Slideshows

BIC’s Top 50 Bank Advisors (1 –25)

Here is our annual Top 50 Bank Advisors. The advisors in this slideshow ranked one through 25. You can see Nos. 26 through 50 here. This list and all the bios and pictures also will appear in the December print issue.

Our ranking is designed to recognize the most successful bank and credit union advisors based on several key areas, such as assets under management, trailing 12-month production; percentage growth in AUM from the previous year; percentage growth in production; amount of fee-based business; and the ratio of production to AUM.

You can see all 50 advisors in a single-page version here.

25. Cynthia Giovacchino 25. Cynthia Giovacchino

Bank: Webster Bank
Location: Ansonia, Conn.
TPM: LPL Financial
2014 production: $2.2 million
2014 AUM: $109 million
Fee-based business: 25%
Total years as advisor: 15

Cynthia Giovacchino started at Webster Bank in 1986 as a teller and steadily climbed the ranks to branch manager, then LBE, then full-time advisor. Now a senior financial consultant, she oversees $118 million in assets under management. She had her best year in 2013, breaking a bank record with $2.1 million in revenue.

24. John Kane 24. John Kane

Bank: Citadel Federal Credit Union
Location: West Chester, Pa.
TPM: CUSO Financial Services
2014 production: $913,000
2014 AUM: $122.2 million
Fee-based business: 54%
Total years as advisor: 14

John Kane’s approach is to build a rapport with clients. New clients receive in-person meetings three times before initiating any paperwork. After the initial meetings, Kane establishes a review timeline that is comfortable for clients and provides regular communication through quarterly newsletters, email updates, and semi-annual client events.

23. Kevin Dunnigan 23. Kevin Dunnigan

Bank: Home State Bank
Location: Loveland, Colo.
TPM: Investment Centers of America
2014 production: $2.6 million
2014 AUM: $229.9 million
Fee-based business: 1%
Total years as advisor: 30

Kevin Dunnigan’s ICA office has been recognized as the No. 1 office of 250 nationwide, and he’s been named the No. 1 producer for 23 years. He has been in the investment and insurance business for nearly 30 years and has helped countless clients with their investments. He believes in treating clients as if they were friends or family members.

22.  Ward Welles 22. Ward Welles

Bank: Wells Fargo
Location: Denver, Colo.
TPM: none
2014 production: $1 million
2014 AUM: $120 million
Fee-based business: 89%
Total years as advisor: 20

Ward Welles has two decades of experience in the financial-services industry. This Wells Fargo advisor generated $1 million in production for the 12 months ending in August, mostly from fee-based business. He has a focus on high client retention.

21.  Michael Abrams 21. Michael Abrams

Bank: Wells Fargo
Location: Palo Alto, Calif.
TPM: none
2014 production: $3.6 million
2014 AUM: $1 billion
Fee-based business: 84%
Total years as advisor: 25

Michael Abrams works as part of a team helping ultra-high-net-worth families and foundations develop and implement comprehensive wealth strategies. His focus is a client-oriented, needs-driven, multi-generational approach to managing and preserving wealth. He addresses each client’s needs individually and creates customized investment plans.

20. W. Russell Dyer 20. W. Russell Dyer

Bank: SunTrust Bank
Location: Winter Haven, Fla.
TPM: none
2014 production: $895,000
2014 AUM: $126 million
Fee-based business: 45%
Total years as advisor: 13

W. Russell Dyer’s approach to investing depends on such factors as the time until assets are needed, the risk tolerance of the client, economic conditions, and estate and tax planning implications. He believes in educating clients about risk and helping them realize that risk can’t be completely removed, but rather reduced and managed.

19.  William Eastburn 19. William Eastburn

Bank: Langley Federal Credit Union
Location: Yorktown, Va.
TPM: Cetera
2014 production: $1.5 million
2014 AUM: $136.2 million
Fee-based business: 14%
Total years as advisor: 21

William Eastburn provides holistic wealth management to clients. He aims to preserve and protect their assets, while targeting growth in accordance with their time horizons and risk tolerances. He works with many clients but focuses on serving the needs of engineers and scientists at the local NASA research center.

18. Andrew Vahab 18. Andrew Vahab

Bank: Citibank
Location: New York
TPM: none
2014 production: $3.1 million
2014 AUM: $452.5 million
Fee-based business: 65%
Total years as advisor: 13

Andrew Vahab strives to be a “financial quarterback” for clients. He understands that
everything begins and ends with service. In the next decade, he believes that there will be a robust movement toward bringing the institutional investment strategies once only offered to endowments and pensions to the retail client.

17. Peter Shieh 17. Peter Shieh

Bank: Citibank
Location: Rowland Heights, Calif.
TPM: none
2014 production: $1.6 million
2014 AUM: $231.6 million
Fee-based business: 80%
Total years as advisor: 12

Peter Shieh has more than 16 years of experience in the financial services industry. He provides comprehensive financial guidance through all stages of clients’ financial lives, from accumulation and distribution to inter-generational wealth transfers. He assists clients both in strategic asset allocations as well as tactical adjustments.

16. Raymond Beloin 16. Raymond Beloin

Bank: Webster Bank
Location: Bristol, Conn.
TPM: LPL Financial
2014 production: $2.1 million
2014 AUM: $177.1 million
Fee-based business: 60%
Total years as advisor: 20

Raymond Beloin has about $180 million under management and is on pace to produce more than $2.5 million in revenue this year, which represents two consecutive years with a revenue growth rate of more than 30%. He and his team have a disciplined segmentation process related to his book of clients as well as to branch and partner referrals.

15.  Debra Alberto 15. Debra Alberto

Bank: Wells Fargo
Location: Clive, Iowa
TPM: none
2014 production: $1.5 million
2014 AUM: $211.6 million
Fee-based business: 96%
Total years as advisor: 25

Debra Alberto takes a planning-first approach to every client engagement. Through a diligent planning process, she helps clients create customized investment strategies while managing risk as a top priority. Her low attrition rate with clients is a testament to their loyalty.

14.  James Hare 14. James Hare

Bank: Pinnacle Bank
Location: Nashville, Tenn.
TPM: Raymond James
2014 production: $1.1 million
2014 AUM: $138.3 million
Fee-based business: 97%
Total years as advisor: 16

With a book of business that is almost entirely fee-based, James Hare manages a select group of clients. He provides discretionary portfolio management based on clients’ needs and expectations. He prefers to buy individual stocks and bonds versus mutual funds, thereby making the portfolios more tax-efficient.

13. Daniel Tyler Abbott 13. Daniel Tyler Abbott

Bank: FirstBank
Location: Dayton, Tenn.
TPM: Invest Financial
2014 production: $1.1 million
2014 AUM: $77.2 million
Fee-based business: 5%
Total years as advisor: 7

Daniel Tyler Abbott focuses more on his client relationships than on transactions. His office operates in small towns where he must become more than just an investment picker. His clients depend on him to remember the total picture of their financial situation, including income planning, risk profiling and estate transfers.

12. Justin Mace 12. Justin Mace

Bank: Wells Fargo
Location: Corte Madera, Calif.
TPM: none
2014 production: $1.1 million
2014 AUM: $150 million
Fee-based business: 89%
Total years as advisor: 19

Justin Mace is a Wells Fargo advisor with nearly two decades of experience in the financial-services industry. This million-dollar producer generates the majority of his production from fee-based business and has a special business focus on high client retention.

11. Steven Kennedy 11. Steven Kennedy

Bank: TowneBank
Location: Newport News, Va.
TPM: Raymond James
2014 production: $1.9 million
2014 AUM: $212.5 million
Fee-based business: 60%
Total years as advisor: 29

Roughly 60% of Steven Kennedy’s business is in discretionary fee-based accounts. He mostly uses advanced technical analysis and tactical allocation with these top clients. However, he’s also comfortable with commission-based accounts and trading stocks and bonds. While the stock market has been helpful in recent years, his local centers of influence were the main factor behind his record production this year.

10. James Christy 10. James Christy

Bank: Northwest Federal Credit Union
Location: Herndon, Va.
TPM: LPL Financial
2014 production: $2.1 million
2014 AUM: $240.5 million
Fee-based business: 82%
Total years as advisor: 11

Jim Christy holds a law degree and began his career inside the Washington Beltway. Now, 11 years after leaving the public policy world, he has carved out a successful niche serving primarily U.S. government retirees and consultants. Jim utilizes his combination of government and legal experience to address the full range of clients’ financial needs, aspirations, and concerns.

9. Rodney Horelka 9. Rodney Horelka

Bank: Prosperity Bank
Location: Victoria, Texas
TPM: Cetera
2014 production: $1.6 million
2014 AUM: $165.7 million
Fee-based business: 45%
Total years as advisor: 19

Rodney Horelka strives to provide clients with the SWAN experience (sleep well at night) by helping envision their goals and then mapping out the means to achieve the financial side of those goals. One hallmark of his approach is the ability to provide resources for various scenarios through a network of other professionals. He says the team that surrounds him can assist his clients with a variety of needs.

8. William Oliver 8. William Oliver

Bank: Wells Fargo
Location: Charlotte, N.C.
TPM: none
2014 production: $5.9 million
2014 AUM: $1 billion
Fee-based business: 87%
Total years as advisor: 17

William Oliver aims to understand what clients want to achieve and from there constructs plans that allow them to understand where they are in relation to their goals. He presents investment recommendations targeted specifically to client goals and then monitors the progress to ensure that they are still on track.

7. Robert Reich 7. Robert Reich

Bank: Wells Fargo
Location: McLean, Va.
TPM: none
2014 production: $3.2 million
2014 AUM: $496 million
Fee-based business: 92%
Total years as advisor: 22

Risk management and risk avoidance are the cornerstones of Rob Reich’s approach. His focus is not to beat an index but to help clients preserve their wealth so that they can continue to live the lives they’ve grown accustomed to once they reach their retirement years. Reich makes sure that each member of the team can identify risks ranging from liabilities to insurance situations to taxes.

6. Michael Grimes 6. Michael Grimes

Bank: SunTrust
Location: The Villages, Fla.
TPM: none
2014 production: $1.7 million
2014 AUM: $184 million
Fee-based business: 40%
Total years as advisor: 18

At an initial meeting with a prospect, Michael Grimes and his team spend most of their time getting to know them and deciding if they want to pursue a relationship. After the initial meeting, time is spent developing and implementing planning strategies to help clients meet immediate and long-term goals. Regular portfolio reviews with clients are crucial and allow him to deliver the service he strives to maintain.

5. Patrick Varney 5. Patrick Varney

Bank: Bank of Colorado
Location: Windsor, Colo.
TPM: Raymond James
2014 Production: $2 million
2014 AUM: $230 million
Fee business: 66%
Total years as advisor: 14
Years in current job: 14

Patrick Varney believes the most common mistake young advisors make is not reaching out to more experienced reps and asking for advice. He remembers a big producer inviting him to lunch one day soon after he started about 14 years ago after graduating from college. Varney was invited to spend the day and even meet with the staff. He also has one of the best mentors possible—his own father, Matthew Varney, 68, who oversees the eight advisors at the Bank of Colorado. Varney also is mentoring a junior advisor he brought aboard in June, transitioning about $6 million in assets under management to the younger rep’s book. That move has allowed Varney to free up more of his own time and focus additional attention on current clients.

4. Garrett Stringer 4. Garrett Stringer

Bank: Wells Fargo
Location: Raleigh, N.C.
TPM: none
2014 production: $2.1 million
2014 AUM: $281.1 million
Fee business: 95%
Total years as advisor: 14
Years in current job: 14

When Garrett Stringer first launched his career, his father gave him what he considered simple, but valuable, advice: Treat every client as you would a member of your family, and you’ll be fortunate no matter what you do. “I’ve always appreciated that because if you view this job as a sales job you’ll never be successful,” says Stringer. “If your goal is to do what’s right for them, you’ll maintain them for life.” Transactional clients are not his bread and butter. Instead, the 39-year-old looks for investors hungry for someone to help them with long-term goals. They may not do everything Stringer suggests—but when something pivotal occurs in their life, the loss of a job or an inheritance, he wants to be one of the first calls they make.

3. Emile Abinader 3. Emile Abinader

Bank: Citibank
Location: Granada Hills, Calif.
TPM: none
2014 production: $3.4 million
2014 AUM: $371.9 million
Fee business: 92%
Total years as advisor: 14

Emile Abinader’s overarching goal as a financial advisor is to understand what motivates his clients. As director of wealth management and senior financial advisor at Citi Personal Wealth Management in Granada Hills, Calif., he focuses on getting to know his clients “beyond their money” and providing comprehensive planning and constructing portfolios based on the clients’ stated objectives and risk tolerance. “My aim is to cultivate and build lifetime partnerships that go well beyond managing my clients’ financial portfolios,” Abinader says. “Before I make any investment recommendations for a client, we have frank discussions about what they consider important in their lives and where their passions lie.”

2. Joel Worsfold 2. Joel Worsfold

Bank: Wells Fargo
Location: Clive, Iowa
TPM: none
2014 production: $3.2 million
2014 AUM: $312.3 million
Fee business: 99%
Total years as advisor: 27

With 27 years in the financial advisory business under his belt, Joel Worsfold, senior financial advisor at Wells Fargo Advisors, could serve a lot more clients than he does. But he purposely keeps his roster to a minimum so he can maintain the standard of service that he feels is his hallmark and that allows him to constantly offer his clients “a Ritz Carlton feel with Fed Ex efficiency.” Meticulous and very organized, Worsfold has “a system for everything” and also makes it his point to know everything about his clients. “Our team wants to find out who you are, what you have, where you want to go, what you want to accomplish,” he says. “From the second you touch my parking lot until you leave me, I want to know everything about you.”

1. Russell Cesari 1. Russell Cesari

Bank: Northwest Federal Credit Union
Location: Herndon, Va.
TPM: LPL Financial
2014 production: $4.8 million
2014 AUM: $508.9 million
Fee business: 90%
Total years as advisor: 17

Russell Cesari, Bank Investment Consultant’s top-ranked advisor this year, took an unusual career path on his way to the financial advising profession. After working for 30 years at IBM, eventually as a manager for Latin American operations, he decided he couldn’t take it anymore and became an advisor, starting at the bottom. After several years spent building his practice, mostly through referrals from Northwest Federal Credit Union, he started discovering that he was getting all the business he could handle through client referrals. “My practice tends to be sort of a family thing,” he says. “My clients refer associates, friends and family members. If I have a niche, it’s working with federal government workers, current and retired, and they refer other people who work for the government.”

This is it, our signature ranking of the top 50 financial advisors in the bank channel.

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