Intro: 2018 Ranking of the Best & Top Investment Companies

Selecting the best investment companies and the top-rated investment firms is an important undertaking, whether you’re a beginner investor testing the waters, an expert investor, or a high-net-worth individual 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 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.

best investment companies

Award Emblem: Top 11 Best Investment Companies

As the largest investment firms, these traditional brokerages tend to be inexpensive and provide options to combine personalized, in-person advice with online trading capabilities.

The following review and ranking of the best investment firms and the largest 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 management 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.

Top 11 Best Investment Companies | Brief Comparison & Ranking 

Best Investment Firms

Highlighted Features


BlackRockExpert experience with alternative investments


BNY Mellon Investment ManagementWide array of industry segments served


Capital GroupSuccess-driven investing approach


Fidelity InvestmentsCompetitive, transparent pricing structure


Goldman SachsGlobal Investment Research division


PIMCOComprehensive short-term strategies


Prudential FinancialStrategic & transparent investment research


State Street Global AdvisorsStrong, comprehensive company philosophy


VanguardGoal-centric investing & practicality


J.P. Morgan Asset ManagementAdvisor-guided college savings plan


Legal & General Investment America, Inc.Company culture centered around client experience & success


Table: Top 11 Best Investment Companies | Above list is sorted by rating

Difference Between Fee-Only, Fee-Based, & Commission-Based

Because our list focuses on the best investment management 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.

investment companies

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. 

Commission-Based Structure

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 firms and 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. 

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 company 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.

Click on any of the names below to go directly to the review section for that firm.  

Click below for previous years’ rankings:

BlackRock Review

Along with being one of the world’s top-rated investment firms, BlackRock is also one of the largest investment companies. With $5.4 trillion in AUM as of 2017, BlackRock is trusted to manage more money than any other investment company.

This best investment company has clients from 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 BlackRock as One of the Top Investment Companies

BlackRock was included on this list of investment companies and top investment firms for a few key reasons, stated below.

Alternative Investments

With the interconnectedness of the global economy in mind, BlackRock understands 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, which is something that BlackRock has extensive experience in as one of the best investment companies.

BlackRock Retirement Institute

One of the primary reasons investors look to top-rated investment firms and the biggest investment firms is for retirement solutions, whether they’re planning for retirement or they’re already there.

With two-thirds of managed assets relating to retirement, BlackRock created the Retirement Institute. Through the institute, this investment company 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.

Managed Accounts

Another product option offered by BlackRock, one of the best and biggest investment management 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 $84.6 billion in assets under management.

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.

Rating Summary

As one of the biggest investment management firms, BlackRock’s impressive scale provides the resources they need to deliver top service to clients with varying financial goals and investment capabilities.

BlackRock strives to not only provide products and services, but also to provide clients with knowledge and educational resources to empower their financial decisions.

With a strong commitment to industry research through the Retirement Institute and accessible guides and tips through the Education Center, BlackRock is a best investment company for new and seasoned investors to consider partnering with this year for practical, actionable outcomes.

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BNY Mellon Investment Management Review

BNY Mellon was started by Alexander Hamilton in 1784, making one of the longest-running financial institutions in the world with a history of over 230 years.

As one of the largest investment companies and one of the top-rated investment firms, BNY Mellon has $32.2 trillion in assets under custody or administration and $1.8 trillion in assets under management.

Key Factors That Enabled BNY Mellon to Rank as One of the Top Investment Companies

The primary reasons leading BNY Mellon to be included on this list of the biggest investment firms in the world and the best investment companies are detailed below.

Industry Segments

BNY Mellon is unique from many of the other largest investment management firms because they specialize in industry segments, delivering customized management services designed to meet distinctive needs.

Industry segments served by BNY Mellon include the following:

  • Advisors
  • Alternative Asset Managers
  • Banks and Broker-dealers
  • Consultants
  • Corporations
  • Family offices
  • Governments and Publics
  • Individuals and Families
  • Insurance Companies
  • Investment Managers
  • Not-for-Profits
  • Registered Investment Advisors

Boutique Approach

One of the primary ways BNY Mellon is unique from other top-rated investment firms is their boutique approach to investment management.

BNY Mellon may be one of the largest investment companies in the world, but they deliver services as if they’re a boutique investment firm.

Their 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.

Rating Summary

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.

Additionally, as one of the best and largest investment companies, BNY Mellon maintains a strong commitment to the idea that successful investing begins with a smartly diversified portfolio.

With over two centuries of operation, BNY Mellon is not only one of the oldest investment management firms, but also one of the most experienced, earning the firm a 5-star rating as a great investment company to consider partnering with.

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Capital Group Review

Capital Group has a strong history of providing expert investment services to individual investors, financial intermediaries, and institutions across the globe.

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 Capital Group to Rank as One of the Top Investment Companies

See below for the primary reasons that led Capital Group to be included on this list of the largest investment companies in the world and the best investment companies.

Success-Driven Approach

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 time periods spanning from one, three, five, and eight years.

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 21 years with the company. In 2015, the average industry tenure for a portfolio manager was only 6.3 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.

investment strategies

Capital Group

Rating Summary

As a private, independent firm, Capital Group puts a strong focus on combining individual accountability with group effort, providing a strong support system for their investment professionals.

This shines through not only in their transparent, detailed Capital System™, but also through their company culture, which values diversity and inclusivity.

With a strong focus on supporting their clients through satisfied, well-trained, and empowered investment professionals, Capital Group has earned a 5-star rating as one of the best wealth management firms.

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Fidelity Investments Review

For 70 years, Fidelity Investments has been one of the top investment companies, and it has also grown to become one of the biggest investment firms.

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 Fidelity 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 selecting from the top investment companies, one of the primary considerations for investors is often the pricing and fees they’ll have to pay. Fidelity knows that fees matter, and that 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 on 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.

investment company

Fidelity’s Portfolio Advisory Fees

Active Trader Pro

When reviewing and ranking the top 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, which 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.

Rating Summary

Fidelity has a long history of recognized excellence in the financial and investment industry, making them a popular choice among financial investment companies.

Aside from a recognized name, Fidelity offers investors genuine value through transparent pricing and fees, tailored planning and advice, and an interactive trading and monitoring platform.

For these reasons, Fidelity has earned a 5-star rating as one of the best investment management firms, particularly for new or inexperienced investors.

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Goldman Sachs Review

Founded in 1869, Goldman Sachs is one of the oldest and largest investment firms in the U.S.

The firm provides banking, securities, and investment management services to a wide range of clients, including corporations, financial institutions, governments, and individuals.

Key Factors That Enabled Us to Rank Goldman Sachs as One of the Top Investment Companies

When developing this list of the best investment firms, the following are some of the key reasons Goldman Sachs was included.

Expert Investment Management

As one of the best financial investment companies, Goldman Sachs provides two divisions of investment management: Asset Management and Private Wealth Management.

Individuals and organizations looking for deep industry expertise in meeting financial goals through Asset Management can benefit from:

  • A full range of asset classes, including fixed income, money markets, public and private equity, commodities, hedge funds, and real estate
  • A global network of over 2,000 investment professionals
  • Customized, holistic solutions for portfolio design, asset allocation, and financial advisory services

For high-net-worth individuals, families, and select endowments and foundations, Private Wealth Management services are designed to identify and utilize new investment opportunities. Clients can benefit from:

  • A holistic, personalized approach
  • Deep wealth management experience from investment professionals
  • Compelling research and industry insights across a broad range of topics
  • Online and mobile account access
  • A wide range of services, including private banking, advisory, and solutions for portfolio trading, hedging, and structuring

best investment firms

Top Investment Companies

Global Investment Research

Goldman Sachs’ stern focus on research-driven investment insights is a significant factor leading to its ranking as a top investment company.

Their Global Investment Research division is dedicated to conducting in-depth research across a wide range of markets, economies, and global issues, including equity, macro, and credit research.

Additionally, this expert division also focuses on providing high-level advisory services to policymakers, regulators, and investors, providing global perspectives and exceptional industry expertise.

Rating Summary

Maintaining a presence as one of the best investment firms means focusing on providing research-driven, expert, and valuable services for investors, which is something that Goldman Sachs excels at.

As one of the best-recognized names in the industry, Goldman Sachs continues to be a top investment company, combining personalized services and in-depth expertise.

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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. 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 J.P.Morgan as One of the Top 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 firms and also one of the best investment companies, is the SmartRetirement® Target Date Fund option.

With a focus on retirement outcomes, the goal is to help participants get the income-replacement levels they need and want to be comfortable throughout retirement.

Funds are managed by the Multi-Asset Solutions Group, 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.

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.

As one of the best investment companies, this is an area that J.P. Morgan 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.  

Rating Summary

For investors that want a research-driven, expert approach to portfolio building and monitoring, J.P. Morgan is a great fit.

However, while it’s nearly impossible for every global investment company to avoid legal issues, J.P. Morgan has had a significant share of legal troubles.

Since the 2008 financial crash, J.P. Morgan has been hit with numerous class-action lawsuits and SEC fines for mismanagement, failure to disclose conflicts of interest, and misleading investors.

Luckily, these issues seem to be confined between 2007-2015, which helps the firm maintain a spot on the list of best investment companies.

Still, potential investors should be aware that, although J.P. Morgan is still a top-rated investment firm, these past legal issues should be taken into consideration while evaluating their investment strategies and services.

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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 in 17 different countries and regions.

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) currently manages over $156 billion in assets, making it one of the biggest investment firms in the country.

Key Factors That Enabled Legal & General Investment Management America 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 investment companies.

Company Values

The centerpiece of the corporate value system at LGIMA is a positive client experience, which is crucial to everything that the firm does.

LGIMA 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. 

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

This process is carried out with flexibility in mind, allowing for customized portfolio solutions for clients, establishing LGIMA as a best investment company to consider.  

Rating Summary

With an impressive global reach and a culture focused on client satisfaction, LGIMA is certainly one of the best investment management firms—and one of the largest investment companies—to partner with.

However, it’s important to note that, in today’s digital environment, maintaining a user-friendly, detailed, and engaging website is crucial for any investment company.

Compare to other top investment companies on our list, LGIMA provides significantly less information on a potentially outdated format, particularly when considering company values or specific processes for their US-based investment strategies.

This could significantly deter new clients, ultimately earning the firm a 3-star rating overall.

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PIMCO Review

One of the most respected and largest investment companies, PIMCO has more than 2,200 global employees, 12 global offices, and a team of more than 675 global investment experts.

In September of 2017, PIMCO had $1.69 trillion in assets under management, making this investment company one of the largest investment companies on our list.

As a trademark beneath Allianz, PIMCO is one of the top investment firms for individuals, institutions, and financial advisors.

Key Factors That Enabled PIMCO 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 investment companies.

The Investment Process

Each of the names on this list of the largest investment companies and 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 decisions are driven by the Investment Committee, which includes only the most senior investment professionals.

investment management firms

PIMCO Portfolios

Short-Term Investment Strategies

In many instances, investors are searching for the best investment firms that offer value-creating, diverse short-term strategies along with long-term investment 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.

Pension Solutions

PIMCO is not only one of the top investment companies and one of the biggest investment firms, but they also have more than 40 years of 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.

As one of the world’s top investment firms, all pension solutions from PIMCO are based first and foremost on client needs, delivering customized solutions through analysis, monitoring, and ongoing collaboration and adjustment over time.

Rating Summary

The primary goal of everything PIMCO does, as one of the top investment companies, is based on helping a wide range of clients preserve and grow their assets, from individual investors to universities and institutions.

Backed by Allianz Asset Management, PIMCO’s expert investment strategies are research-driven and based on decades of global financial knowledge, earning PIMCO an overall 5-star rating as a top investment company.

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Prudential Financial Review

As one of the world’s most recognized companies, Prudential Financial has been working diligently to grow individual and corporate wealth for 140 years.

With global operations in the US, Asia, Europe, and Latin America, Prudential Financial can 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 Prudential Financial 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 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 topics like the relationship between President Trump’s pro-growth agenda and equity markets, the performance of large cap equity managers after the 2008 crash, and the best approaches to trade execution.

Fund Commentaries

Part of what makes Prudential Financial one of the best investment companies is its dedication to transparency, particularly where mutual funds are concerned.

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 detailed information on Fund Performance, which shows total returns and expenses on a timescale from the past month to the past ten years.

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.

Rating Summary

As one of the top investment management firms, Prudential Financial excels at providing high levels of transparency for current and potential investors alike.

Their Fund Commentaries and Fund Performance pages make it easy for investors to view past and present capabilities, allowing for in-depth analysis and evaluation before enlisting their services.

Additionally, Prudential Financial offers over 50 open-end funds, providing comprehensive fact sheet and overview for each fund, earning this investment company a 5-star rating for transparency and range of investment products.

Conclusion—The Top 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 individual investors to the largest investment companies with access to global markets and resources.

Regardless their differences, the best investment companies on this list perform well in key areas including their investing philosophy, approach, fees, and their reputation.

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Image sources:

  • https://www.capitalgroup.com/
  • https://www.fidelity.com/trading/compare-us
  • http://www.goldmansachs.com/who-we-are/index.html
  • https://am.jpmorgan.com/us/en/asset-management/gim/per/products/smartretirement-target-date-funds
  • https://www.pimco.com/en-us/pmip/our-process
  • https://pixabay.com/en/architecture-skyscraper-2256489/

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