2017 Speakers

Carolyn Armitage

Managing Director, ECHELON Partners

Carolyn Armitage is a Managing Director for ECHELON Partners and has over 29 years of experience being a change management catalyst. She improves market share, profitability, people, processes and team dynamics for RIAs, Broker Dealers and Hybrid RIAs.

Over her distinguished financial services career, Ms. Armitage was an OSJ Branch Manager, a Sales and Marketing Manager for HD Vest Financial Services, a Managing Director for Western International Securities, Head of Advisory Services for ING Advisors Network (Voya) and Head of Enterprise Business Management Consulting for LPL Financial. This extensive experience affords her a rare and valuable command of the wealth advisory and investment management value chains.

Her service expertise includes:

• Strategic business planning, positioning and implementation

• Applying practice management process improvements, effective use of resources and growth strategies to improve firm valuation

• Designing and implementing continuity and succession plans

• Measuring key performance indicators and valuation drivers

• Valuations for wealth and asset management firms

• Succession planning, reading your firm for sale, mergers and acquisitions

• Building high-performance teams and driving measurable results

• Integrating processes and teams

• Mentoring and helping others succeed

• Enhancing communication and relations among team members

• Supporting board members and CEOs as a sounding board and Advisor’s adviser

Ms. Armitage is devoted to continuous learning and improvement. She is LEAN Certified, a Six Sigma Green Belt, a CA Life and Variable Contracts Agent and holds numerous FINRA licenses. She is a CFP® CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER Professional, CIMA® Certified Investment Management Analyst, CLU Chartered Life Underwriter and ChFC Chartered Financial Consultant.

In addition to growing numerous financial services organizations, Ms. Armitage founded and runs a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, True Circle Organization, helping to feed, clothe and improve the lives of homeless people throughout Southern California. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Minnesota and a Masters in Management from The American College, Bryn Mawr, PA. She resides with her husband in Palos Verdes Estates, CA.


Mark Bruno

Associate Publisher, InvestmentNews

Mark Bruno is the Associate Publisher at InvestmentNews. He is an award-winning journalist, author and researcher who has written and edited for a number of financial publications over the last decade, including InvestmentNews, Financial Week and Pensions & Investments. Mr. Bruno has been recognized with multiple accolades for his writing and reporting, including the American Business Media's prestigious Jesse H. Neal awards, and has also received awards from The Society of American Business Editors and Writers for his breaking news coverage and analysis of the financial services industry. In his current role as the head of digital and research, InvestmentNews has won multiple awards for its website design and databases, in addition to being named one of the top ten business-to-business websites in the media industry. Mr. Bruno is the author of Save Now or Die Trying: Achieving Long-Term Wealth In Your 20s and 30s, one of the top-selling retirement planning books of 2007. He also been featured frequently on television and radio as an expert on investing and retirement, and has also been quoted in numerous newspapers and magazines, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Daily News, The Chicago Tribune and Investor's Business Daily.


Jason Carroll

Managing Director, Live Oak Bank

Jason Carroll launched the Investment Advisory Lending team when he joined Live Oak Bank in 2012. As the former manager of a multi-million-dollar loan portfolio at a major custodian, he is a seasoned lender in this industry. As of April 2017, the Investment Advisory lending team has financed more than $450 million in loans to Independent Investment Advisors. The Live Oak Bank team has received several industry awards, including the Wealth Management Industry Awards in 2015 (Industry Innovation) and 2016 (Succession). Jason has also been listed among Investment Advisor Top 25 Most Influential People, Wealth Management Magazine’s Top 10 People to Watch in Financial Services Industry, Cover Story “Angel Investors” in Investment Advisor Magazine and Wall Street Top 50 in Irish America Magazine.

Jason started his career with First Union National Bank (Wells Fargo) in 1996. He has held several strategic roles within large banking and financial institutions designing, developing and executing lending programs and products. Jason has a Bachelor of Arts from Clemson University, as well as Series 7 and 63 licenses.


Gabriel Garcia

Managing Director, Pershing Advisor Solutions, a BNY Mellon company

Gabriel Garcia is a Managing Director for Pershing Advisor Solutions, a BNY Mellon company. He is head of the Relationship Management and Consulting group. Gabriel and his team engage with registered investment advisors (RIAs) to grow their businesses and make informed decisions regarding how to evolve their firms to serve their clients more efficiently and manage their business more effectively. His team consults with advisory firms to maximize Pershing’s resources to become more scalable, profitable and productive.

Prior to joining Pershing Advisor Solutions in 2010, Gabriel was with Charles Schwab & Co., where he held several leadership positions in sales, training and consulting, including working directly with RIAs. Gabriel has consulted with hundreds of firms with assets under management ranging from $50 million to $8 billion. He is a frequent speaker at industry and national conferences. Gabriel has 24 years’ experience in financial services.

Gabriel earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Business Administration from Radford University.


Amir Ghannad

Leadership Development Specialist and Culture Transformation Catalyst, The Ghannad Group, LLC

Amir Ghannad is a widely recognized authority in the field of Organizational Development, a frequent and highly sought after keynote speaker at leadership summits in the US and abroad, and the founder of The Ghannad Group, which offers speaking, training, and consulting services in the area of leadership development and culture transformation.

For over 31 years, Amir has held leadership positions of increasing responsibility and scope in multiple locations in the US, Southeast Asia, and Europe with Procter and Gamble (19 years), Sunny Delight Beverages (8 years), and Campbell Soup Company (4 years). Amir has consistently demonstrated his mastery in leading the process of designing and implementing High Performance Organizations (HPO) and transforming groups of talented people into effective teams that deliver breakthrough results. He has effectively led multi-national and multi-functional teams in transforming their workplace culture and delivering superior results.

Amir has had the good fortune of having traveled extensively around the world and having lived in four countries. He has conducted training sessions and facilitated workshops in various locations in the U.S., Asia, and Europe. As a professional facilitator, Registered Corporate Coach, and an accomplished trainer of courses such as Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, The Speed of Trust, The Mind Gym, and many others, Amir has successfully led the development and implementation of organizational design in a variety of business situations, including start-ups, JV partnerships, acquisitions, divestitures and ERP system implementation.

Amir is proficient in using an array of tools and methodologies to facilitate teams through the process of strategy development and deployment, organizational assessment and design, high performance organization development, transition management, and leadership development.

In October 2015, Amir Published his first book titled The Transformative Leader, which has received rave reviews from award winning authors and leading experts in the field of Operational Excellence and leadership development. His book, which has been shipped to over 18 countries, is available on Amazon and at www.amirghannad.com, where his weekly blog posts on leadership and culture transformation can also be found.

Amir holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA with emphasis on Organizational Behavior from Wilmington University. He and his wife of 35 years, Connie, live in Atlanta, Georgia.


Yonhee C. Gordon, CFP®

Principal and Chief Operating Officer, JMG Financial Group, Ltd.

As Chief Operating Officer, Yonhee is responsible for employee development and the day-to-day operations of the firm.  She focuses her efforts on organizational development to ensure the sustainability of JMG's long-term operations.  Since starting at JMG in 1986, Yonhee has presented at various industry conferences on topics ranging from career development to business management strategies, in addition to being featured in numerous leading industry publications.  Prior to her current role, she served as financial advisor and focused on cash flow management, retirement planning, investment strategies, and income and estate tax minimization.  Yonhee is a Principal of the firm, a member of the Executive Committee, Board of Directors, and spearheads JMG's involvement in community service.  She is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional, a member of NAPFA and Financial Planning Association, and a board member of both the Youth Symphony of DuPage and Almost Home Kids.  She holds a BA in Communication from Dominican University.  


Philip Palaveev

Chief Executive Officer, The Ensemble Practice LLC

Philip Palaveev is an industry expert and highly sought-after consultant focused on creating team-based financial advisory businesses aimed for sustained growth, profitability and value.

Philip is the owner and CEO of The Ensemble Practice LLC, a business management consulting firm that defines the evolution of growing a multi-professional advisory practice. He specializes in helping independent financial advisors grow their business from a solo practice into a thriving and profitable ensemble firm. Palaveev also works with broker-dealers and custodians on creating impactful practice management services for their advisors.

Prior to launching The Ensemble Practice, Philip served as president of Fusion Advisor Network, a network of independent advisors that changed the way broker-dealers deliver business management and camaraderie to their clients. As president, Palaveev was responsible for the strategy of the firm and led its growth from a fast-growing start-up to one of the industry’s most innovative and successful firms. He helped increase the firm’s revenue by 50% in three years. From 2003 to 2008, Philip was a principal at Moss Adams LLP, an accounting and consulting firm with industry-leading expertise in practice management. Philip led the market research for Moss Adams and consulted with hundreds of advisors and several top broker-dealers.

Philip recently authored The Ensemble Practice, a book dedicated to the process of building a multi-professional enterprise. He is also known for his industry research papers and articles, is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and contributes regularly to industry blogs.


Craig D. Pfeiffer

President & CEO, Money Management Institute

Craig Pfeiffer is the President & CEO of the Money Management Institute. MMI is the leading voice for the global financial services organizations that provide advice and professionally-managed investment solutions to individual and institutional investors.

In 2012, Craig founded and continues today as Chairman of Advisors Ahead llc. pursuing a passion to continuously elevate the professionalism of the investment advice industry and the successful development of Financial Advisors.

Additionally, Craig is engaged as the Executive Chairman of the Board at Inlet llc, a joint venture between Broadridge (NYSE:BR) and Pitney Bowes (NYSE:PBI), and a Board Director for Westfield Group’s Ohio Farmers Insurance Company. Previously, Craig was an Advisory Board member at Snowden Lane Partners and served as a Board Director for PriceMetrix.

Craig is a proven senior financial services executive, following 29 years with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and predecessor firms. He transitioned from MSSB in 2012 where he was Vice Chairman and a member of the Executive Committee. From 2003 to 2011, he held a progression of senior leadership positions at MSSB, including the National Sales Group and responsibility for marketing strategy and client communications, desktop technology solutions, and brokerage-based banking. From 1982 to 2003, Craig advanced through field management roles, starting as a Financial Advisor and transitioning into field management at all levels.

Active with industry and community organizations, Craig is a member of the Board and the Executive Committee of Citymeals-On-Wheels serving New York City and President of Bright Seed Foundation. He serves on the Dean’s Council for Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.


E. Jeffrey Roof

President, Roof Advisory Group

Jeff Roof is president of Roof Advisory Group, a fee-only investment management and financial advisory firm he founded in 1998 to meet the needs of high net worth clientele. In his current executive role, Jeff provides strategic leadership for the firm, guides the firm’s Senior Management team and helps direct Roof Advisory Group’s comprehensive and disciplined investment management process.

Since the firm’s de novo start, Roof Advisory Group has been regularly recognized as a top performer among registered investment advisory firm peers in terms of growth in assets under management and revenue, firm profitability and overall management excellence.

He has worked with a diverse range of clients nationwide providing investment management and financial advisory services since 1982. Immediately prior to originating the firm, Jeff was Executive Vice President at Fulton Bank, heading that organization’s Investment Management and Trust Services division. As a member of the bank’s Senior Management team, departments under his direction included Portfolio Management, Retirement Plan Management, Foundation/Endowments, Corporate Trust, Personal Trust, and Private Banking.

Previously, he spent nearly a decade in various management positions with Mellon Bank’s Institutional Trust group, primarily focusing on providing investment management and retirement plan solutions for a diverse group of national organizations.

Jeff has a BA from Rutgers University and an MA from Lehigh University. He is an active contributor with several large community not-for-profit organizations in his Harrisburg, PA area home.


Matt Sirinides

Senior Research Analyst, InvestmentNews

Matt oversees InvestmentNews Research's flagship practice management benchmarking studies, conducting primary research on financial performance, compensation & staffing and technology, as well as working on custom research projects and online tools such as the Advisers on the Move, RIA Data Center and National Adviser Compensation databases. Matt also maintains Numbers Game, a blog highlighting research & data trends in the financial advice industry.


William Thomas, Jr.

National sales manager for mutual funds and separately managed accounts, Northern Trust Asset Management

Bill Thomas is the national sales manager for mutual funds and separately managed accounts. He is responsible for growing Northern Trust’s presence in the intermediary market. He does this by developing the sales team through motivation, mentoring and product knowledge and skills development.

Prior to joining Northern Trust in 2014, Bill was the head of distribution for DSC Quantitative Group over seeing all sales and marketing related activities of the firm’s operations. From November 2011 to July 2013 he was CEO, head of sales for SIP America, a distributor of structured investments to the retail and institutional markets. At SIP America he was responsible for all aspects of the firm including sales, marketing, product build out and development. Before joining SIP America, Bill was managing director, national sales manager at Allianz Global Investors and in addition, served on the executive committee and global product committee responsible for firm strategy and product development. at Allianz, he oversaw the internal and external sales efforts that lead to increases in annualized sales from $9 billion to more than $60 billion in sales. Bill also worked as a divisional sales manager for Allianz Global investors and PIMCO Funds. Bill began his career at Thomson McKinnon securities as a financial advisor.

Mr. Thomas graduated with a B.S. degree from Michigan State University and served on the Board of Governors of the Money Management institute. Bill currently holds the FiNRA series 7, 63, 65, and 24 securities licenses.


Mark Tibergien

Chief Executive Officer, Pershing Advisor Solutions, a BNY Mellon company

Mark Tibergien is Chief Executive Officer of Pershing Advisor Solutions, a BNY Mellon company. Pershing Advisor Solutions is one of the country’s leading custodians for registered investment advisors and family offices. Mark is also a Managing Director for Pershing and a member of its Executive Committee and BNY Mellon’s Senior Leadership Team.

Prior to joining Pershing in 2007, Mark was a principal at the accounting and consulting firm, Moss Adams LLP, where he was partner-in-charge of the Business Consulting group, chairman of the Financial Services Industry group and partner-in-charge of the Business Valuation group. Previously, he was president of a nationally recognized bank and business training and consulting firm, a principal in an investment management and business valuation firm, a writer for a financial trade magazine and a general assignment newspaper and radio reporter.

Mark has worked with public and private companies on matters related to business management, transition planning and strategy formulation since 1976. This includes hundreds of independent registered investment advisors, broker-dealers, investment managers, insurance companies and other financial services organizations in the United States, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and Canada.

For his contributions to the industry, in 2016 Mark was named to InvestmentNews’ Icons & Innovators list which recognizes those who have shaped and transformed the financial advice profession. In 2015, Private Asset Management magazine honored Mark with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his dedication, commitment and achievements in the industry. In 2015, Investment Advisor (IA) magazine recognized him for the 13th consecutive year as one of the “25 Most Influential People” in the financial services industry and, in 2016, IA ranked Mark as number one in the “Top 7 Most Honored People in IA’s 25 History.” Mark received the 2015 Insiders Forum Leadership Award, and in 2012 InvestmentNews named him to its list of “The Power 20.” For eight consecutive years, Accounting Today recognized Mark as one of the “100 Most Influential” people in the accounting profession.

He is the author of four books published by Bloomberg Press (John Wiley & Sons), Practice Made Perfect, How to Value, Buy or Sell a Financial Advisory Practice, Practice Made (More) Perfect and the latest, The Enduring Advisory Firm, co-authored with Kim Dellarocca, Global Head of Segment Marketing for BNY Mellon’s Investment Services. Mark has also been a regular columnist for Investment Advisor magazine on management issues since 2005.

Mark has previously served in a variety of community and industry organizations including the Rotary Club of Seattle, Travelers Aid Society, the Foundation for Financial Planning, the International Association for Financial Planning and the SIFMA Foundation. Most recently, Mark was named to the Advisory Council for the Center for Financial Planning whose mission is to promote diversity in the advisory profession.


Timothy Welsh

President, CEO and founder of Nexus Strategy, LLC

Timothy D. Welsh, CFP® is President, CEO and founder of Nexus Strategy, LLC, a leading consulting firm to the wealth management industry. Nexus Strategy’s primary focus is working with leading organizations to best market their products and services to the independent advisor community.

Prior to founding Nexus Strategy, Tim was Director of Business Consulting Services for Schwab Advisor Services where he led the development and marketing of practice management resources for independent advisors. While at Schwab, Tim also held senior roles in Strategy, Marketing, Advertising, PR and Industry Content development.

Prior to joining Schwab, Tim was vice president at Merrill Lynch where he was responsible for marketing, product development and financial advisor training for the financial planning group.

Tim is frequently quoted in the wealth management media on a wide range of business management and industry topics. He is the author of a number of industry white papers, a regular columnist for RIABiz, ThinkAdvisor, Investment News and wealthmanagement.com, and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and events. Tim earned a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley and an MBA in Finance from the University of Colorado.

Tim holds the Certified Financial Planner, CFP® designation and is an active member of the Financial Planning Association (FPA), serving in a leadership role on a number of task forces, committees and as a past elected member of the National Board of Directors.


Brie Williams

Head of Practice Management, State Street Global Advisors

Brie is a Vice President of State Street Global Advisors and the Head of Practice Management. She is responsible for developing SSGA's comprehensive practice management platform, which provides a forum for financial advisors to exchange ideas and access SSGA’s industry-leading intellectual capital.

Prior to joining SSGA, Brie was a Senior Vice President at Putnam Investments responsible for marketing communications excellence in support of Putnam's global brand and retail mutual fund product line. She was a member of the senior global marketing team and served as a strategic partner across all global distribution divisions, including investment product and portfolio management teams, and channel sales professionals.

Brie's professional background includes a career in advertising that began in 1994, where she managed accounts in the retail, packaged goods, and health-care industries for valued brands, including Frito-Lay, McDonald's, Time Inc., Target, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. In 2006, her work on Vonage earned her a Bronze Effie for advertising effectiveness.

Brie received her MA in Integrated Marketing Communications from Emerson College, and has a BA in Journalism with a minor in International Political Science from Southern Methodist University. Brie holds the FINRA Series 7 and 63 licenses.



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