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Best Financial Advisors in Baltimore, MD

Oct. 15, 2019, 6:51 p.m.

You don’t have to be wealthy to hire a financial advisor. Good financial advisors answer questions, offer advice, increase your investment earnings and save you time and hassle. Our partners at ConsumerAffairs researched the best financial advisors in Baltimore to help you find the right fiduciary to turn your financial goals into reality.

Everyone deserves to make thoughtful, informed purchase decisions. The local guides provided on this website are free for consumers. WMAR 2 News may receive compensation from our partners. Learn more.

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#1
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Facet Wealth

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Features
  • Work with a dedicated CFP
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#2
Baltimore-Washington Financial Advisors
Baltimore-Washington Financial Advisors
Features
  • Manages over $721,000,000 in total assets across more than 600 accounts
  • Average account value over $1,000,000
  • Offers fee-only financial planning & investment management
  • One of Financial Times Top 300 Financial Advisers 2014 - 2019
Location
5950 Symphony Woods Rd., Ste. 600
Columbia, MD 21201
(410) 461-3900
#3
InvestEd
InvestEd
Features
  • Investment advising fee of 0.95% of assets under management
  • No portfolio minimums
  • No cost per trade
  • Local delivery fee of $10
Location
345 N. Charles St.
Baltimore, MD 21201
(410) 469-9532
#4
PNC Wealth Management
PNC Wealth Management
Features
  • Over $288,000,000,000 total assets under management
  • More than 105,000 accounts across at least 50 states
  • Over $137,000 average account value
  • $50,000 minimum required to start a Portfolio Solutions account
Location
1 E. Pratt St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
(410) 347-8108
Maryland Capital Management
Maryland Capital Management
Features
  • M-F: 8am - 5pm
  • Closed Sat and Sun
  • mdcapital.com
Location
800 N. Charles St., Ste. 500
Baltimore, MD 21201
(410) 547-2666
1919 Investment Counsel
1919 Investment Counsel
Features
  • M-F: 8am - 5pm
  • Closed Sat and Sun
  • 1919ic.com
Location
Alex Brown Bldg. 1 South St., Ste. 2500
Baltimore, MD 21202
(844) 200-1919
WBH Advisory
WBH Advisory
Features
  • M-F: 8am - 5pm
  • Closed Sat and Sun
  • wbhadvisory.com
Location
1777 Reisterstown Rd., Ste. 295B
Baltimore, MD 21208
(410) 653-7979
A.G. Campbell Advisory
A.G. Campbell Advisory
Features
  • M-F: 8am - 5pm
  • Closed Sat and Sun
  • agcadvisory.com
Location
1340 Smith Ave., Ste. 200
Baltimore, MD 21209
(800) 262-7617
Geier Asset Management
Geier Asset Management
Features
  • M-F: 8:30am - 5pm
  • Closed Sat and Sun
  • geierfinancial.com
Location
2205 Warwick Wy., Ste. 200
Marriottsville, MD 21104
(443) 472-4236
Armstrong Dixon
Armstrong Dixon
Features
  • M-F: 8am - 5pm
  • Closed Sat and Sun
  • armstrongdixon.com
Location
1500 Sulgrave Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21209
(443) 563-1111
Northwestern Mutual
Northwestern Mutual
Features
  • M-F: 8am - 5pm
  • Closed Sat and Sun
  • baltimore.nm.com
Location
111 S. Calvert St., Ste. 2500
Baltimore, MD 21202
(410) 539-0084
Pensionmark
Pensionmark
Features
  • M-F: 9am - 5pm
  • Closed Sat and Sun
  • pensionmark.com
Location
6 N. Park Dr., Ste. 208
Hunt Valley, MD 21030
(888) 201-5488

Choosing a financial advisor in Baltimore

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The most common reasons people seek out professional financial advice are major life changes, such as:

  • The birth of a child
  • Marriage
  • Retirement
  • Taking responsibility for an elderly parent’s finances
  • Receiving a sizable inheritance

However, major life changes aren’t the only reasons to hire a financial advisor in Baltimore. Whether you’re new to investing, the financial market confuses you or you just lack the time and energy required to determine what’s right for you, chances are you'll benefit from financial advisory services. In other words, there’s no right or wrong time to hire a financial advisor.

Financial advisors act as guides to help you achieve your dreams, whether you’re saving for your first home, your children’s education or your retirement. Money advisors keep an eye on the market and know how to respond to trends, save clients’ time and increase clients’ profits. Studies indicate that working with a professional advisor increases annual returns by 1.5 - 3.75 percent.

There’s no universal wealth threshold to meet before hiring a financial advisor in Baltimore. Fee-based advisors might work with someone who has as little as $200 in their savings account, although many prefer new clients to have at least $1,000 ready to invest. However, some advisors earn a portion of your investments or assets under management and, as a result, have a minimum portfolio threshold of around $100,000.

Types of financial advisors

One of the most important aspects of finding the right financial advisor in Baltimore is knowing which type is best for your needs. All of these types have varying levels of experience and qualifications. If you work with a financial advisor, inquire about their experience, request references and ask to see their certifications. Types of financial advisors include:

  • Financial planners. This designation has no legal or industry standard. Since anyone can call themselves a financial planner, it’s important to think critically about the advice they give you.
  • Registered representatives. Registered representatives, also known as stockbrokers, have demonstrated basic knowledge of investment products and have registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
  • Investment advisors. If you’re looking for securities advice, you might seek the help of an investment advisor registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • Chartered Financial Analysts. A Chartered Financial Analyst meets the work experience and educational requirements required by the CFA Institute.
  • Personal Financial Specialists. Personal Financial Specialists are accountants who achieved additional certification in personal financial planning from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, which requires a minimum of two years of financial planning experience.
  • Certified Financial Planners. Certified Financial Planners are the apex of the financial advising industry. CFPs meet extensive experience and education requirements; complete a CFP educational program; follow the CFP Board’s code of ethics and rules of conduct; and take continuing education courses to maintain their certification.

There are also two subtypes of financial advisors: fiduciary and non-fiduciary as well as robo-advisors and human advisors.

Fiduciary financial advisors in Baltimore must put their client’s interest above their own. Non-fiduciary advisors aren’t held to the same standard and sometimes recommend a client purchase investments that benefit their bottom line even if they know their client’s money would be better spent elsewhere. In short, always opt for working with a fiduciary financial advisor if you have a choice between the two.

Robo-advisors are digital software platforms that use algorithms to provide automated financial planning services with little-to-no human oversight. Robo-advisors are cheaper than human advisors and usually have no minimum wealth requirement, but human advisors are more capable of offering personalized insights and advice.

What is the cost of a financial advisor in Baltimore?

Financial advisors in Baltimore use different fee structures depending on the financial advisory services they offer, and, when it comes to hiring a financial advisor, fee structures matter.

Fee structure Average cost What you get
Hourly rate $150 - $500 per hour Flexibility to pay for small services like consultations
Flat fee $500 - $3,500 Depends on the service requested, usually a one-time financial plan
Commission 3% - 6% Comprehensive investment advice with the advisor taking a percentage of each transaction
Assets under management 0.25% (robo-advisors) / 1% - 7% (human advisors) Comprehensive asset management; this fee is charged as a percentage of what’s in your account
Retainer $2,000 - $8,000 annually Comprehensive financial planning, implementation, monitoring and adjustments as needed

Financial advisors in Baltimore refer to themselves as fee-only or fee-based to indicate their pricing model. Fee-only advisors exclusively make money by charging their clients. This means they don’t earn a commission on transactions or get kickbacks for directing the client in certain directions. Fee-based advisors charge fees, but also accept commissions from investments made on your behalf.

What qualifications should a financial advisor have?

When you’re ready to start meeting with potential advisors, look for a fiduciary in Baltimore with professional certifications, experience and a passion for financial planning, advising and asset management.

The best way to assess the quality of a financial advisor and determine if they are right for you is to speak up about your goals and ask questions. Before you commit, ask:

  • Do you have an investment philosophy?
  • Are you registered or certified?
  • Are you a fiduciary?
  • How much experience do you have?
  • How would you invest my money?
  • What is your fee structure?
  • How do you make money?
  • What comes with your services?
  • What extra costs might I incur?
  • How often will we meet?
  • How will you manage my accounts for tax purposes?

There are plenty of hard-working, trustworthy financial advisors in Baltimore, but, as with anything involving money, there are bad agents and scammers out there too. Be on the lookout for advisors who aren’t certified, offer to manage your money for free, guarantee certain results or don’t ask about your financial goals. These are red flags and surefire signs it’s time to continue in your search for financial advisory services.

Finally, use tools like BrokerCheck to verify your financial advisor’s history and qualifications before trusting them with your savings.

Facet Wealth

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Facet Wealth is headquartered in Baltimore and offers fiduciary asset management. If the idea of working with multiple advisors in a big firm makes you uncomfortable, you’re not alone. That’s why Facet Wealth guarantees clients work with one CFP who creates a financial plan specific to their needs, goals and assets complemented by their robo-advisor software. Reviewers appreciate the diversity of the financial planning services offered by Facet.

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