Financial advisors are professionals who deliver financial planning services and investment advice to individuals, companies, and governments. They assist clients to meet their financial goals such as savings, retirement planning, taxes treatment and will. For example, a financial advisor will recommend a married couple who is trying to save for their children's education expenses to invest in an education savings plan like the 529 plan, whereas a client reaching her forties to invest in the Roth 401(k)/403(b) plan. In general, a financial advisor's responsibility is to determine his or her client's financial goal and risk tolerance and recommend investment strategies accordingly. Financial advisors can help clients invest in financial products like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, REITs, options, futures and other financial derivatives.
In the United States, financial advisors must be registered under the SEC if they have $25 million or more asset under management (AUM). As for assets under $25 million, financial advisors must register under state securities agency where they have their principal place of business. SEC's definition of AUM is defined in the Form ADV Part 1.
Financial advisors can be pension fund managers, trust fund managers, mutual fund managers as well as individuals, partnerships, or corporations who are registered.
Fee-only - Fee-only advisors charges a flat hourly rate for his or her services.
Fee-based - Fee-based advisors charge both fees and collect commissions. The commissions that these type of financial advisors receive are based on the various financial products they broker.
Client-centered - Client-centered advisors charge a fee based on the assets managed for their clients, rather than by an hourly rate.
|Rank||Company||Fee-based AUM as of 12/31/2008 ($ Bil)|
|2||Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services||$290.4|
|3||TD Ameritrade Institutional||$80.0|
|4||Pershing Advisor Solutions LLC||$60.2|
|6||Raymond James Financial Services, Inc||$32.4|
|8||Commonwealth Financial Network||$14.7|
|9||Cambridge Investment Research, Inc||$13.0|
|10||Royal Alliance Associates||$12.2|
|11||Securities America Advisors, Inc||$11.2|
|12||FSC Securities Corporation||$9.8|
|14||Financial Network Investment Corp., AN ING Co||$8.7|
|15||Trust Company of America||$7.0|
|16||NFP Securities, Inc||$6.7|
|18||Mutual Service Corporation||$4.5|
|19||Triad Advisors, Inc||$4.0|
|20||H.D. Vest Financial Services||$3.96|
|21||Securian Financial Services, Inc||$3.95|
|22||National Planning Corporation (NPC||$3.2|
|23||Genworth Financial Advisers Corp||$3.1|
|24||Multi-Financial Securities Corp||$3.0|
|25||Waterstone Financial Group||$2.8|
|27||ING Financial Partners, An ING Co||$2.5|
|28||Capital Analysts Incorporated||$2.3|
|29||Genos Wealth Management||$2.0|
|31||Shareholders Service Group||$1.9|
|32||VSR Financial Services Inc||$1.8|
|33||SII Investments Inc||$1.6|
|34||Invest Financial Corporation||$1.6|
|35||Securities Service Network Inc||$1.6|
|36||Woodbury Financial Services||$1.59|
|37||Ameritas Investment Corp||$1.54|
|38||United Planners Financial Services||$1.46|
|39||Cadaret, Grant & Co, Inc||$1.27|
|40||Equity Services, Inc||$1.05|
|41||Capital Financial Group/H.Beck Inc||$1.0|
|42||Comprehensive Group, The||$1.0|
|43||Investment Center Inc, The||$1.0|
|45||American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc||$0.936|
|46||Independent Financial Group||$0.932|
|47||Associated Securities Corp||$0.9|
|48||Pacific West Financial Group||$0.846|
|50||Sigma Financial Corporation||$0.76|