Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services discovered a new tool for its independent advisors last year: a web app that basically does the “busy work” of calculating payroll taxes, withholding them for the account and providing quarterly reminders and annual tax filings.
The firm decided invest in it and just announced plans to roll out Track Technologies’ tax-automation offering as a solution for the firm’s 4,300 affilated advisors, who work with its five independent firms — Securities America, Triad Advisors, Investacorp, Securities Service Network and KMS Financial Services.
The web app lets users calculate, withhold and submit estimated tax payments, according to Trent Bigelow, Track Technologies CEO. The launch will be staggered across the firm, he says.
“Then advisors can tell us what else we need to do, and the second chapter would be for them to offer it to their clients,” Bigelow explained in an interview, adding that these steps should take place by the fourth quarter.
The service is the brainchild of Bigelow and his partners, who consulted companies in Silicon Valley, many of which use freelance or 1099 workers.
Bigelow’s group realized this segment was “left out in the cold” as far as dealing with their taxes. They realized there was a “whole gig economy” that needed that kind of help, including financial advisors and real estate agents. “Our strategy is to partner with large organizations, who can provide the tool to independent workers who need to be compliant.”
Ladenburg is the first advisor-focused financial services firm working with Track, which also is partnering with AARP and a strategic venture fund.
“Our efforts to spur and nurture innovation in the financial advice space are already bearing fruit with the introduction of the availability of the Track Tax solutions for financial advisors,” said Dan Sacher, head of Ladenburg’s Innovation Lab, in a statement. “[It] came about because we recognized the potential benefits of the company’s solutions and helped Track develop its technology through our direct investment and collaboration.”
During the firm’s recent Innovation Symposium, several other new companies showcased their work, including Genivity, a technology platform that helps advisors project long-term healthcare costs for clients; Newday Impact, an app-based impact investing platform; and the website/matching service My Perfect Financial Advisor.
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