How To Choose A Wealth Management Firm

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Wealth management firms vary across the nation in relation to the specialization and financial services that they may offer. So how can you differentiate between them and determine which wealth management firm is right for you as you go through the screening and due diligence process of interviewing a team that will manage your financial future?

At the end of the day, you deserve to know that your financial advisor shares the same core wealth management values as you and has the experience, knowledge, and credentials to oversee your financial affairs. Because your financial success is heavily predicated on the professional or team managing your wealth, your selection of a wealth manager should be based on objectivity vs. emotions. Just because you like someone doesn’t mean they have the skills or experience needed to properly manage your nest egg.

If you are looking for a wealth management firm in the Washington, D.C., area, use this quick guide to help you formulate a plan of action.

Finding the right financial professionals can be the difference between you achieving your financial goals or not. The wealth management firm you hire should have the credentials, knowledge, and experience to weather any type of market condition.

Here are some key services and characteristics a wealth management team in the Washington, D.C., area should deliver:

  • Unbiased planning and advisory services
  • Responsive communication
  • Transparent fees and pricing structure
  • Strategic tax efficient and investment strategies backed by a team of diverse professionals

Wealth management defined

Understanding the foundation and importance of wealth management is helpful when looking to hire a wealth manager of your own. Wealth management is essentially a holistic (whole) approach that looks at all aspects of your personal finances. It typically includes financial planning as well as an investment strategy.

It can also include tax planning, retirement planning, education planning, estate planning, and insurance coverage. This approach ensures that all aspects of your financial life work together and can adjust as life events occur and/or the economy shifts.

Chapter 1

Do The Financial Advisors At My Wealth Management Firm Have Credentials?

Your finances should be overseen by a team of financial professionals who have formal education, training, and experience advising clients like you. As you conduct your search, it’s important to understand what financial credentials they hold. This demonstrates that they are trained to properly guide you through all phases of your financial journey.

Start by looking for a CFP® professional

A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ can oversee your financial planning efforts and help position you for financial success. This requires comprehensive financial planning, which usually covers the bases of retirement planning, investment planning, portfolio management, education planning, insurance planning, tax planning, and estate planning. Your financial planner should be able to adapt your financial plan to your evolving life and financial goals.

It may help to know that the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. helps to ensure high standards for this certification. To ensure there are no conflicts of interest, you should consider working with a fiduciary financial planner (or fiduciary financial advisor).

At Brown | Miller, our combined certified experience allows us to devise various portfolio approaches on your behalf. We have a unique process to find the ideal portfolio mix with your specific goals and parameters. Our designations include:

  • Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA®)
  • Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC®)

Our wealth management firm uses in-depth research to craft your ideal investment portfolio that aligns with your investment objectives, risk tolerance, and time horizon.

Chapter 2

Is My Wealth Management Firm A Fee-only Fiduciary?

Because you are putting your money into someone else’s hands, it’s vital to trust a wealth advisor that has a fiduciary duty to always put your interests first and foremost. This fiduciary standard requires the professionals servicing you to:

  • Always place your best interests before their own, including placing your money in suitable investments based on your risk tolerances and goals
  • Provide all relevant facts about the investments they are recommending to you
  • Provide full disclosure regarding their compensation along with any potential conflicts of interest to you
  • Do their best to ensure their advice to you is thorough and accurate

The team at Brown | Miller takes their fiduciary duty to clients very seriously.

If you are interviewing an advisor who isn’t a fiduciary, request in writing how they are compensated. They should not hesitate in providing you with this in written form. If they are not willing to provide things in writing, this should be considered a red flag in your interview process.

Bottomline: a fee-only fiduciary firm like Brown | Miller can give you the confidence that they will be servicing you through transparency and consistency. We do better when you do better – our incentives are aligned with your interests.


Rely on experienced CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals to help you prepare for the type of retirement that you’ve dreamed of.

Chapter 3

Does The Wealth Management Firm Demonstrate Proven Knowledge And Experience?

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A qualified wealth management firm will demonstrate proven knowledge backed by experience and long-lasting client relationships. A trustworthy wealth manager will take the time to get to know you, ask the right questions, and then educate you about the ins and outs of your comprehensive financial plan.

By persistently expanding professional knowledge and judgment, confident investment advisors can be honest with you when something isn’t working in your favor. It’s vital to enter a financial partnership with realistic expectations in order to avoid unrealistic goal-setting, budgeting, and spending.

You should feel safe knowing that your financial plan is working at optimal levels for your needs and expectations. Providing truly personal service is what sets us apart from the other financial advisors in the D.C. area. We are here to help you maintain the mindset and diversified portfolio to stay the course, no matter the economic status or inflation level.

Read: Mindset: How to Handle Market Volatility

Chapter 4

Is My Wealth Manager Proactive And Responsive?

Open communication and responsiveness are very important components of a successful partnership when you hire a wealth management firm.  As an affluent investor, you should be able to count on your wealth management firm to be committed to:

  • Keeping you updated and informed about the performance of your investment portfolio
  • Providing open communication for regular check-ins, especially when the market is volatile
  • ​Being proactive in reviewing your financial plan on a regular basis, especially when you have a life-changing event or there is a large economic shift that could impact you

At Brown | Miller, one of our core commitments is to always have open, honest lines of communication with our clients. We believe this is a foundational component of a successful client-advisor relationship.

Remember, when you select a wealth management firm, you are hiring a team of professionals who will be overseeing your financial well-being for years to come.

Read: Your Wealth Management Firm Should Be A Partner In Your Financial Life

Chapter 5

4 Ways My Wealth Is Protected By A Team Approach

Group of people touching hands, wealth management firm should be a partner in your financial lifeWhether your goals include buying a house, funding charitable contributions, leaving a legacy, saving for a child’s education, or enjoying a cozy retirement, a team of wealth managers can help you pursue your financial goals.

At Brown | Miller, our dedicated team executes the four “Ps” of white-glove service:

  1. Pleasant
  2. Prompt
  3. Proactive
  4. Painless

We believe in being very proactive with our clients. This includes frequent communication about the status of your portfolio(s), so you can feel confident that your money is working for you vs. against you, even as volatility within the market occurs.   Our team approach also includes having conversations with you about your fears and/or concerns in relation to your money.

Our success hinges on your success. We serve as your financial advocates.

Read these tips from an advisor on how to manage market volatility.

Chapter 6

Does The Firm Offer The Wealth Management Services I Need?

As you accumulate more assets and grow your wealth, the more complex your financial situation may become. Wealth management will look different for everyone, based on the specific services you are in need of.

As Washington D.C. area investment management professionals, the Brown | Miller team offers a wide array of wealth management services for high-net-worth individuals, families, and business owners:

  • Comprehensive financial planning
  • Retirement planning
  • Estate planning
  • Tax planning
  • Investment management services

Read: 4 Benefits of a Financial Planner in D.C. For Small Business Owners

Chapter 7

Does Your Wealth Management Firm Have A Succession Plan In Place?

When interviewing a wealth management firm, another question you should ask is what type of succession plan they have in place, should the financial advisor servicing you is either no longer with the firm or is unable to serve you. While this is an uncomfortable conversation to have, it’s important to understand that the firm has a plan in place that ensures the uninterrupted management of your money.

An example of this occurred when an actor, Paul Walker (Fast and Furious movies) was killed in a car accident with his friend and financial advisor, Roger Rodas. Roger worked for a large Wall Street advisory firm but did not have a succession plan in place for his clients, so they were disbursed to other advisors within the firm. Any continuity was lost.

If you’re considering selling your company and need guidance on how the sale will impact your finances, connect with a financial advisor in Washington, D.C.

Looking for a wealth management firm in the Washington, D.C., area? Consider the Brown | Miller team that specializes in comprehensive financial planning

Having an experienced, credible team on your side to serve as your financial advocate during any type of economic environment may help you sleep better at night.

Valuable financial guidance can alleviate stress and calm fears for you and your family.

Working with the right Washington D.C. wealth management firm with the experience, knowledge, and credentials is the first step of moving towards financial independence.  Whether you are in need of financial planning services, investment management, estate planning, or need assistance with a financial strategy as a business owner, a well-established wealth management firm may be right for your specific situation.

As an established, independent wealth management firm, our financial advisors in the D.C. area will orchestrate your wealth on your behalf with the utmost care and concern.

Give us a call today to explore the possibilities of working together.


This article is intended for informational purposes only, and not to be a client-specific suitability analysis or recommendation, an offer to participate in any investment, or a recommendation to buy, hold or sell securities. Do not use this report as the sole basis for investment decisions. Do not select an asset class or investment product based on performance alone. Consider all relevant information, including your existing portfolio, investment objectives, risk tolerance, liquidity needs, and investment time horizon. This report is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to predict or guarantee the future performance of any individual security, market sector, or the markets generally.

The information provided in this article represents the opinions of Brown Miller Wealth Management (“BMWM”) and is expressed as of the date hereof and is subject to change. BMWM assumes no obligation to update or otherwise revise our opinions or this article. The observations and views expressed herein may be changed by BMWM at any time without notice. The information may be based on third-party information, which is deemed reliable, but its accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed.

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