Choosing a locally based advisor can be challenging, especially given the number of financial advisors in Kentucky. Finding the right advisor has a lot to do with figuring out the proper fit, especially if you live outside of major cities in the Bluegrass State, like Louisville and Lexington, or the capital, Frankfort. When choosing a financial advisor, you need to understand your financial needs and goals as well as how much you can spend for an advisor’s services.
Comparing firms and data points — a necessary step in finding an advisor who is right for you — can be difficult. That’s why we compiled the most pertinent information here on Kentucky’s advisory companies to help guide your decision. To identify the best advisors in Kentucky, 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 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 in our methodology is taken from each firm’s most recent Form ADV filing with the SEC so as to ensure the accuracy and reliability of our rankings.
Although our ranking can’t suggest which firm may be best for you, it can help you more easily make that determination for yourself. Read on for our list of the top firms in Kentucky and their highlights:
How much would you like to invest?
|Firm||City||Minimum assets required||Fee structure|
|ARGI Investment Services, LLC||Louisville||$50,000||A percentage of AUM
Other (portfolio signals, fixed subscription fee)
|MCF Advisors, LLC||Covington||None||A percentage of AUM
|Keystone Financial Group, LLC||Lexington||$10,000||A percentage of AUM
|Legacy Financial Advisors, Inc.||Covington||Not specified||A percentage of AUM
|Journey Advisory Group, LLC||Covington||$100,000||A percentage of AUM
|KPP Advisory Services LLC||Louisville||Varies by program||A percentage of AUM
|Landmark Financial Advisors, LLC||Bowling Green||None, but $1,500 minimum annual fee||A percentage of AUM
Other (fees for selection of advisors)
|AlphaMark Advisors, LLC||Ft. Wright||Not specified||A percentage of AUM
|The Gleason Group, Inc.||Prospect||Not specified||A percentage of AUM|
|Atlas Brown||Louisville||None||A percentage of AUM
For our search, we looked at firms across the state of Kentucky. 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 Kentucky, 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 April 12, 2021, but we urge you to also evaluate these firms on https://adviserinfo.sec.gov/.
ARGI Investment Services, LLC, was founded in 1995 as part of American Express Financial Advisors, but separated from that company in 2003. ARGI partnered with National Planning Corporation until 2010, when ARGI registered with the SEC as a registered investment advisor. Today, ARGI is owned by ARGI Holdings, Inc, whose owners include CEO Joe Reeves, president Neil Quinlan and an employee stock ownership plan.
ARGI provides a range of financial planning, portfolio management, investment advisory and financial education services. Most of the clients served by the firm are individuals, including 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. However, the team also serves some pension and profit- sharing plans and charities.
In addition to the firm’s headquarters in Louisville, it has offices in Kentucky in Bowling Green, Paducah, Bardstown and Elizabethtown. The firm also has locations in Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Atlanta and Grand Rapids, Mich.
ARGI Investment Services has an investment committee that meets quarterly that is responsible for creating, maintaining and monitoring the firm’s investment portfolios. In general, the team divides its strategies into different model portfolios based on the needs and risk tolerance of clients, with an emphasis on offering flexibility.
Different portfolios offered by the firm focus on different strategies, such as stock options, individual stocks and bonds, dividends or indexes. Various weightings and other factors, including the possibility of unpredictable market events, are considered when constructing portfolios and making adjustments.
ARGI Investment Services reports no disciplinary disclosures, meaning that neither the firm nor its employees or affiliates have faced any civil, criminal or regulatory actions within the last 10 years. You can find more information about ARGI Investment Services on its IAPD page.
MCF Advisors, LLC was founded in 2004 by Bob Sathe, the firm’s current chairman, and Dave Harris, who serves as CEO. Both Sathe and Harris had long careers with advisory firms before founding MCF Advisors. The firm is completely employee-owned, with Harris owning the majority share.
Most of the firm’s clients are individuals who are not considered high net worth, though it also serves high net worth individuals as well as some pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and businesses. These clients can expect to receive services including financial planning, portfolio management, bill payment, tax advisory and preparation, help selecting other advisors and assistance with general financial management.
The firm is headquartered in Covington, Ky. It has a second office in Lexington, Ky.
When creating an investment plan or managing client assets, MCF Advisors focuses on individualized, long-term objectives. Based on a client’s objectives as well as their risk tolerance, the firm will recommend either a diversified investment strategy or an asset allocation model portfolio.
When identifying potential investment opportunities, MCF Advisors takes into account factors including sector exposure, yield, economic landscape, volatility and credit quality, with a focus on minimizing risk. Investments commonly used in client portfolios include mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and individual stocks and bonds.
MCF Advisors has no disciplinary actions to disclose. The SEC requires all registered investment advisors to report any such events that may be material to a client’s evaluation of the firm or its management in their Form ADV paperwork. More information about the firm can be found on MCF Advisors’ IAPD page.
Founded in 2008 and registered with the SEC in 2014, Keystone Financial Group is privately owned by Tobin Ray Jenkins, the firm’s chief compliance officer, and managing members Michael W. Kretz and Timothy Scott Jenkins. In addition to the firm’s headquarters in Lexington, Ky., it has eight other offices in Kentucky, including three additional Lexington locations and offices in Ashland, Leitchfield, Mt. Sterling, Paducah and Somerset.
The majority of Keystone Financial Group’s clients are individuals, including some high net worth individuals, as well as businesses. The firm provides a range of financial planning services, alongside portfolio management and educational workshops. A minimum of $10,000 is generally required to open an account.
When creating portfolios and making recommendations to its clients, Keystone Financial Group uses charting, technical analysis and fundamental analysis. Charting and technical analysis look at past returns in an attempt to predict future price movements. Fundamental analysis, on the other hand, is more focused on factors that may impact future performance, such as a company’s financial statements and management.
When it comes to its investing approach, the team at Keystone Financial Group will both buy and hold investments for the long term and engage in frequent trading. The firm may also use short sales and margin transactions.
Keystone Financial Group has no disciplinary disclosures to report. This means the firm, its employees and its affiliates have not faced any civil, criminal or regulatory actions in the past decade. Find out more by visiting Keystone Financial Group’s IAPD page.
Legacy Financial Advisors, Inc. was formed in 2006. Its principal owners are managing principal Michael J. Maisel, and principals Paul A. Sartori and P. Trent Lucas. In addition to the firm’s headquarters in Covington, Ky., it has an office in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.
Most of the firm’s clients are individuals, including those who are high net worth, but Legacy Financial Advisors also serves profit-sharing and pension plans and charities. Clients can turn to the firm for financial planning and portfolio management services, and the firm notes that it specializes in estate planning, insurance and risk management.
When planning portfolios and making investment recommendations, Legacy Financial Advisors focuses on asset allocation, which it believes is the main driver of returns, and diversification, which it believes is key to managing risk.
Portfolios include sub-strategies that make use of capital preservation, growth equity and tactical strategies in order to reach a client’s goals and adhere to their risk tolerance. Additionally, the team may use alternative investments, including private real estate investment trusts, commodities, funds of funds and managed futures.
Legacy Financial Advisors doesn’t have any disciplinary disclosures to report. This means that neither the company nor its employees or affiliates have faced any civil, criminal or regulatory actions within the last 10 years that would materially impact how a client sees the business. Visit Legacy Financial Advisors’ IAPD page for more information.
Journey Advisory Group, LLC was founded 2014 as Dynasty Advisor Group, LLC. The firm changed its name to Journey Advisory Group in 2019. Today, the firm is privately held and is principally owned by co-founders Tyler S. Lang and Stephan Lang, although James W. Owens, a senior financial advisor, and Kathryn C. McNeely, the firm’s director of operations, hold minority interests.
Journey Advisory Group serves individuals, including those who are high net worth, as well as some profit-sharing and pension plans. The firm offers a range of financial planning services, as well as portfolio management, pension consulting and educational seminars. A minimum account size of $100,000 is generally required by the firm.
In addition to the Journey Advisory Group’s headquarters in Covington, Ky., there are offices in Temple, Texas, Gold River, California, and Cincinnati.
A common investment strategy used by Journey Advisory Group is strategic asset allocation, which focuses less on selecting individual securities and more so on the balance between different types of asset classes in a client’s portfolio. The firm aims to determine the right mix of equities, fixed income and cash for clients based on their objectives and risk tolerance.
When analyzing investments, the team at Journey Advisory Group primarily relies on fundamental analysis, which looks at underlying factors like a company’s management and income statements, and technical analysis, which considers past performance trends and cycles to predict future performance.
Journey Advisory Group has no disciplinary information to disclose, meaning that neither the firm nor its employees or affiliates have faced any civil, criminal or regulatory actions in the past 10 years. As a registered investment advisor, the firm is required by the SEC to report this information. Learn more by visiting Journey Advisory Group’s IAPD page.
KPP Advisory Services, LLC, which stands for Kentucky Planning Partners, was founded in 2005. The firm’s principal owners remain its founders, Robert A. Davenport and Ken A. O’Neil. The company operates out of its headquarters in Louisville, Ky.
Most of KPP Advisory Services’ clients are individual investors, some of whom are high net worth. The firm offers financial planning, portfolio management and pension consulting.
KPP Advisory Services makes decisions regarding the appropriate asset allocation and investment approach for a client based on their goals and objectives, risk tolerance, time horizon and knowledge of investing. On the whole, the firm says that its aim is the preservation and protection of wealth.
KPP Advisory Services generally focuses on asset allocation when investing client funds. It makes use of fundamental analysis when selecting investments, which looks at historical and current data on a company to determine its intrinsic value. When making choices about which funds to invest in, the firm also takes into consideration the experience and track record of the mutual fund or ETF manager.
KPP Advisory Services doesn’t have any disciplinary disclosures to report, including any civil, criminal or regulatory actions over the prior decade involving the firm, its employees or its affiliates. More information on KPP Advisory Services can be found on the firm’s IAPD page.
Landmark Financial Advisors, LLC was founded in 2001. The company is owned by Commonwealth Bank & Trust Company, Inc., a Kentucky-based bank, and LFA Partners, Inc., which is, in turn, owned by the firm’s managing partner and partner. Landmark Financial Advisors is based in Bowling Green, Ky., and doesn’t have any other offices.
Most of Landmark Financial Advisors’ clients are individual investors who are and are not considered high net worth, but the firm also serves charities and trusts, as well as pension and profit-sharing plans. The firm offers a range of financial planning services, including divorce planning, as well as portfolio management and pension consulting.
Landmark Financial Advisors may either create a customized portfolio for a client based on their risk tolerance and objectives, or it may use one or more of the firm’s model portfolios to invest a client’s assets. It emphasizes taking what it describes as a “consultative approach,” which entails gaining an understanding of a client’s larger financial life.
The firm primarily relies on long-term security purchases (those held for over a year) for its investing strategy. However, Landmark Financial Advisors may also make use of trading, margin transactions and options writing when it believes it is appropriate for the client.
Landmark Financial Advisors has one disciplinary disclosure related to a customer complaint against one of the advisors while they were employed elsewhere. The complaint alleges that the advisor failed to supervise a broker. The case was dismissed after the employer settled the complaint, and the court indicated that it would have dismissed the advisor from the case regardless.
Further details on the disclosure can be found on the firm’s IAPD page.
AlphaMark Advisors, LLC was established in 1999. The firm’s principal owner is its president, Michael L. Simon, although other individuals also have a stake. The firm is headquartered in Ft. Wright, Ky., which is its sole office location.
Most of AlphaMark’s clients are individuals who both are and are not considered high net worth per the SEC. Its client base also includes some investment companies, charitable organizations, businesses and pension and profit-sharing plans. AlphaMark focuses mainly on providing financial planning, including on topics such as divorce and college planning, as well as portfolio management to its clients.
AlphaMark Advisors uses fixed income, equities and alternative investments to build portfolios for its clients, and it describes the ownership of quality stocks, bonds, mutual funds and ETFs as the basis of its investment strategy. Alphamark primarily uses long-term purchases to achieve its clients’ objectives, although it will sell when warranted.
Based on a client’s objectives, AlphaMark will select an appropriate portfolio strategy. Strategies offered include aggressive growth, growth, balanced and income, as well as strategies based on investing in companies of certain sizes.
There are no disciplinary disclosures reported by AlphaMark Advisors on its Form ADV paperwork filed with the SEC. This means that neither the firm nor its employees or affiliates have faced any civil, criminal or regulatory actions within the last 10 years. More information can be found on AlphaMark Advisors’ IAPD page.
The Gleason Group, Inc. was founded in 2015 and is privately owned by Gavin T. Gleason, who is also the president and CEO. The firm’s headquarters and only office location is in Prospect, Kentucky.
While most of the clients that Gleason Group serves are individuals who are not considered high net worth, it does also work with high net worth individuals as well as pension and profit-sharing plans and businesses. The firm offers a variety of wealth management services and financial planning and consulting services, including estate planning, education planning, retirement planning, risk management and more.
The Gleason Group takes a long-term, buy-and-hold approach to investing. It emphasizes diversification and also takes into account taxes and investing costs when making investment recommendations to its clients. The team primarily uses mutual funds, ETFs, index funds and individual stocks and bonds to invest client’s assets based on their goals.
For the most part, The Gleason Group focuses on fundamental analysis when analyzing investment opportunities. In other words, the firm evaluates investments based on factors like company management, income statements, current competitors and position in the market to determine whether an investment is worthwhile.
The Gleason Group has no disciplinary disclosures to report. This includes any civil, criminal or regulatory events from within the last 10 years that a client may find pertinent when evaluating the firm or the integrity of its management team. More information can be found on The Gleason Group’s IAPD page.
Atlas Brown was founded in 2004 by a group of investment professionals. It is privately owned. Based in Louisville, Ky., the firm places an emphasis on family wealth management and family office services, such as the preparation of financial plans or evaluations, bill pay and consultations on trusts or business succession plans.
Most of the clients served by Atlas Brown are individuals who do not meet the SEC’s definition of high net worth. However, the firm does also work with some high net worth individuals. Its client base also includes businesses, charitable organizations and pension and profit-sharing plans.
At Atlas Brown, senior portfolio managers are responsible for analyzing investment opportunities and choosing which investments are suitable for a client based on their needs and goals.
Portfolio managers might employ various investing strategies in an attempt to meet these goals. This includes diversifying across assets class and type and using outside managers. Alongside mutual funds and ETFs, portfolio managers may also incorporate individual stocks and bonds as well as alternative investments when building customized portfolios for its clients.
There are no disciplinary disclosures reported by Atlas Brown, meaning the firm, its employees and its affiliates have not faced any regulatory, criminal or civil actions within the last decade. More information can be found by visiting Atlas Brown’s IAPD page.
The cost to work with a financial advisor depends on what services are offered and which advisor you work with. In general, you’re likely to see flat or hourly fees for some services, such as financial planning or consultations, and a percentage of assets under management for portfolio management services, with the typical cost ranging from 0.50% to 1.25% of assets under management. Make sure you carefully look at an advisor’s fee structure to ensure you understand what to expect.
Kentucky has income tax and property tax, as well as a sales tax. The non-partisan think tank Tax Foundation ranks Kentucky 13th for state and local income tax collections per capita.
There is no estate tax in Kentucky. However, the state does have an inheritance tax, making Kentucky one of only six states that levies this tax.
Not all financial advisor firms specialize in retirement planning. However, many of them can offer guidance as you prepare for retirement. If retirement planning is a priority for you, then make sure to find an advisor to work with who is well-versed in this area and can provide the services you need.
Because a financial advisor who is a fiduciary is required to put their clients’ best interests first, it is smart to choose a fiduciary when looking for a financial advisor in Kentucky. Advisors who are not bound by fiduciary duty must simply make recommendations that are suitable for their clients, rather than what’s best, meaning they could prioritize their own bottom line over what is truly right for you.
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.