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Annex Wealth Management Review 2022

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Annex Wealth Management is a full-service financial planning and wealth management firm. The firm has over 40 investment advisors on staff and nearly $3.8 billion in assets under management (AUM). Headquartered in Elm Grove, Wisconsin, Annex Wealth Management primarily serves individual investors, including those who are high net worth, as well pension and profit-sharing plans.

The bottom line: Annex Wealth Management is a financial planning and wealth management firm with no minimum investment, making it open to clients who aren’t wealthy, but it does have a higher than average maximum management fee.

  • Offers extensive financial planning services alongside investment advisory services
  • Does not require a minimum amount to invest
  • Provides online management with a personal touch through its Ignite service

All information included in this profile is accurate as of December 20, 2021. For more information, please consult Annex Wealth Management’s website.

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Overview of Annex Wealth Management

Annex Wealth Management was founded in 2001 and is registered as an LLC in Wisconsin. The firm offers its clients wealth and investment management services, as well as financial and retirement planning, tax preparation and insurance assessment.

Annex Wealth Management is owned by Dave J. Spano, the firm’s president and CEO. The firm in turn is the sole owner of four other related companies: Annex Insurance Services, Annex Advisory Services, Annex Investment Services and Annex Tax Services.

A look at the founder of Annex Wealth Management

Spano, the firm’s president, CEO and owner, became a certified financial planner (CFP) in 1991. He hosts the radio show “Money Talk” on News Talk 620 WTMJ.

Annex Wealth Management’s pros

  • No account minimum: Because there is no account minimum required to access Annex Wealth Management services, the firm is more accessible to all levels of investors. Some investors with fewer assets might struggle with a fee of 1.50%, but that is the maximum rate, so it is possible to get a lower rate.
  • Variety of services for different needs: Annex Wealth Management offers a number of ways for clients to work with the firm, depending on their unique needs. In addition to comprehensive wealth management and financial planning services, Annex offers the option of limited discretionary asset management and consulting services. Services are available for both individuals and businesses.
  • Online portfolio management available through Ignite: The firm offers an online platform that clients can sign up for to get matched with proprietary portfolio management services through Annex Wealth’s Ignite. Fees are lower than the firm’s maximum, at 1% annually, and clients can access generalized investment management services.

Annex Wealth Management’s cons

  • Fees may be above average: Because there is no clear tiered fee structure, it’s possible that clients may end up paying above average compared with national average fees. Annex caps its fee for comprehensive management services at 1.50%. In comparison, the average annual advisory fee ranges from 0.50% to 1.25% of assets under management. However, many clients may end up paying a lower rate.
  • No fee estimates provided ahead of time: In general, you need to consult with an advisor before you can figure out which fees you’ll be charged and what your rate will be. Many other firms publish clear fee schedules based on the amount of assets a client has under management, making it easier to compare costs.
  • Potential conflict of interest related to fee structure: On its Form ADV, Annex notes the potential for a conflict of interest to arise due to the fact that its financial planning clients often end up also receiving investment management services. Because the firm charges clients based on the amount of assets under management, it may be incentivized to make financial planning recommendations that will increase a client’s assets, whereas actions such as gifting money or paying off a mortgage may lower invested assets. The firm does take steps to mitigate this potential conflict, though, and it is not unusual for wealth management firms to provide planning services as well.

What types of clients does Annex Wealth Management serve?

The firm’s primary focus is on individual investors, with non-high net worth individuals far outnumbering high net worth individuals. This is likely the result of the fact that the firm does not have a minimum investment requirement, which makes it accessible to anyone interested in getting help from a full-service financial planning and wealth management firm. For reference, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) defines a high net worth individual as someone with at least $750,000 under management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million.

In addition to individuals, Annex Wealth Management also serves a number of pension and profit-sharing plans as well as a handful of other types of institutional investors, including charitable organizations.

Services offered by Annex Wealth Management

Annex Wealth Management offers a range of investment management and wealth planning services. In general, the firm begins by offering financial planning, which often leads to investment management and advisory services that are designed to help clients reach their goals.

Annex also offers ongoing consulting services designed to provide insight and analysis to clients on their investments and financial situations. The firm then uses these insights to develop a plan to help clients achieve their objectives.

Here is a full list of services offered by Annex Wealth:

  • Portfolio management
  • Financial planning
  • Tax preparation and planning
  • Insurance assessment
  • Financial education and discovery
  • 401(k) plans for businesses
  • Pension consulting services to retirement plans covered under ERISA

Online investment management platform Ignite

How Annex Wealth Management invests your money

In general, Annex employs what it calls a “Core & Tactical Investment Strategy,” which is designed to include short- and long-term strategies that focus on risk management while at the same time promoting growth. Portfolios are customized to meet individual investors’ needs, and include both actively and passively managed funds. Annex focuses on selecting assets that are low-cost, even when using actively managed funds.

The firm’s investment policy committee is responsible for guiding its investing decisions. Annex primarily invests client money in assets including:

However, it may also use the following assets to round out portfolios:

Fees Annex Wealth Management charges for its services

Annex charges a maximum fee of 1.50% of assets under management for its wealth management services, which include financial planning, though the average fee that clients pay is typically around 1%. Clients are billed quarterly, and fees are generally deducted directly from clients’ investment accounts. The firm’s online Ignite service carries a 1% fee.

Clients might also incur other fees outside of the asset-based fee that the firm charges. For example, a custodial fee might be charged if you hold money with a third party, and there are mutual fund and ETF expense ratios to consider. There might also be markups and transaction fees when trading takes place outside Annex Wealth Management.

For its consulting services, the firm charges either an asset-based fee, an hourly rate or a flat fee. The flat fee for these services starts at $1,000 but can be higher, depending on the types of services provided. Clients who want the firm’s continued monitoring or management beyond the scope of the initial consulting services will need to pay an additional fee.

Annex Wealth Management disciplinary disclosures

Annex Wealth Management has no disciplinary disclosures to report. The firm has a clean record with no prior legal or regulatory issues on its record. When a firm registers with the SEC, it needs to report any criminal charges, regulatory actions or legal actions like liens or civil judgments that have been taken against them.

For more information, visit Annex Wealth Management’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) page.

Annex Wealth Management’s onboarding process

  1. Fill out a form on the firm’s website: To get started, clients can fill out a form on the firm’s website. Information requested on the form includes:
    • Name
    • Email address
    • Phone number
    • Amount of investable assets
    • Where you’d like to have your visit
    • How you found the page
    • Your age
    • Whether you have any particular concerns
  2. Set up a time to talk: Once you submit the form, you can set up time that is convenient for you to discuss your needs. Annex also offers an online chat function that you can use to get more information about the firm. Additionally, a free portfolio review is available for prospective clients.
  3. Review your needs and goals: When you meet with an advisor, you can expect to go over your existing assets and current financial situation, as well as your goals for the future.
  4. Receive periodic reviews: Should you become a client of Annex, you can expect to receive periodic reviews of your portfolio. The firm touches base with clients at least annually to see if there are any updates that need to be made to their portfolio. Clients can also expect to receive account statements from their custodians at least quarterly.

Where Annex Wealth Management is located

Annex Wealth Management has offices in the following locations:

  • Appleton, Wis.
  • Brookfield, Wis.
  • Delafield, Wis.
  • Elm Grove, Wis.
  • Mequon, Wis.
  • Middleton, Wis.
  • Milwaukee
  • Naples, Fla.
  • Libertyville, Ill.

Is Annex Wealth Management right for you?

For those looking for a more personalized approach to long-term financial planning and wealth management, Annex Wealth Management may be a solid choice. The firm prides itself on offering individualized solutions, rather than menu-based options, and there is no minimum investment required, which makes the firm accessible to all levels of investors. Even if you don’t decide to pay for investment management, it’s still possible to get fee-based consultation services from the firm.

However, it’s worth noting that the firm’s fees may be higher than average. Annex does not provide a fee schedule like many firms do, and while you know your fee will be capped at 1.50% for wealth management services, you won’t actually know your rate until you sit down with an advisor. Make sure you look around before you get started, as it’s a good idea to compare your options before making a decision about whether Annex Wealth Management is right for you. Be sure to research multiple firms to ensure you find the right advisor for you.

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