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BIC's Top 50 Bank Advisors

The BIC Top 50 Bank Advisors The BIC Top 50 Bank Advisors

Here it is, our annual list of the top advisors in the bank channel.

50. Gavin Burns 50. Gavin Burns

Bank: Bremer Bank


Location: St. Paul, Minn.


TPM: Raymond James


Over the last nine years, Gavin Burns has cultivated strong relationships with his bank counterparts in Bremer Bank’s Twin Cities market. He makes sure that each banker understands his process and how he works with his clients so that they are comfortable referring their clients to him.

49. Jennifer Danko 49. Jennifer Danko

Bank: New York Community Bank

Location: Cleveland, Ohio

TPM: LPL Financial

Jennifer Danko started as a part time teller in 1995 and worked her way up to advisor in five years. Last year, she increased AUM and production by 23%. But she says her biggest strengths are her interpersonal skills and strong customer, illustrated by the fact that her branch partners clamor for more of her time.

48. Wayne Martin 48. Wayne Martin

Bank: Ameris Bank

Location: St. Simons Island, Ga.

TPM: Raymond James

Wayne Martin focuses on setting reasonable expectations. And he realizes that the future will have a greater impact on a portfolio than the past. With that measured approach, he tries to remove emotion from the investment process by using forward-looking assumptions, resulting in better decision-making.

47. Marc Weiss 47. Marc Weiss

Bank: Wells Fargo

Location: Norfolk, Va.

TPM: n/a

Marc Weiss says that he has limited the number of clients he works with in order to allow for the time needed to offer quality service. It also is his tendency to be selective in who he serves, which, he says should hopefully make him attractive to high-net-worth clients.

46. Greg Stahl 46. Greg Stahl

Bank: SunTrust


Location: Tampa, Fla.


TPM: n/a


Greg Stahl views his role as being the personal CFO to his clients. He’s able to use the tools and resources of SunTrust to serve existing clients and attract new prospects. He also says he works closely with bank partners as well as centers of influence in the community and to attract new clients.

45. Laura Sodano 45. Laura Sodano

Bank: New York Community Bank

Location: Queens, N.Y.

TPM: LPL Financial

Laura Sodano has been in the same branch for 32 years, beginning as a teller and working her way up to advisor by 1995. She is fluent in Italian and often works with multiple generations of families.

44. Brian Carey 44. Brian Carey

Bank: Wells Fargo

Location: Santa Clara, Calif.

TPM: n/a

For 19 years, Brian Carey has been using a full balance-sheet approach for my clients. He also teams up with Wells Fargo other professionals that specialize in investments, private banking, trust solutions, and insurance. He also benefits from the wealth planning process of the Private Bank to provide a customized solution for his high-net-worth clients.

43. James Christy 43. James Christy

Bank: Northwest Financial


Location: Herndon, Va.


TPM: LPL Financial


After a first career in the “shadow of the U.S. Capitol,” James Christy has carved out a new niche as an advisor serving mostly U.S. government retirees and near-retirees. His government experience helps him anticipate how issues like tax laws and the debt limit might impact bond markets.

42. Jeffrey Alger 42. Jeffrey Alger

Bank: SunTrust


Location: Brentwood, Tenn


TPM: n/a


Jeffrey Alger says that every client is different and only by using an extensive discovery process can he uncover their needs, goals and objectives. Then, he says, he sets about to solve their particular needs with the right products and services.

41. Jason Holt 41. Jason Holt

Bank: F&M Bank


Location: Kannapolis, N.C.


TPM: LPL Financial


Jason Holt says the process he puts in place is key to keeping him on track and following through on the important tasks. He works hard to market himself. And he often finds himself reading research reports to stay on top of industry trends to better serve his clients.

40. Philip Krupps 40. Philip Krupps

Bank: Brown County State Bank


Location: Mount Sterling, Ill.


TPM: Raymond James


Located in a community of just 1,900 people, Philip Krupps’ practice rests on the relationships that he shares with them and other key professionals in the community. His approach ties into the agriculture that sustains the area and rests on his business-on-a-handshake mind-set.

39. James Caldwell 39. James Caldwell

Bank: AmTrust Bank


Location: Deerfield Beach, Fla


TPM: LPL Financial


James Caldwell often ponders the question of what makes someone good at what they do. He cites college football coach Woody Hayes when he says that you are either “getting better or getting worse, but never staying the same.” He adds that he never wants to get in a rut where he just goes through the motions.

38. Francis O’Neil III 38. Francis O’Neil III

Bank: Wells Fargo


Location: Missouri City, Texas


TPM: n/a


Similar to some other Wells Fargo advisors, Francis O’Neill III extolled the virtues of Envision, a comprehensive, in-house planning tool. He says that it enables him to provide comprehensive financial services to his clients, thereby helping them to realize their wealth planning goals.

37. Garrett Stringer 37. Garrett Stringer

Bank: Wells Fargo


Location: Raleigh, N.C.


TPM: n/a


Garrett Stringer enjoys maintaining his current relationships more than constantly seeking new ones, so he spends a large portion of each day on the phone with clients to ensure they are meeting their goals. And most of the new clients he does get come from referrals.

36. Jeff Nuttall 36. Jeff Nuttall

Bank: Wells Fargo


Location: Denver, Colo.


TPM: n/a


Most of Jeff Nuttall’s clients are successful small business owners or executives who are retiring, or who have recently had a major “liquidity event.” His team maintains less than 75 client relationships, and most new clients come from partners or existing clients.

35. Paul Haines 35. Paul Haines

Bank: Fidelity Bank

Location: Cary. N.C.

TPM: LPL

Paul Haines learned lessons as a missionary that he uses in his practice. One example is being honest with the customer. He believes in presenting information and letting clients decide. He educates clients and allows them to choose the best plan for their situation. Conversion and selling a financial product should not be forced, he says.

34. Thomas Dietrich 34. Thomas Dietrich

Bank: SunTrust


Location: Gulf Breeze, Fla


TPM: n/a


Thomas Dietrich uses a holistic approach to help clients develop investment and insurance plans that address their personal and financial goals. He first assesses a client’s financial situation, then determines appropriate risk, formulates an investment plan, and reviews periodically.

33. Sasha Azarmi 33. Sasha Azarmi

Bank: Wells Fargo


Location: Los Angeles, Calif.


TPM: n/a


Sasha Azarmi uses a Wells Fargo wealth management tool called "Envision" to better understand clients’ retirement goals. It can consider more than 1,000 financial scenarios—such as long-term care, trust needs and education needs—and factor what current and future goals are needed for a client to reach financial independence.

32. Jonathan Berstein 32. Jonathan Berstein

Bank: Wells Fargo


Location: Boca Raton, Fla.


TPM: n/a


Jonathan Berstein believes the most important part of investing is risk management. His team’s strategy involves using several hedging and risk management techniques. Each client has their own custom allocation but within that allocation some of the specific items they use are dividend stocks, fixed-income, ETF’s, options and other non-correlating investments.

31. Greg Malin 31. Greg Malin

Bank: Fulton Bank


Location: Lancaster, Pa.


TPM: Raymond James


Greg Malin has grown his business by pursuing every distribution channel available in the bank. He has integrated his practice with the bank's business and commercial lines as well as with wealth management.

30. Joffre Salazar 30. Joffre Salazar

Bank: New York Community Bank


Location: Newark, N.J.


TPM: LPL Financial


Jeff Salazar learned early in his career that the best way to help his customers is to understand their dreams. Jeff primarily works in the Ironbound section of Newark, N.J. where his language skills (he is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese) is a definite asset. This also makes some clients feel comfortable providing referrals.

29. Michael Blackham 29. Michael Blackham

Bank: Mountain American Credit Union


Location: Salt Lake City, Utah


TPM: LPL Financial


Michael Blackham prides himself on setting appropriate expectations despite economic, family or physical headwinds. His success is largely due to is ability to delineate between what a client needs and what he or she desires. He focuses first on the needs, with a long-term goal of also providing for the desires.

28. Russell Cesari 28. Russell Cesari

Bank: Northwest Financial


Location: Herndon, Va


TPM: LPL Services


Viewing each client relationship as a lifetime partnership, Russell Cesari offers “life planning” to his clients, many of whom are U.S. government retirees and near-retirees who served in the intelligence community. And those existing clients are the source of the majority of his referrals, which he views as a stamp of approval on his services.

27. John Zannakis 27. John Zannakis

Bank: Fulton Bank


Location: Lancaster, Pa


TPM: Raymond James


In his 15 years of investment experience, John Zannakis has become devoted to the twin goal of growing and preserving capital. He also offers customized products for his high-end clients. John will construct a plan and stay in touch with clients to monitor progress.

26. Jason Mayer 26. Jason Mayer

Bank: Wells Fargo


Location: Charlotte, N.C.


TPM: n/a


Jason Mayer’s team uses other professionals within Wells Fargo to offer services such as banking and debt management to their individual, family and business clients. Being part of a large bank also offers his team opportunities to help with their own professional development.

25. Raymond Hayes 25. Raymond Hayes

Bank: Wells Fargo


Location: New York, N.Y.


TPM: n/a


Raymond Hayes says his clients are most interested in asset protection, along with dependable and growing income streams from high-quality companies. And he cites the broad array of services from Wells Fargo, such as trust and estate services and lending services, as advantages he can provide clients.

24. Darin McCandless 24. Darin McCandless

Bank: AmTrust Bank


Location: Hollywood, Fla.


TPM: LPL Financial


At a young age, Darin McCandless’s grandfather brought him into the family business. That experience taught him to deal with a customer as he would a friend. That helps him differentiate himself today because he says advisors have the same products, so customers choose someone they can trust and who understands them.

23. Greg Seamster 23. Greg Seamster

Bank: Wells Fargo


Location: Research Triangle Park, N.C,


TPM: n/a


Rather than starting with a product or a solution, Greg Seamster starts a client relationship by discussing their financial needs. Then they craft a plan around those needs. He also talks to his bank partners every day about searching for new prospects.

22. Robert Mosera 22. Robert Mosera

Bank: Wells Fargo


Location: Paramus, N.J.


TPM: n/a


Robert Mosera begins by asking clients where they want to be in 5, 10 or 15 years. He discusses the future in terms of estate, financial and investment planning. From there, he works backwards to craft a plan aimed at meeting 75% to 90% of their ideal and acceptable goals.

21. Ina Felder 21. Ina Felder

Bank: AmTrust Bank


Location: Delray Beach, Fla.


TPM: LPL Financial


Ina Felder says that relationships are key, starting with branch staff. Felder educates them through one-on-one training and group meetings to instruct them on what to look for in a prospect. And when clients call, Felder returns the calls within the hour. In this way, Felder is able to entice them to refer friends and relatives.

20. Charles Kassatly 20. Charles Kassatly

Bank: New York Community Bank


Location: Bellmore, N.Y.


TPM: LPL Financial


Based in the New York suburbs of Long Island, Charles Kassatly focuses on middle-income and affluent consumers as well as commercial and not-for-profit markets. After tenures at two national banks, he says he appreciates the relationships that customers have with regional banks involved with the community.

19. Charles Wilmoth 19. Charles Wilmoth

Bank: Wells Fargo


Location: San Francisco, Calif.


TPM: n/a


In working with high-net-worth clients, Charles Wilmoth coordinates with other specialists at Wells Fargo to implement a full balance sheet approach. Plans are tailored for a client's goals, liquidity needs, tax circumstances and risk tolerance. New clients are added through referrals from clients or other professional advisors, such as CPAs, attorneys or bankers.

18. William Oliver 18. William Oliver

Bank: Wells Fargo


Location: Charlotte, N.C.


TPM: n/a


William Oliver’s team tries to understand what each client wants to achieve. Then they construct a customized plan to help clients understand exactly where they stand in relation to those goals. Simply pitching investments without understanding the need of the client allows no foundation for a long-term, meaningful relationship, he says.

17. Paul Duchyns 17. Paul Duchyns

Bank: ESL Federal Credit Union


Location: Brockport, N.Y.


TPM: LPL Financial


Through increased marketing and networking efforts, Paul Duchyns has developed key contacts and referral sources with centers of influence in his area. This type of community involvement has been key to his success. Moreover, his client relationships go beyond the initial transaction. He also takes a keen interest in family members.

16. Paul Hoghaug 16. Paul Hoghaug

Bank: Anchor Bank


Location: West St. Paul, Minn.


TPM: LPL Financial


After 24 years in the industry, Paul Hoghaug says that today’s market is the most volatile he’s ever seen. And to help clients navigate it, he ensures they are fully informed—which means he filters out the noise and the media—and tries to set the reasonable expectations on returns.

15. Kevin McDermott 15. Kevin McDermott

Bank: Citadel Federal Credit Union


Location: Exton, Pa.


TPM: CUSO Financial Services


Kevin McDermott’s clients receive, on average, 12 to 15 contacts per year, including semi-annual or quarterly reviews, quarterly newsletters and market volatility analysis emails and calls. He also helps branch staffers meet their goal of 13 referrals a year by returning referrals to them and ensuring that they get credit for the sale.

14. Paul Stetter Jr. 14. Paul Stetter Jr.

Bank: Fulton Bank


Location: Lancaster, Pa.


TPM: Raymond James


Paul Stetter’s investment consulting process includes four steps: determining financial objectives, developing a plan, implementation and tracking performance. Through these steps, he aims to help clients protect their investments from taxes and inflation and help them achieve short- and long-term goals.

13. Devon Nolan 13. Devon Nolan

Bank: ESL Federal Credit Union


Location: Rochester, N.Y.


TPM: LPL Financial


Devon Nolan employs an open door policy for both clients and staff to discuss in financial planning. His primary focus is his relationship with clients and their families. He uses a wide range of products and resources to help construct client portfolios.

12. Todd Dathe 12. Todd Dathe

Bank: First Bank & Trust


Location: Sioux Falls, S.D.


TPM: Raymond James


Todd Dathe focuses on a limited number of clients and delivers a full range of services. Each client has a comprehensive written plan and meets with Dathe three times a year. He also shares the plans with other pros in the clients’ lives (attorneys and accountants) and is open to their feedback. This creates stronger relationships for all.

11. James Hare 11. James Hare

Bank: Pinnacle Bank


Location: Nashville, Tenn.


TPM: Raymond James


James Hare manages a small number of clients, but they have assets of more than a million dollars on average. Many are health care executives with equity in their companies. So he tells them up front that their biggest returns will come from their businesses, not from the stock market.

10. Steve Kennedy 10. Steve Kennedy

Bank: TowneBank


Location: Suffolk, Va.


TPM: Raymond James


Few advisors want the responsibility of managing money, says Steve Kennedy. But he does not want to have to apologize for somebody else’s work—he went through Dean Witter’s training program 27 years ago where they drove home the idea that clients should be talking to their “money manager”—so he has embraced discretionary investment management with his largest clients.

9. Wayne Rogers 9. Wayne Rogers

Bank: Wells Fargo


Location: Midland, Texas


TPM: n/a


Wayne Rogers ensures that every client has an objectives-based investment plan. His team takes a full balance sheet approach to address investment, lending and banking needs. They also help clients with real estate, personal business and oil & gas assets. He says they enjoyed enough success to raise minimums to $1 million in assets.

8. Craven Green 8. Craven Green

Bank: Extraco Bank


Location: Waco, Texas


TPM: Raymond James


Each relationship, regardless of size, receives a quarterly call from Craven Green. He creates monthly spreadsheets showing how much profit they’ve made, how much he’s made and the annualized rate of return from the start of the relationship. He seeks low-risk buys that have bested peers for 20 years, and doesn’t sell until they underperform.

7. Joel Worsfold 7. Joel Worsfold

Bank: Wells Fargo


Location: Clive, Iowa


TPM: n/a


Joel Worsfold cites clear communication and the wide array of resources available from Wells Fargo as two keys to his success. He says it’s key to listen carefully to better understand clients’ feelings about risk and then use sophisticated planning and analysis tools to identify potential strategies.

6. Yvonne Silguero 6. Yvonne Silguero

Bank: Lone Star National Bank


Location: McAllen, Texas


TPM: LPL Financial


Having grown up in the Rio Grande Valley, Yvonne Silguero takes pride in serving the Hispanic families and small business owners that make up Lone Star’s target niche. She educates new hires and broadens the investment channel. An initiative dubbed “money in motion” helps spot opportunities for client with maturities CDs and large deposits.

5. Patrick Varney 5. Patrick Varney

Bank: Bank of Colorado


Location: Greely, Colo.


TPM: Raymond James


The top reason for Patrick Varney’s “phenomenal year” as an advisor is no other than his employer, the Bank of Colorado. When the bank believes in and supports the bank program, it makes his job that much easier, he says. Over the years, Varney has cultivated good relationships with the president of the two bank branches he covers. Community involvement also contributed to his success. He is a member of local groups and participates in all the community events the bank sponsors.

4. Michael Grimes 4. Michael Grimes

Bank: SunTrust


Location: Lady Lakes, Fla.


TPM: n/a


Mike Grimes believes that the personal connection between advisor and client is paramount. And it’s particularly important with respect to his client base, most of whom are already retired. Grimes keeps in constant contact with his clients (because of their demographic, many are not comfortable with computers and electronic communication). He believes in phone calls and face-to-face interaction, with the goal of cultivating and fostering the kind of trust that’s important for all clients but particularly so for retirees.

3. Randall Krenzin 3. Randall Krenzin

Bank: Wells Fargo


Location: San Jose, Calif.


TPM: n/a


Randy Krenzin may work in high-tech’s living room, but when it comes to his clients, he believes nothing is more important than being face to face. Based in San Jose, Calif, the senior financial consultant with Wells Fargo devotes much of his time to listening to investors — and not just what they say out loud, but what he can infer as well. And that connection isn’t one Krenzin feels is best handled through digital bits and bytes.

2. Peter Knittle 2. Peter Knittle

Bank: ESL Federal Credit Union


Location: Rochester, N.Y.


TPM: LPL Financial


Peter Knittle attributes his success as this year’s No. 2 advisor to good old-fashioned customer service. He wants to be as engaged in the first meeting when assets are coming over as he is in the 20th meeting when they are just reviewing their performance. And this personal attention has helped reel in business. He recently persuaded a customer who originally came in for advice on a $40,000 CD to move over his entire portfolio to the bank within a three-month period of time.

1. Robert Reich 1. Robert Reich

Bank: Wells Fargo


Location: McLean, Va.


TPM: n/a


Robert Reich, financial advisor at Wells Fargo in McLean, Va., has just 60 clients. But that number is perfect, he says, to run a productive and dedicated practice that seeks to deliver in three main areas: maintaining clients’ present lifestyles in the future, preserving their net worth and assuring their legacy. His clients have earned their wealth, so he views his role as one of maintaining and transitioning that wealth that they have created. And the key to that, he says, is to steer clear from risk no matter what form it takes.

Here it is, our annual list of the top advisors in the bank channel.

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