It may seem challenging to choose a financial advisor in Scottsdale, Ariz., given the sheer number of advisors scattered amongst the area’s luxury resorts and golf courses. Finding the right professional for you in this desert city really comes down to figuring out the proper fit, which means understanding your financial needs and goals as well as how much you’re willing to spend.
It can be difficult to compare firms and data points, so we compiled key information to help guide your decision. To determine the best advisors in Scottsdale, 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.
Our ranking can’t predict which firm will be the right fit for your unique situation, but we’re hoping this handy list can help make the shopping experience easier. Take a look at our list below for the top firms in Scottsdale and their key highlights:
How much would you like to invest?
|Firm name||Minimum Assets Required||Fee Structure|
|Wealthplan Advisors, LLC||$500,000||A percentage of AUM
|Stoker Ostler, a part of BMO Financial Group||$500,000||A percentage of AUM
|Total Investment Management, Inc.||Not specified||A percentage of AUM
|Galvin, Gaustad & Stein, LLC||$500,000||A percentage of AUM
|BCJ Capital Management||$100,000||A percentage of AUM
|Householder Group Estate & Retirement Specialists||Varies by program||A percentage of AUM
Other (portion of third-party manager fees)
|Capital Insight Partners, LLC||$2 million||A percentage of AUM
|Trajan Wealth, L.L.C.||None||A percentage of AUM
Other (1031 advisory fees)
For our search, we looked at firms across the city of Scottsdale, Ariz. 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 Scottsdale, 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 21, 2021, but we urge you to also evaluate these firms on https://adviserinfo.sec.gov/.
Founded in 2009, WealthPlan Advisors, LLC is indirectly controlled largely by principals Scott L. Schlappi and Rick L. Horton. Based in Scottsdale, Ariz., the firm has additional offices in Lehi, Utah, and St. Louis. It is ranked by MagnifyMoney among the best financial advisors in Arizona.
WealthPlan Advisors’ client list is broad and includes many individuals and families, including some deemed high net worth by the SEC (for reference, the SEC defines high net worth as having at least $750,000 to invest or a net worth of $1.5 million). Rounding out its client list are institutions including many pension and profit-sharing plans, businesses and charitable organizations.
The firm’s bread and butter offerings for individual investors include portfolio management and financial planning. In general, a minimum investment of $500,000 is required for the firm’s portfolio management services. WealthPlan Advisors’ financial planning services can address a host of financial issues, such as cash flow, insurance, retirement, businesses and estates. Clients will receive a written report with a plan for how to achieve their financial goals.
Rather than focus primarily on selecting individual stocks, the team at WealthPlan Advisors emphasizes choosing an appropriate mix of asset types based on a client’s goals and unique factors. To identify its recommended investments, the firm mixes various forms of analysis. It considers qualitative factors such as a company’s management team and industry conditions as well as quantitative or technical factors such as price and volume patterns. The team also prioritizes regular rebalancing, diversification and low-cost, low-turnover investments when building and managing portfolios.
In general, client money may be invested in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), variable life insurance and annuities.
WealthPlan Advisors has a clean record, disclosing no legal or disciplinary actions against the firm or its employees in the prior decade. For reference, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires all registered investment advisory firms to disclose to the public on the firm’s Form ADV any legal or disciplinary actions, including criminal, civil or regulatory events, against the firm or its employees or affiliates in the last decade that a potential client would view as material when evaluating the firm and the integrity of its leaders.
To learn more about WealthPlan Advisors, visit its IAPD page.
Stoker Ostler’s roots date back to 1997, when its predecessor firm, Private Wealth Management Inc., was founded. Today, the group is a subsidiary of BMO Financial Corp., which in turn is owned by Bank of Montreal. Stoker Ostler is based in Scottsdale, Ariz., with one additional office in Salt Lake City. The firm’s legal name is Stoker Ostler Wealth Advisors, Inc.
Stoker Ostler provides its clients with portfolio management as well as financial planning and consulting services. The bulk of its clients are individuals and families, including many deemed high net worth by the SEC. In particular, the firm focuses on working with business professionals, executives, business owners and entrepreneurs. The firm also can work with institutions such as charitable organizations. An account minimum of $500,000 is typically required.
At Stoker Ostler, client money is invested through a custom portfolio based on a myriad of factors such as the client’s objectives, risk tolerance, time horizons, liquidity needs, tax positions, asset class preferences and other unique considerations. The team does not focus on selecting individual stocks, but may recommend them when deemed appropriate.
To identify its recommended investments, the group keeps a working list of preferred securities and performs qualitative and quantitative due diligence on those investments. Typical product recommendations include stocks, bonds, real estate investment trusts (REITs) and various types of alternative investments. The team rarely uses short sales, margin transactions or option trading, unless requested by the client.
In taxable accounts, the team makes an effort to offset realized gains with realized losses and may harvest losses in market declines.
Stoker Ostler discloses no legal or disciplinary actions against the company, its employees or its affiliates in the prior 10 years that a potential client would deem as material when evaluating the firm and the integrity of its leaders. To learn more, view the firm’s IAPD page.
Total Investment Management’s niche is the airline industry. The team primarily works with aviation professionals and their families, including those who are high net worth. Advisors can help these clients allocate their retirement and other accounts, as well as plan their financial lives, assisting with taxes, estates, college savings, insurance, annuities and other financial tasks and issues.
The firm has been providing investment management and financial planning services since 1998, when its predecessor firm, HFG Asset Allocation Service, was founded by two former military and commercial pilots. Today, the firm is primarily owned by Todd Foster, the firm’s CEO, and co-founder and chairman John Foster II. The team works out of its Scottsdale headquarters with an additional office in Park City, Utah.
At Total Investment Management, client money is generally invested through the firm’s model portfolios. These portfolios use two different strategies: strategic asset allocation and tactical asset allocation. The strategic asset allocation is crafted based on the client’s unique goals, risk tolerance, age and other factors. Then, the firm tactically overweights asset classes that it feels will perform well and reduces exposure to those that it expects will underperform.
Typical portfolios created by the firm use asset classes including small-, mid- and large-cap equities, as well as international equities and bonds.
Total Investment Management discloses no legal or disciplinary actions against the firm in the last 10 years that a client would deem material when evaluating the firm and the integrity of its managers. That said, the firm discloses that its financial professionals may have disciplinary history. Thus, be sure to look up the specific individual advisor you are considering at www.investor.gov/crs. You can learn more about the firm by visiting its IAPD page.
Since 2010, Galvin, Gaustad & Stein, LLC has been offering investment management and financial planning services to individuals and families who both are and are not high net worth.
The team also works with retirement plans and businesses. A minimum investment of $500,000 is required to begin and maintain a relationship with the firm.
Financial planning services provided by Galvin, Gaustad & Stein can cover myriad topics including business planning, estate planning, charitable giving, cash flow forecasting, insurance and distribution planning, among others. The team can also weigh in on how clients should invest their 401(k) or college savings plans, even if those assets are held elsewhere.
This eponymous firm is owned by Stephen R. Galvin, Stephen L. Gaustad and Mark P. Stein through intermediate subsidiaries. The team has five additional offices in addition to its Scottsdale headquarters in Bellevue, Wash.; New York; Broomfield, Colo.; Beverly Hills, Calif.; and Pittsburgh.
Galvin, Gaustad & Stein typically invests client funds in stocks, bonds and ETFs. Less commonly, advisors may recommend annuities, life insurance, options and independent investment managers.
To make its investment recommendations, the team at Galvin, Gaustad & Stein primarily uses fundamental analysis, which examines both a company’s positioning and sector as well as its overall financial health. For example, when choosing stocks, the team screens for quantitative metrics it believes historically have led to outperformance, such as low volatility and consistent dividend growth. It also does a deep dive into qualitative factors such as competitive advantages, the management team and potential future events that could cause the stock price to rerate.
Galvin, Gaustad & Stein has a clean record, disclosing no legal or disciplinary marks against the firm or its professionals or affiliates in the last decade that clients would deem material when assessing the firm and the integrity of its leaders. View the firm’s IAPD page to learn more.
BCJ Capital Management has been registered as an investment advisor since 1996. The firm is owned by its employees, including CEO Justin Young, CIO Ben Bimson and vice president Stephen Captain.
BCJ Capital Management offers portfolio management as well as financial planning and consulting to thousands of individuals and families, including those who are high net worth. It also serves many pension and profit-sharing plans, businesses and charitable organizations. The firm also provides investment consulting to customers of certain brokers. An affiliated firm sells insurance products. In general, BCJ Capital Management requires an account size of at least $100,000.
Based in Scottsdale, BCJ Capital Management has more than two dozen additional offices in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, New Mexico, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Virginia.
Clients of BCJ Capital Management have the choice to have their money managed directly by the firm based on their unique needs, or to choose from more than a dozen model portfolios managed by the firm or by certain outside independent managers.
For most clients, their money is typically invested in open-end mutual funds and ETFs. However, other investment products may be added including stocks, bonds, private investments, pooled investment vehicles, structured products and variable annuities, depending on the client’s needs.
The firm also offers an automated online portfolio management program through Betterment, which gives clients access to portfolios of ETFs and cash.
BCJ Capital Management discloses no legal or disciplinary actions against the firm in the last 10 years that a client would find material when evaluating the firm or the integrity of its leaders. View BCJ Capital Management’s IAPD page to learn more and to view its filings with the SEC.
That said, certain individual financial professionals at the firm may have disciplinary records. Go to www.investor.gov/CRS to search for the record of the specific professional you’re considering.
Householder Group Estate & Retirement Specialists is based in Scottsdale, but has a network of partner advisors around the country spread across 19 additional offices. Many of these offices are in California and Washington, with additional locations in Texas, Mississippi, Maryland, Massachusetts, Colorado, Wisconsin, Oregon and Oklahoma, and plans for continued growth.
Householder Group’s standard offerings include portfolio management as well as financial planning and consulting, including estate planning services. Sometimes the team also holds seminars and educational programs for clients and non-clients. Its clients include individuals and families, most of whom are not high net worth, though some are. The firm also works with institutions such as charitable organizations, government entities, businesses, 401(k) plans and others.
Scott Householder founded the eponymous firm in 1997. Today, the firm is owned by The ASG Ohio Legacy Trust. The firm’s advisors are independent contractors, and thus may brand their businesses under different names. The individual advisors may also offer additional services such as tax preparation or insurance agent. Additionally, most of the firm’s advisors are separately registered as brokers through LPL Financial, meaning they can place trades for clients and earn commissions. The firm’s sister company, HG Insurance Services, LLC, offers insurance products.
Clients of Householder Group Estate & Retirement Specialists can choose from various programs, such as using an outside portfolio manager in a separately managed account or a model portfolio designed by either a third-party manager or LPL Financial. Client money is typically invested in stocks, bonds, ETFs and mutual funds. Advice may also be given on variable annuities and life insurance and other products offered by LPL Financial.
An online program (similar to a robo-advisor) is also available through Householder Group that uses algorithms to invest client money in model portfolios of ETFs and mutual funds, crafted by LPL Financial.
Household Group Estate & Retirement Specialists does not have any material legal or disciplinary marks against the firm from over the prior decade that would raise questions about the firm or the integrity of its leaders. That said, certain individual financial professionals disclose material legal or disciplinary actions, so be sure to check out the specific individual you are considering working with at www.investor.gov/CRS.
You can learn more about the firm by visiting its IAPD page.
Co-founders and majority owners Steven T. Nelson and Susan C. Anastasiadis founded Capital Insight Partners in 2008, after working together at Merrill Lynch. The team works out of its single Scottsdale location and offers clients portfolio management as well as financial planning.
The firm’s financial planning can be an in-depth analysis that covers all aspects of the client’s financial life and results in a written plan. Alternatively, clients can request consultations on a single financial topic, such as cash flow, taxes, retirement, education, insurance, business planning and estate planning, among others. The team also offers specific planning services for corporate executives.
Capital Insight Partners works with many pension, profit-sharing and 401(k) plans, in addition to hundreds of individuals and families. Though this group includes many individuals who aren’t considered high net worth, today the firm generally requires a $2 million investment for new clients. The firm can also work with charitable organizations, businesses and other institutions.
Typically, Capital Insight Partners uses individual securities and adds ETFs in certain areas for diversification or liquidity purposes. Both growth and value stocks may be recommended, depending on the market cycle, as well as active and passive strategies. Recommendations typically include stocks, bonds, annuities, mutual funds, ETFs and alternative investments. Outside managers may also be recommended. Other products such as warrants, options, futures and interests in real estate partnerships may be used more selectively.
New clients can expect to work with Capital Insight Partners through a wrap fee account, meaning clients will pay one fee that covers the advisors’ management fee as well as transaction costs.
Capital Insight Partners discloses no material legal or disciplinary marks against the firm or its employees or affiliates in the last decade that would raise questions about the firm or the integrity of its leaders. Visit the firm’s IAPD page to learn more.
Founded in 2010, Trajan Wealth, L.L.C. is headquartered in Scottsdale, with four additional Arizona offices in Goodyear, Tucson, Gilbert and Peoria, in addition to offices in Edmond, Okla., and Draper, Utah. Trajan Wealth is owned by its founder and CEO, Jeffrey Junior, who also owns affiliated firms that offer tax services and legal services on estate planning, trusts and wills.
Trajan Wealth caters to individuals and families (including those with high net worth), primarily providing investment management and advice. That relationship may include some financial planning on topics such as savings goals, retirement planning, education funding and insurance. The team also can help clients determine how to invest their employer-sponsored retirement accounts or other accounts held elsewhere. Occasionally the firm’s advisors host educational seminars on various planning topics. Additionally, Trajan Wealth can work with institutions such as pension and profit-sharing plans.
The team at Trajan Wealth creates custom portfolios for their clients based on the client’s unique needs. These portfolios are primarily comprised of ETFs or stocks, but can also include cash, mutual funds, bonds and annuities. Advisors may recommend that some or all of a client’s portfolio be managed with the help of an outside manager. Make note that the firm may recommend the ETF it internally manages.
Note that the investment advisor you work with at Trajan Wealth may be an employee of the firm or an independent contractor.
Trajan Wealth has a clean record, disclosing no legal or disciplinary marks against the firm, its employees or its affiliates in the last 10 years that clients would deem material when assessing the firm and its leaders’ integrity. To learn more, view the firm’s IAPD page.
No. While all advisors are likely comfortable investing money that clients plan to live on in retirement, not all advisors specifically help their clients plan for their retirement years. Such help may include calculating how much you need to save, factoring in other sources of retirement income such as pensions or crunching how much you can safely withdraw each year. Be sure to ask all potential advisors what help specifically they provide to assist you in preparing for your after work life.
Arizona ranks in the middle to low end of the spectrum when it comes to income taxes. The top individual income tax rate is 4.50%. Arizona levies no estate or inheritance tax, although residents with large estates still may owe federal estate taxes.
Many financial advisors work with clients through big life events, including marriages, divorces, births and deaths. These advisors can take a holistic look at your financial situation, and create a plan to help you achieve your goals independently. Some advisors even specifically market divorce services. Either way, be sure to ask all potential advisors specifically how they will help you navigate your new financial situation.
To narrow down this list, start by searching for the advisors that work with clients with the amount of money you have to invest, since many firms have minimum requirements. Next, find out whether the firms offer the specific services you are seeking, such as a written financial plan, help investing your 401(k) plan or support after a divorce. Finally, understand how much, and by whom, the advisors will earn off your account, since advisor costs can vary widely between firms and even advisors within the same firm.
To learn more, here is a list of key questions to ask potential advisors.
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.