2017 RANKING & REVIEWS
TOP RANKING INVESTMENT COMPANIES
How Should You Select the Best Investment Firms?
Selecting the best investment companies and the top-rated investment firms is an important undertaking, whether you’re looking for the best investment companies for beginners, or you’re an expert investor looking for the best investment firms with a philosophy similar to your own.
Some of the primary considerations most people keep in mind when choosing the best investment companies for their needs include:
The best investment companies offer investment strategies driven by the goal of having a sense of security and wealth-building potential.
Top investment firms offer many different ways to build retirement savings.
The best investment companies have an approach that’s guided primarily by the needs of the client.
- The largest investment companies and top-rated investment firms will typically have a broad array of investment products clients can choose from.
Thanks to online platforms and the growth of investment opportunities offered by banks, people have an increasing number of choices when it comes to investing their money.
Still, traditional brokerages, which represent many of the largest investment companies, are still favored by many people.
Award Emblem: Top 10 Best Investment Companies
As the largest investment companies, these traditional brokerages tend to be inexpensive and also pair the option for personalized in-person advice with online trading capabilities.
The following review and ranking of the best investment firms, and the biggest investment companies cover these traditional brokerages.
We have also highlighted key reasons why each investment firm is included on this list of investment companies, detailing factors that led to their selection as top-rated investment firms.
This review and ranking of the best investment companies and the biggest investment firms is designed to serve as a guide for anyone seeking a brokerage, whether they want to switch from their current investment firm, or they’re looking for the best investment companies for beginners.
AdvisoryHQ’s List of the Top 10 Best Investment Companies
List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the firm names below to go directly to the detailed review section for that investment company):
- BNY Mellon Investment Management
- Capital Group
- Fidelity Investments
- J.P. Morgan Asset Management
- Legal & General Investment America, Inc.
- Prudential Financial
- State Street Global Advisors
Click here for 2016's ranking of the Top 10 Investment Companies
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Top 10 Best Investment Companies | Brief Comparison & Ranking
Best Investment Firms
Expert experience with alternative investments
BNY Mellon Investment Management
Wide array of industry segments served
Success-driven investing approach
Competitive, transparent pricing structure
J.P. Morgan Asset Management
Advisor-guided college savings plan
Legal & General Investment America, Inc.
Company culture centered around client experience & success
Comprehensive short-term strategies
Strategic & transparent investment research
State Street Global Advisors
Strong, comprehensive company philosophy
|Vanguard||Goal-centric investing & practicality|
Table: Top 10 Best Investment Companies | Above list is sorted alphabetically
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Fee-Only, Fee-Based, & Commission-Based: What's the Difference?
Because our list focuses on the biggest investment firms and the largest investment companies, it's important to note that these are not necessarily fee-only firms. Instead, many are commission-based or fee-based.
Most investors are unfamiliar with the differences between these structures, though it is important to understand the subtle nuances between the three.
Fee-Only & Fee-Based Structure
So, what does fee-only mean for you, the prospective client? When an investment firm says that they are "fee-only," this means that they do not accept commissions or third-party referral payments.
An investment firm that has a fee-only pricing structure minimizes the inherent conflicts of interest that come along with recommending and selling investment products. In short, a fee-only investment firm is in a better position to act solely in the interest of their clients.
Fee-based firms will receive some direct compensation from clients, but are free to accept commissions from the companies who provide their financial products.
While a fee-based structure does create some potential conflict, many fee-based investment firms are also fiduciaries, which often counteracts the potential for conflict.
As a fiduciary, a firm is legally responsible to fully disclose any conflicts of interest and are required to put the interests of their clients ahead of their own.
Investment firms with a commission-based structure have their own distinct value and worth, depending upon the individual needs of the investor. Typically, high-net-worth investors find that the unique services offered by commission-based firms provide the best investment returns.
Where Can I Find Fee-Only or Fee-Based Investment Firms?
While the largest investment companies and the biggest investment companies on this list are certainly worth considering, you may find that, depending on your investment needs, a fee-only or fee-based investment firm may be better suited.
If you are interested in fee-only or fee-based financial advisors and accounting firms, you can visit the links below for our comprehensive rankings, which use fee-only and fee-based structures as ranking factors.
- Top Financial Advisors in America
- Top Accounting Firms in America
- Top Financial Advisors (UK)
- Top Financial Advisors (CA)
AdvisoryHQ’s Selection Methodology
What methodology does AdvisoryHQ use in selecting and finalizing the credit cards, financial products, firms, services, and products that are ranked on its various top-rated lists?
Please click here “AdvisoryHQ’s Ranking Methodologies” for a detailed review of AdvisoryHQ’s selection methodologies for ranking top-rated credit cards, financial accounts, firms, products, and services.
Detailed Review – Top Ranking Best Investment Companies
Below, please find a detailed review of each investment comapny on our list of best investment firms. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these top-rated investment firms to score so high in our selection ranking.
Along with being one of the world’s top-rated investment firms, BlackRock is also one of the largest investment companies. With $5.1 trillion in AUM as of 2016, BlackRock is trusted to manage more money than any other investment company.
BlackRock was founded in 1988 and since then has remained committed to putting clients first, being innovative in their thinking, and maintaining a high performance level.
This best investment company has clients from all across the globe, with 135 investment teams in 30 countries. They work with clients that range from large-scale institutions to individuals who want to grow their retirement.
Key Factors That Led Us to Rank This as One of the Top 10 Investment Companies
BlackRock was included on this list of investment companies and top investment firms for a few key reasons, stated below.
BlackRock understands the interconnectedness of the global economy, and with that in mind, they offer investment options based on the fact that relying only on stocks and bonds may not be the optimal way to create and cultivate a diversified portfolio.
One of their service areas is alternative investments, which add a unique and distinctively performing element to a portfolio for further diversification beyond stocks and bonds. Adding alternative investments can help the investor reduce their risk and optimize their returns.
BlackRock has experience in the area of alternative investing and offers options like the Alternative Capital Strategies Fund, the Real Estate Securities Fund, and the Emerging Markets Long/Short Equity Fund.
BlackRock Retirement Institute
One of the primary reasons people look to the top-rated investment firms and the biggest investment companies is for retirement solutions, whether they’re planning for retirement or they’re already there.
BlackRock created the Retirement Institute since two-thirds of their managed assets relate to retirement. Through the institute, BlackRock provides the means to make better retirement and longevity decisions for clients.
The Retirement Institute looks beyond money and instead provides insights and services based on what BlackRock calls a “broad matrix” of elements that impact retirement security for clients and people around the world.
The ultimate goal of this best investment company is to develop innovation that can be used to design practical, actionable outcomes.
Another product option offered by BlackRock, one of the biggest investment companies as well as one of the best investment firms, are their managed accounts. Separately Managed Accounts (SMAs), are often what high net worth investors choose because they offer sophistication and securities direct ownership.
BlackRock represents one of the largest SMA managers, with $72.5 billion in assets under management. The scale of BlackRock provides them with the resources they need to deliver top service to clients.
With SMAs, clients can create and impose their own limitations in terms of how their accounts are managed and can also limit the gains or losses recognized in their accounts.
As a full-service investment firm, BlackRock strives to not only provide products and services to customers as one of the top investment companies but also to provide them with knowledge and educational resources that can empower them regarding their financial decisions.
The BlackRock Education Center includes guides on retirement, college savings, and alternative investments, among other topics.
Source: BlackRock Education Center
BNY Mellon Insurance Review
As one of the largest investment companies and one of the top-rated investment firms, BNY Mellon has $29.9 trillion in assets under custody or administration and $1.6 trillion in assets under management.
BNY Mellon is one of the top investment companies, providing management, investment services, and wealth management for people located in more than 100 global markets including North America, Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Latin America.
Key Factors That Enabled This to Rank as One of the Top Investment Companies
The primary reasons leading BNY Mellon to be included on this list of the largest investment companies in the world and the best investment companies are detailed below.
Throughout its long history, BNY Mellon has remained dedicated to innovation, which is a big component that’s led to their success as not only one of the largest investment companies in the world, but also one of the top investment firms.
BNY Mellon has worked to create new applications for capital market growth, including tools, platforms, and resources that help people invest more successfully.
Some of their recent innovation initiatives include the NEXEN digital ecosystem, as well as the global Innovation Centers. BNY Mellon has also been partnering with fintechs to change how financial services are delivered and bring clients together with more advanced technologically driven solutions.
BNY Mellon is unique from many of the other biggest investment companies because they specialize in industry segments. This means that regardless of the industry you’re in, you’re going to customized management services that are designed to meet your distinctive needs.
Industry segments served by BNY Mellon include the following:
- Alternative asset managers
- Family offices
- Individuals and families
- Insurance companies
- Investment managers
- Public and not for profit organizations
- Registered investment advisors
- Sovereign institutions
- US federal government
- Wealth managers
One of the primary ways BNY Mellon is unique even from other top-rated investment firms is because of their boutique approach to investment management.
BNY Mellon may be one of the largest investment companies in the world, but at the same time, they deliver services as if they’re a boutique investment firm.
BNY Mellon’s family of companies features globally diversified investment boutiques, wealth management, and global distribution companies.
This brings clients the benefits of a full-service investment firm paired with highly tailored expert advice, and each “boutique” maintains its own style and strategy.
The basis for investment strategies offered by BNY Mellon, one of the best investment companies and also one of the largest investment companies, is that successful investing begins with a smartly diversified portfolio.
The ideal portfolio should offer a sense of flexibility amidst changing markets, and risk limits should be definitive. Investment strategies and portfolio options offered by BNY Mellon, one of the top investment firms, include:
- Global equities
- Specialized fixed income and credit
- Liquid and illiquid alternatives
- Cash and currency management
- Global and tactical asset allocation
- Outcome-oriented solutions
Capital Group Review
Capital Group has a strong history of providing expert investment services. Established in 1931, this top investment firm uses high-conviction portfolios, rigorous research, and individual accountability as core tenants of their business model.
As of December of 2016, Capital Group boasts over $1.4 trillion in AUM, making them one of the biggest investment firms on our list.
Key Factors That Enabled This to Rank as One of the Top Investment Companies
The primary reasons leading Capital Group to be included on this list of the largest investment companies in the world and the best investment companies are detailed below.
As one of the best investment companies, Capital Group employs an investor-specific philosophy, driven by success.
To align investment firm goals with that of clients, Capital Group uses a long-term perspective to achieve success. Their primary goal is superior, long-term investing results, rather than simply focusing on collecting the largest number of assets.
The philosophy at Capital Group is to always do what is right for clients, focusing on investment results in one-, three-, five-, and eight-year periods.
Uniquely, associates at Capital Group are significant investors in the firm's offerings, meaning that associates are equally as interested in producing investment results as clients are.
Long-Term Investing Experience
Part of finding the best investment firms means finding the best investment account managers, and Capital Group does not disappoint.
Portfolio managers at Capital Group average 27 years of total experience, and they carry an average of 22 years with the company. In 2015, the average industry tenure for a portfolio manager was only 6 years, creating a stark distinction in averages with Capital Group.
With decades of investing experience, clients can rest assured that portfolio managers come with generations of successful investing knowledge through both good and bad markets.
As one of the largest investment companies, Capital Group offers investment services across a broad range of client sectors. This best investment company offers investment services to the following clients:
- Institutions & Consultants
- Financial Advisors & Intermediaries
- Individual Investors
- High-Net-Worth Investors
Fidelity Investments Review
Fidelity has a set of defined standards for how it operates and provides service to clients. These include working with a sense of responsibility, integrity, compassion, and expertise.
As a best investment company, Fidelity offers personal investing, workplace investing, institutional investment, and institutional asset management.
Key Factors That Allowed This to Rank as One of the Best Investment Firms
When considering the best investment firms and the largest investment companies in the world, the following details represent some reasons Fidelity was included in this ranking.
When investors are selecting from the top investment companies, one of their primary considerations is often the pricing and fees they’ll have to pay. Fidelity operates with the idea that fees matter, and transparency in pricing is important.
Not only do they offer some of the most competitive pricing even compared to many other top investment firms, but they are also very transparent about that.
There are no annual account fees, and the minimum to invest is low. U.S. online equity trades are significantly lower than Schwab, TD Ameritrade, and E*Trade, and there are no transaction fees when clients choose from thousands of Fidelity and non-Fidelity funds.
Fidelity provides charts of their portfolio advisory fees as well, so investors always know what they’re going to be paying.
Source: Fidelity Low Pricing
Tailored Planning and Advice
As one of the biggest investment firms and one of the top-rated investment firms, Fidelity provides highly personalized and tailored advice to bring the maximum amount of value to clients’ lives.
Fidelity’s expert financial and investment advisors can help clients navigate their strategies as their lives change, whether they’re looking for the best investment companies for beginners, or they have much more complex wealth management needs.
Fidelity offers no-fee, one-on-one reviews of investment accounts, including the ones kept outside of Fidelity.
Their financial professionals also bring to the table some of the best research in the industry and the necessary skills to address a variety of needs, from simple to complex.
Active Trader Pro
When reviewing and ranking the top 10 investment companies and the biggest investment firms, technology and proprietary offerings were important. Fidelity is one of the top-rated investment firms for many reasons, including their signature Active Trader Pro platform.
Active Trader Pro lets users maximize the value they derive from online trading and portfolio monitoring. This customizable desktop and web-based platform lets clients create their own personal online trading experience with streaming, customizable quotes, and watch lists, as well as real-time integrated balances, history, and positions.
It also includes advanced trading tools, portfolio management tools, and shortcut options, and lets users create and save up to 50 equity or option orders simultaneously.
J.P. Morgan Asset Management Review
One of the top-rated investment firms as well as one of the largest investment companies in the world, J.P. Morgan Asset Management is part of the larger company of J.P. Morgan.
This best investment company is a world leader in terms of financial services for corporations, governments, and institutions, though it also offers services for individual investors.
J.P. Morgan has clients in more than 100 countries and has a history of more than 200 years, starting in 1799. Along with being one of the top investment firms, services offered by J.P. Morgan include treasury services, commercial banking, private banking, and wealth management and brokerage.
Key Factors That Enabled Us to Rank This as One of the Top 10 Investment Companies
When developing this list of the best investment firms, the following are some of the key reasons J.P. Morgan Asset Management was included.
SmartRetirement Target Date Funds
One of the signature product offerings available to clients of J.P. Morgan, one of the biggest investment companies and also one of the best investment companies, is the SmartRetirement Target Date Fund option.
The focus of this is on retirement outcomes, and the goal of J.P. Morgan is to help participants get the income-replacement levels they need and want to be comfortable in retirement.
These outcomes are delivered through risk-adjusted returns offered throughout the entirety of participants’ retirement investment outlook.
These funds are managed by the Multi-Asset Solutions group, which is a worldwide team of more than 100 investing professionals in London, New York, and Hong Kong.
This team has access to more than 500 investment strategies paired with proprietary insight into asset allocation, risk management, and selection of investments.
Advisor-Guided 529 College Savings Plan
A product offering available to clients of this selection for one of the top 10 investment companies is the Advisor-Guided 529 College Savings Plan, which is sponsored by the state of New York and is a tax-advantageous way for families to save for the cost of higher education.
There are numerous benefits to this plan, including the tax-deferred growth of investment earnings and tax-free withdrawals for expenses that qualify. There are also estate planning and gifting benefits.
Clients can use funds at any eligible institution, whether public or private, and it can be applied toward not only tuition but also room and board, books, and other higher education expenses.
Clients can control how the assets are invested and distributed. There is a low initial contribution minimum of only $1,000 per account.
When an investor opens an account with J.P. Morgan, one of the largest investment companies in the world, as well as one of the top investment firms, they receive access to the following services and benefits:
- Dividend reinvestment
- Systematic investment plans
- Exchange privilege
- Convenient withdrawals
- Shareholder reports
- Account statements
- Telephone services
Tax Advantaged Investing
As mentioned at the start of this review and ranking of the best investment companies, a key to being one of the top-rated investment firms is the ability to have access to tax-advantageous investment strategies.
This is an area J.P. Morgan, as one of the best investment companies, specializes in. When an investor works with a firm offering these tax planning strategies, they can reduce their IRS liabilities and keep more of their earnings.
With tax-advantaged investing from J.P. Morgan, accounts have the potential to compound and grow faster. Depending on the account and strategy a client selects, taxes may be deferred until withdrawals begin, or they might be altogether eliminated.
Some of the strategies J.P. Morgan offers to help clients cut taxes include tax-free municipal bond funds, investing for dividends, contributing as much as possible for tax-advantaged accounts, and long-term investing strategies.
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Legal & General Investment Management America, Inc. Review
As a major global investor, Legal & General Investment Management is one of Europe's largest asset managers, providing investment expertise across a full spectrum of investment and asset classes.
Their US branch (Legal & General Investment Management America, Inc.) is based in Chicago, IL, and specializes in active fixed income, liability driven investment, and index strategies for the US institutional market.
Founded in 2006, Legal & General Investment Management America, Inc. (LGIMA) managed over $140 billion in assets, as recorded in December of 2016, making it one of the biggest investment firms in the country.
Key Factors That Enabled This to Rank as One of the Top Investment Companies
Compared to the biggest investment firms, the following are some reasons Legal & General Investment America, Inc. is ranked as one of the top 10 investment companies.
Associates at LGIMA are held to the highest standards of ethics and performance, striving for excellent customer service across all investment services. This means adhering to a set of company values, defined as:
- Positive client experience
- High performing culture
- High quality products
- Financial strength
The centerpiece of these values is a positive client experience, which is crucial to everything that LGIMA does. As a supplement to their company values, LGIMA also stresses the importance of creating a culture based on client success, which includes:
- Providing clients new ideas based on external & internal condition changes
- Providing education on new industry trends
- Supporting individual performance framework to measure long-term client success
Putting client needs, experience, and success first and foremost is a large part of what makes LGIMA one of the top investment firms on our list.
Global Investment Strategies
While LGIMA represents the US-based branch, as a part of Legal & General Investment, LGIMA has an impressive global outreach.
Legal & General Investment has offices across 16 different countries and regions, including France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, the UK, the US, and Asia.
With a combination of strong local presence and global strength, LGIMA is able to quickly and expertly identify investing opportunities and creatively meet a wide range of investing challenges.
Investment Grade Fixed Income Strategies
As one of the top investment companies, LGIMA provides a comprehensive and disciplined approach to fixed income portfolios. Their process involves the following:
- Leveraging global resources to identify risk-driving themes
- Security selection from an experienced team of investment grade specialists
- Focused risk management relative to client benchmarks
- Applied credit market expertise to produce consistent returns
In December of 2016, PIMCO had $1.47 trillion in assets under management, making this investment company one of the largest investment companies on our list.
The primary goal of everything PIMCO does, as one of the top investment companies, is based on helping investors preserve and grow their assets. PIMCO is one of the top investment firms for individuals as well as institutions and financial advisors.
Key Factors That Enabled This to Rank as One of the Top Investment Companies
Compared to the biggest investment firms, the following are some reasons PIMCO is ranked as one of the top 10 investment companies.
The Investment Process
Each of the names on this list of investment companies that are the largest investment companies and also the top-rated investment firms have a distinctive approach and process they rely on.
At PIMCO, this process has been honed and refined over many decades, and it includes insights from the PIMCO Cyclical Forums and the annual Secular Forum.
Cyclical Forums look at market and economic trends in the short term, while the Secular Forum provides projections for the coming three to five years.
These top-down perspectives are then paired with bottom-up input from specialists. All of the decisions are driven by the Investment Committee, which includes only the most senior investment professionals.
Source: PIMCO Investment Process
One of the top products available to investors from PIMCO, one of the world’s best investment firms, is called the PIMCO Income Fund. This is designed for the current climate, which is marked by low yields and high volatility, with an approach optimized for income investing.
The PIMCO Income Fund is designed to provide a high, steady level of income with diverse sources. There is an emphasis on risk management, and the fund has consistently delivered monthly dividends, in spite of market changes.
The PIMCO Income Fund has a five-star rating with Morningstar, and it was called the Best Thomson Reuters Lipper Multi-Sector Income Fund of 2016.
In many instances, investors aren’t necessarily just looking for long-term investment strategies, but instead are searching for the best investment firms that also offer value-creating, diverse short-term strategies.
PIMCO is not only one of the largest investment companies and one of the best investment companies, but they also feature some of the most comprehensive and well-rated short-term investment strategies.
Potential advantages of short-term strategies from PIMCO, one of the world’s best investment companies, include return potential above cash, capital preservation, liquidity for non-immediate needs, low volatility as compared to more risky assets, and they are complementary to traditional bond allocations.
PIMCO is not only one of the top 10 investment companies and one of the biggest investment firms, but they also have more than 40 years’ experience working with defined benefit plans.
This top investment company understands the unique challenges faced by defined benefit plan sponsors, ranging from uncertain markets to regulations. PIMCO has a pension solutions team that can help everyone, including the sponsor and the participants, get the best outcomes.
All of PIMCO’s pension solutions are based first and foremost on client needs. The pension team of PIMCO, one of the world’s top investment firms, delivers customized solutions.
Pension solutions begin with analyzing, then structuring is based on liability benchmarks, tailored asset portfolios, and overlay solutions. The next steps including monitoring, and ongoing collaboration and dynamic adjustment over time.
Prudential Financial Review
With global operations in the US, Asia, Europe, and Latin America, Prudential Financial is able to offer a wide variety of services to its clients, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds, and investment management.
Key Factors That Enabled This to Rank as One of the Top Investment Companies
Compared to the biggest investment firms, the following are some reasons Prudential Financial is ranked as one of the top 10 investment companies.
Strategic Investment Research Group
Founded over 30 years ago, the Prudential Financial Strategic Investment Research Group (SIRG) provides expert services for their wealth management division.
This investment research group contains over 25 professionals with an average of 15 years of experience, with a sole dedication to providing up-to-date and innovative investment research. Highlighted research includes:
- Weekly Market Review: A PowerPoint presentation of market performance, top investment news, and economic releases from the week prior.
- Post-Election Active Management Performance: An analysis of President Trump's pro-growth agenda and the relationship to equity markets.
- Investment Manager Survey: An in-depth analysis of views and sentiments regarding the economy, asset markets, and other investment topics.
Part of what makes Prudential Financial one of the best investment companies is its dedication to transparency, particularly where mutual funds are concerned.
Their fund commentaries provide in-depth analysis of equity, specialty, global/international equity, taxable fixed income, and tax-exempt fixed income funds.
From this same page, investors can also access the Fund Comparison Tool, which allows users to compare up to three funds at a time.
This is a great way for investors to look at investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of each fund prior to investing, making Prudential Financial a great investment firm for those who value transparency.
As a leading investment firm, Prudential Financial offers a wide array of open-end funds for investors to consider. This includes:
- Asset Allocation
- Global/International Equity
- Taxable Fixed Income
- Tax-Exempt Fixed Income
- Money Market
In total, Prudential Financial offers over 40 open-end funds, providing a comprehensive fact sheet and overview for each individual fund. This is ideal for investors, as this provides updated data on performance and asset allocation.
Conclusion—The Top 10 Investment Companies
The decision to work with the world’s biggest investment firms isn’t one many investors take lightly, as they shouldn’t. Choosing the top investment companies is important because these firms are going to determine the course you take with your money and how it will grow.
The names on this list of the best investment firms excel in many ways, from being the best investment companies for beginners, to the largest investment companies with access to global markets and resources.
Regardless of each of their differences, the names of the best investment companies on this list perform well in some key areas including their philosophy and approach to investing, their fees, and their reputation.
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