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3 Largest Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) in South Dakota

November 16, 2021

Registered investment advisors (RIAs) are undoubtedly best positioned to serve high-net-worth families and individuals seeking an alignment of interests between the firm and client. To shine a light on the growing RIA landscape, FINTRX explores three of the largest registered investment advisors (RIAs) based in South Dakota.


1. Standard Family Office, LLC = ~$1.4B+ in AUM

Standard Family Office, LLC is a Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based financial advisory firm managing approximately $1.4 billion in assets under management (AUM) across four customer accounts. Made up of a small team of about five employees, the firm provides financial management services to clients in the state of South Dakota. Standard Family Office LLC does not act as a registered broker-dealer, signifying that it cannot buy and sell securities for its own accounts and instead goes through a broker-dealer firm to do so. Securities are exchangeable fiscal assets, such as options, equities, and bonds.

Standard Family Office LLC supervises an average of $344.5 million in assets for every customer account. The average advisor at the firm administers about two client accounts, making it one of the most personalized advisor firms in the country. Standard Family Office LLC administers all of its accounts on a discretionary basis, a structure in which an investment advisor has the discretion to make transaction judgments without needing client approval.

Standard Family Office, LLC offers a variety of services, including financial planning services, portfolio management for individuals and small businesses, portfolio management for pooled investment vehicles, and educational seminars. The firm also provides financial services to pooled investment vehicles. Standard Family Office LLC does not offer products or services to clients aside from investment advisory services to its investment advisory customers. In relation to its fee structure, Standard Family Office LLC does not take part in a wrap fee program, in which the company offers a service bundle for a comprehensive fee.

Quick Hitters:

- Headquarters: Sioux Falls, SD
- Discretionary Assets: ~$1.4B+
- Non-Discretionary Assets: $0
- Total AUM: ~$1.4B+
- Specialties: Financial Planning Services; Portfolio Management; Educational Seminars & Workshops


2. Compass Financial Group, INC = ~$670M in AUM

Formed in the 1980s and established as an RIA in 2011, Compass Financial Group, INC is a Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based registered investment advisor providing insurance products and services separately through individually licensed and appointed agents. The firm advises on several investment types, including traditional IRA, Roth IRA, SIMPLE IRA, SEP-IRA, individual brokerage accounts, joint accounts, 529 Plans, and UTMA/UGMA accounts, to name a few. As an independent RIA, Compass Financial has access to over 30,000+ mutual funds and ETFs from companies such as Vanguard, T. Rowe Price, American Funds, and several others. 

Compass Financial Group houses a team that includes three certified financial planners (CFPs), three chartered financial consultants (ChFC), one chartered retirement planning counselor (CRPC), and one retirement income certified professional. The four-person financial advisor team manages assets for individuals with and without high-net-worth, as well as businesses. It also works with the plan sponsors of employer-sponsored retirement plans such as 401 (k)'s. The firm does not set an account minimum to receive its services. 

Compass Financial Group focuses on long-term financial planning advice, providing guidance regarding estate planning, investing, and insurance needs. The group's estate planning strategy begins with an evaluation of a client's current assets and net worth. It then determines future financial goals and methods of meeting those objectives. The team may also work with local attorneys to create legal documents, including powers of attorney, living wills, corporate structuring, and trusts. 

As independent agents, members of the Compass Financial Group can work with most insurance companies that do business in the state. The firm can advise on such products as life insurance, health insurance, disability insurance, and medicare supplements. In addition, the firm offers clients offers access to eMoney, a digital platform that allows clients to manage and view all of their financial data in one place. Compass Financial Group works with Sioux Falls businesses to help them establish a 401(k) plan with an investment menu that uses funds from Vanguard. To help clients meet their individual goals, the firm uses mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). 

Quick Hitters:

- Headquarters: Sioux Falls, SD
- Discretionary Assets: ~$670M
- Non-Discretionary Assets: $0
- Total AUM: ~$670M
- Specialties: Estate Planning; Investment Planning; Insurance Services


3. Elgethun Capital Management (ECM) = ~$442.2M+ in AUM

Founded in 2003 by Terry Elgethun, Elgethun Capital Management (ECM) is a Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based registered investment advisor with over $442 million in assets under management throughout 500+ accounts. John Barker partnered with Terry Elgethun in 2011. In 2012, Barker purchased ECM and became its President and CEO. The firm manages assets for high-net-worth investors, executives, business owners, and institutions, including 401(K) plans and pensions, foundations, endowments, banks, trust companies, investment advisors, and corporations. ECM has a small team of five employees, all of whom are financial advisors. Since its inception, the group has retained over 95% of its clients. 

Elgethun Capital Management provides multiple financial services, including financial planning services, portfolio management for individuals and small businesses, portfolio management for pooled investment vehicles, portfolio management for institutional clients, pension consulting services, and publication of newsletters. The firm does not sell products or offer services other than investment advice to its investment advisory clients. ECM is registered to serve clients throughout 5 states, including Florida, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Texas.

Elguthun Capital Management partners with professional custodians, including Charles Schwab Institutional, Pershing, TD Ameritrade, Fidelity, and other bank platforms. The custodians provide asset custody, brokerage, monthly statements, online access, lending, and back-office support, allowing ECM to focus on client service and portfolio management. Fee types billed by Elgethun Capital Management likely comprise any blend of the following fee structures: asset-based, hourly, fixed, or performance-based. The firm prefers business investments, real estate, and fixed income, as these assets produce cash flow. ECM embraces client engagement through performance reports, reviews of private deals, terms, and advice on all transactions. 

Quick Hitters:

Headquarters: Sioux Falls, SD
Discretionary Assets: ~$442.2M+
Non-Discretionary Assets: $0
Total AUM: ~$442.2M+
Specialties: Investment & Portfolio Management; Retirement Consultation; Financial Planning


RIA Review:

A registered investment advisor (RIA) is any firm advising or managing the wealth of high-net-worth individuals or institutions. Directly regulated by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), RIAs offer a wide range of financial services from wealth and investment management to direct lending and personal finance education, etc. An important distinction regarding RIAs is the fiduciary obligation to always act in the best interest of their clients.

For more information on RIAs, check out our recent blog post: Exploring the Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) Channel, or visit the FINTRX Resource Library below.


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Written by: Renae Hatcher

Renae Hatcher is member of the marketing team at FINTRX - focused on delivering targeted & relevant family office content to our subscribers.

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