Forbes Best-in-State

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Glen D. Smith has been named as one of Forbes Best-in-State Wealth Advisors for 2023, a prestigious recognition for standout wealth advisors who top the list in each state. The Forbes ranking of Best-In-State Wealth Advisors, developed by SHOOK Research, is based on an algorithm of qualitative criteria and quantitative data. Those advisors that are considered have a minimum of seven years of experience and are judged on factors such as revenue trends, assets under management, compliance records, industry experience, and those who encompass best practices in their approach to working with clients.
Top Advisor rankings are published annually, but they don't tell the whole story, as most of the advisors are concentrated around bigger markets such as New York and San Francisco. The list of Forbes Best-in-State Wealth Advisors is composed to highlight Advisors in other states with smaller concentrations of wealth or more specific markets. R.J. Shook, president of SHOOK Research, says: "It is our belief clients are oftentimes better served by local representation. For example, a Houston-based investor who made her fortune in oil may prefer a local advisor with experience in that sector; a tech entrepreneur may want an advisor well-versed in start-ups and funding; or a farmer seeking an advisor with expertise in the futures markets. Many of the clients we talk to say they consider their advisors and teams like a part of their families, so it's nice to have them close by."

The ability to meet with clients face-to-face can be a real competitive advantage. Unlike their digital counterparts, Forbes Best-In-State Wealth Advisors specialize in multiple aspects of financial planning, offering everything from retirement and tax advice to financing for luxury items and amenities.

Thresholds are set to minimize the quantity of nominations received. Numbers such as production and assets don't tell the whole story, especially when much of the data is self-reported. SHOOK Research creates rankings of role models—advisors that are leading the way in offering best practices and providing a high-quality experience for clients. A focus on both quantitative and qualitative factors, including telephone and in-person meetings, is imperative.

R.J. Shook, president of SHOOK Research, says: "If we're going to recommend advisors to the public, we have to make sure every advisor is high quality. When we meet with an advisor in person or on the telephone, we are thinking to ourselves, 'Is this someone we would recommend to a friend or family member?'"

The Research Process

SHOOK scours the financial services industry—banks, brokerages, custodians, insurance companies, clearing houses, and others for nominations. SHOOK accepts advisors who meet predetermined minimum thresholds and acceptable compliance records. As of this date, SHOOK has received over 35,000 nominations of advisors who meet SHOOK's thresholds. SHOOK invited 19,640 of these nominees to complete an online survey.

SHOOK Research is the only rating firm that interviews advisors via telephone and in person at the advisor's location.

Basic Requirements
  • 7 years as an advisor
  • Completion of online survey
  • Minimum 1 year at current firm, with exceptions (acquisitions, etc.)
  • Over 50% of revenue/production must be with individuals
  • Advisor must be recommended, and nominated, by Firm
  • Acceptable compliance record
Quantitative
  • Revenue/production; weightings assigned for each
  • Client-related data, such as retention
  • Assets under management—and quality of those assets—both custodied and a scrutinized look at assets held away. (Although individual numbers are used for ranking purposes, we publish the entire team's assets.)
  • Portfolio performance is not a factor; audited returns among advisors are rare, and differing client objectives provide varying returns.
Qualitative
  • Telephone and in-person meetings with advisors (if an in-person meeting cannot be accomplished, exceptions are considered in which the interview will occur after a ranking has been published)
  • Advisors that exhibit "best practices" within their practices and approach to working with clients
  • Compliance records & u4s. Some "dings" can be overlooked (e.g., firm or product failure beyond the scope of an advisor's due diligence; the older a ding, the less we look). Since there are many gray areas, the SHOOK team is willing to listen to a firm that is willing to stand behind the advisor with written support from leadership.
  • Advisors that provide a full client experience
  • Service model
  • Investing process
  • Fee structure (higher % of fee-based assets earns more points)
  • Breadth of services, including extensive use of the Firm's platform and resources (e.g., liabilities)
  • Credentials (years of service can serve as proxy)
  • Use of team & team dynamics
  • Community involvement
  • Discussions with management, peers, competing peers
  • Telephone and in-person meetings
Forbes Best-in-State Wealth Advisors ranking was developed by SHOOK Research and is based on in-person, virtual, and telephone due diligence meetings to measure best practices; also considered are: client retention, industry experience, credentials, review of compliance records, firm nominations, and quantitative criteria, such as assets under management and revenue generated for their firms. Investment performance is not a criterion because client objectives and risk tolerances vary, and advisors rarely have audited performance reports. SHOOK’s research and rankings provide opinions intended to help investors choose the right financial advisor and are not indicative of future performance or representative of any one client’s experience. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Neither Forbes nor SHOOK Research receives compensation in exchange for placement on the ranking. For more information, please visit www.SHOOKresearch.com. SHOOK is a registered trademark of SHOOK Research, LLC. Data provided by SHOOK® Research, LLC. Data as of 4/10/2023. Neither GDS Wealth Management nor any of its Financial Planners or RIA firms pay a fee in exchange for this award/rating. Visit https://www.forbes.com/best-in-state-wealth-advisors/ to learn more. Investment advice is offered through GDS Wealth Management, a registered investment adviser.
Forbes Best-in-State Wealth Advisors ranking was developed by SHOOK Research and is based on in-person, virtual, and telephone due diligence meetings to measure best practices; also considered are: client retention, industry experience, credentials, review of compliance records, firm nominations, and quantitative criteria, such as assets under management and revenue generated for their firms. Investment performance is not a criterion because client objectives and risk tolerances vary, and advisors rarely have audited performance reports. SHOOK’s research and rankings provide opinions intended to help investors choose the right financial advisor and are not indicative of future performance or representative of any one client’s experience. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Neither Forbes nor SHOOK Research receives compensation in exchange for placement on the ranking. For more information, please visit www.SHOOKresearch.com. SHOOK is a registered trademark of SHOOK Research, LLC. Data provided by SHOOK® Research, LLC. Data as of 4/10/2023. Neither GDS Wealth Management nor any of its Financial Planners or RIA firms pay a fee in exchange for this award/rating. Visit https://www.forbes.com/best-in-state-wealth-advisors/ to learn more. Investment advice is offered through GDS Wealth Management, a registered investment adviser.

If applicable, whether the adviser provided compensation in connection with obtaining or using the third-party rating or award.

Additionally, we recommend disclosing the following: the number of advisers [or funds] considered for the rating/award.

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