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If you’re wondering where to start your search for a financial advisor in Washington State, this list is here to help. We have rounded up the 10 best financial advisory companies in Washington and provided detailed information on their key points.
Before you dive in, it is crucial to consider what you are looking for in a financial advisor relationship. Figuring this out requires an understanding of your financial needs and goals and how much you can comfortably spend on an advisor’s services. With that in mind, you can begin the comparison shopping process, perhaps using this list as a starting point.
To determine this ranking of the best advisors in Washington, we looked specifically at 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.
Keep in mind that our ranking is not indicative of which firm may be best for you, but it can make the process of comparing firms easier so you can find the right fit. Check out our list below for the top firms in Washington and their main highlights:
How much would you like to invest?
|Firm||City||Minimum assets required||Fee structure|
|Fisher Investments||Camas||Varies by client type ||A percentage of AUM Performance-based fees|
|Brighton Jones LLC||Seattle||None specified, but minimum quarterly fee of $2,500||A percentage of AUM Hourly charges
|Freestone Capital Management, LLC||Seattle||No set minimum, but generally investors with at least $500,000||A percentage of AUM Commissions Performance-based fees|
|Columbia Pacific Wealth Management||Seattle||$5 million||A percentage of AUM Fixed fees
Other (administration fee)
|Coldstream Wealth Management||Bellevue||$2 million||A percentage of AUM Hourly charges
Other (fees on a project-by-project basis)
|Pacific Portfolio Consulting, LLC||Seattle||$500,000||A percentage of AUM
|Financial Advocates Investment Management||Olympia||No set minimum||A percentage of AUM
|Badgley Phelps Wealth Managers||Seattle||$1 million||A percentage of AUM
|McCutchen Group LLC||Seattle||No set minimum||A percentage of AUM Fixed fees|
|Moss Adams Wealth Advisors||Seattle||Not specified||A percentage of AUM
For our search, we looked at firms across the state of Washington. 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 Washington, 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 January 25, 2021, but we urge you to also evaluate these firms on https://adviserinfo.sec.gov/.
Fisher Investments is a large, global investment advisor that’s headquartered in Camas, Wash., with 15 additional offices throughout the U.S. Founded in 1979, the firm serves individual investors around the world, 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. It also works with institutional clients, such as businesses, multi-employer pension funds and governments.
Services offered by the firm include portfolio management, financial planning and annuity assessment. Fisher Investments is privately owned by its billionaire founder, Ken Fisher, and his family. Ken Fisher is known for writing 11 books, six of which were bestsellers, as well as his popular columns in USA Today and Forbes.
Fisher Investments believes that asset allocation is the most important consideration for portfolio returns, and that cyclical changes to the market are foreseeable but short-term changes are not. Advisors at the firm also believe that no one type of investment is always better than another — rather, which securities perform best fluctuates.
Client portfolios at Fisher Investments are tailored to individual specifics, such as a client’s time horizon, investment goals, income needs, tax considerations and outside assets. In general, client assets will be invested in an equity, fixed income or blended strategy account. The firm’s five-member investment policy committee, which includes Fisher, is responsible for making all investment decisions, while a dedicated investment counselor is assigned to communicate with each client.
Fisher Investments does not have any disciplinary disclosures to report. SEC-registered financial advisors must report any civil, criminal or regulatory events within the last 10 years involving the firm, its advisors or its affiliates in their Form ADV paperwork filed with the SEC. Find more information on the firm’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) page.
Brighton Jones LLC became a registered investment advisory firm in 2000. It is principally owned by Charles Brighton, who is the firm’s co-founder and managing director, and Jon Jones, who serves as CEO. The firm is headquartered in Seattle, with additional offices in Portland, Ore.; San Francisco; Palo Alto, Calif.; Newport Beach, Calif.; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Denver; McLean, Va.; and Austin.
Brighton Jones offers services such as investment management, tax and estate planning and retirement plan advisory services to its clients, who include individuals (including high net worth individuals), pooled investment vehicles, pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations, government entities and trusts.
Brighton Jones believes in managing risk and combining asset classes in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Like many firms, client portfolios will depend on a client’s personal financial objectives and factors, such as their time horizon and risk tolerance.
The firm emphasizes that not all risks are created equal and that successful investors can determine what is a calculated risk versus a speculative bet. Diversity among and within asset classes is another tenet of Brighton Jones’s strategy. In general, the firm allocates client assets among bonds and bond funds, fixed income securities, individual equities, mutual funds,
and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), the occasional use of real estate investment trusts (REITs) as well.
Brighton Jones does not have any disciplinary events to disclose, including any criminal, regulatory or civil judicial actions from within the last decade involving the firm or its employees. More information about Brighton Jones can be found on the firm’s IAPD page.
Freestone Capital Management, LLC was registered with the SEC as a financial advisory firm in 1999. It was founded by Gary Furukawa, who serves as the firm’s chief investment officer and retains majority ownership of the employee-owned firm.
Clients of Freestone Capital Management are primarily individual investors, including high net worth individuals, who are seeking wealth management and asset management services. It also serves various types of institutional investors, including pension and profit-sharing plans, businesses, pooled investment vehicles and charitable organizations. Though the firm does not technically require a minimum account size, it generally aims to work with clients with at least $500,000 to invest if they are referred through the Schwab Advisor Network, or at least $1 million if they are not.
The firm’s main office and headquarters is located in Seattle. It also has two offices in California, one in Santa Barbara and the other in San Francisco.
The typical investment solutions offered to clients of Freestone Capital Management include portfolios consisting of combinations of equity, fixed income or alternative investments. In some cases, the firm may create customized portfolios for its clients.
The firm says it takes a hybrid approach to investment management, meaning it turns to both internal and external managers to help diversify insight and asset diversification. Additionally, the firm may use both traditional and alternative asset classes, such as direct real estate rather than REITs (shares in a real estate company) like many firms offer, as well as private equity and hedge funds.
Freestone Capital Management does not have any disclosures, which means that neither the registered investment advisor nor its employees have had any legal or disciplinary events in the past 10 years that would be material to a client’s evaluation of the business. Visit Freestone Capital Management’s IAPD page for more information.
Columbia Pacific Wealth Management is an independent investment advisor with offices in Seattle and San Francisco. Officially formed in 2010, the firm traces its roots to 1989 when its parent company, Columbia Pacific Management, was founded. The firm is owned by Daniel Baty, the firm’s chairman, and two managing partners, Alexander Washburn and Peder Schmitz, as well as a holding company.
Today, Columbia Pacific Wealth Management primarily works with individuals and families, including those who are considered high net worth, as well as foundations and endowments, pension and profit-sharing plans and pooled investment vehicles. Services offered by the firm include investment management, estate planning, employee benefit management, tax planning and financial reporting. The firm generally requires a minimum family account size of $5 million.
Investment advisors at Columbia Pacific Wealth Management believe that asset allocation is the primary driver of returns. The firm emphasizes diversification for risk reduction and builds portfolios with the goal of increasing tax efficiency and reducing costs.
Columbia Pacific Wealth Management creates customized investment portfolios for its clients that are tailored to factors such as their risk tolerance and financial objectives. Clients of the firm also have the option to choose investments that address social and environmental issues, with the firm’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) and impact investing offerings.
Columbia Pacific Wealth Management does not have any disciplinary disclosures to report in its Form ADV paperwork filed with the SEC. For reference, the SEC requires that registered investment advisors disclose such information regarding any civil, criminal or regulatory actions involving either the firm or its employees. You can visit Columbia Pacific Wealth Management’s IAPD page for more information about the firm.
Coldstream Wealth Management is an independent, comprehensive wealth management firm that was founded in 1996. Services offered by Coldstream Wealth Management include investment advisory services, financial planning, tax planning and estate design, risk management and special and private client services, such as family office tasks.
Though it generally requires a $2 million minimum investment for private portfolio management, the firm’s clients include individuals and families who do and do not meet the SEC’s definition of high net worth, including corporate executives, business owners, professional athletes and those with multi-generational family wealth. It also works with private foundations, employer retirement plans and nonprofits and endowments.
Coldstream Wealth Management is employee-owned. It has its headquarters and a corporate office in Bellevue, Wash., a branch office in Seattle and a satellite office in Lake Oswego, Ore.
Coldstream Wealth Management offers customized asset allocation and portfolio construction for its clients. Within that, many portfolios fall into the following categories: bond portfolios, dividend growth individual stock portfolios and structured notes (a debt security with performance linked to an asset, index or other investment).
Advisors at Coldstream Wealth Management use the strategy of combining and balancing non-correlated assets to increase diversification within client portfolios and in turn reduce risk and increase returns. The firm manages client portfolios as a team, with that group including a relationship manager, a portfolio manager, a private client services associate, a wealth planner, a private client services administrator, the chief investment officer (CIO) and the investment strategy group.
The firm does not have any disclosures to report. Investment advisory firms registered with the SEC must disclose any events material to existing or potential clients’ evaluation of the company and the integrity of its management team. You can find more information on Coldstream Wealth Management by visiting its IAPD page.
Founded in 1992, Pacific Portfolio Consulting, LLC is an independent investment advisory firm headquartered in Seattle, with an additional location in Anchorage, Alaska. It is primarily owned by Pacific Advisors, LLC, which also owns a trust company, though the firm’s president and chief compliance officer also own shares.
Pacific Portfolio Consulting offers investment advisory services and financial planning. The firm generally requires a $500,000 account minimum, though its automated investment program calls for just $5,000. Its clients include individuals, including high net worth individuals, as well as trusts, charitable organizations, pension and profit-sharing plans and businesses.
Pacific Portfolio Consulting follows its own in-house process called FOCUS-5 Investment Methodology: CARPE™ when building and managing client portfolios. The letters stand for the following core parts of the firm’s portfolio management approach:
Like most investment advisories on this list, the firm believes in globally diversified portfolios to help manage risk with less volatility, and it builds portfolios based on clients’ financial objectives, risk tolerance and time horizon. Along with diversification, Pacific Portfolio Consulting also believes in portfolio efficiency — in other words, aiming for the highest level of return for the given level of risk — as well as market efficiency, which translates to long-term investing.
Pacific Portfolio Consulting does not have any disclosures to report. This includes any civil, criminal or regulatory events within the past decade involving the firm, its employees or its affiliates. For more information about Pacific Portfolio Consulting, visit the firm’s IAPD page.
Headquartered in Olympia, Wash., Financial Advocates Investment Management is a network of advisors located across the U.S., with over 70 office locations in total. The firm was founded in 2010. Advisors associated with the network run their businesses independently, and operate under different names, but are subject to supervision and oversight by Financial Advocates Investment Management. Financial Advocates Investment Management is owned by Financial Advocates, LLC, a financial services company.
Services offered by advisors in the network include investment management, hourly consulting, financial planning and consultations and pension consulting services. Client types served by the advisory network including individuals with and without a high net worth, pension and profit-sharing plans, businesses and charitable organizations.
With every advisor in Financial Advocates Investment Management’s network conducting their own business, multiple investment strategies and philosophies are followed, and will vary depending on the business. Thus, clients should research the individual firm in the network that they wish to work with to gain an understanding of what investing strategies the advisor follows.
That being said, firms under the helm of Financial Advocates Investment Management generally offer asset management and a number of model portfolios and digital solutions. Typical asset management services consist of an advisor working with a client to determine their investment goals and then creating a portfolio to achieve those goals. Portfolios may consist of individual stocks or bonds, ETFs, mutual funds and other securities and investments.
Financial Advocates Investment Management offers a number of model portfolios as part of a partnership with another investment firm, Horizon Investments. Each model portfolio is designed with a certain time horizon and financial goal in mind.
Additionally, firms within the network have the option to participate in an online, algorithm-based program (read: robo-advisor) called Guided Wealth Portfolios. This program assigns an investment allocation tract — fixed income, balanced or equity — based on a client’s risk tolerance level. The standard investment objectives for these model portfolios are income with capital preservation; income with moderate growth; growth with income; growth; and aggressive growth.
Financial Advocates Investment Management has not been subject to any events falling under the SEC definition of a disclosure. This includes any civil, criminal or regulatory events within the last 10 years involving the firm, its employees or its affiliates. To learn more about the firm and view its Form ADV paperwork filed with the SEC, head to its IAPD page.
Badgley Phelps Wealth Managers is an independent wealth management firm that was founded in 1966. Based in Seattle, the employee-owned firm serves individuals and high net worth individuals, as well as corporations, foundations and pension and profit-sharing plans. It generally requires an investment portfolio of at least $1 million per client household.
Badgley Phelps Wealth Managers offers personalized wealth and investment management services to its clients.
Badgley Phelps Wealth Managers selects an investment strategy for a client’s portfolio based on their financial goals and investment situation, as well as their risk tolerance, return objectives, tax circumstances and income needs. Based on this information, advisors will then create an asset allocation for the client.
In general, Badgley Phelps Wealth Managers divides investment management into the following three investment strategies, overseen by the firm’s investment policy committee:
Additionally, Badgley Phelps Wealth Managers also use alternative securities. These are generally offered in the form of ETFs and exchange-traded notes (ETNs) that have low correlation with the stock and bond market to help reduce volatility and smooth returns.
Neither Badgley Phelps Wealth Managers nor its employees or affiliates have been subject to any regulatory, criminal or civil judicial events in the past 10 years. The SEC requires that registered investment advisors disclose such information in their Form ADV paperwork that may add material to the evaluation of the firm. More information about Badgley Phelps Wealth Managers can be found on its IAPD page.
McCutchen Group, LLC is a small financial advisory firm that offers services to individuals (both high net worth and not), businesses, trusts, estates, charitable organizations and pooled investment vehicles. The firm’s offerings include financial planning and consulting as well as investment management and wealth management.
The firm was founded in 2007 by Matthew McCutchen, the firm’s current CEO and president, and it remains under his ownership. McCutchen Group has one location: Its headquarters in Seattle.
The advisors at McCutchen Group build portfolios based on client particulars, including their liquidity needs, tax and wealth transfer objectives, overall financial goals and risk tolerance.
To help build diversified portfolios, McCutchen Group uses a mean-variance optimization process, which helps determine the tradeoff between risk and return. This, in turn, helps with determining asset allocation, a key component of a diversified portfolio.
Investments used by the firm generally consist of some combination of mutual funds, ETFs, separate accounts, commingled funds, limited partnerships or other investment vehicles. McCutchen Group also works with independent managers and custodians for asset valuations, as it does not independently value assets.
McCutchen Group has a clean disciplinary record. Firms registered with the SEC must disclose disciplinary, criminal and civil judicial events to prospective and current clients in their Form ADV paperwork filed with the SEC. For more information on McCutchen Group, visit its IAPD page.
Moss Adams Wealth Advisors is an independent investment advisory firm that has been in business since 1988. Services offered by Moss Adams Wealth Advisors include investment management and consulting, custom fixed income management, personal financial planning and insurance management and consulting. Typical clients of the firm are individuals and families both with and without high net worths, as well as trusts, charities, businesses and endowments, among others.
Headquartered in Seattle, the firm has additional offices in Washington State in Tacoma, Everett and Yakima. It also has locations in California, Colorado and Oregon. Moss Adams Wealth Advisors is a subsidiary of Moss Adams Financial Services LLC, which is owned by Moss Adams LLP, which is among the top 10 largest accounting firms in the nation.
Moss Adams Wealth Advisors aims to create diversified portfolios with contrasting risk factors by allocating funds across different asset classes, with the overall goal being to decrease volatility and increase returns. Portfolios are created with each client’s time horizon, risk tolerance, financial goals and objectives in mind. Investments used may include short-term money market securities, fixed income securities, equities and no-load mutual funds.
To identify investment opportunities and build portfolios, Moss Adams Wealth Advisors uses a method of investing involving core and satellite holdings. Core investments establish the foundation of the portfolio and provide diversified exposure at a low cost. These investments generally match market returns. Satellite investments, on the other hand, are specialized investments aimed at generating additional returns, though they can come with more risk and at a higher cost.
Moss Adams Wealth Advisors does not have any disclosures to report. For reference, firms registered with the SEC are required to detail information regarding any civil, regulatory or criminal infractions involving the firm or its employees in their Form ADV paperwork for potential and current clients to review. For more information on Moss Adams Wealth Advisors and to view the firm’s Form ADV, visit its IAPD page.
Washington is among the handful of states in the U.S. that does not have a personal or corporate income tax. That means you won’t have to pay state taxes on the money you earn from investments, though you will still be subject to federal taxes, such as capital gains and income tax.
For those inheriting money, Washington does levy an estate tax. The amount owed will be determined by the size of the estate. Residents of the state may also be subject to federal taxes depending on the size of their inheritance.
Texans have it easier than many states: Residents in the Lone Star State are not subject to income tax, estate or inheritance taxes. Federal estate taxes may still apply to estates above a certain size though.
Not all financial advisor firms specialize in retirement planning. Many firms do emphasize getting ready for retirement in the services they provide, but others may be more focused on pure investment management, or another service, such as charitable trust establishment. If getting assistance with retirement planning is a priority for you, make sure to look for an advisor that specializes in this area and has experience offering these services.
For many investors, fee-only financial advisors are attractive because they pose fewer potential conflicts of interest. This is because fee-only advisors solely earn money through the fees their clients pay, rather than also earning money through commissions from the sale of financial products or services like fee-based financial advisors do. This arrangement can create a financial incentive for financial advisors to make certain recommendations, so if you want to eliminate uncertainty over whether your advisor is only thinking about your best interests and not their bottom line, you may want to consider working with a fee-only financial advisor.
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.