Best Financial Advisors in Cincinnati 2020: Fees and Services

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Updated on Friday, November 13, 2020

Landing on the right financial advisor for you in the city of Cincinnati may seem like a daunting task given the number of financial advisors in Ohio’s third-largest city. Before you start your search, you’ll first want to consider what your financial needs and goals are, as well as how much you can afford to invest and pay for an advisor’s services.

Once you figure all of that out, though, you still have to compare all of the firms and their data points. To make that process easier, we went ahead and gathered the most pertinent information. To determine the best advisors in Cincinnati, 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 cannot decide which firm may be the best for you, but it can help make your search easier. Check out our list below to see Cincinnati’s top financial advisor firms and their main highlights:

10 best financial advisors in Cincinnati

Methodology and criteria

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

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

In our reviews, we’ve listed several other key features that will help you determine which financial advisor is most fitting for your investing style and financial needs. It is important to note that we did not include disciplinary disclosures as a metric for our ranking. We have listed any disciplinary disclosures current as of November 13, 2020, but urge you to evaluate these firms on https://adviserinfo.sec.gov/.

1. Fort Washington Investment Advisors Inc.

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: $500,000
  • AUM: $62,466,368,235
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 4:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
    • Performance-based fees
  • Firm phone number: (513) 361-7600
  • Headquarters address:
    303 Broadway, Suite 1200
    Cincinnati, OH 45202

About Fort Washington Investment Advisors Inc.

Founded in 1990, Fort Washington Investment Advisors Inc. serves high net worth individuals and families, as well as a long list of institutional investors, including charitable organizations, insurance companies, pension and profit-sharing plans and others. For individuals and families — who generally must invest at least $500,000 — the firm’s private client group offers investment advisory, wealth management and financial planning services. The firm also serves as an advisor to some mutual funds that are available to the general public.

Headquartered in Cincinnati, the firm has three additional offices in Beechwood, Ohio; Albany, New York; and San Francisco. Today, Fort Washington Investment Advisors is owned by Western & Southern Investment Holdings, and is the main investment division of Western & Southern Financial Group and its insurance affiliates.

Fort Washington Investment Advisors Inc. investing strategy

Clients have access to more than a dozen proprietary strategies from Fort Washington Investment Advisors as well as to outside managers. Depending on the client’s unique needs, the advisors will decide whether to go with the firm’s products or outside managers; active or passive strategies; and mutual funds or separate accounts.

The firm may also offer more sophisticated products, such as options and derivatives, and give clients access to private equity funds.

Fort Washington Investment Advisors Inc disciplinary disclosures

Fort Washington Investment Advisors has a clean disciplinary record, meaning it discloses no disciplinary events over the last 10 years against the firm or an employee or affiliate that would be material to a client evaluating the firm or the integrity of the management team. The SEC requires all registered investment advisor firms to report such incidents in their Form ADV paperwork. To learn more, view the firm’s Investment Advisor Public Disclosure (IAPD) page.

2. Bahl & Gaynor Inc.

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: $750,000
  • AUM: $15,521,518,193
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 28:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (513) 287-6100
  • Headquarters address:
    255 East Fifth Street, Suite 2700
    Cincinnati, OH 45202

About Bahl & Gaynor Inc.

Clients of Bahl & Gaynor Inc. turn to the firm for portfolio management and financial planning services. The firm’s client list includes high net worth individuals and families, who the SEC defines as those with at least $750,00 under management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million. It also works with many institutional investors, such as charitable organizations, pension and profit-sharing plans, investment companies, businesses and others, and the team also advises some mutual funds available to the general public. The firm generally requires a minimum investment of $750,000.

Founded in 1990 by Bill Bahl and Vere Gaynor, both of whom are co-presidents and chairmans of the board at the firm, Bahl & Gaynor is employee-owned and has a single office in Cincinnati.

Bahl & Gaynor Inc. investing strategy

The Bahl & Gaynor team believes in owning high quality, dividend growth stocks over the long term, defined as two to five years.

Advisors may directly manage a client’s account based on their unique needs, or they may choose to use one of the team’s seven model portfolios, which the firm’s investment committee is responsible for choosing investments for. The available model portfolios include an option with an environmental, social and governance (ESG) focus.

Bahl & Gaynor Inc. disciplinary disclosures

Bahl & Gaynor has a clean disciplinary record. The firm discloses no civil, criminal or regulatory events over the last 10 years that would be material in a client’s evaluation of the investment firm or the integrity of the management team. Learn more about the firm on its IAPD page.

3. Johnson Investment Counsel, Inc. 

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: $1 million
  • AUM: $13,117,965,833
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 52:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (513) 661-3100
  • Headquarters address:
    3777 West Fork Road
    Cincinnati, OH 45247

About Johnson Investment Counsel, Inc.

Johnson Investment Counsel, Inc serves a broad list of clients, with its client base largely dominated by individual investors both with and without a high net worth. It also works with many institutional investors, including charitable organizations, pension and profit-sharing plans, government entities, corporations and others.

The firm’s main offering for individual investors is portfolio management, along with financial planning and family office services. The team also advises five mutual funds, the Johnson Mutual Funds Trust, available to the general public with a minimum investment of only $2,000. Additionally, Johnson Investment Counsel offers a robo-advisor program, Johnson Intelligent Portfolios, which requires clients to invest $5,000. Other services generally require a minimum of $1 million.

With roots dating back to 1965, today the firm is owned by 33 employees. The firm has its headquarters in Cincinnati, where it also has a second office, as well as additional offices in Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; and Detroit.

Johnson Investment Counsel, Inc. investing strategy

Johnson Investment Counsel primarily establishes discretionary relationships with its clients, meaning clients turn over the daily decision making in the account to their advisors. Based on a client’s needs and objectives, advisors will either create a custom portfolio for the client or invest their assets in a predefined strategy. Advisors may also recommend that clients invest some or all of all of their funds with a third-party investment advisor.

Typical asset classes used in client portfolios include the standard equities and fixed income as well as more sophisticated strategies, such as options and futures contracts, master limited partnerships and interest in real estate. The firm notes that, unless agreed upon, tax efficiency is not a primary consideration in the management of clients’ assets.

Johnson Investment Counsel, Inc. disciplinary disclosures

Johnson Investment Counsel has no disciplinary disclosures, meaning its record is free of any civil, criminal or regulatory events from within the last 10 years involving the firm or its employees or affiliates. The SEC requires registered investment advisors to disclose any such events that would be material to a client when evaluating the firm or the integrity of its management team. For more information about the Johnson Investment Counsel, visit its IAPD page.

4. Bartlett & Co. Wealth Management LLC

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: $500,000
  • AUM: $6,505,304,635
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 62:1
  • Fee structure: 
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (513) 621-4612
  • Headquarters address:
    600 Vine Street, Suite 2100
    Cincinnati, OH 45202

About Bartlett & Co. Wealth Management LLC

Bartlett & Co. Wealth Management LLC offers portfolio management and financial planning services. The latter, which may be part of the portfolio advisory engagement or a separate consulting agreement, may address topics such as retirement planning, estate planning, education savings, cash flow analysis and others. Most of the firm’s clients are individuals and families, including those who do and do not qualify as high net worth per the SEC’s definition. The firm also serves institutions such as foundations, endowments, corporations, pension and profit-sharing plans and others.

Bartlett & Co. Wealth Management is part of the Focus Financial Partners brand, a public company traded on the Nasdaq that has more than 60 registered investment advisory partner firms. Headquartered in Cincinnati, Bartlett & Co. Management acquired Lodestar Investment Counsel, LLC in Chicago in 2019 and now has a Windy City location as well. The firm traces its roots back to 1898.

Bartlett & Co. Wealth Management LLC investing strategy

Bartlett & Co. Wealth Management focuses on active management. The team typically invests clients’ money among mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and individual stocks and bonds. International equities are spread across geographies and across developed and emerging economies. To meet small cap and international allocations, the team utilizes mutual funds and ETFs to minimize expenses. The team also may recommend that clients invest with unaffiliated managers.

The firm typically works with clients on a discretionary basis, meaning clients give control to Bartlett & Co. Wealth Management to make the day-to-day trading decisions in their account.

Bartlett & Co. Wealth Management LLC disciplinary disclosures

Bartlett & Co Wealth Management reports no disclosures on its Form ADV paperwork filed with the SEC. This means that neither the firm nor its employees or affiliates have encountered a civil, criminal or regulatory issue within the last decade. You can learn more about the firm by visiting its IAPD page.

5. Truepoint, Inc.

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: $3 million
  • AUM: $3,377,150,297
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 40:1
  • Fee structure: 
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (513) 792-6648
  • Headquarters address:
    9999 Carver Road, Suite 200
    Cincinnati, OH 45242

About Truepoint, Inc.

The Truepoint, Inc. client base includes individuals and families both with and without a high net worth, as well as pension and profit-sharing plans and charitable organizations. Services offered by the firm include investment management, financial planning, tax management, risk management and estate planning.

For wealthy families with investable assets of more than $20 million, the firm also offers family office services such as bill paying, generational planning and trust administration. Otherwise, the firm has a suggested portfolio minimum of $3 million to have a traditional relationship directly with an advisor. That said, all clients, regardless of account size, have access to the firm’s RhineVest brand, which offers access to an online program for portfolio management, as well as a traditional financial advisor to assist with financial planning services, such as student loan consolidation, budgeting and retirement planning.

Truepoint was founded in 1990 by Michael Chasnoff, who is currently the firm’s CEO, and is employee-owned. Since 2016 Truepoint has owned fellow Cincinnati-based advisory firm RhineVest Advisors, which brings the company total to two offices in Cincinnati.

Truepoint, Inc. investing strategy

Truepoint’s advisors do not believe the high costs of active investing are worth it. In fact, the team says the primary driver of returns is often investment behavior. Thus, Truepoint’s investing philosophy focuses on adhering to long-term investing goals through low-cost index funds.

In addition to providing advice on mutual funds and ETFs, the firm sometimes weighs in on private equity investments, hedge funds and other sophisticated products available only to certain high net worth investors.

Truepoint, Inc. disciplinary disclosures

Truepoint discloses no disciplinary or legal events against the firm or an employee or affiliate over the last 10 years that would materially impact a client’s evaluation of the business or the integrity of the management team. The SEC requires all registered investment advisors to report any such events in their Form ADV paperwork. You can learn more about Truepoint by viewing the firm’s IAPD page.

6. Foster & Motley, Inc.

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: $500,000
  • AUM: $1,535,909,515
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 36:1
  • Fee structure: 
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
    • Hourly charges
  • Firm phone number: (513) 561-6640
  • Headquarters address:
    7755 Montgomery Road #100
    Cincinnati, Ohio 45236

About Foster & Motley Inc.

Foster & Motley Inc. has two primary lines of business: portfolio management and financial planning, which clients can opt to bundle together under one fee or use independently. Financial planning topics addressed by the firm may include retirement, college funding, insurance, estate planning and taxes.

The firm, which has a $500,000 account minimum requirement, offers these services primarily to individual investors who both are and are not considered high net worth. Rounding out the firm’s client list are pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and other businesses.

Foster & Motley dates back to its founding in 1996. The firm has a single office in Cincinnati and is owned by 11 individual shareholders.

Foster & Motley Inc. investing strategy

Foster & Motley invests most client funds in individual stocks and bonds. Rather than follow a strictly value or growth philosophy, the team aims to combine these two approaches by investing in quality companies at reasonable prices.

The team looks for stocks with greater than average dividend yield and greater than market dividend growth, as well as lower valuation and higher quality. For a client’s international and alternative asset exposure, the team primarily uses no-load mutual funds and ETFs.

The firm also sometimes uses Charles Schwab’s automated online investing platform to invest client money in strategies managed by the firm’s advisors. Investments are limited to ETFs and mutual funds. For this option, clients must custody their assets at Charles Schwab.

Foster & Motley Inc. disciplinary disclosures

Foster & Motley has a clean disciplinary record. For reference, all registered investment firms are required by the SEC to disclose any legal or disciplinary actions against the firm or an employee or affiliate that would materially impact a client’s evaluation of the business. You can learn more about the firm by visiting its IAPD page.

7. Constellation Wealth Advisors

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: $1 million
  • AUM: $1,476,067,034
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 15:1
  • Fee structure: 
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
    • Performance-based fees
  • Firm phone number: (513) 871-5500
  • Headquarters address:
    255 East Fifth Street, Suite 3000
    Cincinnati, OH 45202

About Constellation Wealth Advisors

Constellation Wealth Advisors, legally known as Quadrant Capital Group, LLC, provides investment management and financial planning services out of its single office in Cincinnati. The firm serves individual investors and families who are and are not considered high net worth, with a focus on entrepreneurs, private business owners and executives. It also works with pooled investment vehicles. The firm generally requires a minimum relationship size of $1 million.

Founded in 2009, Constellation Wealth Advisors is owned by managing partners Patrick Lafley, Patrick Rogers, John Williams and Michael Veith.

Constellation Wealth Advisors investing strategy

At Constellation Wealth Advisors, clients’ investment profiles are based on their goals, and they can generally choose from growth, balanced and conservative investing strategies. The firm generally invests client money in a mix of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, separately managed accounts and alternative investments. In certain cases, clients have access to private placements and hedge funds.

Constellation Wealth Advisors has a fairly even mix of discretionary and non-discretionary relationships, meaning that for about half of the clients’ assets under management advisors must get approval from clients before making trades. The firm’s investment committee generally meets on a weekly basis to discuss investment opportunities.

Constellation Wealth Advisors disciplinary disclosures

Constellation Wealth Advisors has no disciplinary disclosures to report, meaning it has a clean record with no regulatory, civil or criminal actions against either the company or its employees or affiliates from within the last 10 years. Learn more by viewing the firm’s IAPD page.

8. Wealthquest Corporation

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: $5,000
  • AUM: $993,223,918
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 86:1
  • Fee structure: 
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (513) 530-9700
  • Headquarters address:
    50 E-Business Way, Suite 120
    Cincinnati, Ohio 45241

About Wealthquest Corporation

Founded in 2006, Wealthquest Corporation offers a tiered range of services depending on a client’s account size:

  • Ascend: Through this program, investors with portfolios of less than $500,000 have access to robo-investment management services offered online. Clients in this program can pay extra for wealth management services.
  • Expeditions: For clients with accounts ranging from $500,000 to $2.5 million, advisors will offer portfolio management and also address additional topics including tax planning, estate planning, retirement planning, insurance planning, college savings planning and more. Unlike in the Ascend program, wealth management services are typically included as part of the fee.
  • Summit: Investors with more than $2.5 million to invest will find a full suite of services, including legacy planning, advanced charitable giving planning and private banking. Wealth management services are included as part of the asset management fee.

Wealthquest Corporation is owned by its employees, with the principal owners being the CEO Wade Daniel and president James Lenhoff. Headquartered in Cincinnati with another office in Oak Brook, Ill., just 20 miles from Chicago, the firm serves individual investors who are and are not high net worth, as well as pension and profit-sharing plans.

Wealthquest Corporation investing strategy

The firm’s investment committee creates various strategies, which are then deployed into a myriad of asset allocation models. These allocation models range from conservative to aggressive and carry particular types of risk.

To implement these models, the firm may invest clients’ money in a mix of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, structured notes, options contracts and certificates of deposit (CDs). The firm also uses margin transactions and options strategies.

For clients in the online Ascend program, accounts are invested in strategies managed by Wealthquest consisting largely of ETFs and cash. Clients must have a Charles Schwab brokerage account for this program.

Wealthquest Corporation disciplinary disclosures

Wealthquest Corporation has a clean disciplinary record. As a registered investment advisor, the firm is required by the SEC to disclose any legal or disciplinary actions in the last 10 years involving either the firm or an employee that would materially impact a client’s evaluation of the business or the integrity of the management team. To learn more, view the firm’s IAPD page.

9. Madison Wealth Management

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: Not specified, but minimum annual minimum fee of $10,000
  • AUM: $898,208,661
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 34:1
  • Fee structure: 
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (513) 871-4555
  • Headquarters address:
    7755 Montgomery Road, Suite 350
    Cincinnati, Ohio 45236

About Madison Wealth Management

Headquartered in Cincinnati with additional offices in Leesburg, Va., and Bethesda, Md., Madison Wealth Management offers investment management and financial planning services. Clients can also request consultations on specific services.

The firm’s client base is primarily individual investors, both with and without high net worths, and it also works with institutions, such as pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and corporations and other businesses.

Legally known as Madison Financial Advisors, Ltd., the firm was founded in 2000. It is owned by six of its principals.

Madison Wealth Management investing strategy

Advisors at Madison Wealth Management create custom portfolios that are unique to each client. The firm’s strategy hinges on strategic asset allocation, and portfolios may include a mix of stocks, bonds, actively and passively managed mutual funds, ETFs, closed-end funds and private partnerships. Sometimes riskier strategies like margins and options are used. For specialized expertise and knowledge, the firm may tap certain third-party managers.

Most clients choose to engage with Madison Wealth Management on a discretionary basis, meaning clients give control of the daily decision making to their advisor.

Madison Wealth Management disciplinary disclosures

Madison Wealth Management has no disciplinary disclosures to report. Like all registered investment advisors, the firm is required by the SEC to disclose any civil, criminal or regulatory actions against the firm or an employee over the last 10 years that would be material to a client’s evaluation of the firm. For more information, visit the firm’s IAPD page.

10. PCA Investment Advisory Services, Inc.

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: Not specified
  • AUM: $827,872,543
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 72:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
    • Commissions
    • Other (mutual fund reimbursements)
  • Firm phone number: (513) 281-3366
  • Headquarters address:
    2133 Luray Ave
    Cincinnati, Ohio 45206

About PCA Investment Advisory Services, Inc.

Founded in 2001, PCA Investment Advisory Services, Inc. primarily caters to pension and profit-sharing plans, which tap the firm for pension consulting services. The firm also services charitable organizations and businesses. As for individuals and families, clients with and without a high net worth turn to the firm for investment management and financial planning. Some clients opt for the firm’s automated investment advisory program, which costs less than a traditional advisor relationship. Additionally, certain 401(k) plan participants can engage PCA to manage their account.

Headquartered in Cincinnati with another office in West Chester, Ohio, PCA Investment Advisory Services is owned by its CEO, president, executive vice president and vice president.

PCA Investment Advisory Services, Inc. investing strategy

When creating an account for a client, PCA Investment Advisory Services first determines a suitable asset allocation for the client based on their goals and needs. Then, the team reviews managed and passive mutual funds and ETFs to select specific investments for the account. The firm makes long-term and short-term investments, the latter of which is typically held for less than a year.

To identify the appropriate investment recommendations, the firm uses fundamental analysis to dig deeper into specific stocks, looking hard at factors such as industry conditions and management. The team also places much emphasis on identifying the appropriate asset allocation for each client.

PCA Investment Advisory Services, Inc. disciplinary disclosures

PCA Investment Advisory Services reports no disclosures in its Form ADV paperwork. This means the firm has a record free of any legal or disciplinary actions over the last 10 years against the firm or an employee or affiliate of the firm. To learn more about PCA Investment Advisory Services, go to its IAPD page.

Financial advisors in Cincinnati: FAQ

Ohio is a relatively low-cost state in terms of taxes, with a top income tax rate below 5%. Cincinnati residents pay an additional 2.10%. The state has no estate or inheritance tax, though residents may be subject to federal estate or inheritance taxes.

No, financial advisors can specialize in a range of services, which may or may not include retirement planning. Thus, it’s your job to appropriately vet potential advisors to be certain you find the best fit and expertise for your needs. For a complete list of questions you should ask financial advisor candidates, read this article.

No. The term financial advisor can be broadly used to describe a wide variety of professionals offering various investment services. You may be surprised to learn that only some advisors are fiduciaries, meaning they must put their clients’ best interests ahead of their own. Read our article about the benefits of working with an advisor who is a fiduciary to learn more.

There are a number of designations that financial advisors can earn that may indicate advanced education or a certain level of experience. The certified financial planner (CFP), for example, ranks among the top of the pack, since it signals that an advisor has undergone extensive education and training and passed a rigorous exam. The chartered financial analyst (CFA) is another highly regarded designation, since it requires passing a difficult exam, though it tends to focus more on investment management than comprehensive financial planning like the CFP designation does.

Not all designations hold equal significance though, so make sure you research any certifications an advisor may hold. Don’t place too much weight on any designations that can be earned over the course of, say, a day. To learn more about the various certifications advisors can hold and what goes into earning them, go to FINRA’s website.