With smaller firms, the biggest benefit is how personal the relationship with your advisor can be and their ability to tailor their advice to your specific situation, industry observers say. There are other considerations, however.
If you're thinking about going with someone at a solo or very small operation, ask if he or she has a succession plan in place. That is, advisors should have formal arrangements detailing who would take over managing client assets and/or financial plans if they plan to retire or unexpected death or disability occurs.
"If something happens to your advisor, you want to know there's a plan in place to make sure you're taken care of," said CFP Evan Beach, a wealth manager at Campbell Wealth Management in Alexandria, Virginia.
Additionally, small firms tend to have fewer options for who's on call if your advisor goes dark.
"If an advisor goes on vacation or gets sick, there should be a backup system in place to cover that absence," said Christine Benz, director of personal finance for research firm Morningstar.