The CNBC editorial team presents our second annual list of the top 100 wealth management firms (fee only). Click here for the full financial and contact details of the top firms for 2015.
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 with 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.