Best Financial Advisors in California 2021: Fees and Services - MagnifyMoney
Financial Advisors

Best Financial Advisors in California: Fees and Services

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Choosing a financial advisor can be challenging given the number of financial advisors across California, the third-largest state in America. Whether you live in Los Angeles or San Francisco, finding the right advisor in the Golden State comes down to figuring out the right fit, which means understanding what your financial needs and goals are and how much you’re willing to spend.

The process of comparing firms and their data points can certainly seem daunting though, so we identified the top 10 firms in the state of California and then gathered the details you need to know about them. To determine the best advisors in California, we only considered firms that manage individual accounts and provide financial planning. From there, we ranked the firms that met that criteria based on assets under management (AUM). All data used in our methodology is taken from each firm’s most recent Form ADV filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) so as to ensure the accuracy and reliability of our rankings.

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:

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10 best financial advisors in California

Firm nameCityMinimum assets requiredFee structure
Edelman Financial EnginesSanta Clara$5,000 household minimumA percentage of AUM
Hourly charges
Subscription fees
Fixed fees
Other (set-up fees & related services; reimbursements for printed materials)
SageView Advisory Group, LLCNewport Beach$500 minimum required for financial plansA percentage of AUM
Hourly charges
Fixed fees
Global Retirement Partners LLCSan RafaelNone, though some accounts may require oneA percentage of AUM Hourly charges
Fixed fees
NFP Retirement Inc.Aliso Viejo$25,000A percentage of AUM Hourly charges
Fixed fees
Hall Capital Partners LLCSan FranciscoNone, but the majority of clients have at least $100 million in investment assetsA percentage of AUM
Fixed fees Performance-based fees
Comprehensive Financial Management LLCLos GatosNot specifiedHourly charges
Performance-based fees
Jordan Park Group LLCSan Francisco$100 millionA percentage of AUM
Fixed fees Performance-based fees
Aspiriant, LLCLos Angeles$1.5 millionA percentage of AUM Hourly charges
Fixed fees
Advanced Research Investment Solutions, LLCLos Angeles$10 millionA percentage of AUM
Fixed fees
Other (fees for administrative services)
Beacon Pointe Advisors, LLCNewport Beach$1 millionA percentage of AUM
Hourly charges
Fixed fees

1. Edelman Financial Engines

  • Minimum assets required: $5,000 household minimum
  • AUM: $260,100,000,000
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 903:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Subscription fees
    • Fixed fees
    • Other (set-up fees & related services; reimbursements for printed materials)
  • Firm phone number: 408-498-6000
  • Headquarters address:
    3315 Scott Blvd., 4th Floor
    Santa Clara, CA 95054

About Edelman Financial Engines

Edelman Financial Engines, formally registered with the SEC as Financial Engines Advisors L.L.C., was created in 2018 through the merger of Financial Engines Advisor, which was established in 1997, and Edelman Financial, founded in 1986. Today, the firm is owned by Edelman Financial Engines, LLC. It has over 150 offices throughout the country.

The firm offers investment advisory services, including financial planning, investment management and retirement income solutions through employer-sponsored defined contribution plans, IRAs and taxable accounts. Its clients include a number of individual investors, including those who are high net worth, which the SEC defines as those with at least $750,000 under an advisor’s management or a net worth believed to be at least $1.5 million. It also works with a large number of other investment advisors, as well as pension and profit-sharing plans, businesses and charitable organizations.

Edelman Financial Engines investing strategy

Edelman Financial Engines’ investment committee, which is comprised of only Edelman Financial Engines employees, is responsible for overseeing all investment management and advisory services the firm provides. This includes applying the proprietary investment methodology, which is how the firm creates its advice and portfolio recommendations.

The firm’s focus is to help its clients reach their long-term financial goals, which entails prioritizing the client’s circumstances as well as looking at broader methods of analysis and investing strategies. When building a portfolio, the firm focuses on diversification across asset classes and market sectors, as well as balancing cost-effectiveness and the potential for added return in holdings.

Edelman Financial Engines disciplinary disclosures

Edelman Financial Engines does not report any disciplinary disclosures from within the last decade on its Form ADV. For reference, the SEC requires all registered investment advisors to report any civil, criminal or regulatory issues involving the firm or its employees or affiliates in its filings.

To learn more about the firm and to view its Form ADV, visit its Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) page.

2. Sageview Advisory Group

  • Minimum assets required: $500 minimum required for financial plans
  • AUM: $133,658,889,053
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 14:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: 949-955-1395
  • Headquarters address:
    4000 Macarthur Blvd., Suite 1050
    Newport Beach, CA 92660

About SageView Advisory Group

SageView Advisory Group was formed in 1989, and today it has over 25 offices throughout the country. It specializes in providing services including retirement plan consulting, retirement plan asset management, asset management and financial planning and consultations. It primarily serves individuals (both high net worth and otherwise) and pension and profit-sharing plans.

The firm is owned by Aquiline Capital Partners, a private equity firm based in New York City, though Randall Long, SageView Advisory Group’s founder and managing principal, and Jon Upham, a principal, continue to have significant ownership and control over the firm.

SageView Advisory Group investing strategy

SageView Advisory Group aligns each client’s investments with their unique goals, and it ensures they stay aligned with the client’s goal through ongoing reviews and active management. The firm also collaborates with a planning team to ensure all areas of a client’s financial life are considered.

The firm bases its approach to investment selection on the same proprietary research that’s the foundation of the firm’s institutional investments. Additionally, risk management is emphasized to address market volatility. In general, client portfolios will consist of individual stocks or bonds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds and other public and private securities or investments.

SageView Advisory Group disciplinary disclosures

SageView Advisory Group does not report any disciplinary actions that have taken place within the last 10 years in its Form ADV filed with the SEC. This includes any civil, criminal or regulatory events. For further information, visit Sageview Advisory Group’s IAPD page.

3. Global Retirement Partners LLC

  • Minimum assets required: None, though some accounts may require one
  • AUM: $76,274,048,042
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 22:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: 415-526-2750
  • Headquarters address:
    4340 Redwood Highway, Suite B-60
    San Rafael, CA 94903

About Global Retirement Partners LLC

Global Retirement Partners (GRP) describes itself as a “retirement plan consulting firm.” It has been in business since 2014 and is owned by the corporation 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, including high net worth individuals, as well as 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 LLC investing strategy

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 client’s objectives into consideration when building their portfolio and uses the following tactics to formulate client recommendations:

  • Fundamental analysis: Looks at economic and financial factors to determine if a company is underpriced or overpriced
  • Charting: Attempts to identify when the market is moving up or down and to predict how long the trend may last
  • Technical analysis: Analyzes past market movements to try to recognize recurring patterns
  • Cyclical analysis: Measures stock movements against the market
  • Mutual fund and ETF analysis: Looks at mutual fund and ETF managers and underlying investments

Investment strategies the firm’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 disciplinary disclosures

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 firm’s IAPD page.

4. NFP Retirement Inc.

  • Minimum assets required: $25,000
  • AUM: $69,250,977,960
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 15:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: 949-460-9898
  • Headquarters address:
    120 Vantis Drive, Suite 400
    Aliso Viejo, CA 92656

About NFP Retirement Inc.

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 firm’s clients include individuals who both are and are not considered high net worth, 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 Retirement Inc. investing strategy

NFP Retirement’s investing strategy takes into consideration a client’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, clients’ portfolios will contain mutual funds and ETFs, and occasionally individual securities. The firm does not engage in frequent trading.

NFP Retirement Inc. disciplinary disclosures

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 firm’s IAPD page.

5. Hall Capital Partners LLC

  • Minimum assets required: None, but the majority of clients have at least $100 million in investment assets
  • AUM: $48,054,574,293
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 4:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
    • Performance-based fees
  • Firm phone number: 415-288-0544
  • Headquarters address:
    One Maritime Plaza, Sixth Floor
    San Francisco, CA 94111

About Hall Capital Partners LLC

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 Partners’ clients have over $100 million in investment assets. All of the individuals it serves are considered high net worth.

Hall Capital Partners LLC investing strategy

Hall Capital Partners invests clients’ funds globally and for the long term, targeting investment managers who are “flexible and opportunistic.” The firm’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:

  • Customized global multi-asset class portfolios: Portfolios designed according to client-specific guidelines
  • HCP pooled vehicles: Unregistered funds of funds managed by Hall Capital or its affiliates
  • Specialized mandates: Investments in a specific asset class, such as hedge funds, private equity or real assets

The company’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 LLC disciplinary disclosures

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 firm’s IAPD page.

6. Comprehensive Financial Management LLC

  • Minimum assets required: Not specified
  • AUM: $22,758,025,923
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 1:1
  • Fee structure:
    • Hourly charges
    • Performance-based fees
  • Firm phone number: 408-358-3316
  • Headquarters address:
    720 University Ave., Suite 200
    Los Gatos, CA 95032

About Comprehensive Financial Management LLC

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, and currently has fewer than 40 clients.

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 clients’ trusts, foundations and limited liability companies.

Comprehensive Financial Management LLC investing strategy

Comprehensive Financial Management takes into account return requirements, risk tolerance, timing and size of liquidity needs and tax status, as well as “overall life situation,” 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 — 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 LLC disciplinary disclosures

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.

7. Jordan Park Group LLC

  • Minimum assets required: $100 million
  • AUM: $15,791,390,922
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 2:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
    • Performance-based fees
  • Firm phone number: 415-417-3000
  • Headquarters address:
    100 Pine St., Suite 2600
    San Francisco, CA 94111

About Jordan Park Group LLC

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 firm’s CEO and president. The firm is headquartered in San Francisco and has another office in New York City and a third in Hampton, N.H.

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 $100 million, although it will accept clients with fewer assets in some circumstances.

Jordan Park Group LLC investing strategy

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 “sleeves.” 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 and environmental, social and governance investing options.

Jordan Park Group LLC disciplinary disclosures

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 firm’s Form ADV and learn more, visit its IAPD page.

8. Aspiriant, LLC

  • Minimum assets required: $1.5 million
  • AUM: $14,512,799,000
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 19:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: 310-806-4000
  • Headquarters address:
    11100 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 600
    Los Angeles, CA 90025

About Aspiriant, LLC

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 11 other cities throughout the country, including five 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.

Aspiriant, LLC investing strategy

Based on a client’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, LLC disciplinary disclosures

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 firm’s IAPD page.

9. Advanced Research Investment Solutions, LLC

  • Minimum assets required: $10 million
  • AUM: $12,752,266,498
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 15:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
    • Other (fees for administrative services)
  • Firm phone number: 424-283-3800
  • Headquarters address:
    10635 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 240
    Los Angeles, CA 90025

About Advanced Research Investments Solutions LLC

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 high net worth 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 SEC’s definition of high net worth individuals.

The firm’s only office location is in Los Angeles.

Advanced Research Investments Solutions LLC investing strategy

Advanced Research Investments Solutions generally uses both active and passive strategies when investing, so as to help ensure tax efficiency. The firm bases its advice on a fundamental understanding of global asset allocation as well as asset class pricing. It also focuses on the evaluation of third-party investment managers.

Depending on a client’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 LLC disciplinary disclosures

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 firm’s IAPD page.

10. Beacon Pointe Advisors, LLC

  • Minimum assets required: $1 million
  • AUM: $12,441,991,820
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 41:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: 949-718-1600
  • Headquarters address:
    24 Corporate Plaza, Suite 150
    Newport Beach, CA 92660

About Beacon Pointe Advisors, LLC

Beacon Pointe Advisors offers investment advisory services through its managed account program and its automated investment program, as well as consulting services on investment matters as well as various areas of financial planning. It serves both institutional and individual clients, with its individual client base including those who both are and are not high net worth, despite the firm’s typical minimum account size requirement of $1 million. It does note that it may combine family accounts to meet this requirement.

Beacon Pointe Advisors has operated as an investment advisor registered with the SEC since 2002. It is majority-owned by its employees, with the outside investor ABRY Partners IX, L.P holding a minority stake. Headquartered in Newport Beach, Calif., the firm has 26 additional offices throughout the country.

Beacon Pointe Advisors, LLC investing strategy

For clients in Beacon Pointe Advisors’ managed account program, the investing process begins with the firm gaining an understanding of the client’s goals, needs, circumstances and priorities. From there, Beacon Pointe Advisors will use modeling techniques, which include both the firm’s own analysis and allocation modeling programs, to determine the appropriate asset allocation for the client. Core asset classes used in portfolios include equities, fixed income, real estate, private equity, hedge funds and real assets.

The firm holds the belief that proper diversification is key to controlling risk in a portfolio, and thus it focuses on creating an overall balanced portfolio rather than zeroing in on individual investments. Beacon Pointe generally prefers active management across all asset classes, but it may use passive management as a placeholder when it has not yet selected an active asset manager in that asset class.

Beacon Pointe Advisors, LLC disciplinary disclosures

Beacon Pointe Advisors has a clean disciplinary record, with no events reported within the last decade. As a registered investment advisor, the firm is required to report such information involving the firm, its employees or its affiliates in its Form ADV filings. For further information, view Beacon Pointe Advisors’ IAPD page.

Frequently asked questions

California’s income tax rate is high, ranging up to 13.3% for single taxpayers who earn $1 million or more. And while there’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 bachelor’s degree, there generally aren’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 “senior” or “retirement”-related designations on FINRA’s website, however, as not all designations require rigorous training or convey meaningful expertise.

As with all financial advisors, the amount you’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 between 0.59% to 1.18%, according to a 2021 study by AdvisoryHQ.

Methodology and criteria

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 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 California, 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 28, 2022, but we urge you to also evaluate these firms on adviserinfo.sec.gov.

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.