It only takes a few bad investments or wrong decisions to lose your fortune. When it comes to your finances, you want to be sure that you have the best advice and management possible. You need a trusted advisor who will lead you towards becoming financially secure. 

Everyone wants to build and maintain their wealth, but at the same time, it isn’t easy to secure competent advisors who are both skilled and trustworthy. The bottom line is that some companies care more about their profit than your interests. 

Boutique financial management firms can provide you with personalized attention and quality service. You can expect a more tailored approach to your personal financial situation that comes with the peace of mind of knowing the recommendations you receive are truly in your best interest.

How boutique firms differ from the larger, more well-known firms

The distinction between big-box, wirehouse, robo-advisors, and boutique financial management firms comes down to customer service and fiduciary responsibility. While all these options have their pros and cons, understanding their differences can help you make the best decision. Before we jump into the benefits of a boutique firm, let’s talk about the different options you have as you look for a wealth management firm. 

Wire House Investment Minimums

Investors looking for financial management services from wirehouse investment firms, such as Merrill Lynch or Morgan Stanley, will have to hit a minimum investment that could range upwards of $10 million. Not all investors have that kind of money to invest. This is where smaller investment firms come in. These firms have lower minimums, and some may not have minimums at all. On the other side, these wirehouses have a broad range of resources and access to all types of investment strategies.

Big Box Product Catalog

Big-box firms, such as Edward Jones or Charles Schwab, are looking out for the customers’ best interests, but only to the extent of their product and strategy catalog. These firms often have a portfolio of products they recommend, and they rarely venture beyond them. In some cases, their fiduciary responsibility could be compromised if they are confined to certain investment strategies and only recommend products that are within their wheelhouse. There are often other investments that could be a better fit for an investor that lie beyond the walls of their specific catalog, but you’d never know about them if you go with the wrong firm. 

This can also, sometimes, be attributed to the firm’s appetite for risk. They could stay within their catalog only because they trust and believe in those specific investments to help keep returns at a certain level for their investors. It all comes down to the investor’s interests – If you are open to exploring different, emerging investments like NFTs and cryptocurrencies and want to have flexibility and ambiguity to pursue investments of all shapes and sizes, then big-box companies may not be the best fit. 

Robo-Advisors

Robo-advisors are easy to use, but nothing good comes easy. They require multiple steps of input before you can receive advice. After you go through a maze of questions for the platform to assess you, it spits a recommendation. Sure, it’s quick and easy, but the reality is that this algorithm will never be able to provide a custom fit to your specific needs. It also does not take into account the nuances of your financial situation, like how you and your spouse should combine or split finances, what life insurance and estate planning considerations you should have, or how to achieve your goal of buying a cabin in the mountains. There are things that a spreadsheet is unable to tell you.

Customer Service

When it comes to important life decisions, such as choosing a financial advisor, many people assume that a large firm is the best option. After all, with so many advisors, they must have a wealth of experience and knowledge to offer their clients, right? Actually, this isn’t always the case. Big box wealth management firms are where you’ll find new advisors, young in their careers who likely recently graduated from college. On the other hand, wirehouse firms and robo-advisors will likely have you calling a 1-800 number to ask questions about your investments, and you’ll be cycled through different advisors that help you over time.

5 Benefits of using a boutique investment advisory firm

Boutique financial management firms offer a few undeniable benefits when compared to the big box and wirehouse investment firms, or even robo-advisors. Here are five benefits of using a smaller firm.

1. A more holistic view of your overall financial health

Bigger companies and robo-advisors, alike, often lack the interwoven strategies related to estate planning, accounting, and life insurance. Boutique firms, however, have those strategic partnerships with life insurance agents and estate planning attorneys, and they will provide an all-encompassing path toward financial vitality. Investing is just one piece of the puzzle.


2. Same resources and strategies

The right boutique firm will have the same access to data, technology, organizational processes, and research as the wirehouse and big boxes wealth management firms. In fact, most boutique firms emulate what works at the larger firms, but you can be confident that there is less bias in the products a boutique wealth management firm may recommend. When looking for a boutique firm, make sure the advisors are CFPs, or Certified Financial Planners. CFPs are legally responsible for recommending what is in your best interest rather than pushing specific products. 

3. More flexibility in investment strategies

Bigger isn’t always better regarding picking an investment advisory firm. Boutique firms often offer more flexibility than larger firms in regard to the strategies they implement. As a result, tend to cater to a broad spectrum of clients with unique needs than their counterparts at larger institutions. At larger firms, new and exciting asset classes, like non-fungible tokens (NFTs), are off-limits, so they don’t consider them when building a portfolio. A boutique advisor will calibrate each portfolio depending on the investor’s risk tolerance and welcome these new asset classes when appropriate.

4. Personalized relationship and services

With boutique financial management firms, you are not just an account number. They know your name—and your business. A boutique financial advisory firm provides a higher level of personalized service because you get to build a relationship with one financial advisor who will guide you and act as a resource for you over time. That advisor becomes knowledgeable about your unique needs and goals and can provide more tailored advice specific to your financial needs.

Because each advisor at a boutique firm handles only a few clients at a time, they can give you the personal attention you need to make sound investment decisions. Whereas brokers at large firms have a massive client base—they can have hundreds or even thousands of clients. As a result, they provide less personal attention to clients.

5. Confidence in your CFP

We mentioned it briefly above, but it’s worth the conversation. In choosing a financial planner, you want someone who will always have your best interest at heart. Fiduciary responsibility ensures that the advisor is legally and ethically obliged to provide recommendations in clients’ best interests. With smaller investment management firms, you are confident in knowing your CFP has a fiduciary responsibility in recommending what is in your absolute best advantage rather than pushing products they are forced to push.

Final Thoughts

The benefits of working with a boutique investment advisor have been shown to provide attractive investment results for investors. Thanks to the internet, it is now significantly easier to find an advisor. Many of them offer online advice, which means you can contact them at any time. They work around the clock to ensure that help is always available for your questions or other concerns. 

Four Points Wealth Management is a boutique wealth management firm that offers services across the United States. If you have questions or ideas about how to grow and multiply your assets, please feel free to reach out. I am always happy to be an informal sounding board as you pave your way to financial vitality.