Avoid Brent Hablutzel Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Advisor
If you’re looking for a wealth advisory firm in Greenwood Village, Colorado, you might come across the name of Brent Hablutzel Merrill Lynch. Brent runs the Hablutzel Group, a seemingly normal wealth management firm that has some of the worst provisions in its terms and conditions.
Before you consider working with Brent Hablutzel and his firm, it would be best to go through these problematic provisions. They wouldn’t tell you about these issues but you should be aware of them to make a well-informed decision. The following review also highlights the legal disputes Brent has faced in the past as a financial advisor.
Who is Brent Hablutzel?
Brent Hablutzel is a Merrill Lynch wealth management advisor based in Greenwood Village, Colorado. His office is located at 6400 S Fiddlers Green Cir 11th Floor, Suite 1100, Greenwood Village, CO 80111. The contact number of this office is 303-689-8002 and it opens from 7:30 AM to 4 PM on weekdays.
Brent is the managing director of his firm and has CPWA, CPFA, and CRPC certifications. His firm, the Hablutzel Group, claims to focus on understanding every client’s individual behavior and reaction to risk, return and market fluctuations to give them personalized services.
Brent Hablutzel and his team primarily work with business owners, executives and high net worth clients. They offer multiple services here including trust and estate planning services, disability insurance, home loans, concentrated stock management, private foundations, and more.
Hidden Red Flags in Brent Hablutzel’s Firm: Predatory Provisions and Disputes
When you are doing research on a financial advisor, it’s best practice to look them up on FINRA BrokerCheck. This database tells you everything you need to know about an advisor such as the exams they have passed, their past employers, their professional history, their state licenses, and most importantly, if they have had any legal disputes.
One of Brent’s clients filed a complaint against him in 2015. They alleged misrepresentation regarding the rollover of a retirement plan in May 2015 but the firm denied this claim. Apart from that, there is no other information available on this dispute .
The FINRA BrokerCheck listing doesn’t mention any requested damages or any additional info. Still, facing a dispute for misrepresentation is no small matter. It suggests that Brent Hablutzel doesn’t always put his clients’ interests ahead of his own, a huge red flag for any smart investor.
Keep in mind that it’s very difficult for a legal dispute to end in the favor of the client. Most disputes that end in the favor of the client are usually class action lawsuits. That’s because advisors ensure that they are free from any accountability when they make you sign the initial agreement.
It’s obvious that Brent utilized this tactic to get away with misrepresentation in 2015. Many shady advisors use this method to avoid taking responsibility for their mistakes. The McKelvy Group Morgan Stanley used this exact tactic to avoid paying $50,000+ in damages.
Selling Proprietary Investments
A large chunk of Brent’s revenue comes from the commissions his firm makes when they sell a proprietary investment. In theory, there’s nothing wrong in selling proprietary investments as a financial advisor but in practice, it introduces multiple conflicts of interest.
For starters, it incentivizes the advisor to ignore the client’s financial requirements and goals. Trusting the recommendations of such advisors becomes extremely difficult because of this reason as they might prioritize their own wallets over yours.
Another drawback of advisors who sell proprietary investments is that they have a very limited selection of securities they can recommend to you. They wouldn’t recommend any investment that doesn’t help them generate commissions. Thus, it introduces bias in an advisor’s recommendations, which can be detrimental to your financial growth in the long run.
Selling proprietary investments is among the biggest reasons why advisors give unsuitable advice to their clients. In most cases, the advisor gives subpar recommendations to their clients, increasing their revenue at the expense of their clients’ returns.
You should discuss these concerns in detail if you’re working with an advisor who sells proprietary and affiliated investment products.
Brent Hablutzel is registered as both a financial advisor and a broker. This can lead to a plethora of conflicts of interest. They include revenue sharing from mutual funds, giving preferential treatment to affiliated mutual funds and receiving transaction-based and asset-based fees on the same security.
While regulatory authorities are constantly trying to keep such advisors in check, they simply can’t review every minor detail.
Studies show that dual-registered advisors don’t match up to the fiduciary standard. Advisors who are also registered as brokers charge their retail RIA clients higher fees than their brokerage clients. Moreover, they prefer institutional share classes of the same underperforming mutual funds they recommend to their brokerage clients.
All of these are quite significant issues and you should keep them in mind while dealing with dual-registered advisors such as Brent Hablutzel.
Avoid Brent Hablutzel Merrill Lynch
Brent Hablutzel Merrill Lynch is not the best choice for most investors. He doesn’t just recommend a security to his clients but he sells them. There’s a big difference between the two. Ideally, you want your advisor to suggest you investments solely on the basis of their suitability to your portfolio. But in the case of Brent, he recommends securities that offer him the most commissions.
Also, he doesn’t have a clean record as an advisor, which is a huge red flag. If you’re looking for wealth management services in Greenwood Village, you should avoid Brent Hablutzel and find a different expert who truly cares about his clients.
Brent Hablutzel is a terrible choice for most investors. He gives biased and poor recommendations to his clients and his disclosures show that he prefers his finances over his clients’. Avoid him at all costs.
- History of misrepresentation
- Broker-dealer conflict
- Selling investments instead of recommending
My experience with Brent and his team was short lived and painful every moment.
The long article above could have been written by a person with some facts but much malice. Being anonymous is a concern to me. I have invested with Brent for more than 5 years and am reasonably happy, but concerned.
Would you mind sharing details?