Award Methodology

Third-party rankings and recognition from rating services or publications are no guarantee of future investment success. Working with a highly-rated adviser does not ensure that a client or prospective client will experience a higher level of performance or results. These ratings should not be construed as an endorsement of the adviser by any client, nor are they representative of any one client’s evaluation. Neither the firm nor any adviser paid a fee for the award. 

2018 & 2019

AdvisoryHQ uses a multi-step selection methodology for identifying, researching, and generating its list of top ranked firms.  AdvisoryHQ’s review and ranking articles are always 100% independently researched and objectively written.  Firms do not pay for their ranking. In fact, most firms do not even realize that they are being reviewed and ranked by AdvisoryHQ until after their reviews have been completed and published to the public.

Using publicly available sources, AdvisoryHQ identifies a wide range of firms that are providing services in a designated area (city, state, or local geographic location).  AdvisoryHQ’s review team then applies initial methodology filters to narrow down the list of identified firms/products. These filters include company strengths, trustworthiness, transparency, professional reputation, managed assets, ROI/ROA effectiveness, fees structure, what customers/clients are saying about the organization, and many more.

  • Step 1: Using publicly available sources, AdvisoryHQ identifies a wide range of firms that are providing services in a designated area (city, state, or local geographic area).
  • Step 2: AdvisoryHQ’s review team then applies initial methodology filters to narrow down the list of identified firms/products. These filters include company strengths, trustworthiness, transparency, professional reputation, managed asset, ROI/ROA effectiveness, fees structure, what customers/clients are saying about the organization, and many more.
  • Step 3: After trimming down the initial list, AdvisoryHQ then conducts a deep-dive assessment of the remaining firms. The award criteria takes into account a range of factors, including experience level, level of customization, site quality, resources, features, range of provided services, innovation, value-added, and many more factors, to build up a broad picture of what each firm or product has to offer, before the final selection process occurs.
  • Step 4: Based on the results of performed assessment, AdvisoryHQ’s research and selection team then finalizes the list of entities that make it into its top rated publications, which are then published to the general public. 

 

A detailed review of AdvisoryHQ’s selection methodologies for ranking top-rated financial advisory firms can be found here.

2011

The National Association of Board Certified Advisory Practices (NABCAP) focus is to provide objective differentiation between financial advisory practices and through their evaluation process to help add transparency to the financial services industry. Even though the NABCAP Premier Advisors’ list is comprehensive it should not be considered exhaustive and the following disclaimers should be considered:
 

(a) To ensure the best interests of the investing public, NABCAP does not accept financial support from advisory practices, financial institutions or the media in exchange for beneficial reviews, rankings or industry insight. NABCAP is not affiliated with any adviser or financial institution participating in the survey.

(b) Selecting a NABCAP Premier Advisor is no guarantee as to future investment success nor is there any guarantee that the selected financial advisory practice will be designated as a Premier Advisor by NABCAP in the future.

(c) The inclusion of a financial advisory practice on the NABCAP Premier Advisor’s list should not be construed as an endorsement of the financial advisory practice by NABCAP or Atlanta Business Chronicle.

(d) Although NABCAP invites all advisers in a market to participate, the final decision lies with the adviser and as such there may be advisers who would qualify but do not appear on the list as they chose not to participate and if they were included some advisers on this list would not have been included.

(e) NABCAP screens candidates for regulatory compliance issues: checks and balances are imposed to limit the inclusion of an adviser with a negative regulatory history or multiple client complaints.

(f)  The supervisor survey is structured to make it equally easy for a respondent to give negative or positive responses and the method of calculating results incorporates both negative and positive survey responses.

(g) NABCAP does not perform subjective analysis of the survey results but assigns numerical ratings based on questionnaire and survey responses, as well as third-party verification.

(h) More than 10,000 direct contacts were made via email and mail in the Atlanta area and 168,000 indirect to readers for participation/nomination of participants. Premier Advisors list will not exceed 3.5 percent of each market’s financial advisory practices.

(i) NABCAP created the methodology and process. Rank Premier Advisors is contracted to administer the evaluation process.

(j) All profiles in the special advertising section were sold exclusively by Atlanta Business Chronicle and not endorsed in any way by NABCAP. Atlanta Business Chronicle is exclusively responsible for all advertisements.

A detailed review of NABCAP’s selection methodologies can be found here.       

Jon Houk, CFP®, Wealth Advisor – 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Al Meadows, MBA, CFP®, Wealth Advisor – 2018 

 

Five Star Professional employed a rigorous research process to identify the Five Star Wealth Manager Award winners in the Atlanta area. Award-winning professionals were carefully selected from among thousands of wealth managers for their knowledge, service and expertise.

Award winners represent an exclusive group of wealth managers who have demonstrated excellence in their field by satisfying 10 objective selection criteria.

The Five Star Wealth Manager award, administered by Crescendo Business Services, LLC (dba Five Star Professional), is based on 10 objective criteria. Eligibility criteria – required: 1. Credentialed as a registered investment adviser or a registered investment adviser representative; 2. Actively licensed as a registered investment adviser or as a principal of a registered investment adviser firm for a minimum of 5 years; 3. Favorable regulatory and complaint history review (As defined by Five Star Professional, the wealth manager has not; A. Been subject to a regulatory action that resulted in a license being suspended or revoked, or payment of a fine; B. Had more than a total of three settled or pending complaints filed against them and/or a total of five settled, pending, dismissed or denied complaints with any regulatory authority or Five Star Professional’s consumer complaint process. Unfavorable feedback may have been discovered through a check of complaints registered with a regulatory authority or complaints registered through Five Star Professional’s consumer complaint process; feedback may not be representative of any one client’s experience; C. Individually contributed to a financial settlement of a customer complaint; D. Filed for personal bankruptcy within the past 11 years; E. Been terminated from a financial services firm within the past 11 years; F. Been convicted of a felony); 4. Fulfilled their firm review based on internal standards; 5. Accepting new clients. Evaluation criteria – considered: 6. One-year client retention rate; 7. Five-year client retention rate; 8. Non-institutional discretionary and/or non-discretionary client assets administered; 9. Number of client households served; 10. Education and professional designations.

Wealth managers do not pay a fee to be considered or placed on the final list of Five Star Wealth Managers. Award does not evaluate quality of services provided to clients. Once awarded, wealth managers may purchase additional profile ad space or promotional products.

The Five Star award is not indicative of the wealth manager’s future performance. Wealth managers may or may not use discretion in their practice and therefore may not manage their client’s assets. The inclusion of a wealth manager on the Five Star Wealth Manager list should not be construed as an endorsement of the wealth manager by Five Star Professional or this publication.

2018: 3,248 considered, 287 winners (9 percent of candidates); 

2017: 2,378 considered, 301 winners; 

2016: 2,210 considered, 526 winners; 

2015: 3,620 considered, 546 winners; 

2014: 4,433 considered, 560 winners; 

2013: 2,852 considered, 592 winners; 

2012: 2,660 considered, 607 winners.

Working with a Five Star Wealth Manager or any wealth manager is no guarantee as to future investment success, nor is there any guarantee that the selected wealth managers will be awarded this accomplishment by Five Star Professional in the future. For more information on the Five Star award and the research/selection methodology, go to fivestarprofessional.com.

Hank McLarty, Founder & President – 2004

Source: Barron’s “The Top 100,” September 20, 2004. Barron’s “Top 100 Wealth Advisors” are the 100 best wealth advisors from the brokerage industry, as identified by researcher R.J. Shook, industry researcher, and based on advisors who follow best practices and have the biggest books of business. The scoring system  He screened more than 3,000 candidates for quality, then ordered the finalists by size. Assets shown in the table include both investments at the broker’s firm and funds farmed out to others. Assets also include investments for institutional clients, though Shook weighted those holdings less heavily when tabulating the rankings. He also considered the revenue each broker generates, but he agreed to keep that information confidential. In addition to brokerage houses, the ranking covers brokerage units of banks and financial-planning affiliates of brokerages. The rating may not be representative of any one client’s experience because it reflects a sample of all of the experiences of the Wealth Advisor’s clients. The rating is not indicative of the Wealth Advisor’s past or future performance. Neither the firm nor any adviser paid a fee for the award. Barron’s is a registered trademark of Dow Jones & Company, LP. All rights reserved.

2016, 2017, 2018

The Forbes America’s Top 100 Wealth Advisors are selected from nearly 20,000 nominations and over 4,000 candidates invited to complete the Forbes survey. Developed by Shook Research, the Forbes ranking is based on overall quality of practice and algorithm of qualitative/quantitative data received in nominations from professionals from financial services, banks, brokerages, custodians, insurance, clearing houses and registered investment advisers. Neither Forbes nor SHOOK receives a fee in exchange for rankings. SHOOK is completely independent and objective and does not receive compensation from the Advisors, Firms, the media, or any other source in exchange for placement on a ranking. Criteria includes client retention, industry experience, compliance records, firm nominations, AUM, and revenue generated for firms. Seven years minimum advisors experience. Portfolio performance is not a criterion due to varying client objectives and lack of audited data.

Basic Requirements
  • 7 years as an advisor
  • Minimum 1 year at current firm, with exceptions (acquisitions, etc.)
  • Advisor must be recommended, and nominated, by Firm
  • Completion of online survey
  • Over 50% of revenue/production must be with individuals
  • Acceptable compliance record
Qualitative Criteria
  • Phone and in-person meetings with advisors 
  • (if an in-person meeting cannot be accomplished, exceptions are considered in which the interview will occur after a ranking has been published).
Quantitative Criteria
  • Revenue/production; weightings assigned for each
  • Assets under management—and quality of those assets—both custodied and a scrutinized look at assets held away. (Although individual numbers are used for ranking purposes, we publish the entire team’s assets.)
  • Client-related data, such as retention
  • Portfolio performance is not a factor; audited returns among advisors are rare, and differing client objectives provide varying returns

 

A detailed review of the selection methodologies and the full rankings can be found here.

Hank McLarty, Founder & President – 2019

The 2019 Best-in-State Wealth Advisors list included 3,000 advisors across the country who were nominated by their firms. Advisors was nominated by their respective firm, then vetted and ranked by SHOOK Research.

The Forbes ranking of Best-In-Class Wealth Advisors, developed by SHOOK Research, is based on an algorithm of qualitative criteria, mostly gained through telephone and in-person due diligence interviews, and quantitative data. Those advisors that are considered have a minimum of seven years experience, and the algorithm weights factors like revenue trends, assets under management, compliance records, industry experience and those that encompass best practices in their practices, and approach to working with clients. Portfolio performance is not a criteria due to varying client objectives and lack of audited data. Neither Forbes nor SHOOK receive a fee in exchange for rankings. 

Basic Requirements
  • 7 years as an advisor
  • Minimum 1 year at current firm, with exceptions (acquisitions, etc.)
  • Advisor must be recommended, and nominated, by Firm
  • Completion of online survey
  • Over 50% of revenue/production must be with individuals
  • Acceptable compliance record
Quantitative Criteria
  • Revenue/production; weightings assigned for each
  • Assets under management—and quality of those assets—both custodied and a scrutinized look at assets held away. (Although individual numbers are used for ranking purposes, we publish the entire team’s assets.)
  • Client-related data, such as retention
  • Portfolio performance is not a factor; audited returns among advisors are rare, and differing client objectives provide varying returns
Qualitative Criteria
  • Telephone and in-person meetings with advisors (if an in-person meeting cannot be accomplished, exceptions are considered in which the interview will occur after a ranking has been published)
  • Advisors that exhibit “best practices” within their practices and approach to working with clients
  • Compliance records & u4s. Some “dings” can be overlooked (e.g., firm or product failure beyond the scope of an advisor’s due diligence; the older a ding, the less we look). Since there are many gray areas, the SHOOK team is willing to listen to a Firm that is willing to stand behind the advisor with written support from leadership
  • Advisors that provide a full client experience:
    • Service model
    • Investing process
    • Fee structure (higher % of fee-based assets earns more points)
    • Breadth of services, including extensive use of Firm’s platform and resources (eg, liabilities)
    • Credentials (years of service can serve as proxy)
    • Use of team & team dynamics
    • Community involvement
    • Discussions with management, peers, competing peers
    • Telephone and in-person meetings

 

The full Forbes rankings and additional award methodology information are available here.