Braatz Wealth Advisors

Charting a new path to wealth expansion

Imagine investing your heart and soul into building a dream home, only to forgo insurance. Who would risk potential losses from unforeseen events like water damage by a broken pipe or a collapsed roof from a fallen tree? Similarly, when it comes to managing one’s wealth, protection against unexpected market downturns is critical.

In the world of financial management, one of the key strategies employed to guard investments is called hedging, says Jason Braatz, CFP, President of Braatz Wealth Advisors of Pine Valley Investments (PVI). Once reserved for the big players – large institutions, endowments and hedge funds – hedging has evolved. Today, astute advisors can bring tailored hedging solutions, once the domain of the elite, to individuals and families at all life stages.

Paving the way for this dynamic approach, Braatz and his team have transitioned to Pine Valley Investments (PVI), a firm recently named in USA Today as among the top Registered Investment Advisors (RIA) nationwide and within New Jersey’s Elite 12.* During his 20+ years at Merrill Lynch, Braatz was among a group that managed $500 million in client assets, contributing to an impressive 65% of the team’s revenue.

One of the primary motivations for joining forces with PVI, he says, was to offer existing and new clients the best possible investment strategies to suit their particular needs. The PVI investment team lends impressive diverse backgrounds, including institutional market makers, proprietary equity and options traders, portfolio managers, risk managers, investment bankers, and business owners.

PVI takes pride in operating as an open architecture firm. This model allows them to seamlessly integrate other like-minded fiduciary advisors into the team and leverage a large scope of industry resources. This open architecture approach also allows them to tap into the expertise and resources of the world’s largest institutions and fintech providers, ensuring the best possible service to clients. This allows PVI to adapt swiftly to industry changes in the financial landscape, ensuring that clients’ portfolios remain robust and well-positioned for growth.

“With Pine Valley Investments, we can work with a large variety of institutional partners – including Schwab, Raymond James, LPL, Goldman Sachs,” says Braatz, who specializes in income generation and asset management for investors, retirees and business owners. He has also developed a specialty working with the unique needs of professional athletes. 

Navigating Financial Storms 

After spending two decades with a publicly traded institutional wirehouse, things became much more clear to Braatz in his pursuit of providing clients unbiased, fiduciary advice – and it was time for a change. Under PVI’s structure, his earnings are fee-based and mirror his clients’ portfolio performance, aligning goals and ensuring there’s no ulterior motive, only genuine care and advice.

Braatz’s expertise shines now being able to properly implement effective hedging strategies, including protective put options. Like insurance, put options offer an asymmetric return profile to that of broader equity markets.  Theoretically speaking, when an investor owns a put option, it’s value will increase when the underlying investment decreases in value, thereby potentially cushioning losses. 

As a result, they can be an effective safety net for investors with broader market exposure, Braatz says. They can be purchased for individual stocks or broader indices (S&P 500, Nasdaq, Russell etc).  A common instrument investors use are SPY options.  SPY is an exchange traded fund (ETF) that closely tracks the S&P 500.  SPY is also one of the most liquid ETFs, both at the stock & options level, which is very important when actively trading. 

As an independent advisor, Braatz revels in the creativity and optionality he can bring to the table, curating optimal options for clients. “I have some clients that require a more active trading strategy due to concentrated stock holdings.  Clients that have worked with a company for 20-30 years and have accumulated shares over their lifetime.” he says. “The majority of clients want to have very broad stock and index exposure.”

The beauty of his broad independence at PVI? Flexibility, he says. “Having the flexibility to offer these types of strategies makes all the difference for our clients and our team.”  

Seeking Assurance in Uncertain Times

If you’re wondering about your advisor’s risk mitigation techniques, it may be time for a conversation. Financial futures deserve thoughtful strategies, he says. If your current advisor isn’t utilizing tools like protective put options, it may be time to reconsider options.

Braatz warmly extends an invitation to discuss your needs. The team at Braatz Wealth Advisors considers investment aims, risk appetite and a client’s financial timeline, harnessing advanced techniques like protective put options to safeguard against market downturns.

 “The move to PVI was about serving my clients better,” he says, noting that it has paid off. “Every day, I’m invigorated. Pine Valley Investments equips us with the latest technology, resources and trading acumen ensuring we offer nothing but the best to our clients.”  

About Jason Braatz

In the category of “You-never-know-when-inspiration will strike”: Jason Braatz was 13 when he saw a commercial featuring a financial advisor, and that put him on his life path.  

“He was meeting with people, talking about their lives and helping them develop plans for financial success, and I thought to myself, ‘That’s what I want to do with my life,’” says Braatz, 

For 20-plus years, Braatz has been following that dream. It’s not just the challenge of creating strong financial plans or reading the market that drew him in – it’s about helping people in the community achieve their goals for themselves and their families. 

“When people think about wealth advisors, they often think we’re just focused on the numbers,” he says. “Your money and your investments are just a tool to achieving the kind of life you dream of.”

It can’t be a one-and-done relationship, he says. One of the most rewarding aspects of the job, he explains, is taking the time to develop relationships with clients so he can help them understand how to make money work for them and how to stay on track, even when life throws obstacles in the way. 

“It’s so important to talk directly to clients to let them know we’re not just paying attention to the markets – we’re paying attention to their lives as well,” says Braatz, who is married to Dr. Monique Braatz, a dentist in Medford. They have two daughters.

Giving clients the time, they need and deserve does not translate to higher fees for service, Braatz adds. “A lot of people don’t invest their money with an advisor because they are wary about how we’re paid,” he says, noting that his fee is entirely tied to how well he manages his clients’ investments.

“If my client’s portfolio doubles in value over 5 years, my pay is going to double,” he says. “If their portfolio goes down, my pay goes down as well. I’m working solely on what’s in the best interest of my clients and having a compensation structure that reflects that was important to me as I made the transition to the independent side of the business.”


10 E. Stow Road, Suite 200, Marlton | (609) 206-5370