Choosing a financial advisor in Santa Barbara can be challenging with as many options there are. To find the right advisor for you in “The American Riviera,” you’ll need to consider the proper fit — this means understanding your financial needs and goals, as well as how much you can spend on an advisor’ services.
That being said, we understand it can be difficult to compare firms and data points, so we compiled the most important information to help guide your decision. To determine the best advisors in Santa Barbara, CA, 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.
While our ranking can’t predict which Santa Barbara firm will be the right fit for your unique financial situation, it can hopefully help you narrow it down more easily. Read on for our list of the top firms in Santa Barbara and what you need to know about them:
How much would you like to invest?
|Firm name||Minimum Assets Required||Fee Structure|
|Mission Wealth Management, LP||$1 million|| |
|West Coast Financial, LLC||$1 million|| |
|Arlington Financial Advisors, LLC||None|| |
|Trinity Capital Management, LLC||None|| |
|Omega Financial Group, LLC||$1 million|| |
|Avalan, LLC||None, but minimum $10,000 annual fee|| |
|Ariadne Wealth Management, LP||$5 million for comprehensive wealth management|| |
|Pacific Wealth Strategies Group, Inc.||None|| |
For our search, we looked at firms across the city of Santa Barbara. 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 looked exclusively at firms that met the above criteria and had their headquarters in Santa Barbara, 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 July 26, 2021, but we urge you to also evaluate these firms on https://adviserinfo.sec.gov/.
Founders Seth Streeter and Brad Stark launched Mission Wealth Management, LP in 2000, and remain its chief impact officer and chief compliance officer, respectively. Streeter and Stark are also the firm’s majority shareholders through their personal trusts, and share ownership with 13 other Mission Wealth Management employees.
Mission Wealth Management offers investment management, wealth management, estate planning, risk management, tax management and financial planning. It works with a range of clients, including retirees, business owners, independent women and professionals such as doctors, lawyers and academics. Though it works with a number of people who aren’t considered high net worth, the majority of its clients are high net worth individuals, defined by the SEC as those with at least $750,000 under management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million. The firm also serves institutions like charitable organizations, government entities and businesses.
Mission Wealth Management’s headquarters are in Santa Barbara, and it has 20 additional offices throughout the country.
When managing client portfolios, Mission Wealth Management allocates funds across various asset classes, including exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, stocks, bonds, certificates of deposits (CDs), insurance contracts and alternative investments — this will depend on what makes sense for a client’s overall financial plan. Its portfolios use both active and passive strategies, and aim to maximize risk-adjusted returns rather than beating benchmarks.
Mission Wealth Management aims to improve returns by using tax-efficient investing approaches, such as tax-loss harvesting and asset locations. The firm generally uses long-term investment strategies, but may use short-term strategies in certain circumstances.
Mission Wealth Management does not report any disciplinary disclosures in the past 10 years. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires registered investment advisory firms to report any events involving the firm, its staff or its affiliates, including any civil, regulatory or criminal issues, on its Form ADV.
For more information on Mission Wealth Management, visit its IAPD page.
In 1983, E. David Yossem founded an eponymous firm that would later become West Coast Financial, LLC. Yossem remains a part-owner of the firm, along with employees Steven Weintraub and Dave Gore. In addition to its Santa Barbara headquarters, the firm has two other California offices, in Avila Beach and Oakland.
West Coast Financial offers financial planning, wealth management and issue-specific financial consultations to individuals and high net worth individuals. In general, the firm requires a minimum account size of $1 million, though it may waive this minimum or combine family accounts to meet this requirement. In addition, the firm works with a small number of institutions including pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations, pooled investment vehicles and government entities.
Clients of West Coast Financial generally have their portfolios invested in individual stocks and bonds, but the portfolios may also include a portion in passive index funds or ETFs. Portfolio construction reflects each client’s individual investment objectives and constraints, such as their time horizon and risk tolerance.
West Coast Financial notes that it doesn’t attempt to time the market or capture short-term gains — rather, its investment selections are based on their potential for income or growth, with choices made to best align with a client’s investment objectives.
West Coast Financial has no applicable disclosures. For reference, all firms registered with the SEC must list and disclose reportable offenses and regulation violations.
For more information, visit the firm’s IAPD page.
Founded in 2010 and registered as an investment advisor since 2016, Arlington Financial Advisors’ six advisors are all partners and owners of the firm. Arlington Financial Advisors offers financial planning, risk management, portfolio management, estate planning, business advice and tax guidance to individuals and families. The firm’s clients are primarily high net worth, though it notably doesn’t impose a minimum account requirement. Arlington Financial Advisors also works with pension and profit-sharing plans, as well as other investment advisors.
The firm operates out of its sole office in Santa Barbara.
Portfolios created by the team at Arlington Financial Advisors take into account a client’s investment goals, risk tolerance and time horizon, among other factors. To select securities for investment, the firm’s advisors use business characteristic analysis, fundamental business valuation research and investment manager evaluation.
Portfolios emphasize both diversification and asset allocation, and make use of fundamental indexing and long-term purchasing; they are also rebalanced yearly.
Arlington Financial Advisors has no disclosures to report. The SEC requires registered investment advisors to detail any regulatory, criminal or civil incidents involving either the firm, its employees or affiliates from within the last decade in their publicly available filings.
To learn more about Arlington Financial Advisors, visit its IAPD page.
Founded in 2006, Trinity Capital Management offers financial planning and wealth management to individuals (including high net worth individuals), as well as some institutional investors like pension and profit-sharing plans, charities and businesses. Principal owners include Fredric Fisher, who serves as the firm’s chief compliance officer and president, and Andrew Bucher, the firm’s chief investment officer.
In addition to its Santa Barbara headquarters, Trinity Capital Management has small offices in Olympia, Wash., and Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Clients of Trinity Capital Management will get a customized portfolio based on their tax situation, risk tolerance, financial picture and money goals. When investing a client’s assets, Trinity Capital Management generally aims to capture fixed income exposure with laddered bonds. Diversified equity exposure is achieved via funds and an emphasis on small cap stocks and value stocks.
The firm adheres to modern portfolio theory, an investing strategy that focuses on maximizing returns while minimizing risk, and typically uses a long-term investment strategy that emphasizes market efficiency and diversification. In addition to diversifying by asset class, the firm aims to purchase securities from both developed and emerging markets, and it owns securities from nearly all public companies across sectors and industries.
Trinity Capital Management does not have any disciplinary disclosures to report. Firms registered with the SEC must disclose any civil, regulatory or disciplinary events from within the last decade involving the firm, its employees or its affiliates that would be material to a client’s evaluation of the firm.
For more information on Trinity Capital Management, visit the firm’s IAPD page.
Former Wachovia wealth managers Dylan Minor and Bryan Reinhard founded Omega Financial Group in 2009, and the firm became a registered investment advisor in 2012. Minor, the firm’s chief strategist and chief investment officer, owns 80% of the firm, while Reinhard, its director and chief compliance officer, owns the remaining 20%.
Omega Financial Group’s focus is on offering services to families that, according to its website, have “sufficiently complicated financial lives,” generally requiring a minimum account balance of $1 million. While the firm has just two offices (both of which are in Santa Barbara), it works with many global families, with one or more members who live abroad, have dual citizenship or are non-citizens living or working in the U.S. Services offered by the firm include integrated wealth management and financial planning, strategic planning for family businesses and philanthropic planning for both impact and tax efficiency. Other clients of the firm include pension and profit-sharing plans as well as charitable organizations.
Omega Financial Group generally builds portfolios based on the following four strategies:
Investment management services are generally provided in tandem with financial planning. As such, portfolios are designed to help clients meet their financial goals.
Omega Financial Group does not have any disciplinary disclosures to report. Financial firms registered with the SEC must list any civil, criminal, or regulatory actions against the company, their employees or their affiliates over the past 10 years.
For more information on Omega Financial Group, visit the firm’s IAPD page.
Wealth manager Rich Schuette is the founder of Avalan, LLC, which has been a registered investment advisor since 2011. He owns 90% of the firm, while fellow financial planner Kathryn Courain owns the remaining 10%. Avalan serves as a “virtual family office,” offering comprehensive financial services that include financial planning, portfolio management and tax guidance, among others. Clients of the firm include individuals, trusts, estate, charitable organizations, pension and profit-sharing plans and businesses.
The firm is headquartered in Santa Barbara, and has a second office in Westlake Village, Calif.
For the most part, portfolios built by Avalan will consist of a mix of individual stocks, bonds, ETFs, options, mutual funds and other securities; in addition, the firm may also use independent money managers. Avalan custom designs each portfolio to meet the needs of individual clients and their specific investment goals and financial situations.
Clients also can opt for a lower-cost automated investment program, in which they’ll receive a model portfolio aligned with their risk tolerance level that’s rebalanced at least quarterly. In addition to digital planning tools for savings and retirement, the program also offers access to an Avalan financial advisor for up to one hour per year.
Avalan does not report any disclosures. Investment advisory firms registered with the SEC must report any regulatory, criminal and civil judicial infractions that have occurred within the last 10 years. This includes any events involving either the firm or its employees or affiliates.
Find out more about Avalan by visiting its IAPD page.
Ariadne Wealth Management, LP was established as a registered investment advisor in 2014 by chief investment officer Gene Dongieux, chief wealth manager Adam Stempel and portfolio manager Rick DuBreuil. Today, it is owned by the Dongieux Family Trust, Dubreuil and Stempel.
The firm offers family office services to high net worth individuals, with an emphasis on environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments and helping clients ensure their investments align with their values. Ariadne Wealth Management also focuses on generating above-average after-tax returns, using strategies such as asset location, tax-loss harvesting and creative tax planning. In addition, various financial planning services are also provided.
Those interested in accessing the firm’s comprehensive wealth management service will need an account balance of at least $5 million.
Ariadne Wealth Management’s Santa Barbara headquarters is its only office location.
The team at Ariadne Wealth Management uses both qualitative and quantitative analysis to evaluate investments such as individual securities, institutional mutual funds and ETFs for use in client portfolios. The quantitative process looks at data, such as current and past performance, while the qualitative process considers why an investment is successful and whether that success could continue. After that analysis, the firm examines the pros and cons of each remaining investment opportunity, including its tax impact, to determine whether it makes sense for a particular client.
Ariadne Wealth Management does not report any disciplinary events over the last 10 years. Like all firm’s registered with the SEC, Ariadne Wealth Management must disclose any disciplinary actions or judicial events involving the firm, its employees or its affiliates.
For more information about Ariadne Wealth Management, visit the firm’s IAPD page.
Pacific Wealth Strategies Group, Inc. was founded in 2007 by Erin Neil, its president and chief compliance officer, and Jeff Brookshire, its vice president, corporate secretary and treasurer. The two remain the co-owners of the firm, which has offices in Santa Barbara and Porterville, Calif.
Pacific Wealth Strategies Group offers customized financial planning and plan-based investing to individuals, including high net worth individuals. It also serves as a consultant to company retirement plans.
Pacific Wealth Strategies Group creates custom portfolios for its clients based on their objectives, risk tolerance, time horizon and other factors. To select potential investments for clients, the firm focuses primarily on fundamental analysis, which looks at various factors, including macroeconomic and company-specific ones, to determine a security’s intrinsic value. However, it also uses technical analysis, which examines charts and other tools to identify past performance patterns that may indicate future activity.
Portfolios created by Pacific Wealth Strategies Group typically include a mix of equities, fixed income, ETFs, mutual funds and cash investments. The firm may also recommend that clients incorporate alternative investments, such as variable life insurance or annuities, debt securities other than commercial paper and options contracts.
Pacific Wealth Strategies Group has no disclosures, meaning it has had a clean disciplinary record for the past 10 years. Financial advisory firms registered with the SEC must report any regulatory, criminal or civil events involving the company, its employees or its affiliates.
For more information, visit Pacific Wealth Strategies Group’s IAPD page.
With a top marginal rate of 13.30%, California has the highest state income tax rate in the country, though only those earning $1 million or more will face pay taxes at that level. California does not have an estate or an inheritance tax, though Golden State residents may still be subject to federal estate taxes.
If you don’t have recommendations from friends or family in financial situations similar to yours, a great way to start looking for a financial advisor in Santa Barbara, CA, is to use our “Find a Financial Advisor” tool. You can input your age, financial goals, income and other factors to get the names of advisors who might be a good match.
Other ways to start your search include checking out industry search tools, like the tool offered by the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), or the CFP Board’s financial advisor directory.
No. While many financial advisor firms specialize in retirement planning, some emphasize other financial strategies, such as financial planning, charitable giving or debt management. If retirement planning is a priority for you, ask each firm whether it’s something it specializes in before you begin working together.
Choosing the right financial advisor for you involves considering multiple factors related to your specific financial needs and preferences. For example, if you’re newly divorced, you may want an advisor that has worked with others in a similar position, while entrepreneurs may want an advisor that specializes in helping founders manage their wealth. You should also ensure that you can meet the advisor’s minimum investment requirement, if they have one.
In addition to experience and available services, look for fee-only firms, which minimizes potential conflicts of interest — these firms only earn money from their clients — and make sure that the firm you’re working with abides by fiduciary duty. It’s also important to understand how a firm makes money and that you’re comfortable with their fee structure.
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.