Dallas, Texas is a huge city with lots of wealth. Naturally, it attracts some of the smartest financial advisors in the business. I’ve found a few firms that are truly worth the money, including two with no minimum asset requirements!
Get Matched with 5-Star Rated Financial Advisors in Your Area
Best of all, each of these firms is fee-only with no conflicts of interest.
Overview of the best Dallas financial planners
True North Advisors
- Contact – (214) 360-7300 or email@example.com.
- Services offered – Investment management and financial planning.
- Asset requirements – Clients need $1 million in investable assets at a minimum, preferably $2 million.
- Typical fees – Firms may charge an hourly fee or a percentage of your assets under management, usually within a 1% to 2% range. The higher your assets climb, the lower the percentage will be. True North charges between 0.25% and 1.50% of your assets — on the high end for smaller accounts, which will pay closer to the 1.50% rate.
An award-winning firm, True North Advisors is a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) in 13 states; its Dallas location has been open for over a decade. The RIA designation is an important quality in an advisory firm — it indicates the company is a financial fiduciary, which means it has a professional duty to look out for the interests of clients.
True North, like most firms, has a two-pronged approach including investment management and financial planning. Their “Three-Sixty Process” offers potential clients four introductory planning meetings with no fees or commitments.
Though the firm has comprehensive plans for individuals, they also provide thorough services to institutional investors and those who work for them. Whether you’re managing a nonprofit or handling finances for a corporation, True North helps you handle the major-league financial decisions that come with market power.
- Contact – (214) 378-7400.
- Services offered – Financial planning basics — taxes, retirement, cash flow, et cetera — along with risk management and investment management.
- Asset requirements – Paratus has no account or asset minimum.
- Typical fees – $80 to $300/hour for work with an associate and $175 to $600/hour for work with a director.
Paratus Financial is a small, Texas-exclusive, family-owned firm that has only seven advisors.
They manage around $2 billion in total assets for hundreds of clients. Significant for young investors, Paratus accepts clients without a high net worth.
Lee Financial Planning
- Contact – (972) 960-1001.
- Services offered – Wealth management or investment management.
- Asset requirements – Clients who want full services, including investment management, need $1.5 million in assets. But you don’t have to be a millionaire to work with Lee Financial. They offer financial planning (minus the investment portion) to clients with an annual household income of $500,000.
- Typical fees – 1.0% of managed assets for accounts under $10 million, with lower percentages if assets climb higher. They have a separate fee for optional retirement plan consulting (between 0.35% and 0.50%).
Lee Financial is a respected Dallas institution — they’ve been around since 1975. They specialize in working with clients (individual or corporate) who have accumulated wealth.
In addition to its CFPs and CFAs, Lee Financial has several employees registered with the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), a directory of fee-only planners with stellar industry reputations. Lee advisors are active in local professional societies as well as national ones, showing a commitment to leadership across the board.
Heritage Financial Planning
- Contact – (214) 446-2100.
- Services offered – Financial planning and investment management.
- Asset requirements – Heritage has no minimum for income, assets, or net worth.
- Typical fees – Heritage charges either hourly fees — $200/hour — or fixed fees between $1,000 and $15,000 depending on how complicated the account is. Over the long term, as you build a portfolio, you’ll probably switch to a percentage-of-assets fee — 1.0% for the first $1 million, with an annual $5,000 (for working with an associate) or $10,000 minimum (for working with the firm director).
A newer addition to the Dallas financial scene, Heritage Financial Planning has offices in Houston and Atlanta, Georgia as well. Their smaller profile and 1:39 advisor/client ratio allows plenty of attention for individual clients, and their lack of minimum asset requirements makes Heritage accessible to younger professionals.
And the firm seems to value its clients as people; Heritage describes its ideal client as “fun to work with, interesting both personally and professionally.”
J.K. Financial, Inc.
- Contact – (214) 706-4300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Services offered – Tax and insurance planning.
- Asset requirements – Minimum of $1 million in investable assets for clients, but they do make exceptions on a case-by-case basis if you don’t have this amount.
- Typical fees – Fees range from 0.50% to 1.75% of assets under management. Smaller accounts will pay closer to 1.75%.
J.K Financial principal John A. Kvale and his staff specialize in investment management while providing a full suite of advisory services. They’re registered in Texas but they serve clients around the world.
Kvale holds both CFP and CFA credentials, and he’s a member of the worldwide Financial Planning Association. Both he and the firm’s other planner Donald W. Capone III are CFAs with over a decade of experience each.
Stowe Financial Planning
- Contact – (972) 733-9959 or email@example.com.
- Services offered – Stowe bills itself as an all-in-one financial concierge that includes financial planning and investment management.
- Asset requirements – The minimum account size is $500,000, but this is negotiable if you and the advisor expect additional funds in the future.
- Typical fees – Financial planning clients pay a minimum $2,500 annual fee along with up to 0.25% of liquid assets under management. Investment advisory clients pay a percentage of managed assets — 0.90% for accounts under $500,000 and 0.70% for accounts between $500,000 and $1 million.
Stowe Financial Planning is a small boutique firm with a modest number of clients and almost two decades’ experience. Its staff members are proud to be “plain-spoken Texans” who accommodate clients at all levels of financial literacy.
Their website is similarly down-to-earth, using graphics and quirky drawings to explain the firm’s investment philosophy.
The principals in this NAPFA-member firm are all CFPs dedicated to a fee-only practice.
SMFG Wealth Advisors
- Contact – (972) 960-6460.
- Services offered – Wealth management, retirement planning, and investment management.
- Asset requirements – Minimum account size of $500,000.
- Typical fees: SFMG’s hourly rates are either $150, $250, or $350. Investment clients pay 1.25% of their first $1 million in assets.
Registered in nine states but based in Texas since 1992, SFMG Wealth Advisors has a solid-sized staff of 10 licensed advisors who value long-term client relationships.
The team’s decorated advisors include CFPs, CFAs, and certified public accountants (CPAs). There’s also an accredited investment fiduciary (AIF), a unique designation for investment experts.
Summary of the best financial advisors in Dallas
|Firm||Services offered||Primary clientele|
|True North Advisors||Investment management and financial planning||Institutional investors|
|Paratus Financial||Financial planning basics — taxes, retirement, cash flow, et cetera — along with risk management and investment management.||Young investors|
|Lee Financial||Wealth management or investment management.||High net worth individuals|
|Heritage Financial Planning||Financial planning and investment management.||Those making big money decisions (i.e. buying a home, investing for the first time, etc.)|
|J.K Financial, Inc.||Tax and insurance planning.||Clients all over the world|
|Stowe Financial Planning||Stowe bills itself as an all-in-one financial concierge that includes financial planning and investment management.||Young investors, and mid-range investors|
|SFMG Wealth Advisors||Wealth management, retirement planning, and investment management.||Young professionals|
How I came up with this list
These firms have a lot of local competition, but their strong reputations and credentials made them stand out as choices a client can trust.
They’re Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs)
At a minimum, I wanted to pick firms that are Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) with professionals who are Investment Advisor Representatives (IARs). All RIA firms are financial fiduciaries, which means their advisors are legally obligated to act in your best interest rather than their own.
Fee-only advisors earn nothing but the money clients pay them. These costs might be an hourly rate, a flat fee, or a percentage (usually between 1% and 2%) of your managed assets. They don’t get commissions or financial incentives for recommending certain investment products.
This is the kind of advisor you want — since they don’t have conflicts of interest, their only motivation is to make the best decisions for you. A firm that also operates as an attorney or insurance broker, or earns commissions by selling products and services, might steer clients towards choices that would increase the firm’s profits.
Their advisors have top credentials
The most common individual credential is Certified Financial Planner (CFP) which requires specific economic education, three years’ experience, and continuing education every two years as the industry changes. A Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), another common designation, needs four years’ experience making investment decisions
A NAPFA membership is also a good sign since NAPFA has strict ongoing regulations and all their advisors are fee-only.
They’re trusted by industry insiders
The financial advisory industry is heavily regulated; clients trust advisors to handle their life savings, so they need the most qualified people on the job.
Aside from reading objective reviews, I looked up each firm and its principal staff members on a few watchdog sites: the Investment Advisor Public Disclosure database run by the SEC, and the independent search engine investor.com. Both sites screen for possible conflicts of interest and track whether an advisor has any disclosures, or complaints, on their record.
What questions should you ask a financial advisor?
Who are your typical clients?
You want a skilled advisor, and just as importantly, you want a good match. I wanted to find firms that will work with young professionals despite the high financial bar to entry. If a firm’s clientele is mostly mid-career executives and people ready for retirement, they may not be the best fit for a recent college grad starting to save for retirement.
How do you usually communicate with clients, and how often?
Maybe you’re content with quarterly reports on your investments and annual check-ins. Or maybe you want an advisor available by email or phone whenever you have a question. Get a sense of how regularly your planner will be available outside of any scheduled chats.
What’s your investment philosophy? What asset allocation do you use?
A good advisor will have a clear answer, including their plan to diversify your portfolio and increase returns.
How are you compensated? Do you collect any commissions for investment products?
Your advisor should be compensated with fees only, not commissions. Otherwise, they may guide you towards investment choices that will earn them money or boost their sales.
Who has custody of my assets?
Reputable financial advisors don’t actually have contact with your assets. Instead, they’ll trust client assets to a “custodian”—a larger brokerage, often a big name like Charles Schwab or Fidelity.
What are the costs of hiring a financial advisor?
Almost all advisors offer an initial free consultation (in-person or via phone) where you’ll discuss what you’re looking for.
If you decide to work together, your annual fee will most likely be a percentage of your assets under the firm’s management. A charge between 1% and 2% of total assets is the industry standard. For instance, if your advisor charges a 1% fee and you entrust $500,000 in assets to the firm, your fee is $5000 a year or around $417 a month. As your assets climb higher, you’ll pay a smaller percentage.
Some firms charge an hourly rate instead of an asset-based rate for working with advisors, usually between $200 and $500 an hour.
You don’t have to live in or near Dallas to work with these advisors. Many firms are registered in multiple states. But if you’re a Dallas resident who wants the personal engagement of a local professional, get in touch with one of the planners above—most will offer a free consultation before you make a commitment.