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Continuity, longevity and time-tested strategies – get advice that lasts.

Since our firm was founded by John Cooke in 1969, we’ve seen remarkable changes, like multiple market cycles and economic shifts, as well as major milestones in our family’s legacy and those of our clients.

But some things stay the same – through this time, we’ve earned a remarkable client retention rate, we’ve maintained client relationships across generations, and we’ve been consistently recognized by some of the most respected publications in the industry as one of the leading advisories in the country today.

We put stock in things that last, and so do our clients.

“Many of our client families have been working with Cooke Financial Group for over 40 years. We believe these relationships are a testament to the trust level that we routinely build with our clients.”
Brian F. Cooke CIMA®
Partner

INDUSTRY RECOGNITION

Our advisors have been recognized as some of the best in the country.

Over the years, we have been consistently recognized as best-in-class advisors by leading industry publications.

2021

Brian Cooke and Chris Cooke
ranked #1 and #2

2020

Brian Cooke and Chris Cooke
ranked #1 and #2

2019

Brian Cooke and Chris Cooke
ranked #1 and #2

2018

Brian Cooke and Chris Cooke

2020

Brian Cooke and Chris Cooke

2019

Brian Cooke and Chris Cooke

2018

Brian Cooke and Chris Cooke

Previous
Financial Times Top 400 Financial Advisors

Top 400 Financial Advisors

2020

Chris Cooke

2019

Brian Cooke and Chris Cooke

2018

Brian Cooke and Chris Cooke

2017

Brian Cooke and Chris Cooke

2016

Brian Cooke and Chris Cooke

2014

Brian Cooke and Chris Cooke

2013

Brian Cooke and Chris Cooke
Barron’s Top 1,200 Advisors: Top 10 in Indiana

Top 1,200 Advisors: Top 10 in Indiana

2016

Brian Cooke and Chris Cooke

2015

Brian Cooke and Chris Cooke

2014

Brian Cooke and Chris Cooke

2013

Brian Cooke and Chris Cooke

2012

Brian Cooke and Chris Cooke

2011

Brian Cooke and Chris Cooke

2010

Brian Cooke and Chris Cooke

2009

John D. Cooke, #1 Advisor
Five Star Wealth Manager Awards

Wealth Manager Awards

2020

Chris Cooke, Brian Cooke, Lisa K. Grimes and Kevin McCurdy

2019

Chris Cooke, Brian Cooke, Nancy Hague, Lisa K. Grimes and Kevin McCurdy

2018

Chris Cooke, Brian Cooke, Nancy Hague, Lisa K. Grimes and Kevin McCurdy

2016

John Cooke, Chris Cooke, Brian Cooke, Nancy Hague, Lisa K. Grimes and Kevin McCurdy

2015

John Cooke, Chris Cooke, Brian Cooke, Nancy Hague, Lisa K. Grimes and Kevin McCurdy

2014

John Cooke, Chris Cooke, Brian Cooke, Nancy Hague, Lisa K. Grimes and Kevin McCurdy

2013

Chris Cooke, Brian Cooke, Nancy Hague, Lisa K. Grimes, and Kevin McCurdy

2012

Chris Cooke, Brian Cooke, Nancy Hague, Lisa K. Grimes, and Kevin McCurdy
Research Magazine/The Winner’s Circle Top-Ranked Advisor Teams in America

Top-Ranked Advisor Teams in America

2008

#1 Family Team

2007

#2 Family Team

2006

#2 Family Team

2005

#2 Family Team

2003

#17 Family Team

2002

#18 Family Team
Registered Rep Magazine Outstanding Advisor Awards

Outstanding Advisor Awards

2007

Chris Cooke, Top Ten in Nation

2005

John D. Cooke, an America’s Top 50 Financial Advisor
On Wall Street Magazine Top Advisors under 40

Top Advisors under 40

2006

Brian Cooke, #12 in Nation
Indianapolis Business Journal Forty under 40

Forty under 40

2006

Brian Cooke
Next
Disclaimer

Forbes Best-in-State Wealth Advisors (2020). Chris and Brian Cooke were named to the Forbes’ 2020 List of Best-in-State Wealth Advisors, a ranking of the best national, regional, and independent firms in the United States, for the third consecutive year. Out of more than 29,000 nominations submitted, the Cooke brothers were ranked #1 and #2 in the state.

Forbes Top 250 Wealth Advisors (2020). The Forbes list of top wealth Advisors includes 250 Advisors across the nation selected from more than 25,000 nominations by SHOOK Research.

Forbes Best-in-State Wealth Advisors. The Forbes Best-in-State Wealth Advisors list is developed by SHOOK Research and ranks more than 2,000 Advisors based on a combination of qualitative and quantitative criteria determined through due diligence interviews, revenue trends, assets under management, compliance record, and track record for encompassing best practices. To qualify for ranking, an Advisor must have a minimum of seven years of experience. Ranking does not evaluate the quality of services and is not indicative of an Advisor’s future performance.

#1 Family Team in America as ranked by The Winners Circle and Research magazine in 2008. Each Advisor on this year’s Research magazine list was filtered down from a national list from securities firms, banks, independent firms and more. The Winner’s Circle team vetted each Advisor through a host of quantitative and qualitative criteria including assets managed, revenues, experience levels, acceptable compliance records, discussions with management and more. Because client portfolios vary and are typically unedited, portfolio performance is not a criterion; instead, The Winner’s Circle focuses on customer satisfaction and client retention.

Barron’s Top 1200 Advisors (2013.) Rankings based on assets under management, revenue generated for Advisor firms, quality of practices, and other factors.

Barron’s Top 1000 Advisors (2012.) The rankings are based on data provided by 4,000 of the nation’s most productive Advisors. Factors included in the rankings were assets under management, revenue produced for the firm, regulatory record, quality of practice and philanthropic work. Investment performance is not an explicit component.

Barron’s Top 1000 Advisors (2009–2011.) The number of Advisors shown for each state is based on the total population of the state, so larger states have larger listings. Generally, the rankings reflect assets under management, revenues, quality of the Advisors’ practices and other factors. Total assets are all assets overseen by the Advisor’s team, including some that are held at other institutions. Assets managed for institutions are given less weight in the scoring. Portfolio performance is not a criterion because most Advisors do not have audited track records. Criteria based on more than 3000 filtered nominations from more than 100 investment, insurance, banking and other related independent financial service firms.

Barron’s Top 100 Financial Advisors (2004–2009) criteria generally based on more than 7,000 filtered nominations from more than 80 investment, insurance, banking and other related firms, which were narrowed down by quantitative and qualitative criteria as well as by examining regulatory records and talking with peers, supervisors, clients and the Advisors themselves. Portfolio performance is not a criterion because most Advisors do not have audited track records.

Financial Times Top 400 Advisors Rankings are based on data provided by investment firms. Factors include assets under management, experience, industry certification, and compliance record. Investment performance and financial Advisor production are not explicit components.

Five Star Wealth Manager Award (2012.) Survey conducted by Five Star Professional, an independent third-party research firm, who received nominations among all Wealth Managers in the area from peers or firms and evaluated the nominees based on 10 objective criteria including client retention rates, client assets administered, firm review and favorable regulatory and complaint history.

Five Star Wealth Manager Award (2010–2011) is bestowed on Wealth Managers who scored highest in overall satisfaction based on surveys conducted by Crescendo, a third-party research firm who evaluated feedback from clients, peers, and industry professionals. Scoring based on criteria, including customer service, integrity, knowledge/experience, recommendations, and overall satisfaction. Selected are the top scoring candidates representing less than 7% of their market. The rating is not representative of any one client’s experience as the rating reflects an average, or a sample, of all client experiences, and is not guarantee as to a client’s future investment success or an Advisors selection or performance in the future.

Indianapolis Business Journal Forty Under 40 criteria based on 40 local business and professional leaders who have achieved success before the age of 40. These people have demonstrated leadership, initiative, and dedication in pursuing their careers, and are likely to continue to achieve in the future.

On Wall Street Top Advisors Under 40 criteria based on age requirements of 39 years of age and under. Executives at wire houses and full-service regional firms were asked to identify their top three brokers based on assets under management for the first nine months of this year. With a few exceptions, these are the largest asset gatherers under 40 at their firms. In the case of a team member, the assets we report for the person is in the same proportion as the individual’s production within the team. Candidates also had to offer comprehensive financial planning and wealth management services, generate at least 50% of their revenues from fee-based accounts, and have no compliance problems in the past five years.

Registered Rep Outstanding Advisor Award criteria based on: 1) Superior performance in money management, client service, business building and philanthropic activities; and 2) Acknowledged peer recognition and respect.

Registered Rep America’s Top 50 Financial Advisors. Rankings based on a combination of objective and subjective factors, including production, assets under management and tenure at current firm. Indy’s Best and Brightest criteria based on age requirements, residential requirements, professional accomplishments, and leadership qualities in workplace or community. Selection committee chooses 100 total nominees in 10 categories as finalists; committee then selects 10 winners.

Research Magazine/The Winner’s Circle criteria generally based on more than 7,000 filtered nominations from more than 80 investment, insurance, banking and other related firms, which were narrowed down by quantitative and qualitative criteria as well as by examining regulatory records and talking with peers, supervisors, clients and the Advisors themselves. Portfolio performance is not a criterion because most Advisors do not have audited track records.

Our Team

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  • John D. Cooke
  • J. Christopher Cooke
  • Brian F. Cooke
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John D. Cooke

Founder
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J. Christopher Cooke CIMA®

Partner
Direct: (317) 814-7810 | [email protected]
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Brian F. Cooke CIMA®

Partner
Direct: (317) 814-7808 | [email protected]
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  • Lisa K. Grimes
  • Kevin McCurdy
  • Tammy Williams
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Lisa K. Grimes CFP®

Senior Vice President, Wealth Advisor
Direct: (317) 814-7803 | [email protected]
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Kevin McCurdy CFP®

Senior Vice President, Wealth Advisor
Direct: (317) 814-7811 | [email protected]
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Tammy Williams MBA

Vice President, Wealth Advisor
Direct: (317) 814-7812 | [email protected]
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  • Kris Heide
  • Kat Sheffer
  • Adrienne Monka
  • Christine Barbo
  • Anna Feigel
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Kris Heide

Officer, Senior Client Associate
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Kat Sheffer

Officer, Senior Client Associate
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Adrienne Monka

Client Associate
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Christine Barbo

Client Associate
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Anna Feigel

Receptionist
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Commonly Asked Questions:

Do I need a financial advisor for my 401k?

A 401(k) is a retirement plan that allows employees to set aside a portion of their pre-tax earnings (regular 401k). This “payroll deferral” money can be invested in a variety of investment funds within the 401k plan, and the earnings on the investments are not taxed until the employee withdraws their money (generally at or after retirement age). Employers may also match employee contributions to the plan up to a certain amount. For example, an employer may contribute 50 cents for every dollar an employee contributes up to the first 6% of the employee’s salary.  This would mean if the employee contributed 6%, then the employer would add 3%, for a total annual contribution of 9% of pay toward the employee’s retirement account.

401(k) accounts are for retirement savings and need to have risks managed appropriately.  These accounts generally need to be invested in broadly diversified investments to reduce the risk of a substantial loss (which might occur if you owned only one or two stocks in a concentrated portfolio).  Broad categories such as “large US stocks” or “fixed income” are offered through well diversified investment choices in a 401k plan.  For this reason, many 401(k) accounts are managed and run by large, well-known financial services advisory companies such as Fidelity Investments, the Vanguard Group, or other large mutual fund complexes.

The 401k accounts are usually monitored and controlled by an investment professional working with the employer’s 401k plan trustees.  Since the 401(k) accounts are the employee’s retirement plans, the plan trustees should choose investments that carry lower risks.  For this reason the account holders are usually limited to investments within a restricted list (10 – 20) of diversified asset classes. 401k plans usually provide the option of choosing between mutual funds with varying investment strategies including US equities, international equities, fixed income (bonds) and cash.

This is when we ask an important question:

“Should I use a financial advisor or choose my 401k plan investments by myself?”

You do not necessarily need a financial advisor for 401(k) if you know and understand which mutual funds to choose for your 401(k) and you have some investment experience.  In this case you may manage your own 401(k) through consultations with your 401k fund manager. This is one of the biggest 401(k) advantages and helps to make 401(k)s a (reasonably) hassle free passive investment plan.

But it is not a bad idea to hire a financial advisor to assist you when determining your 401k fund allocation (mutual fund mix).  Factors such as your age, risk tolerance, earning potential, and lifestyle goals should be considered thoroughly.  Working with a financial advisor may help maximize the long term/average returns on your 401(k) by reaching a “best” decision based upon all of these factors. Many investors who are inexperienced, very risk averse, or generally nervous about investing may make poor investment allocations, typically by being too conservative and “loss averse”.   If average expected returns on 401(k) are between 1% (cash/bonds) and 8% (diversified equities), then a financial advisor can help maximize the returns and minimize risks within the employee’s risk tolerances.  The financial advisor can also help the employee avoid making poor decisions during periods of market volatility (short term loss) by offering an experienced, educated bit of advice.

Self-Directed 401(k)

Traditional 401(k) accounts are managed using mutual funds and they provide a narrow list of diversified classes of assets for investment. Some people prefer to take investment matters into their own hands by opting for self-directed 401(k) or self-directed individual retirement accounts.

Self-directed 401(k)s are offered by many financial institutions.  They allow access to a broader class of assets such as individual stocks, ETFs, precious metals and REITs etc. Self-directed 401(k)s however are generally not passively invested.  They require actively creating your own portfolio and monitoring your portfolio.  This more active level of involvement is why most people using a self-directed account hire a certified financial planner or advisor to assist them.

Is it worth having a financial advisor?

A financial advisor can be a great resource to have in your corner. They can help you navigate the complex world of investing, and help you plan for your future. However, the financial advisor is not a necessity. If you are interested in investing, and commit enough energy to your plans, you can do it yourself. The basics of investing are not hard to understand.


  • Risk-reward relationship: You need to understand that the risk-reward relationship is directly proportional.  Generally, the higher the risks, the higher the rewards.  And, of course, the lower the risks, the lower the rewards. And there are always exceptions!
  • Risk appetite: You need to know/understand your own risk appetite. Are you risk averse or a risk seeker? Risk averse investors usually adopt a low-risk strategy whereas risk seeking investors go for a higher risk approach.
  • Time horizon: Investments should always be bound by time. You should know whether your investments are short term (0-3years) or for the long term (usually thought of as a full market cycle – about 5 – 7 years).  These different time horizons should have different investment strategies.

If you can understand these concepts and feel comfortable with your investment options, then you can formulate your own investment strategy.  But this is not the only service that financial advisors provide. Having a financial strategy is one thing, successfully executing it is another. In order to execute your strategy, you should also understand market cycles and have knowledge of all the investment options available to you.  Occasional rebalancing and tactical tilting of a portfolio may add additional value and increase your results.  All these steps can be used to create a diversified portfolio that suits your investment goals.

Retirement planning and financial planners.

While most 401(k) accounts are designed to be infrequently traded, what about retirement planning (more broadly than just your 401k)?

Retirement planning requires knowledge of many additional factors such as:

  • How much do you need to retire?
  • Ability to scale up the income sources
  • Creating multiple income streams
  • Personal financial management, including spending control and intelligent investment allocations.
  • Knowledge of various investment options
  • Wealth creation strategy
  • Assessment (and follow up assessments) at various stages of life

This is not easy.  Doing it on your own means any mistakes create risks for retirement nest egg shortfalls.  This is a primary reason why individuals are well-advised to seek the services of a financial advisor for more comprehensive retirement planning.

Your 401(k) account is just one expected income stream in your retirement life. Almost everyone will require multiple income streams and wealth creation strategies to live a comfortable (financially secure) life during retirement.  Achieving these goals is more likely done with the guidance of a qualified financial advisor.  Your financial advisor can help make sure you are saving enough money for retirement and that you're not taking on unnecessary risks. This will help you get the most out of your 401K, and other available income streams.

Another question many people ask is should I get a financial advisor in my 20s?  Or is this too early for retirement planning? The answer is yes, the earlier you start the better, and a financial advisor’s guidance can get you started on the right path. In your 20s, a certified financial planner with experience can help you craft the best retirement strategy that will help you live a life of comfort.

The Cost

The charges for financial advisors vary and can take different forms. The most experienced and highly reputable financial advisors costs are higher, but for a reason. But most financial advisors have reasonable rates.

The following chart can help you understand this better.


Basis of Fee Average Rate
Annual $2000 - $7500/annual retainer
Hourly $100 - $400/hour
Plan based fee $1000 - $3000/plan
Based on the value of portfolio 0.5% - 1%/based upon assets under management

Financial advisors are professionals who know and understand the markets.  Many of the best have designations like “certified financial planners” (CFP) for a reason.   They are trained and qualified to provide these services.  By hiring the financial advisor you will cut down the workload and due diligence that you must perform personally, and you gain access to industry knowledge, competence and expertise. This is where financial advisors help you attain your financial goals and plan for a retirement life of financial security and comfort.

 

 

 

 

 

What is The Difference Between a Wealth Manager and a Financial Advisor

Are you considering private wealth management services?

Would you like to know what the difference is between wealth management vs a financial advisor?

In this article, we will examine what financial advisors and wealth management companies do to support your financial goals.

Let’s start by helping you set the appropriate financial expectations for using either service.

How Much Money Do You Need to Hire a Wealth Manager?

If you’re considering hiring a wealth management advisor, you may want to think about your budget. Wealth managers and financial advisors do not provide free services.

Just like any other service, they do expect to be compensated for their work. This is why it is so important to choose an advisor who provides services that can fit comfortably within your budget.

There are two different types of payment structures for financial management services. One is fee-based and the second is fee-only.

In most cases, advisors will provide you with a brochure or Form ADV to outline their services, offers, fees, and any potential conflict of interest that might apply to your investments.

Now, back to the difference between fee-only and fee-based.

Fee-only advisors earn money through the fees you pay them, which is often based on a percentage of the assets you have under management. They may also charge a flat fee or even an hourly rate.

Fee-based advisors make money through client fees, but may also charge commissions or brokerage fees for certain kinds of products.

When deciding which option is right for you, you may also want to look at other options that are free from the commissions, management fees, and annual charges that often come with an advisor.

However, for fully customized advice, you’ll want to choose either a private wealth management company or a financial advisor.

Let’s take a deeper dive into what each offers you.

What Does a Wealth Management Advisor Do?       

A wealth management advisor provides consulting services. They are typically hired by financial institutions and are well attuned to clients with a greater amount of wealth. They can also work as freelancers or entrepreneurs and customize their services to fit their clients.

Not surprisingly, wealth management advisors provide information and recommendations for investments in the markets their clients are interested in. They also inform their customers about taxes and other relevant financial information.

In many cases, they also work with accountants and lawyers to provide a holistic financial recommendation or plan for their clients which may include estate planning concepts and ideas.

If you want a wide array of financial services and your portfolio is well established, then a wealth management advisor might be the right choice.

What Is the Difference Between a Wealth Manager and a Financial Advisor?

Wondering what the difference is between wealth management vs financial advisor services? Consider the following.

The Definition of a Financial Advisor

In contrast with a wealth manager, a financial advisor is an expert who helps their clients with a wide array of financial services. Their specialty is typically in the financial planning and investment management arenas.

There are multiple types of financial advisors, and they aren’t married to a specific genre or set of services.

For example, a certified public accountant (CPA) holds a certification to work with both accounting and taxes. Another example is a chartered life underwriter (CLU) who provides information and recommendations for life insurance and estate planning.

In most instances, a financial advisor lends their specific knowledge and expertise to develop personalized financial plans to help their clients achieve financial goals. Those goals may include savings, budgets, insurance, or tax planning.

Financial advisors also help their clients regularly re-evaluate their situation to create the best path forward.

The Definition of a Wealth Manager

A wealth manager is a niche component of financial advising, generally with broader and deeper knowledge of the problems most often associated with higher net worth households. They assist in managing the assets of high-earners. They help connect their clients with every service and financial product they need to maximize their financial situation. In most cases, they provide a holistic view of your assets. Whether you need assistance with your retirement fund or real estate investments, tax or estate planning, they have your back.

A wealth management advisor provides custom financial solutions. They work one-on-one with you to understand your situation.

While you may be convinced that private wealth management is only for the uber-rich, people of any financial standing can use their services. They can provide one-off advice, solutions, or service that are surprisingly reasonable in cost.


Do I Need a Wealth Management Advisor?

So, is a wealth management advisor the right choice for your financial situation?

The answer is up to you.

However, wealth managers provide services that financial advisors cannot and often do not provide. They should help you navigate investing concerns and financial hurdles.  More complex concepts should be made simpler and more understandable when working with a wealth advisor. They also provide long-term support for your financial goals & future plans.

If you’re interested in exploring private wealth management services, we would be happy to discuss your needs and concerns. Reach out to us via our contact form to learn more about how we can help you build a strong financial future.

Before defining the amount of money needed to hire a wealth manager, it is helpful to highlight some differences between a wealth manager and other types of financial advisors including financial planners, brokers, and traditional financial advisors.  Financial planners, financial advisors, and wealth managers all provide financial advice to clients including investment advice, but frequently the lines defining the differences are blurry and indistinct.  How do you decipher who does what?

Wealth Manager Vs Financial Advisor

One significant distinction between a wealth manager and a traditional financial advisor is that wealth managers generally serve substantially higher net worth households (often called ultra-high net worth/UHNW).  Wealth manager advice delves deeply into estate taxes, income taxes, generational planning/trusts, and charitable planning in addition to the traditional investment planning.  UHNW clients generally require significantly more assistance in these complex areas versus the larger group of middle class (sometimes called “mass affluent”) and high net worth investors (HNW).  A simplistic definition of these groups is $10million of net worth or greater is considered UHNW.  HNW would be $5 – 10million of net worth, and mass affluent may be defined as $1million to $5million.  These definitions are clearly oversimplified and additional factors including future expected growth/savings, client age, business ownership, expected inheritance, and other factors will affect the planning an individual or family may require.

Many regular financial advisors will call themselves “wealth managers” or “wealth advisors”, but  a second key distinction is educational credentialling and expertise.  Most regular financial advisors do not have the expert qualifications and experience needed to address complex client needs.  True “wealth advisors” will have extensive credentials and experience including degrees and industry certifications like CPA, CFP, JD, CIMA, and others. 


How Much Does A Financial Advisor Cost?  How Much Does A Wealth Advisor Cost?

Financial Advisors and Wealth Advisors may be compensated in flat fees or a percentage of the asset value of the portfolio under management. A typical range for an annual percentage fee would be between 0.25% and 1.0% of invested assets.  The percentage charged is generally CHEAPER as the assets under management get LARGER.  Thus, Wealth Advisors, who generally manage larger client households, may actually charge a lower percentage fee than regular financial advisors working with smaller client households. 

Financial advisors may also be paid in commissions on the brokerage of the assets they buy for you. How much commission varies based upon the investment being purchased and this tends to shift more compensation to the beginning of a relationship (with less reasons for follow up service after the sale).  Wealth managers are less likely to use a commission based fee model, and significantly more likely to be fee based, or fee only.

What Are Other Differences Between A Wealth Manager And A Financial Advisor

Financial Advisors help people budget, save, and allocate assets.  Services often include lifestyle planning, college savings planning, and retirement planning.

A Financial Planner is a subset of financial advisors whose typical clientele is middle-class or upper-middle-class employees, and a written financial plan is one primary output of their work.

Wealth Managers are a subset of financial advisors who provide services to high-net-worth or ultra-high-net-worth individuals. Their services encompass risk management, capital gains planning, estate planning, alternative investment planning, philanthropic planning and other financial strategies pertinent to the wealthy.

Whereas a financial planner may just give advice, a wealth manager may actively manage client assets with a fiduciary responsibility back to the client.


Do I Need A Financial Advisor Or A Wealth Manager?

If you are a middle-class or upper-middle-class investor/family/employee, a financial planner is a logical solution. A true wealth manager is probably not required (and may cost you more).

If you are a high-net-worth (i.e. wealthy) individual/family/business owner, consider the specific services required in your situation.  When your needs include more complicated areas that require additional expertise, then a wealth manager will be a logical conclusion.  Be sure the wealth manager’s credentials and experience match up well with your needs.


Benefits Of Hiring A Financial Advisor

Financial advisors provide expert advice on money management, lifestyle planning, and retirement accumulation/distribution planning — spheres of knowledge that employees or business owners don’t necessarily acquire in school or on the job.

Financial advisors are educated and adhere to rigorous ethical standards. Many have fiduciary responsibility to you — an ethical obligation to put your wishes and best interests above your own.

You can tell your financial advisor your age, income, net worth, family status, desired retirement age, and financial status. The financial advisor uses this data to create a strategy to achieve those goals, as well as recommend assets to execute the strategy.


How Much Money Should You Have Before Hiring A Financial Advisor

Most financial planners accept clients with a minimum of $100,000 investable dollars to put under management. Some will accept $50,000 or lower, but $100,000 is a good benchmark. For people with fewer assets, a Roboadvisor based on a computer algorithm may suffice and provide basic investment advice.

Wealth managers have higher minimums. How high depends on the wealth manager, their experience, and the demand for their services. It could be $500,000, $1 million, or even more.  Wealth Managers with the highest demand frequently require $2mm -- $5mm minimums (or more) as their time is limited and top shelf service is demanded by their HNW and UHNW client households.  In addition to these higher minimums, top Wealth Managers may also limit the number of client households they serve.


Should I Use A Financial Advisor Or Do It Myself?

You can do much of what a financial advisor does with the help of inexpensive online tools. However, computer algorithms can’t account for all variables that an experienced financial advisor will consider. Nor can Google searches substitute for really “doing your homework” on an investment or an asset allocation before you implement it.

If you don’t have the time or the expertise to really understand what you are investing in and why -- in other words, the things financial advisors train for and practice every day — you are probably better off trusting the care and expertise of an experienced financial advisor. People outside of the finance world often report better returns after working with financial advisers vs. when they tried investing on their own, even after factoring in all fees associated with the financial advisor. 


Do I Need A Financial Advisor For My 401(k)?

Not only do you not need a financial advisor for your 401(k), you may have trouble getting one involved even if you wanted one. By law, employer 401(k)s can only be managed by financial advisors with fiduciary responsibility to their clients, and not every financial planner does.

Further, it can be hard for financial planners to legally take a commission from managing a client’s 401(k) funds. For this reason, employees are less likely to obtain advice and more infrequently change their 401(k) investment strategies (even if they would be better off by doing so). 


How Do I Know If I Need A Financial Advisor?

You know you need a financial advisor if:

  • You don’t have the time or the expertise to manage your own assets.
  • Subjects like retirement savings, college savings, or investing keep getting pushed further and further down your to-do list.
  • You know you should invest, save, manage risk, and strategize for capital gains, but you don’t know where to start.

Do I Need A Financial Planner For Retirement?

You don’t need a financial planner to plan for your retirement, but their expertise can be invaluable. A good financial planner can look at your current situation and your retirement goals, and map out an actionable plan to achieve the best possible lifestyle for your retirement.

For many people, retirement is a personal and sensitive subject. Your financial planner can be a neutral party who tells it like it is and helps you set realistic goals.


Wealth Manager Salary

The average wealth manager’s salary in the US is currently just under $95,000. The lower 25th percentile earns approximately $50,000, while the upper 75th percentile earns around $100,000. Top-performing wealth managers earn in excess of $250,000 annually.

Wealth Manager Job Description

A wealth manager takes the assets of a high-net-worth or ultra-high-net-worth individual, family, or entity under his/her direct management. (S)he has the power to make investment decisions on behalf of the client, with a fiduciary responsibility to the client.

The wealth manager executes a strategy agreed upon with the client with respect to:

  • Asset allocation.
  • Risk management.
  • Estate planning.
  • Capital gains planning.

How Much Money Do I Need To Hire A Wealth Manager?

Wealth managers typically work with individuals, families, and entities who have a higher-than-average net worth. The barrier to entry will vary from one wealth manager to another. It could be as low as $250,000, or as high as $1 million and beyond.


How To Become A Wealth Manager

There is no one way to become a wealth manager — different firms have different requirements. A candidate will usually require at least a bachelor’s degree, plus relevant certifications like CFP (Certified Financial Planner) and/or CFW (Chartered Wealth Manager). Advanced certifications in business and accounting can’t hurt either.

Wealth management is the upper echelon of financial planning. Candidates must have excellent social skills, business savvy, and a global perspective to keep up with the fast-paced world of the wealthy.


What Does A Wealth Manager Do?

Wealth managers help wealthy and ultra-wealthy clients balance growth strategies with risk management and tax planning to build and preserve their wealth. This could involve:

  • Keeping up with tax laws.
  • Recommending insurance products.
  • Identifying appropriate investment opportunities.
  • Interacting with clients to keep their wealth management plan on track with their goals.
 

Thank you for reading so many nuanced thoughts about differences between a wealth manager and a financial advisor.  We hope the information proves useful.

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Our Founders

John D. Cooke

Founder

In 1969, John D. Cooke founded the Cooke Financial Group. This marked the beginning of what would eventually become an industry-leading firm, an award-winning team and a legacy that continues to inspire trust and confidence today, over 50 years later.

In many ways, a key driver of John’s success has been his foresight as an early adopter, pioneering practices that would eventually become the industry’s gold standard. John was among the first to implement a disciplined process to evaluate and select professional money management firms for the benefit of his clients, and to build his practice around the idea of providing not just investment advice, but rather a comprehensive planning and wealth management framework that could accommodate the full spectrum of his clients’ financial considerations. Within Cooke Financial Group, he recognized the value of delivering this level of advice with a completely objective and unbiased perspective, and this ideal is proudly upheld today, as his successors lead the team as an independent firm partnered with Sanctuary Wealth.

John’s skill and dedication have been acknowledged throughout his career by the many publications and research bodies who have named him to lists ranking the country’s best advisors. This includes the Top 100 Financial Advisors (Barron’s, 2004 - 2009), America’s Top 50 Financial Advisors (Registered Rep magazine, 2005), Top Ranked Advisors in America (Research magazine, 2002 and 2003) and the Broker Hall of Fame (Research magazine, 1994). During his tenure at Wells Fargo, he was named to the prestigious Recognition Council for 30 consecutive years, received the Wells Fargo Spirit award and earned the Lifetime Premier Advisor designation.

John continues to serve on the Board of Directors for Cooke Financial Group, and his sons Chris and Brian live out his principles and lead the team by his example. Their ongoing commitment to John’s founding beliefs is evident in the community of client families who have relied on Cooke Financial Group for generations, the new capabilities the team has introduced in order to serve clients better, and the numerous accolades awarded them by some of the industry’s most respected publications.
Our Founders

J. Christopher Cooke CIMA®

Partner
Direct: (317) 814-7810 | [email protected]

As Partner, Chris Cooke co-leads Cooke Financial Group alongside his brother, Brian.

Chris has been an integral part of the evolution of the firm, from his own introduction in 1992 as Managing Director of Investments, to the 2016 merger that launched Sanctuary Wealth, now one of the fastest-growing hybrid RIAs in the country. Cooke Financial Group became the inaugural team on Sanctuary’s exclusive Partnered Independence℠ platform, and Chris continues to serve on the Board of Directors.

Prior to joining Cooke Financial Group, Chris was an accountant at a national financial services firm. His experience in auditing and performance monitoring was instrumental as the team continuously developed their service capabilities. Today, Chris’ expertise in concentrated in wealth management, retirement planning and estate planning.

A non-practicing CPA and attorney, Chris is a member of the Indiana Bar Association. He also holds the professional designation Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA®), a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Notre Dame, and a Juris Doctorate with a focus on tax law from the Indiana University Law School in Indianapolis.

Throughout his 30-year career, time and again Chris has been named by national publications like Forbes, Financial Times and Registered Representative magazine as one of the leading advisors in the country. He is also a sought-after subject matter expert, having spoken before the Barron’s Top 100 Financial Advisors and quoted in The Wall Street Journal and the Indianapolis Business Journal. Chris has also been named the #1 top-rated advisor in the State of Indiana by Forbes.

Chris is a history buff and for over 20 years has been actively involved with Conner Prairie, an interactive history museum affiliated with the Smithsonian. He is currently Chairman of the Conner Prairie Foundation Board of Directors and, in his local community of Fishers, Indiana, he is a board member at St. Vincent Carmel Hospital. Chris enjoys waterskiing, tennis and horseback riding. He and his wife Elizabeth have three grown children.
Our Founders

Brian F. Cooke CIMA®

Partner
Direct: (317) 814-7808 | [email protected]

As Partner, Brian Cooke co-leads Cooke Financial Group alongside his brother, Chris.

Brian has been an integral part of the evolution of the firm, from his own introduction in 1992 to the 2016 merger that launched Sanctuary Wealth, now one of the fastest-growing hybrid RIAs in the country. Cooke Financial Group became the inaugural team on Sanctuary’s exclusive Partnered Independence℠ platform, and Brian continues to serve on the Board of Directors.

Brian is known for the personal attention and care he provides clients of Cooke Financial Group, as well as his expertise in asset allocation analysis, professional money management consulting and client communications. Over the years he has helped lead the team to new capabilities, including family office services, investment banking and local investment opportunities.

From Indianapolis Business Journal’s prestigious Forty Under 40 award, to his most recent 2020 ranking by Forbes as the #1 Best-in-State Wealth Advisor for Indiana, Brian is a true industry leader who has been earning recognition from top publications since 1992.

Brian holds the designation Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA®) and two Bachelor’s degrees in business and marketing from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. He lives in Fishers, Indiana with his wife, Amy, and their two children. Whenever he has the opportunity, he enjoys traveling and playing golf, tennis and pickle ball.
Wealth Management Team

Lisa K. Grimes CFP®

Senior Vice President, Wealth Advisor
Direct: (317) 814-7803 | [email protected]

Lisa Grimes has been an integral part of Cooke Financial Group since 1991. Beginning with understanding her clients’ life goals, she works through a process to identify optimal wealth strategies and design diversified portfolios that align with clients’ long-term priorities.

Lisa joined the industry in 1989 and over the years she has developed a wide-ranging skillset in wealth management and portfolio design. She earned the Five Star Wealth Manager Award in each consecutive year from 2012 to 2015.

A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER&trrade;, Lisa also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Indiana University. Outside of work, she sits on the board for Damar Services, Inc., a leading national not-for-profit whose mission is to help children and adults with developmental and behavioral disabilities.

Lisa lives in Carmel, Indiana with her husband and two children, and they frequently travel together across the country and abroad.
Wealth Management Team

Kevin McCurdy CFP®

Senior Vice President, Wealth Advisor
Direct: (317) 814-7811 | [email protected]

Kevin McCurdy draws on 14 years of wealth management experience, a multidisciplinary professional background and a range of educational credentials to deliver comprehensive and tailored financial guidance to his clients.

A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, Kevin is also a non-practicing attorney. He earned a Juris Doctorate in Income and Estate Tax from the Indiana University School of Law and a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Michigan State University. His depth of expertise enables him to serve as a “personal CEO,” helping each client work toward individual goals and priorities.

Kevin was named a Five Star Wealth Manager each consecutive year from 2012 to 2016. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife Kristen and their three sons.
Wealth Management Team

Tammy Williams MBA

Vice President, Wealth Advisor
Direct: (317) 814-7812 | [email protected]

Tammy Williams came to Cooke Financial Group in 2016. Now one of the team’s lead wealth advisors executing comprehensive wealth plans, she has a unique and varied background.

Tammy earned her Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Psychological Services from Northwestern University and her MBA from DePaul University. She now focuses on helping clients create and preserve wealth through comprehensive financial services.

Prior to her work in the financial industry, Tammy was a professional softball player for seven years, during which time she played for the USA Women’s Softball National Team, the Japanese Professional League and the Chicago Bandits. She currently serves on the Northwestern Softball Alumni Board and is an active member of the Athletes for Hope Foundation, which helps athletes achieve their goals.
Client Support Team

Kris Heide

Officer, Senior Client Associate

Since 1998, Kris Heide has been an integral part of the client service team at Cooke Financial Group.

Kris graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts from the University of Indianapolis, where she was a member of the Psi Chi – International Honor Society in Psychology and Sigma Phi Omega – Gerontology Honor Society. Currently, she is active in her local community through Martinsville Life Church of God, as well as Angel’s Wings and their program Kelli’s Closet.

A skilled softball player, Kris became the first woman to be inducted into the Indiana NSA Slow Pitch Softball Hall of Fame in 2017. She also enjoys collecting antique tea pots, woodworking, and spending time with her partner Wendi, daughter Sage and their pets.
Client Support Team

Kat Sheffer

Officer, Senior Client Associate

In 2011, Kat Sheffer joined Cooke Financial Group to help build and support client relationships.

A Certified Fitness and Cycle Instructor, Kat is also licensed in therapeutic massage and founded a clinic called Integrated Therapeutic Massage, LLC, which she ran for 13 years. She attended Eastern New Mexico University and gives back to her community as a member of Northview Church and the Heroes Foundation. She completed an IRONMAN race in 2016 and also loves reading, music, wine and spending time with family and friends.
Client Support Team

Adrienne Monka

Client Associate

Adrienne Monka is a Client Associate with Cooke Financial Group and an accomplished athlete. Between 2009 and 2012, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Northwestern University and played on the softball team. She was a two-time All-American and a 2018 Inductee into the Northwestern Athletics Hall of Fame.

Adrienne enjoys spending time with her sister, Alyssa, and her dogs, Raven and Kobe. She continues to enjoy sports as a player and as a fan of the Colts, the Cubs, the US Women’s Soccer Team and the Northwestern Wildcats.
Client Support Team

Christine Barbo

Client Associate

Christine Barbo came to Cooke Financial Group in 2018 as a Client Associate. She is a Certified Indiana Public Notary with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education from the Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Education from Indiana Wesleyan University.

Christine is a supporter of Penn State University’s THON, a student-run fundraising group focused on pediatric cancer care and research. Originally from New Jersey, she and her husband Matt moved to Indiana in 2014. They have a talking parakeet named Ducky and enjoy paddle boarding on Geist Reservoir and going rock climbing.
Client Support Team

Anna Feigel

Receptionist

Anna Feigel provides administrative support and directs calls from the Cooke Financial Group front desk. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Education from Purdue University and is a qualified Language Arts and Reading teacher.

Anna also supports her community through membership in organizations including the International Crane Foundation and NPR (through WFYI) and enjoys crocheting, sewing, jigsaw puzzles and playing piano. She lives in Lafayette with her parents, her brother and her cat, Donovan.