Avantax Wealth Management is an independent broker-dealer firm that offers financial planning and asset management services. It’s been around since 1983 and has tweaked its business several times to keep up with current demands. Currently, Avantax Wealth Management has over 300 employees and is affiliated with 3,750 financial advisors who advised on $76 billion worth of assets for individuals, families, and businesses across the U.S. In 2014, Avantax Wealth Management ranked in the Top 20 for broker/dealer firms based on revenue.
This firm doesn’t offer tax advice, but it emphasizes how taxes impact your financial decisions: financing a home, retirement, your child’s education, business planning, and more. The premise is that many people/investors are leaving a great deal of money on the table by not considering the tax implications of their financial choices. Avantax Wealth Management advertises that it can help maximize your profit potential while also helping you cut unnecessary taxes.
Avantax Wealth Management describes itself as follows:
“Avantax Wealth Management creates opportunities for tax professionals and independent financial advisors to build and expand successful financial services practices that serve a growing need among investors seeking a holistic approach to wealth management. Our commitment is grounded on providing HD Vest Advisors with exemplary service, enabling them to provide more Americans than ever before with quality investment and financial planning solutions.”
Glassdoor.com is a website that allows employees and freelancers to leave anonymous reviews about their employers. This is valuable because culture plays a big role in a company’s ability to maximize its potential. If the culture is good, workers produce more. If it’s bad, then workers aren’t going to be as motivated. In the case of Avantax Wealth Management, the culture falls somewhere in the middle.
The good news is that employees like their leader: 88% of employees approve of CEO Roger C. Ochs, and 76% of employees would recommend the company to a friend, which is relatively high. Sticking to the positives, there is a lot of emphasis on education, which is highly comprehensive.
The bad news is that Avantax Wealth Management doesn’t recognize and retain talent as much as it should, according to reviews on Glassdoor.com. However, there are exceptions – some employees have been working there for at least a decade. Part of the reason employees leave is due to a lack of opportunity for advancement. Another explanation is below-average pay. From this, you can deduce that if you’re looking for services within the industry, then there would be no guarantee that you would find top talent at this firm. That said, Avantax Wealth Management does offer something unique.
The company’s 1040 Analyst, designed for tax professionals offering financial services, is an exclusive mining tool that integrates tax data from form 1040 to generate automated financial service opportunities. It also highlights vulnerabilities. This leads to a personalized plan, which then increases the potential for client retention and recommendations. It’s also a good tool for financial analysts with many clients (500-plus).
There is just one minor problem. On the firm’s website, it says that 1040 Analyst is designed to integrate the top four tax software programs used by tax professionals. It then goes on to list five: Lacerte, ProSeries, UltraTax, Drake, and ATX. This is a very minor oversight, but every point counts.
Avantax Wealth Management offers:
- Investment management
- Cash flow and debt management
- Family risk management
- Retirement planning
- Education/college planning
- Legacy and estate planning
- Business planning
- Special situations planning
Business Support Services:
- Wealth management support
- Skilled support specialist
- Operational support
- Building successful teams
- Marketing support
- Social media
The Bottom Line
Overall, Avantax Wealth Management offers a unique service that should be considered by anyone looking to minimize tax obligations related to financial decisions. The positives outweigh the negatives, and the firm’s ability to withstand the test of time, including financial crises, is perhaps the biggest positive.