Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone and is not intended to be a source of investment advice. It may not have not been reviewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners or the Investment company.
If you’re looking for a financial advisor in Seattle, you likely care about more than where their office is located. You need a partner for your financial journey and deserve an advisor who gets to know you, your dreams and any concerns you have about the markets or reaching your financial goals.
That’s why the MagnifyMoney team’s done the hard work for you. With so many financial advisors in Seattle, we’ve gone through the rest to bring you the best.
To curate our list of the best financial advisors in Seattle, we only considered firms that manage individual accounts and offer their clients financial planning services. We then ranked eligible firms based on assets under management (AUM), which serves as a general metric for a firm’s size. All data used in our methodology comes from each firm’s latest Form ADV filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to ensure the accuracy and reliability of our rankings.
You’ll always be the best judge of which advisor is the best fit for you. We hope our list of Seattle’s top financial advisors can kick off your search in the right direction.
How much would you like to invest?
|Firm||Minimum assets required||Fee structure|
|Brighton Jones LLC||None specified, but a minimum quarterly fee of $2,500 to $3,500||Percentage of AUM
|Freestone Capital Management, LLC||None||Percentage of AUM
|Columbia Pacific Wealth Management||$5 million||Percentage of AUM
Other (administration fees)
|Laird Norton Wealth Management||Varies by portfolio, starting at $1 million or less||Percentage of AUM
|Badgley Phelps Wealth Managers||$1 million||Percentage of AUM
|Pacific Portfolio Consulting, LLC||$500,000||Percentage of AUM
|Empirical Wealth Management||$1 million||Percentage of AUM
|McCutchen Group LLC||None||Percentage of AUM
|Merriman||Varies depending on strategy||Percentage of AUM
|Moss Adams Wealth Advisors||None||Percentage of AUM
To kick-off our list of the best financial advisors in Seattle, we’ve got Brighton Jones, LLC. Founded in 1999 by then-Deloitte partners Charles Brighton and Jon Jones, Brighton Jones is among the largest wealth management firms in the state of Washington. The founders remain the firm’s co-owners, with Jones serving as CEO and Brighton as a managing director.
Brighton Jones aims to serve as a “Personal CFO” to clients, offering holistic advice to individuals and families as a chief financial officer would for a company. The firm offers discretionary and non-discretionary wealth management on a fee-only basis and financial planning, primarily to individuals and high net worth individuals. The firm also works with a smaller number of institutions, including pension and profit-sharing plans, pooled investment vehicles and charitable organizations.
In addition to its Seattle headquarters, the firm also has offices in Oregon, California, Colorado, Texas, Arizona, Minnesota, Georgia, Florida and Virginia, in the Washington, D.C. metro area.
Brighton Jones offers personalized portfolios based on each client’s financial situation, but the firm’s overall approach to investing includes diversification, both among and within asset classes. Portfolios might include debt and fixed income securities, individual equities, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and real estate investment trusts (REITs).
The firm uses several methods to invest in those asset classes, including short- and long-term purchases, margin transactions and options. The firm analyzes investments using fundamental, technical and cyclical methods, which examine historical and present data to make financial forecasts and predict the direction of prices.
Brighton Jones has had no disclosures over the past 10 years. All registered investment advisors must disclose in their Form ADV documents filed with the SEC any civil, criminal or regulatory actions against its firm, employees or affiliates that clients would consider material when evaluating the firm or its management team.
For more information, visit the Brighton Jones Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) page.
Next on our list of the best financial advisors in Seattle is Freestone Capital Management. Gary Furukawa, a former executive at E.F. Hutton and Salomon Smith Barney, founded Freestone Capital Management in 1999. Furukawa currently serves as the firm’s chief investment officer and co-portfolio manager of its real estate funds. He and his wife, Della, own between 25% and 50% of the firm, and the firm’s employees own the rest.
The firm offers investment advisory, wealth management and financial planning services, primarily to individual investors, including those with high net worths. The firm also works with pooled investment vehicles, pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and businesses. There is no minimum to invest, but the brochure notes that Freestone Capital Management seeks advisory clients who wish to establish accounts of at least $1 million, or $500,000 for Schwab Advisor-referred investors.
In addition to Seattle, Freestone Capital Management also has offices in San Francisco and Santa Barbara, Calif.
Freestone Capital Management invests clients’ assets using a combination of model portfolios (managed internally and by third-party advisors) and alternative investments. Its “Stay Wealthy” approach focuses on both upside opportunity and downside risk.
The firm believes in broad diversification beyond traditional stocks and bonds. Freestone Capital Management looks for opportunities to invest in alternative asset classes to achieve that diversification. While the firm generally focuses on long-term investments, approaches may also include short- and long-term purchases, trading, concentrated positions and other short sales among its methods.
Freestone Capital Management does not have any disciplinary disclosures listed in its Form ADV, including any civil, criminal or regulatory actions against the firm.
Learn more on the Freestone Capital Management IAPD page.
Senior housing entrepreneur Dan Baty and investment managers Alex Washburn and Peder Schmitz founded Columbia Pacific Wealth Management in 2010. Baty currently serves as the firm’s chairman, while Washburn and Schmitz are managing partners. Columbia Pacific Wealth Management is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CI Private Wealth US LLC, an indirect majority-owned subsidiary of CI Financial Corp., a public company based in Canada that offers wealth and asset management.
Columbia Pacific offers investment management, financial planning and wealth management advice. It may also work with clients’ other professionals, such as their accountant, or make referrals to third parties specializing in areas such as taxation, estate planning and insurance. The firm primarily offers its services to individuals and high net worth individuals, though it also works with charitable organizations, pension and profit-sharing plans, pooled investment vehicles and businesses. Columbia Pacific Wealth Management typically requires a minimum of $5 million in assets, though this may be waived at the firm’s discretion.
The firm has offices in Seattle and San Francisco.
Columbia Pacific Wealth Management aims to create sustainable, long-term growth for clients by managing risk and maximizing tax efficiency while offering access to private investment opportunities through its proprietary funds. Portfolios may include public equities, boutique separate account managers, real estate investing, private lending, private equity and environmental, social and governance and impact investing opportunities.
The firm creates customized, diversified client portfolios based on a client’s unique needs and goals. It takes a manager-of-managers approach to these portfolios, controlling the asset allocation while using third-party managers to select specific sectors and securities.
Columbia Pacific Wealth Management has had no disclosures over the past 10 years, including any civil, criminal or regulatory actions against the firm, its employees or its advisory affiliates.
As with all the firms on our list of the best financial advisors in Seattle, you can find more information on this firm on the Columbia Pacific Wealth Management IAPD page.
Laird Norton Wealth Management is an investment advisory firm owned by Laird Norton Trust Company, LLC, a state of Washington trust company. Together, the firm and its parent company do business under the trade name of Laird Norton Wealth Management. The company has been in business since 1967, initially starting as a single, multi-generational family office.
Today, the firm works with individuals — primarily those who are high net worth — alongside a small number of institutions, including charitable organizations, pension and profit-sharing plans and pooled investment vehicles. Though the firm doesn’t state an across-the-board minimum investment requirement, their average client has between $5 million and $10 million. Don’t let this scare you, as the firm notes that many clients have portfolios valued at $1 million or less.
The firm offers investment advice, portfolio management, financial and tax planning and trust and estate planning. The team operates out of the firm’s sole office in Seattle.
In providing investment advice, Laird Norton Wealth Management recommends publicly available funds like mutual funds and ETFs, as well as investments in private securities or through third-party managers. The firm generally does not manage individual stocks and bonds, except in limited circumstances under special arrangements with the client.
The customized asset allocation recommendations that Laird Norton creates for clients are focused on managing risk. The firm also takes into account tax efficiency and, on request, may incorporate ESG criteria.
Laird Norton Wealth Management reports no disclosures. This status means the firm has a record free of any civil, criminal or regulatory issues involving either the company or its employees or advisory affiliates within the past decade.
To learn more, visit the Laird Norton Wealth Management IAPD page.
Badgley Phelps Wealth Managers offers wealth and investment management services. Additionally, at a client’s request, the firm can coordinate with other financial professionals to assist with tax and estate planning, among other issues.
The firm works with individual investors, predominantly those with high net worths, in addition to pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and businesses. Badgley Phelps Wealth Managers requires a $1 million minimum in assets but notes that this can potentially be waived “under certain circumstances,” according to its brochure.
In 2021, the firm acquired another firm of the same name with roots dating back to 1966. Today, Badgley Phelps Wealth Managers is part of the Focus Financial Partners, LLC partnership, which supports registered investment advisory firms. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Focus Operating, LLC. The firm’s only office location is in Seattle.
Badgley Phelps Wealth Managers creates asset allocations for portfolios based on each client’s financial goals and other factors. The firm uses three approaches, each of which can include alternative investments:
For the alternative investment strategy, which the firm uses to diversify client portfolios further, Badgley Phelps may use mutual funds, ETFs and exchange-traded notes (ETNs). A smaller portion of a client’s portfolio is generally allocated to alternatives.
Badgley Phelps Wealth Managers reports no disciplinary history over the past 10 years involving the firm, its employees or affiliates.
You can review the Badgley Phelps Wealth Managers IADP page for more information.
Investment advisor Lawrence Hood founded Pacific Portfolio Consulting in 1992. He remains the firm’s chairman and CEO. Pacific Portfolio Consulting is owned by Pacific Wealth Advisors, which in turn is owned by several individuals, partnerships and corporations, none of whom have more than a 25% stake.
The firm offers wealth management, investment planning, financial planning, consulting, services for institutional clients and trust and services through its affiliate Pacific Portfolio Trust Company. Pacific Portfolio Consulting also has an automated investment program for clients with accounts of less than $500,000. While the firm does have a $500,000 minimum requirement for assets, it also notes that it may waive this requirement at its discretion.
The firm’s clients are primarily individuals, including high net worth individuals, though Pacific Portfolio Consulting also works with pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and businesses. The firm operates from its main office in Seattle and an additional location in Anchorage, Alaska.
Pacific Portfolio Consulting believes that asset allocation is the most important factor in the success of an investment strategy. The firm bases its asset allocation recommendations on three principles:
Portfolios include a range of investment, including cash, fixed income, stocks, real estate and alternative investments.
The SEC requires all registered investment advisors to disclose any disciplinary events, including civil, criminal and regulatory actions, on their Form ADV. Pacific Portfolio Consulting reports no such disclosures.
For more information on the firm, visit Pacific Portfolio Consulting’s IAPD page.
Empirical Wealth Management was founded by firm CEO Kenneth Smith in 2009 through a spinoff from another firm that Smith had helped found in 2006. Smith remains the firm’s principal owner, though six employees at the firm also have an ownership stake.
The firm offers investment management, retirement and tax planning, and services for executives and business owners. Clients are primarily individuals, including high net worth individuals. Beyond its Seattle headquarters, the firm has additional offices in Washington, California, Oregon, Nevada, Texas and Alaska.
Empirical Wealth Management’s investment philosophy is based on modern portfolio theory, which emphasizes diversification across asset classes. The firm generally focuses on long-term strategies, though it may recommend short-term strategies, among others, to reach certain goals.
Empirical builds custom client portfolios containing 12 to 21 asset classes, focusing on optimal diversification at a low price. Client portfolios typically include a mix of mutual funds and ETFs. Funds are selected based on tax efficiency, internal costs and diversification characteristics.
Empirical Wealth Management does not report any disciplinary history, including any civil, criminal or regulatory events in the past 10 years involving the firm, its employees or affiliates.
For more information, visit Empirical Wealth Management’s IAPD page.
Launched in 2007, McCutchen Group is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the wealth advisory firm CI Private Wealth US, LLC. McCutchen Group can provide financial planning, consulting, investment, and wealth management services. The firm works primarily with individual investors, most of whom are high net worth individuals. However, it also serves charitable organizations and a few pooled investment vehicles.
The firm’s sole office is in Seattle.
McCutchen Group creates customized portfolios for clients that include independent managers, mutual funds, ETFs and private placement securities. To determine which asset classes are appropriate for a client, the firm assesses the client’s goals, return expectations, liquidity needs, wealth and tax transfer objectives, portfolio constraints and any unique circumstances. Then, using a proprietary Mean Variance Optimization process, the firm offers clients options for diversified portfolios that will meet their objectives over the long term.
The firm uses qualitative and quantitative methods to evaluate managers, which it relies heavily on to implement client investment strategies. In turn, the firm relies on the asset valuations of custodians and independent managers.
McCutchen Group has no disciplinary history reported on its Form ADV. This status means that the firm, its employees and affiliates have not faced any civil, criminal or regulatory events within the past 10 years.
To learn more, stop by the McCutchen Group IAPD page.
High-profile financial educator Paul Merriman founded Merriman in 1983 and led the firm until 2010. Since 2012, Merriman has been wholly owned by Focus Financial Partners, LLC, a publicly-traded company that owns financial services firms throughout the country.
Merriman offers its services to clients under either the wealth management or investment management model.
The firm can also offer referrals to professionals in other areas, such as estate planning and taxation. It can also advise clients on assets like 401(k) plans and retirement plans that aren’t held at the firm.
Clients of Merriman are primarily individual investors across the full range of the wealth spectrum. Additionally, the firm serves a smaller number of institutional investors, including pooled investment vehicles, pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and businesses.
In addition to its Seattle headquarters, Merriman has Washington offices in Spokane and Bellevue. It also has a location in Eugene, Ore.
Merriman’s primary focus when creating portfolios is minimizing risk to decrease volatility and promote stability in clients’ returns. The firm strives for globally diversified portfolios composed of mutual funds with some specialized securities. The firm takes a long-term approach, aiming to hold investments for at least five years.
Clients can choose from two core investment programs:
The above programs can be used alone or in combination to meet a client’s needs.
Merriman reports no legal or disciplinary history on its Form ADV. That means neither the firm nor its employees or affiliates have faced civil, regulatory or criminal events in the past 10 years.
For more information, visit the Merriman IAPD page.
Rounding out our list of the best financial advisors in Seattle is Moss Adams Wealth Advisors. A subsidiary of the national accounting and consulting firm Moss Adams LLP, Moss Adams Wealth Advisors has been providing personal wealth management and financial planning services since 1988. They offer investment advisory services, custom fixed income management, financial planning and investment consulting services.
The firm primarily serves individuals, many of whom are high net worth individuals. Its client base also includes some institutions, such as pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations, insurance companies, businesses and tribal government enterprises. Alongside its Seattle headquarters, Moss Adams has 13 additional offices throughout the West.
Moss Adams separates its customized portfolios into two segments, core and satellite. For the core segment, advisors look for low-cost, diversified real asset investments that deliver returns in line with broader markets. In the satellite segment, Moss Adams advisors might look for more specialized investments with the potential to generate above-market returns.
In addition to the segments above, portfolios might include an alternative section to minimize risk. Additionally, the firm may create portfolios using environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors or may include illiquid alternative/private investments for certain clients.
Moss Adams Wealth Advisors reports no disciplinary history on its Form ADV. The SEC requires all registered investment advisors to report any civil, criminal or regulatory events within the past decade that involve the firm, its employees or affiliates.
For more information, stop by the Moss Adams Wealth Advisors IAPD page.
Washington does not have a personal income tax, but the state levies an estate tax that ranges from 10% to 20%, depending on the size of the estate. Residents may also have to pay an inheritance tax if they inherit property from another state that has one.
No. While many of the firms on our list of the best financial advisors in Seattle provide basic retirement planning, it’s not the primary focus of every advisor. If retirement planning is important to you, make sure that you ask potential advisors if that’s a service they offer before you start working with them.
Almost anyone can call themselves a financial advisor, so checking for certification is an excellent way to ensure that you’re working with a qualified professional. That being said, which certification your advisor should have depends on the area in which you need expertise. For example, a certified financial planner (CFP) may be appropriate if you need assistance with financial planning. In contrast, someone looking for help with their retirement planning may prefer a retirement income certified professional (RICP).
If you’re concerned about potential conflicts of interest, then yes. Fee-only advisors get paid by fees alone, while fee-based advisors can receive commissions for selling products, giving them an incentive to recommend a particular product. As such, fee-only advisors tend to have fewer conflicts of interest in providing recommendations.
In our search for the best financial advisors in Seattle, we looked at firms across the city. 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 Seattle, we exclusively looked at firms that met the above criteria and had their headquarters in Seattle, 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 June 23, 2022, 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.