Review of IHT Wealth Management

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Updated on Monday, February 24, 2020

IHT Wealth Management is a quickly growing Chicago-based firm with 99 advisors, many of whom are certified financial planners, across its more than 30 offices and affiliates located throughout the country. The full-service firm provides financial planning and wealth management services, primarily to individuals and high net worth individuals, and currently has nearly $1.3 billion in assets under management (AUM).

All information included in this profile is accurate as of February 24th, 2020. For more information, please consult IHT Wealth Management’s website.

Assets under management: $1,267,880,055
Minimum investment: None
Fee structure: Percentage of AUM for wealth management; hourly charges for financial planning
Headquarters: 123 N. Wacker Drive
Suite 2300
Chicago, IL 60606
(855) 295-2828

Overview of IHT Wealth Management

Founded in 2014, IHT Wealth Management is a Chicago-based financial services firm that offers investment advice and money management services. It is principally owned by founder and president Steven J. Dudash, a former Merrill Lynch financial advisor. The firm has grown quickly since its founding, often by acquiring the firms of retiring advisors.

The firm has about 150 employees, two-thirds of whom serve as investment advisors. Many of IHT Wealth Management’s advisors hold designations such as certified financial planner (CFP) and chartered retirement planning counselor (CRPC). Its team of advisors includes 90 registered broker-dealers and 35 licensed insurance agents.

What types of clients does IHT Wealth Management serve?

IHT Wealth Management works almost exclusively with individual investors, fewer than 20% of whom are considered high net worth individuals. (The SEC defines high net worth individuals as those with at least $750,000 in assets under management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million.) Additionally, the firm is capable of serving pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and trusts.

With no minimum account balance and a broad geographic footprint, the firm serves a fairly broad clientele. It has over 30 offices in a dozen states, with its largest presence in Illinois and Florida.

Services offered by IHT Wealth Management

IHT Wealth Management works with clients to evaluate their portfolio and make personalized investment recommendations based on their holistic financial situation, then execute the strategy on behalf of the client. The firm’s asset management services are offered on a discretionary basis, meaning that managers make all decisions to buy, sell or hold securities without having to consult with the client.

IHT Wealth Management also provides financial planning services, for a separate fee, to clients who request them, and, in addition, serves as a consultant to retirement plan sponsors.

Here is a full list of services offered by the firm:

  • Investment advisory services/portfolio management
    • Tax-sensitive investments
    • Concentrated stock strategies
  • Financial planning
    • Retirement planning
    • Estate and legacy planning
    • Charitable giving
    • Education planning
    • Tax planning
    • Cash flow analysis
    • Savings and emergency funds
    • Stock option analysis
    • IRA and 401(k) rollovers
    • 401(k) and pension plan review
    • Long-term care planning
    • Divorce planning
  • Insurance planning and risk management
  • Employee benefit plan fiduciary services
  • Collaboration with clients’ lawyers, accountants, etc.

How IHT Wealth Management invests your money

IHT Wealth Management uses several types of analysis to choose investments for its clients’ portfolios based on research and data. The methods the firm uses include:

  • Optimization: This uses mathematical algorithms to determine your best asset allocation based on the market and the client’s risk tolerance.
  • Quantitative methods: This analysis of investments is based on historical, performance and earnings data.
  • Technical analysis: This involves charting price and volume data to identify price trends.
  • Computer models: This is used to estimate the future value of an investment based on various data assumptions.

The firm uses these strategies to create a portfolio for its clients, based on that client’s financial situation and goals. These portfolios may be based on one of IHT’s model portfolios, which range from conservative to more aggressive. Advisors may also recommend other types of investments, including real estate investment trusts (REITs), pooled investment vehicles and variable annuities. While the holdings of individual portfolios vary, they generally contain a diversified mix of investments, which the firm believes is key to creating the best outcome.

Fees IHT Wealth Management charges for its services

For advisory services, clients pay IHT Wealth Management a percentage of their assets under management, with the rate ranging up to 3%; those with smaller accounts may pay higher fees. Advisors negotiate fees directly with clients, and may recommend both wrap-fee programs — meaning that clients won’t see additional charges for individual transactions within their account — and non-wrap fees programs.

For financial planning services, clients pay hourly fees, negotiated directly with advisors, that range from $250 to $500, depending on the complexity of the plan. Clients may pay a 50% deposit upfront for the plan, based on the estimated time necessary for completion.

IHT Wealth Management’s highlights

  • Highly accessible: The lack of a minimum account balance, along with a broad geographic footprint, means there are few barriers to potential clients who want to work with the firm.
  • Personalized service: Advisors work with each client to take their individual financial picture, risk tolerance and timeline into account to create a customized portfolio for them or match them with one of the firm’s available model portfolios.
  • Credentialed advisors: Many of the advisors at IHT Wealth Management hold certifications, such as CFP or CRPC. This means the advisors have undergone extensive training as well as continuing education. The firm’s team of advisors has an average of 15 years’ experience.
  • Industry recognition: The firm has appeared on The Financial Times’ list of the top 300 RIAs for the last two years.
  • Clean record: IHT Wealth Management does not have any disciplinary disclosures on its record (see more below).

IHT Wealth Management’s downsides

  • Potential conflicts of interest: Some of IHT Wealth Management’s advisors are licensed insurance agents and broker-dealers. That means they may earn a commission for recommending certain investment and insurance products to you, which can create a potential conflict of interest.
  • Higher than average fees: While each advisor negotiates fees directly with their clients, the firm’s rate can go up to 3% — more than double the industry average of 1.17%, according to the financial advisor industry company RIA in a Box.
  • Separate financial planning fees: Clients who want financial planning pay a separate fee of $250 to $500 per hour for those services. Some other firms include financial planning as part of their overall investment management fee.

IHT Wealth Management disciplinary disclosures

IHT Wealth Management does not have any recent disciplinary disclosures on its record. All SEC- registered firms must report any disciplinary disclosures on their Form ADV, documents that they file with the SEC. Disclosures include any regulatory actions, criminal charges or legal development, such as liens or civil judgments, taken against the firm, its employees or its affiliates.

IHT Wealth Management onboarding process

You can get in touch with the firm by filling out this form on IHT Wealth Management’s website, or by calling or emailing your local office (you can find contact info here). Advisors will look at your current portfolio and learn about your financial situation, and they will then use that information to recommend a portfolio that they believe will help you meet your goals.

Once your portfolio is set up, your advisor will check in regularly to report on performance and recommend any changes based on the market or your personal situation. On request, advisors will also create a financial plan for clients, which carries separate fees from the asset management service. Upon completion, the advisor will present the plan and discuss potential next steps for implementation.

Is IHT Wealth Management right for you?

Since it has experienced advisors on staff, no minimum account balance requirement and a fairly broad geographic footprint, IHT Wealth Management can serve the needs of a range of clients.

Keep in mind, however, that many of its advisors are also licensed insurance agents or dually registered as broker-dealers, so they may have personal financial incentives to make certain recommendations. Advisors negotiate their own fees directly with clients and these rates typically include transactions costs, but the firm’s fees may be higher than the industry average, especially for clients with smaller account balances.

It’s always important to do research on any investment advisor you’re considering, and to shop around to make sure you’re choosing a firm that best fits your needs.