$185M Baird advisor drawn to HD Vest for tech, tax planning

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Ask Evan Guido why he moved his $185 million practice from Baird to HD Vest and he’ll point to two letters: T and T.

Technology and tax planning, that is.

“We have a specialization and a niche that brings us close to the CPA and tax planning community. In partnering with HD Vest, they’re the number one tax planning focused broker-dealer. And the Fidelity custody and clearing gave us a big lift on the tech side,” Guido says.

The move makes Guido the latest in a long line of employee advisors striking out on their own to open independent practices either as an RIA or with an IBD. He’s also joining HD Vest, the nation’s largest tax-focused independent broker-dealer, after it’s been through a major transformation under former CEO Bob Oros.

The firm has migrated from Wells Fargo First Clearing to Fidelity for clearing, rolled out new minimum client asset levels for its advisors and adopted Envestnet for its advisory platform. HD Vest fields about 3,700 advisors who manage over $46 billion in assets, according to the company.

In affiliating with the IBD, Guido says he sees opportunities to partner more closely with CPAs, a natural pairing in his eyes. “We’re both trying to help the client, but from different angles.”

The 37-year-old advisor also has long-term plans to expand the practice, he says, possibly adding other advisors. His focuses on financial planning and caters to what he calls the “millionaire next door” client.

Before settling on HD Vest, Guido had briefly considered but discounted other career moves such as opening his own RIA or joining another employee brokerage.

“This created the perfect combination for entrepreneurial spirit and to build something unique. To be another rank-and-file guy didn’t motivate me, and just going for the highest payout didn’t motivate me either,” he says.

He is based in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, and though born in the sunshine state, Guido spent 11 years in Alaska, where he got his first taste of the industry as an intern in a Scottrade office.

The early part of his career also involved getting an early start on the day, he says. “They needed someone to be in the branch at 4 a.m. because that’s when the market opened in Alaska.”

He moved back to Florida in 2004 to enroll as an advisor trainee at Raymond James. Guido joined Baird in 2007, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. Now independent, he looked to his Alaskan youth for inspiration in naming his new practice Aksala Wealth Advisors.

“I hiked, rafted, got licensed there, married there, bought my first stock there. It’s really the formative years,” he says.

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