President & CEO – Ex Officio
Dale E. Brown, CAE, is the founding president and CEO of the Financial Services Institute (FSI). Established in 2004, FSI is the only organization advocating on behalf of independent broker-dealers and their affiliated independent financial advisors. FSI’s mission is to create a healthier regulatory environment for their members through aggressive and effective advocacy, education and public awareness. FSI represents more than 100 independent broker-dealers and more than 35,000 independent financial advisors, reaching more than 15 million households.
Dale brings more than 25 years of association management experience to FSI with broad leadership in government relations and constituent advocacy. He leads FSI’s advocacy strategy, interacting frequently with regulators and policymakers in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining FSI at its launch, Dale guided the government relations, corporate and broker-dealer programs for the Financial Planning Association (FPA) and the International Association for Financial Planning (IAFP). Dale led the successful fight in the mid-1990s against the IRS’s attempts to force broker-dealers to re-classify independent contractor representatives as statutory employees.
Dale was named a Certified Association Executive (CAE) in 1995. He is a past president of the Georgia Society of Association Executives (GSAE), and a recipient of GSAE’s President’s Award in 1995 and 2001. In May 2002, Dale received GSAE’s highest honor, the Clifford M. Clarke Award, given annually to an association executive who has demonstrated exemplary personal leadership and service to his or her own association, the association community and the general community.
He serves on the board of the Business & Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC).
Dale has been recognized by Registered Rep magazine as one of “Ten to Watch” in 2005; included in Boomer Market Advisor’s “Forward Thinking Five” in 2006; and was named for seven consecutive years as one of Investment Advisor magazine’s 25 most influential individuals in and around the planning profession. He was named by Investment News as one of the Power 20 for 2012.
Dale attended the University of Georgia and graduated from Georgia State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science.
As President of Kestra Financial, Mr. Poer is dedicated to helping independent financial advisors fulfill client goals through a unique integration of technology and service. Kestra Financial serves independent financial advisory firms with varying business affiliations, including independent registered investment advisors (RIAs) and hybrid advisors.
Mr. Poer joined Kestra Financial in 2003 and has served as President of Kestra Financial since September 2008. Under his leadership, the business experienced unparalleled growth, increasing annual gross revenue by over $209 million in the past seven years. Through his support of the open architecture platform, Mr. Poer continues to position Kestra Financial as a leader in the independent financial services space. Prior to joining Kestra Financial, he held marketing and product development roles for two asset management companies and served as Director of Advisory Services for two AIG RIAs.
Mr. Poer received his Bachelor of Science from Texas Christian University and completed the Securities Industry Institute at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School. He served on the advisory boards of the Financial Planning Association and the Investment Management Consultants Association, and is a licensed registered representative holding FINRA Series 7, 24, 63 and 65 licenses.
Seth Miller currently serves as the CEO of Transamerica Financial Advisors, Inc. (TFA). Prior to working with TFA, he served for four years as President of Life Investors Financial Group (LIFG), an AEGON marketing group focused on the middle- and upper-income market, headquartered in Cedar Rapids, IA. Prior to his role with LIFG, Mr. Miller led AEGON’s Independent Producer Marketing Group, working with various national independent marketing organizations. Mr. Miller’s first position with AEGON was as Director of Business Development for AEGON Direct Marketing Services in Baltimore, MD. He came to AEGON from General Electric, where he graduated from GE’s Financial Management Program and is also a graduate of the University Notre Dame. Mr. Miller is also a retired Captain, United States Air Force Reserve. Mr. Miller, his wife Kelley, and their three young daughters reside in Tampa Bay, FL where they are active in their local school, parish, and United Way.
Shawn McLaughlin serves as president and CEO, McLaughlin Ryder Investments
With more than 30 years of investment experience, Shawn specializes in helping individuals, businesses and associations achieve their investment goals through careful and thorough financial planning. He began his career with a major regional brokerage firm where he spent 20 years building his practice. Shawn has established a reputation for delivering customized retirement plans for both medium and small businesses, as well as not-for-profit organizations and associations.
Shawn holds an Accredited Investment Fiduciary™ (AIF®) designation. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Georgetown University and remains active as a mentor to students in Georgetown’s business school. He also regularly speaks to local honor students through the Alexandria Summer Economic Institute.
Shawn has been active in the Northern Virginia business and civic communities for over 28 years, including serving on the Inova Health System Board of Trustees, the Board of Directors of Burke & Herbert Bank, the Board of Visitors of the School of Business at Marymount University. He is also the past chairman of the Inova Foundation and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Virginia College Savings Plan (VCSP). In 2014, he was appointed to the Virginia Baseball Stadium Authority by Gov. Mark Warner.
In 2003, Shawn helped establish the Alexandria Police Foundation and continues to serve as the foundation’s first Chairman. He also served on the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for over 12 years. Shawn was elected Chairman of the Board of the Chamber in 1994, and was named the 2005 Business Leader of the Year.
Shawn holds Series 7, 9 and 10, 24, 63 and 65 licenses along with his Virginia Life, Health, and Variable Life annuity insurance licenses.
Tony LaJeunesse is the founder of TL Financial Group, an independent financial planning firm where he also serves as president and chief executive officer. His firm, located in Southgate, Michigan, specializes in retirement planning for those who are about to retire or have already retired.
As a full service investment services firm, Tony and his team provide dedicated assistance to helping enrich the lives of individuals, families and business owners at every stage of life. They are committed to providing a superior level of service by developing retirement income strategies that align with their clients’ lifestyle goals and desire for financial independence. Through this commitment many of their client relationships have grown to become cherished friendships and have expanded to encompass multiple generations of the families.
Tony is licensed as a General Securities Represenatative, Investment Advisor Representative and also maintains a life and health insurance license. He is a senior partner and acts as a director on the board for Advantage Financial Group (“AFG”) a privately held partnership that also manages Advantage Investment Management, a wholly owned subsidiary. He serves on many other boards, community councils and is active in his community and charitable organizations.
Kimberly Kropp is owner/partner of Moylan Kropp Retirement Planning in Omaha, NE. She will celebrate her 20th year as an independent business owner in February 2016. She began her financial career in 1982 managing and directing two unique Financial Advisory Services including two different banks in Omaha, Nebraska in the first 14 years of her career. In 1996 she moved on to create the firm Moylan Kropp Retirement Planning which she owns today. She graduated from Wayne State College with a BA in Elementary Education and Learning Disabilities. Since starting her financial career, she has earned designations including the CFP, CHFC, CLU, and CASL. She is insurance licensed and holds the 7, 24, 63, and 65. She is a member of the Financial Planning Association, The National Association of Professional Women, and The Society of Financial Professionals. She serves on the Financial Services Institute Advisory Council, and serves as a board member on the Iowa School for the Deaf and Immanuel Charitable Council Board. Kim is married to her husband Bob and they have one daughter and one son, Chelsea and Andrew. Kim’s greatest passion – people. She loves serving others in the best way possible whether it is on the job or in her free time.
Joe Himelick MSFS, CHFC, CLU, has worked as a Financial Planner with individuals and businesses for over three decades. As the President and Co-Founder of the Himelick Financial Group, the firm’s primary focus is assisting in the realization of their clients financial objectives. The evolution and range of services provided is exemplified by Joe’s average client tenure of over 20 years, and the firm views the financial planning process as a lifelong event that includes multiple dimensions and interrelated parts.
Within the financial services industry, Joe has been engaged in a range of issues that are intended to both improve the client’s experience, while maintaining a lens that is holistic in its view of the clients evolving needs. His peers have referred to Joe as a “thought leader”, while others in the industry describe him as “driven”.
Joe has spoken at multiple national meetings, mentored various advisors and individuals, and provided training to his industry peers as well as those individuals and businesses who are interested in expanding their financial knowledge. He has also served in leadership positions in various industry associations with a keen interest in the regulatory environment.
Joe has been a recognized multiple years by Texas Monthly as a 5 Star Wealth Manager. In a larger sense, Joe appreciates the long term relationships that his clients and their families represent as part of his life.
Bill Dowell serves as Founder & President, Vision Financial Group.
Bill is a graduate of Birmingham- Southern College. After his graduation in 1978 he began his career with Protective Life Insurance Company. In 1983 he was a co-founder and principle of First Financial Center of Birmingham, Inc., serving as its President from 1987-1996. In 1996 Bill formed Vision Financial Group, Inc.
Bill is active in industry and community affairs. He was a Board member of the Birmingham Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors from 1985-1996 and served as its President in 1993 and 1994. He has served on Birmingham-Southern`s Alumni Board since 1980 and was its president from 1990-1992. He is also a charter member of the Endowment Builders Society for Birmingham-Southern. Bill was a board member of the Alabama Planned Giving Council from 1993 to 1999 and served as its President in 1997. He has served in various PTO Board positions at Inverness Elementary, Oak Mountain Middle and Oak Mountain High School. In 2001 Bill was the Shelby County chairperson for the United Way campaign, helping raise over $600,000 for the various agencies of United Way in Shelby County.
Bill and his wife Sandra have been married since 1979 and have two daughters, Logan and Crawford. They attend Asbury United Methodist Church. His hobbies include traveling with family and friends, golf, hunting and fishing.
As president of Raymond James Financial Services, Mr. Curtis directs Raymond James’ independent contractor and financial institutions businesses that combined include 3,250 retail financial advisors and generate over $1.3 billion in annual revenues. He was promoted to his current position in January 2012 following six years as senior vice president of Raymond James & Associates Private Client Group where he was responsible for directing numerous initiatives focused on revenue growth, margin enhancement, service improvement, and risk mitigation. Scott joined Raymond James in February 2003 as president of Raymond James Insurance Group. Scott spent the prior thirteen years of his career with GE Financial Assurance in a variety of senior leadership roles – including as national sales director for mutual funds and annuities and as president of the firm’s FINRA-registered broker/dealer.
Kent Christian serves as president of Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, where he sets strategic direction for the management, satisfaction, retention and organic growth of Wells Fargo Advisors’ independent financial advisor business.
Kent spent the majority of his professional career at Bank of America Corp., serving in various leadership and management capacities in capital markets, retail securities and private banking for the company and its predecessors. He then moved on to become executive vice president of Sales and Marketing for Plan Member Financial Corporation, and then became national sales director at Raymond James Financial Services, where he managed the activities of more than 4,300 independent advisors nationwide. In 2005, he joined Wachovia Securities (now Wells Fargo Advisors) to serve as president of the firm’s Independent Brokerage Group, and, three years later, was asked to lead the Financial Services Group, where he provided executive leadership for the firm’s investment, advisory and banking products, research and advice, as well as the client and FA platform.
Kent is a graduate of Duke University with a degree in Economics and holds Series 7, 24, 53 and 63 registrations.
Kent currently serves as a board member for the Financial Services Institute. He has also served on the executive committee and board of directors for SIFMA. Kent is a prior board member of the United Way of Greater St. Louis and the United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg.
Co-founder of the Capital Investment Companies and has served as an executive officer and principal of the companies since 1984. He has been in the financial services industry since 1982 and graduated from NC State with a BA in Business Management. Richard is married with two children and enjoys traveling, sports, music and cars.
Valerie G. Brown is Executive Chairman, Advisor Group, Inc., one of the nation’s largest networks of independent financial advisors with over 5,000 independent advisors and approximately $160 billion in client assets under management. Advisor Group provides comprehensive broker-dealer services, technology, and advisory programs through its four registered broker-dealers and Registered Investment Advisors: FSC Securities, Royal Alliance Associates, SagePoint Financial, and Woodbury Financial Services. Before assuming her current position, Ms. Brown served as Chief Executive Officer of Cetera Financial Group from the company’s formation in 2010 until its sale in 2014. In 2009 she led the spin out of the Cetera companies from ING to Lightyear Capital. Prior to Cetera, Ms. Brown was chief executive officer of ING Advisors Network, having previously served as its president for five years.
Ms. Brown currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Financial Services Institute. She has previously served on the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association Board of Directors, the membership and District 7 committees of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and the Blackrock Equity/Bond Funds Board of Directors. Ms. Brown has been honored with a number of industry awards. She is actively involved in charitable arts organizations and a member of C200, an invitation-only membership organization of the world’s most successful women business leaders. Ms. Brown holds a bachelor’s degree with high scholarship in chemical engineering from Oregon State University and a master’s degree in business administration from Stanford University.
Adam Antoniades is President of Cetera Financial Group. Prior to this role, Mr. Antoniades was President and CEO of First Allied, where he was instrumental in driving the strategic direction of the firm. As one of First Allied’s founding members, he also spearheaded several strategic acquisitions including the 2002 sale of First Allied to Wells Fargo.
Prior to First Allied, Mr. Antoniades held senior management positions at major financial institutions around the globe including Berkeley Administration Inc., a foreign currency retail trading organization, in Belgium and A. J. Bekhor and Company, an independent financial services company, in the United Kingdom.
David Knoch, CIMA serves as President and Chief Operating Officer for 1st Global. After joining the company in 2000, Mr. Knoch was promoted to his current role in 2008, with a focus on continuing the growth of the company’s capabilities for its affiliated CPA firms, as well as for the CPA profession as a whole. In his role, Mr. Knoch has direct oversight for 1st Global’s Wealth Management, Consulting, Investment Management, Research, Marketing, Service, Operations and Technology Services organizations. In his life, Mr. Knoch stands for creating better outcomes and fostering in others the courage to do the same.
Mr. Knoch is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and currently serves on the board of its North Texas Chapter. He is also a member of the Financial Services Institute (FSI) and served on its Board of Directors in 2009. Mr. Knoch has a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and is a Certified Investment Management Analyst professional.
John came to Commonwealth in 1988, after spending five years as a vice president at Moseley Securities in Boston. Arriving to work in the Product department, he handled mutual funds, partnerships, commodities, variable annuities, qualified plans, and individual issues. Over time, he has helped to engineer the growth of not only the Product department, but also of Commonwealth as a whole. He is relied upon by all parties for his advice and perspective on the direction of the firm.
John opened and now manages Commonwealth’s West Coast office in San Diego. He has been a guest on numerous television shows and nationally syndicated radio programs, and he is regularly called upon for his expertise by the financial industry’s trade publications. John is a graduate of Colby College with a BA in government, and he attended Harvard Business School’s Owner/President Management Program. He also holds FINRA Series 3, 7, 24, 63, and 65 registrations.
Immediate Past Chair
President and CEO of Cambridge Investment Research with over 25 years of industry experience, Amy Webber’s commitment to independent rep-advisors is demonstrated in her passion for delivering high level personal service and leading management solutions.
Amy’s personal interest lies with continually refining the independent broker-dealer model to best support the next generation of the financial services industry – including the creation of innovative programs such as the Cambridge Source outsourcing program, Cambridge’s New Century Council group, and the Cambridge Next Step™ internship program. In addition to the next generation, Amy’s profile showcases her passion for supporting women advisors in the financial services industry including the annual Cambridge Women Advisors Forum.
Her executive accomplishments include significant initiatives – such as the current development of WealthPort, Cambridge’s strategic integration of the managed account experience for advisors and their clients; the implementation of an industry-leading social networking pilot program; the introduction of BEST Service Standards and a white-glove Partner Support Center; as well as the ongoing commitment to helping advisors successfully navigate the ever changing regulatory landscape.
Amy’s management expertise includes leadership in compliance, finance, human resources, marketing, operations, service, and technology. In May 2012, she was recognized as a member of the IA25 by Investment Advisor magazine and in 2011, 2010, and 2009 as one of the “Top 50 Women in Wealth Management” by Wealth Manager. Amy holds FINRA Series 79, 24, 6, 62, 63, and 99 licenses.
Dean Harman, CFP® has been practicing in the financial services industry since 1994. He operates Harman Wealth Management, Inc. LLC. in The Woodlands, Texas. Harman Wealth Management Inc. LLC. specializes in working with clients who are business owners, executives and sports coaches.
In 2006 Dean purchased Estate Resources, a financial planning, RIA and asset management firm in Houston, Texas, which he merged into Harman Wealth Management Inc. LLC. In 2010 he purchased ETF Plan, Inc., and asset management, RIA firm which also merged into Harman Wealth Management Inc. LLC. He serves on the Advisory Board’s of Genworth Financial , Sagepoint Financial, The Financial Services Institute and The College of Business and Behavioral Sciences at Clemson University .
Dean is regularly quoted in the media and has been featured in: The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Newsweek, Kiplinger’s, Smart Money, CBS Market Watch, Men’s Health, Yahoo Finance, Google Financial News, Retire Smart, The Players Club, The Journal of Financial Planning, Investment News, Investment Advisor, H-Texas and local media. He also had an appearance in the movie Tin Cup.
He is a graduate of Clemson University where he played football from 1987-1991. Following college he had a brief stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1992 and 1993 before starting his career in financial planning.
Chair of the Board
Dick has 30 years of experience in the financial services and legal fields. He has served since 2006 as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. (NYSE MKT: LTS), headquartered in Miami, Florida and has been instrumental in guiding that firm’s evolution into a leader in the independent broker dealer and advisory space. Ladenburg engages in independent brokerage and advisory services, investment banking, equity research, institutional sales and trading, asset management services and life insurance brokerage through its principal subsidiaries, Ladenburg Thalmann & Co. Inc., Investacorp, Inc., Triad Advisors, Inc., Securities America, Inc., KMS Financial Services, Inc., Securities Service Network Inc. and Highland Capital Brokerage Inc., which together have approximately 4,000 financial advisors and approximately $125 billion in client assets.
Dick also serves as Executive Vice President of Vector Group Ltd. (NYSE: VGR), a holding company that is engaged through subsidiaries in the real estate, tobacco and investment businesses, and as President and Chief Executive Officer of Castle Brands Inc. (NYSE MKT: ROX), a developer and marketer of premium branded spirits. He is a director of Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc., Castle Brands Inc. and Douglas Elliman Realty, LLC. Dick is a member of the Florida Bar and has served as Chairman of its Securities Law Committee.
Previously, Dick was an investment banker at Salomon Brothers Inc, where he was a Managing Director in the Leveraged Finance Group, and a partner and co-chairman of the Corporate Department at the Steel Hector & Davis law firm.