Recognition Disclosures

CNBC — Top 100 Fee-Only Wealth Management Firms

The CNBC Digital editorial team, along with Meridian-IQ, created the following ranking methodology for its Top 100 Fee-Only Wealth Management Firms rankings. Scores for each measure listed below were weighted according to a proprietary formula to arrive at a final total rank:

  • Assets under management (AUM)
  • Having staff with professional designations
  • Working with third-party professionals
  • Average account size
  • Growth of assets
  • Years in business
  • Number of advisory clients
  • Providing advice on insurance solutions

Firms with greater AUM totals were given a higher ranking in the case of numerical ties of the above formula. The Meridian/ Advice IQ team then applied the formula to the Meridian-IQ database of all registered investment advisers (RIAs) to create the list. The final step to create the Top 100 Fee-Only Wealth Management Firms list for CNBC.com was to apply the AdviceIQ Regulatory Compliance Review (RCR) process to the master list and eliminate any firm that failed the RCR process.

The RCR process is a due-diligence process whereby each advisory firm was compared with the RCR database of all regulatory actions from all four primary regulators: SEC, FINRA, state regulators and state insurance commissioners. In order to pass the RCR process, an advisory firm cannot have any complaints, actions or disclosures from any of the above regulators.

While CNBC has categorized Raffa Wealth Management as a “Fee Only” Wealth Management firm, CNBC’s use of the term “Fee Only” does not match the CFP Board’s definition of the term. Raffa Wealth Management’s owners and affiliates include CFP® professionals that are licensed insurance agents receiving insurance commissions and are not deemed “Fee Only” by the CFP Board.  In addition, RWM has an owner that is affiliated with a broker/dealer and that owner, Steve Heger, accepts commissions as compensation.  Furthermore, two of RWM’s owner, Dennis Gogarty and Steve Heger, are licensed insurance agents and receive commissions as compensation.  So while RWM’s sole source of compensation is the advisory feel billed directly to clients, RWM’s owners receive commissions related to other business activities and therefore these owners and RWM may not considered “Fee only” by the SEC.  For more information, download RWM’s disclosure brochure.