The Best Financial Advisors of 2023
When it comes to your wealth, the value of working with a financial advisor can be immeasurable. They offer financial advice, wealth management and investment strategies that are backed by experience and expertise. The Annuity.org editorial team conducted extensive research to select the best financial advisors of 2023.
- Written By Christian Simmons
Christian Simmons is a financial writer who has worked professionally as a journalist since 2016. As an active member of the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning (AFCPE), Christian prides himself on his ability to break down complex financial topics in ways that Annuity.org readers can easily understand.Read More
- Edited ByLamia Chowdhury
Lamia Chowdhury is a financial editor at Annuity.org. Lamia carries an extensive skillset in the content marketing field, and her work as a copywriter spans industries as diverse as finance, health care, travel and restaurants.Read More
- Financially Reviewed ByTimothy Li, MBA
Timothy Li, MBA
Business Finance Manager
Timothy Li, MBA, has dedicated his career to increasing profitability for his clients, including Fortune 500 companies. Timothy currently serves as a business finance manager where he researches ways to increase profitability within the supply chain, logistics and sales departments.Read More
- Updated: June 5, 2023
- 6 min read time
- This page features 11 Cited Research ArticlesWe publish unbiased product reviews; our opinions are our own and are not influenced by payment we receive from our advertising partners. Learn more about how we review products and read our advertiser disclosure for how we make money.Our Criteria
To be considered, companies needed to meet Annuity.org’s set criteria:
Understanding Our Methodology
Annuity.org’s independent editorial team developed a strict and industry-specific methodology to help ensure that only the most effective financial advisors and investment advisory firms were considered.
To ensure access to all consumers, services were only considered if they were available nationally and easily accessible to general consumers.
Each company also needed to have assets under management of $1 billion or more to warrant consideration to help ensure that all companies that were evaluated had a wide reach, were financially secure and have a proven track record of serving consumers.
When comparing companies, Annuity.org took numerous other differentiating factors into consideration as well. This included the variety and depth of the financial advising services offered by the company, the costs, commissions and minimum amounts associated with those services, the user-friendliness of the company’s website and services, along with transparency of offerings.
Whether companies placed — and how well they fared — in several J.D. Power studies, including the Investor Satisfaction Study and Digital Experience Study was also considered.
Learn more about our broader Editorial Guidelines.Financial advisors are a great avenue to grow your wealth. Be aware of the advisory fees and account minimums. Shop around and compare the services offered by various financial advisors to see which one would work best for your financial situation.
Editor’s Choice: Best OverallGreat For: Quality investment services for various audiences
With the highest investor satisfaction score in the industry according to J.D. Power, a robust option for high net worth individuals with the Schwab Wealth Advisory service and an affordable, accessible choice with Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, Charles Schwab is a proven option for a variety of clients.Pros & ConsPros
- Industry-high investor satisfaction
- Free robo-advisor service
- High account minimums compared to some competitors
Charles Schwab offers strong investing services that cater to several different audiences. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, the company’s automated option, comes with no advisory fees and an account minimum of just $5,000, making it an ideal choice for investors who are just starting out.
On the flip side is Schwab Wealth Advisory, which provides access to a dedicated advisor to help you manage your wealth and investments. That service includes a 0.80% advisory fee that lowers with the size of the account, which stacks up reasonably well with the rest of the industry. The enrollment minimum of $1 million can create a bit of a barrier for some clients.
On top of its variety of investment services and options, Charles Schwab also scores very highly in customer satisfaction. It received the top score in the J.D. Power Investor Satisfaction Study. Charles Schwab was also our pick for the best overall investment advisor of 2023.
Best for RetirementGreat For: Retirement Saving and Investing
Saving for retirement is a major motivator for many Americans to seek out financial advisors and wealth management services. Thanks to its high investor satisfaction and strong-performing retirement funds, Fidelity stands out.Pros & ConsPros
- Strong returns on retirement funds
- Low account minimums
- Informative and useful website
- Higher advisory fees than some competitors
For those looking to build up their retirement savings with a trusted company that offers a variety of services and holds a track record of retirement success, Fidelity is a strong option.
According to the U.S. News & World Report, four of the five highest performing 401(k) funds over the last decade belonged to Fidelity. The company also offers generally low account minimums on many of its services, giving those who are looking to build up their retirement savings the chance to get started.
The Fidelity Wealth Management service generally requires $250,000 managed through Fidelity (half of what Vanguard’s comparable service requires) while Fidelity Managed FidFolios has a minimum investment of just $5,000.
The company’s advisory fees vary by the service offered, falling in the 0.50% to 1.50% range for the Wealth Management service, which offers access to a dedicated advisor along with investment management. Fidelity also stacks up well in customer satisfaction, ranking near the top of the J.D. Power Investor Satisfaction Study.
Best Fiduciary AdvisorGreat For: Low advisory fees
Few companies are more transparent about the fiduciary duty included in their advisory services than Vanguard. Paired with generally low advisory fees, it can be an attractive option to potential clients.Pros & ConsPros
- Transparent about fiduciary duty
- Generally low advisory fees
- Ranks below industry average in investor satisfaction
- Ranks poorly in digital experience
Understanding fiduciary duty can be important when looking for financial advisors and wealth management services. While not all companies are openly transparent about their fiduciary status (and that status can vary in some cases), Vanguard advertises it as a key benefit of its services.
Vanguard’s dedicated advisors are not paid in commissions, and the costs of its services stack up well against competitors. The company’s Personal Advisor service includes an advisory fee ranging from 0.35% to 0.40%, while its higher-end Personal Advisor Select option includes a 0.30% fee.
While Vanguard offers a strong fiduciary option along with reasonable fees, it does slightly lag in investor satisfaction. It came in just below the industry average in the J.D. Power Investor Satisfaction Study, trailing both Charles Schwab and Fidelity. Vanguard was also our pick for the best overall fiduciary financial advisor of 2023.
Best Robo-AdvisorGreat For: Automatic investing and management
While traditional advisor options have their appeals, robo-advising has become a larger part of the industry, opening up access to investing to everyday people. Wealthfront stands out thanks to its proven track record of success.Pros & ConsPros
- Offers automated services catered to customer’s preferences
- Cheaper option than working with traditional advisors
- Less personalization and hands-on advice than working with a traditional advisor
Some investors may be more interested in the potentially cheaper and easier-to-get-started approach that comes with robo-advising. Wealthfront, which was founded in 2008, has proven itself with a high rate of return for its clients.
According to the company’s website, portfolios with the most commonly selected risk score have grown by 6.69% since 2011. Wealthfront is also cheaper than many traditional options, including an advisory fee of just 0.25%.
The tradeoff is that it naturally does not include the breadth of services included in packages that come with traditional dedicated advisors. But Wealthfront still includes plenty of customizability, allowing users to tailor their accounts to the risk level they are comfortable with and the investments they are interested in. Wealthfront topped our list for best overall robo financial advisor of 2023.
Others We Considered
- Morgan Stanley
- The company was considered due to meeting the methodology requirements, but it was not selected due to its below-industry-average ratings in the J.D. Power Investor Satisfaction Study and Digital Experience Study.
- J.P. Morgan
- The company was considered as a fiduciary option due to meeting the methodology requirements, but it was not selected over Vanguard due to its lower ranking in the J.D. Power Investor Satisfaction Study and higher advisory fees
What Can You Expect From Working With a Financial Advisor?
There are many potential benefits to working with a financial advisor that range from small perks to major ones. Managing money takes a lot of work, and it can become time consuming for Americans to direct their own portfolios, especially once they have grown to a certain size.
Financial advisors can take some of that burden off your hands and apply their expertise to your wealth, managing and growing it for you.
Thanks to their rigorous training and experience, financial advisors may also be able to manage your money in ways that you would not be capable of on your own. They can help your account grow faster and more effectively than it would have under nonprofessional management.
Financial advisors can also not just grow your money but help you craft your wealth plan, from securing your retirement to establishing what financial goals you are working towards and helping you meet them.
Many investment advisory firms offer robust services that connect you to a dedicated advisor who can help implement a plan from the ground up and provide you with unique ways to grow your wealth.
Financial advisors typically charge an advisory fee that is a small percentage of the assets you have entrusted to them. The fee tends to be smaller for larger investments and can range anywhere from 0.30% of assets managed to 1.50%.
Receiving payment this way helps to guarantee that your advisor and firm directly benefit from growing your account effectively and allows you to keep most of that growth.
Selecting the Right Financial Advisor for You
Financial advisors come in many different shapes and sizes. The first step in selecting the right financial advisor is determining what level of help you are looking for.
If you are simply looking to get into investing and really want to just place some money in an account that can then grow on its own, a robo-advisor may make sense. Robo-advisors tend to have light minimum balances and smaller advisory fees than traditional advisors.
They allow you to set parameters for your investments and watch your money grow in a hands-off way.
Those with larger investments or who are looking for more personalized and robust help will likely want to browse some of the traditional services offered by investment advisory firms.
These services are typically tiered, with some options offering more help and perks than others. A standard middle-tier service often offers access to a financial advisor, regular check-ins and the ability of the company to grow your investment towards your goals.
A higher-end service goes even farther, often dedicating an advisor or team of advisors to your account who can help you craft a plan from the ground up, answer any questions you have and work tirelessly to grow your investment.
Outside of the type of service you are looking for, cost will likely play a role as well. Comparing the level of services you will receive to the fee charged can help you to determine if a service makes sense for you. Additionally, to determine if a financial advisor is a good fit, it’s crucial to ask questions about their experience, area of expertise and typical client age range.
Frequently Asked Questions About Financial AdvisorsHow much does it cost to work with a financial advisor?The cost of working with a financial advisor varies significantly between competitors and depending on the type of service, but you are usually charged an advisory fee that is a small percentage of the assets managed. This fee is typically smaller for larger investments.When should you work with a financial advisor?Anyone interested in growing their money, charting a financial future or securing their retirement can justify working with a financial advisor. Financial advisors can leverage their training and experience to help you make sound and effective financial decisions.How is a financial advisor different from a financial planner?The roles of a financial advisor and financial planner can overlap, but a financial planner is typically more geared towards helping you chart out your financial future and goals. A financial advisor is typically someone who is more hands-on, manages your money and offers regular advice.Advertisement
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11 Cited Research Articles
Annuity.org writers adhere to strict sourcing guidelines and use only credible sources of information, including authoritative financial publications, academic organizations, peer-reviewed journals, highly regarded nonprofit organizations, government reports, court records and interviews with qualified experts. You can read more about our commitment to accuracy, fairness and transparency in our editorial guidelines.
- J.D. Power. (2023, April 4). Investor Satisfaction With Full-Service Financial Advisors Crumbles as Markets Fall, J.D. Power Finds. Retrieved from https://www.jdpower.com/business/press-releases/2023-us-full-service-investor-satisfaction-study
- U.S. News & World Report. (2023, March 20). 10 of the Best Performing 401(k) Funds. Retrieved from https://money.usnews.com/investing/funds/slideshows/best-performing-401-k-funds
- ETF. (2023, January 5). ETF League Table as of January 4, 2023. Retrieved from https://www.etf.com/sections/etf-league-tables/etf-league-table-2023-01-04
- J.D. Power. (2022, November 22). Wealth Management Apps Essential To Attracting and Retaining Younger Investors, J.D. Power Finds. Retrieved from https://www.jdpower.com/business/press-releases/2022-us-wealth-management-digital-experience-study
- Charles Schwab. (n.d.). Schwab Intelligent Portfolios. Retrieved from https://www.schwab.com/intelligent-portfolios
- Charles Schwab. (n.d.). Schwab Wealth Advisory. Retrieved from https://www.schwab.com/wealth-management/wealth-advisor#bcn-accordion-109411-bcn-accordion-item-109401
- Fidelity. (n.d.). Fidelity Managed FidFolios. Retrieved from https://digital.fidelity.com/prgw/digital/msw/overview/a
- Fidelity. (n.d.). Fidelity Wealth Management. Retrieved from https://www.fidelity.com/wealth-management/overview
- Vanguard. (n.d.). Vanguard Personal Advisor. Retrieved from https://investor.vanguard.com/advice/personal-hybrid-robo-advisor
- Vanguard. (n.d.). Vanguard Personal Advisor Select. Retrieved from https://investor.vanguard.com/advice/personal-financial-advisor
- Wealthfront. (n.d.). Wealthfront. Retrieved from https://www.wealthfront.com/investing
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