Best Financial Advisors in Tennessee 2021: Fees and Services

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Updated on Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Choosing a financial advisor in Tennessee can be challenging given the number of options in the Volunteer State. Just as many factors go into choosing the state’s best BBQ joint or country music club, finding the right advisor in Tennessee is a lot about figuring out the proper fit. In the case of picking an advisor, that means understanding your financial needs and goals as well as 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 Tennessee, we only considered SEC-registered 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 a firm’s size. Although not formally part of our ranking, we encourage readers to take note of each firm’s client-to-advisor ratio, as this indicates how much attention you may get as a client. All data used is taken from each firm’s most recent Form ADV filing to ensure the accuracy and reliability of our rankings.

While our ranking is not indicative of which Tennessee firm may be best for you, it can help you sort through your options to make an informed decision. Read on for our list of the top firms in Tennessee and their key highlights:

10 best financial advisors in Tennessee

Methodology and criteria

For our search, we looked at firms across the state of Tennessee. 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. Information used for our methodology criteria is taken directly from each firm’s most recent Form ADV filing and brochure, found on the IAPD database.

To localize our results for this list, we exclusively looked at firms that met the above criteria and had their headquarters in Tennessee, as per the address provided in the Form ADV. Of those firms, we only considered those that offer financial planning services and portfolio management to individual investors. To be considered for this list, firms also could have no more than one disciplinary disclosure in the past 10 years. From there, the remaining firms that met all of the above stipulations were ranked in order of highest to lowest AUM, as this is an indication of a firm’s size and how many assets it has been entrusted to manage.

In our reviews, we have also listed several other key features that will help you determine which financial advisor may be most fitting for your investing style and financial needs. While our ranking system and methodology is designed to help you compare firms, it does not indicate which firm may be best for you. All information here is accurate as of May 28, 2021, but we urge you to also evaluate these firms on https://adviserinfo.sec.gov/.

1. Southwestern Investment Advisory Services, Inc.

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  • Minimum assets required: Varies by account type
  • AUM: $3,741,814,691
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 349:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (615) 861-6100
  • Headquarters address:
    801 Crescent Centre Drive, Suite 600
    Franklin, TN 37067

About Southwestern Investment Advisory Services, Inc.

Financial advisor and firm president Jeff Dobyns founded Southwestern Investment Advisory Services, Inc. in 2002. It is owned by Southwestern/Great American, Inc., a publishing company.

The firm offers financial planning and portfolio management services to individuals, including high net worth individuals, whom the SEC defines as having at least $750,00 under management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million. Southwestern Investment Advisory Services also advises companies on their employee retirement plans and pensions.

In addition to its headquarters in Franklin, Tenn., Southwestern Investment Advisory Services has offices in Tennessee in Nashville, Brentwood, Knoxville and Columbia. It also has locations in Nebraska, Iowa, Alabama and Texas.

Southwestern Investment Advisory Services, Inc. investing strategy

Southwestern Investment Advisory Services offers several different levels of portfolio management for its clients:

  • Ambassador: Clients in this program have their assets managed in an investment account offered and administered by in-house advisors based on their financial situation.
  • Freedom: This program invests client assets in portfolios composed of mutual funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) based on their objectives and risk tolerance.
  • American Funds Model Portfolio: In this program, the firm uses portfolios that contain model portfolios made only of American Funds mutual funds.
  • Raymond James Consulting Services: These accounts allow clients to invest their portfolio with third-party money management firms at levels below those manager’s normal minimums. Advisors help clients select advisors based on their needs and goals.

Account minimum requirements vary by program. Additionally, the firm states that tax efficiency is generally not a primary consideration in its management of client assets and thus recommends that clients consult with a tax professional regarding the “unique and significant tax implications” of its strategies.

Southwestern Investment Advisory Services, Inc. disciplinary disclosures

Southwestern Investment Advisory Services reports one disciplinary event on its Form ADV. The disclosure relates to the suspension of an individual’s insurance license in the state of Alabama after a failure to report an address change. A $50 penalty was paid and the license was renewed and is now in good standing.

Learn more about the firm by visiting its IAPD page.

2. Legacy Wealth Management, Inc.

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  • Minimum assets required: $500,000 recommended
  • AUM: $1,737,536,766
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 67:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (901) 758-9006
  • Headquarters address:
    1715 Aaron Brenner Drive, Suite 301
    Memphis, TN 38120

About Legacy Wealth Management, Inc.

Launched in 1982, Legacy Wealth Management, Inc. is an employee-owned firm based in Memphis, Tenn. President and CEO Jim Isaacs is the firm’s largest shareholder, owning 21% of the firm.

Legacy Wealth Management offers investment management and financial planning, including retirement and income planning, estate and gift planning, trust services, tax planning, stock option planning, charitable planning, insurance planning, education planning and entrepreneur advisory services. Nearly 15% of Legacy Wealth Management clients are FedEx pilots, who receive tailored advice on how to navigate their contracts and benefits as well as retirement planning. The firm generally recommends an account size of at least $500,000 for new clients.

Legacy Wealth Management, Inc. investing strategy

Legacy Wealth Management creates diversified portfolios for its clients based on five to seven firm model portfolios, selected for the client based on their responses to a risk tolerance questionnaire. The portfolios the firm creates primarily include mutual funds and ETFs, although it occasionally recommends separate portfolios composed of individual bonds managed by a sub-advisor or that follow alternative strategies.

In general, Legacy Wealth Management creates portfolios with a mix of actively and passively managed funds. When choosing share classes, the firm will typically select the least expensive available option, unless another choice presents a discernible benefit. The firm manages funds on a discretionary basis, meaning that it does not need client approval for individual transactions.

Legacy Wealth Management, Inc. disciplinary disclosures

Legacy Wealth Management has a clean disciplinary record. That means that it has not disclosed any disciplinary events against the firm, its employees or its affiliates over the last 10 years that could be material to a client evaluating the company. The SEC requires all registered investment advisors to disclose such information on their Form ADV filings.

For more information, visit Legacy Wealth Management’s IAPD page.

3. CapWealth Advisors, LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: None
  • AUM: $1,191,719,435
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 74:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Other (administrative fees)
  • Firm phone number: (615) 778-0740
  • Headquarters address:
    4031 Aspen Grove Drive
    Franklin, TN, 37064

About CapWealth Advisors, LLC

Timothy J. Pagliara, CapWealth Advisors’ chairman and chief investment officer, founded CapWealth’s predecessor firm, CapTrust Financial Advisors in 2000. The current firm has been in operation since 2009 and is owned by CapWealth Group, LLC.

CapWealth Advisors offers lifestyle and wealth management, retirement solutions, generational planning and education, estate planning and college planning, primarily to individuals and high net worth individuals. It is based in Franklin, Tenn., its sole office location.

CapWealth Advisors, LLC investing strategy

The team at CapWealth Advisors selects investments using fundamental analysis, studying everything that impacts the value of a security, including both macroeconomic and company-specific factors. The firm then builds portfolios using long- and short-term purchases, margin transactions and option writing.

Portfolios typically use one of three model strategie to create portfolios for its clients:

  • Equity income: Aims to generate dividend income, with a secondary goal of generating return through price appreciation.
  • Growth: Focuses on building wealth to fight the effects of inflation over time.
  • Growth and income: Aims to increase returns and increase dividends within the portfolio to counter the effects of inflation.

CapWealth Advisors, LLC disciplinary disclosures

CapWealth Advisors has one disciplinary disclosure in its SEC filings.The firm faces civil action by the SEC in connection with accusations that Pagliara, the firm’s chairman and CIO, and managing director Timothy Murphy recommended or held for clients mutual fund share classes that were not the lowest-cost available. The SEC also alleges that the executives did not properly disclose their conflicts of interest in relation to the fees, and that the firm did not properly adopt and implement policies to prevent violations of the Advisers Act of 1940.

For more information about CapWealth Advisors and its disciplinary disclosures, visit its IAPD page.

4. Reliant Investment Management, LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: $500,000
  • AUM: $953,106,929
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 30:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (901) 843-0325
  • Headquarters address:
    1715 Aaron Brenner Drive, Suite 504
    Memphis, TN 38120

About Reliant Investment Management, LLC

Susan and John Huffman founded Reliant Investment Management, LLC in 1986. They both remain principals at the firm, and Susan serves as chief investment officer. Principal and chief compliance officer Lon Magness is also a part owner of Reliant Investment Management, as is operations manager Dennese Black.

The firm offers financial planning, retirement planning, portfolio management and estate planning to individuals and families. It also helps local governments and public entities invest their funds, and serves as a portfolio consultant to institutional clients. A minimum of $500,000 is typically required to open a new account with the firm.

Reliant Investment Management is headquartered in Memphis and has a second office location in Shreveport, La.

Reliant Investment Management, LLC investing strategy

Reliant Investment Management creates customized portfolios for its clients, based on their individual goals and risk tolerance. It aims to hold securities in its portfolios for at least a year, though it will buy and sell them over a shorter time period, as needed.

The firm actively manages its portfolios. Investments used may include stocks, bonds, options, future contracts, mutual funds, ETFs and money-market securities, as well as interests in partnerships, LLCs or other vehicles owning real estate or other assets.

Reliant Investment Management, LLC disciplinary disclosures

Reliant Investment Management has a clean disciplinary record. That means it has not reported any civil, criminal or regulatory events from within the past decade involving the company, its employees or its affiliates that would be material to the evaluation of the firm or its management team.

Learn more about Reliant Investment Management on its IAPD page.

5. Patriot Investment Management Group, Inc.

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  • Minimum assets required: None
  • AUM: $1,333,303,318
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 95:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
    • Other (referral fees)
  • Firm phone number: (865) 777-2479
  • Headquarters address:
    9721 Cogdill Road
    Knoxville, TN 37932

About Patriot Investment Management Group, Inc.

Financial advisors Bradley Bower and Donald Nalls co-founded Patriot Investment Management Group, Inc., which has provided investment advisory services since 1998. Bower remains the firm’s president and principal owner.

Patriot Investment Management offers portfolio management and financial planning. It works with individual investors, including those who are high net worth, and also serves as a consultant to pension plans. It has its headquarters in Knoxville, Tenn., as well as a location in Crossville, Tenn.

Patriot Investment Management Group, Inc. investing strategy

Patriot Investment Management Group takes a long-term approach to investing, creating customized portfolios based on individual clients’ financial situation, risk tolerance and time horizon. In general, the firm aims to create broadly diversified portfolios using low-cost, tax-efficient index funds.

It uses several methods to inform its investment advice and select investment opportunities, including:

  • Fundamental analysis: Looks at data for individual companies and their industry groups to measure the true value of a company’s stock compared to current market value
  • Cyclical analysis: Evaluates recurring price patterns and trends

Patriot Investment Management Group, Inc. disciplinary disclosures

Patriot Investment Management Group has not reported any disciplinary disclosures. If a registered investment advisor has any issues on its record from the past 10 years — such as a criminal action, a regulatory infraction or a civil lawsuit involving the company, its employees or its affiliates — it must report the information on its brochure and Form ADV, filed with the SEC.

For more information on Patriot Investment Management, visit the firm’s IAPD page.

6. Telarray, LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: Not specified
  • AUM: $978,147,753
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 52:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
  • Firm phone number: (901) 531-7423
  • Headquarters address:
    700 Colonial Road, Ste. 120
    Memphis, TN 38117

About Telarray, LLC

Accountants Cliff Paessler and M. Andrew Shaul founded financial planning firm Financial Strategy Group in 1999. The firm evolved into FSG Investment Management in 2005 before being renamed Telaray, LLC. The partners now share ownership of the firm with other employees, none of whom owns more than 25%.

Telarray provides investment management and financial planning, primarily to individuals and high net worth individuals. It operates from its Memphis office.

Telarray, LLC investing strategy

Telarray uses two approaches when creating portfolios for clients:

  • Strategic asset allocation: Primarily uses a mutual fund and ETF-based model portfolio selected based on a client’s goals and risk tolerance.
  • Tactical asset allocation: A more active approach, often used in conjunction with strategic allocation, this strategy incorporates research on short-term market trends. This is a rules-based strategy and does not rely on market timing.

Typically, the firm manages clients’ assets using model portfolios that include a mix of stocks, bonds and other investments such as real estate securities. It generally does not create customized asset allocations for its clients. Portfolios aim to minimize taxes, using tax-efficient investments in tax-deferred or tax-free accounts, when possible.

Telarray, LLC disciplinary disclosures

Telarray has not reported any disclosures on its Form ADV filing. This indicates that the firm, its employees and its affiliates have had a clean record for the past decade.

For more information on Telarray, visit its IAPD page.

7. Rather & Kittrell, Inc.

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  • Minimum assets required: $500,000
  • AUM: $1,057,573,646
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 58:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
    • Commissions
  • Firm phone number: (865) 218-8400
  • Headquarters address:
    11905 Kingston Pike
    Knoxville, TN 37934

About Rather & Kittrell, Inc.

Lytle Rather and Chris Kittrell launched Rather & Kittrell in 2000 and remain the principal owners of RK Holdings, which, in turn, owns Rather & Kittrell. The firm is located in Knoxville, Tenn.

The firm offers wealth management, financial planning and consulting services to individuals. It also provides consulting and advisory services to retirement plans. Rather & Kittrell typically extends its services to those with at least $500,000 in invest.

Rather & Kittrell, Inc. investing strategy

Rather & Kittrell generally takes a passive approach to investing and prefers investments that are low-cost, diversified and tax-efficient. The firm follows Modern Portfolio Theory, which holds that markets are efficient and that market timing is not profitable over the long term.

Instead of emphasizing specific securities, Rather & Kitrell focuses on an overall portfolio strategy and asset allocation, which it bases on its models but tailors to individual clients’ needs. In general, investments include various mutual funds and ETFs, though the firm may also use other securities as appropriate.

Rather & Kittrell, Inc. disciplinary disclosures

Rather & Kittrell does not have any disciplinary disclosures. This indicates that the firm and its employees and affiliates have had a clean record for the past decade.

For more information about Rather & Kittrell, visit its IAPD page.

8. Woodmont Investment Counsel, LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: $1 million
  • AUM: $958,669,633
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 42:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
  • Firm phone number: (615) 297-6144
  • Headquarters address:
    401 Commerce Street, Suite 5400
    Nashville, TN 37219

About Woodmont Investment Counsel, LLC

Woodmont Investment Counsel, LLC began in 1995 as Davidson Partners, the investment advisory division within money management firm, J.C. Bradford. Woodmont Investment Counsel spun out as an independent firm in 2000, when J.C. Bradford was purchased by Paine Webber, the investment company ultimately bought by UBS in 2000.

The firm’s co-founder, Paul Kuhn, remains a principal owner of the Nashville-based firm. He shares ownership with portfolio manager Scott Burns, chief compliance officer and portfolio manager Stephen Frohsin and portfolio manager Will Ed Settle.

Woodmont Investment Counsel offers financial planning and portfolio management to individuals (including those who are high net worth). It also provides multigenerational wealth services to families, and asset planning and 401(k) consulting to business owners. Additionally, it offers financial advisory services to institutions. Woodmont generally requires an account size of at least $1 million for its equity, balanced and fixed income accounts.

Woodmont Investment Counsel, LLC investing strategy

Woodmont Investment Counsel emphasizes asset allocation when creating portfolios, typically using a broad mix of index funds, ETFs, actively managed mutual funds and stocks. The specific asset allocation used will depend on a client’s circumstances and goals, including their estate planning and insurance needs and their plans for retirement.

The firm uses the following strategies when investing clients’ assets:

  • Equity: For this portion of the portfolio, the firm uses either a core satellite strategy, which invests in large-cap stocks via low-cost ETFs, or a high-quality dividend strategy, which purchases large-cap stocks with a record of increasing dividends.
  • Fixed income: The firm aims to reduce risk in this portion of the portfolio, focusing on investment-grade government and corporate bonds.
  • Alternative: This strategy uses real estate investment trusts or REITs, commodity-related investments and actively managed funds as an alternative to equity and fixed income.

Woodmont Investment Counsel, LLC disciplinary disclosures

Neither Woodmont Investment Counsel nor its employees or affiliates report any disciplinary disclosures. The SEC requires all registered investment advisors to report any issues that would be relevant to a client’s evaluation of the firm or its management team in their Form ADV paperwork.

Learn more about Woodmont Investment Counsel by visiting its IAPD page.

9. Patton Albertson Miller Group, LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: None, but minimum annual fee of $10,000
  • AUM: $871,476,587
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 30:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (423) 414-2100
  • Headquarters address:
    605 Chestnut Street, Suite 1010
    Chattanooga, TN 37450

About Patton Albertson Miller Group, LLC

Former SunTrust Bank executives Jimmy Patton, Marc Albertson and Bill Miller launched Patton Albertson Miller Group, LLC in 2003. Patton remains the firm’s CEO, and Albertson is its director of client services. In 2015, Patton Albertson Miller Group became part of Focus Financial Partners, a public company that owns 60 RIAs throughout the country.

Patton Albertson Miller Group provides a range of personal finance services to individuals and families, including investment management, estate planning, tax planning, cash flow management, risk management and trust and fiduciary services. Among its offerings is a wealth management process tailored to medical professionals, as well as succession planning for business owners. The firm also provides fiduciary management to institutional investors.

In addition to its Chattanooga headquarters, Patton Albertson Miller Group has offices in Atlanta and Macon, Ga.

Patton Albertson Miller Group, LLC investing strategy

Advisors at Patton Albertson Miller Group invest client money based on each client’s objectives, risk tolerance, time horizon and other factors. Using that information, the firm selects an investment model, ranging from aggressive growth to capital preservation, that meets the client’s needs and takes tax considerations into account.

Typical investments used by the firm include mutual funds, ETFs, individual stocks and individual bonds, though it may also recommend investments in alternatives such as hedge funds, private equity funds, real estate investments and structured notes.

Patton Albertson Miller Group typically uses discretionary management, meaning clients hand over control to their advisors to make trading decisions for their account without their preapproval.

Patton Albertson Miller Group, LLC disciplinary disclosures

Patton Albertson Miller Group has a clean record, according to its SEC filings. The SEC requires all registered investment advisors to disclose any disciplinary or legal actions against the firm — including any criminal, civil or regulatory actions over the past decade — that a client might find material to their evaluation of the firm or its management team.

For more information about Patton Albertson Miller Group, visit its IAPD page.

10. Waddell & Associates, LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: $500,000
  • AUM: $943,123,400
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 95:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: (901) 767-9187
  • Headquarters address:
    5188 Wheelis Drive
    Memphis, TN 38117

About Waddell & Associates, LLC

Duke and Clara Waddell launched Waddell & Associates in 1986, and their son, David Waddell, is currently the firm’s CEO and chief investment strategist. In 2016, the firm became part of Focus Financial Partners, a public company that owns dozens of other investment advisory firms across the country.

Waddell & Associates offers a range of personal finance services to individuals and families, including asset management, financial planning, lifestyle consulting, divorce planning, estate planning, tax planning and insurance analysis. It also assists businesses with retirement and benefit plans and succession planning. While Waddell & Associates’ full range of services require a $500,000 minimum investment, clients with at least $5,000 can open an actively managed portfolio with the W&Ai, the firm’s robo-advisory platform.

In addition to its Memphis headquarters, the firm has an office in Brentwood, Tenn.

Waddell & Associates, LLC investing strategy

The team at Waddell & Associates directs client money into model portfolio strategies, matching clients to a strategy based on their investment objectives, risk tolerance and financial situation. The firm considers a wide-ranging universe of potential investments and looks for investment managers and securities that correspond to the firm’s macroeconomic views.

Portfolios generally invest in mutual funds, ETFs, bonds, separately managed accounts and structured notes. It depends on individual managers whether an active or passive approach is taken.

Waddell & Associates, LLC disciplinary disclosures

Waddell & Associates reports no legal or disciplinary actions that would materially affect a client’s view of the firm or its leaders. The SEC requires all registered investment advisors to disclose any civil, criminal or regulatory actions against the firm, its employees or its affiliates within the prior 10 years in their Form ADV paperwork, filed with the SEC.

Visit the firm’s IAPD page to learn more.

Financial advisors in Tennessee: FAQ

Tennessee residents have fewer tax implications to worry about than residents of other states. The state has no income, estate or inheritance taxes. However, residents may still be subject to federal income or estate taxes.

You can refer to the above list, or you can use our Find a Financial Advisor tool to help you find local advisors that may be a good fit. Once you’ve got a few contenders, interview them to find out how they’re paid and whether they offer the types of services you might need.

Look for advisors who cater to clients who are similar to you, and who offer the types of services you need, whether that’s creating a retirement plan or paying for a child’s education. You’ll also want to find out how advisors are paid. Fee-only planners tend to have fewer conflicts of interest as they only earn money through client fees, not from selling or recommending products.

No. While some financial advisor firms specialize in retirement planning, others have different areas of focus, such as estate planning, portfolio management or debt repayment. If retirement planning is important to you, ask potential advisors what type of experience they have in that area.

The “Find a Financial Advisor” links contained in this article will direct you to webpages devoted to MagnifyMoney Advisor (“MMA”). After completing a brief questionnaire, you will be matched with certain financial advisers who participate in MMA’s referral program, which may or may not include the investment advisers discussed.