Cleveland has the most robust economy of any city in Ohio. In recent years, Cleveland’s economy surged by nearly 3 percent to a Gross Metropolitan Product (GMP) of around $140 billion. That makes Cleveland the 28th most prosperous city in the U.S.
Prosperous cities like Cleveland attract talented professionals who want to make sure they’re making the right decisions when it comes to building wealth.
A great financial advisor is one who’s ethical, who possesses professional credentials, and who will take the time to focus on your concerns.
Whether he or she is making decisions about money on your behalf or is advising you about what moves to make on your own, you have to be able to trust that your financial advisor’s strategy is one that reflects your own risk tolerance and wealth growth objectives.
There are many financial advisors in Cleveland. How do you go about finding the one that’s right for you?
We’ve put together this curated list of the ten best financial advisors working out of Cleveland and the surrounding areas to help you simplify the selection process.
The 10 Best Financial Advisors in Cleveland, Ohio
The firms below are the standouts among Cleveland’s financial advisors. You’ll find a more thorough description of each firm’s services, wealth-generating philosophy, and specific strengths below.
- Fairport Asset Management
- Wellspring Financial Advisors
- MAI Capital Management, LLC
- Pension Advisors (AdviseMe National Advisors)
- First Fiduciary Investment Counsel, Inc.
- Gries Financial LLC
- Clearstead Advisors
- Vantage Financial Group, Inc.
- Winfield Associates
- Beacon Financial Advisory, LLC
#1 Fairport Asset Management
Fairport Asset Management is a boutique firm that caters to the needs of very high-net-worth clients.
To work with this firm, you’ll need to be willing to invest at least $1 million, and you’ll need to have a net worth of at least $2 million.
The firm takes a very hands-on approach to asset management, so it’s a good fit for clients who are looking to delegate the heavy lifting when it comes to making financial decisions.
Fairport Asset Management Process
At your initial interview, you may be asked questions about your background, your relationships, your interests, your career, and your goals that are somewhat more sensitive than the typical inquiries into risk tolerance that most financial advisors content themselves with.
Once the financial advisor who’s working with you has a chance to review your information, he or she will draft a customized proposal that focuses not merely on asset management but also on success metrics like tax planning, insurance and risk management, education planning, stock compensation planning, charitable giving, and estate planning.
The firm will analyze the ways in which your current portfolio isn’t supporting your individual objectives and present you with strategies designed to help remove you from concentrated stock positions and to aid you in creating an income stream.
Get To Know Fairport Asset Management
Fairport is a small firm with an investment committee of five nationally recognized advisors.
Other staff members include CPAs, CFPs, CFAs, CAIA, CRPCs, Registered Paraplanners (RPs), Chartered Financial Counselor (ChFC), and Accredited Estate Planners (AEPs).
Is Fairport Asset Management Right For You?
The firm takes a special interest in women in transition.
Fairport recognizes that transitional events like a career change, divorce, the death of a spouse, or an inheritance can be especially challenging for women who while well-educated may not be particularly well-versed in financial strategizing.
Fairport is committed to providing financial education as well as financial advice and management services.
The firm sponsors an acclaimed Solutions for Women™ program that addresses a wide range of topics that may be of particular interest to women.
These topics include charitable giving strategies, asset allocation and investment strategies, and raising financially literate children.
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#2 Wellspring Financial Advisors
Although Wellspring Financial Advisors sidesteps the issue of a minimum account requirement, they do note on their website that clients with at least $10 million to invest are the best fit for their bespoke set of services.
Wellspring Financial Advisors Investment Process
Wellspring offers a holistic suite of services that begins with a series of discussions during which the firm ascertains details about each client’s objectives and preferences as well as his or her risk tolerance and the time frame over which that client sees wealth growing.
From there, the firm creates an investment strategy that’s informed by diversification, the quality of prospective portfolio assets, the client’s own need for liquidity, and the client’s desire for transparency.
What Sets Wellspring Financial Advisors Apart
Wellspring offers several innovative services to clients such as family education, which seeks to prepare younger family members about the responsibilities that the inheritance of great wealth entails.
Wellspring also has a risk management offering that in addition to providing periodic reviews of insurance coverage helps protect personal information about clients from falling into the wrong hands.
Wellspring manages more than $1.2 billion in assets. The firm’s team includes CPAs, CFAs, CFPs, AEPs, and CAIA.
#3 MAI Capital Management, LLC
The firm’s minimum investment requirement is $500,000, and clients are either high-net-worth individuals and their families or entrepreneurs and professionals who aspire to high net worth.
MAI Capital Management Team
Staff members hold impressive credentials: The firm employs:
- Certified Public Accountants (CPAs),
- Certified Financial Planners (CFPs),
- Chartered Financial Analysts (CFAs),
- Chartered Retirement Planning Counselors (CRPCs)
- Certified Private Wealth Advisors (CPWAs)
- Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU)
- Chartered Market Technician (CMT).
In addition to its headquarters in Cleveland, MAI maintains offices in Nashua, New Hampshire; Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida; and Irvine, California.
How MAI Capital Management Got Started
The firm got its start in 1973 when Arnold Palmer accepted founder Mark McCormack’s offer to handle the golf legend’s business affairs so that Palmer could concentrate on what he did best, which was to play golf.
Today, the firm’s client rostrum has expanded to include corporate executives and wealthy families, but its focus remains upon individual clients with complex financial lives rather than upon institutional investors.
How MAI Capital Management Invests Your Money
As part of its comprehensive wealth management, MAI offers planning in a number of different areas.
The firm understands that delegation is often key when it comes to managing a multifaceted financial profile: MAI’s own investment professionals will develop and implement a personalized asset allocation model to meet each client’s individualized needs, but the firm will often recruit an outside manager with expertise in equities, fixed income, and alternative asset classes to oversee portfolios on a daily basis.
MAI monitors these outside managers closely in keeping with its high fiduciary standards.
Portfolios typically fall into one of nine categories: MAI managed volatility portfolios, dividend-yielding portfolios, diversified core portfolios, diversified dividend portfolios, core portfolios, exchange-traded fund portfolios, MAI energy infrastructure portfolios, fixed-income/tax-exempt portfolios, and fixed-income/taxable strategy portfolios.
MAI Capital Management Minimum Investment Amount
Minimum asset requirements for these portfolios range from $10 million for the MAI managed volatility portfolio to $250,000 for the fixed-income portfolios.
MAI also coordinates estate planning; tax planning and tax compliance; insurance protection, including property and casualty coverage, life insurance, appropriate personal and commercial liability coverage, and specialized coverage for luxury vehicles like airplanes.
This advisor can also help you if you wish to pursue philanthropic goals, including the setup of charitable lead annuity trusts (CLATs), charitable remainder unitrusts (CRUTs), net income with makeup charitable remainder unitrusts (NIMCRUTS), and charitable gift annuities (CGAs).
#4 Pension Advisors (AdviseMe National Advisors)
So, one of the perks of your great job in Cleveland is a generous 401(k) contribution benefit. Where do you go from there?
What’s the proper formula for diversifying your portfolio and rebalancing it regularly so that you maintain optimal asset allocation and take advantage of periodic market upswings? This is Pension Advisors’ particular area of expertise.
Is Pension Advisors Right For You?
On the corporate end, Pension Advisors (AdviseMe National Advisors) primarily works with employers who offer retirement savings plans to their employees.
The firm counsels these plan sponsors on matters such as choosing a retirement plan, administering a retirement plan, finding the right retirement plan vendor, and deciding upon the types of investments that will be offered through that pension plan.
Employers may not fully understand the implications of the fiduciary responsibilities they assume when they take on the sponsorship of a retirement plan, and it’s Pension Advisors’ task to get them up to speed.
How Pension Advisors Helps Employers
The firm helps employers write the necessary policies that will allow them to comply with federal and state regulations.
Since June 2018, when the Fiduciary Rule was overturned by a Fifth Circuit decision, an increasing number of states have also begun to act to enforce their own fiduciary rules.
These Investment Statement Policies are reviewed at least annually or whenever significant regulatory changes are made.
Get To Know Pension Advisors
Founded in 1999, Pension Advisors maintains satellite offices in Milwaukee, Chicago, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The firm has no minimum investment requirement.
Though the company has more than $1.5 billion under management, none of its individual clients are high-net-worth individuals.
Of the eight full-time advisors on board, one is a Retirement Plan Associate (RPA), and one is a Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS).
The firm typically bills individual clients either through a one-time consultation rate or an hourly fee; institutional clients who manage funds through Pension Advisors may be charged a percentage fee of the assets they have under management.
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#5 First Fiduciary Investment Counsel, Inc.
First Fiduciary Investment Counsel is an employee-owned investment advisory firm.
As one might expect from a company that uses the word “fiduciary” as part of its name, this firm’s compliance standards are higher than many of its cohorts: Its reporting guidelines are aligned with the rigorous Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS).
The firm uses an independent third-party custodian who confirms each transaction and provides monthly statements to add an extra layer of security for its clients.
First Fiduciary Investment Counsel Minimum
First Fiduciary’s minimum investment requirement is $1 million.
The firm’s individual clients are high-net-worth individuals.
First Fiduciary’s institutional clients include charitable foundations, charitable remainder trusts, state and municipal governments, corporations, and pension and profit-sharing plans.
First Fiduciary has over $500 million in assets under management.
First Fiduciary Investment Counsel Process
First Fiduciary’s investment strategy focuses on minimizing risk to the extent possible in a volatile market environment.
To that end, the firm prefers to invest in companies with strong balance sheets that demonstrate a commitment to shareholders by offering dividends.
Such companies most often tend to be large capitalization entities whose cash reserves grant them immunity to market volatility.
First Fiduciary offers individual and institutional investors two investment approaches: the flagship large-cap value equity strategy described above and a balanced account management strategy that blends a large-cap equity strategy with a conservative bond program.
Meet The First Fiduciary Team
First Fiduciary has been in business since 1975.
The firm has three advisors on staff, two of whom are CFAs.
Though some of the services it provides to clients are billed at a flat rate, the firm earns most of its compensation through fees calculated as a percentage of the assets it manages for clients.
#6 Gries Financial LLC
Gries Financial has been offering financial planning and investment advisory services for individuals, charitable foundations, and pension and profit-sharing plans for more than 40 years.
The firm has 11 advisors on staff, including six CFPs and one CFA. Most of its individual clients are high-net-worth individuals, and it has a $1 million minimum investment requirement.
The firm has more than $870 million under management.
Is Gries Financial Right For You?
The firm is keen on intergenerational planning at both the individual and institutional level.
It works with endowments and foundations to develop customized plans that will help ensure the survival of philanthropic and cultural legacies, and it partners with individuals who see themselves as stewards of family wealth.
What Makes Gries Financial Different
Gries Financial sees itself as one part of a team that’s providing support for clients and is open to collaborating with other trusted advisors like accountants, attorneys, and insurance agents on the financial plans it devises for clients.
Fees for these financial planning services are assessed on an hourly basis.
When the firm undertakes investment management on behalf of its clients, it customizes investment portfolios so that they align with client directives regarding risks and returns.
Such portfolios often include a broad spectrum of asset classes that may have prohibitive minimums in instances where existing relationships aren’t in place. Investment advisory fees are based on percentages of assets under management.
#7 Clearstead Advisors
In 2018, the financial advisory services firm Hartland & Co. decided to rebrand itself as Clearstead Advisors.
When Tom Hartland started the Cleveland-based company in 1989, he named it after himself. Nearly 30 years later, however, the firm’s principals selected a name that more keenly reflected the core values of the business: transparency, clarity, and steadfast guidance through all aspects of client relationships.
Clearstead Advisors Investment Process
The firm believes that these asset classes offer the best opportunity for optimal risk-adjusted returns.
The firm relies heavily upon the mathematical Black-Litterman model for portfolio development but augments this quantitative approach with a qualitative evaluation of economic and market conditions.
Is Clearstead Advisors Right For You?
Clearstead Advisors offers private wealth management, institutional investment consulting, 401(k) and retirement fund management, and responsible investment opportunities.
The firm has more than $3.2 billion under management.
The firm’s 700-plus individual investors are primarily individuals with a net worth of at least $1.5 million and investable assets of at least $750,000.
Its Outsourced Chief Investment Officer (OCIO) system is called Clearstead Prism OCIO; increasingly, OCIO is the service that’s providing the firm with traction as it extends its reach outside Northeastern Ohio.
Clearstead has expanded its workforce by 30%+ over the past three years. Currently, it employs over 30 advisors, several of whom hold certifications in more than one specialty.
Staff members include CPAs, CFPs, CFAs, three Chartered Alternative Investment Analysts (CAIAs), Accredited Investment Fiduciaries (AIFs), Certified Investment Management Analysts (CIMAs), and an Accredited Tax Preparer (ATP).
#8 Vantage Financial Group, Inc.
Vantage Financial Group prides itself on offering services to hardworking people who are looking to secure their financial futures.
Some of these people may be high-net-worth individuals, but the vast majority are not.
The company also manages investments for corporations, charitable foundations, and pension and profit-sharing plans.
Meet The Vanguard Financial Group Team
Vanguard has a large staff of 24 advisors that include CFPs, ChFCs, AIFs, CLUs, CRPCs, and a CEBS.
Though headquartered in Cleveland, the firm maintains regional offices in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; Pickney, Michigan; and Sylvania, Ohio.
The company manages over $500 million for its clients.
How Vanguard Financial Group Investment Process Works
Vanguard describes itself as a “single-source financial services company,” by which it means that it offers the equivalent of one-stop shopping to clients who are looking for services that will enhance their material security.
At the beginning of each client relationship, the firm assigns that client a Vantage Financial Advisor who continues to be his or her point of contact throughout that client’s subsequent relationship with the firm. This advisor will be instrumental in mobilizing any additional services the client may be interested in.
For individual clients, those services might include investment management, financial planning services, insurance planning, estate planning, and litigation settlement support.
For institutions, services may be investment management, retirement plan services, and specialized third-party administrative services.
Litigation settlement support is a unique service that few if any other financial advisors offer.
Professionals hit by litigation involving medical malpractice, product liability, wrongful death, and other complex torts can take advantage of Vanguard’s expertise in mediation and structured settlement evaluation and implementation.
Vanguard Financial Group Investment Minimum
Vanguard imposes no minimum account size requirement. Financial planning fees are billed at an hourly rate while portfolio management fees are calculated as a percentage of assets under management.
Advisors are also free to sell financial products on which they earn commissions, but it’s understood that advisors must act in the best fiduciary interests of clients at all times.
#9 Winfield Associates
Though Winfield Associates is headquartered in Cleveland, it maintains a satellite office in San Diego, California, and the firm’s clients include private individuals, business professionals, retirees, and a select handful of charitable foundations and endowments from across the nation.
The firm’s main service is investment portfolio management, but it also does some customized financial planning that focuses upon identifying wealth-building opportunities. In order to work with Winfield, clients must be willing to invest $500,000.
The firm has over $200 million in assets under management.
How Winfield Associates Invests Your Money
Winfield uses an asset allocation model that’s derived from modern portfolio theory to customize, manage, and balance its clients’ investments.
For retirees, portfolios are more weighted toward investment vehicles that facilitate the option of drawing income. In the work the firm does with endowments and charitable foundations, Winfield relies upon index and factor-based ETFs in order to avoid concentrated risk.
Winfield Associates Investment Process
Winfield provides quarterly investment analyses to all clients. Staff members meet with clients on a regular basis to review portfolio performances and to discuss recommended reallocations.
The firm has a number of advisors, four of whom are CFAs. Winfield charges a fixed fee for its wealth-building advisory services, but its investment advisory services, which make up the bulk of the work the firm does for clients, are assessed as a percentage of assets under management.
#10 Beacon Financial Advisory, LLC
Though Beacon Financial Advisory’s client base consists primarily of individuals who are interested in building or preserving wealth, the firm also works with companies to develop and implement qualified and non-qualified retirement plans.
While the firm imposes no minimum account requirement, but with more than $300 million under management, Beacon’s individual clients are definitely on the affluent side.
Beacon partners with the independent Pennsylvania-based broker Lincoln Investment Planning, LLC: Beacon provides the financial planning and wealth management strategies while Lincoln provides the robust investment platform.
Among Beacon’s advisors are CPAs, CFPs, a CFA, a CLU, and two ChFCs.
Beacon Financial Concierge Service
Beacon offers clients concierge service: Every client is assigned a Client Services Manager when he or she begins working with the firm, and every investment decision a client makes is made in consultation with one of the firm’s advisory principals.
The firm’s services include financial planning, advanced wealth strategies, investment advisory services, and corporate retirement strategies.
Beacon Financial Investment Process
Modern portfolio theory is the linchpin of Beacon’s investment strategy.
The firm conducts interviews with clients when clients begin their relationships with the company to determine their risk tolerance, the specifics of their financial situations, and their long-range goals.
Using these factors, Beacon advisors construct a plan that allocates assets into different investment vehicles across different markets and geographic regions.
These investment vehicles may include individual stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, money market accounts, treasury securities, and fixed and variable annuities.
This allocation is evaluated and rebalanced at frequent intervals in accordance with each client’s individual risk tolerance.
Transactional strategies include long-term trading, short-term trading, short sales, margin transactions, and options.
Beacon bills financial planning services at either a fixed rate or on an hourly fee basis, but portfolio management fees are assessed as a percentage of assets under management.
Advisors are free to accept commissions on financial products they sell to clients, but it is understood that advisors will always act in the best financial interests of their clients.
How We Ranked the Top Financial Advisor Firms in Cleveland, Ohio
In compiling this list of Cleveland-based financial advisors, we looked at:
Assets under management: Assets under management (AUM) is a number that represents the market value of funds under an investment advisor’s discretionary management. It’s a metric that reassures prospective investors that since other investors have trusted this advisor with their money, the advisor must be sound.
Qualifications: We gave preference to firms that are registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) because SEC registration guarantees that the firm holds to a fiduciary standard, meaning that they act in their clients’ best interests.
Credentials: Credentials, awards, and positive news mentions showcase an advisor’s essential trustworthiness.
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