CNBC’s National Top 100 Fee-Only Wealth Management Firm 1
Top 300 Registered Investment Advisors 2
1 CNBC Selection Criteria
Investment advisors selected by CNBC do not pay a fee to be considered in the ranking. Inclusion in the CNBC ranking is not indicative of an investment adviser’s future performance.
The CNBC Digital editorial team, along with Meridian-IQ, created the following ranking methodology for its Top 100 Fee-Only Wealth Management Firms rankings. Scores for each measure listed below were weighted according to a proprietary formula to arrive at a final total rank:
• Assets under management.
• Having staff with professional designations such as a CFP or CFA.
• Working with third-party professionals such as attorneys or CPAs.
• Average account size.
• Growth of assets.
• Years in business.
• Number of advisory clients.
• Providing advice on insurance solutions.
Firms with greater AUM totals were given a higher ranking in the case of numerical ties of the above formula. The Meridian/AdviceIQ team then applied the formula to the Meridian-IQ database of all RIAs to create the list. The final step to create the Top 100 Fee-Only Wealth Management Firms list for CNBC.com was to apply the AdviceIQ Regulatory Compliance Review process to the master list and eliminate any firm that failed the RCR process.
The RCR process is a due-diligence process whereby each advisory firm was compared to the RCR database of all regulatory actions from all four primary regulators: SEC, FINRA, state regulators and state insurance commissioners. In order to pass the RCR process, an advisory firm cannot have any complaints, actions or disclosures from any of the above regulators.
2 The FT 300 Selection Criteria
Investment advisors selected by the Financial Times do not pay a fee to be considered in the ranking. Inclusion in the Financial Times ranking is not indicative of an investment adviser’s future performance.
Our state-by-state guide to RIA companies with at least $300m of assets under management by: Loren Fox This third edition of the Financial Times 300 has assessed US registered investment advisers (RIAs) on desirable traits for investors. To ensure a list of established companies with deep, institutional expertise, we examine the database of RIAs registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission and select those that reported to the SEC that they had $300m or more in assets under management (AUM). The Financial Times’ methodology is quantifiable and objective. The RIAs had no subjective input.
The FT invited qualifying RIA companies — more than 1,500 — to complete a lengthy application that gave us more information about them. We added to this with our own research into their practices, including data from regulatory filings. Some 520 RIA companies applied and 300 made the final list.
The formula the FT uses to grade advisers is based on six broad factors and calculates a numeric score for each adviser. Areas of consideration include adviser AUM, asset growth, the company’s age, industry certifications of key employees, SEC compliance record, and online accessibility. The reasons these were chosen are as follows: • AUM signals experience managing money and client trust.
• AUM growth rate can be a proxy for performance, as well as for asset retention and the ability to generate new business. We assessed companies on both one year and two year growth rates.
• Companies’ years in existence indicates reliability and experience of managing assets through different market environments.
• Compliance record provides evidence of past client disputes; a string of complaints can JUNE 15, 2016 4:04 PM signal potential problems.
• Industry certifications (CFA, CFP, etc.) show the company’s staff has technical and industry knowledge, and signals a professional commitment to investment skills.
• Online accessibility demonstrates a desire to provide easy access and transparent contact information.
Assets under management and asset growth, combined, comprised roughly 80 to 85 per cent of each adviser’s score.
Additionally, the FT caps the number of companies from any one state. The cap is roughly based on the distribution of millionaires across the US.
We present the FT 300 as an elite group, not a competitive ranking of one to 300. This is the fairest way to identify the industry’s elite advisers while accounting for the firms’ different approaches and different specializations.
The research was conducted on behalf of the Financial Times by Ignites Distribution Research, a Financial Times sister publication.