The Best Investment Advisors of 2023
Many large companies offer both investment options and investment advisors that can help individuals make the best financial choices for themselves. Investment advisors can be beneficial — particularly to high net worth individuals — in helping to grow and advance their wealth.
- 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 ByThomas J. Brock, CFA®, CPA
Thomas J. Brock, CFA®, CPA
Thomas Brock, CFA®, CPA, is a financial professional with over 20 years of experience in investments, corporate finance and accounting. He currently oversees the investment operation for a $4 billion super-regional insurance carrier.Read More
- Updated: June 5, 2023
- 5 min read time
- This page features 11 Cited Research ArticlesOur Criteria
In order 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 investment firms and financial institutions 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, 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 of services offered by the company, the costs, commissions and minimum accounts associated with those services, the user-friendliness of the company’s website along with transparency of offerings, and whether companies placed — and how well they fared — in the 2023 J.D. Power U.S. Full-Service Investor Satisfaction Study.
Learn more about our broader Editorial Guidelines.Unless you have an extensive financial background and are well-versed in the complexities of investing, leveraging the expertise of an investment advisor is highly recommended. An investment advisor can help ensure you are positioned for the future, and he or she can provide valuable education and advice to help you address inevitable economic challenges and uncertainties.
Editor’s Choice: Best OverallGREAT FOR: HIGH INVESTOR SATISFACTION
One of the largest financial service and wealth management companies in the world, Charles Schwab is our pick for best overall investment advisor due to its long track record of success, diversity of services offered and its top score in the J.D. Power Investor Satisfaction Study.Pros & ConsPros
- Industry-high investor satisfaction
- Strong diversity of services offered
- Track record of success for clients
- Does not offer trading of cryptocurrency
Charles Schwab is our pick for the top investment advisor in 2023 partly due to its stellar customer satisfaction. The company is rated at the top of the JD Power Investor Satisfaction Study by a significant margin and has established a years-long track record of success for its clients.
Its services are numerous as well, making it a potentially strong choice for many different types of investors. The company offers a low-cost and effective robo-advisor, as well as diverse investment choices and strategies ranging across mutual funds, ETFs, stocks and bonds.
The company features enticing options for high net worth individuals, such as the Schwab Wealth Advisory package that starts at a 0.80% fee and with an account minimum of $1 million. The company’s website is also largely transparent about fees and services offered and features straightforward ways to get started.
Best for BeginnersGREAT FOR: NEW INVESTORS
Fidelity offers similar services to many other investment firms and portfolio managers. But its intuitive, information-filled website and Fidelity Starter Pack make it a strong option for beginners.Pros & ConsPros
- Good options for beginners
- Generally low costs compared to some competitors
- Intuitive and easy-to-use website and services
- Trails Charles Schwab in investor satisfaction
If you’re new to investing or starting from scratch, Fidelity may be an option to consider. The company has the size and variety of services as many of its competitors but features intuitive services that help make it easy to get started, along with a website packed with helpful information.
Fidelity also offers the Fidelity Starter Pack, a ready-made method to getting started in investing that includes the creation of both an investment account and an everyday spending account. The company is transparent about services and pricing, which compare favorably with the industry.
Fidelity also scored an above-industry-average ranking in the J.D. Power Investor Satisfaction Survey, but still trailed Charles Schwab.
Best for Low CostGREAT FOR: REASONABLE PRICINGPros & ConsPros
- Generally low costs
- Mutual fund expense ratio significantly below the industry average
- Below-industry-average rating in J.D. Power Full-Service Investor Satisfaction Study
Many investment firms and portfolio managers offer low and competitive pricing on various services, and Vanguard is no different. One area where the company truly stands out is on mutual funds.
According to Vanguard’s website, its average mutual fund expense ratio is 82% below the industry average. But the lower costs don’t correlate to lower returns, with 100% of Vanguard funds outperforming peer averages.
Vanguard also offers a robo-advisor at a low cost (though not at an industry low) for those looking for an automated option.
But despite the lower prices and variety of services offered, Vanguard does trail in customer satisfaction. It came in below the industry average in the J.D. Power Investor Satisfaction Study, trailing both Charles Schwab and Fidelity.
Best Among Robo OptionsGREAT FOR: AUTOMATED INVESTING
For those considering robo-advisors, Wealthfront is a large player in the space with a growing track record of strong returns for clients.Pros & ConsPros
- History of strong returns
- Tax loss harvesting and direct indexing offered
- Not as simple to navigate as some other robo-advisors
- Naturally not as robust as working with a standard advisor
Robo-advisors have grown in popularity in recent years, giving consumers a new and effective way to take part in investing.
Wealthfront stands out in part due to its history of sizeable returns on its clients’ investments. According to the company’s website, portfolios with the most commonly selected risk score grew by 6.64% since 2011.
As far as automated options, Wealthfront allows for a solid amount of customization to help users settle on the appropriate amount of risk and size of investment before letting the service go to work and start investing those assets in places that make sense.
It can be an effective option for those looking to grow their investments in a more hands-off approach than opting for a traditional portfolio management company. But, as with other robo-advisors, it’s important to remember that Wealthfront naturally may offer services less specifically catered to your needs than working with an advisor through a major investment firm.
Best for High Net Worth IndividualsGREAT FOR: SECURITY OF A LARGE COMPANY
As one of the largest companies in the world, BlackRocks’s security comes with its size. While the company offers services for companies and large clients, it includes robust options for individuals as well through its investment management arm.Pros & ConsPros
- Security that comes with working with a massive company
- Wide range of services for individuals offered
- Size and scope can lead to more complexity for clients.
With a companywide AUM in the trillions, BlackRock is the largest option available to consumers looking for investment advisors. While the company may be more well known for its work with corporations and companies, it does offer strong individual services through its investment management arm that can be appealing to high net worth individuals.
The company offers a wide range of investment options at varying levels, ranging from cash funds to real estate investments. Its diversity of services allows it to meet the needs of many different clients depending on what they are looking for, whether that’s full-on asset management or making more focused investments.
BlackRock also offers an automated investment option through Aladdin, its robo-advisor. The cost of BlackRock’s portfolio management and investment options can vary significantly depending on the service, along with the account minimum.
The company’s website is also not as readily transparent and easy to navigate for prices and options as their competitors are. But BlackRock’s financial backing and size can provide attractive security to those looking to work with a large company.
Others We Considered
- JPMorgan: The company was considered due to meeting the methodology requirements but was not selected due to its below industry average ratings in the J.D. Power Investor Satisfaction Study and higher fees than Vanguard.
- Betterment: The company was considered due to meeting the methodology requirements, but Wealthfront was selected due to its risk score customizability and historically high returns on commonly used risk scores.
- Morgan Stanley: The company was considered due to meeting the methodology requirements but was not selected due to its below industry average ratings in the J.D. Power Investor Satisfaction Study and Digital Experience Study.
What Does an Investment Advisor Do?
Investment advisors and investment firms offer services to help manage and grow the wealth of individuals who choose to trust their company.
Managing your finances, particularly if you are a high net worth individual, can be a daunting task. Investment firms can take over that management, offering tailored advice and insights to help grow that wealth and achieve financial goals.Benefits of Working With an Investment or Brokerage Firm
- Access to professional advice
- Creation of a plan tailored directly to your needs
- Ability to grow and advance your wealth
These companies can also offer a wide range of financial services and access to different financial products.
These options can range from simple investment services (or even robo-advisors) that invest your wealth in various funds with the goal of generating a return over time to full-on investment packages where you work with an advisor to manage your finances and map out a path to achieving your financial goals.
Wealth can be grown in many ways, from opting for mutual funds to strategically investing in stocks and bonds.
Selecting the Right Investment Advisor for You
Not all financial situations are the same and many different factors will go into determining which investment advisor is the right choice for you.
What your exact financial needs are will play a big role. A good first step can be to determine what you are looking for — whether it is simply setting up an investment account or looking for a company to dramatically alter or handle the bulk of your finances.What To Consider When Selecting an Investment Advisor
- Your financial needs
- The breadth and scope of services you are looking for
- Your risk tolerance
- Your investment preferences
Cost and rates will play a role as well. Different companies offer different commissions on accounts and may also differ in their set account minimums. More robust services and packages often include higher account minimums.
The risk level you are comfortable with may also be a factor to consider since it can have a large part in shaping your investment strategy. Which options and companies make the most sense to you may vary depending on how much risk you are willing to take on in growing your wealth.
Frequently Asked Questions About Investment AdvisorsHow are investment advisors different from regular financial advisors?There is a significant amount of overlap among the companies and firms that offer both standard financial advice and investment-specific advice. Leaning towards investing means that you are focused on growing your existing wealth versus maintaining what you have.Should high net worth individuals consider an investment advisor?Working with an investment advisor may make sense for some high net worth individuals. Investment firms offer many options with varying degrees of risk that can help those with existing wealth expand on what they have through smart investing.How much does an investment advisor typically cost?The cost of working with an investment firm can vary heavily. The cost is often measured as a percentage of the assets managed. Depending on the service and company, that figure can range from anywhere from as low as 0.25% to well over 1%.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
- BlackRock. (n.d.). Fund Charges. Retrieved from https://www.blackrock.com/uk/professionals/solutions/fund-charges
- BlackRock. (n.d.). How To Invest. Retrieved from https://www.blackrock.com/us/individual/education/how-to-invest
- Charles Schwab. (n.d.). Cryptocurrency and Investing. Retrieved from https://www.schwab.com/cryptocurrency
- Charles Schwab. (n.d.). Trading Fees and Commissions. Retrieved from https://www.schwab.com/pricing
- Fidelity. (n.d.). Take the First Step Toward Investing With the Fidelity Starter Pack. Retrieved from https://www.fidelity.com/go/starter-pack
- Vanguard. (n.d.). Retirement. Retrieved from https://investor.vanguard.com/investor-resources-education/retirement
- Vanguard. (n.d.) See the Difference Low Cost Funds can Make. Retrieved from https://investor.vanguard.com/investment-products/mutual-funds/low-cost
- Wealthfront. (n.d.). Wealthfront. Retrieved from https://www.wealthfront.com/investing
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