Finance & Investing is pleased to announce our Financial Advisors of Austin for 2022. The city of Austin has earned a reputation as a technology hub, most recently attracting billionaire Elon Musk, who built Tesla’s latest gigafactory in the city. Austin is already famous for companies like Dell and Oracle, each of which is headquartered here and scored spots on last year’s Fortune 500 list. Not surprisingly, Austin ranked as the second-fastest growing city in the United States this year with a 4.3% increase in GDP in the first nine months of 2022, surpassed only by San Francisco, according to a report by the American Growth Project, an initiative by UNC’s Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise. As Austin’s economy continues to flourish, this year’s advisors have played an important role in assisting its individuals and families across a variety of financial matters.
Among them, we would like to recognize Monica Bellner, Vice President and Financial Consultant with Charles Schwab, who as a former member of the high-net-worth group, uses her experience and knowledge to create modern plans to enable the financial health and habits of her clients. Jonathan Dayton, Senior Vice President, Financial Advisor and Senior Portfolio Management Director at Morgan Stanley, utilizes a broad range of planning techniques and investment solutions to implement a plan to help grow and preserve his client’s wealth. Also featured is Susan Palombo, a Financial Advisor and Senior Vice President at Baird, who in addition to a career in financial services is making a difference in her community by serving at Impact Austin, an organization that funds nonprofits in Central Texas.
Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of Finance & Investing’s Financial Advisors of Austin for 2022.
SVP, Financial Advisor & Senior Portfolio Management Director, Morgan Stanley
Jonathan Dayton is a SVP, Financial Advisor, and Senior Portfolio Management Director at Morgan Stanley. He first joined the firm in 1998. Morgan Stanley mobilizes capital to help governments, corporations, institutions and individuals around the world achieve their financial goals. A consistent industry leader throughout decades of dramatic change in modern finance, Morgan Stanley continues to break new ground in advising, serving and providing new opportunities for its clients. Dayton focuses on comprehensive wealth planning, tax efficient discretionary portfolios to help grow and preserve wealth, and straightforward, personalized solution-based advice for busy individuals and families
Previously, Dayton was a financial consultant at Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith. He has been named on the Forbes Magazine Best-in-State Advisor list multiple times. Dayton earned an undergraduate degree in business, finance, and economics from the University of Minnesota.
Financial Advisor & Managing Director, Ameriprise Financial Services
Richard Dunagan is a Financial Advisor and Managing Director at Ameriprise Financial Services. His goal is to help clients feel confident, connected and in control of their financial lives. With over three decades of experience, Dunagan specializes in investment management, executive compensation and benefits, retirement planning, ESOs, saving for education, wealth preservation, and tax planning strategies. Ameriprise Financial is a powerhouse in financial services, with over 10,000 advisors and a history that goes back more than 125 years. The firm, which oversees $1.2 trillion in AUM, prides itself on customized advice and solutions to help clients reach their financial goals.
Dunagan first got his start in 1991 as a SVP and wealth advisor at Smith Barney. From there, he went on to Wells Fargo Advisors, where he spent the next decade and a half of his career as a full-service wealth advisor and portfolio manager. Dunagan graduated from Texas Tech University with an undergraduate degree in international trade & economics.
Registered Principal & Financial Planner, LPL Financial
Joel Pezzano is a Registered Principal and Financial Planner at LPL Financial. LPL is a leader in the retail financial advice market and is the nation’s largest independent broker and dealer. The firm serves independent financial advisors and financial institutions, enabling them to provide personalized guidance to millions of American families seeking wealth management, retirement planning, financial planning and asset management solutions. Pezzano is a financial executive with 30 years of detailed training and experience to assist in any aspect of an individual or companies investment and financial planning needs.
Pezzano began his career in 1992 as an EVP of investments at A.G. Edwards & Sons. He graduated from Bowling Green State University with an undergraduate degree in interpersonal and public communication.
Financial Advisor, Springs Wealth Group of Ameriprise Financial Services
Monte Vanstavern is a Financial Advisor at Springs Wealth Group of Ameriprise Financial Services. Springs Wealth Group is passionate about helping clients live the full and rich life they’ve earned. Integrity has been a core value since they were founded by John Tappan in 1894. They have more than $1.2 trillion in AUM and administration. Vanstavern focuses on saving for education, family finances, retirement planning strategies, intergenerational planning, and charitable giving, among other areas.
Before joining Springs Wealth Group, Vanstavern served as a financial advisor at Investment Professionals. He graduated from Texas Tech University with an undergraduate degree in education and speech.
View the complete list of awardees.
Financial Advisor, LPL Financial
Irma Hampton is a Financial Advisor at LPL Financial. She first joined the firm in 2013. With decades of experience in financial services, she helps wealthy individuals, families, entrepreneurs and business owners make intelligent decisions with their money to secure their financial futures on their terms. LPL is a leader in the retail financial advice market and is the nation’s largest independent broker and dealer. The firm serves independent financial advisors and financial institutions, enabling them to provide personalized guidance to millions of American families seeking wealth management, retirement planning, financial planning and asset management solutions.
Previously, Hampton was a managing partner and wealth advisor at Atlantic Capital Partners. Before that, she was employed by Ameriprise Financial Services as a financial advisor, VP, CRPC, accredited domestic partner advisor. She also worked for Raymond James and UBS, among other firms. Hampton earned an undergraduate degree in English, biology and anthropology from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Co-Founder, Strategic Capital powered by Waterloo
Chris Hernandez is a founding partner of Strategic Capital in Austin, Texas. His focus is on income distribution planning for individuals/families and helping them gain clarity on what’s possible in retirement. In a financial services career that began at Citibank in 2005, Chris has seen a lot of progress and innovation since becoming independent in 2008. In 2017, he realized that he could have a bigger impact on many of the clients he was advising through education. Most of his clientele were asking similar questions and didn’t have the clarity they desired, or even a broad understanding of the different facets of their financial health - the cornerstone for Strategic Capital was born.
Strategic Capital was crafted to provide insight, education, and cohesion for those looking for help discovering what realistically can be expected and what is possible with the right planning. The world class team that drives Strategic Capital utilizes innovative technology like Newton, an AI neural network that analyzes historical data, coincidental indicators, and current market data to anticipate market fluctuation. Having insights into market trends in real time can help experienced advisors make exceptional money management decisions and clients benefit in real time. These best-in-class financial advisors in Austin also crafted a private alternative investment portfolio that allows sophisticated investors to benefit from a fully customizable wealth management approach. The firm sets itself apart from other firms in the industry with attention to detail, strong fundamentals and an exceptional track record - as can be seen by their high number of five-star reviews on Google. Strategic Capital, under leadership from founding partner Chris Hernandez, helps people understand their financial health, crafts strategic goals, and serves clients with expertise, a broad portfolio of opportunities, and sees not only what’s on track, but also what’s possible in business and retirement with the right resources, and the right advisor.
Owner & Founder, Martin Wealth Management
Anthony Martin is the Owner and Founder of Martin Wealth Management, LLC, an independent firm that helps clients with strategic decision-making and retirement planning. He takes charge of all investment management, financial advice, and estate planning concerns with his clients. Hehas over 19 years of experience in the financial services industry, and most of his career has been with LPL Financial. He holds his Series 7, 66, and 24 securities licenses, as well as his Life and Health insurance licenses.
Anthony loves being able to help his clients navigate the labyrinth of financial planning and create solutions that solve their specific needs. He is dedicated to academic rigor and holds multiple degrees from the University of Texas at Austin, Yale University, and the Institute of Business & Finance, earning membership in the Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and Golden Key Honor Societies. When not helping clients, Anthony is an active classical musician who plays French Horn with professional orchestras around Texas. He loves spending time with his family and playing piano and tennis with his children.
Senior Wealth Advisor, Comerica Bank
Lisa Hutter is a SVP and Senior Wealth Advisor at Comerica Wealth Management. She believes her most important skill is listening and spends time learning about each client and their families to help ensure they are reflected in their financial pursuits. Comerica’s Wealth Management division serves the needs of high-net-worth clients and institutions. The firm’s 8,000 employees focus on relationships as well as helping people and businesses to be successful.
Hutter is a former practicing trust and estate attorney. She is an alum of Vanguard, where she worked as an associate counsel, and was later employed at Merrill Lynch. Next she served as a Financial Advisor and Financial Planning Specialist at Morgan Stanley before joining Comerica Bank. She is a graduate of Binghamton University and Seton Hall University School of Law and also holds a Master of Laws in Taxation from Villanova University School of Law.
Financial Advisor, Wealth Management Division, HilltopSecurities Investment Banking Solutions
The LaBorde, Sims & McMahan Wealth Advisory Group’s clients are afforded by more than 35 years of wealth management and banking experience. LaBorde and his colleagues bring a team approach by combining both financial knowledge and experience with a fervent desire to help clients identify their true goals and needs in order to develop and maintain custom-tailored strategies addressing all aspects of their clients’ financial well-being.
In addition to PrimeLending, a leading nationwide mortgage originator with offices throughout the United States and PlainsCapital Bank, the fourth largest Texas-based bank, HilltopSecurities rounds out the trio of HilltopHoldings Companies. With 75 years of experience and a network of dedicated financial advisors, individuals and institutions pursue their most important financial objectives from coast-to-coast through the guidance of HilltopSecurities. As a licensed broker-dealer and the nation’s third-largest clearing firm, the company’s modern, robust trading platform, cutting edge market insights, and leading technology solutions provide the tools and resources to serve clients to the fullest. Prior to joining HilltopSecurities, LaBorde was a financial advisor with Wells Fargo Advisors and BBVA Investment Solutions. He earned his undergraduate degree from Louisiana State University.
Financial Advisor, Edward Jones
Austin Locklear is a Financial Advisor at Edward Jones. He focuses on helping a select group of families and business owners develop and implement comprehensive financial strategies. Using an established process, and the extensive tools at his disposal, Locklear works with clients to create strategies that will help them accomplish their financial goals. Edward Jones is a Fortune 500 firm that employs nearly 19,000 financial advisors who in turn serve more than 8 million clients. The firm, $1.7 trillion in client assets under care, is committed to helping more people achieve financially what is most important to them.
Locklear graduated from The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology with a MA in Christian studies and from Texas A&M University with an undergraduate degree in philosophy.
Financial Advisor, Coinbase
Gregory Garza is the Financial Advisor of Coinbase, a digital currency wallet and platform where merchants and consumers can transact with new digital currencies like bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. He advises clients on the crypto market and futures and specializes in bitcoin, Ethereum, and Monero. Coinbase’s vision is to bring more innovation, efficiency, and equality of opportunity to the world by building an open financial system. Their first step on that journey is making digital currency accessible and approachable for everyone.
Garza has 14 years of career experience. Before joining Coinbase, he was an account manager of public accounts at Dell EMC and prior to that was in business and consumer sales at Dell. Garza graduated from the University of Texas San Antonio with an undergraduate degree in business administration.
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Financial Advisor & Senior Vice President, Baird
Susan Palombo is a Financial Advisor & Senior Vice President at Baird. She first joined the firm in 2020. Baird, founded in 1919, offers wealth management, investment banking, asset management, institutional sales and trading, equity research, public finance and private equity services. Baird, which oversees more than $415 billion in assets for clients globally, employs more than 4,800 associates. Palombo assists multigenerational families in pursuing their goals and objectives. Serving the needs of family offices, their foundations and endowments, and family members, she goes beyond assisting institutional clients build portfolios.
Previously, Palombo was a SVP and wealth management advisor at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. She earned an MBA from the Carlson School of Management, the business school of the University of Minnesota, and an undergraduate degree from The University of Texas at Austin.
Financial Advisor, First Command Financial Services
Christopher Dentinger is a Financial Advisor at First Command Financial Services. He first joined the firm in 2002. As a First Command Financial Advisor, Dentinger is committed to helping his clients pursue their financial goals and lifetime dreams by bringing sound financial knowledge and trustworthy advice to a lasting relationship with each individual and family he serves. Since 1958, First Command's reputation has been built on shaping positive financial behaviors through face-to-face coaching with hundreds of thousands of client families. They embrace time-tested financial principles and a client-first philosophy, advocating consistent saving, disciplined investing, and a thoughtful insurance strategy to manage financial risks.
Dentinger first got his start in 1999 at TD Ameritrade. From there, he went on to Sunset Direct before joining First Command Financial Services. He is a member of the Financial Planning Association and holds Series 6, 63 and 65 securities licenses plus state life, health and property and casualty insurance licenses. Dentinger graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with an undergraduate degree in finance.
SVP & Financial Advisor, D.A. Davidson Companies
Jim Woodcock is a Senior Vice President and Financial Advisor at D.A. Davidson Companies. He first joined the firm in 2022. Woodcock takes a holistic approach to investing, saying it’s more than just stocks and bonds or buying low and selling high. To him, it's strategically planning for the future and enabling clients to live confidently right now. For its part, D.A. Davidson identifies and evaluates market trends, investment ideas and business opportunities and turns them into actionable insights and strategies. D.A. Davidson was founded in 1935 as a small brokerage firm and has grown into a diversified financial services company comprising seven distinct business units across the U.S.
Previously, Woodcock was a VP and Financial Advisor at Hilltop Securities and before that worked as an associate VP and Financial Advisor at Raymond James Financial. He also spent over six years at Morgan Keegan & Co. as a Financial Advisor. Woodcock earned an undergraduate degree in psychology from The University of Texas at Austin. He has experience volunteering with the Big Brother Big Sister Foundation.
Financial Advisor, North Star Resource Group
Shaun McDuffee is a Financial Advisor at North Star Resource Group. He is one of seven officers responsible for shaping the company’s direction. North Star is a Minneapolis-based financial services firm that provides individuals, families and businesses with the resources needed to create, preserve and protect their wealth. With a network of 170 advisors in 22 states, North Star has contributed to the financial security and well-being of over 140,000 individuals. McDuffee is one of the original founders of North Star’s Medical Division. He has specialized in assisting physicians and their families since 1990, and his guidance has been critical in helping thousands of physicians overcome the financial challenges unique to their career.
McDuffee has 32 years of career experience. He graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison with an undergraduate degree in marketing, finance, management, and political science.
Wealth Manager, UPSTREAM Investment
Steve Kao is a Wealth Manager at UPSTREAM Investment. He first joined the firm in 2021. Upstream Investment Partners is a full-service financial consulting firm dedicated to helping advisors work with their clients to invest wealth and help manage their hard-earned assets. The firm is independent. It is a privately owned, nationwide company created to provide an independent environment with an open architecture of platforms and products.
Previously, Kao was a financial advisor at Morgan Stanley and prior to that served as a strategy manager at Citi. Earlier in his career, he worked with Bank of America as a commercial banking credit analyst. Kao earned an MBA in finance and global business from the NYU Stern School of Business and an undergraduate degree in international relations and affairs from Tufts University.
Executive Wealth Manager, Genesis Wealth Management
Trammell Cooper is an Executive Wealth Manager at Genesis Wealth Management. He first joined the firm in 2020. Cooper adheres to the principle “people first” in everything from wealth management to community service. Genesis Wealth Management brings expertise across all areas of wealth management. The firm offers seasoned guidance on investments, taxes, business succession, executive compensation, trust and estate planning, life insurance, and much more.
Previously, Cooper was a senior wealth manager at USAA Wealth Management, where he spent 12 years of his career. He earned an undergraduate degree in history from Texas State University, and an undergraduate degree in e-commerce from Texas State Technical College Waco. Cooper is a Certified Financial Planner practitioner and Certified Trust and Financial Advisor.
Partner and Financial Advisor, Griffin Financial Group
Jet Carter is a Partner at Financial Advisor of Griffin Financial Group. He works with single individuals, families, widows and divorcees to manage their investments while helping them plan for and maximize their retirement. Carter’s approach to planning helps clients organize and strengthen every area of their financial world. Griffin Financial Group’s goal is to help its clients make mindful and informed financial decisions, and give them the peace of mind to enjoy life. They have developed and refined a process to help people put all the pieces of the financial puzzle together and align their finances with what's important to them. They call it their GFG process: Gather, Formulate, Guide.
Before joining Griffin Financial Group, Carter was an assistant VP of business consulting at Kestra Financial. Prior to that, he worked as an advisory consultant at LPL Financial. Carter graduated from Texas A&M University with an undergraduate degree in economics.
View the complete list of awardees.