We’re delighted to announce the winners of the inaugural RIA Intel Awards, a celebration of financial advisors, wealth management firms, and industry leaders that are impacting the investment community, their clients, and their employees in significant and innovative ways. Winners will be honored in-person at upcoming RIA Institute Forums and will be the subject of future feature stories on RIA Intel.
Advisor of the Year
Jacky Petit-Homme, Founding Partner and Wealth Advisor, Liberty One Wealth
A first-generation son of Haitian immigrants, Petit-Homme took a leap in 2021 when he left a stable career at Merrill Lynch to co-found a wealth management firm in Philadelphia with two partners. In that short period, his firm has grown to serve roughly 120 households with about $75 million in AUM. He tells clients that his goal is to be the “CFO of their family,” and is dedicated to making financial literacy more accessible — which is the mission of a nonprofit he hopes to launch in 2023.
RIA of the Year – Less than $1 Billion AUM
Launched in 2016 by a group of former J.P. Morgan professionals, the Los Angeles-based firm (which has about has about $630 million in AUM) provides athletes, entertainers, individuals, and families access to alternative investments across several asset classes, including private equity, venture capital, real estate, private debt, traditional equity, and fixed income.
RIA of the Year – More than $1 Billion AUM
Founded in 1998 by CEO Rick Kent, Merit made several acquisitions in the last 12 months to grow its AUM to more than $6.5 billion. The Atlanta-based, multigenerational RIA has 28 offices across the U.S. and, in addition to traditional wealth and retirement planning, is focused on working with people who are going through transitions such as career changes, divorce, and widowhood.
Retirement Plan Advisor of the Year
The firm is committed to offering its 3,200 employees across the U.S. an inclusive working environment and an experience that will help them develop and thrive both personally and professionally, so that they can better serve more than 85,000 employers and millions of individuals with insurance, financial services, and HR platform solutions.
RIA Growth Leader of the Year
With more than 275 employees across dozens of offices in the U.S., Beacon Pointe has continued its growth trend and acquired several RIA firms over the last 12 months. With AUM of about $26 billion, it is the largest RIA firm headed by a woman — CEO Shannon Eusey.
Most Innovative Technology of the Year
The well-known software platform — which has been used by many advisors, asset owners/managers, and other investors since late 2019 to perform a variety of advanced portfolio analytics and factor-based risk analysis — continued its evolution in 2022, partnering with Coinbase Institutional and building on its 2021 collaboration with Northern Trust.
Most Innovative Firm of the Year
The firm’s organic growth is distinct from the M&A path chosen by many other large RIAs. Its ability to achieve that growth is due in large part to its deeper consideration of how various generations of investors think and act, and the subsequent leveraging of technology to create desirable solutions that appeal to Millennials, Gen Z, and other generations. This insight was all part of founder Stewart Mather’s vision long before Covid forced most advisors to reconsider how they communicate. Sadly, Mather passed away in 2020 at the age of 42, but his philosophy still resonates across the firm, under the leadership of CEO Chris Behrens.
New Practice of the Year
Alexander Legacy Private Wealth
Jacqueline Campbell was running a $1.8 billion investment team at Chase in 2019 when she decided to make good on a 20-year dream to start her own firm. A Carson Group partner RIA with about $3 million in AUM, her company is dedicated to helping individuals and families build, protect, and transfer generational wealth.
CEO of the Year
Lori Van Dusen, CEO and Founder, LVW Advisors
Lori began her investment advisory career in 1987 with Shearson Lehman Brothers. In 2011, she founded LVW Advisors, an RIA firm serving both wealthy families and individuals, as well as nonprofits, throughout the U.S. She serves on the boards of several philanthropic organizations that are focused on urban education, health, and art.
CIO of the Year
Jack Ablin, CIO and Founding Partner, Cresset
Ablin leads the multi-family office’s investment strategy and provides investment policy and philosophy guidelines to its advisor teams and clients. Moreover, Ablin has embraced his role as an investment thought leader, consistently providing insights in a voice that inspires trust and confidence.
Industry Advocate of the Year
Carina Diamond, Chief Experience Officer, Dakota Wealth Management
Diamond spent the better part of two decades as a managing director at SS&G Wealth before launching her own RIA, Springside Partners, which was acquired by Dakota Wealth in 2019. She provides leadership and mentoring to client advisors at Dakota Wealth and to her own clients. Dakota CEO Peter Raimondi describes her as “a real entrepreneur, a business-builder who’s excited about the future.”
Client Advocate of the Year
Ka’Neda Bullock, President and Founder, Master Plan Investment Group
A former Fulbright Scholar who taught middle school in South Korea, Ka’Neda Bullock makes it her mission to educate current and future clients on building generational wealth. Most of the families she works with are first generation wealth builders, who will transfer assets to adult children who need to be prepared to steward the resources. She frequently speaks at elementary schools and nonprofits to encourage women of all ages to consider careers in finance.
Asset Manager of the Year
Founded in 1981, Dimensional has more than 1,400 employees across 14 global offices with approximately $575 billion in AUM (as of June 30, 2022). Dimensional is committed to providing RIAs with comprehensive 360-degree support across their businesses, including client-driven investment solutions and a practice management function designed to help RIAs improve the practices and services they provide to clients. Among many things that stand out at Dimensional, its commitment to enhancing shareholder value through vigorous stewardship is particularly impressive. In the 2021 proxy year alone, the firm voted on 171,904 proposals at 19,246 meetings.
ESG Advocate of the Year
Jay Lipman, Co-Founder and President, Ethic
As a teen, Lipman contracted malaria while volunteering at an orphanage in Africa and was forced to return to England. This led him to realize that he could make a greater systemic impact by focusing his efforts in other ways. In 2015, that experience helped him create Ethic, which currently serves more than 135 advisory firms and has about $2 billion in AUM.
Rising Stars of the Year
Josh Crawford, Vice President of Coaching, Matson Money
After an injury derailed his plan to be a professional athlete, Josh Crawford interned for Ohio-based Matson Money and then joined the firm in 2014. He “fell in love with the mission, the purpose, and the message of sharing the science and academics of investing” and now educates families and other investors to look at their money — and their futures — in new ways.
Liv Gagnon, Co-Founder, Choir
In January 2022, Gagnon, 31, co-founded Choir, which is working to elevate the voices of women, non-binary people, and people of color in the financial industry by increasing their presence in the high-profile platforms of conferences and media. More than 300 professionals have already signed a pledge created by her firm, promising to only attend conferences that include diverse speakers and experts.
Arynton Hardy, Wealth Advisor and CEO, Hardy Capital Investments
When he left Merrill Lynch to start his own firm in 2019, Hardy, now 28, wanted to address needs that other RIAs were overlooking, which led him to seek clients who were “doing things differently,” including entrepreneurs, athletes, and influencers. His firm now has about $25 million in AUM.
Kristopher Martin, Vice President and Wealth Advisor, Element Pointe Advisors
A former concert promoter turned family office advisor, Martin joined the multi-family office RIA in 2017. Since his arrival, Element Pointe has grown from about $300 million in AUM to more than $705 million and increased its client count from 20 to 50 families.
Adam Phillips, Partner and Managing Director of Portfolio Strategy, EP Wealth Advisors
Adam Phillips joined EP Wealth Advisors in 2014, when it had 20 employees and about $1.5 billion in AUM. Since then, the firm has grown to 265 employees (105 of whom are advisors) and about $15 billion in AUM, and Phillips has overcome his discomfort with public speaking to become the public face of the firm.
Arvette M. Reid, Client Services Director, SEIA
Coming off a long career in tech, senior housing, and healthcare, Reid joined a Los Angeles-based RIA, Signature Estate & Investment Advisors (SEIA), in 2017 and, along with senior partner Tom West, created the firm’s Lifecare Affordability Plan. She speaks frequently on handling the financial issues involved in caring for aging parents.
Marina Shtyrkov, Associate Director of Wealth Wanagement, Cerulli Associates
Dancing at the Boston Ballet school for a decade gave Shtyrkov insights into data analysis, as both pursuits require a deep devotion to process. She joined Cerulli Associates in 2015, after college, and found she could use data to tell compelling stories. At 29, she now manages and mentors a team of younger analysts and has developed a strong research focus in diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Dan Wanous, Business Development Officer, Thrivent Advisor Network
A New Year’s Eve party helped Wanous land an internship that sparked his passion for wealth management. At Thrivent, he serves as resource for financial advisors either already practicing independently or looking to become independent. An avid reader of researcher Brené Brown, he credits her insights with changing his views on almost all relationships in his life.
Sara Wendt, Investment Advisor, Miracle Mile Advisors
Since joining Miracle Mile Advisors as an intern in 2012, the firm has grown from four to 42 employees, and currently has $2.9 billion AUM. Now a director, Wendt makes it a point to give all younger team members, regardless of age or title, opportunities to prove themselves and advance.
Vanessa Wieliczko, Partner and CIO, HoyleCohen
Starting her career in the financial industry in 2008 – shortly before the Financial Crisis -- Wieliczko obtained her Chartered Financial Analyst, Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst, and Certified Financial Planner designations before age 30. In 2017, she was recognized in the Investment News “40 Under 40,” and she recently served as the president of the CFA Society San Diego.
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