Have Any Questions?
+1 (800) 669-6780

Best Certified Financial Planner

As a high net worth or ultra-high net worth individual, maintaining and growing your wealth is an essential task. This can prove to be difficult, as large investment portfolios typically need specialized management given their size.

7 Secrets minified


7 Secrets To High Net Worth Investment Management, Estate, Tax and Financial Planning

The insights you’ll discover from our published book will help you integrate a variety of wealth management tools with financial planning, providing guidance for your future security alongside complex financial strategies, so your human and financial capital will both flourish.

Clients frequently share with us how the knowledge gained from this book helped provide them tremendous clarity, shattering industry-pitched ideologies, while offering insight and direction in making such important financial decisions.

But who do you turn to when you are looking for investment advice or financial planning services? If you have over $10 million to invest then you should check out this guide for $10+ million investors.

Whether you are looking for analysis on stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, or you want someone to help you build a financial plan or manage your complete investment portfolio, a financial advisor is usually the best fit for the job. This is especially true if you have a large investment portfolio.

With over 30 years of experience working with affluent clients that have investment portfolios of $10 million and above, Pillar Wealth Management LLC understands perfectly the unique demands of financial planning for high net worth individuals and families.

If you need assistance in preparing a financial plan for your investment portfolio, you can schedule a free consultation call with the co-founders of Pillar Wealth Management LLC, Chris Snyder, and Hutch Ashoo.

This article will examine what a financial advisor is and help you understand the types of financial advisors that there are. You’ll also learn how to select the best financial advisor to suit your personal financial situation. The article was prepared by Pillar Wealth Management LLC, a wealth advisory firm that caters to high net worth individuals with $5 million to $500 million in liquid assets.

10 Best Financial Certifications

10 Best Financial Certifications

1. Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

Certified financial planners (CFPs) must have a bachelor’s degree. They must have three years of full-time personal financial planning experience or the equivalent part-time experience (6,000 hours).

They have either completed a CFP-board registered program or hold either a Ph.D. in a finance area, an attorney’s license, a Ph.D. in business administration, or a CFA, CLU, ChFC, or CPA designation.

The CFP must pass a proctored final certification exam and complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years.

2. Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)

This designation is issued by The American College of Financial Services and requires attending eight of its online self-study courses.

Chartered financial consultants must have a high school diploma and three years of full-time business experience within the five years preceding the designation award.

The ChFC must pass closed-book, proctored, final course exams and complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years.

3. Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

This designation is issued by the CFA Institute.

To enroll in the CFA Program, the candidate must either hold a bachelor’s or equivalent degree from a college/university or have 4,000 hours of qualified work experience in the investment decision-making process (accrued before, during, or after participation in the CFA Program).

A CFA must complete the CFA Institute self-study program and pass three in-person, proctored, closed-book, computer-based exams. There are no continuing education requirements.

4. Chartered Investment Counselor (CIC)

This designation is maintained by the Investment Advisor Association (although no longer offered). Currently, the IAA offers the Investment Adviser Certified Compliance Professional (IACCP) designation. The IACCP Program is designed for compliance professionals. The IAA also offers a certificate in blockchain and digital assets.

5. Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP)

This designation is issued by The American College of Financial Services. To qualify for this designation, the candidate must have a high school diploma and three years of relevant experience.

To be awarded the RICP designation, the candidate must complete three online, self-study courses within 12 months and pass closed-book, proctored exams. The RICP program is tailored for professionals seeking to specialize in retirement planning. The three-course package costs $2,450.

Every two years, the RICP must complete 30 hours of continuing education.

6. Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

The CPA designation is issued by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. Each state has its own board that grants the CPA certification and license.

For example, in New York State, the Board of Public Accountancy grants CPA licensure to applicants who have completed 150 semester hours of college credit and passed the Uniform CPA Exam. After passing the exam, the candidate must complete at least one year of experience in the accounting field.

7. Certified Management Accountant (CMA)

The CMA designation is currently offered by the Institute of Management Accountants, whose 2021 survey showed that CMAs earn 58% more than non-CMAs. CMAs are required to be active members of the IMA. CMAs specialize in financial planning for business organization and development.

Qualifying for the CMA designation requires a bachelor’s degree and two years of continuous work experience in management accounting or finance. There’s a two-part exam; one part focuses on financial planning, and the other part concentrates on strategic financial management.

Thirty hours of continuing education per year are required.

8. Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF)

This designation is issued by the Center for Fiduciary Studies, whose AIF training prepares financial advisors to carry out their fiduciary responsibilities.

The Center offers a Capstone course for $1,950 as classroom and virtual learning or a fully virtual course for $1,595. The course covers formalizing, implementing, and monitoring an investment strategy, in addition to the fundamentals of fiduciary responsibility.

The candidate for the AIF designation must complete AIF Training, pass the exam, meet the experience requirement, satisfy the code of ethics and standards, and pay dues. The experience requirement is either eight years of experience or 2–5 years with a professional credential (such as CFP, RICP, CPA, etc.) and a bachelor’s degree.

9. Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA)

The Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) Association issues the CAIA designation.

The CAIA designation is for professionals who want to acquire in-depth knowledge and expertise in alternative investments, such as private equity and hedge funds, and how they contribute to a diversified portfolio. The program has two levels of qualifying exams, with study materials available digitally.

Certification requires passing the exams, a bachelor’s degree and one year of business experience, or four years of experience.

10. Financial Risk Manager (FRM)

The FRM designation is issued by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP).

The FRM certification requires passing a two-part, multiple-choice paper exam, with GARP providing the study materials. Two years of full-time work experience accrued before or after passing the exams are required for certification. The program costs about $1,500.  

Forty hours of continuing education are recommended.

Loader image

The CFP designation is considered the highest in the industry due to its rigorous qualification requirements and the fact that a CFP is always a fiduciary.

The CFP designation is the most recognized financial planning credential.

A CFA is highly trained and experienced in investment decision-making but may be less highly skilled in other aspects of financial planning.

While both types can provide a wide range of financial advisory services, some advisors prefer to be called planners because they take a holistic approach to the client’s financial needs and wants.

A financial planner will normally charge a percentage of the value of the assets in the client’s investment account as an annual fee for managing these assets.

One type of planner focuses on investments while another type concentrates on the client’s complete financial situation. Some planners are brokers, that is, they trade in securities.

Both are highly regarded as designations; however, the CFA will have a strong focus on investing, while the CFP is concerned with all aspects of the client’s financial situation.

The CFP Board website has a search feature for finding a CFP. Get in touch with a few members who appeal to you and find out how they can help you achieve your financial goals.

There is only one level of CFP.

A CPA specializes in accounting (measuring, processing, and communicating financial information about an organization or business), while a financial planner is an expert in all financial advisory services.

Best Certified Financial Planner

Understand the types of Financial Advisors

  • Robo-advisors
  • Financial Planners

In the professional financial world, several people fall into the category of financial advisors. This is true as there are a lot of professionals that can provide financial advisory services of some sort. Bankers, insurance brokers, stockbrokers, and many other professionals in the financial sector all fall within this category.

Irrespective of their job title or description, the basic duty of any financial advisor or professional providing financial advisory services is to assist their clients in managing, protecting, and growing their wealth and investments.

However, the fact that many professionals can provide financial advisory services or even called themselves financial advisors does not mean that they are perfect for you and your unique needs. Most general financial professionals are more suited to answering the questions and providing services for the middle class.

As a high net worth or ultra-high-net-worth individual, you will have more complex financial needs, and we need more specialized knowledge to meet those needs. You can schedule a free consultation call with the co-founders of Pillar Wealth Management LLC, Chris Snyder, and Hutch Ashoo to help you figure how best to plan your family’s wealth and manage your investment portfolio.

It is, therefore, important that we look at the various types of financial advisors that are available and then decide which one would be a better fit for you.


Robo advisors are the first type of financial advisors that we will consider. A Robo-advisor is not like a traditional financial consultant; rather, robo-advisors are companies that use algorithms to select investments for their clients. In essence, computer software is what manages your investment portfolio for you.

But how does this work? To start with, you will take a survey where you will discuss your goals for your investment portfolio. Information such as the length of time you want to invest for, the reason for your investment, and many others will be collected.

The algorithm then decides how best to allocate your assets to achieve your financial goals. While robo-advisors and robo-investors are perfect for those with relatively simple investment goals, it likely will be inefficient for several reasons with more affluent clients.

The major challenge is the lack of a physical, financial advisor to provide advice. This means that there is no one to provide answers to any questions that you may have about your investment portfolio.

For example, if you would like to discuss inheritances or other complex financial situations, a robo-advisor is of little help. If you want to improve your portfolio performance, then get a copy of our guide, Improving Portfolio Performance: The Shifts Multi-Millionaires Must Make to Achieve Financial Security and Serenity.

Using a robo-advisor is only advisable for those that don’t need holistic financial planning services and would simply like their investments managed. There will be opportunities for tax planning and minimization that would be missed utilizing this option, however.

Financial Planners

Moving away from algorithms and computer software, another type of financial advisor that you can work with is a financial planner. A financial planner is a professional that works with you to develop a holistic financial plan so that you can achieve your investment goals.

When working with a financial planner, the major thing that they do is to work with you to determine what your financial goals are, and then help you plan a path to achieve those goals.

While this is a step up from using robo-advisors, using a financial planner alone cannot help you meet your financial goal. This is because, as a high net-worth individual, you will need more than just a financial plan to manage and protect your investment portfolio.

If you have an investment portfolio of $10 million and above, you need more hands and financial services than just a plan to manage and grow the portfolio.

Financial planners are limited in the services that they can offer you as most of them cannot buy or sell you the investment or securities that will help you achieve your plan. This means that you will need at least another financial professional to purchase bonds, stocks, mutual funds, and other investments that will help you achieve your financial goals.

Also, most financial advisors cannot answer questions about complex financial matters in detail. If you have questions about your investment portfolio, including how to protect and grow your wealth, schedule a free, no-obligation call with the co-founders of Pillar Wealth Management LLC, Chris Snyder, and Hutch Ashoo.

Investment Brokers Stock Brokers

Investment Brokers/Stock Brokers

Another type of financial advisor that you can work with and arguably the most popular, is a stockbroker. Stockbrokers or investment brokers are financial professionals that help clients manage their investment portfolios.

An investment broker is knowledgeable about investment solutions that can help you achieve your short and long-term investment goals. Working with a financial planner and an investment broker will help with creating a holistic financial plan and working towards creating an Investment portfolio that follows the guidelines laid out in the plan.

If you want more information about how to protect your wealth and investment portfolio, you can order for your copy of our hardcover book for free, The Art of Protecting Ultra-High Net Worth Portfolios and Estates: Strategies for Families Worth $25 Million to $500 Million. Put together by the team Pillar Wealth Management LLC; it will provide you with strategies for protecting and growing your wealth.

However, there is an inherent risk when you work with an investment broker. Investment brokers are paid on commission, which means that they get paid every time you buy or sell a security. On the surface, this does not look like a serious issue, but when you consider the regulations put in place on investment brokers, you realize that there can be a conflict of interest.

For instance, let’s assume that you are interested in creating a college fund for your kids. You then explain to your investment broker that you would like to know about investments that can help you grow the college fund. If you have the best investment broker, they will provide you with a list of the best investments that can help you achieve your goal, and of course, earn a commission on the purchase.

But what if another investment provides your stockbroker with more commission, but is not the best available investment. This is where the conflict of interest arises. Your stockbroker can suggest any investment that helps you meet your goals, even if it is not the best available investment for your goals.

Legally, your investment broker is not compelled to act in your best interest. As long as they can provide you with advice that somewhat matches your goals, they are free to do pretty much what they want.

Wealth Advisor

The last type of financial advisor that we’ll talk about is a wealth advisor. This is a financial professional that specializes in managing wealth for high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals.

A good wealth advisor will not necessarily be a certified financial planner, but will provide the services of a financial planner and an investment broker with experience gained over decades of managing high net worth clients and understanding their needs.

They usually work with you to determine just what your investment goals are and then work with you to create a plan that helps you achieve those goals. Then, they could help you put that plan to work by selecting the best possible investments to help you meet your financial goals.

Choosing a wealth advisor is a serious choice because you are trusting your life savings and substantial financial portfolio into their hands. It is, therefore, important that you select the wealth advisor that is the best fit for your unique financial situation.

As a high net worth individual with $5 million to $500 million in liquid assets, you will require specialized help to manage your investment portfolio.

You can schedule a free consultation call with the co-founders of Pillar Wealth Management LLC, Chris Snyder, and Hutch Ashoo. They’ll work closely with you to protect your investment portfolio.

Let’s take a look at how to select the best financial advisor for your investment portfolio.

Seek Financial Advisors with Reputable Credentials

We have established that the choice of a financial advisor is one that cannot be made lightly. If you do a quick google search for “financial advisors near me,” different financial professionals that offer several types of financial advisory services will popup.

But how do you know how to select the one that will be a perfect fit for your investment portfolio. To answer this question, you should get our guide, The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Financial Advisor: For Investors with $5 Million to $500 Million in Liquid Assets.

It was specially created by our team at Pillar Wealth Management LLC and will help you find the best financial advisor to help protect and build your investment portfolio.

We’ve already established that a wealth advisor is the best type of financial advisor for you as a high net worth or ultra-high net worth individual, but why exactly is that? This is because of fiduciary duty.

This is the major difference between a general investment broker and a registered wealth advisor. A registered wealth advisor has an obligation, backed by law, to always act in their client’s best interests.

This, a registered wealth advisor will only give investment advice or make changes to your investment portfolio when they believe that it will bring about the best results in achieving your goals.

Once a wealth advisor manages up to $25 million in assets, they register with their state government. When the person or firm reaches $100 million in assets managed, then they’ll register with the Security and Exchanges Commission (SEC).

When selecting a wealth advisor, you want to ensure that they work for a firm, registered as an investment advisor. This ensures that fiduciary duty is in place and enforced.

Best Certified Financial Planner 2

Know How Financial Advisors are Compensated

Understanding how financial advisors are compensated can allow you to gauge their motivations for working with you. Most financial advisors are paid by fees or commissions.

In many cases, when dealing with investments such as in the case of investment brokers and wealth advisors, they get paid on commission anytime you sell or buy a security. Other financial advisors, like financial planners, charge a flat fee that you pay for their services.

In the case of a wealth manager, often the fees are a small percentage based off the assets managed. This aligns interests between the wealth manager and the client, as the more money the client makes, the more fees are generated for the wealth manager.

Because of the fiduciary duty obligation, you can sleep well at night knowing your assets are protected and managed properly, without bias.

Schedule a free consultation with Pillar Wealth Management

If you are looking for a financial advisor, then you should use Pillar Wealth Management. With over 30 years of experience managing wealth for affluent clients, Pillar wealth Management is a wealth management firm that offers financial advisory services.

They specialize in family financial planning for families that are worth between $5 million and $500 million in liquid assets. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation call with our co-founders Hutch Ashoo and Chris Synder, who will help you decide how best to protect and manage your investments.


To be 100% transparent, we published this page to help filter through the mass influx of prospects, who come to us through our website and referrals, to gain only a handful of the right types of new clients who wish to engage us.

We enjoy working with high net worth and ultra-high net worth investors and families who want what we call financial serenity – the feeling that comes when you know your finances and the lifestyle you desire have been secured for life, and that you don’t have to do any of the work to manage and maintain it because you hired a trusted advisor to take care of everything.

You see, our goal is to only accept 17 new clients this year. Clients who have from $5 million to $500 million in liquid investable assets to entrust us with on a 100% fee basis. No commissions and no products for sale.

More from authors.


Related Posts:

  1. Are Wealth Management Fees Worth it? – 5 answers To Clear Up – Are Wealth Management Fees Worth It…
  2. Best Financial Advisor Near Me – Do you ever get concerned about managing your investments or achieving your financial goals…
  3. Best Financial Advisor Firms – In order to evaluate whether a financial advisor is best for you and which are the best financial advisor firms,
  4. Fidelity Wealth Management – Fidelity operates an asset management business that includes Fidelity’s mutual funds…