of financial advisors in New York. Finding the right advisor is a lot about figuring out the right fit, which means understanding your financial needs and goals and how much you’re willing to spend.

That being said, we understand comparing firms and data points can be difficult, so we compiled the most pertinent information to help guide your decision. To determine the best advisors in New York, we only considered 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 is not indicative of which firm may be best for you, but it can help make the shopping experience easier. Take a look at our list below for the top firms in New York and their key highlights:

financial advisor

10 best financial advisors in New York

Methodology and criteria

For our search, we looked at firms across the state of New York. 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 September 25, 2020, but urge you to evaluate these firms on https://adviserinfo.sec.gov/.

1. Silvercrest Asset Management Group LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: Not specified, though the firm typically targets clients with $10 million or more in investable assets
  • AUM: $25,070,080,215
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 19:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
    • Performance-based fees
  • Firm phone number: (212) 649-0600
  • Headquarters address:
    1330 Avenue of the Americas, 38th Floor
    New York, NY 10019

About Silvercrest Asset Management Group LLC

Silvercrest Asset Management Group LLC is a registered investment advisor offering asset management and family office services. Founded in 2001, this independent, employee-owned firm is headquartered in New York City, with additional offices located in Boston, Milwaukee, San Diego, Bedminster, N.J., Princeton, N.J., Charlottesville, Va. and Richmond, Va.

Silvercrest caters primarily to the needs of high net worth and ultra-high net worth families. (For reference, the SEC defines a high net worth individual as someone with at least $750,000 under management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million.) The firm’s client base also includes endowments, private charities and other select institutional investors.

Silvercrest Asset Management Group LLC investing strategy

The firm’s investment strategy revolves around constructing custom portfolios to meet clients’ needs while aligning with their risk tolerance. Portfolio managers may apply objectives specific to a client’s unique needs; the client also has the capability to place restrictions on certain types of investments and limit the manager’s discretionary authority (meaning whether they can make decisions without the client’s express approval), if they so choose.

Silvercrest Asset Management focuses on three specific areas for portfolio construction: Equity management, fixed income management and outsourced and alternative investments. The firm’s overall investment approach is one that’s value-based, conservative and designed to drive returns over the long-term.

Silvercrest Asset Management Group LLC disciplinary disclosures

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires registered investment advisors to disclose legal or disciplinary actions on their Form ADV paperwork. This includes any actions against the company, an employee or an affiliate that have occurred in the last 10 years. Silvercrest Asset Management does not disclose any disciplinary actions on its Form ADV, meaning it has a clean record. For more information, visii the firm’s IAPD page.

2. Cerity Partners LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: $2 million
  • AUM: $24,682,540,139
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 24:1
  • Fee structure: 
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly fees
    • Fixed fees
    • Performance-based fees
  • Firm phone number: (212) 850-4260
  • Headquarters address: 
    335 Madison Avenue, 23rd Floor
    New York, NY 10017

About Cerity Partners

Headquartered in New York City, Cerity Partners was founded in 2009 by Kurt Miscinski and Howard P. Milstein, and was previously known as HPM Partners. Miscinski is president and CEO of the firm, while Milstein currently serves as chairman, president and CEO of New York Private Bank & Trust. The company is backed by private equity firm, Lightyear Capital.

Cerity Partners serves clients with a minimum of $2 million in investable assets and requires a minimum annual fee of $25,000. The firm provides investment advisory and wealth planning services to individual investors — including both those who do and do not meet the SEC’s definition of high net worth — as well as corporate pension and profit-sharing plans, corporations or other business and charitable organizations.

Cerity Partners’ geographical footprint extends beyond New York, with offices operating in California, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Texas as well.

Cerity Partners investing strategy

Cerity Partners uses an investment approach based on Modern Portfolio Theory, which focuses on balancing risk with an investor’s desired returns. Assets are managed according to one of five risk profiles: Conservative, moderate, balanced, growth or aggressive.

Cerity Partners uses six primary asset classes to develop client asset allocations: Cash and cash equivalents, global fixed income, global equity, real return, hedge funds and private equity. The firm generally will allocate client assets among third-party managers, but in some cases it may choose individual securities.

Cerity Partners disciplinary disclosures

Cerity Partners reports no disciplinary actions on its Form ADV. Disclosures include any civil, criminal or regulatory actions involving the firm or its employees or affiliates over the last 10 years. For further information, see the firm’s IAPD page.

3. Manning & Napier Advisors, LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: Varies by account type
  • AUM: $19,197,822,404
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 23:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Performance-based fees
    • Other (associates may negotiate fees for custom portfolios)
  • Firm phone number: (585) 325-6880
  • Headquarters address:
    290 Woodcliff Drive
    Fairport, NY 14450

About Manning & Napier Advisors, LLC

Manning & Napier Advisors, LLC was founded in Rochester, N.Y., in 1970 by Bill Manning and Bill Napier. Both men are no longer on the company’s board of directors: Manning stepped down as chairman in July 2020, while Napier died in 1993. The publicly traded firm is currently headquartered in Fairport, N.Y., with regional offices in Seattle, St. Petersburg, Fla., and Dublin, Ohio.

Manning & Napier Advisors offers numerous solutions to meet different investment and wealth management needs, including family wealth planning and legacy planning, through products such as separately managed accounts and mutual funds. The firm provides its services to individual investors both with and without a high net worth, as well as a range of institutional investors.

Manning & Napier Advisors investing strategy

Manning & Napier uses three allocation categories for asset management: Equity portfolios, multi-asset class portfolios and fixed-income portfolios.

Equity portfolios are largely focused on value stocks to provide a combination of both income and insulation against volatile markets. Fixed-income portfolios offer clients an opportunity to invest for income on a short-, mid- and long-term basis. Multi-class portfolios, on the other hand, lean more toward growth investments. These products are available in separately managed accounts offered by the firm.

Manning & Napier Advisors disciplinary disclosures

Manning & Napier Advisors does not report any disciplinary disclosures on its Form ADV, meaning it has a record free of any civil, criminal or regulatory actions against either the firm or its employees and affiliates within the last decade. For further information, please visit the firm’s IAPD page.

4. Rockefeller Capital Management

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  • Minimum assets required: Not specified, though the firm typically targets clients with $5 million or more in assets
  • AUM: $19,101,938,524
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 12:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
    • Performance-based fees
  • Firm phone number: (212) 549-5100
  • Headquarters address:
    45 Rockefeller Plaza, Fifth Floor
    New York, NY 10111

About Rockefeller Capital Management

Rockefeller Capital Management was formed in 2018, though its roots date back to the 1880s when this global family office served the Rockefeller family. The firm is backed by the hedge fund, Viking Global Investors, with the Rockefellers maintaining a minority ownership stake.

Today, Rockefeller Capital Management’s business revolves around global family office services, strategic advisory services and asset management. The firm serves high net worth and ultra high net worth families, as well as institutional clients. It has six offices in addition to its New York headquarters, located in Boston, Washington, D.C., Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Greenwich, Conn., Conshohocken, Penn. and Mountain View, Calif.

Rockefeller Capital Management investing strategy

Rockefeller Capital Management’s investment approach centers around pursuing strategies designed to produce returns that exceed benchmarks through changing market cycles. That includes asset allocations built around equity and fixed income. However, Rockefeller Capital Management also seeks to incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies when appropriate to meet clients’ needs.

Rockefeller Capital Management disciplinary disclosures

Rockefeller Capital Management has no disciplinary actions noted in its Form ADV. This means that the firm has a clean record, without any civil, criminal or regulatory actions against the firm, its employees or its affiliates over the last 10 years. For more information on the firm, visit its IAPD page.

5. BBR Partners, LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: $20 million
  • AUM: $17,886,900,000
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 19:1
  • Fee structure: 
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
    • Performance-based fees
  • Firm phone number: (212) 313-9870
  • Headquarters address:
    140 East 45th Street, 26th Floor
    New York, New York 10017

About BBR Partners

BBR Partners was established in 1999 and is majority-owned by employee partners. The firm has its headquarters in New York, with four additional offices on the East and West Coasts and in the Midwest. BBR Partners caters largely to high net worth individuals and families, though it also serves other client types, as well as corporations and charitable organizations.

Services the firm offers include customized investment management, wealth advisory services and portfolio administration and reporting.

BBR Partners investing strategy

BBR Partners uses a proprietary strategy to construct client portfolios using a holistic, comprehensive approach. This strategy involves allocating assets in equity and fixed income separate accounts, as well as mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, exchange-traded notes and private investment funds.

Socially responsible and values-based investment options are also available. Across all strategies, the firm’s focus is on maximizing after-tax returns.

BBR Partners disciplinary disclosures

BBR Partners reports no disciplinary actions on its Form ADV. The SEC requires registered investment advisors to disclose any civil, regulatory or criminal actions against the company, an employee or an affiliate that have occurred in the last 10 years. For more information, visit BBR Partners’ IAPD page.

6. Tiedemann Advisors, LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: Varies by account type and/or advisor discretion
  • AUM: $17,318,958,800
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 5:1
  • Fee structure: 
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (212) 396-5900
  • Headquarters address:
    520 Madison Avenue
    New York, NY, 10022

About Tiedemann Advisors

Tiedemann Advisors is a privately owned firm founded in 1999 by the late Carl Tiedemann, his son Michael Tiedemann and Craig Smith. Michael Tiedemann serves as the firm’s CEO, while Smith is the current president.

The firm serves individual investors as well as endowments, foundations and non-profit organizations. Though it does not specify an account minimum requirement, all of its individual clients are high net worth individuals, defined by the SEC as those with at least $750,000 under management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million.

Tiedemann Advisors offers financial planning and education services, as well as investment management. The firm has office locations in New York, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Oregon, Texas and Washington state.

Tiedemann Advisors investing strategy

Tiedeman Advisors provides comprehensive investment management services, with clients’ asset allocations built around risk tolerance, diversification, valuations and liquidity management. The firm starts its process by researching macroeconomic trends and assessing company valuation, and it then uses a proprietary risk optimization framework to determine optimum client asset allocations.

One of the firm’s core pillars also revolves around investing for impact. Tiedemann Advisors offers three approaches to portfolio-building under this umbrella: Values-aligned strategies, environmental, social and governance strategies and private impact strategies.

Tiedemann Advisors disciplinary disclosures

The SEC requires registered investment advisors to disclose any disciplinary actions involving the firm, an employee or an affiliate on their Form ADV paperwork. Tiedemann Advisors reports no such actions, meaning it has a clean disciplinary record. For more information, visit Tiedemann Advisors’ IAPD page.

7. Summit Rock Advisors, LP

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  • Minimum assets required: Not specified
  • AUM: $15,799,443,011
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 1:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
    • Performance-based fees
    • Other (based on a client’s assets under supervision)
  • Firm phone number: (212) 993-7150
  • Headquarters address:
    9 West 57th Street, 12th Floor
    New York, NY 10019

About Summit Rock Advisors

Summit Rock Advisors was founded in New York in 2007 by Nancy Donohue and David Dechman, who serve as chief investment strategist and chief executive officer, respectively. The firm is owned by its founders and fund managers.

The hedge fund firm serves a select number of American families and charitable institutions from its sole office location in New York City. According to the firm’s brochure, its clients typically have $100 million or more in wealth; the average client size at the firm is currently $330 million.

Summit Rock Advisors investing strategy

As a hedge fund, Summit Rock Advisors acts as the investment manager to a number of private funds. These strategies are typically only offered to the firm’s clients and are usually included as investments in client portfolios.

To determine an individualized approach for each client, the firm creates customized portfolios that are tailored to individual clients’ risk tolerance, time horizon and liquidity needs. In general, the firm is focused on encouraging wealth preservation through returns while reducing volatility and increasing long-term purchasing power.

Summit Rock Advisors disciplinary disclosures

Summit Rock does not have any disciplinary disclosures. For reference, disclosures refer to any civil, regulatory or criminal events involving the firm, its employees or its affiliates over the last 10 years. The SEC requires all registered investment advisors to disclose these actions on their Form ADV paperwork. To view the firm’s Form ADV and to get more information, visit its IAPD page.

8. Evercore Wealth Management, LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: Not specified
  • AUM: $9,196,873,340
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 12:1
  • Fee structure: 
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
    • Other (intercompany arrangements) 
  • Firm phone number: (212) 822-7620
  • Headquarters address:
    55 East 52nd Street, 23rd Floor
    New York, NY 10055

About Evercore Wealth Management

Founded in 2008, Evercore Wealth Management offers investment management services to individual investors, including high net worth individuals, as well as charitable organizations, pooled investment vehicles, insurance and investment companies, banks, corporations and other businesses. Services available include strategic wealth planning and trust and family office management.

Evercore Wealth Management and Evercore Trust Company are part of Evercore, the global independent investment banking advisory firm (NYSE: EVR). Evercore Wealth Management is headquartered in New York, with additional locations in Minneapolis, San Francisco, West Palm Beach, Fla., and Tampa, Fla.

Evercore Wealth Management investing strategy

Evercore Wealth Management uses an integrated, goals-based approach to wealth planning. The Evercore team works together to provide a comprehensive strategy that is designed to help clients achieve their financial goals.

Evercore’s investment approach revolves primarily around the use of equities and bonds to build client portfolios that aim to be both return- and tax-efficient. Investment solutions are determined on a client-by-client basis.

Evercore Wealth Management disciplinary disclosures

Evercore Wealth Management checked “No” for all questions pertaining to disciplinary actions on its Form ADV, meaning it has no disclosures to report. The SEC requires all registered investment advisors to disclose any actions against the company, an employee or an affiliate that have occurred in the last 10 years on their Form ADV paperwork. For further information, view the firm’s IAPD page.

9. TAG Associates LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: None required, but a $10 million minimum is recommended
  • AUM: $8,349,620,000
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 4:1
  • Fee structure: 
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
    • Performance-based fees
  • Firm phone number: (212) 275?1500
  • Headquarters address:
    810 Seventh Avenue, 7th Floor
    New York, NY 10019?5890

About TAG Associates

TAG Associates is an independent, privately owned wealth management firm. Founded in 1983, the firm offers investment management and family office services to high net worth clients, including entrepreneurs, corporate executives, endowments, foundations and multigenerational families in the and New York area. The firm also has an office in Ketchum, Idaho.

TAG Associates investing strategy

TAG Associates builds client asset allocation strategies based on their financial situation, needs, investment objectives and any restrictions that they choose to impose. The firm mainly uses a non-discretionary strategy in which clients make the final decisions regarding the purchase or sale of investments.

TAG Associates’ investment philosophy incorporates both active and passive strategies. In addition, alternative investments are a speciality area for the firm: Specifically, TAG Associates utilizes alternative investments to generate returns while minimizing volatility in client portfolios and hedging risk.

TAG Associates disciplinary disclosures

TAG Associates has a record free of any disciplinary disclosures. For reference, disclosures include any civil, criminal or regulatory events involving the firm, its employees or its affiliates. The SEC requires all registered investment advisors to disclose any such events over the past 10 years. For more information on TAG Associates, visit the firm’s IAPD page.

10. Williams Jones Wealth Management, LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: $1 million
  • AUM: $8,157,666,074
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 80:1
  • Fee structure: 
    • A percentage of AUM
  • Firm phone number: (212) 935-8750
  • Headquarters address:
    717 Fifth Ave., 11th Floor
    New York, New York 10022

About Williams Jones Wealth Management

Williams Jones Wealth Management, a privately-owned firm, was founded in 1988 by its current chairman and partner, William P. Jones. The firm, which is a member of the Focus Financial Partners group, provides portfolio management and financial planning services primarily to high net worth individuals — though its client base also includes individuals who do not meet the definition of high net worth — as well as foundations and institutional investors.

The firm operates primarily in New York but also has an office in Palm Beach, Fla.

Williams Jones Wealth Management investing strategy

Williams Jones Wealth Management takes a customized approach to portfolio management. Specifically, the firm evaluates each client’s overall financial situation and investment objectives and generally emphasizes long-term growth when making decisions regarding asset allocation and management.

The firm’s investment strategy centers on maximizing risk-adjusted returns through equity and bond holdings. Hedge fund strategies are also utilized, though these are outsourced to third parties.

Williams Jones Wealth Management disciplinary disclosures

The SEC requires registered investment advisors to disclose legal or disciplinary actions on their Form ADV. This includes any actions against the company, an employee or an affiliate that have occurred in the last 10 years. Williams Jones Wealth Management reports no disciplinary actions on its Form ADV, meaning it has a clean record. For more information on the firm, visit Williams Jones Wealth Management’s IAPD page.

Financial advisors in New York: FAQs

When discussing your investment plans with your financial advisor, be sure to cover when estate tax applies and how that may affect the amount of wealth you have to pass on to future generations. As of 2020, the basic exclusion amount for New York estate tax is $5,850,000. New York charges no gift tax or inheritance tax, which can be beneficial when making financial gifts during your lifetime and beyond. However, you should also consider how you may be impacted by federal estate and gift tax requirements.

Financial advisor firms can offer different financial services, and it’s important to ask which ones a firm offers before entering into a client relationship. For example, some may specialize in retirement planning, while others also offer services related to estate planning or legacy planning. Some financial advisor firms work exclusively with individuals and families, while others work with institutional investors, nonprofit organizations and business owners.

When comparing financial advisors, it’s important to consider the cost. Financial advisors in New York can base their fees on a percentage of assets under management or charge an hourly or fixed fee. They can also earn money through commissions, performance-based fees, subscription fees or fees negotiated for custom account management services.

When discussing costs with a financial advisor in New York, be sure to ask whether they’re fee-based or fee-only. A fee-only advisor may have fewer potential conflicts of interest, as they only earn money through the fees their clients pay, whereas fee-based advisors may also earn commissions.

In the state of New York, financial advisory firms with at least $25 million in assets under management must register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Firms with six or more clients must also register with the Investment Advisor Registration Depository System. Registered investment advisors (both firms and individual advisors) must keep an up-to-date Form ADV on file with the SEC.

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