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While it may be a cinch to find some good cheese in Wisconsin, finding a financial advisor who’s right for you might be another story. The process of searching for an advisor in any state — including the Badger State — begins with careful consideration of your financial needs and goals, as well as how much you’re willing to pay for a financial advisor’s services.
With that in mind, you’ll need to dive into comparing all of the financial advisor companies that Wisconsin has to offer and digging into their data points. To make this part of the process easier, we’ve compiled this list of the top advisors in Wisconsin. We created this ranking by looking 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.
While our ranking of the best financial advisors in Wisconsin isn’t indicative of which firm will be best for you, it can help you sort through the options more easily. Read on for our list below for the top firms in Wisconsin and their key points:
How much would you like to invest?
|Firm||City||Minimum assets required||Investor to Advisor Ratio||Fee structure|
|Madison Investment Advisors, LLC||Madison||Varies by portfolio type||222:1||A percentage of AUM
|Johnson Wealth, Inc.||Milwaukee||None required, but $1 million recommended||15:1||A percentage of AUM
|Heck Capital Advisors, LLC||Rhinelander||$1 million||69:1||A percentage of AUM
Other (project fees)
|Orgel Wealth Management, LLC||Altoona||$1 million||150:1||A percentage of AUM
|Wipfli Financial Advisors, LLC||Milwaukee||None||32:1||A percentage of AUM
|SVA Wealth Management, LLC||Madison||$250,000||32:1||A percentage of AUM
|Annex Wealth Management, LLC||Elm Grove||Not specified||165:1||A percentage of AUM
|North Star Asset Management Inc||Neenah||None required, but $600,000 recommended||123:1||A percentage of AUM|
For our search, we looked at firms across the state of Wisconsin. 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 Wisconsin, 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 February 9, 2021, but we urge you to also evaluate these firms on https://adviserinfo.sec.gov/.
Frank Burgess established Madison Investment Advisors, LLC in 1974 and remains the firm’s chairman and principal owner. The firm’s parent company, Madison Investment Holdings, also has an insurance division called Madison Scottsdale and an affiliated investment advisor, Madison Asset Management, of which Madison Investment Advisors is a wholly owned subsidiary.
Madison Investment Advisors offers financial planning, portfolio management, retirement planning, stock option planning and trust and estate planning to individuals and 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 provides services to pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations, insurance companies and other businesses. Though wrap fee programs may have different minimum investment requirements, the firm generally requires at least $500,000 for equity portfolio management and $1 million for fixed-income portfolio management.
The firm is headquartered in Madison, Wis., with an additional office location in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Madison Investment Advisors has more than 20 specific investment strategies, but its overall philosophy leans toward the creation of actively managed, concentrated portfolios. It describes its main areas of expertise as active bond management, risk-managed equity management and customized multi-asset portfolios.
When selecting stocks, Madison Investment Advisors considers three factors — the business model, the management team and a potential investment’s valuation. Ultimately, the firm is looking to find securities that offer GARP, or “growth at a reasonable price.” For fixed-income investments, the firm aims to lengthen duration when interest rates are falling and shorten duration in more challenging markets.
Madison Investment Advisors has a clean disciplinary record. That means it has not disclosed any disciplinary events over the last 10 years against the firm, its employees or its affiliates that could be material to a client evaluating it. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires all registered investment advisors to disclose such information in their Form ADV paperwork.
For more information, visit Madison Investment Advisors Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) page.
Wisconsin financial services firm Johnson Financial Group purchased Cleary Gull Advisors in 2016, and changed the firm’s name to Johnson Wealth, Inc. in 2018. Prior to the purchase, Cleary Gull Advisors had operated since 2003, and its predecessor firms since 1987. Johnson Financial Group, which owns Johnson Wealth, is privately owned by the family that built the S.C. Johnson conglomerate.
The firm provides financial planning, consulting and wealth management services primarily to individuals and high net worth individuals, though it also serves various types of institutional investors. The firm has 11 public office locations throughout Wisconsin, with its headquarters located in Milwaukee.
Johnson Wealth believes in a long-term approach to investment management, with a focus on asset allocation. The firm manages money on a discretionary basis, in which it makes trades on behalf of clients, as well as a nondiscretionary basis, where it advises clients who then execute trades themselves.
For clients with assets managed on a discretionary basis, the firm typically assigns each portfolio to a model strategy, and makes changes according to that model. For discretionary portfolios that aren’t assigned to a model, an individual portfolio manager makes trades and decisions.
Johnson Wealth has a clean disciplinary record. That means that it does not disclose any civil, criminal or regulatory events over the past 10 years that would be material in a client’s evaluation of the firm or its management. Learn more about Johnson Wealth from its IAPD page.
After a career on Wall Street, Robert Heck founded Heck Capital Advisors, LLC in 2007, and he remains the firm’s chairman and chief investment strategist. Heck is a principal owner of Heck Capital Advisors, along with his sons, chief financial officer and senior director Kenneth Heck, and chief operating officer and senior director David Heck.
The firm provides investment advisory services, including consulting, financial planning and retirement plan advisory services primarily to individuals and high net worth individuals, though it also serves an array of institutions. The firm generally requires a minimum household account size of $1 million.
In addition to its Rhinelander headquarters, Heck Capital Advisors has offices in Milwaukee and Bloomington, Minn.
Heck Capital Advisors has a variety of investment strategies, but they typically fall into three categories:
When selecting securities in which to invest, Heck Capital Advisors uses both fundamental analysis, which evaluates historical and present data, and technical analysis, which uses statistics, charts and other tools to evaluate investment opportunities.
Heck Capital Advisors has no disciplinary disclosures, meaning its record is free from civil, criminal, or regulatory events in the last 10 years involving the firm, its employees, or its affiliates. For more information, visit Heck Capital Advisors’ IAPD page.
Mark Orgel launched Orgel Wealth Management in 2013 and remains the firm’s chairman. Orgel Management is owned by its principals, with Orgel owning 25% or more of the firm.
The firm, which generally requires a minimum portfolio size of $1 million, offers investment management, financial planning and consulting and retirement plan management and consulting services. Its clients include individuals (both high worth and not), pension and profit-sharing plans, trusts, estates, charitable organizations, corporations and other business entities. Orgel Wealth Management has offices in Altoona, Wis. and Minnetonka, Minn.
Orgel Wealth Management creates asset allocation strategies for its clients based on their goals, risk tolerance and time horizon. It believes that a disciplined approach to asset allocation is key to minimizing risk and delivering growth over the long term. The firm serves most clients on a discretionary basis, meaning that it can manage money on behalf of the client in order to buy and sell securities for their portfolios.
Most portfolios managed by Orgel Wealth Management include a variety of mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and individual stocks and bonds. Occasionally, the firm will also use private investments (such as private debt and equity), hedge funds or real estate investment trusts (REITs).
Orgel Wealth Management has a clean disciplinary record and does not disclose any events in the past 10 years involving either the firm or its employees. All registered investment advisors must disclose any civil, regulatory or criminal event that is material to a client’s evaluation of the business or the integrity of the management team in their Form ADV, which they file with the SEC. For more information, visit the firm’s IAPD page.
In 1999, Roger Hewins founded Hewins Financial Advisors, which began a merger with accounting firm Wipfli LLP in 2012, forming Wipfli Hewins Financial Advisors. In 2018, Hewins parted ways with Wipfli, spinning out 40% of the firm into the independent Team Hewins. Wipfli LLP remains the majority owner of the remaining firm, which was renamed Wipfli Financial Advisors.
The firm offers three lines of investment advisory services:
While Wipfli does not impose account size minimums on these services, it does note that for third-party management, there is generally a minimum account size ranging between $250,000 and $5,000,000, depending on the manager.
Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wipfli Financial Advisors has 19 offices throughout Wisconsin, Illinois, Colorado, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Missouri and Montana.
Wipfli Financial Advisors creates portfolios for clients with an emphasis on diversification, tax efficiency and low fees. The firm has two levels of services for individual investors:
Wipfli Financial Advisors discloses no disciplinary or legal events against the firm or an employee or affiliate over the last 10 years that would materially impact a client’s evaluation of the business or the integrity of its management. The SEC requires all registered investment advisors to report any such events on their ADV. For more information, visit the firm’s IAPD page.
SVA Wealth Management, LLC has gone through several name and management changes since its founding as SVA Planners, Inc. in 1987. The firm is now owned by Diversified Services of Wisconsin, an accounting company that is in turn owned by the shareholders of SVA Certified Public Accountants or an affiliated subsidiary.
SVA Wealth Management offers investment management, financial planning, retirement plan services and investment consulting. It mainly works with individuals, including high net worth individuals, though its roster of clients also includes banking and thrift institutions, pension and profit-sharing plans, trusts, estates, charitable organizations, corporations and other business entities. The firm generally prefers accounts of at least $250,000.
SVA Wealth Management has offices in Wisconsin, in Madison, Brookfield and Appleton.
SVA Wealth Management considers each client’s goals and financial picture before making portfolio recommendations. Clients can invest in either a mutual fund model, which offers broad diversification, or individual securities selected by the firm.
The firm typically manages clients’ portfolios on a discretionary basis, meaning that it does not have to get approval from clients before making trades. The firm’s investment committee creates model portfolios that advisors then customize for clients based on their investment preferences and risk tolerance.
SVA Wealth Management has a clean disciplinary record. The SEC requires all registered investment firms to disclose any legal or disciplinary actions against the firm, its employees or its affiliates that could materially impact a client’s evaluation of the business. For more information, visit the SVA Wealth Management’s IAPD page.
Financial planner David Spano founded Annex Wealth Management, LLC in 2001. He remains the firm’s president and its owner. The firm provides comprehensive wealth management and financial planning services, as well as more limited asset management services and consulting services. It also offers Annex Ignite, an online investment analysis program.
The firm primarily serves individual investors, including high net worth individuals. It also works with pension and profit-sharing plans, trusts, estates, charitable organizations, corporations and other business entities. Headquartered in Elk Grove, Wis., Annex Wealth Management has five additional offices in Wisconsin, as well as locations in Naples, Fla. and Libertyville, Ill.
When crafting portfolios, Annex Wealth Management typically uses a “Core and Tactical Investment Strategy,” meaning it combines core investments chosen with a long-term perspective together with tactical selections intended to reduce risk or boost returns. The firm looks for low-cost assets, and portfolios typically include a mix of ETFs, actively managed funds and individual equities.
To manage those portfolios, the firm uses several strategies, including long-term purchases, short-term purchases and active trading (when securities are bought and sold within 30 days).
Annex Wealth Management has no disciplinary disclosures to report. That means it has a clean record, with no legal or regulatory issues over the past 10 years. For more information, visit the firm’s IAPD page.
Founded in 1996 by five former bankers, North Star Asset Management, Inc. remains an employee-owned firm. The firm provides investment management services to individuals and 401(k) services to companies.
North Star Asset Management serves individuals, including high net worth individuals, as well as various types of institutional investors from its office in Neenah, Wis. Although the firm does not technically require a minimum investment, it recommends clients invest at least $600,000 due to its minimum annual fee of $6,000.
North Star Asset Management creates custom portfolios for its clients, using a variety of stocks, bonds, funds, CDs and option contracts. The firm believes in long-term investing, holding securities for an average of about five years.
To select stocks, North Star Asset Management looks for industry leaders with a sustainable competitive advantage, a record of consistent earnings growth, a strong balance sheet and an experienced management team. On the fixed-income side, the firm chooses companies that have investment-grade debt, with duration chosen to provide flexibility while also maintaining enough liquidity and avoiding interest rate risk.
North Star Asset Management has a clean disciplinary record. As a registered investment advisor, the firm is required by the SEC to disclose any civil, regulatory or criminal actions in the past 10 years involving the firm, its employees or its affiliates that would materially impact a client’s evaluation of the business or the management team. To learn more about North Star Asset Management, visit the firm’s IAPD page.
Income tax in Wisconsin ranges from 3.54% to 7.65%, depending on the taxpayer’s income level. The state has neither an estate nor an inheritance tax, though residents may be subject to federal estate taxes.
That depends on whether you’d like to meet in-person with your financial advisors. Many advisors provide quality services via video calls and digital tools to clients who aren’t geographically close to them. But if you want someone that you can meet face-to-face, look for a local advisor.
No. While many financial advisor firms offer retirement planning, it is not a specialty for all advisors. It’s up to you to vet potential advisors to make sure they’ll provide the services that you want and need.
Anyone can call themself a financial advisor, so it’s important to look for a credentialed advisor to make sure the person you’re working with has training and experience in the field. Credentials such as CFP (certified financial planner) or CFA (chartered financial analyst) indicate that the holder has completed extensive training, passed a third-party administered test, logged experience in the field and signed on to a code of ethics.
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.