Bankrate evaluated financial advisors in a variety of different areas. Detailed information on how Bankrate researched advisors and the factors that are important are below.

Factors used to determine the best financial advisors:

  • Assets under management (AUM)
  • Fees
  • Services offered
  • Account minimums
  • Independent client satisfaction survey

How we research financial advisors

Bankrate reviewed dozens of financial advisors to arrive at its list of the best financial advisors. We researched firms by using publicly available information from firms’ websites and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, such as Form ADV and Form CRS.

What matters to us when reviewing financial advisors

Bankrate evaluated firms in different areas and gave credit to financial advisors with client-friendly offerings.

Bankrate considered the amount of client assets under management. While not a perfect indicator of a good advisor, firms with large AUM levels have established relationships with large numbers of clients and it may translate to lower fees.
The amount a client would pay for financial advisor services is often the most important consideration when choosing an advisor. Fees can vary widely throughout the industry, but firms were given credit for having lower costs.
Services offered
Some financial advisory firms offer only basic services, while others offer a broad range of financial services, including tax preparation and estate planning. Firms were given credit for providing a greater number of services beyond basic financial planning.
Account minimums
The amount of money you’ll need to get started with an advisor can vary significantly from one firm to the next. Some firms require millions to get started, while others will start working with smaller sums. Financial advisors were rewarded for having lower account minimums.
Client satisfaction survey
We used an independent client satisfaction survey as another tool to evaluate advisors.