The October issue of our sister publication CPA Wealth Provider has some information which will shock most. It is a ranking of CPA firms with financial planning practices by assets under management.  Eleven have over one billion dollars under management. Yes, I said one billion dollars each with Plante and Moran Financial Advisors leading the pack with $5.255 billion. There are 41 firms listed with $100+ million of assets under management.

Practical Accountant has previously identified a number of these firms, specifically Hill, Barth, & King; Honkamp Krueger; and GHP Horvath, and the impressive success they have had with financial planning. But only with the survey, which will be an annual event, can it be seen how really successful a great many accounting firms have been in their financial planning endeavors. Equally remarkable is that many of these firms have probably only been heavily involved in investment management for about 10 years, or less. 

I think a number of managing partners at other firms, especially those with a relationship with these listed firms, will be eager to find out the reasons for the success. They vary with each firm but I believe there is probably some in common including a commitment by the leadership of the accounting firm, buy-in from the partners and staff of the firm, successful selling of financial planning services to the bulk of the accounting firm’s client base, great marketing, and probably, most important, a performance record that equals or exceeds that of competitors who have been investment managers for a much longer time.     

Besides making this information public, probably for the first time, the results dispel a misconception that only a few accounting firms are very successful at their financial planning initiatives. CPA Wealth Provider’s survey of assets under management by CPA firms conclusively proves the exact opposite a billion times over.

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