Illinois residents know how much the state has to offer. From the hustle and bustle of Chicago and a ride on the Red Line to the lush forest preserves and a trip to Six Flags, you have plenty of choices to help make the state the home you envision.
But if you’re searching for a financial partner to help make sure the life you love continues during retirement, where do you look for the best financial advisors in Illinois?
Don’t wear it — the MagnifyMoney team is here to help. We’ve curated this list of the best financial advisors in Illinois by reviewing a host of publicly-available data so you don’t have to. To build our list, we only considered firms that manage individual accounts and offer financial planning services. After that, we put those firms through an additional list of qualifications. You can read about our full methodology, too.
But for now, let’s get you introduced to the top financial advisors in Illinois. And by the way: We know that you’ll be the best judge of which advisor is the best for you. We’re just glad to be able to help ease your search for the financial expert you deserve.
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|Firm name||City||Minimum Assets Required||Fee Structure|
|Hightower Advisors, LLC||Chicago||None||A percentage of AU
Other (retainer or service fees)
|Mesirow Financial Investment Management, Inc.||Chicago||None, but annual fee of $4,000||A percentage of AUM Performance-based fees|
|Segall Bryant & Hamill||Chicago||$1 million||A percentage of AUM, fixed fees, performance-based fees, other fees|
|Dimeo Schneider & Associates, LLC||Chicago||Varies by program, staring at around $10,000 for certain clients||A percentage of AUM
|Capital Strategies Investment Group, LLC||Oakbrook Terrace||None||A percentage of AUM
|Cresset Asset Management, LLC||Chicago||None||A percentage of AUM
|Sheridan Road||Northbrook||None||A percentage of AUM
|RMB Capital Management||Chicago||$1 million to work with a firm advisor||A percentage of AUM
|Savant Wealth Management||Rockford||None, but a $900 minimum annual fee||A percentage of AUM
|Kovitz Investment Group Partners, LLC||Chicago||Typically $1 million ($500,000 for the California or Wisconsin office)||A percentage of AUM
Subscription fees Performance-based fees
Our list of the best financial advisors in Illinois kicks off with 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.
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 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.
Next on the list of this year’s best financial advisors in Illinois is Chicago-based Mesirow Financial Management, Inc. This 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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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 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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
Sheridan Road makes our list at number eight on our 2022 list of the top financial advisors in Illinois. The firm’s 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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
We’re almost to the end of our list of the best financial advisors in Illinois, but not before we mention 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.
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 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.
We’ll close out our list of the best financial advisors in Illinois for 2022 with Kovitz Investment Group Partners. This firm 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.
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 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.
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.
In our search for the best financial advisors in Illinois, we looked at firms throughout the state. All the firms considered are bound by fiduciary duty, registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and offer individual account management and financial planning services. Information for our methodology criteria is taken directly from each firm’s most recent Form ADV filing and brochure, found in the IAPD database.
To localize our results for this list of the best financial advisors in Illinois, we exclusively looked at firms that met the above criteria and had their headquarters in Illinois, per the address provided in the Form ADV. We only considered those firms 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.
Our reviews 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 can help you compare firms, it does not indicate which firm may be best for you. All information here is accurate as of February 24, 2021, but don’t hesitate to check out any firm’s Form ADV for yourself on the SEC’s Investment Advisor Public Disclosure site.
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.