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About Avantax Wealth Management℠

About Avantax Wealth Management℠

Avantax Wealth Management℠ (which comprises Blucora’s Wealth Management business and includes HD Vest and 1st Global) offers a tax-advantaged approach for comprehensive financial planning. Through its Tax-Smart approach, Avantax helps clients leverage taxes to create financial growth opportunities. Most financial companies treat taxes as an afterthought, or not at all, even though taxes are one of life’s most complex and costly expenses. Avantax uses technology, tax, and wealth management insights to uncover tailored and advantageous opportunities across our clients’ financial lifecycles to deliver optimal returns. As of mid-September 2019, 4,200 advisors oversee more than $67 billion in client assets.

About Blucora

Blucora, Inc. (NASDAQ: BCOR) is a leading provider of technology-enabled financial solutions to consumers, small businesses, and tax professionals. Our products and services in tax preparation and wealth management, through TaxAct and Avantax™ Wealth Management, respectively, help consumers manage their financial lives. For more information on Blucora or its businesses, please visit (

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Portfolio Management Group

Meet the team responsible for the management and monitoring of the IMS Select strategies. The Avantax Portfolio Management (PMG) is a team of tenured investment professionals that operates under the oversight of the Avantax Advisory Services’ Fiduciary Oversight Committee (FOC) and is tasked with finding “best-in-class” investment managers and products for use across the IMS Select Portfolios strategies as well as other IMS programs. The team’s primary responsibilities include portfolio construction and investment manager due diligence, monitoring and selection. The team brings years of experience and investment knowledge to help guide clients with asset class allocation and individual fund selection, which are aimed at providing optimal risk-adjusted returns within each risk category.

Ivan Gruhl, VP, Chief Investment Officer - In Ivan’s 38 years in the financial services industry, he has most recently served as the Chief Investment Officer for Avantax Planning Partners (previously HKFS), and has been with the company for 10 years. Prior to Avantax Planning Partners, Ivan was vice president of client investment development at Aviva Investors, where he developed and marketed separately managed account (SMA) and mutual fund products to institutional investors.

He spent the prior 23 years with Lehman Brothers in New York, where he was senior vice president in the capital markets area. At Lehman, he was involved in various roles including trading futures, corporate bond sales, and research, where he headed up the Lehman bond index franchise and led a portfolio advisory team for managing institutional investor portfolios.

Jennifer Hutchins, CFA, Manager, Portfolio Management — Jennifer Hutchins is a portfolio manager for PMG at Avantax, where she supports the ongoing adoption and retention of assets of the IMS platform through asset allocation, investment manager due diligence and risk management. She originally joined the company as an internal support specialist for select BMS (an Avantax business model that partners CPA firms with experienced financial advisors) firms from 2007–2008 and returned in 2016.

Jennifer received her Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and economics from Christendom College, and her love of mathematics and economic studies eventually led her to pursue a career in the financial services industry. In addition to her previous work at Avantax, she gained valuable industry experience at H. Beck, Inc. as a senior product specialist, investment analyst and vice president of investments. She appreciates that her current role is full of the excitement that comes with the constant changes within the markets and outside influences. She is a member of the CFA Society of Dallas and has passed the FINRA Series 7, 24 and 66 exams as well as her Texas Life and Health Insurance exam and she holds the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation.

Matt Morey, Manager, Investment Research and Consulting Manager — Matt Morey is the manager of Investment Research and Consulting and a 20-year leader at Avantax Planning PartnersSM. Matt started his career at Avantax working in RIA investments, where he spent 10-plus years as a trader and additional years as an analyst. Matt joined the Avantax Planning Partners Investment Advisory Committee and has since transitioned to working with the investment solutions group and business development teams. In this role, he is closely involved in developing materials and proposals for prospective clients and works closely with the entire Avantax financial planning consultant team as a content expert for prospective client meetings and client investment portfolios.

Throughout Matt’s experience, he has actively participated in the process of tax-loss harvesting and capital gains analysis. Now, Matt manages and oversees the Tax-Smart Investing initiative as it relates to Avantax Planning Partners adoption.

Matt earned his A.A. in Accounting at Northeast Iowa Community College in Dubuque, Iowa, and his Bachelor of Arts in finance at Loras College in Dubuque. He is an investment advisor representative of Avantax Planning Partners and holds a Series 65 securities license.

Matthew Gagnon, CFA, Senior Investment Analyst — Matthew is responsible for oversight of the IMS Unified Choice program, performing research and due diligence on current and prospective managers in an effort to provide a roster of high conviction investment strategies for our advisors. Matthew also supports the portfolio management efforts behind IMS Select strategies and consults with advisors.

Matthew joined Avantax’s portfolio management group in 2018, after working for United Capital Financial Advisers since 2009 in various roles including investment analyst, portfolio manager and investment management advocate. He received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Denver in 2007, majoring in International Business. Matthew holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation and is a member of CFA institute and CFA Society of Dallas-Fort Worth.

Matthew became interested in finance when he first encountered the concept of diversification in college and developed a passion for helping people be better investors after his family’s own negative experience during the dot-com bubble. Matthew is motivated to help others navigate difficult market environments through professional guidance and enjoys empowering people to focus on their life rather than worrying about their investments.

Our Process

Malav Gandhi, CFA, Investment Analyst III — Malav is an investment analyst, having joined Avantax in January 2018. Prior to joining Avantax, Mr. Gandhi worked at Tullis Health Investors, a healthcare- oriented venture capital firm, and Cushing Asset Management, where he focused on the energy sector. Mr. Gandhi has a Masters in Finance & Management Science from the University of Texas at Dallas, and has a Bachelor’s of Technology in Information Technology from NMIMS University in Mumbai, India. He has also passed the Level III exam of the Chartered Financial Analyst program and will be awarded the CFA charter upon completion of the work experience requirement in 2020.

Our History

Abhijit Kulkarni, Investment Analyst II — Abhijit joined Avantax in October 2017. Mr. Kulkarni holds a degree in Masters of Science, Information Technology & Management, from the University of Texas at Dallas. He also holds an MBA in Operations Management from the University of Mumbai, India, and a Bachelor’s in Engineering in Information Technology from the University of Mumbai. He is a Level I candidate in the CFA Exam program.

Our Process

Austin Schaul, Head of Research — Austin Schaul is the Head of Research at Avantax Planning PartnersSM. In his role, Austin serves as consultant on the development and execution of investment strategies, including developing, researching, recommending, and directing the execution of investment strategies for clients alongside the investment team. He is a thought leader in the organization, helping to shape the investment policies, philosophies, and processes integrated into the Avantax Planning Partners’ Investment Advisory Committee.


Austin helps educate investors and prospects on all things market related – trends, economy, politics, and more. Austin believes there is a lot of opportunity in changing the perception of Financial Professionals and the investment management industry, and contributes to informing individuals through blog posts, articles, statement letters, or one-on-one sessions.


Through his efforts, Austin hopes to change the investment narrative by partnering with CPA advisors to cut through the noise and focus building financial plans based on what matters most to clients. Austin earned his Bachelor of Science at Iowa State University and holds a Series 65 securities license.

Our History

John Gruhl, Investment Analyst II — John Gruhl is an Investment Analyst II for Avantax Planning PartnersSM. He has been with the company since 2019. As part of Avantax’s business development team, his focus is on investment solutions. John’s main responsibilities include portfolio creation, communication with financial planning consultants and Financial Professionals, analyzing prospect client statements, fact sheet adjustment, and assisting team members with projects.


John brings a tech-savvy approach to his work with experience in gaming communities, e-commerce business, and as a digital content creator.

John holds a Bachelor of Science degree in finance, with a minor in entrepreneurship from University of Northern Iowa. He is currently working toward a Series 65 license.

Our Process

Kelly Edmonds, Senior Portfolio Analyst — Kelly Edmonds is the Senior Portfolio Analyst for Avantax Planning PartnersSM. She has been with the company since 2007. In this position she monitors larger client accounts that have high activity and reviews accounts with non-model holdings to bring them closer to model while also considering tax consequences. She is responsible for model performance calculations and addresses questions regarding client account performance. She also supports Avantax financial planning consultants by providing tax-loss harvesting lists, quarterly cash balances lists, annual non-model fund reviews, and year end mutual fund capital gain distributions lists.


Before joining Blucora, Kelly worked as a business credit analyst at a regional bank, an office manager of a local non-profit, and a branch manager of a cash advance company.


Kelly holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with a double minor in finance and accounting from Columbia College, Missouri. She has the Series 65 and the FPQP® designation

Our History

Alan Kutsch, Portfolio Analyst — Alan Kutsch is a Portfolio Analyst for Avantax Planning PartnersSM. He has been with the company since March 2012. Alan assists financial planning consultants with monitoring accounts to ensure they are invested according to their investment policy statement. He is responsible for reviewing all assets within client accounts and making recommendations per Avantax Planning Partners recommended allocations and investment policies. He is assigned as an internal analyst for clients who have more than $500 million in assets invested with Avantax Planning Partners.


Before joining Avantax Planning Partners, Alan worked various positions within the retirement services industry for almost 20 years.


Alan has a Financial Paraplanner Qualified Professional (FPQP) designation and holds an Associate of Applied Arts degree in accounting from Northeast Iowa Community College.

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