Barron’s – America’s Top 1,200 Financial Advisors for 2016

BY STEVE GARMHAUSEN

The following has been excerpted

Barrons-Top-1200-Financial-Advisors-2016-Linden-Thomas-Company-Charlotte-NC-282021-e1461684472509If the past year’s market volatility has left you yearning for some stability and safety, you are not alone. Many of the nation’s top financial advisors are right there with you.

The challenge, of course, is to create a coherent plan for putting cash to work in a market that does not resemble much of anything seen before it.

Given the twists and turns of the past few years, this year’s Top 1,200 Advisors might be the best equipped ever to figure out how to ride this buffalo.

The ranking draws from all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, and it’s the largest, most comprehensive of the annual advisors listings that we run. It includes private-wealth advisors of all stripes-from independents who own and operate their own practices to advisors from the large Wall Street firms.

On average, the Top 1,200 advisors and their teams manage $2.27 billion in client assets. That’s down from $2.42 billion from last year’s group and is, in part, a testament to how challenging the markets have become. At the same time, the advisors are serving more clients: This year’s Top 1,200 serve 521 households on average, compared with 496 for 2015’s crop.

Team size, meanwhile, continues its multiyear growth trend. The average team is 11.3 people, up from 11 last year and way up from 8.1 in 2012.

There’s no doubt that advisors have been on the hot seat for many months. This year’s correction came after a 2015 in which virtually no asset class made money. Our advisors point to a number of factors, including concerns over Federal Reserve policy, questions about the strength of the economy, the surprising presidential race-President Trump?- and, of course the plunge in oil prices.

Yet, most of our top advisors remain moderately optimistic about the U.S. economy and the markets alike.

The consensus is that the markets will probably strengthen as the year goes along, extending the seven-year-old bull market. Many of our advisors paint a picture of low, slow growth as the new normal.

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