Forbes’ Top Wealth Advisors for 2017

Every year, Forbes and SHOOK Research publish their list of the top wealth advisors in America. The rigorous selection process consists of nearly 20,000 nominations narrowed down to 250 advisors through a series of filters including quantitative data like assets managed and client retention, telephone and in-person meetings, and a ranking algorithm that uses weighted data for fair comparisons.

The advisors on 2017’s list, published in September, manage a combined $672 billion in assets and serve a variety of clients ranging from wealthy heirs to self-made billionaires.

It should come as no surprise that the most represented companies are the some of the largest wealth management firms in the country. This year Morgan Stanley takes the lead with 57 advisors included, followed by Merrill Lynch with 54 and UBS with 33.

The top represented firms, in descending order (click on any name to view their Accompany profile):

  1. Morgan Stanley
  2. Merrill Lynch
  3. UBS
  4. Wells Fargo
  5. HighTower Advisors

Total Assets Under Management

When breaking down the total assets under management by each advisor, we found that the majority of America’s top wealth advisors manage less than $4 billion. While that may sound like a lot, two advisors each manage approximately five times that amount. Ric Edelman of Edelman Financial Services manages $19.5 billion in assets, and Mark Curtis of Graystone Consulting manages $20 billion.

New Account Minimums

Interested in becoming a client of one of America’s top wealth advisors? You’ll need to meet their account minimums first. While 25% of the top advisors require less than $1 million for new accounts, six of the 250 advisors require more than $20 million to get started.

Top Advisors

Merrill Lynch’s Jeff Erdmann sits at the top of this year’s list, with a typical account size of more than $36 million and over $6 billion assets under management. Based in Connecticut, Jeff began his career with Merrill Lynch in 1984 and has been named one of Barron’s top 100 financial advisors in America every year since 2004. His typical clients include affluent individuals, entrepreneurs, and multi-generational families.

Learn more about some of the top wealth advisors on Forbes’ list by clicking through to view their Accompany profiles:

Gender Breakdown

While women account for 16% of wealth advisors in America, only 23 were included in this year’s list. Forbes features more women in their annual list of America’s Top Women Advisors, which includes 200 women who manage over $200 billion in combined client assets.

New York-based Colleen O’Callaghan is the top-ranked woman at #27. Colleen joined Morgan Stanley in 2008 after eight years at Lehman Brothers, and now manages over $2 billion in assets for high-net-worth families and institutions.

Learn more about some of the top women advisors on Forbes’ list by clicking through to view their Accompany profiles:

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