Top 100 RIA Firms 2020

The RIA market is one of the most dynamic channels to cover and call on for an investment sales professional. However, there are two problems that we face when selling to RIAs: The first is “Where do I begin?” and the second is “With approximately 13,500 RIAs, how can I find out who uses outside managers?”

So it's both a size and a qualification issue. Our firm, Dakota, has been calling to RIAs since 2006, and has raised over $6 billion from 362 RIAs and counting. Has it been easy? Not at all, but the work has been worth it.

In this article, I’m going to show you a good starting point for calling RIA firms that use outside managers. We have over 1,100 RIAs in our RIA Marketplace database, so this list represents about 10% of the total market of RIAs that use outside managers.

Key Points to Consider About RIAs

Most RIAs and their due diligence staff have limited time to research and meet with managers because they are asked to play many different roles, especially client-facing, revenue generating roles. However, today more than ever, RIA due diligence staff rely on salespeople to bring them investment ideas. They are always looking for new and interesting investment ideas.

It's an incredible conflict: analysts depend us on, but have limited time to meet with us.

What does this mean for us as outside managers? We have to keep calling on them, asking for meetings, adding value through short update emails, and constantly keeping our strategies in front of them. This is a dirty job, meaning it requires a lot of push on a daily basis. Most salespeople will not keep pushing, so if you keep pushing, you give yourself a great chance to win.

Frequently Asked Questions about Selling to RIAs

Do RIAs want salespeople to call on them?

This is my favorite question, and we even dedicated a panel to this one question at our New York City Conference in September of 2019.

RIAs have very thin research staff members when compared to banks, BDs, consultants and State Pension Funds. The due diligence analysts at RIAs, thus, play many different roles beyond due diligence. On average, they spend only 20% of their time researching investment strategies. So, they do not have a lot of time to do research.

As a result, RIAs count on investment sales professionals to bring them ideas. Most RIAs will tell you that they found out about a strategy because a salesperson called them or emailed them for a meeting. So, yes! RIAs want to be called on to discuss your investment strategy. Now, they cannot take 250 meetings a week, but they want to hear from you. In fact, they count on you calling them and introducing your strategy because they see you as an extension of their research team.

Are RIA analysts as sophisticated as analysts at other institutional investors?

Yes, they are. To think of RIAs as “retail” is a big mistake. In general, the due diligence analysts at RIAs are as sophisticated as any other group, if not more so, when it comes to understanding and picking managers to invest in. Most analysts are CFAs and have extensive experience. Because they can invest in almost anything, they see and evaluate a lot of investment opportunities. This level of experience gets them in front of a lot of interesting ideas, further solidifying their sophistication.

In any given city, there can be a lot of musical chairs between analysts at consultants, foundations, endowments, RIAs, Family Offices, etc. So, the analyst in the seat at an RIA could have just come from a consultant or an endowment. This just further proves that this is as institutional an approach to investing as at any other institution.

Do RIAs invest in alternatives?

Most RIAs will invest in alternatives. But to really understand their alternative investment approach, you need to consider their preferred investment vehicles. RIA firms will, in general, use mutual funds and separate accounts as their primary investment vehicles. They absolutely will use L.P.s and quarterly tender structures, but on a limited basis.

Why mutual funds primarily? Because it is an easy way to run and manage their business. Schwab and Fidelity, with their robust backend technology, make it very easy for RIAs to trade and manage client portfolios. Non-mutual fund structures are inefficient and time-consuming to manage. So, unless they have a high need and desire to access the investment strategy, they will stick with mutual funds and ETFs.

All that being said, RIAs frequently invest in illiquid and LP-type structures. So, if you market a product that is delivered in those vehicles, you should absolutely be calling on or building relationships with RIAs. In general, the larger the RIA, the more likely they will invest in illiquid structures.

Many RIAs, like many other allocators, have used liquid alternatives as a convenient way to access alternative strategies that are housed in mutual funds or ETFs. The problem with liquid alts is that they have not performed well or according to their mandates, which has raised a lot of concern. That being said, if you have a liquid alt product, RIAs should be one of the main channels you target.

Should I only call on RIAs that have over $1 billion in AUM?

No. We believe the only artificial line is around $200 million, and even that can be risky.

Many firms we speak with only call on RIAs above $1 billion, however, RIAs between $200 million and $1 billion are extremely fruitful. Here’s why:

Many smaller RIAs have higher absolute allocations to certain asset classes versus RIAs that are $1 billion and above. So, the win is bigger at a $600M RIA than at a $2.4B RIA.

New RIAs are formed weekly, and, after they leave a wire house, it can take a few years to bring over all of their client assets. Thus, they appear to be small, but in reality, they are growing rapidly. Many investment salespeople will avoid calling on them, but what we have found is that by calling them now and getting an initial allocation, you can grow with them as they grow.

The greatest thing about RIAs is that these are growing firms. Some of the most rapidly growing firms are those firms sub-$500 million in AUM. Build a relationship when they are small, and you will have them for life.

So, yes, we strongly recommend calling on RIAs below $1 billion in AUM.

Do I need a PM in RIA Meetings?

We have always felt that investors eventually want to meet the wizard, the one managing the money. So it’s not mandatory, but you will eventually want to get the PM on the phone. One of the greatest assets an RIA can have with their clients is to be able to say “Well, I just got off the phone with Susan, the lead PM on our small cap value strategy, and this is what she said about the market.” Access to a PM is a big deal for RIAs. So, if you have a PM who is willing to do calls, then this is a great use of time.

The Top 100 RIA Firms: 

It should be noted that this is NOT a "best of list" because in our RIA Marketplace database we have approximately 1,100 RIAs who use outside managers, all of whom we love. This list just represents a starting point to begin to build your list in your CRM.


1. Diversified Trust Company
AUM: $6,500,000,000 

2. Homrich Berg Wealth Management
AUM: $5,596,562,403 

3. Callan IAG
AUM: $4,552,961,917

4. Edge Capital Partners
AUM: $4,000,000,000 

5. Signature FD
AUM: $3,500,000,000 

6. Brightworth
AUM: $3,335,519,000 

7. Frontier Asset Management
AUM: $3,158,034,507 

8. Lakeview Capital Partners
AUM: $2,936,278,725 

9. Gratus Capital Management, LLC
AUM: $2,000,000,000

10. Arcus Capital Partners, LLC
AUM: $1,227,450,671 


1. SCS Financial Services
AUM: $20,021,840,427  

2. Pathstone
AUM: $14,000,000,000 

3. The Colony Group
AUM: $11,500,000,000 

4. Ballentine Partners
AUM: $6,698,575,123 

5. Ropes Wealth Advisors
AUM: $3,845,215,322 

6. Twin Focus Capital Partners
AUM: $2,488,860,727 

7. Lake Street Advisors
AUM: $2,292,212,039 

8. RINET Company
AUM: $1,976,760,620 

9. Daintree Advisors
AUM: $1,125,909,000 

10. O’Brien Wealth Partners
AUM: $570,939,231 


1. CIBC Private Wealth
AUM: $57,000,000,000 

2. William Blair
AUM: $32,411,671,934 

3. Mesirow Financial
AUM: $30,500,000,000 

4. Cresset Wealth Advisors
AUM: $4,500,000,000

5. Springtide Partners
AUM: $4,000,000,000 

6. Crescent Grove Advisors
AUM: $1,644,716,241

7. Strategic Wealth Partners LLC
AUM: $1,447,984,198 

8. ArchPoint Investors
AUM: $1,025,355,888 

9. Vantage Financial Partners
AUM: $451,080,275 

10. Promus Capital
AUM: $850,000,000 


1. First Command Financial Planning
AUM: $25,000,000,000 

2. Avantax Wealth Management
AUM: $9,997,015,164 

3. Tolleson Private Wealth Management
AUM: $2,411,135,433  

4. True North Advisors, Inc.
AUM: $2,000,000,000 

5. Crow Holdings Capital
AUM: $10,641,043,456 

6. Lee Financial
AUM: $1,124,605,809 

7. View Capital
AUM: $1,003,350,773 

8. Diesslin Group Inc.
AUM: $799,758,005   

9. Annandale Capital, LLC
AUM: $629,292,500 

10. HFS Wealth Management
AUM: $624,615,188 


1. Innovest Portfolio Solutions
AUM: $23,000,000,000.00 

2. Strategic Capital Advisers Inc.
AUM: $4,700,000,000.00 

3. AMG National Trust Bank
AUM: $4,700,000,000.00 

4. Crestone Capital Advisors LLC
AUM: $2,500,000,000.00 

5. IWP Wealth Management
AUM: $1,655,420,038.00

6. Michaud Capital Management
AUM: $1,500,000,000.00 

7. IFAM Capital Advisors
AUM: $1,410,429,548.00 

8. GHP Investment Advisors
AUM: $1,254,110,716.00 

9. BSW Wealth Partners
AUM: $1,237,125,570.00 

10. Schaefer Financial Management, Inc.
AUM: $605,369,439.00 

Los Angeles

1. Sageview Advisory Group
AUM: $101,533,445,070     

2. Beacon Pointe Advisors
AUM: $10,000,000,000  

3. Bel Air Investment Advisors
AUM: $9,000,000,000    

4. Signature Estate and Investment
AUM: $6,223,150,162 

5. ICG Advisors
AUM: $4,713,689,520 

6. Evoke Wealth
AUM: $4,500,000,000   

7. EP Wealth Advisors
AUM: $4,390,000,000     

8. Camden Capital Management LLC
AUM: $3,174,607,475  

9. Westmount Asset Management
AUM: $3,000,000,000 

10. Mozaic LLC
AUM: $1,915,145,364

New York

1. Bessemer Trust
AUM: $107,000,000,000  

2. Brown Advisory
AUM: $70,000,000,000  

3. Silvercrest Asset Management
AUM: $25,070,080,215  

4. Cerity Partners
AUM: $24,682,540,139 

5. Rockefeller Capital Management
AUM: $19,100,000,000 

6. BBR Partners LLC
AUM: $17,886,900,000 

7. Wealthspire Advisors
AUM: $10,000,000,000 

8. TAG Associates LLC
AUM: $8,349,620,000 

9. Manchester Capital Management LLC
AUM: $4,164,263,781 

10. New Providence Asset Management LLC
AUM: $2,836,607,041


1. Hirtle Callaghan & Co.
AUM: $19,806,006,898   

2. myCIO Wealth Partners
AUM: $8,853,338,205   

3. Mill Creek Capital Advisors, LLC
AUM: $5,797,892,123     

4. Pitcairn Trust Company
AUM: $5,500,000,000 
5. Zeke Capital Advisors
AUM: $5,497,838,527     

6. Forbes Family Trust
AUM: $4,000,000,000 

7. Drexel Morgan Capital Advisors
AUM: $2,500,000,000    

8. Westscott Financial Advisory Group Inc.
AUM: $2,003,142,096  

9. Radnor Financial Advisors Inc.
AUM: $1,334,595,954 

10. Legacy Advisors
AUM: $1,325,220,420 

San Francisco 

1. Iconiq Capital
AUM: $39,000,000,000   

2. Hall Capital Partners
AUM: $36,253,881,136   

3. Makena Capital Management
AUM: $22,000,000,000  

4. Northside Capital Management
AUM: $5,025,270,346    

5. Wetherby Asset Management
AUM: $4,851,933,986 

6. Bordeaux Wealth Advisors
AUM: $2,476,129,264   

7. EPIQ Capital Group
AUM: $1,613,073,371  

8. Robertson Stephens Wealth Management
AUM: $1,300,000,000 

9. Bitterroot Capital Advisors, LLC
AUM: $1,083,114,004 

10. Gordian Wealth Advisors
AUM: $210,847,345

Washington D.C.

1. Mason Companies
AUM: $6,507,697,821 

2. Clark Enterprises
AUM: $4,000,000,000 

3. Cassaday & Company, Inc
AUM: $2,398,347,732 

4. Sullivan Bruyette Speros & Blayney (SBSB)
AUM: $3,518,350,523 

5. Keel Point
AUM: $2,153,307,268 

6. Andersen
AUM: $2,116,921,000  

7. Dyson Capital Advisors
AUM: $2,000,000,000 

8. SOL Capital Management Company
AUM: $1,977,296,734  

9. Lynx Investment Advisory LLC
AUM: $736,488,441 

10. Bogart Wealth Management
AUM: $708,611,779

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Written By: Tim Dolan, Vice President, Institutional Sales

Tim Dolan is a Vice President of Institutional Sales at Dakota.


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