Best Financial Advisors in Ohio 2020: Fees and Services

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Updated on Thursday, October 8, 2020

Choosing a financial advisor can be challenging given the number of financial advisors in Ohio. 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 Ohio, 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 Ohio and their key highlights:

10 best financial advisors in Ohio

Methodology and criteria

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

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

In our reviews, we’ve listed several other key features that will help you determine which financial advisor is most fitting for your investing style and financial needs. It is important to note that we did not include disciplinary disclosures as a metric for our ranking. We have listed any disciplinary disclosures current as of October 8, 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.

Fort Washington Investment Advisors, Inc. was established in 1990. It is a subsidiary of Western & Southern Investment Holdings, LLC, and serves as the investment arm of the insurance company Western & Southern Financial Group, Inc. Both of these companies, alongside Western & Southern Mutual Holding Company and The Western and Southern Life Insurance Company are the firm’s primary shareholders.

Fort Washington Investment Advisors offers services to individuals and institutional investors, as well as to private equity funds. Of the individual investors the firm serves, all of them are high net worth individuals, who the SEC defines as those with at least $750,000 under management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million. For these clients, the firm provides wealth management, financial planning and investment advisory services.

In addition to its headquarters in Cincinnati, the firm has satellite offices in the Cleveland metro area, San Francisco and Albany, N.Y.

Fort Washington Investment Advisors, Inc. investing strategy

Fort Washington Investment Advisors’ investment advice is driven by measuring risk and return. The firm evaluates a client’s needs, objectives and risk tolerance, then produces a plan that may include items such as long- and short-term purchases, short sales, options and equities.

The firm bases its recommendations on a number of factors, including the views of their professionals as well as those of independent investment firms. Fort Washington is also committed to using Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) Analysis for Responsible Investment (RI), meaning it takes steps to ensure its investment advice is socially responsible.

Fort Washington Investment Advisors, Inc. disciplinary disclosures

Fort Washington Investment Advisors has no disciplinary disclosures. For reference, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires all registered investment advisors to report any civil, legal or regulatory issues involving the firm, its employees or its affiliates from over the last 10 years on their Form ADV paperwork. For more information on Fort Washington Investment Advisors, visit its IAPD page.

2. Highland Consulting Associates, Inc.

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: Varies depending on the scope of engagement
  • AUM: $15,528,169,832
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 3:1
  • Fee structure: 
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (440) 808-1500
  • Headquarters address:
    159 Crocker Park Blvd., Suite 350
    Cleveland, Ohio 44145

About Highland Consulting Associates, Inc.

Established in 1993, Highland Consulting Associates, Inc. is 100% employee-owned. Its primary shareholder is the firm’s president, Richard Veres.

Highland Consulting Associates offers investment advisory services, family wealth planning and institutional retirement plan consulting. The firm primarily serves high net worth individuals, as well as defined benefit and defined contribution plans, charitable organizations, foundations, endowments and corporations and other businesses. Its only office location is in Cleveland.

Highland Consulting Associates, Inc. investing strategy

Highland Consulting Associates recommends investments across the board and states that it doesn’t limit its recommendations; rather, it caters them to each client’s unique needs. Most often, however, the firm recommends mutual funds, ETFs, hedge funds, private equity funds, venture capital funds and private placements, as well as other money managers.

Highland Consulting Associates’ team relies on in-house software and estimates of return, risk and correlation to help make asset allocation recommendations based on each client’s goals and risk tolerance. The firm generally serves its clients on a non-discretionary basis, meaning the client has the ultimate authority on all decisions made regarding their portfolio.

Highland Consulting Associates, Inc. disciplinary disclosures

Highland Consulting Associates, Inc. has no disciplinary disclosures to report. The SEC requires all registered investment advisors to report any civil, criminal or regulatory actions against the firm, its employees or its affiliates from the last 10 years on their Form ADV paperwork. For more information about the firm, visit its IAPD page.

3. 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 St., Suite 2700
    Cincinnati, OH 45202

About Bahl & Gaynor, Inc.

Bahl & Gaynor was established in 1990. The firm, which also does business under the name of Bahl & Gaynor Investment Counsel, was founded by William F. Bahl and Vere W. Gaynor, who both serve as chairman of the board and president. The Cincinnati-based firm is 100% employee-owned.

Bahl & Gaynor primarily serves high net worth individuals, who comprise the entirety of its individual client base. (For reference, the SEC defines high net worth individuals as those with at least $750,000 under management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million.) The firm also serves institutional investors, including charitable organizations, pension and profit-sharing plans and various companies.

Services the firm provides include asset management and financial planning. Working with Bahl & Gaynor generally requires a minimum investment of $750,000.

Bahl & Gaynor, Inc., investing strategy

Bahl & Gaynor’s investment recommendations for both its equity investment and fixed-income strategies center around high-quality, dividend-growth companies.

The firm’s equity investment strategy aims to keep turnover in clients’ portfolios to a minimum, as it focuses on long-term investments, generally held for two to five years. Bahl and Gaynor’s investment committee is responsible for making decisions on which stocks to recommend and conducting analysis to determine whether they meet the firm’s standards. Depending on the client and their objectives, Bahl & Gaynor may either recommend one of its model portfolios or a customized portfolio specifically for that client.

The firm’s fixed income strategy isn’t limited to specific maturity criteria, but is more flexible to meet the client’s individual needs and incorporate what it calls a “margin of safety.” In some limited cases, the firm may recommend a sub-advisor for a portion of municipal holdings.

Bahl & Gaynor, Inc. disciplinary disclosures

Bahl & Gaynor reports no disciplinary events on its Form ADV paperwork. This includes any civil, regulatory or criminal events involving either the firm or its employees or affiliates over the last decade. For more information, visit the firm’s IAPD page.

4. 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 was founded in 1965 by Tim Johnson, a financial professor who is now the firm’s chairman and principal. Today, the firm has two offices in Cincinnati, as well as three others in Ohio — Cleveland, Columbus and Dayton — and an additional one in the Detroit metro area. The firm is 100% employee-owned, with no one person owning more than 25%.

Johnson Investment Counsel provides portfolio management, financial planning, an automated investing service and mutual fund and pension consulting services. The firm’s clients include individuals who both do and do not qualify as high net worth individuals, though it does generally have a minimum investment requirement of $1 million. Johnson Investment Counsel also serves a range of institutional clients.

Johnson Investment Counsel, Inc. investing strategy

Johnson Investment Counsel uses a number of methods to determine individual portfolio recommendations, preferring to work in a team setting to take advantage of their collective experience and academic heritage. While the firm does create customized portfolios based on a client’s goals and tolerance for risk in some cases, it will use predefined strategies in others.

The firm notes that tax efficiency isn’t its primary consideration when creating portfolios, and thus clients may want to consult with a tax professional prior to investing.

Johnson Investment Counsel, Inc. disciplinary disclosures

Johnson Investment Counsel, Inc., doesn’t report any disciplinary history, meaning it has a record free of any civil, regulatory or criminal events over the last 10 years. For more information on the firm, visit its IAPD page.

5. Mai Capital Management, LLC

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: $500,000
  • AUM: $7,166,355,403
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 29:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
    • Performance-based fees
    • Other (A percentage of non-investment income)
  • Firm phone number: (216) 920-4800
  • Headquarters address:
    1360 East 9th St., Suite 1100
    Cleveland, OH 44114-1782

About Mai Capital Management, LLC

Mai Capital Management, LLC, was established in 1973 as Investment Advisors International, Inc. After a merger with McCormack Advisors International, LLC, it was renamed Mai Capital Management, LLC in 2014. The firm’s principal owner is Richard James Buoncore, who serves as managing partner of the firm.

Mai Capital Management provides investment management, wealth management and advisory services to individuals and institutions. The firm’s individual investor client base includes individuals and families who are and are not considered to be high net worth, with a specialty in serving senior officers of major corporations and sports professionals.

Mai Capital Management, LLC investing strategy

Mai Capital Management, LLC takes a unique approach to each client’s portfolio, taking into account their objectives, risk tolerance, tax considerations and time horizon. The firm focuses primarily on longer-term securities and generally avoids frequent trading because of the associated higher taxes and transaction costs as well as the risk of loss.

Mai Capital Management uses a variety of predetermined investment strategies, each of which has a varying minimum investment requirement. In some cases, the firm may use a combination of these strategies. The firm also may recommend third-party investment advisors to manage some client portfolios either in part or in full.

Mai Capital Management, LLC disciplinary disclosures

Mai Capital Management, LLC has no reported legal or disciplinary action. This includes any civil, criminal or regulatory actions involving the firm, its employees or its affiliates within the last 10 years. All registered investment advisors must report these incidents on their Form ADV paperwork filed with the SEC. For more information on the firm, visit its IAPD page.

6. 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, is part of the Focus Financial Partners, LLC partnership, a large network of 65 wealth management firms across the U.S. managed by Focus Financial Partners, Inc., a publicly traded company. Bartlett & Co.’s roots date back to 1898, when its namesake, Benjamin Bartlett, a partner at Cincinnati-based private investment firm George Eustis & Co., bought a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. Bartlett & Co. eventually came to replace George Eustis & Co.

Today, the firm provides investment management, financial planning and consulting services. Its clients are primarily individuals and high net worth individuals, as well as foundations, endowments, businesses and institutions. The firm has offices in Cincinnati and Chicago.

Bartlett & Co. Wealth Management, LLC investing strategy

Bartlett & Co. Wealth Management describes itself as an active investment manager that aims to maximize a client’s return for their given level of risk. To meet each client’s unique needs and level of risk tolerance, the firm focuses on portfolio diversification.

It generally recommends assets that span various economic sectors and international geographies, and tends to favor using mutual funds and ETFs in client portfolios. In addition to risk tolerance level, factors including portfolio size, tax sensitivity, income needs and time horizon, among others, will all influence the investment recommendations the firm makes.

Bartlett & Co. Wealth Management, LLC disciplinary disclosures

Bartlett & Co. Wealth Management, LLC reports no disclosures on its Form ADV paperwork, meaning it has a record free of any civil, regulatory or criminal actions. For more information, visit the firm’s IAPD page.

7. Clearstead Advisors, LLC; Hartland & Co., LLC

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: None
  • AUM: $5,777,114,355
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 14:1
  • Fee structure: 
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (216) 621-1090
  • Headquarters address:
    1100 Superior Avenue East, Suite 700
    Cleveland, Ohio 44114

About Clearstead Advisors, LLC; Hartland & Co., LLC

Clearstead Advisors, LLC was originally founded in 1989 as Hartland & Co. In 2018, the firm changed its name to Clearstead Advisors, LLC, though it can still do business under the name Hartland & Co., LLC. The firm is owned by Hartland Holdings, Inc. and Hartland Management Investors, LLC, which hold the shares of Clearstead’s employee shareholders, as well as investment firm Rosemont Partners III, L.P.

While its main office is in Cleveland, the firm also has an office in Portland, Maine, which operates as Plimsoll Mark Capital. Clearstead Advisors provides an array of services, including investment management, financial planning, tax planning and compliance and family office administration.

Although the firm does not require a minimum portfolio size, it does primarily work with high net worth individuals and families. However, it does also serve individual investors who do not meet this threshold, as well as pension and profit-sharing plans and businesses.

Clearstead Advisors, LLC; Hartland & Co., LLC investing strategy

Clearstead Advisors’ investment philosophy puts an emphasis on evaluating and mitigating risk while balancing individual client needs and characteristics. Clearstead Advisors believes that to achieve optimal returns for a client, it must take into account their time horizon, spending needs, legal constraints, personal beliefs and culture.

The firm emphasizes broad diversification and doesn’t limit its recommendations to any specific products or services. That being said, Clearstead Advisors generally favors mutual funds, ETFs, separately managed accounts and alternative investments, including hedge funds and private equity.

Clearstead Advisors, LLC; Hartland & Co., LLC disciplinary disclosures

Clearstead Advisors has no disciplinary disclosures to report, which includes any civil, criminal or regulatory actions taken against the firm, its employees or its affiliates. The SEC requires all registered investment advisors to report this information in their Form ADV paperwork. For further details, visit the firm’s IAPD page.

8. Stratos Wealth Partners, Ltd.

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: None
  • AUM: $5,707,041,745
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 41:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
    • A percentage of AUM with third-party managers 
  • Firm phone number: (440) 505-5620
  • Headquarters address:
    3750 Park East Drive, Suite 200
    Beachwood, OH 44122

About Stratos Wealth Partners, Ltd.

Headquartered in Beachwood, Ohio, Stratos Wealth Partners, Ltd. currently has 94 additional offices in 24 states across the country. Stratos Wealth Partners is owned by Stratos Wealth Holdings, LLC (also known as Stratos Wealth Network), a collective of  independent financial advisors and firms. Stratos Wealth Holdings, LLC also includes Stratos Wealth Advisors, Stratos Wealth Alliance, Stratos Wealth Enterprises and Fundamentum. The firm was founded in 2008 by Jeff Concepcion, who serves as CEO.

Stratos Wealth Partners provides investment advisory services and programs, including asset allocation, financial planning and consulting, as well as advisory programs via third-party firms. Client portfolios may be customized and managed individually or managed based on the firm’s model accounts. Stratos Wealth Partners’s clients include individuals, IRAs, banks and thrift institutions, pension and profit-sharing plans, trusts, estates, charitable organizations and businesses.

Stratos Wealth Partners, Ltd. investing strategy

Stratos Wealth Partners believes in taking a holistic approach to their clients’ financial lives. The firm’s independent advisors are able to customize unique investment strategies for their clients and use their own research methods, investment style and philosophy.

Advisors may recommend a variety of securities, including mutual funds, unit investment trusts, closed-end funds, ETFs, fixed income securities, equities and hedge funds.

Stratos Wealth Partners, Ltd. disciplinary disclosures

Stratos Wealth Partners does not report any disclosures. For reference, this includes any civil, criminal or regulatory actions related to the firm, its employees or its affiliates, and all registered investment advisors are required to report such incidents on their Form ADV paperwork filed with the SEC. For more information, visit the firm’s IAPD page.

9. Sequoia Financial Group, L.L.C.

Find an Advisor

  • Minimum assets required: None
  • AUM: $4,617,802,409
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 72:1
  • Fee structure: 
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (888) 225-3777
  • Headquarters address:
    3500 Embassy Parkway
    Akron, Ohio 44333

About Sequoia Financial Group, LLC

Sequoia Financial Group LLC was founded in 2000. It is owned in part by Sequoia Financial Advisors’ president, Thomas Haught, and Gerald Knotek, the company’s executive vice president and chief compliance officer. Kudu Investment US, LLC, an investment management company, also owns a minority stake in the firm.

The firm provides financial planning, consulting and investment management services. It primarily serves individual investors who do not qualify as high net worth, meaning they do not have at least $750,000 under management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million. However, the firm also serves some high net worth individuals, as well as charitable organizations and businesses.

Aside from its Akron headquarters, Sequoia Financial Group has additional offices in Ohio in Beachwood, Cleveland and Youngstown. It also has locations in Michigan and Florida.

Sequoia Financial Group, LLC investing strategy

Depending on the client’s situation, Sequoia Financial Group may design a custom portfolio or recommend one of their model portfolios, which typically include mutual funds, ETFs and individual stocks. Custom portfolios include those investment types as well as bonds, real estate investment trusts (REITs) and private instruments.

In formulating its investment advice, Sequoia Financial Group turns to financial publications as well as the following methods of analysis:

  • Fundamental analysis: Looks at the financial health of companies
  • Technical analysis: Looks at past market trends
  • Cyclical analysis: Looks at analysis of businesses cycles

An investment committee is responsible for voting on overall investing strategies used by the firm, and portfolios are reviewed a minimum of once a year.

Sequoia Financial Group, LLC disciplinary disclosures

Per its Form ADV paperwork filed with the SEC, Sequoia Financial Group does not have any disciplinary history. This includes any civil, regulatory or criminal actions involving either the firm or its employees or affiliates. For more information, visit the firm’s IAPD page.

10. 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.

Truepoint, Inc. was founded in 1990 by Michael J. Chasnoff, the firm’s current CEO. It is 100% employee-owned and has two offices in Cincinnati.

Truepoint offers wealth management services, including financial planning, investment management, tax planning, risk management and estate planning services to clients with an account minimum of $3 million. Those with more than $20 million in investable assets also have access to family office services. For clients with smaller accounts, the firm offers services through its financial planning-focused subsidiary RhineVest, which has no account minimum. It also works with institutional investors.

Truepoint primarily provides discretionary account management, meaning the client is responsible for signing off on all portfolio decisions. However, it does make some exceptions.

Truepoint, Inc. investing strategy

Truepoint discounts active investing, in which people attempt to time the market, and instead believes in long-term investment strategies that utilize low-cost funds and smart rebalancing to achieve returns.

Truepoint attempts to build portfolios in which the overall volatility is less than the sum of the individual investments. The firm recommends securities across the board, but most frequently uses individual equity securities, mutual funds, ETFs, fixed income securities, options and private funds/illiquid investments in client portfolios.

Truepoint, Inc. disciplinary disclosures

Truepoint, Inc. reports no legal or disciplinary history. This includes any civil, regulatory or criminal actions against the firm or its advisors or affiliates. The SEC requires all registered investment advisors to report these events on their Form ADV paperwork. For more information, visit the firm’s IAPD page.

Financial advisors in Ohio: FAQs

There are no estate or inheritance taxes in Ohio, though residents may be subject to federal taxes. The income tax rate in Ohio ranges from 2.85% to 4.797%.

While any financial advisor should be well-versed in retirement planning, not all of them specialize in it. If your goal is to plan for your “golden years,” you’ll want to make sure you select a financial advisor who is knowledgeable and has experience in retirement planning, as it can be a complicated topic. Beyond checking an advisor’s credentials, be sure to ask key questions about their background and the type of clients they serve and have served in the past.

No matter where you live, if you want reassurance that your financial advisor is going to put your best interest first, then you want to find a fee-only financial advisor. Because fee-only financial advisors only earn money through the fees that their clients pay, they tend to have fewer potential conflicts of interest, as they won’t be financially incentivized to make certain recommendations.

Fee-based financial advisors, on the other hand, may have an incentive to recommend certain products or services to their clients, since they can earn money from sales or referrals on top of the fees they earn from their clients.

All registered investment advisors in Ohio are legally required to abide by fiduciary duty. That means they must always put their clients’ best interests ahead of any potential commission or personal gain for themselves.

Broker-dealers, on the other hand, as well as financial advisory firms that are not registered with the SEC or state investment authorities, only have to adhere to the less stringent suitability standard, which means they only must make recommendations that are suitable for the client, not necessarily what is best.

Do you have a question?