While I (Don) fervently believe, from my decades talking about investing on the radio, that about 85% of the investment sales people are either crooked or incompetent (more of the latter than the former), there are many who provide decent, honorable advice.
In my blog post, Finding an Advisor - Don'ts and Dos, I give you a few tips on finding the good ones. Tom and I believe that the very best are those who follow the same academic approach to investing with passively managed funds at reasonably low fees. Of course, that is the approach we take to managing money.There are other firms, of which we are aware who share similar beliefs and employ similar approaches.
Here are a few in the Seattle area, of which we are aware, and a few pertinent facts about them (this is not a recommendation of anyone, except maybe Vestory), in alphabetical order (also be sure to check out the dollar amount comparison below):
Minimum account size: none
Minimum annual fee (accounts under $500,000): $2,000
Minimum annual fee (accounts over $500,000): $5,000
Up to $500,000 - 1.25% to maximum of $5,000
Up to $1,000,000 - 1.00% (subject to $5,000 minimum)
next $2,000,000 - 0.80%
next $2,000,000 - 0.60%
Assets over $5,000,000 - 0.40%
Note: Merriman does use some methods (market-timing portfolios) and securities (insurance linked securities) that we oppose, so be careful what you use.
You can also get a list of decent advisors in your area from Dimensional Funds