WHEELING — Many things in the arena of financial planning have evolved over the past century, but proven practices and a personal touch have remained consistent assets over the decades at Hazlett, Burt & Watson.
And that’s part of what separates the Wheeling-based company from other investment firms. When a client gets financial advice, they are getting it from an expert who knows them and who is familiar with their long-term goals. When a client calls Hazlett, Burt & Watson, something almost unheard of in the world of business in 2022 happens — a human being answers the phone.
That history of personalized service runs deep.
“We can trace the roots of this particular company clear back to 1883,” Jason Marsh, CEO of Hazlett, Burt & Watson, said, noting that the early forerunner was known as Hazlett, Wheat & Hayes. “They were early promoters of blue-chip stocks when they came out in the early 1900s.”
In 1923, the company’s previous ownership bought a seat on the New York Stock exchange. In 1973, the company’s current ownership inherited that seat through its purchase of Hazlett, Burt & Watson and held the seat until the NYSE went public in 2006-07.
“We actually had a floor trader at one time on the floor of the Stock Exchange – guys who ran around with the tickets,” Marsh said. “It’s a public company now.”
Present-day founder George Weaver Jr. — along with Stuart F. Bloch, John C. Watson and other employees — purchased the company in 1973 following the death of D.A. Burt Jr. It has been independently owned by the same core group of employees since then, and many advisers and employees are also shareholders.
“Obviously there was a lot of stature in the name – so we’ve kept the name through the whole time frame,” Marsh said. “A lot of people in Wheeling and the immediate area know the name Hazlett, Burt & Watson. We’ve been a mainstay in the community for decades.”
Marsh worked at Hazlett, Burt & Watson for 18 years before being named the company’s chief executive in April of 2021 after the previous CEO retired. The John Marshall High School and West Liberty State College grad started his career working as a certified public accountant, rooting his background in business, taxes and audits of investments. He started as a compliance officer when he joined Hazlett, Burt & Watson and eventually worked his way up to the position of chief operations officer before becoming CEO.
“I was one of the fortunate few that were able to find a good career path in the area,” he said. “Our company really specializes in investments and retirement planning, which is probably our bread and butter, but we provide a holistic list of services. Most of our customers come to us for professional investment advice and guidance through the retirement process – whether that’s saving and putting that plan in place to actually achieve whatever that retirement goal is. On the flip side, once they retire, come up with an income plan so that money they’ve built up can last them for their retirement years.”
From family wealth management, providing help with transition planning and generational planning, investments, 401K planning, trust services, financial planning for college and more, the company has built a trusted reputation in the community.
“Ultimately, we have been very good at helping folks take care of their families, and at the end of the day, that’s what we do,” Marsh said. “We guide them through the financial process so that they can provide for a secure financial future and make plans to transition that wealth from generation to generation.”
Through changes in technology through pandemic-induced market volatility, the company has stayed ahead of the curve to help put its clients in a good financial position to reach their goals.
“Clients come here because we’re local. We’re in the community, and they want a face that’s invested in the community handling their financial matters — who they can get a hold of when they need them,” Marsh said. “That’s what we provide.”
A key to success, aside from the personalization, is constant communication between clients and advisors, Marsh noted.
“This company has never used an automated answering system and never will, as long as I’m CEO,” he said. “When the customers call, we want them to have a live person to get a hold of and get them whatever they need.”
There is no cost to come in, sit down and have a consultation with an expert advisor at Hazlett, Burt & Watson.
“There’s a tremendous value in having somebody just help guide you through the retirement process,” Marsh said. “And the earlier you start, the easier it is to achieve your goals.”
Under the same umbrella — and under the same roof — as Hazlett, Burt & Watson is its sister company, Security National Trust Company. From leaving a legacy and transferring wealth to the next generation to establishing a trust for a child with special needs, experienced trust officers are on hand to help administer these affairs and more. They help develop a plan to help give clients confidence that their families will be taken care of and that they will have a say in how their money is managed after it is handed down.
By 2015, assets entrusted to Hazlett, Burt & Watson Inc. and Security National Trust Company exceeded $2 billion.
In addition to the Wheeling location, Hazlett, Burt & Watson has offices in Vienna, W.Va.; Lancaster, Pa.; and Barnesville. The trust company has another office in Huntington, W.Va.
For more information, schedule a consultation or visit www.hazlettburt.com or www.securitynationaltrust.com.