San Francisco Wealth Management For Ultra-High Net Worth Investor
Looking for the best San Francisco wealth management companies? These days, it seems nearly every big bank, investment firm, and discount brokerage now offers wealth management services as one of their packages. Many of these big companies are also publicly traded.
Pillar Wealth Management, a company that is located in the San Francisco bay area, is a private company that quietly serves high and ultra-high net worth clients with $5 million to $500 million in investable assets. Use our ultimate guide to help choose the best firm, for investors with $5 million or more. At Pillar Private Wealth Management, we can offer you wealth management services and financial advisors in San Francisco CA, to streamline your financial planning and achieve your retirement goals. Our firm holds over 60 years of combined experience in offering fiduciary advisory services to high net worth and ultra-high net worth clients. Click here to schedule a conversation with us.
We Are Different Because We Are Laser Focused On Helping You Achieve Financial Serenity Through Our Proven Comprehensive Goals-Based Planning & Investing Strategies.
If you live anywhere in the San Francisco Bay area, from Napa to San Jose or somewhere in between, you’re about to learn why private wealth management companies can actually do far more than large and public ones to effectively serve high net worth and ultra-high net worth families.
Here are 10 reasons boutique private companies make stronger long-term wealth management partners.
1.Wealth Management is All We Do
Which company is more likely to be a “better steward of your wealth,” as Forbes puts it?
A company that offers wealth management services as one of many services, where their primary business focuses on banking, lending, or money management? Or a company whose sole devotion is to the wealth management of their clients?
If wealth management is just one of many services offered by large wealth management firms, you can easily become an afterthought. Besides offering a management service, the company also offers you financial services that can help your needs. You’re just a division on an org chart, one piece of the pie. Part of a department the company can decide to devote more resources to, or not. Basically, wealth management provides portfolio management services, short and long-term retirement planning, insurance and risk management, estate planning, and many more.
Testimonial From Satisfied Clients
At a private wealth management company, you are the business. You’re it. Your financial security and prosperity occupy the pre-eminent position in the minds of everyone at that company. You’re not just a customer. You’re known, individually. Were you to leave for any reason, they would feel the loss.
Again, as Forbes puts it, “true wealth management” isn’t just about what you earn each quarter, “but rather what you keep over the long term.” This is what we mean by “optimized performance” and you can see how we achieve it in this guide on improving portfolio performance for high net worth investors.
Private wealth managers partner with you for extended periods of your life. They will be walking with you through good times and bad, keeping your future financially secure, well-managed, and well-planned. Talk to us and see how we would achieve financial serenity for you.
Wealth managers typically work with high-net-worth individuals, that is, individuals with at least $1 million in liquid assets. You could consider it with less if your financial situation is complex.
Paying wealth management fees is worthwhile if you have a trusting relationship with your advisor and feel that your returns significantly exceed what you pay in fees.
According to Forbes, some of the best wealth management teams are VMT Wealth Management at Merrill Lynch, The MPW Group at Morgan Stanley, and the Burish Group at UBS Wealth Management.
You need a wealth manager if you find it hard to manage your assets on your own. You can also benefit from the expertise of a wealth manager to protect and grow your wealth.
A financial advisor will work with any individual who would like help managing their finances, whereas a wealth manager advises individuals with high net worth.
They are slightly different aspects of investment management. Investment banks sell financial products, and wealth managers buy them for their clients. Investment banks work with businesses more than individuals.
Millionaires use advisors to create a financial plan that will protect and grow their wealth, ensure a comfortable retirement, and develop a strategy for transferring wealth to their beneficiaries.
Wealth management is a process where a financial advisor works with a high-net-worth individual to develop a financial plan that, when implemented, will satisfy the financial goals of the client.
Wealth management comprises services for wealthy individuals to manage their finances, including investment and asset management, retirement planning, tax minimization, and estate/trust management.
Wealth management functions as a service to help wealthy individuals protect and grow their wealth through the implementation of a financial plan that reflects their goals and risk level.
2.We Have a Culture You Can Align With
A private wealth manager will (most likely) take the time to understand your business, your personal goals, and your life ambitions. They should be deeply concerned with helping you achieve all your greatest dreams and aspirations.
That said, not all private wealth managers are the same, and you must take your time to evaluate if their culture aligns with your priorities. Your investment philosophy should reflect theirs. What you care about most in terms of money and investing should reflect their culture and investment philosophy.
When you meet with a wealth manager, you should interview them just as if you’re hiring a new employee. See10 questions to ask your prospective wealth managers.
3.We Develop Customized Investment Plans
You want a wealth manager who customizes each investment plan to the individual. You do not want one who uses the same model for every client. Even having a few choices for different models to choose from, perhaps based on different levels of risk tolerance, does not serve you as effectively as a customized approach. If you own quite huge assets that need to be invested, choosing investment management services must be selective.
A customized investment plan gets built around your life situation, your financial assets, and your goals and lifestyle plans.
Where do you want to be in 20 years? What do you want your money to accomplish? How much do you want to give away, spend, and pass on to heirs? Are you prepared for the unexpected, such as medical surprises or economically destructive world events?
Why a Customized Plan Is Superior
With a customized plan, you won’t look at the raw investment performance of a wealth manager’s other clients as a gauge for how well he or she has performed. Instead, investment management services can help you to look at the history of financial achievements. If their clients will attest that this manager has helped them live a life of financial freedom and serenity, free from worry, liberated to live without having to spend time managing all their financial affairs, then you know that wealth manager is performing at a high level.
This is because each customized plan will be built around different outcomes. For one client, just in terms of growth, 5% might be all they need. For another, it might be 10%. The reasons why these clients have different goals matter as much as the wealth manager’s ability to achieve both targets. This is one of five major shifts to maximizing your portfolio’s growth. Click here to read our guide on other critical shifts that drive portfolio performance.
Another good metric to evaluate a wealth manager: Retention rate. If they have numerous clients who have been with them for 10, 20, 30 years, that’s a strong indicator that this person gives superb service and achieves high performance.
Larger firms are more likely to use a cookie-cutter approach, using the same models and basic plan structures for the majority of their clients.
4. Private Wealth Advisors Won’t Pawn You Off
With a smaller firm on your side, you can assure yourself that your advisor will be your advisor for the long haul.
It’s incredibly frustrating to sit through all the onboarding meetings and consultations, feel like you have a great rapport with someone, and then get passed off to some other worker at the company a couple of of weeks later. Kind of like your mortgage is sold to a new company every few months.
For instance, Pillar has just two wealth managers – Hutch Ashoo and Chris Snyder. Whichever of us develops your customized financial plan will be the person who walks with you for the foreseeable future. We will not pass you off, because we have no one to pass you off to. It’s just us! Talk to us and get a free wealth management analysis. Find out where you stand and what’s possible for your future.
And this leads to reason #5.
5.Private San Francisco Wealth Management Companies Cap Their Number of Clients
Each wealth manager can only effectively work with a certain number of high net worth and ultra-high net worth investors. The work is simply too involved to take on unlimited clients. And unlike the larger firms, boutique wealth management companies will not just go out and hire more advisors to handle the volume.
That’s not how we operate.
When we reach our limit, we stop accepting new clients. A private wealth manager should refuse to compromise on the quality of their service and their devotion to each client.
If your current financial advisor isn’t delivering the type of service you expect, click here to read our exclusive guide on how to find a financial advisor for high net worth investors.
6.Your Wealth Manager Should Be a Fiduciary
This cannot be overstated. And not all private wealth managers are fiduciaries either. But the large public ones are more unlikely to be.
A fiduciary wealth manager must operate solely in the best interests of the client.
This means, for one, they won’t offer you proprietary investment vehicles just because those plans make them more money. They will build a customized plan that attempts to serve your interests first and only.
Fiduciary also means they will not charge commissions for the sale of certain investment products, such as annuities, or particular funds. Or if they did, they would disclose it plainly and explain why it’s still in your best interests. Though the reality is, that’s pretty rare.
You want a fee-only fiduciary wealth manager, where the fee is known, transparent, and in most cases, unchanging. Fee-only means they charge a set fee, usually a percentage of your total invested assets. Some advisors charge flat fees or hourly, but this is actually a warning sign that you might want to look for a different wealth manager.
Pillar charges a flat 1% fee. No commissions. No additional fees for other services. One all-inclusive rate.
7.We Actually Return Your Calls
Part of the motivation for limiting our client numbers is so we can confidently assure you that when you need to reach your wealth manager, you’ll be able to.
You won’t get caught in a phone tree for 20 minutes and end up talking to a different person each time you call. You’ll speak with the same trusted wealth manager every time. And because you’re known, you won’t have to waste time verifying your information every single time you call. We already know you.
We’ll know you just by your voice before too long.
In general, private wealth managers are easier to communicate with by phone, email, or otherwise. Click here for a free consultation and find out how easy we are to reach.
This is something you certainly want to ask about in your initial meeting with a prospective wealth manager. The worst possible outcome is to end up with a wealth manager who doesn’t care, doesn’t return your calls, and can’t answer your hardest (and most important) questions.
8.Private Wealth Advisors Deliver More Value
This Investopedia article recommends not shopping for a wealth advisor on price, but on value. It’s smart investment advice.
For one, the majority of wealth managers charge pretty similar fees, assuming they’re fee-only advisors. The differences are minor compared to the value of their full line of services. That’s where you want to spend your time getting some details.
For instance, some private wealth managers will help you with questions related to other areas besides just your portfolio. Each of these plays a role in your broader goal of not just growing wealth, but protecting it, as this book explores in great detail. At Pillar, we also help you with:
• Tax accounting and strategic planning
• Legal planning
• Trust services
• Banking services
• Philanthropic planning
• Real estate questions
• Cash flow analysis
• Business mergers and acquisitions
• Insurance analysis
• Wealth planning
• Financial planning
If you need a specialist in these areas with more expertise than us, we will help you find one. All you need to do is come to our office and see how our investment management services work. More than likely, we already know a few of the specialists in the San Francisco Bay area because we’ve been at this for a while.
And – all of this is included in our 1% fee.
Consider that. This is what the Investopedia writer meant by ‘value.’ If another wealth manager charges .8%, but charges extra for all those additional services (or doesn’t offer them at all), then what are you really getting for that 0.2% savings?
You’re getting a lot of extra work at your own expense when life happens, as it surely will one day.
To learn more about how we can help you secure your assets and deliver value-based services, click here to order a free hardcover copy of our book, The Art of Protecting Ultra-High Net Worth Portfolios and Estates – Strategies For Families Worth $25 Million To $500 Million.
9.Private Wealth Managers Can Describe Their Ideal Client
With large firms, their ideal client is anyone who comes through the door with money to invest, because more clients mean more revenue. If they’re a public company, that’s what counts.
But a private wealth management company will be more selective in who they work with.
They will tell you if you’re not a good fit, and will likely recommend some other wealth manager options for you in that event. It’s more important to a wealth manager to work with their ideal clients than to just increase revenue.
If you are an ultra-high net worth investor with $10 million in liquid assets, click here to read our guide on how to find a financial advisor who can understand your requirements.
10.Private Managers Will Be More Experienced
More than likely, a private advisor in a San Francisco wealth management company will be someone with deep and rich industry experience, working exclusively with high net worth and ultra-high net worth clients.
You should expect to be asked for a minimum investable assets amount before you can work with a wealth manager. Pillar’s minimum is $5 million.
We have over 30 years of relationships working with high net worth clients, and with a track record of achievement trailing us the whole way.
But ‘experience’ must be measured in more than just years. You can do something for a long time and still not be very good at it. Our investment management services have led to the development of an innovative approach to creating truly customized investment plans.
We’d love to walk you through our process.
One of the outputs you will receive is a picture of your financial security for the foreseeable future. We call this the Comfort Zone, and after we take you through a free Wealth Management Analysis meeting you’ll find out what it is, and if you’re in it. If you’re not, we’ll talk to you about what steps you can take to improve your long-term security.
Top Financial Advisors in San Francisco, CA
In June 2022, Smartasset.com ranked the following companies as the top 10 financial advisors. These firms offer financial planning services primarily to individuals and have no disclosures on their records with the SEC. Firms with a fee-only compensation structure are ranked higher, as are those with more assets under management.
1. Hall Capital Partners
Hall Capital Partners is a fee-only firm that was founded in 1994. It is privately owned by its partners. It has 29 advisors, some of whom are chartered financial analysts. It has over $55 billion in assets under management.
Hall Capital Partners provides services to high-net-worth individuals and families, institutions, pension plans, charitable organizations, and investment advisors.
The firm’s main investment vehicles are customized portfolios, funds of funds it manages, and alternative investments, which are used to diversify its clients’ portfolios. It has a research group that analyzes investment opportunities.
2. Jordan Park Group
Jordan Park Group, founded in 2017, has over $17 billion in assets under management. It is a multi-family office with 57 advisors and is owned by its CEO. Its clients typically have more than $100 million in investable assets.
Some of the firm’s other clients are businesses and charitable organizations. Its managed access vehicles have a performance-based fee although the firm is a fiduciary.
The firm’s clients work with an investment manager who makes investment decisions based on the clients’ objectives. A client may have an account to invest directly or an access vehicle with commingled funds.
3. Baker Street Advisors
Baker Street Advisors is a fee-only investment firm established in 2003. It has over $14 billion in assets under management and 12 advisors. Opening an account requires a minimum of $5 million.
The firm provides services to clients’ trusts, estates, and pension plans. It offers investment management, wealth planning, and family office services such as business succession and tax and estate planning.
The firm’s investment management strategy focuses on diversifying assets, keeping fees to a minimum, pursuing active management only when there is great opportunity, and using investment research to build asset portfolios that maximize returns.
4. Parallel Advisors
Parallel Advisors was founded in 2006 as a fee-only investment firm catering to individuals, pension plans, businesses, trusts, estates, and charitable organizations.
The firm has over $5 billion in assets under management and has 36 advisors with a range of certifications.
Parallel Advisors offers asset management, financial plans, retirement planning, estate planning, and building philanthropic strategies.
The firm favors long-term investing combined with short-term securities purchases, as well as utilizing research and analysis methods. Asset classes are evaluated from the perspective of risk and diversification.
5. Wetherby Asset Management
Wetherby Asset Management was founded in 1990 by Debra Wetherby and has 57 advisors and over $7 billion in assets under management. The firm now has 21 employee shareholders owning the business.
The minimum account investment is $10 million. These clients are individuals, pension plans, foundations, trusts, and estates.
Most of Wetherby’s clients have asset allocations at around 60%–70% equities, with some up to 90% and some as low as 20% in stocks. The average portfolio contains between 15 and 20 active and passive mutual funds and ETFs. The firm uses third-party managers to ensure diversification.
Portfolios are customized based on the clients’ goals. The advisor works with the client to include impact investing in the portfolio with a layer of general ESG.
6. Seven Post Investment
Seven Post Investment was founded in 2011 and is 100% employee-owned. It is a fee-only fiduciary advisor to over 50 families and institutions. It has 13 advisors and manages close to $7 billion in assets.
The account minimum is $100 million in investable assets.
The firm manages broadly diversified, global, multi-asset class portfolios that include real estate and private assets. Seven Post customizes its services to fit clients' specific investment and management needs based on initial evaluations and ongoing conversations. Assets are invested in both ETFs and active vehicles.
The firm identifies potential investment risks through its research, establishing opportunities for its clients.
7. Osterweis Capital Management
Osterweis Capital Management has over $7 billion in assets under management. It is a fee-only firm established in 1983 and has 18 advisors. It is privately owned by employees and two outside directors.
The firm offers mutual fund accounts, IRA accounts, and managed accounts. It offers wealth management services through its Private Client group. The Osterweis Funds are available through most brokerage firms.
The firm’s investment approach relies on building client portfolios to meet long-term wealth goals. The team relies on their experience selecting 30–40 stocks and carefully chosen bonds with a willingness to hold cash when necessary.
The firm’s various strategies have account minimums of $5 million, $25 million, and $250 million.
The advisory fee paid by clients is the firm’s sole source of revenue, eliminating any conflicts of interest.
8. Perigon Wealth Management
Perigon Wealth Management is a fee-based investment company founded in 2004. It has over $3 billion in assets under management and 42 advisors. While its advisors may earn commissions, the firm is a fiduciary.
The firm offers financial services to individuals, corporations, pension plans, as well as high-net-worth investors. Advisors build portfolios based on client needs, including mutual funds, ETFs, stocks, bonds, and options. The firm offers customized portfolios as well as its own model portfolios.
9. Resolute Partners Group
Resolute Partners Group (RPG) has over $4 billion in assets under management, four advisors, and two managing partners. It was founded in 2019 and is a fee-only investment firm. A client account has a minimum of $10 million in investable assets.
RPG is committed to client service. As a result, they work with very few clients. Clients’ portfolios are entirely customized based on the clients’ needs and goals. RPG’s partners are its customers, who want to become better investors by working with RPG to optimize their financial plans.
10. Asset Dedication
Asset Dedication was founded in 2002 as a fee-only investment firm. It now has over $2 billion in assets under management and 10 advisors.
Asset Dedication offers turnkey asset management for financial planners, aligning investments with each client's financial plan. Its strategies include Intelligent Laddering, Growth Time Targeting, Principal protection, and Lifetime Investing.
Asset Dedication’s back-office solutions for financial planners include, for each of their clients, performance reporting, daily reconciliation, and fee calculation.
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