Securing financial futures
Annex Wealth Management offers independent services, grows significantly

By Katherine Michalets - Freeman Staff

Sept. 17, 2015

 The team of Annex Wealth Management's Lake Country branch. From left: Christopher Weber, John Bodden and Jill Ackerman.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

DELAFIELD - Since it started helping clients find the path to a solid financial future 15 years ago in Elm Grove, Annex Wealth Management has grown from one to 62 employees and to include three locations - its latest just having opened in Delafield.

John Bodden, director of the Lake Country branch, said the company’s fiduciary standard for working with clients promises a heightened level of responsibility that makes it stand out compared to other wealth management firms that follow a suitability standard of care, which can fluctuate.

Annex Wealth Management President and CEO David Spano said he created the company around offering independent services versus trying to create and sell products.

“Our clients want unbiased advice that’s always in their interest,” he said.

John Bodden, director of Annex Wealth Management's Lake Country branch, talks about the company's approach to personal finance.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

A great emphasis has also been placed on hiring advisors to focus on the clients and their needs, Spano said. That emphasis, however, has also made it more difficult to find the right candidates to work at the growing company.

“We have to help our clients. If you don’t have the right personality, you are never going to get it,” Spano said.

Bodden said Annex Wealth Management can meet its clients’ individualized needs because of its varied staff with strong specialties, such as the estate planning attorney who focuses solely on that field.

The Delafield location has three service members, but when a client needs more specific help, an employee from the headquarters will travel to Delafield to meet with that client. The third Annex Wealth Management office is in Mequon.

Bodden said clients range from people who need everyday advice to those who seek help when a major life event occurs, such as a death or approaching retirement. Annex Wealth Management also works with area companies to provide 401(k) guidance.

Spano added clients also have accumulated assets and have decided they need to engage a professional to help with their management.

Dave Spano, president of Annex Wealth Management, pauses while discussing the impact of potential interest rate increases.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

Concerns about a volatile market

After the Great Recession, Spano said, clients realized how complex the economy is and how quickly it can change so they have increasingly sought out professional advice about managing their financial assets.

Concern still remains about the market’s volatility, Bodden said, which has caused clients to reach out to professionals to gain a better understanding.

“People need help navigating their assets, especially during times of volatility,” he said.

Other factors affecting the stock market have included areas of political unrest, such as in Syria, and the 2016 presidential election and its possible ramifications for taxation.

Bodden, Spano and the other advisors at Annex Wealth Management will be closely watching the Federal Reserve’s announcement today about whether it will raise interest rates. The proposed quarter of 1 percent rate increase likely won’t have any short-term effect on the economy, but Spano said the outlook included in Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s statement could have a greater impact.

Going forward, Spano said he anticipates additional growth in the state and is considering three possible locations.

Meanwhile, Bodden said the company has hired Deanne Phillips as director of Client Learning and Development and to assist women and their financial needs. She is also chairwoman of the board for the Financial Planning Association of Southern Wisconsin. In addition, Annex Wealth Management is putting increased focus on helping clients with financial wellness.