Best Financial Advisors in San Francisco 2020: Fees and Services

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Updated on Thursday, November 19, 2020

Given the sheer number of options to choose from, finding the right financial advisor in San Francisco may feel like an uphill battle as steep as the city’s famous hills. What the search really comes down to is identifying your unique needs, which requires understanding your financial situation and goals and figuring out how much you’re willing to spend.

Still, it can feel overwhelming to sift through all of the firms and their data points to figure that out. In the hopes of making your search easier, we compiled the most pertinent information on San Francisco’s best financial advisors here. To identify the top advisors in San Francisco, we only considered firms that manage individual accounts and offer financial planning. We then ranked those firms based on assets under management (AUM), which is a general metric for the firm’s size, and client-to-advisor ratio, which indicates how much attention clients may receive.

Our ranking won’t definitively decide which firm may be the best choice for you, but it can help make your search easier. Take a look at our list below for the top firms in San Francisco and their highlights:

10 best financial advisors in San Francisco

Methodology and criteria

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

1. Hall Capital Partners LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: No set minimum
  • AUM: $41,599,805,285
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 4:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
    • Performance-based fees
  • Firm phone number: (415) 288-0544
  • Headquarters address:
    One Maritime Plaza, Sixth Floor
    San Francisco, CA 94111

About Hall Capital Partners LLC

Founder and co-chair Kathryn Hall originally started Hall Capital Partners LLC in 1994 to manage money for a few wealthy families and their private foundations. Today, the firm continues to provide investment services to high net worth individuals, a threshold the SEC defines as either $750,000 under management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million. The firm also works with institutional investors such as foundations, endowments and others. While Hall Capital Partners does not state a set minimum investment requirement, most of its clients are accredited investors, meaning they have particular investing privileges because they meet certain income or asset thresholds.

The firm is headquartered in San Francisco with an additional office in New York City. Hall Capital is privately owned, largely by the firm’s partners.

Hall Capital Partners LLC investing strategy

The team at Hall Capital Partners generally creates custom portfolios unique to each client. Typical asset classes used include global equities, fixed income, hedge funds, private equity and cash. The team also helps clients factor environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues into their investment decision making.

Hall Capital Partners does not buy and sell individual publicly traded stocks. Instead, client money is usually invested through underlying managers including private funds, separate accounts and some mutual funds. Final approval for these third-party managers is given by founder Kathryn Hall and the firm’s two chief investment officers.

Hall Capital Partners LLC disciplinary disclosures

Hall Capital Partners lists no disclosures over the last 10 years, giving the firm a clean disciplinary record. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires all registered investment advisors to disclose on their Form ADV paperwork any disciplinary actions against the company or an employee or affiliate that clients would find material to their evaluation of the firm or the integrity of the management team. To learn more, view the firm’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosures (IAPD) page.

2. Personal Capital Advisors Corporation

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  • Minimum assets required: $100,000
  • AUM: $12,240,728,055
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 93:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
  • Firm phone number: (855) 855-8005
  • Headquarters address:
    250 Montgomery St, Suite 700
    San Francisco, CA 94104

About Personal Capital Advisors Corporation

Founded in March 2010, Personal Capital Advisors uses a combination of technology and professional financial advisors to offer portfolio management and financial planning services to individual investors both with and without a high net worth. Rounding out the firm’s client list are charitable organizations and other businesses. It typically requires a $100,000 minimum investment, though different tiers of service require a higher minimum relationship size.

The firm is headquartered in San Francisco, with additional offices in Atlanta; Redwood City, California; Dallas; and Denver. It is owned by Personal Capital Corporation.

Personal Capital Advisors Corporation investing strategy

The investing approach and available services provided by Personal Capital Advisors Corporation vary depending on the amount a client has invested. Clients with $100,000 to $200,000 to invest have portfolios of primarily exchange-traded funds (ETFs), while those with $200,000 to $1 million to invest get a custom portfolio of individual securities and ETFs created by two dedicated financial advisors. Meanwhile, private wealth clients with more than $1 million invested have access to even more services and investment vehicles, including private equity. All clients have access to the firm’s socially responsible investing platform.

In general, Personal Capital Advisors Corporation’s investment process emphasizes asset allocation and diversification over the analysis of individual securities. Investment portfolios are built and maintained by the firm’s investment committee, with limited use of outside portfolio managers. The firm also relies on portfolio management software to monitor client portfolios.

Personal Capital Advisors Corporation disciplinary disclosures

Personal Capital Advisors lists one disciplinary disclosure on its Form ADV paperwork filed with the SEC. The disclosure is related to an order entered against one of the firm’s affiliates, Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company, by the Kentucky Department of Insurance in 2013. The state regulatory agency found deficiencies in the company’s marketing and advertising of life insurance products after a market conduct examination, resulting in a $2,500 fine.

For more information on Personal Capital Advisors Corporation and to view its Form ADV, visit the firm’s IAPD page.

3. Jordan Park Group LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: $50 million
  • AUM: $ 11,683,637,375
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 2:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
    • Performance-based fees
  • Firm phone number: (415) 417-3000
  • Headquarters address:
    100 Pine Street, Suite 2600
    San Francisco, California 94111

About Jordan Park Group LLC

Jordan Park Group’s bread and butter offerings are investment management and financial planning for high net worth individuals and families as well as institutions including foundations, charitable organizations, pooled investment vehicles and others. In addition, the team offers family office services, such as bill paying, tax and insurance analysis, budgeting and forecasting and charitable giving and estate planning.

Founded in 2017, this independent registered investment advisor has offices in San Francisco and New York. CEO and president Frank Ghali is the primary owner of the private firm.

Jordan Park Group LLC investing strategy

Jordan Park Group manages clients’ funds through discretionary relationships, meaning the client gives the advisor control over deciding what trades should be made in the account. The firm primarily invests client assets in one of three ways:

  • Separately managed accounts run by third parties
  • Directly in unaffiliated exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds or other investments
  • Through investment vehicles managed by Jordan Park that aggregate client money together, known as pooled investment vehicles

The firm also has a specific advisory team to assist clients interested in aligning their values with their investments in areas such as the environment, social and governance.

Jordan Park Group LLC disciplinary disclosures

Jordan Park Group has a clean disciplinary record. This means the firm has had no disclosures over the last 10 years against the company or its employees or affiliates that would be material to a client’s evaluation of the firm. To learn more, you can visit Jordan Park Group’s IAPD page.

4. Baker Street Advisors, LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: $5 million
  • AUM: $10,200,000,000
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 31:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (415) 344-6180
  • Headquarters address:
    575 Market Street, Suite 600
    San Francisco, CA 94105

About Baker Street Advisors, LLC

The team at Baker Street Advisors, LLC caters to high net worth individuals and charitable organizations, providing them investment advisory services. Separately, the firm also provides financial planning services, such as trust and estate planning, insurance and risk management, bill paying, income tax consulting and more. The firm generally requires its clients to have accounts of at least $5 million.

Baker Street Advisors was founded in 2003 as a San Francisco-based registered investment advisor. Today, the firm is owned by its partners as well as Affiliated Managers Group (AMG), a publicly traded asset management company that has also taken equity interests in some other investment management firms.

Baker Street Advisors, LLC investing strategy

Rather than recommending that clients buy and sell specific stocks, the team at Baker Street Advisors suggests that clients invest with independent, third-party investment advisors, mutual funds or private investment pools — including hedge funds and private equity funds — that align with their objectives.

These unaffiliated fund managers have control over trading decisions in the client’s account. Baker Street Advisors’s role in the process is to identify the appropriate managers based on a client’s goals, risk tolerance and other factors, and then closely monitor their investment strategies and performance. The firm recommends how client money is spread among these managers and when changes are necessary.

Baker Street Advisors, LLC disciplinary disclosures

The firm has a clean disciplinary record over the last 10 years. This means that neither Barker Street Advisors nor its employees or affiliates have been subject to any civil, criminal or regulatory actions within that time frame. Learn more about the firm through its public disclosures available on its IAPD page.

5. Osterweis Capital Management

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  • Minimum assets required: Varies by account type
  • AUM: $6,127,968,436
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 7:1
  • Fee structure: 
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (415) 434-4441
  • Headquarters address:
    One Maritime Plaza, Suite 800
    San Francisco, CA 94111

About Osterweis Capital Management

John Osterweis, the firm’s current chairman and co-chief investment officer, founded Osterweis Capital Management in 1983 to manage money for wealthy families, foundations, endowments and other institutions. Based out of San Francisco, Osterweis Capital Management is currently privately owned by its employees and two outside directors, with no one individual owning more than 25% of the firm.

Presently, the team at Osterweis Capital Management offers portfolio management services primarily to high net worth individuals, though its current client base also includes some individuals who do not meet this threshold as well as trusts, institutions, mutual funds and other entities. In addition, the firm offers certain financial planning services, including the preparation of personal net worth statements, cash flow projections and other reports that can help clients define their goals and risk tolerance.

Osterweis Capital Management investing strategy

On the whole, Osterweis Capital Management takes a fundamental approach to investing, meaning it is attentive to the particulars of the companies in which it invests in addition to noting the overall market environment. The firm typically uses managed accounts to invest client money in one of five strategies: Core Equity, Strategic Income, Flexible Balanced, Small Cap Growth and Total Return. Clients can further customize these strategies to their individual goals and risk tolerance if they are so inclined.

Accounts usually include stocks, bonds or a mix of the two. Generally, Osterweis focuses on U.S. stocks, with international equities serving as a potentially important but secondary option.  In addition, the team also serves as an advisor to a handful of mutual funds that are available to the general public and require much lower investment minimums compared to the firm’s separately managed accounts.

Osterweis Capital Management disciplinary disclosures

Osterweis Capital Management has a clean disciplinary record, meaning it has no civil, criminal or regulatory events from over the last 10 years to disclose in its Form ADV paperwork filed with the SEC. You can learn more about the firm by visiting its IAPD page.

6. Wetherby Asset Management

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  • Minimum assets required: $10 million
  • AUM: $5,340,918,623
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 13:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
    • Other (negotiated or contingent fee and/or reporting fee)
  • Firm phone number: (415) 399-9159
  • Headquarters address:
    580 California Street, Eighth Floor
    San Francisco, CA 94104

About Wetherby Asset Management

Founded in 1990 by Debra Wetherby, Wetherby Asset Management provides investment management and financial planning services, such as income tax planning, education planning, risk management, retirement planning and estate planning. The firm’s clients are primarily high net worth individuals, although it does serve some individual investors who do not meet the threshold for high net worth (defined by the SEC as having $750,000 under management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million) despite its $10 million account minimum requirement. Wetherby Asset Management also serves many institutions including charitable organizations, foundations and endowments, among others.

Today, Wetherby Asset Management is primarily owned by its employees, with 23 team members holding ownership along with four non-employees. In addition to its San Francisco headquarters, the firm also has locations in Los Angeles and New York.

Wetherby Asset Management investing strategy

With a few exceptions, Wetherby Asset Management typically recommends that clients invest in open-end, no-load mutual funds or other pooled investment vehicles rather than investing directly in individual stocks, bonds or ETFs. Some client assets are put into private investment funds and separate account vehicles, or strategies managed by unaffiliated advisors, some of which do invest primarily in individual equities and bonds.

The team at Wetherby also addresses how clients can advance certain social and environmental goals in addition to financial returns. In fact, it has implemented impact investments across nearly all asset classes.

Wetherby Asset Management disciplinary disclosures

Wetherby Asset Management reports no disciplinary disclosures in its Form ADV paperwork filed with the SEC. For reference, the SEC requires all registered investment advisors to disclose any civil, criminal or regulatory events from within the last 10 years involving the company or its employees or affiliates. To learn more about Wetherby Asset Management, go to the firm’s IAPD page.

7. Seven Post Investment Office LP

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  • Minimum assets required: $50 million
  • AUM: $5,215,178,743
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 4:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
    • Performance-based fees
  • Firm phone number: (415) 341-9300
  • Headquarters address:
    One Montgomery Street, Suite 3150
    San Francisco, California 94104

About Seven Post Investment Office LP

Out of its single location in San Francisco, Seven Post Investment Office LP provides investment management, financial planning and family office services to high net worth individuals and institutions. Notably, the firm generally prefers to work with clients who have investable assets over $100 million and a portfolio with a value of at least $50 million.

Seven Post Investment Office was founded in 2011 and is privately owned by its managing directors and principals.

Seven Post Investment Office LP investing strategy

Seven Post Investment Office typically takes control of the day-to-day management of a client’s account, known as a discretionary relationship. Once the team and the client have discussed their goals, risk tolerance and other factors that may impact their portfolio, the team at Seven Post Investment Office will recommend a custom asset allocation and portfolio.

Advisors at the firm lean on some core investments for the foundation of client portfolios, and then tack on ancillary strategies based on the client’s needs and risk tolerance. The firm often taps third-party managers and model portfolio providers for outside recommendations.

Seven Post Investment Office LP disciplinary disclosures

Seven Post Investment Office has a clean disciplinary record, meaning there have not been any material disciplinary actions against the firm or an employee or affiliate within the last 10 years. The SEC requires all registered investment advisors to disclose such information in their Form ADV paperwork. You can view these public disclosure forms for Seven Post Investment Office on its  IAPD page.

8. B|O|S

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  • Minimum assets required: $3 million for individuals
  • AUM: $4,627,347,436
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 29:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (415) 781-8535
  • Headquarters address:
    345 California Street, Suite 1100
    San Francisco, California 94104

About B|O|S

Legally known as Bingham, Osborn and Scarborough LLC and branded as B|O|S, this firm is a registered investment advisor headquartered in San Francisco with an additional Silicon Valley office in Redwood City, California. Its roots go back to its founding as an independent advisor in 1985. The firm is owned by its principals, both active and retired, and the asset management firm Kudu Investment Management also holds a minority interest.

B|O|S primarily serves high net worth individuals, though it also serves individuals who do not meet this threshold, in addition to charitable organizations and other institutions. The firm generally requires individual investors to have at least $3 million in investable assets, with a higher minimum requirement for institutional investors.

Clients of B|O|S can expect to find investment management and financial planning services. The latter includes recommendations for estate, tax, insurance, legacy and retirement planning, generally at no additional fee.

B|O|S investing strategy

B|O|S typically recommends managed portfolios, such as mutual funds, ETFs, annuities and separately managed accounts consisting of individual stocks and bonds. Occasionally, B|O|S suggests alternative investments like limited partnerships, hedge funds and private equity investments.

In general, the firm prefers low-cost investments consisting of large and small U.S. companies, U.S. and foreign bonds, specialty U.S. common stock, foreign stocks, commodities (such as gold and silver) and alternative investments. The firm pays close attention to the downside. The team has created a specific approach called Risk Adjustment Strategy that allows the firm to change the mix of stocks and bonds in participating clients’ portfolios when the team believes analytics point to heightened risk of a major, long-term market decline. The team believes this can help mitigate the effects of major and long-lasting bear markets.

B|O|S disciplinary disclosures

B|O|S has no disciplinary disclosures to report on its Form ADV. This includes any material disciplinary actions — including civil, criminal and regulatory events — over the last decade that involve either the firm or its employees or affiliates. You can get more information about the firm by visiting its IAPD page.

9. Parallel Advisors, LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: $240,000
  • AUM: $3,168,592,443
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 68:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (415) 728-9198
  • Headquarters address:
    150 Spear Street, Suite 950
    San Francisco, California 94105

About Parallel Advisors, LLC

Founded in 2006, Parallel Advisors, LLC is headquartered in San Francisco, with additional offices in Englewood, Colo.; Dayton, Ohio; Honolulu, Hawaii; Oklahoma City; and Lafayette, Calif. Services offered by Parallel Advisors include investment management, retirement plan services and financial planning, addressing topics such as estate planning and insurance. The firm also offers tax preparation services.

Parallel Advisors’s client base consists largely of individual investors who are not considered high net worth as well as high net worth individuals and families. The firm also serves institutions like pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations, corporations, businesses and others.

Because the firm generally requires a minimum fee of $3,000 for its investment advisory services, it recommends that clients have at least $240,000 in investable assets so their fee does not exceed 2% of their managed assets. For investors starting out, however, the firm also offers an automated, online investing program that requires only a $5,000 account balance.

The firm is owned by its founder and CEO Jerry Rendic.

Parallel Advisors, LLC investing strategy

Parallel Advisors invests client money primarily in various fixed income securities, mutual funds and ETFs, as well as with independent managers. The firm also uses options as well as short-term purchases, meaning stocks sold within one year. Clients give the firm discretionary control over their account, which means the team can make the daily trading decisions without the client needing to sign off.

When researching various investment products, the team uses numerous methods of analysis. This includes fundamental factors, such as studying current data to predict future performance, and more technical analysis, such as analyzing historical relationships and patterns around prices and market trends.

Parallel Advisors, LLC disciplinary disclosures

Parallel Advisors has a clean record. The firm discloses no material disciplinary actions over the last 10 years against the firm or its employees or affiliates on its Form ADV paperwork filed with the SEC. You can learn more about the firm by visiting its IAPD page.

10. Sentry Advisors, LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: $1 million
  • AUM: $1,855,868,397
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 22:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
  • Firm phone number: (415) 229-9070
  • Headquarters address:
    100 Pine Street, 27th Floor
    San Francisco, CA 94111

About Sentry Advisors, LLC

Founded in 2015, this registered investment advisor serves individual investors both with and without a high net worth as well as charitable organizations, trusts, businesses and pension plans. The firm, which generally requires a minimum investment of $1 million for its services, provides investment management and financial planning. The latter can include a comprehensive analysis of a client’s financial life, or a consultation on a single topic.

Headquartered in San Francisco, the firm has an additional office in Issaquah, Wash.  Its owners are its managing members, Alex Flagg and Greg Powell.

Sentry Advisors, LLC investing strategy

Sentry Advisors says it does not recommend one primary type of security over another, since clients’ needs vary greatly. Instead, the firm provides a long list of securities it recommends in its individually managed accounts, ranging from the traditional stocks, bonds and mutual funds to sophisticated options and futures contracts, venture capital or private equity, to alternative investments such as variable life insurance, annuities, real estate and oil and gas. Advisors also may recommend mutual funds offered through an affiliated company, or that clients invest with outside sub-advisors.

To choose the recommended investments, the team utilizes many different types of analysis, including digging into a specific company and industry on factors such as the management team and product line, as well as more technical analysis, such as studying historical price and volume patterns and relationships.

The firm notes that tax efficiency is typically not its primary consideration when managing a client’s assets, unless specifically said otherwise. So clients should be sure to work with a tax expert since the firm’s strategies and investments may have significant tax consequences.

Sentry Advisors, LLC disciplinary disclosures

Sentry Advisors reports no material disciplinary actions against either the firm or its employees or affiliates. This includes any civil, criminal or regulatory events from within the past 10 years. Read more about Sentry Advisors by visiting its IAPD page.

Financial advisors in San Francisco: FAQ

When it comes to income taxes, California is generally considered a high-tax state, with a top income tax rate of 13.30% for single filers with incomes greater than $1 million.  The state does not have its own estate or inheritance tax, although a federal estate tax may still apply for the very wealthy.

No, each advisor has their own unique specialties, which may include retirement planning or something else, such as family office services. Be sure to ask each potential advisor for their list of specialized services, as well as the types of clients they typically work with, to help you find the best fit for your needs.

To find an advisor you trust, you’ll want to go through a careful vetting process. Ask all potential advisors a list of specific questions to make sure you fully understand how they are paid and what your all-in costs will be. Also take the time to learn about any disciplinary actions they may have by using either FINRA’s BrokerCheck or the SEC’s Action Lookup.

You also might be able to more quickly narrow your search to reliable, experienced advisors by looking for advisors with certifications that require adhering to certain ethical standards and passing an exam. Certified financial planner (CFP) is one such example of a highly esteemed designation. You can find CFPs in your area by using the search tool at letsmakeaplan.org.

The designation “financial advisor” is a largely unregulated nomer, meaning anyone who sells insurance, stocks or other financial services can use the title. A fiduciary financial advisor, however, must act as a fiduciary to their clients, meaning they are legally required to put their clients’ best interests above their own. By working with a fiduciary financial advisor, you can be more confident that your advisor is making the best recommendations for you.