Best Financial Advisors in Illinois 2021: Fees and Services

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Updated on Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Choosing a financial advisor in this midwestern state can feel like a daunting task, given the large number of advisors in the region. You must first understand your financial needs and goals and how much you’re willing to spend, in order to find a proper fit.

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 the Prairie State, we only considered firms that manage individual accounts and offer financial planning services. We 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 may indicate how much attention you get as a client.

Our ranking is not indicative of which firm may be best for you, but we’re hoping it can help make the shopping experience easier. Take a look at our list below for the top firms in Illinois and their key highlights:

10 best financial advisors in Illinois

Methodology and criteria

For our search, we looked at firms across the state of Illinois. 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 February 24, 2021, but urge you to evaluate these firms on https://adviserinfo.sec.gov/.

1. Hightower Advisors, LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: None
  • AUM: $57,000,000,000
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 287:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Other (retainer or service fees)
  • Firm phone number: 312-962-3800
  • Headquarters address:
    200 W. Madison Street, Suite 2500
    Chicago, IL 60606

About Hightower Advisors, LLC

Originally established in 2008, Hightower Advisors, LLC is a growing registered advisory firm, with a network of nearly 90 offices around the country today. Some of the offices use the Hightower Advisors branding, while others have their own individual name.

Advisors at the firm offer investment management and financial planning services to individual investors, including some high net worth clients defined as those with more than $750,000 to invest or a net worth of $1.5 million, per the SEC. The firm also works with institutions such as charitable organizations, corporations and pension and profit-sharing plans.

Hightower Advisors is majority owned by private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners, as well as some of the firm’s advisors and employees.

Hightower Advisors, LLC investing strategy

The firm supplies its network of advisors with two types of portfolios to invest client money. Multi-asset portfolios provide strategies across asset allocations and risk types, using multiple vehicles such as mutual funds, index funds and separately managed accounts. Third-party managers may be tapped for some or all of a client’s account. Many separately managed account strategies are provided for equity and fixed-income securities, giving the advisor the flexibility to tailor the portfolio to the particular client.

Typical investments may include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), real estate investment trusts, options, warrants and alternative investments, among others. Advisors typically manage client accounts through discretionary relationships, meaning clients are not asked for approval before trading in an account.

Hightower Advisors, LLC disciplinary disclosures

Hightower Advisors has a clean record. The SEC requires registered investment advisory firms to disclose on their Form ADV legal or disciplinary events against the firm or its employees in the last 10 years that a potential client would find material when evaluating the firm or the integrity of its leadership. Learn more by viewing the firm’s IAPD page.

2. Mesirow Financial Investment Management, Inc.

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: None, but annual fee of $4,000
  • AUM: $26,693,197,000
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 127:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Performance-based fees
  • Firm phone number: 800-621-4421
  • Headquarters address:
    353 N. Clark Street
    Chicago, IL 60654

About Mesirow Financial Investment Management, Inc.

This Chicago-based firm caters to individual investors and a wide swath of institutional clients, ranging from government entities and pension and profit sharing plans to corporations and insurance companies. For its individual clients, advisors at Mesirow Financia offer asset management as well as financial planning services, addressing life events such as buying a home, selling a business, planning your estate and saving for college.

The group is part of Mesirow Financial Holdings, Inc. Norman Mesirow founded his eponymous independent firm in 1937. The group has additional offices in La Jolla, Calif.; Manhattan Beach, Calif.; Highland Park, Ill.; Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.; and Denver.

Mesirow Financial Investment Management, Inc. investing strategy

Advisors at Mesirow Financial Investment Management tailor their recommendations to the client, based on the client’s short- and long-term objectives, income, liquidity, tax efficiency, risk tolerance and time horizon. Client money is typically put into mutual funds, equities, fixed-income products and alternative investments. Third-party managers or subadvisors who specialize in certain niches may be recommended, as well as affiliated investments and private funds.

When selecting investment candidates, advisors look for investments with strong organizations, consistent style, a successful track record and managers with integrity. Mesirow Financial Investment Management also manages a specific investment strategy made up of companies with a socially conscious reputation, a positive corporate culture and an impact on the larger community.

Mesirow Financial Investment Management, Inc. disciplinary disclosures

Mesirow Financial Investment Management discloses no legal or disciplinary items against the firm or its employees over the previous 10 years. You can learn more by visiting the firm’s IAPD page.

3. Segall Bryant & Hamill

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: $1 million
  • AUM: $19,661,201,015
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 27:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
    • Performance-based fees
    • Other fees
  • Firm phone number: 1-800-836-4265
  • Headquarters address:
    540 West Madison Street, Suite 1900
    Chicago, IL, 60661

About Segall Bryant & Hamill

Founded more than 25 years ago, Segall Bryant & Hamill caters to a wide variety of clients, ranging from individuals and high-net-worth investors to pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations, corporations, private investment funds and state and local governments. These clients turn to Segall Bryant & Hamill for investment management and financial planning services. The latter may include retirement or education planning, or help determining if you’ll reach various financial goals you’ve set for yourself.

Based in Chicago, the group has four additional offices near St. Louis; Naples, Fla.; Philadelphia and Denver. The firm is owned by some employees as well as affiliates of Thoma Bravo LLC, a Chicago-based private equity group.

Segall Bryant & Hamill investing strategy

The team constructs client portfolios from the bottom up, meaning choosing security by security versus looking at macro conditions and determining what type of industries or sectors will fare best in that environment. The firm offers roughly 20 portfolios of domestic and international equity, domestic fixed income, balanced portfolios and alternative investments. The strategies are typically offered through a separately managed account, though some are available through the firm’s proprietary mutual funds.

When analyzing securities, the firm largely focuses on fundamental factors. Their internal research can include interviews with company management, customers, suppliers and industry experts, as well as analysis of company financial statements and performance. The team also factors in environmental, social and governance issues.

Segall Bryant & Hamill disciplinary disclosures

Segall Bryant & Hamill reports no material legal or disciplinary items against the firm or its affiliates in the past 10 years, including no regulatory, civil or criminal settlements.

For more information, visit Segall Bryant & Hamill’s IAPD page.

4. DiMeo Schneider & Associates, LLC

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: Varies by program, starting at $10,000 for certain clients
  • AUM: $19,119,137,619
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 8:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: 312-853-1000
  • Headquarters address:
    500 West Madison Street, Suite 1700
    Chicago, IL 60661

About DiMeo Schneider & Associates, LLC

Chief executive Robert DiMeo co-founded the firm in 1995, after spending time at Kidder, Peabody’s Institutional Consulting Group. DiMeo Schneider & Associates serves individual clients, many of whom are high net worth, as well as institutions such as charitable organizations and pension and profit-sharing plans. In particular, the firm targets corporate executives, business owners and family offices. The main services offered include investment management and consulting.

DiMeo Schneider & Associates has four additional offices in McLean, Va.; Austin, Texas; Santa Ana, Calif. and Boston. Today, the firm is owned by a group of employees as well as the large insurance brokerage and consulting firm NFP Corp., which provides technology and infrastructure support to the group.

DiMeo Schneider & Associates, LLC investing strategy

DiMeo Schneider & Associates relies on two proprietary tools when making its investment recommendations. First, the Frontier Engineer tool was created to determine how market disruptions may impact your portfolio long-term, and helps to develop broadly diversified portfolios. Second, Portfolio Engineer creates a systematic process for when a portfolio should be rebalanced, to reduce unnecessary trading costs.

To identify the best opportunities, the firm screens thousands of public and private managers, as well as private and alternatives strategies. Typical asset classes may include global fixed income and equity, and alternatives such as real estate, hedge funds and private equity.

DiMeo Schneider & Associates, LLC disciplinary disclosures

Dimeo Schneider & Associates discloses no disciplinary or legal items, including regulatory, civil or criminal, against the firm or its employees in the previous 10 years that a client would find material. For more information, visit its IAPD page.

5. Capital Strategies Investment Group, LLC

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: None
  • AUM: $15,713,794,825
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 15:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: 630-320-5100
  • Headquarters address:
    One Parkview Plaza, Suite 620
    Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181

About Capital Strategies Investment Group, LLC

Capital Strategies Investment Group, LLC provides advice to corporate retirement plans, institutional investors such as corporations and high-net-worth individuals, defined by the SEC as those with at least $750,000 to invest or a net worth of $1.5 million. For these wealthy individuals and families, the firm manages their portfolios as well as helps plan their overall financial lives, offering help in areas such as retirement planning, estate planning and navigating stock-compensation strategies or real estate financing.

The office is located in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., with one additional office in Jupiter, Fla. The firm was formed in 2009 by its three co-founders, Will Woodall, Barbara Best and Nancy Rizzuto. Today, the three co-founders along with three additional employees own the firm.

Capital Strategies Investment Group, LLC investing strategy

Advisors at Capital Strategies create a custom portfolio for each client, based on factors such as goals, risk tolerance and time horizon. They design the portfolio to be diversified over time, and across asset classes, management styles, industries and regions. Some investments may be held for the long-term, while others are traded fairly quickly.

Client money is invested in a broad mix of products, including no-load mutual funds, ETFs, collective trusts, limited partnerships and equity and fixed-income securities, among others. Advisors also may use derivative instruments, such as options, since they believe they can help reduce risk and improve performance. They may recommend other securities for a specific tactical or strategic reason.

Capital Strategies Investment Group, LLC disciplinary disclosures

Capital Strategies Investment Group has a clean record, disclosing no legal or disciplinary items in the past 10 years that would materially impact a client’s view of the firm or its leadership. Visit the firm’s IAPD page to learn more.

6. Cresset Asset Management, LLC

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: None
  • AUM: $9,519,544,050
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 14:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: 312-429-2400
  • Headquarters address:
    444 W. Lake Street, Suite 4700
    Chicago, IL, 60606

About Cresset Asset Management, LLC

Private equity investors Eric Becker and Avy Stein saw the opportunity for this registered investment advisory firm after exploring options to manage their own wealth. The pair founded Cresset Asset Management in 2017. Today the group primarily serves individual investors, including high-net-worth families, offering them asset management, financial planning and family office services. In particular, the group targets entrepreneurs and business executives.

This Chicago-based firm has eight additional offices in Denver, Seattle, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Atlanta, West Palm Beach, Fla.; Schaumburg, Ill. and Reston, Va. Today the firm is owned by Cresset Capital Management, LLC. The group also works with pension and profit-sharing plans as well as pooled investment vehicles.

Cresset Asset Management, LLC investing strategy

Advisors craft portfolios specific to the client, based on factors such as the client’s life circumstances, goals, time horizon, risk tolerance and liquidity needs. While other firms focus primarily on choosing specific securities they believe will outperform, Cresset Asset Management advisors attempt to design an appropriate asset allocation of securities, fixed income and stocks. They may recommend third-party money managers for a portion or all of a client’s account, as well as private investments.

Typical investments include the traditional stocks, bonds, passive and actively managed mutual funds and ETFs, and separately managed accounts, as well as more sophisticated or alternative options such as real estate investment trusts, hedge funds, private equity shares and structured products and derivatives.

The team makes investments for both the short- and long-term. They also may buy securities with borrowed money from client brokerage accounts.

Cresset Asset Management, LLC disciplinary disclosures

Cresset Asset Management has had no legal or disciplinary disclosures over the past 10 years against the firm or its employees that would materially shape a client’s opinion about the firm or the integrity of its leadership. For more information, view the firm’s IAPD page.

7. Sheridan Road

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: None
  • AUM: $9,292,600,052
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 60:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: 847-205-9073
  • Headquarters address:
    707 Skokie Blvd., Suite 400
    Northbrook, IL, 60062

About Sheridan Road

The Sheridan Road team has two primary types of clients: individual investors, including high-net-worth families, and pension and profit-sharing plans. The team also works with business owners and individuals going through divorce. Services offered include portfolio management, family office services and financial planning, including retirement planning and insurance solutions.

The firm has a handful of offices spread throughout the country including in Denver, Chicago, Nashville, Tenn.; Indianapolis and Milwaukee. Founded in 2004, the group is primarily owned by HUB International Limited.

Sheridan Road investing strategy

When investing client money, advisors buy investments they plan to hold for the long-term, as well as sell in the short-term. They may use option strategies, or borrow money from the client’s brokerage account in order to buy investments. Their research methods include very technical and quantitative analysis that, for example, looks for market patterns in market and company metrics or business cycles, as well as fundamental factors that look at company specifics such as their competitive advantages or management team strength.

Advisors primarily recommend mutual funds. They may also include equities, fixed-income securities, ETFs, real estate funds, insurance products such as annuities and private investments. Third-party managers may be recommended for some or all of a portfolio.

Separately, many advisors also serve as broker-dealers, meaning they can buy and sell investments for clients and earn commissions.

Sheridan Road disciplinary disclosures

Sheridan Road has no legal or disciplinary marks, including regulatory, civil or criminal disclosures, against the firm or its employees over the past 10 years that a potential client would find material when evaluating the firm or its management team. Visit the firm’s IAPD page to learn more.

8. RMB Capital Management

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  • Minimum assets required: $1 million to work with an advisor; $250,000 to invest in one of the firm’s private funds
  • AUM: $8,664,870,131
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 26:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
    • Performance-based fees
  • Firm phone number: 312-993-5800
  • Headquarters address:
    115 S. LaSalle, 34th Floor
    Chicago, IL 60603

About RMB Capital Management

A broad mix of individual and institutional clients work with RMB Capital Management. Individual investors and wealthy families turn to the firm for asset management, financial planning and family office services, including for advice on investing their employer-sponsored retirement plans. The team also services pension and profit plans, charitable organizations, foundations, government entities and others, as well as provides advice to other private funds and advisors.

RMB Capital Management has 12 offices around the country, including its Chicago headquarters and Washington D.C.; New York; Milwaukee; Denver; Key Largo, Fla.; Bloomington, Minn.; Lake Forest, Ill.; St. Joseph, Mich.; Skaneateles, N.Y.; Rochester, N.Y. and Wilson, Wyo. The firm was founded in 2005 and is primarily employee-owned, with two founding partners owning the majority of its parent-holding company.

RMB Capital Management investing strategy

Advisors typically manage client money through separately managed accounts, mutual funds and private funds. Actively managed strategies are preferred. Advisors may recommend third-party managers, particularly for specific niches such as international equities and fixed income, commodities, hedge funds and private equity. They also manage many equity and fixed-income strategies, alternative and private strategies and mutual funds, which they may recommend.

To choose investments, the team typically employs fundamental research, meaning they look at the specific company and industry, such as their competitive advantages, management teams and financial strength.

RMB Capital Management disciplinary disclosures

RMB Capital Management has a clean record. The firm discloses no material legal or disciplinary actions against the firm or its employees over the last 10 years. View the firm’s IAPD page for more information.

9. Savant Wealth Management

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: None, but minimum annual fee starts around $900
  • AUM: $7,905,057,161
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 97:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: 815-227-0300
  • Headquarters address:
    190 Buckley Drive
    Rockford, IL 61107

About Savant Wealth Management

Legally known as Savant Capital, LLC, this firm does business under three brands: Savant Wealth Management, Savant Capital Management and D3 Financial Counselors. Together these brands serve thousands of individual investors as well as high-net-worth families.

Advisors manage their portfolios and provide either comprehensive or standalone financial planning services, addressing topics such as business succession, divorce planning, insurance, stock options, wealth transfer, estate planning and more. The firm also prepares taxes, does business accounting and advisory, particularly for medical offices, and offers trust services. Advisors can weigh in on other investments a client may own outside of this relationship, such as education savings accounts, retirement plans, life insurance or annuities.

Savant Wealth Management is based in Rockford, Illinois, with 17 additional offices, most of which are in Illinois, including Chicago, Wilmette, Peoria, Sterling, Freeport, St. Charles, Downers Grove, Naperville, Lincolnshire, Bloomington and Hoffman Estates. Offices in other states can be found in Madison, Wis.; McLean, Va.; Park Falls, Wis. and Phoenix.

The firm’s roots date back to 1993, when its predecessor company began registered investment advisory services. Today the firm is owned by SCMI, Inc., formally known as Savant Capital Management, Inc.

Savant Wealth Management investing strategy

Clients who expect their investment portfolio to reach $500,000 within a year or $1 million within five years have access to the firm’s most comprehensive services and investment options. This includes a series of asset allocation models, usually made up of a blend of active and passive low-cost mutual funds and ETFs across a range of equity, fixed-income and alternative asset classes. On select occasions, advisors may include individual fixed-income securities, private funds or option strategies. Either way, particular focus is placed on tax efficiency and keeping fund expenses low.

Clients with less money to invest can access a more limited number of models offering a narrower mix of funds, to control costs. Plus the firm’s online advisory services, offered through Beacon and Betterment, are available to all clients regardless of the size of their investment account.

The firm also makes available socially responsible model portfolios for clients looking to include social values or sustainability issues in their portfolios.

Savant Wealth Management disciplinary disclosures

Savant Wealth Management discloses no legal or disciplinary items in the last 10 years that a potential client would view as material when evaluating the firm or the integrity of its leaders. Learn more by visiting the firm’s IAPD page.

10. Kovitz Investment Group Partners, LLC

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: $1 million ($500,000 for California or Wisconsin office)
  • AUM: $5,149,430,656
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 48:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Subscription fees
    • Performance-based fees
  • Firm phone number: 312-334-7300
  • Headquarters address:
    115 S. LaSalle St., 27th Floor
    Chicago, IL 60603

About Kovitz Investment Group Partners, LLC

Kovitz Investment Group Partners has a broad mix of clients. Individuals and high-net-worth investors use the firm for investment management, financial planning services and family office services such as bookkeeping, bill paying and family succession planning. The group also serves institutional investors such as endowments, corporations and pension and profit-sharing plans.

The group is part of the Focus Financial Partners, LLC partnership, which also owns other investment advisors, broker-dealers, pension consultants, insurers and financial-services firms. Focus Financial Partners, LLC is two-thirds owned by Focus Financial Partners, Inc, which is a publicly-traded company. The firm was founded in 2003 by a group of partners, Mitchell Kovitz, Jonathan Shapiro and Marc Brenner, who remain principals at the firm.

Based in Chicago, the firm has additional offices in Orange County, Calif., and Madison, Wis.

Kovitz Investment Group Partners, LLC investing strategy

Advisors use separate accounts to invest client money primarily in equities and fixed-income securities. When investing in equities, the team typically looks for financially strong companies with competitive advantages, and those of which the team believes are significantly undervalued. As for bonds, the team tries to earn a higher yield without additional risk by, among other strategies, buying smaller lots of bonds or those lower in demand. The California office in particular invests in equities considered out of favor or undervalued. The Madison office often adds mutual funds and ETFs to its portfolios, unlike the other offices, which only occasionally use them.

Advisors manage client accounts through discretionary relationships, meaning clients are not asked for approval when making daily trading decisions. Advisors may recommend mutual funds and hedge funds, including some affiliated with the company, as well as options and mortgage-backed securities.

Kovitz Investment Group Partners, LLC disciplinary disclosures

Kovitz Investment Group Partners has a clean record, disclosing no material legal or disciplinary actions against the firm or its employees in the last 10 years. Visit its IAPD page for additional information.

Financial advisors in Illinois: FAQ

Illinois ranks at the higher end of the spectrum when it comes to state taxes, partially because of its high sales and property taxes. The state’s top income tax rate is a flat 4.95%, putting it in the middle of the pack on state tax rates nationwide. Illinois levys an estate tax ranging from 0.8% to 16% on estates above $4 million. The state does not levy an inheritance tax.

No. Some advisory firms focus more on managing your portfolio, known as asset management, than on crafting a comprehensive financial plan targeting all aspects of your life, such as retirement. Find out specifically what services your advisor will offer, such as creating a written retirement plan, factoring Social Security and taxes into your retirement income calculations and more.

Look for financial advisors who serve as fiduciaries, meaning they must always act in your best interest and put your interests above their own. When narrowing your list of potential advisors, be sure to find out if the advisors require a minimum investment amount, what their costs are and if they offer the services you are looking for, such as help with retirement or education savings. Also be sure to ask how much and by whom they are paid. Generally, fee-only planners have fewer potential conflicts of interest because they do not accept income from investment product companies to push certain products. Here are 10 questions to ask potential advisors.

Yes, all registered advisory firms must be licensed to work in the state and have completed certain exams and coursework. Two of the common designations financial advisor professionals earn are the certified financial analyst (CFA) or the certified financial planner (CFP). To earn the latter, professionals must have a bachelor’s degree, complete coursework in financial planning, have 6,000 hours of financial planning experience and pass an exam.