Intro: Detailed Ranking & Review of Altfest Personal Wealth Management

Altfest Personal Wealth Management was recently ranked by AdvisoryHQ News as a top-rated financial advisory firm in NYC for the fourth year in a row.

In the sections below, we provide a detailed overview, including the key factors that enabled this firm to be ranked so highly.

Altfest Personal Wealth Management Blue Award Emblem

About AdvisoryHQ News

Searching for top independent investment advisory firms and providers can be a daunting undertaking for investors, high-net-worth individuals, and consumers, especially if such consumers are unfamiliar with the financial advisory landscape.

AdvisoryHQ is an online news media that is committed to simplifying the research that consumers conduct before choosing a top provider. Our review articles are always 100% independently researched and written.

For additional information on AdvisoryHQ’s methodologies, click here: AdvisoryHQ Methodologies. For information on AdvisoryHQ’s objectivity approach, click here: AdvisoryHQ’s Objective Process.

Overview of Altfest Personal Wealth Management

Founded in 1983, Altfest Personal Wealth Management is an independent, fee-only New York wealth management firm.

The family owned firm has grown significantly over the decades, providing comprehensive personal finance services and a strong team of innovative, diverse professionals.

Altfest serves a wide range of clients, including individuals, families, pension plans, profit sharing plans, trusts, estates, corporations, medical professionals. They are considered an industry authority, sought-after by publications like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, MONEY, Kiplinger’s, and more.

Backed by national recognition, industry expertise, and personalized service, potential clients will find that Altfest Personal Wealth Management can meet a variety of financial challenges for you, earning well-deserved client loyalty.

In the sections below, we have outlined a few notable features to summarize the services, approach, expertise, and value offered to clients by Altfest Personal Wealth Management.

Altfest Personal Wealth Management Review

Image source: Altfest Personal Wealth Management

About the Co-Founder, Dr. Lewis J. Altfest, Ph.D.

With a goal to create a comprehensive, objective, and personalized wealth management experience, Altfest Personal Wealth Management was co-founded in 1983 by Dr. Lewis J. Altfest.

As the CEO, Chief Investment Officer, and a Principal Advisor, he also directs the firm’s Investment and Leadership Committees and leads the Portfolio Action Group, which sets investment strategy for client portfolios.

Prior to founding the firm, Lew was a General Partner and Director of Research for Lord Abbett & Co., adding to his diverse range of experience in the financial profession, which includes the following designations:

  • CFA
  • CFP®
  • CPA
  • PFS
  • Ph.D.

Lew has authored an academic textbook, Personal Financial Planning, and has co-authored Lew Altfest Answers Almost All Your Questions About Money and An Introduction to Business. He is also an Associate Professor of Finance at the Lubin School of Business at Pace University, teaching financial planning and investments.

Lew has earned recognition from a wide range of industry authorities and publications, including—but not limited to—Barron’s, Research Magazine, Financial Planning magazine, Financial Advisor magazine, NAPFA, and more.

Notably, Lew was the sole recipient of the 2007 Charles R. Schwab IMPACT Award®—widely considered to be one of the highest awards in the profession— for his sustained vision, outstanding leadership, and client commitment.

Altfest Personal Wealth Management Co-Founder, Dr. Lewis J. Altfest, Ph.D.

Image source: Altfest Personal Wealth Management

Fee-Only Fiduciary

Investment management and financial planning services through Altfest are provided strictly on a fee-only basis.

As a pioneer in the world of fee-only financial planning, at Altfest, all accounts are free from conflicts of interest that are inherently associated with commission-based advice.

This means that Altfest’s clients come first as they have their best interests in mind. Neither the firm nor their advisors receive additional compensation or commissions from selling financial products. The firm was doing this long before others jumped on the bandwagon.

Not only does this significantly decrease conflicts of interest, but it also encourages transparency, ultimately supporting trust within the client-advisor relationship.

Altfest offers fee-only services through either a percentage of assets under management or an hourly fee. Potential clients can easily find details on these rates through the firm’s ADV, supporting a client-facing commitment to transparency.

In addition, Altfest Personal Wealth Management has taken on a technology mandate to better serve all clients. This includes real-time planning, artificial intelligence, and automation, which allows Altfest professionals to spend more time with clients and enhance their experience. 

The firm is a member of The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), the nation’s leading professional association of fee-only financial advisors. Lew Altfest was a founding member and a recipient of the NAPFA 30 Award.

As a part of NAPFA, all members must sign a fiduciary oath and subscribe to a strict code of ethics, which includes:

  • Objectivity
  • Confidentiality
  • Competence
  • Fairness & Suitability
  • Integrity & Honesty
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Full Disclosure
  • Professionalism

Talented, Diverse Team

Comprised of nearly 30 financial professionals, the team at Altfest includes financial advisors, planners, managers, and directors.

Altfest Personal Wealth Management Team

Image source: Altfest Personal Wealth Management

Many bring diverse backgrounds in other fields, like science, psychology, law, and architecture, further strengthening the firm’s knowledge base.

The diverse and well-credentialed teams at Altfest Personal Wealth Management include:

  • Dr. Lewis Altfest, President—CFA, CFP®, CPA, PFS, Ph.D.
  • Dr. Karen Altfest, Executive Vice President—CFP®, Ph.D.
  • Andrew Altfest, President—CFP®, MBA
  • Michael Prendergast, Director—CFP®, MBA
  • Ekta Patel, Director—CFP®, MBA
  • John Valentini, CCO & Director of Operations—MBA
  • Aron Lenkowsky, Director of Business Development
  • Dan Duca, Managing Advisor—CFP®
  • Josh Joffe, Managing Advisor—CFP®, MBA
  • Daniel Kimeldorf, Senior Financial Advisor—CFA, CFP®
  • David Kressner, Associate Managing Advisor—CFA, CFP®
  • Ross Wolfe, Senior Financial Advisor—CFP®, MBA
  • James Bassett, Financial Advisor—CFP®
  • Ryan Graham, Financial Advisor
  • David Manukjan, Financial Advisor—CFP®, MBA
  • Keith Feinberg, Financial Advisor—JD
  • Bridges Dickey, Financial Planning Specialist—CFP®
  • Mengjun (Veronica) He, Financial Planning Specialist – MS, MSc
  • Alison Roth, Financial Planning Specialist
  • Mayukh Poddar, Researcher, Portfolio Manager—MBA, MS
  • Sush Poddar, Investment Strategist—MBA
  • Anthony Ferraiolo, Financial Planning Associate
  • Matt Suchow, Accounting Associate
  • Rob Lamb, Senior Business Development Manager—JD
  • Reza Rezvi, Marketing Project Manager—MBA
  • Ali Taylor, Marketing Project Coordinator
  • Dave Kaplan, Operations Manager
  • Kitty Wong, Senior Executive Assistant—MBA, CFA
  • Marina Marsillo, Senior Executive Assistant
  • Mieszko Tomczyk, Portfolio Administrator—CFA
  • Ran Cui, Analyst – MS
  • Sheldon Zorfas, Tax Advisor – CPA, JD

Customized Approach to Financial Services

Altfest works with clients across all walks of life and financial situations, customizing their financial planning and investment approach accordingly.

This means that each advisor works to tailor financial services to fit each client’s lifestyle. As a result, the Altfest team is trained and prepared to address the unique needs of:

  • Widows & Widowers
  • Emerging Professionals
  • Business Owners
  • Physicians
  • Dentists
  • Executives
  • Pre-Retirees & Retirees
  • Women
  • Millennials

Investment Management Services at Altfest Personal Wealth Management

Integral to Altfest’s investment management is a focus on providing objective, comprehensive, and personalized services.

A Customized Portfolio

Altfest stresses the importance of creating a personalized financial roadmap before the investment management process begins. This involves helping each client identify his or her time horizon, risk tolerance, spending needs, and vision for the future for both themselves and their family.

With this in mind, Altfest evaluates current assets, compensation, and property ownership to design a customized, tax-advantaged portfolio.

Afterwards, clients can trust that Altfest will handle the details that come with investment management, like opening and transferring accounts, making investment transactions, necessary forms (beneficiary designations, power of attorney, health care proxy) and keeping records of portfolio performance and activity.

Active Management

Altfest believes in actively managing each client’s assets and the firm has a “value” bent which has served clients well over the past three+ decades.

Asset Allocation & Diversification

For Altfest, risk and return carry equal importance, meaning that risk is carefully analyzed and emphasized at every possible turn.

Adjustments made to facilitate risk preferences can measurably decrease the overall risk of a portfolio while maintaining—and, in some cases, possibly increasing—returns.

Total Portfolio Management System—TPM®

This proprietary investment and financial planning tool functions with the same integration and rigorous analysis inherent in Altfest’s overall approach. TPM® is used as a supplemental tool to ensure that all unique financial aspects—like assets, liabilities, future earnings, spending requirements, and life goals—are taken into account when designing and managing each client’s portfolio. Importantly, TPM takes tangible and intangible assets into consideration, somewhat unusual in the profession.

Total Portfolio Management also ensures that nothing falls through the cracks, facilitating a holistic and comprehensive approach.

Integrated Financial Planning at Altfest Personal Wealth Management

Financial goals tend to change over time, meaning that, to be successful over the long-term, financial planning must be monitored, updated and encompass a diverse range of services.

  • Retirement Planning—A blueprint for the future
  • Tax Planning—Opportunities with tax advantages
  • Estate Planning—For sharing future assets
  • Insurance—Assesses insurance needs and connects clients with dedicated professionals
  • Investment Review—A careful analysis of current portfolio holdings and suggestions made to meet financial goals and risk preferences
  • Company Benefits—Optimizes your benefits package, including compensation, benefits, and stock options
  • Education Planning—Innovative ideas to save, accumulate, or use tax-advantaged programs to fund education goals
  • Cash Flow & Goal Planning—Strategies to manage short-term and long-term cash and expenses
  • Charitable Giving—New approaches to support causes you care about while maintaining tax and cash-flow objectives

The Financially Savvy Woman® Programs

With 30 years of experience working closely with clients, Dr. Karen C. Altfest created The Financially Savvy Woman® programs after she “discovered women were not confident about their money decisions and didn’t get the attention and information they deserve when it comes to money.”

As a result, these programs provide a welcoming space for women to improve their financial literacy, ask questions, and express their personal financial concerns.

Featured events include the Women’s Financial $pa and the Women’s Financial Salon to provide education on various financial topics. Recently, the 2017 Women’s Financial $pa featured a panel discussion on Common Money Phobias, led by Dr. Eric Dammann and Dr. Karen C. Altfest. Karen also created Altfest’s Loss of a Loved One events, which lead to heartfelt conversations and guidance for those who have lost a beloved family member or friend.

Another core component of the Financially Savvy Woman programs is The Financially Savvy Woman® Newsletter. Easily available through the firm’s website, the newsletter features upcoming events and highlights from recent Financially Savvy Woman® programs.

This comprehensive focus on meeting women’s financial needs is both notable and unique—women are historically underrepresented and underserved in the financial advisory profession, a fact which many top financial advisors, like Altfest Personal Wealth Management, are actively working to change.

About the Founder of Financially Savvy Woman®, Dr. Karen C. Altfest

With the strong leadership of Executive Vice President and Principal, Dr. Karen C. Altfest, perhaps it is not surprising that Altfest Personal Wealth Management would place such a strong emphasis on serving the dynamic financial needs of women.

As a leading financial advisor in New York and across the nation, Karen continues to earn recognition for excellence in the financial industry, including (but not limited to):

  • Selected as one of Forbes “Best-In-State Wealth Advisors” for New York in 2018
  • Ranked #17 out of 200 on “America’s Top Women Advisors” list for 2017 by Forbes
  • Named to the 2015 inaugural “Women to Watch” list by InvestmentNews
  • Selected as one of the “Top 100 Women Financial Advisers” by Financial Times in 2014
  • Ranked among the “50 Distinguished Women in Wealth Management” by Wealth Magazine in 2008 and 2009

Karen is also the author of Keeping Clients for Life, and co-author of Lew Altfest Answers Almost All Your Questions About Money, paving the way for strong and expert representation of women within the financial industry.

Founder of Financially Savvy Woman®, Dr. Karen C. Altfest

Additional Resources

  • Altfest Advisory Letter—Newsletter created by firm members to share professional insights on various timely investment and financial planning topics
  • Lunch with Lew Conference Call—Founder Lewis J. Altfest discusses current financial topics, like the outlook for the economy, impact of current tax plans, interest rates, and bitcoin
  • Altfest Education Center—Events and workshops centered around a special financial topic, like “The Couple’s Dilemma—How to Get on the Same Financial Page”
  • The Financially Savvy Woman® Programs—Events structured around providing women with welcoming spaces to ask questions, express concerns, and learn more about key financial topics
  • The Financially Savvy Woman® Newsletter—Supplemental discussions on financial topics covered in recent events and information for upcoming events

Contact Information | Altfest Personal Wealth Management


445 Park Avenue
6th Floor
New York, NY 10022


Phone: (212) 406-0850
Toll-Free: 1-888-525-8337
Fax: (212) 406-0867

Client Inquiries: [email protected]
Press: [email protected]
Everything Else: [email protected]

Potential clients can also fill out a brief form or contact Reza Rezvi at (212) 406-0850 for a complimentary consultation.

AdvisoryHQ’s Objective Standards & Our Personalized Page Service

This Altfest Personal Wealth Management review was independently conducted by AdvisoryHQ.

Our focus is on the everyday consumer. All of our research and publications are conducted from the end-user consumer’s perspective, and we publish our top-ranking reviews for anyone to view for free.

Both ranked and non-ranked firms can also request to have a separate personalized profile, like the one above, which incurs a charge. 

For additional information on AdvisoryHQ’s methodologies, click here: AdvisoryHQ Methodologies. For information on AdvisoryHQ’s objectivity approach, click here: AdvisoryHQ’s Objective Process.

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