Top Ten Financial Advisors in Cleveland

Financial Advisors in Cleveland

Hiring a firm, or trusting an individual within a firm, to invest and protect your money for retirement or wealth accumulation is a big decision. Knowing what asset management company or wealth advisory service to hire can be a tough decision to make. How do you know your money is in the right hands? How do you know about the Financial Advisors in Cleveland fees and how it affects your retirement or savings long term? In the financial planning business, reputation is one thing. But the philosophy and how they go about managing your portfolio is much more important.

Many seek the advice of a financial planner to navigate sudden changes in life such as marriage, divorce, death or switching a career. Selling a business can often result in needing a new approach, with a good business broker and a financial planner needed to take the seller to the next level of success.

Every stage of life calls for a different approach to saving and planning. If one started investing at age 21, the needs of that person are drastically different than one who starts at 65 years of age. The approach, how aggressive the investment portfolio is and the current income of the different individuals, are all things to consider. Many options are available for those who wish to invest and plan for a final destination—whether it’s freedom from the work force or for a very comfortable eventual retirement. The success or failure to reach the ultimate destination largely depends on the firm chosen and the performance of their services. Let’s not forget that the political climate, the state of the economy and how dedicated the investor is at staying with the market ups and downs are factors that can impact the lifetime results of your long-term financial strength.

Financial planning can be accomplished in several ways. Signing up with an online do-it-yourself investment company is one way. Another is to hire an actual advisor. Both strategies come with their pros and cons.

An online do-it-yourself firm lets you do it without human advice and usually comes with a lower price or cost to invest. After all, another human is not paid for doing research or making transactions in the investment. The option of hiring a wealth manager or financial planner comes with higher costs, but proven to have more lucrative results. Analysts say you can anticipate 2% to 4% higher results when you have direct involvement of an active financial planner versus going it alone.

What Will That 2% or 4% Cost?

Hiring a financial planner comes with greater returns but at higher costs? At which point is it beneficial? To know that, it’s crucial to understand how your advisor makes money. It will determine how they work to make you money. Which means it is important to understand the various options and payment structures. Here are the most common choices:

Hourly: The investor is charged for time use on his behalf, regardless of assets.
Retainer: A scheduled (usually monthly or annual) fee makes the Financial Advisor available, on-call for the advisory services the retainer covers.
Flat fees: A set price for financial planning and asset management services. The fees have nothing to do with the amount of the investor’s account, big or small. It’s like ordering off a menu of services.
Commission: The financial advisor receives a percentage of the money spent buying high-performing investments, usually charged per transaction.
Asset management: The investor is charged a fee based on how much money is invested and fees usually are paid directly from the investor’s account.

If a financial advisor is less motivated to make you more money—for example, an hourly fee—that advisor is more likely to spend time on another account. They make more money the more investments and assets grow in an Asset Management account. But also be aware that conflicts of interest can arise, depending on the fee structure. For example, advisors in Cleveland might move money around needlessly if they get a flat fee per transaction. Taking a portion of the growth of the investment (commissions) may encourage more thoughtful transactions.

Financial Responsibility

How do you know an advisor isn’t pushing you into investments that benefit someone else’s interests more than your own? Be sure to ask a financial planner you plan to work with, “Do you have a fiduciary responsibility to my investments?” The question will tell you if he is licensed or not. If he is, that means the financial planner must invest in your best interest first, even if it doesn’t benefit the financial planner. They are bound by ethics and regulations to do so. If the planner is not operating with a strict sense of fiduciary responsibility, he could lead you down a path that has more risk. But that riskier path can also offer a higher pay off for you, as well as him. Who can say which choice is better? It would be hard to determine. Safer? Or bigger and better results? Like anything else, depending on your unique situation, you may be wise to try it both ways to find which approach is better. The wisest course? Get to know your financial planner and make sure you feel comfortable with the road he or she has planned for you, tailored to the results you desire.

The following are the best financial planners in Cleveland:

Appaloosa Wealth Management

editors choice

Prior to founding AWM in 2014, Walt Moore has spent more than 20 years advising a diverse group of clients on their financial lives and providing investment management services. His experience spanned the varied fields of retirement income planning, risk management (life, disability, and long-term care insurance), estate and tax planning, retirement plan management, and education funding, but his core competency was always investment management. This particular skill and service is unique the fundamental driver in reaching clients financial goals. He became a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Professional™ in 1999. Today he is an Investment Advisor Representative acting as a true fiduciary to client assets.

Appaloosa is one of the most popular horse breeds in the US represents independence, freedom, and character. Those are the key attributes of the company Moore founded and is prominent in the firm’s logo. Its mix of strength, agility, loyalty, and independence is what the firm strives every day to present to clients.
The fee-based investment management and comprehensive financial planning firm represents individuals, families, corporations, and foundations. Their single focus is helping clients reach their unique goals.

The firm’s process is client centric. Experienced advisors solely focus on each client’s specific goals and needs. The process is broad based to let the client determine what services are needed. Most clients engage Appaloosa for investment management but every situation is different and others services may be appropriate, such as Retirement income planning, Risk assessment and management, Cash flow forecasting, Tax planning, Estate planning (basic and/or advanced) or General financial planning.
Appaloosa offers comprehensive fee based financial planning and investment management services to the Cleveland community.
Most clients engage Appaloosa for ongoing investment management services for an asset based fee on the portfolio managed. Fees rise and fall based on value and aligns the firm’s interests with the client’s—which creates the best way to be compensated for investment management services.

Appaloosa Wealth Management
5005 Rockside Rd Suite 600
Cleveland OH 44131

Beacon Financial Advisory, LLC

Six founding partners–frustrated with the limitations placed upon them working at a large, corporate wealth management firm–broke off and formed Beacon Financial Advisory, LLC in 2006 with a desire to provide independent financial advice to clients. Tripling in size since 2006, Beacon still maintains the boutique, personal feel of a local wealth management firm. Advisors maintain a sharp focus on doing what’s best for each client at all times. And because the firm is independent, advisors are able to survey the entire financial landscape to find the best products and investments available to help clients achieve their goals.
Beacon’s client-centric planning means they stand apart from competitors.

Beacon continually studies and researches the most effective ways to manage money and guide clients in making intelligent financial decision making. The philosophy is based on comprehensive academic research. Advisors don’t pick hot stocks or try to outguess the market. They do not believe in “get rich quick” schemes. They embrace the fundamental truths that have withstood the test of time, and apply those truths to the portfolios they we manage, which helps control investment risk and captures predictable returns.

Beacon Financial Advisory, LLC is a fee-based firm and most clients are non-high-net-worth individuals, though some are. Beacon does not advise institutional clients and the staff includes six certified financial planners (CFPs), three certified public accountants (CPAs), two chartered financial consultants (ChFCs), one chartered life underwriter (CLU), and one chartered financial analyst (CFA).

The experienced advisors help clients create informed financial plans and provide clients with unique investment opportunities through strategic partner, Lincoln Investment Planning,

Fees for portfolio management are based on a percentage of assets under management. Financial planning services have fixed and hourly fees. Beacon does not have a minimum account size requirement. Services include, Investment strategy, Asset allocation, Risk tolerance, Personal investment policy, Asset selection, Regular portfolio monitoring, Financial planning, Retirement planning and College planning. Beacon Financial Advisory uses a number of strategies in clients’ portfolios, including long-term trading, short-term trading, short sales, margin transactions and options.

Beacon Financial Advisory, LLC

25825 Science Park Drive, Suite 110
Cleveland, OH 44122


In 1989, Clearstead, then known as Hartland, was founded as an institutional investment advisor dedicated to providing the highest quality objective investment advice and research. Clearstead’s first clients were defined benefit pension plans. They eventually included endowments, foundations, healthcare organizations and defined contribution plans. In 2010 the firm started providing integrated wealth services to individuals and families with the same energetic approach it used for its large institutional clients.

The firm is independent, fee-only advisors, dedicated to providing objective financial counsel. Since its start, Clearstead has believed that objective investment advice and research are central to optimal results for clients.

The firm provides solutions that let clients exceed their aspirations and build stronger legacies for their families, organizations, communities and themselves. They are dedicated to objectivity in investment advice, research and financial planning. They do not have proprietary financial products and their only source of revenue is advisory fees paid by clients for financial advice. Their incentive is to provide the best, objective research and advice.
Employees own the majority of the firm so the culture is collaborative and collegial, encouraging sharing information and ideas. They make the same commitment to clients, striving to understand their financial lives, to listen with empathy and to respond with objective and effective solutions. They are stewards of their clients’ financial affairs, as well as thoughtful advocates on behalf of clients.

Objective financial leadership comes via the fee-only advisory model since they receive no commissions from the investments. The firm’s only source of revenue is advisory fees for financial advice, keeping their objectivity central while providing effective service to clients. They create strategies that allow clarity and align those investment strategies to meet real-time and future family aspirations.

Defined contribution plans are a large part of Clearstead’s institutional advisory business. They help plan sponsors fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities and advise on appropriate investment menus, costs, regulatory issues and governance structures. They strive to clients to focus on managing human resource functions with the assurance that retirement plan oversight is handled with diligence and expertise.

Proponents of responsible investing seek to align core social values with meeting their client’s personal, family, or institutional investment objectives. Clearstead’s approach incorporates environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) considerations with their management of investment portfolios.

Clearstead is a leader in educating clients about responsible investing and implementing these policies in portfolios. They have helped clients comply with socially responsible mandates for many years and advise clients on the implications of responsible investing programs. In 2019 Clearstead sponsored a Roundtable with national experts that is now included in the responsible investing standards in Clearstead’s manager research efforts.

1100 Superior Avenue East
Suite 700 | Cleveland, Ohio 44114

MAI Capital Management, LLC

Originally established as Investment Advisors International, Inc. in 1973, IAI was an affiliate of International Management Group (IMG), the world’s premier sports and lifestyle management and marketing firm founded by Mark McCormack to serve the needs of athletes who were looking for diversified financial management. Over the years, IAI expanded its client service to include not only athletes but also corporate executives and wealthy families. In 2000, McCormack Advisors International, LLC was formed as a joint venture between IAI and a major integrated financial institution. In 2002, the firm returned to its roots as a provider of independent financial advice to its clients and McCormack Advisors International became fully independent of IMG in 2004.

For almost 50 years, MAI’s mission is to service every client’s financial management needs in a personal, yet professional and comprehensive way. They serve to provide each client with an individualized game plan for life.

MAI Capital Management is fee-based and their recommendations are objective and focused on helping clients achieve goals. MAI’s investment, planning and tax professionals collaborate with clients to develop, implement and monitor financial plans tailored to meet each client’s unique and individual needs. The firm strives to provide attentive service and preserve capital while providing meaningful growth opportunities within the customized services with a goals-based, comprehensive plan.
The concierge-style approach in Financial Consulting, Investment Management and Family Office Administration are provided under one roof, allowing agile response to each client’s needs. Each MAI advisor’s sole focus is to be a ‘solutions provider’ that helps prioritizes goals and guides clients in staying on track to meet those goals.

Before making any recommendations, they take the time to get to know and fully understand each client’s goals and concerns and use that time also so clients can get to know them and develop meaningful partnerships with the people who they plan to entrust their financial well-being. They take great care to serving specific and unique needs of each clients and have the depth and experience to meet those unique requirements.

MAI Capital Management has partnered with successful clients which has given them insight and experience across all types of financial needs and unexpected situations. The firm’s proven, personal process is transparent and supports close communication with a trusted network of advisors. They strive to support each client’s peace of mind. MAI’s experienced wealth management team partners to coordinate the many disciplines necessary to work through the complexity of financial life. They work to prioritize each client’s goals and develop a measurable, prudent plan. At MAI, success is defined by the goals they set and achieve with clients. The independence and fiduciary business model results in positioning client’s interests first.

MAI Capital Management, LLC
1360 East 9th Street, Suite 1100
Cleveland, OH 44114
Phone: 216.920.4800

Fairport Wealth Management

FairpointWealth Management’s average client is an individual employee at a large private company. Each receives a personalized wealth management strategy designed to maximize their financial success and capitalize on employee benefits. Specific services include retirement planning, investment management, employee benefits, tax planning, college tuition planning, debt management, and insurance analysis.

Matt D. Kircher launched Fairpoint Wealth Management in 2017 while attending business school. The firm specializes in helping professionals retire early. Matt has an in-depth understanding of the financial complexities clients face and strives to help avoid the costly mistakes financial advisors and investors can make when planning for early retirement.

Not all advice is good and Fairpoint Wealth Management wants to change that.
New clients are walked through questions related to their financial situation, the first being the client’s timeline. The last question is about risk tolerance and how tolerable the client is to fluctuations in the market. Five types of portfolios range from low to high risk and Fairpoint Wealth Management works exclusively for clients so does not sell financial products such as insurance, annuities, or expensive mutual funds. They partner with clients, who receive expert advice and investment guidance, tailored specifically to their unique goals.

The interactive financial planning process starts with listening. They work with clients to develop an actionable financial plan that maximizes finances and helps achieve early retirements. Clients has 24/7 access to a client portal to interact with their always up-to-date financial plans. Fairpoint Wealth Management continuously monitors, update, and reviews the plan with you, keeping in mind long-term cash flows, benefits and compensation elections, Social Security strategies, Medicare and health care selections and tax-efficient retirement withdrawal strategies. The focus is not on timing the movements of the market, but instead, crafting long-term plans to meet their clients’ goals.

A personalized portfolio consists of tax-efficient and low-cost investments, combined with a proactive, disciplined investment process that ensures that clients will capture market returns over the course of their lifetimes.

Fairport Wealth Management
W. 158th St.
Cleveland | OH 44135
(216) 272-0514

Pension Advisors

Pension Advisors is an Independent Investment Advisory firm founded in Cleveland with strict focus on the retirement industry. Also known as AdviseMe National Advisors, Pension Advisors manages assets for several different client types. David Kasnow founded the firm in 1999 and still owns the company, works as an advisor and serves as president and CEO.

With over 20 years of experience, Pension Advisors is one of the largest pension-focused firms in the country headquartered in Cleveland. They possess the requisite skills and knowledge to uncover embedded fees, conflicts of interest, service in-capabilities and contract limitations inherent in the retirement plans. Their strength lies in knowledge of the industry and its ever changing legislation. Their experience allows Pension Advisors to seek out the best investment fund line-ups, negotiate the best pricing for clients and to provide comprehensive, pro-active service that keys-in on the needs of the plan sponsor and the plan participants.
None of the firm’s individual clients are high-net-worth. All of the firm’s institutional clients are corporations. No minimum investment is required, though some third-party asset managers may have different requirements.

Clients are billed either a one-time consulting fee or hourly rate, or with an asset management fee, based on a percentage of assets under management. Advisors at Pension Advisors are also registered with an unaffiliated broker-dealer.

What differentiates Pension Advisors the most is the hands-on approach with plan participants. Since beginning, the firm believes that the education and support that they provide is unmatched in the industry. The firm is on the front line, involved with every aspect of each plan, and always available to clients and plan participants who have questions, issues or concerns. They conduct “office hours” at clients’ locations to ensure that any participant who desires one-on-one advisory services will have the opportunity to meet with a team member. This makes a significant difference in increased participation, as well as contribution levels.
Pension Advisors are innovators in the Pension Field, developing their own individual investment managed account program and a 401(k) managed account program. They utilize Facebook and LinkedIn to connect with younger employees and engage them in their 401(k) plans.

The pension industry is ever-changing and Pension Advisors change right along with it–always ahead of the curve. Their focus on pension plans and retirement investing provides a great advantage, unrivaled in the industry. They work with every aspect of their client’s retirement process, from finding the best plan product to proactively and aggressively servicing clients on an on-going, systematic basis. Pension Advisors believes employees must be educated and have a go-to person regarding their Plan and they work with employees on everything from selecting their fund(s), to individual investment advice on a one-to-one basis. They are not satisfied until clients receive the best service, best products, and best pricing. Every day.

Pension Advisors
28601 Chagrin Blvd.
Suite 550
Cleveland, OH 44122

Wellspring Financial Advisors

Wellspring Financial Advisors was founded in 2007 by managing director Michael T. Novak, a CPA with experience in tax compliance. The firm focuses on individual wealth management with multiple services to help clients achieve their financial goals. One area of focus is on tax compliance and planning. Clients also can receive investment advice, comprehensive financial planning, risk management and educational services.

Wellspring Financial Advisors believes life’s circumstances may change, but they can be consistent. When the winds of geopolitical events, economic policy, changes in laws and unexpected family circumstances send well-laid plans off course, advice and counsel helps clients get back on course. Their success lies in close and regular communication. Years of experience mean they know what questions to ask and when to ask them and it has made them successful at creating and growing human capital– the most valuable capital of all.

Financial and tax planning and investment counsel is abundant and in continuous supply at Wellspring Financial Advisors. An independent, fee-only advisor, the firm also believes in a system that assures that their advice and counsel is unbiased and always puts the client first. Their holistic approach focuses on these primary service areas: Financial, Estate and Tax Planning, Life Planning and Investment Management. The focus is not limited to net worth and investment capital. Wellspring makes sure clients both live well and sleep well.

Wellspring Financial Advisors is an independent multi-family office engaged in personal wealth management that offers holistic financial services to high net worth individuals and families and provides a comprehensive suite of personalized services that covers clients’ financial and non-financial needs.
Financial Planning at Wellspring Financial Advisors begins with discussions covering a series of diverse questions regarding clients’ life plans. This information is used to craft a financial strategy that incorporates all aspects of a client’s financial life and goals.

Wellspring Financial Advisors
5885 Landerbrook Dr., Suite 205
Cleveland, Ohio 44124

Gries Financial LLC

Gries Financial LLC was founded by Sally Gries on the premise that individuals could best improve their financial standing through a combination of wealth management and investment management disciplines. Gries Financial LLC began conducting business in 1978. The firm has three principal shareholders: Jeffrey H. Palmer, Edward J. Bell and Robert J. Herman. Palmer and Bell are still managing partners, while Herman is a senior partner. Gries Financial has been managing client assets globally with integrity, objectivity and service intensity since then. Disciplined and sophisticated in its processes, Gries Financial stands apart from peers in providing a high level of conflict-free investment and wealth management counsel to high net worth individuals and institutional audiences. As an independent, fee-only Registered Investment Advisor, Gries Financial has managed client assets globally with integrity, objectivity and service intensity.

Gries Financial LLC also advises institutions, including pension and profit-sharing plans and charitable organizations. The firm has multiple advisors on staff, including six certified financial planners (CFPs) and one chartered financial analyst (CFA).

Fees for investment advisory services are based on a percentage of assets under management. Financial planning fees are charged on an hourly basis. Advisors do not earn commissions for selling securities or financial products to clients. A minimum of $1 million in assets under management is required for investment management services.
Dedication and support got their clients where they are today and it takes that same level of dedication and support to preserve and grow that wealth so it can fulfill their client’s life goals. The firm works hard to get to know clients and build trusting relationships. The more they know and understand, the better positioned the firm is to meet their clients’ needs.

Gries Financial helps clients achieve life’s ambitions with peace of mind and the well-earned financial security to enjoy the journey. Each client’s portfolio is like a fingerprint, completely unique to each client and tailored to that client’s life and ambitions. Gries Financial’s process is customized to each individual client’s needs and where relevant, advisors (attorneys, accountants, insurance agents and others) create a roadmap that is attainable and understandable. Money doesn’t grow on trees. Wealth grows from a lifetime of hard work and sometimes from generations of wise stewardship and thoughtful investments. Preserving and growing it is paramount to wealth management strategy. Gries Financial understands the complexities of significant wealth and guides clients through all of it with personal attention and personalized solutions.

Gries Financial LLC
1801 East 9th Street
Suite 1600
Cleveland, OH 44114

James Reed Financial Services, Inc.

James Reed Financial Services, Inc. was established in 1986 and is owned by James M. Reed, Amanda E. Lisachenko and Janet S.Edwards. The firm’s advisory services are portfolio management, consulting services and fee-based financial planning services. RFS’ financial planning services include Retirement planning, Investment planning, insurance needs analysis, Cash flow forecasting, Asset allocation review, charitable giving and Business succession planning.

RFS is a fee-based firm serving more high-net-worth individuals (at least $250,000 to invest), pension and profit sharing plans, trusts, estates, charitable organizations, corporations and other businesses. Fees charged are asset-based fees, hourly fees and fixed fees, RFS also earns insurance and securities commissions, which can create a conflict of interest but the firm honors a fiduciary duty to work in each client’s best interests.

In a world of increasing complexity, sometimes you need a guide at your side—asking the right questions and finding good answers. That’s what Reed Financial Services does for their clients. With over 30 years of experience, a team of dedicated and specialized professionals are experts in financial planning and all that it entails, including retirement planning, estate planning, college planning, identity security, long-term care planning and much more. They strive to change and grow to address the complexity of choices and decisions each valued client must make.

The firm’s philosophy is to work side by side to truly understand who each client is, what they care about, and what decisions will be most relevant for them. They try to uncover answers to questions clients haven’t thought to ask. The advisors want to uncover the power in each client’s money.

RFS’s investment philosophy is rooted in modern portfolio theory (MPT). In analyzing securities, the firm employs fundamental analysis, mutual fund and exchange-traded fund (ETF) analysis and cyclical analysis. The investment strategies are applied to long- and short-term purchases and trading and everything is designed around each client. The goal is to help simplify life so clients can focus on the things that matter most. They are proactive in handling many of the daily details on a client’s behalf but also in keeping clients in the know to enjoy the process, and to feel supported and attended to. They know true financial wellness encompasses many different aspects over your lifetime. Their clients value the expertise, but also the communication and true care that accompany the service are invaluable to them.

James Reed Financial Services, Inc.
5885 Landerbrook Drive
Suite 110
Cleveland, OH 44124

First Fiduciary Investment Counsel, Inc.

First Fiduciary Investment Counsel, Inc. was founded in 1975 and President Mary F. Anderson owns 51% of the firm. William S. Henry, the firm’s chief operating officer, owns the remaining 49%.

Since its founding, First Fiduciary Investment Counsel has pursued one goal: to provide clients with peace of mind while generating long-term returns. It was established on the same fundamental principles that are still the basis for successful investment strategy today. The firm is an employee-owned Registered Investment Advisor. Investment management is its sole business. And they are not brokers or not affiliated with any financial institution.

Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS ®) guide them in fulfilling their ethical duty to fully disclose and fairly present past performance, to advance fair competitive practices within the industry, and to respond to the demands of prospective clients and investors. The firm’s team strives to provide clients with both peace of mind and long-term growth of their portfolios.

First Fiduciary Investment Counsel, Inc. is a fee-only firm managing millions in client assets. Most individual clients are high-net-worth, though some are non-high-net-worth individuals. First Fiduciary also has institutional clients, including pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations, state or municipal government entities, corporations and a charitable remainder trust. The minimum account size for clients is $1 million.

First Fiduciary’s staff includes two chartered financial analysts (CFAs) and earns fees based on a percentage of assets under management. Some services are also billed at a flat rate.

First Fiduciary Investment Counsel, Inc.’s investment strategy is a belief in managing risk and using time as an ally for investors. The firm focuses on large capitalization equities that pay dividends because when a company pays shareholders a dividend, it is more likely to be immune to market volatility. First Fiduciary’s investment managers are responsible for all aspects of portfolio management, including research, security selection, monitoring and client relationships. Our professionals have decades of industry experience, and First Fiduciary’s team-based investment approach uses that knowledge to everyone’s advantage.

First Fiduciary Investment Counsel, Inc.
6100 Oak Tree Boulevard, Suite 185
Cleveland, Ohio 44131

The team providing this Top Ten list believes smart people make smart decisions because they educate themselves on the choices they are preparing to make. We hope we’ve helped you become smarter about choosing a financial advisor that meets your unique and specific needs. We try to provide readers with up-to-date information that will help make those good decisions. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading the information we’ve provided and learning about some of the choices for Financial Advisors in the Cleveland area.

No content is intended to constitute professional advice. This content is not responsible or liable for any consequences relating directly or indirectly to any action you take or fail to take based on the information provided. It is very important to do your own analysis, based on your own personal circumstances, before making any investment. Consult with your own investment, financial, tax and legal advisers. Readers agree to indemnify and hold harmless the providers of this information, from and against any and all liability, losses, claims, demands, disputes, damages or costs of any kind.

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