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

Managing Director, Associate Publisher, InvestmentNews

Mark Bruno is the Managing Director, 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.


Megan Carpenter

Co-founder and CEO, FiComm Partners, LLC

Megan Carpenter is co-founder and CEO of FiComm Partners, LLC, a company widely respected for delivering thoughtful, strategic communications programs to clients via public relations, digital marketing, branding, social media and creative services. Under Megan’s leadership, FiComm has experienced rapid growth, opening three regional offices across the United States in Los Angeles, New York City and San Diego. Megan’s strong management and organizational leadership is founded on over 15 years of experience providing exceptional client service. Her unwavering commitment to doing right by clients is one of FiComm’s greatest competitive advantages.

A regular blogger and spokesperson in the media on topics related to financial services marketing and communications, Megan is also a sought-after speaker at a wide range of industry events, including Pershing INSITE, Bob Veres’ Insider’s Forum, the ECHELON Partners Deals and Deal Makers Summit, the Riskalyze Fearless Investing Summit, Disrupt|Advice, FPA NorCal, the MarketCounsel Summit, and the CFA Institute.

Megan was drawn to the world of business and finance at a young age, beginning as an intern at John Hancock while still finishing undergrad. She was soon managing the marketing and business development departments at two of Signator Investors’ (formerly John Hancock Financial Network) largest hybrid career agencies, which ultimately led her to start her own business, Caritative Wealth Consulting, focused on helping independent financial advisors to better market themselves and grow their businesses. In 2014, Caritative merged with FiComm Partners, and the new FiComm began offering both marketing and PR services to the independent financial community.

Megan graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.S. in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Global Management. She is a proud supporter of the USC Alumni Association, the USC Marshall School of Business Scholarship Fund, and the American Red Cross. When not concentrating on driving FiComm’s strategic vision, evolution and continuous improvement as a business, she enjoys spending time with her husband Scott, her son Keenan and their extended family.


Lisa Crafford

Vice President, Pershing Advisor Solutions, a BNY Mellon company

Lisa Crafford is a Vice President and Relationship Manager for Pershing Advisor Solutions, a BNY Mellon company. In this role, Lisa consults with Registered Investment Advisors to help them grow and strengthen their business. By providing insights, tools, and experience, Lisa helps advisors make informed decisions about how to evolve their firms.

Prior to joining Pershing Advisor Solutions in 2015, Lisa spent 5 years with an RIA in the DC Metro area as the Director of Business Management. In this role, Lisa was responsible for operations, compliance, technology, human capital, finance, marketing and business strategy. Lisa also founded Cogent Business Advisors, a unique study group for COOs, and is the coordinator of Bob Veres’ practice management conference (Insiders Forum) COO track. Lisa earned her MBA from The College of William and Mary as well as a Bachelor of Business with a concentration in Management and French from the University of Technology, Sydney (Australia).


Gabriel Garcia

Managing Director, BNY Mellon's Pershing Advisor Solutions in the Relationship Management group

Gabriel Garcia is a Managing Director for BNY Mellon's Pershing Advisor Solutions in the Relationship Management group. Mr. Garcia works with registered investment advisers (RIAs) interested in developing and growing their practices, helping them to manage business issues they face. He engages advisers to help them make informed decisions around maximizing Pershing's resources and evolving their firms to become more scalable, profitable and productive. Mr. Garcia spent his previous 15 years with Charles Schwab & Co., where he held several leadership positions in sales, training and consulting. His last six years were spent working directly with RIAs. Mr. Garcia has consulted with more than 100 firms ranging in AUM from $50M to $3B. He also is a frequent speaker at industry and national conferences. Mr. Garcia has 20 years of experience in financial services. Mr. Garcia earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Business Administration from Radford University. When he’s not in the office, he enjoys CrossFit and spending time with his family at the Jersey Shore.


Laura Gregg

Director of Client Development, Exchange Traded Funds Group Northern Trust Asset Management

Laura Gregg is Director of Client Development for FlexShares — the Northern Trust Exchange Traded Funds Group. She is responsible for growing FlexShares’ presence in the financial intermediary market by offering unique thought leadership to help advisors scale and grow their practices. Laura is sensitive to the demands advisors face — cost, sta ng and time constraints — so she focuses her content on easy to implement adjustments that enable advisors to continue delivering exceptional value to clients but in a more e cient and personalized manner.

Laura has more than 20 years of industry experience in a broad range of roles including marketing, national accounts, relationship management and as a mutual funds and ETF product specialist. In 2010, she launched a national survey of financial advisors, querying them about their attitudes on the adoption of, and satisfaction with, outsourced investment management. The research, which continues today, provides vital insights on the how advisors have been scaling their practices and delivering investment solutions to clients. Laura speaks regularly within the industry about this and a wide variety of advisor-focused topics.

Laura joined Northern Trust in 2008 and has previously worked for Claymore Securities (acquired by Guggenheim Funds) and Deutsche Asset Management. She graduated from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN and holds FINRA Series 7 and 63 licenses. She also attended DePaul University where she earned a certificate in Direct Marketing.


Julie Littlechild

Founder, Absolute Engagement

Julie Littlechild is a speaker, writer and researcher. Her firm, Absolute Engagement, helps advisors tailor their client experience to support a compelling personal vision for the future.

Julie has worked with and studied successful financial advisors, their clients and their teams for more than twenty years. Prior to founding Absolute Engagement, she launched and ran one of the industry’s leading research firms, focused on client engagement. Julie is the author of a popular blog, the co-host of the Becoming Referable podcast and her first book, The Pursuit of Absolute Engagement, was released in January, 2017.

Julie sat on the national board of the US Financial Planning Association from 2010 – 2013, was twice identified as one of the 25 Most Influential People in Financial Planning by Investment Advisor Magazine and won the Influencer Award in practice management from Financial Planning Magazine. She works in the US, Canada, UK and Europe and holds an MBA from the University of Toronto.


Brandon Odell

Partner and Director of Business Consulting at The Ensemble Practice

As Partner and Director of Business Consulting, Brandon Odell works directly with clients on strategy development and growth planning and serves as faculty for the Ensemble Management Institute, the company’s intensive program of business management classes for independent advisory firms. Brandon also contributes his research expertise to our ongoing efforts to benchmark the growth of the industry, including participating in the leading advisor compensation and staffing study, which Ensemble conducts in partnership with InvestmentNews.

With ten years of business consulting experience, Brandon has spent the past six years working directly with financial industry clients – including independent advisors, broker-dealers and solution providers – focusing on strategic planning, equity assessment and transfer, technology utilization and operational efficiency. Most recently, Brandon was a senior consultant and vice president at Envestnet | Tamarac, where he delivered practice management consulting and led the team for reporting and outsourced services. Prior to that, as a senior analyst at Moss Adams Business Consulting, he worked with many firms on practice management issues and concentrated on industry research and analysis. Brandon is a CFA charterholder and has an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management.


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.


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, CFP®

President, Nexus Strategy, LLC

Tim is President and Founder of Nexus Strategy, LLC, a consulting firm to the wealth management industry. Nexus Strategy works with investment advisors on growth strategies and partners with financial services and technology firms to distribute products and services through the advisor channel. Tim has worked for Schwab Advisor Services and Merrill Lynch and was a member of the Financial Planning Association's National Board of Directors.


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