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Updated on Thursday, October 8, 2020
Choosing a financial advisor can be challenging, given the number of financial advisors in California. Finding the right advisor is a lot about figuring out the right fit, which means understanding your financial needs and goals and how much youâ€™re willing to spend.
That being said, we understand comparing firms and data points can be difficult, so we compiled the most pertinent information to help guide your decision. To determine the best advisors in California, 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 the firmâ€™s size, and client-to-advisor ratio, which indicates how much attention you may get as a client.
Our ranking is not indicative of which firm may be best for you, but it can help make the shopping experience easier. Take a look at our list below for the top firms in California and their key highlights:
For our search, we looked at firms across the state of California. 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.
The firms that met this criteria were ranked based on their AUM and client-to-advisor ratio. These criteria are weighted equally in our scoring metrics. Firms with a higher AUM and lower client-to-advisor ratios garner higher scores. Our ranking system is designed to help compare firms but does not indicate which firm may be best for you.
In our reviews, weâ€™ve listed several other key features that will help you determine which financial advisor is most fitting for your investing style and financial needs. It is important to note that we did not include disciplinary disclosures as a metric for our ranking. We have listed any disciplinary disclosures current as of October 8, 2020, but urge you to evaluate these firms on https://adviserinfo.sec.gov/.
Global Retirement Partners (GRP) describes itself as a â€śretirement plan consulting firm.â€ť It has been in business since 2014 and is owned by HUB International Limited. The firm is headquartered in San Rafael and has more than 80 offices around the country.
Global Retirement Partners provides services to individuals, pension and profit-sharing plans, trusts, corporations and other businesses. The firm highlights its role in the retirement plan industry, but it also offers solutions to individuals looking for services like investment management and guidance on insurance or charitable giving.
Global Retirement Partners allows each of its advisors to adhere to their own individualized investment strategy and philosophy. That being said, the firm generally takes each clientâ€™s objectives into consideration when building their portfolio and uses the following tactics to formulate client recommendations:
Investment strategies the firmâ€™s advisors may use include buying securities for both the short and long term, and buying securities for quick trades when they predict brief price swings.
Global Retirement Partners LLC has not been involved in any legal or disciplinary events in the last 10 years. Disciplinary disclosures include criminal or civil actions in court and administrative proceedings before a regulatory agency involving either the firm or its employees or affiliates. For more information, visit the firmâ€™s IAPD page.
NFP Retirement Inc. is a registered investment advisor owned by NFP Corp., a brokerage and consulting firm. The firm provides retirement plan consulting, investment advice, employee plan and investment education, asset allocation services and plan design guidance to individuals, among other services.
The firmâ€™s clients include individuals, trusts, estates, retirement plan sponsors and business entities. Founded in 2000, NFP Retirement is headquartered in California but has offices throughout the U.S., as well as in Canada, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom.
NFP Retirementâ€™s investing strategy takes into consideration a clientâ€™s time horizon, cash flow needs, risk tolerance and return expectations, alongside additional factors like the state of the markets. The firm allocates assets according to modern portfolio theory, an investment strategy that favors diversification in order to maximize returns while minimizing risk. NFP Retirement uses both proprietary and third-party research to inform its decisions.
In general, clientsâ€™ portfolios will contain mutual funds and ETFs, and occasionally individual securities. The firm does not engage in frequent trading.
NFP Retirement Inc. does not report any legal or disciplinary events on its Form ADV paperwork filed with the SEC. Disciplinary events include criminal or civil actions in court and administrative proceedings before a regulatory agency. For further information, visit the firmâ€™s IAPD page.
Hall Capital Partners is a privately owned firm with offices in San Francisco and New York. It was founded in 1994 by Kathryn A. Hall, who is currently co-chair of the firm and a member of its Executive Committee and Investment Review Committee.
The firm was initially established to manage the portfolios of a few family offices and their private foundations. Today, it builds and manages multi-asset class portfolios for families, endowments, foundations and other clients. Although there is no minimum account size requirement, the majority of Hall Capital Partnersâ€™ clients have over $100 million in investment assets.
Hall Capital Partners invests clientsâ€™ funds globally and for the long term, targeting investment managers who are â€śflexible and opportunistic.â€ť The firmâ€™s goal is to create concentrated but diversified portfolios using asset classes including cash and fixed income, global equities, hedge funds, private equity, real assets and hybrid investments.
Clients actively invest with a selection of underlying managers who are in charge of private funds, separate accounts and certain mutual funds. Through the firm, clients have access to:
The companyâ€™s research group reviews, evaluates and conducts due diligence on potential and existing underlying managers, and also tracks the performance of a range of sectors and markets.
Hall Capital Partners has not been involved in any legal or disciplinary events over the last decade. For reference, disciplinary disclosures include any criminal, civil or regulatory actions against the firm, its employees or its affiliates. You can find more information by visiting the firmâ€™s IAPD page.
Kayne Anderson Rudnick Investment Management is owned by Virtus Investment Partners, a publicly traded asset management business, and has been an SEC-registered investment advisor since 1985. The firm is headquartered in Los Angeles, though it also has additional offices in the state of California (San Francisco, Newport Beach and Westlake Village), as well as locations in several other states.
Kayne Anderson Rudnick offers investment management and wealth advisory services, including financial planning and executive services. Its clients include individuals, charitable organizations and endowments, religious and professional organizations, pension and profit-sharing plans, corporations and other entities, among other institutional client types. While it generally requires $1 million to access the firmâ€™s wealth advisory services, the minimum amount of assets required for wrap program accounts ranges from $50,000 to $250,000.
Kayne Anderson Rudnick invests mainly in equity securities that are traded on or in a recognized exchange or market; there is a focus on companies that are consistently growing and highly profitable, with low debt and rising cash flows. To pinpoint the best options, Kayne Anderson Rudnick conducts extensive research to identify companies whose business models provide competitive protections, as well as control over their markets. The firmâ€™s principal portfolio approach includes large-cap equities and small- to mid-cap equities, though occasionally Kayne Anderson Rudnick also invests in pre-IPO private placement securities.
The firm also invests in a selection of high-quality fixed-income investments: These include U.S. treasuries, government agency bonds, mortgage-backed securities, corporate bonds and municipal bonds (focusing on intermediate-term bonds). Clients have access to both taxable and tax-free fixed-income strategies.
Kayne Anderson Rudnick Investment Management reports one disciplinary disclosure on its Form ADV paperwork. In July 2018, the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway levied a fine of about $18,500 against the company after two notifications of large share ownership in a Norwegian company werenâ€™t made within proper Norwegian time requirements. For more information, visit the firmâ€™s IAPD page.
Comprehensive Financial Management was started in 1986. The firm is managed by three partners and is wholly owned by its executives. It has one office in Los Gatos, California.
Comprehensive Financial Management offers a range of services to high net worth individuals and families, including investment management, tax management, estate planning, lifestyle asset acquisition, philanthropic management and risk management consulting. Additionally, the firm can manage assets for its clientsâ€™ trusts, foundations and limited liability companies.
Comprehensive Financial Management takes into account return requirements, risk tolerance, timing and size of liquidity needs and tax status, as well as â€śoverall life situation,â€ť to create a customized investment program for their clients. Portfolio design is determined based on a combination of computer programs, internal models, scenario-based analysis and qualitative discussions.
As investment strategies, the firm uses capital preservation, capital growth or current income generation â€” or a balance among the three. The firm invests using stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, real estate investment trusts (REITs), master limited partnerships (MLPs), hedge funds and private equity and private credit funds. It will also suggest strategies that speak to estate planning and intergenerational transfer of wealth.
Comprehensive Financial Management has no disciplinary information to report. For reference, disciplinary disclosures include criminal or civil actions in court and administrative proceedings before a regulatory agency involving the firm, its employees or its affiliates. For further information on the firm, visit its IAPD page.
Aspiriant LLC was founded in 2008 and is owned by multiple holding companies with the purpose of holding shares of Aspiriant, whose employees in turn hold shares in the holding companies. The firm is headquartered in Los Angeles, with offices in 10 other cities throughout the country, including four additional offices in California.
Aspiriant offers investment management, comprehensive wealth management and family office services to individuals and families. Though its individual client base is predominantly high net worth individuals (defined by the SEC as those with at least $750,000 under management or a net worth of $1.5 million), it also serves individuals who do not meet this definition, as well as various institutional clients.
Based on a clientâ€™s financial circumstances and investment goals, Aspiriant designs a portfolio with an asset allocation intended to meet their needs. Portfolios may include equities, mutual funds, ETFs, exchange-traded notes, private partnerships, bonds and cash-equivalents, as well as other instruments. Additionally, the firm may recommend Aspiriant Affiliated mutual funds, for which Aspiriant acts as investment advisor.
Aspiriant invests for the long term, with an eye toward how the market will perform over the next seven to 10 years. Portfolios targeting the lowest risk profile are more heavily weighted in fixed income investments, while those that target higher risk profiles will usually focus on stocks and other asset classes with a higher expected return.
Aspiriant has no disciplinary actions to disclose. Disciplinary events include any criminal, civil or regulatory actions against the firm, its employees or its affiliates over the last decade. The SEC requires all registered investment advisors to disclose these events in their Form ADV paperwork. For more information, visit the firmâ€™s IAPD page.
Personal Capital Advisors Corporation was founded in 2010 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Personal Capital Corporation, which, through several layers of ownership, is ultimately owned by the Power Corporation of Canada, which is controlled by the Desmarais Family Residuary Trust. The firm is headquartered in San Francisco, with additional offices in Denver, Dallas, Atlanta and Redwood City, Calif.
The firm offers investment management services via a combination of financial advisors and proprietary technology, and access to advisory services depends on how much you have invested. Although $100,000 is technically the minimum you can invest, the company offers different tiers of service, which require different minimum investment amounts, ranging up to $1 million for its highest level of service.
Personal Capital Advisors Corporation offers advisory services primarily to individuals, though it also serves a number high net worth individuals, defined by the SEC as those with at least $750,000 under management or a net worth of $1.5 million. Additionally, the firm works with corporations and other business entities, as well as charitable organizations.
Personal Capital designs portfolios using real-time financial account data, information from the clientâ€™s investor profile and Monte Carlo projections, a mathematical model used to project the chances of reaching financial or retirement goals under a range of possible market scenarios. Within portfolios, the company emphasizes asset allocation and diversification using U.S. equities and a mix of low-cost ETFs.
Portfolios are monitored by a combination of financial advisors and portfolio management software, and are periodically rebalanced. Even without hiring Personal Capital to manage your assets, however, the firm offers the ability to link your financial accounts to its unique online dashboard to get a holistic view of your money. This dashboard is also available by downloading the Personal Capital app, available for both iOS and Android devices.
Personal Capital Advisors Corporation discloses disciplinary history on its Form ADV paperwork related to an incident within the last 10 years, in which a state regulatory agency entered an order against one of the firmâ€™s affiliates, Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company, in connection to investment activity. Specifically, the Kentucky Department of Insurance took issue with the companyâ€™s marketing and advertising practices around certain life insurance products, resulting in a fine of $2,500.
For more information, view the firmâ€™s IAPD page.
Advanced Research Investments Solutions LLC was formed in 2014. It is owned by Evoke Holdings, LLC, which is primarily owned by David Hou. Evoke Holdings is also the parent company to Evoke Wealth, where Hou serves as managing partner.
The firm offers investment management and retirement plan and investment consulting services to individuals, as well as family offices, pension and profit-sharing plans and other types of entities. Advanced Research Investments Solutions generally requires a minimum portfolio of $10 million, and although the firm may accept clients with less to invest, all of its individual clients meet the SECâ€™s definition of high net worth individuals.
The firmâ€™s only office location is in Los Angeles.
Advanced Research Investments Solutionsâ€™ investing approach relies on both asset allocation and active management. The firm doesnâ€™t lean much on a traditional asset allocation of 60% equities and 40% bonds, however. It notes a belief that portfolios with this mix only do well when conditions favor equities â€” i.e., during periods of rising growth and/or falling inflation. Instead, the firm relies on active managers who work to build asset allocations that balance risk exposure to different economic environments.
Depending on a clientâ€™s investment goals, Advanced Research Investments Solutions generally recommends that clients allocate their assets among an assortment of independent investment managers, investment funds, mutual funds, ETFs, individual debt and equity securities and options.
Advanced Research Investments Solutions has no disciplinary disclosures. Disciplinary events include criminal or civil actions in court and administrative proceedings before a regulatory agency involving the firm, its employees or its affiliates over the last 10 years. You can find more information on the firmâ€™s IAPD page.
Jordan Park Group was founded in 2017 by Frank Ghali, who principally owns the firm through the Jordan Park Holding Company LLC and serves as the firmâ€™s CEO and president. The firm is headquartered in San Francisco and has another office in New York City.
Jordan Park Group provides investment management and financial advisory, family office and impact investing and advising services to high net worth individuals and families, as well as trusts and estates, charitable organizations and businesses. The firm generally advises clients with investable assets exceeding $50 million, although it will accept clients with fewer assets in some circumstances.
Jordan Park Group works with each client to understand their overall investment goals and limitations, then builds portfolios with an eye toward achieving optimal returns while managing risk. Investment strategies the firm uses may include diversified portfolios made up of separate accounts sub-advised by third-party advisors; direct investment in ETFs, mutual funds and other investments; and/or direct investment in access vehicles that Jordan Park sponsors. These access vehicles are privately offered pooled investment vehicles, organized into distinct strategies or asset class â€śsleeves.â€ť The firm also uses alternative assets, at times that those assets could reasonably be expected to boost risk-adjusted returns.
In addition, the firm offers impact investing and advising, helping clients align their investment choices with their values through various socially responsible investing (SRI) and environmental, social and governance investing (ESG) options.
Jordan Park Group discloses no disciplinary events on its Form ADV paperwork, which all registered investment advisors must file with the SEC. For reference, disciplinary disclosures include criminal or civil actions in court and administrative proceedings before a regulatory agency. To view the firmâ€™s Form ADV and learn more, visit its IAPD page.
Baker Street Advisors was founded in 2003. In 2015, the publicly traded asset management company Affiliated Managers Group acquired equity interest in the firm; the remaining equity interests are held by its partners. The firmâ€™s only office is in San Francisco.
Baker Street Advisors provides investment supervisory services and financial planning. It primarily serves 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), as well as associated trusts, estates and pension and profit-sharing plans. The firm requires a minimum account value of $5 million, and all of its individual clients are high net worth individuals.
Baker Street Advisors builds diversified portfolios intended to minimize risk and maximize after-tax returns, based on clientsâ€™ long-term and short-term financial needs and goals, risk tolerance and tax status. The firm pursues index-oriented equity strategies to keep down fees and tax costs, and it may include alternative asset classes â€” such as commodities and real estate â€” in an effort to improve risk-adjusted returns.
Before including an investment manager and fund in any recommendations, Baker Street Advisors considers the managerâ€™s reputation, management strength, performance record, philosophy, continuity of management, service to clients, minimum dollar investment requirement and fees. In general, the firm encourages investors to ride out short-term volatility with an eye toward long-term growth.
Baker Street Advisors has not been involved in any legal or disciplinary events in the past 10 years. Disciplinary events include criminal or civil actions in court and administrative proceedings before a regulatory agency that involve the firm, its employees or its affiliates. For more information, visit the firmâ€™s IAPD page.
Californiaâ€™s income tax rate is high, ranging up to 13.3% for single taxpayers who earn $1 million or more. And while thereâ€™s no state estate tax or inheritance tax in California, residents should note that they are still subject to federal estate tax and inheritance laws.
Beyond a bachelorâ€™s degree, there generally arenâ€™t any specific requirements for financial advisors; however, there are licensing requirements depending on what products an advisor sells, such as the Series 6 license that allows an advisor to sell mutual funds and variable annuities, among other products. This is why experts recommend finding a financial professional with an industry certification to indicate that they have training and experience in the field. Certified financial planners (CFPs), for instance, are required to complete an educational program and pass an exam to earn the certification, and they also must abide by certain ethical standards.
No, not all financial advisor firms specialize in retirement planning. If you are looking for assistance in this area, make sure to ask the advisor if they can provide this service and if they have experience doing so.
Additionally, there are some certifications that advisors can earn that indicate a focus on retirement planning, including the chartered retirement planning counselor (CRPC), chartered retirement plans specialist (CRPS) and retirement income certified professional (RICP) designations. Make sure you check any â€śseniorâ€ť or â€śretirementâ€ť-related designations on FINRAâ€™s website, however, as not all designations require rigorous training or convey meaningful expertise.
As with all financial advisors, the amount youâ€™ll pay for a financial advisor in California will depend on multiple factors, such as the services rendered, the size of your account and the rates and types of fees the advisor charges.
Some advisors charge a flat or hourly fee for certain services, while others charge clients based on a percentage of assets under management. The most common fee type charged for ongoing investment advisory services is a percentage of assets under management, with the average rate running 1.17% of assets annually, according to a 2019 study by RIA in a Box.