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Our team

Joseph J. Duran, CFA, Chief Executive Officers

Joseph J. Duran

CFA ® , Chief Executive Officer

Joe Duran is Chief Executive Officer and a founding partner of United Capital. A bestselling author and widely recognized expert in the field of entrepreneurship, Joe was previously president of GE Private Asset Management (formerly Centurion Capital Management). During Joe's tenure as the business leader at GE Private Asset Management and Centurion Capital, he created valuable firms with nationwide coverage, built unique investment solutions and consummated many multi-million-dollar acquisitions. Joe has actively raised capital from three private equity funds (Grail Partners, LLC, Putnam Lovell Partners and Bessemer Venture Partners) to invest, among these firms, over 45 million dollars of capital.

Joe is a leader in the financial industry and listed as the "Ten to Watch List” in 2012 by Registered Rep. He is fueled by his passion to change the industry and improve lives by empowering people to make better, more informed financial decisions. A frequent presenter across the country, Joe holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation and received MBA degrees from Columbia University in New York and the University of California at Berkeley. He did his undergraduate work at Saint Louis University earning a BS in Finance and Marketing.

He is the author of three nationally published books: Start It, Sell It and Make a Mint: 20 Wealth Creating Secrets for Business Owners (Wiley and Sons, 2004), and The First Time Investors Workbook (McGraw Hill, 2001). His recently published third book, The Money Code: Improve Your Entire Financial Life Right Now, reached best seller status on both The NY Times and USA Today . Joe is a frequent contributor to a wide variety of media outlets, including CNBC, FOX Business, Bloomberg TV and radio, CNN and dozens of radio shows. His articles have appeared in over a hundred magazines and he has been featured on numerous websites.

 
Gary L. Roth, Chief Financial Officer

Gary L. Roth

Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Roth is responsible for execution of the company's business plan and for coordination among the key operational functions of the company. He serves on the Executive Committee and on the board of directors of UCFA. Prior to joining United Capital, Mr. Roth was a co-founder and senior executive of AssureNet Ltd., a leading Internet application service provider for the insurance and financial services industries.

Mr. Roth spent more than seven years at AssureNet, in leadership positions in marketing, sales, operations, corporate development and capital formation. Prior to that, Mr. Roth spent two years managing the brokerage and bank business channels for E-Z Data, Inc., a major provider of contact management and practice management solutions for financial services professionals.

Mr. Roth holds MBA degrees from the Columbia University Business School in New York, New York and the University of California at Berkeley, Haas Business School in Berkeley, California. He earned a BA in History, cum laude, from Columbia College, Columbia University.

 
Gail Graham

Gail Graham

Chief Marketing Officer

Gail is responsible for United Capital’s strategic marketing, brand development and lead generation to support the firm’s rapid growth in advisers and retail clients. United Capital is a company dedicated to improving the lives of its clients by guiding them to make better, more conscious financial decisions. Using engaging, interactive and empowering processes and systems, United Capital is changing the financial services experience for both advisers and investors.

Like everyone else at United Capital, Gail is inspired by this purpose which drives all marketing efforts. In addition to the core communications, advertising and PR functions, her team runs digital and social marketing efforts. Advisers in United Capital offices are able to tap into extensive growth support programs including turnkey marketing resources, coaching, local direct mail and seminar campaigns, and national lead generation programs.

Gail joined United Capital after nearly a decade at Fidelity Investments where she initially led marketing for high net worth investors and retirees. She later joined Institutional Wealth Services (IWS), Fidelity’s custody business, as Marketing EVP where she developed the IWS brand, launched major programs for practice management and adviser recruiting, and consulted directly with RIAs on their marketing strategies.

An award-winning marketer with a passion for serving investors, Gail left Fidelity to join United Capital’s executive team in 2012. She’s a wife, a mom, a horse lover and a huge believer in United Capital’s purpose and vision.

 
Rob Brown

Rob Brown

PhD, CFA®, Senior VP, Chief Investment Strategist

As United Capital’s Chief Investment Strategist, Senior Vice President, Rob leads discussion of macroeconomic, capital market, and behavioral finance decision- making issues with clients, business partners, and the press. He provides thought leadership for investment product development and evolution, asset management strategy, and prospective macroeconomic and capital market assessment, in order to assure that United Capital’s investment platform best supports its more holistic approach to wealth management and advice planning. Rob provides the inspiration, leadership, and experience that enable the United Capital research team to better understand and more effectively communicate the primary causal elements defining the current secular investment and macroeconomic environments.

Rob is a senior level investment professional with over 25 years of experience in portfolio management for large, sophisticated foundations, endowments, pensions, and the ultra-high net worth. Prior to United Capital, he held senior level executive positions with Genworth Financial, SEI, Envestnet, and the CFA Institute where he directed the ongoing development of the educational curriculum for the CFA certification program and its examination.

While at Genworth Financial, Rob served as the Chief Investment Officer directing a $7.5 billion institutional portfolio of domestic and international securities. At SEI, he worked as the Managing Director of SEI’s Research Department that supported the wealth management needs of over $300 billion of pension, endowment, and foundation assets under advisement. At Envestnet, Rob served as the Chairman - Investment Policy Committee, Executive Vice President, and Senior Managing Director - Consulting Division for PMC International (later acquired by Envestnet) where he led the investment decision making for a $3.3 billion portfolio. Rob also worked in the public sector where he held the position of Chief Investment Officer for one of our nation’s larger state public pension plans, the Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System.

Rob has a PhD in Finance from Northwestern University and MA degrees in Economics from both Northwestern University and the University of Maryland at College Park. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst and a member of the Financial Management Association. Rob has completed Six Sigma Quality Control training with General Electric and holds GE’s Green Belt process management designation. He also maintains his NASSA/FINRA Series license.

Rob’s publications have appeared in the Journal of Derivatives and Hedge Funds, Journal of Investing, Journal of Investment Consulting, Pensions & Investments, FA Magazine, RIA Central, On Wall Street Magazine, Royal Alliance Associates Sourcebook, Bank Investment Consultant, Investment News Magazine, London Financial Times, and Journal of Financial Planning.

 
Jason Del Col

Jason Del Col

Senior Vice President, Advisory Services

Jason serves on United Capital Executive Committee and is focused on the management and strategic development of United Capital's core business offerings as well as the overall positioning of the firm. Jason is focused on delivering next generation wealth management, practice management and business optimization services on top of centralized, high powered infrastructure. Jason's team is also responsible for transitioning and working with firms to ensure that they actualize their potential as an investment advisory practice as well as working on regional office and enterprise level business development activities.

Prior to joining United Capital Jason worked at FundQuest as a member of the firms Operating Committee and as the Managing Director of Business Analysis and Product Development. Jason joined FundQuest as part of the founding team and focused on delivering customized investment advisory platforms and products to banks, broker dealers, RIA's, insurance companies and bank trust departments. During Jason's time at FundQuest, the firm grew from $60 million in assets under management to over 170 employees and $45 billion in assets when it was sold to BNP Paribas.

Jason also worked at Banc of America Investment Services where he worked with high net worth clients. Jason was responsible for day to day client contact as well executing trades in equities, mutual funds, fixed income and derivatives products. Prior to this Jason co-founded LowDel systems, a web based transaction processing firm.

Jason earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bard College. Licenses Obtained: FINRA Series 7, Certified Presenter – Decker Communications 2013

 
Matt Brinker

Matt Brinker

Senior Vice President, Partner Development and Acquisitions

Matt is a member of the Executive Committee and is responsible for growing United Capital via strategic partnerships and acquisitions of select wealth management companies around the county. Matt is focused, through a proprietary evaluation method, assessing the cultural and business match of a potential partner firm to ensure United's ability to improve the business. Matt's team is also responsible for the design and execution of the partnership agreement and integration into United Capital.

Before joining United Capital, Matt was founder and President of Kelly Consulting Group, LLC., a San Francisco based company that provided outsourced "COO” functionality to emerging  and start-up hedge funds. Matt managed a team dedicated to providing structural guidance, technology cost analysis, human capital acquisition and growth strategies to firms with $1.5 billion AUM. Prior to that, Matt was a registered marketing associate for Citigroup/Smith Barney where he provided prime brokerage solutions, enhanced leverage, institutional sales coverage and capital introduction to emerging hedge fund managers. Prior to joining Citigroup/Smith Barney Matt was a junior investment advisor for J. Daniel Brinker & Company; a Denver, Colorado based investment advisory firm that services high net worth individuals nationally. As an intern and post undergraduate Matt wore multiple hats in the middle and back office and client facing functions.

Matt holds a BA in Economics and Minor in Finance from the University of Colorado, Boulder and obtained his MBA from University of California, Irvine Paul Merage School of Business.

Matt is a former Division I soccer player and qualifier for the USAT Triathlon National Championships and continues to be very active with his wife and two children. They spend their free time skiing, surfing and traveling.

 
Michael Capelle, MBA, Senior Vice President, Platform and Technology

Michael Capelle

MBA, Senior Vice President, Platform and Technology

Mr. Capelle is a founding member of United Capital, responsible for the firm's investment platform, and a voting member of the Investment Committee and Executive Committee. In these roles he oversees portfolio development, manager review, investment operations and overall vendor management. Prior to joining United Capital, Mr. Capelle worked in private asset management, performing investment management and financial planning services. Prior to 2000, Mr. Capelle worked at Intel Corporation for ten years, where he held various positions within business planning, operations, and engineering.

Mr. Capelle earned an MBA at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he also graduated with an MS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He has a BS in Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois in Urbana, Illinois, and has passed the NASAA Series 65 Investment Advisor Law exam.

 
Mike Herman

Mike Herman

Chief Compliance Officer

Mike serves on United Capital's Executive Committee and is responsible for overseeing day-to-day compliance and regulatory oversight for United Capital Financial Advisers and PFE Advisors Inc. Mike's responsibilities include conducting an Annual Review of United Capital and PFE Advisors, Advertisement and Marketing reviews, SEC exam preparation, Anti Money Laundering supervision, and Policy & Procedure Manual and Code of Ethics maintenance. Additionally, he is responsible for addressing any regulatory and client inquiries.

Prior to joining United Capital, Mike served as the Chief Compliance Officer for The Financial Services Network based out of Northern California, supervising over 250 licensed financial representatives. Mike also worked for Citigroup for 6 years serving in various roles, including supervising financial representatives in Southern Californian, as well as acting as a senior trainer and service representative out of New York City. Mike has over 15 years of experience in the financial services industry, having filled various roles, including being a financial adviser, to supervising staff and providing support to hundreds of advisers and thousands of clients.

Mike holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology from the State University of New York at Albany. He holds FINRA Series 3, 4, 7, 24, 31, 53 and 63 securities licenses and the NASAA Series 65 Uniform Investment Adviser Law Exam.

Mike enjoys international travel, photography and spending time outdoors.

 
Karen H. Marchak

Karen H. Marchak

Senior Vice President, People & Organization

Karen is responsible for United Capital's human resources, training and development and providing support to the operations function within the regional offices. In this role, she oversees all people management functions that allow United Capital to recruit, hire, develop and retain the ‘best in the business' talent for the organization. Additionally, she works with the operations functions within the offices to help integrate all employees into the United Capital culture.

Prior to joining United Capital, Ms. Marchak worked in a variety of industries including insurance, cellular phone service, hospitality, healthcare and spent the last twelve years in Auto Finance. Ms. Marchak earned a Masters degree in Organizational Leadership at Chapman University and a Bachelors in Organizational Behavior at University of San Francisco.

Karen enjoys spending time enjoying wine country with friends and vacations travelling through Europe.

 
David L. Hallman, CFA®, Senior Vice President, Wealth Services

David L. Hallman

CFA ® ,Senior Vice President, Wealth Services

Mr. Hallman holds overall responsibility for the Wealth Services Department, which encompasses investment management, investment operations and advice. Mr. Hallman is responsible for the design, implementation and monitoring of United Capital's investment and advice platforms, as well as the company’s investment operations. Mr. Hallman also serves as the Chairman of United Capital's Investment Committee. Prior to joining United Capital, Mr. Hallman worked for several firms as an adviser and portfolio manager, and has extensive experience in both equity and fixed income management as well as asset allocation modeling.

Mr. Hallman directs the Advice/Investment Forum, Core Investment Committee and the Monthly Investment Strategy Session, and is responsible for the agendas for these three meetings. He is also responsible for numerous United Capital writings, including the United Capital Quarterly Perspective, the Monthly Investment Committee Outlook and the Weekly Talking Points. Mr. Hallman earned a BBA and MBA from the University of Texas at Austin and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA ® ) designation.

 
Caryn Westman, Senior Vice President/Corporate Secretary

Caryn Westman

Senior Vice President/Corporate Secretary

Ms. Westman is a founder of the firm and is responsible for corporate governance. Prior to joining United Capital, Ms. Westman was the corporate secretary for United Capital Partners, LLC and previously served for 10 years as corporate secretary, director of compliance, and regulatory compliance consultant for Centurion Capital Group Inc., parent to Centurion Capital Management Corp. and Centurion Trust Company.

Ms. Westman also previously served as a consultant on compliance and corporate governance matters to GE Private Asset Management, Inc. and GE Financial Trust Company (now Genworth), after Centurion was acquired by GE Financial Assurance Holdings, Inc. in 2001Ms. Westman holds a Master of Arts in Secondary Education/Art and English endorsements and a Bachelor of Arts in English/Writing, both from Drake University.

Ms. Westman holds an MA in Secondary Education/Art and English endorsements and a BA in English and Writing, both from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. She also holds FINRA Series 7, 24, and 63 securities licenses and the NASAA Series 65 Uniform Investment advisor Law Exam.

 
Sam Miller, CFA®, Associate Vice President, Investment Management

Sam Miller

CFA ® , Associate Vice President, Investment Management

Sam is part of the Investment Management team at United Capital. He is responsible for supporting advisers on portfolio construction and investment strategy education and best practices. Additionally, he provides leadership on the Advice Investment Forum and platform strategic initiatives. Prior to joining United Capital, Sam worked for several investment advisory firms, holding portfolio manager and investment analyst roles.

Sam earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a MBA degree from the University of Chicago with concentrations in Finance, Accounting, and Econometrics. He also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

In his spare time, Sam enjoys playing tennis, beach football, and basketball, spending time with his wife and cheering on Chicago sports teams (except the Cubs).

 
Todd Eklund

Todd Eklund

CFA® Investment Analyst

As a member of the investment management department, Todd orchestrates investment management and research functions across the enterprise. He collaborates with the investment team to conduct portfolio management, research, and manager due diligence. Todd writes and produces a variety of periodic investment content to communicate our economic outlook, portfolio strategy, and product development efforts to our clients and wealth advisers. He also helps to showcase United Capital’s investment solutions and services to new partner firms, and coordinates transition plans for integration in the area of investment management. In addition to these responsibilities, he helps to drive actionable enhancements to our processes and platform for continuous improvement.

Prior to joining United Capital in 2009, Todd worked in the Annuity and Mutual Funds division at the home office of Pacific Life in Newport Beach. Todd graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from San Diego State University, and has earned the distinction of Chartered Financial Analyst.

 
Sean Filbin

Sean Filbin

Investment Associate

Sean works on the Investment Management team at United Capital. His responsibilities include providing support to the investment team department members, assisting outside portfolio managers and supporting the operational and investment needs of our regional offices.

Prior to joining United Capital, Sean competed in the Student Managed Investment Fund for the CFA of Orange County Society. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Long Beach State University.

Outside of work, Sean enjoys surfing, playing guitar and plays in several sport leagues.

 
Allen Darby

Allen Darby

National Director of New Partnerships

Allen is responsible for New Partner Development at United Capital. He leads United Capital's strategic partnerships and acquisitions of select wealth management companies throughout the eastern half of the country. Using United Capital's proprietary evaluation method, Allen can quickly assess the cultural and business match of a potential partner firm to ensure United Capital's ability to improve the business and enhance the potential partner's quality of life.

Allen joins United Capital after a successful career as owner and operator of an investment advisory practice that served high net worth clients in the South East. As a previous owner of an investment firm for more than a decade, Allen is uniquely qualified to assist investment advisers vet the myriad of complex issues they deal with in their own practice and identify where United Capital can enhance their experience.

Allen was biology major at Wingate University in North Carolina where he was a former linebacker on the Bulldog football team. Allen enjoys cooking and traveling with his wife and two children. Allen resides in Charlotte, NC.

 

Brian Church

Director of East Coast Recruiting

Brian works with the Managing Directors in the East to develop strategy and create new growth opportunities for their respective regions. Before United Capital, Brian was a Divisional Vice President at AXA Advisors in charge of growth initiatives in the state of Tennessee. Brian was also recently the National Sales Director for a hedge fund company and aggregating wealth management firm called Capital L Group. Brian joined Capital L in September of 2009 and led the rebranding of the company as well as the new firm's growth from $40 million in assets under management to over $250 million in his first 12 months of service. The RIA Rollup and Investment Manufacturer grew to $1.6 billion in assets over their first 24 months of existence.

Mr. Church has a history of success in Sales Management, Recruiting, Mergers/ Acquisitions and Compliance. Brian has also successfully created three profitable companies over the last six years, one of them being sold for a substantial gain for shareholders in 2010. Brian currently serves on the Financial Planners Association Board and is Chairman of the Board for the Youth Life Foundation of Tennessee benefiting underprivileged children. Brian has a B.A. degree in Economics from Hampden-Sydney College, holds a Certificate of Financial Planning from Belmont University and is a Registered Principle with series 24,7,6,63,65 qualifications.

Brian lives with his wife Kimberly and their son Brian Timothy Church II in Franklin, TN. Mr. Church is very involved in the community as well as his church. He is an avid golfer and enjoys public speaking and writing in his spare time.

 
Casey Harrison

Casey Harrison

Project Coordinator, Acquisitions

Casey is responsible for coordinating and organizing the recruiting of new advisers and anchor firms within the Acquisitions department. She has a background in project management, database functionality and customer service. Casey hopes to streamline the recruiting process by making sure all potential United Capital acquires are properly tracked and the transition from recruit to United Capital employee is as smooth as possible.

Casey's professional background includes positions at the Chicago Medical Society, Boston Consulting Group and the University of Advancing Technology. In her previous position at the University of Advancing Technology, Casey managed the Fulfillment department which was responsible for executing marketing campaigns to prospective students and tracking their success.

Casey graduated with honors from Ripon College in Ripon, WI with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics and Government.

An avid reader and bargain shopper, Casey lives in Irvine with her husband Mark, their little boy Trevor and feisty cat Linus.

 
Mark Ciucci

Mark Ciucci

Senior Vice President of Advice

Mark Ciucci is currently responsible for field advice implementation at United Capital Financial Advisers, Inc. In this role, he assists in recruitment efforts for candidate acquisitions, as well as the subsequent training in the UCFA advice and deliverable models.

Prior to joining UCFA, Mr. Ciucci was a partner in the firm of Bommarito & Associates, Inc. (formerly Bommarito, Ciucci & Associates, Inc.), a comprehensive financial planning and advisory practice and franchise of American Express Financial Advisers, Inc., which managed a total of $350 million in client assets. Mr. Ciucci's experience also includes fifteen years in field management with American Express Financial Advisers, Inc., with a final position of Divisional Vice President in charge of field operations in the Greater Michigan Division.

Mr. Ciucci is a Certified Financial Planner TM .

 
Dee Morgan

Dee Morgan

National Director of Recruiting

Dee is responsible for leading United Capital’s recruiting efforts. The recruiting team provides our prospective advisers with best in class consultative guidance and keen insight on how being affiliated with United Capital may enhance their business. Dee has over 20 years of experience in our industry as a leading recruiter, successful adviser, and branch manager. Dee has helped hundreds of top advisers from a myriad of business models successfully move and enhance their practice.

Dee came to us from SagePoint Financial where he was the Senior Vice President of Recruiting and led the recruiting team of one of the largest independent broker dealers in the US. Over the last year he personally recruited over 7 million in GDC and led his team to a 20% increase over prior year results. Previous to SagePoint, as the Senior Vice President Director of Business Development and Recruiting for Williams Financial Group, Dee successfully designed and built a recruiting platform from the ground up that added over 120 new advisers representing over 25MM in GDC that led to the firm being recognized by Financial Planning magazine as one of the fastest growing independent broker dealers in the US. Previous to his roles in recruiting Dee also received numerous production awards as a financial adviser and manager.

Dee resides in the Dallas area with his wife of 18 years and their three boy’s ages 10, 7, and 5. Dee enjoys coaching and the opportunity to bring a positive impact to a child’s life. Additionally, Dee enjoys playing golf, fishing with his boys, and as a self-proclaimed technology and gadget addict enjoys building computers and photography.

 
Candice Carlton

Candice Carlton

Manager of Field Relationships

Candice Carlton is The Manager of Field Relationships at United Capital and is responsible for leading strategic projects to drive growth in Regional Offices. Candice works closely with The Advisory Council on driving initiatives to support collaboration and alignment between all United Capital Offices and Executive Leadership. She also leads United Capital’s Field Operating Committee ensuring efficient coordination of resources in managing National Offices.

Born in Zimbabwe and educated in South Africa, Candice graduated from the University of Cape Town with Bachelors in Finance and Economics before moving to Santa Barbara, California. She joined United Capital after 7 years at Mercer Advisers, a National RIA with 15 Offices and $4.5 Billion under Management. At Mercer Advisers, Candice gained a depth of experience managing not only the Operations Team and Trade Desk but also spearheaded strategic initiatives including a technology platform change, retail referral program set up and a $2 billion custodian transition.

In her spare time Candice can be found in yoga studios across Southern California, studying Ayurveda and spending time at the beach.

 
Michael Kelley

Michael Kelley

Business Development Associate

As the Business Development Associate, Michael Kelley is responsible for recruiting new advisers to United Capital offices in the West Coast region. He also supports the advisory team in analyzing prospective recruits, and is involved in Business Development with United Capital strategic partners to support the entire recruiting effort.

Michael has over 13 years of experience in the financial services industry, starting on the floor of the Pacific Coast Stock Exchange in Los Angeles. Prior to joining United Capital, Michael worked with an independent registered investment adviser based in Los Angeles. Michael was also responsible for Business Development and was a member of the Investment Committee. Before discovering the freedom of the independent advisory industry, Michael was a “Market Structure Expert” at UNX Inc. in San Diego. Michael established an agency trading desk from scratch, executing equity trades for institutional investment managers.

Michael earned is BA in Management and Information Systems from Loyola Marymount University. He holds his FINRA Series 7, 55, 63, and 65 licenses.

Michael enjoys spending time with his family in the surf and sun of San Diego. His favorite activities include surfing, snowboarding, mountain biking, golf, and travel. He also cheers on the Lakers, Dodgers, and Chargers.

 
Danielle K. Barnard

Danielle K. Barnard

Project Coordinator, Advisory Services

Danielle is responsible for coordinating and organizing the recruiting of new advisers within the Advisory Services department. She has a strong background in strategic event and project management, database functionality, technology, and customer service.

Joining United Capital in December 2012, Danielle comes to the firm after spending two years at the University of Southern California as the Office Coordinator in the Office of the Provost. Danielle’s professional background also includes administrative positions at Lamar University, University of California Irvine, supervisor for an upscale day spa, and an office internship for Texas Congressman Ted Poe.

Danielle received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Political Science from Lamar University.

In her spare time, Danielle is an avid Houston Texans fan and social butterfly who enjoys exploring her new home in Southern California, traveling, and managing successful Orange County women’s networking group of over 600 members.

Danielle lives in Costa Mesa with her husband Noah and their two Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies, BlueBelle and HaagenDazs.

 
Leslie Dunham

Leslie Dunham

Vice President, Marketing and Brand Management

Leslie's responsibilities at United Capital include developing and executing a clearly defined marketing and communications strategy in a manner that supports consistent business growth and enhances brand equity and awareness. She manages all marketing functions to achieve the Company objectives of sales, growth, profitability and visibility while ensuring a consistent marketing message and position consistent with the corporate direction.

Her 17 year marketing career began at Merrill Lynch Asset Management, Private Portfolio Group in their headquarter offices in Plainsboro, New Jersey. She has overseen corporate communications, social media and branding for a wide variety of industries gaining valuable creative knowledge along the way.

Leslie studied communications at Seton Hall University for three years before transferring and graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing at Monmouth University. She obtained her Series 7, 63 and 65 licenses while working at Merrill Lynch.

In her spare time Leslie enjoys spending time with family and friends. She is a devoted Dallas Cowboy football fan and enjoys going to the wine country and attending live jazz concerts.

 
Sheri Smith

Sheri Smith

Vice President, Sales and Lead Generation

Sheri is responsible for leading the strategy and execution of organic growth programs at United Capital. Her expertise lies in developing lead generation and sales systems that generate qualified prospects, sales conversion and retention.

Sheri brings nearly 20 years of experience in marketing and sales, including 10 years in the financial services industry. Prior to joining United Capital, she worked for an investment advisory firm based in Scottsdale, Arizona with offices located across the country. As an Executive Vice President at her prior firm, Sheri led the organization’s marketing and business development efforts. Her team helped advisers grow their practices through marketing programs, training and support for more than 40 offices nationwide.

Sheri's industry experience also includes working within large financial services organizations such as Charles Schwab Advisor Services and New York Life. As a Registered Representative and Roundtable member with New York Life, Sheri offered educational financial workshops for women and developed systems for providing exceptional client experience and service. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Dominican College. Licenses Obtained: FINRA Series 6 and 63.

Sheri enjoys hiking, kayaking and wine tasting in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she lives with her husband, Jonathan and their golden retriever, Paige.

 
Sarah Benedix

Sarah Benedix

Marketing Associate

Sarah works closely with the Vice President of Marketing and Brand Management on the planning and execution of United Capital’s marketing and communications strategy. She is responsible for managing the company intranet, corporate and regional office websites, merchandise and collateral stores, internal newsletter and the onboarding of new acquisitions and tuck-ins. She also provides assistance on daily marketing projects and initiatives, and acts as a liaison between the field offices and the department by assisting with marketing efforts at the local level.

Prior to joining United Capital, Sarah worked as a legal clerk and marketing assistant at Seyfarth Shaw LLP, a labor and employment law firm in Los Angeles. She also gained experience in marketing as an intern for the Communications and Public Affairs department at the Transportation Corridor Agencies in Irvine. Sarah graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication and Political Science from California State University, Fullerton.

In her spare time, Sarah enjoys reading, running on the beach, hiking, drinking wine and spending time with her six younger brothers.

 
Katie Johnson, Vice President, Operational Excellence

Katie Johnson

Vice President, Operational Excellence

Katie is responsible for the assessment of training needs, planning, implementation and management of the training program, talent and career development. The overall goal of Katie's role at United Capital is to ensure that the personnel systems and the training and development comes together to build employee trust and productivity resulting in improving the overall employee experience at United Capital.

Katie previously served as a client relationship manager for Signature Estate and Investment Advisors. She was an instructor at California State University, Long Beach teaching Public Speaking, Interpersonal Communication and Small Group Communication. She received her MA in Speech Communications with an emphasis in Social Science Research from California State University, Long Beach in 2005. She received her BA in Speech Communications from California State University, Long Beach in 2003. She is FINRA Series 7 licensed.

Katie is an avid UCLA Football fan and looks forward to the college football season every year. She also enjoys traveling internationally and has enjoyed her experiences in Greece, China and Spain.

 
Casey Bates

Casey Bates

Director of Field Transitions

Casey is responsible for promoting overall firm profitability by assisting UCFA's Regional Offices' in the execution of operational and practice management procedures. He works directly with the Managing Partners and staff of each office to make recommendations on, and assist in the implementation of actionable plans that help create greater efficiency, higher productivity, and an increased level of service to their clients. In addition, Casey project manages the asset transitions for UCFA's new partner relationships. He serves as a liaison between the newly acquired firms, their custodians', and the Newport office during the integration process.

Casey brings with him over 10 years of experience in the financial services industry. Previously he held a management position at Stabil Capital Management, Inc, a boutique investment management firm that became one of United Capital's initial acquisitions. He retained the role of Practice Manager at that Regional Office for three years before joining the corporate management team in 2008.

Casey holds a BA in Finance, graduating Cum Laude from Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi. He subsequently received a certificate in Financial Planning from Texas A&M University, Commerce and is licensed with a Series 65.

Casey is an avid Football fan, favoring the Denver Broncos as he was born and raised in Colorado. He is also the drummer for Beryl Grady, a band based out of Houston Texas that currently recording their second CD.

 
Shanelle Grisso

Shanelle Grisso

Training Manager

Shanelle Grisso is responsible for helping to support the day to day compliance needs of United Capital's Regional Offices , including reconciliation and surveillance of various monthly, quarterly and annual requirements. On a daily basis, Shanelle works closely with the Regional Offices answering general compliance questions relating to the execution of new business.

Shanelle began her career at United Capital in March 2009, supporting the transition of new offices. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 2010 from California State University Long Beach, graduating with a degree in English with an emphasis in Communications. Shanelle is currently pursuing her Series 7 and 24 exams.

In her spare time, Shanelle enjoys spending time with her family, going to concerts and being outdoors.

 
Asma Malik

Asma Malik

Manager, People and Organization

Asma joins United Capital with five years of experience in Human Resources. Prior to joining, Asma worked in the Finance Department at Capital Group and has previous experience in HR with AGO Corporation. Among her many responsibilities, Asma is responsible for managing Payroll, Benefits, 401(k), ADP WorkForce Now, and Terminations.

Asma received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology from the University of California, Irvine and is currently pursuing the PHR designation.

In her free time, Asma enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and photography.

 
Brandon Gage, Senior Vice President

Brandon Gage

Senior Vice President of Technology

With more than 20 years of experience in technology, Brandon Gage brings a specialized knowledge of project design for every project at UCFA. As SVP of Technology, Brandon works alongside other departments to understand their technology needs to create high powered, scalable solutions that deliver lasting results. A true believer in the efficiency that technology can bring, Brandon is constantly researching ways to keep United Capital ahead of the curve. His technical expertise and strong problem-solving skills assure UCFA leverages technology to create more effective and efficient open architecture platform.

Since helping start UCFA in 2005, Brandon's work with team members has earned him a reputation of excellence and expertise. Brandon leads by example and successfully oversees the Technology and development teams while providing personalized, quality service to other departments.

Brandon earned a bachelor's of science in Information Technology. He gives back to the community through his involvement in a variety of causes including, Portsmouth Township Fire Department, and licensed foster parent.

 
Derek McCauley

Derek McCauley

Technology Support Manager

As well as overseeing the day-to-day technology operations of the corporate headquarters in Newport Beach, California, Derek ensures that United Capital is at the forefront of Technology through extensive research, dynamic thinking, and due diligence. With a background in technology and customer service extending back many years, Derek brings a unique toolset to the company that makes him adept at bringing United Capital's infrastructure into the future. He also maintains all vendor relationships, handles procurement, and oversees the support desk for all of UC.

Derek joined United Capital in September of 2009 as an Intern in Lubbock, Texas while attending Texas Tech University. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major of Management Information Systems. After graduating in May of 2010 Derek relocated to Orange County to work full-time.

Derek previously held an internship with his alma mater, Ralls Independent School District, located in Ralls, TX in which he assisted in a one-to-one Mac initiative. During this ground-breaking rollout, 300 MacBook laptops were given to all teachers in the district and every high school student in order to revolutionize the classroom environment.

Derek enjoys watching movies, going camping on Catalina Island, riding his cruiser down to the beach, and spending time with his amazing group of friends.

 
Reid Clark

Reid Clark

Technology Consultant

Reid wears many hats at United Capital. He facilitates and implements special projects from inception to reality for the Platform & Technology team, as well as managing all existing office upgrades and relocations. In addition, Reid implements and maintains new internet installations, phone systems, firewalls, and copiers for all offices throughout United Capital. Reid works with the Acquisitions team to perform the essential task of transitioning all new offices and recruits to United Capital's standard IT platform. This includes working with existing email, files, computers/servers, phone systems/numbers, and legacy programs. Reid has held virtually every technology position over his 12+ year career, and he brings a unique combination of knowledge, work ethic, and never-say-never attitude to accomplish all of his projects. Reid frequently travels and employs many other departments, resources, and vendors to accomplish his mission-critical functions.

Reid joined United Capital in May of 2008 working directly with Brandon Gage as the sole Helpdesk Technician. While attending University of California, Irvine, Reid's technology knowledge and subsequent roles quickly grew into the position he holds today. After finishing his Bachelor's degree in Networking & Security, Reid transitioned fully into his specialized role in UC, creating a new technology position in the process.

In his spare time, Reid enjoys flying planes, breaking every piece of electronics he owns (and some he doesn't), traveling to places where his cell phone will not work, and spending time with his fiancé. Furthermore, Reid and Technology Support Manager, Derek McCauley are good friends outside of the office, and frequently spend the weekends roaming the streets of Old Town Pasadena where Reid currently resides.

 

John Mathew

Technology Support Manager

Joining United Capital in May 2012, John brings United Capital over 15 years of technology experience. He is responsible for overseeing technology for the Dallas based hub, working with human resources for the onboarding of new employees, training and researching cutting-edge technologies, and overseeing help desk support for the entire company.

Prior to joining United Capital, John worked for several prestigious companies such as Hewlett Packard, ExxonMobil and Chase Bank. He worked as a Tech Support Assistant Manager for Coban Technologies from 2007 to 2012 and was responsible for training, support, and testing hardware and software. John worked closely with the software team to improve the quality of the products they deployed. He studied Computer Information Systems at the University of Houston.

A long time Texas resident, John enjoys spending time with his family, friends and new baby. In his spare time he likes to ride his motorcycle and play with his dog, Angel.

 
Jason K. Cutler

Jason K. Cutler

Associate Vice President of Compliance

Jason's prime responsibilities with United Capital include the supervision of the Regional offices and overseeing the testing and monitoring of key aspects of the firm's investment platforms and trading activities.

Joining United Capital in early 2013, Jason comes to the firm from Harris Associates L.P. where he spent over four years as an Investment Compliance Manager focusing on the supervision and monitoring of their Investment Management and Investment Advisory Departments. Prior to his time at Harris Associates, he has worked as a member of Compliance and/or Business Risk for a number of prominent asset management companies, including Henderson Global Investors, Fidelity Investments and Friends Ivory & Sime.

Jason received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a focus in Finance from the University of Connecticut.

In his spare time, Jason is an avid sports and outdoors enthusiast who enjoys classic movies, fine wine and globetrotting around the world. His passion for traveling has taken him to over 40 countries, however nothing says "Home" to Jason like spending quality time with his family and friends.

 
Phila Lee

Phila Lee

Compliance Manager

Phila Lee is responsible for supporting the day to day compliance needs at United Capital, which include reviewing advertising material, email surveillance, monitoring personal securities transactions, and tracking registration requirements. He works closely with Regional Offices on a daily basis, answering general compliance related questions.

Prior to joining United Capital in November 2013, Phila worked as a Compliance Principal for National Planning Corporation, an independent broker-dealer headquartered in Santa Monica, California. He also spent time as a Junior Researcher at the Science and Technology Policy Institute, a South Korean government funded economic think tank where he edited internationally published academic papers. Phila received his BA in Business Economics from Wheaton College in 2008. He currently holds his FINRA Series 7 and 24 licenses.

Born and named after the city of Philadelphia, Phila is an avid Philly sports fan. He also enjoys playing basketball, writing, watching film, and training his cat Dora new tricks.

 
Cindy Burns

Tony McCuaig

Senior Vice President and Controller

Tony is responsible for managing the day-to-day accounting functions of the Finance Department, which includes monthly and year end reporting, cash management, tax compliance, managing the audit process and various other special analyses.

Tony has over 30 years of accounting and finance experience. He began his career in the UK, primarily in the Retail Auto industry. From 1980 to 1986 he lived in Australia working as an accountant in the Resources industry. From 1986 to 1996 he lived in The Netherlands and worked in the Entertainment industry as CFO and Managing Director of a group of music companies. In addition to financial management he was responsible for recording, publishing, merchandising and touring activities of highly successful groups of musicians.

In 1996 he moved to Los Angeles and was the CFO of a music publishing company. In 1999 he joined Centurion Capital Management Corp. as Director of Accounting and later became CFO until the company was acquired by GE in December 2001 and became GE Private Asset Management Inc.. After this acquisition he held the position of Sourcing Leader until June 2003 and then worked on consulting projects dealing with Sarbanes Oxley issues for a number of medium sized public companies until joining United Capital in February 2007.

Tony holds a Bachelor of Business (Accountancy) degree from Queensland University of Technology and qualified as a CPA in Australia. In addition to this he has a Diploma in Business Studies and is a qualified Company Secretary (ICSA) in the UK.

 
John Gray

John Gray

VP Accounting

John is responsible for day to day operations of the Accounting Department, which includes financial reporting, billing, payroll and accounts payable for over 30 offices around the country. Prior to joining United Capital John was the Vice President, Controller for Pictage, Inc., a leader in providing an online platform for marketing, selling and fulfilling professional photo products and servicing over 11,000 professional photographers worldwide. Prior to that, he spent four years as an Assistant Controller for National Mobile Television and four years as an Accounting Manager with L-3 Communications Security and Detection Systems, a leading supplier of security detection systems for airports, transportation centers, ports, and borders.

John graduated from California State University, San Marcos with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Major in Accounting. He also served four years in the United States Marine Corp as a Military Police Officer and is a Gulf War veteran.

In his free time he enjoys hanging out with his family, golfing and taking family vacations to Maui.

 

Wendy Rodriguez

Director of Accounting

As Senior Accountant, Wendy is responsible for assisting in the preparation of the Financial and Operating Reports of United Capital and managing United Capital's Accounts Payable. In this role, she examines and prepares financial records, reports, and supporting documentation for the Balance Sheet and Profit/Loss Statements, as well as, supervising the accounts payable process.

Wendy has more than twenty years of progressively responsible financial accounting experience. Prior to joining United Capital, Wendy served as Director of Finance & Human Resources at a privately-held corporation which focused on software for patient care and pharmaceutical services. That position, and one of Accounting Manager for a manufacturer of software/hardware for the aerospace industry, afforded Wendy the opportunity to expand her knowledge of GAAP and led her to coordinate more than 10 year-end audits performed by Ernst & Young and Peat Marwick (KPMG).

Wendy attended California State University in Fullerton, California where she received a Bachelors Degree with a dual focus in Accounting and English.

 
Jaime DeGaspe

Jaime DeGaspe

Senior Accountant

Joining United Capital in 2012, Jaime comes to the firm from Deutsche Bank where she spent over four years as a Senior Hedge Fund Administrator specializing in portfolio accounting, partnership accounting, and client servicing for multiple hedge funds. Prior to Deutsche Bank, she spent two years as a Portfolio Accountant for Putnam Investments, located in Boston, MA.

Jaime received her BS in Business Administration with a focus in Marketing and Management from the University of Massachusetts in 2005. She is currently working towards her MS in Accounting.

Jaime's responsibilities with United Capital include, analyzing and distributing financial statements to management and regional offices, administering the Corporate AMEX Card Program, preparing & distributing the Envestnet Quarterly Billing Reports to the regional offices, assisting with the annual financial statement audit and respond to regional office accounting questions.

In her spare time, Jaime enjoys spending time with family and friends. She enjoys running and has completed one full marathon, and six half marathons. She is also a dedicated Boston sports fan.

 
Austin Lenarduzzie

Austin Lenarduzzi

Staff Accountant

Austin is responsible for supervising all United Capital’s accounts payable. He is also responsible for managing all aspects of fixed assets, prepaid expenses, and notes payable. In addition, he assists with balance sheet reconciliations and responds to regional office accounting questions.

Prior to joining United Capital, Austin worked in a similar role with the Irvine Company’s resort division as a staff accountant where he prepared balance sheet reconciliations and worked closely with the executive team in managing labor. Prior to the Irvine Company, he worked in accounts receivable for Marriott. Austin earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance from San Diego State University.

Austin is an Orange County native who has also lived in San Diego and Santa Cruz. He enjoys traveling, hiking, camping, and the ocean. Austin also loves spending time with his amazing nieces Isabelle and Audrey.

 
Cindy Burns

Natalie Perkins

Accountant

Natalie is responsible for all UCFA accounts receivable. She processes and properly allocates advice, asset management fees, insurance, and commission revenues.

Natalie began her career at United Capital in August of 2006. She received her BA in 2006 from the University of California, Irvine, graduating with a major in Sociology and a minor in Psychology and Social Behavior.

Natalie loves to travel and has been to Europe three times. She also enjoys riding her beach cruiser in Newport and spending quality time with friends.

 

Stephen Clary

Investment Operations Representative

Stephen Clary is responsible for Investment Operations within Wealth Services, ensuring successful coordination of corporate and third-party organizations. His expertise involves providing workflow solutions for regional offices, investigating compliance issues, and promoting corporate integration at the tactical level. He also supports strategic endeavors by providing vision for operational growth.

His previous experience includes business sales, government consulting in the intelligence sector, and non-profit consulting. He has also served with United States Army Special Operations from 2004-2007.

Stephen holds a Master’s Degree in Leadership from Dallas Theological Seminary where he graduated with honors in 2012. He graduated with a degree in Communications (cum laude) from St. Cloud State University and Business from New Mexico Military Institute. Finally, he holds various certificates from his military service.

In his spare time, Stephen enjoys investing in people. He is a current member of the Army Reserves within the Chaplain Corps, and partakes in other ministry endeavors within the local Dallas community. He also enjoys occasional swing dancing, golf, playing music with friends, and running.

 
Jarrod Upton

Jarrod Upton

CFP®, Director of Financial Planning

Jarrod is responsible for developing and advancing advice and financial planning initiatives for United Capital. In addition, he oversees training, education, and implementation of advice and UCFA client deliverables. He is also responsible for the overall management of the Advice Department. The Advice Department produces client deliverables and regional office support documents. They also support the development and design of new client deliverables and enhanced resources for the Regional Offices. Jarrod is a resource to the Regional Offices for advice and financial planning. Prior to joining United Capital, Jarrod was the Senior Vice President of a regional RIA firm in North Texas where he was responsible for helping clients to achieve their financial goals and played an integral part in guiding the strategic direction of the organization, while also implementing and leading financial planning initiatives. Jarrod also has experience in the 401k industry working with the non-qualified plan service teams while at Fidelity Investments. He focused on client engagement with company executives, education, training, and corporate benefits relating to qualified and non-qualified 401k and pension plans.

Jarrod earned a BBA in Marketing, MBA, and a MS in Personal Financial Planning from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas and he is a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) certificant. Jarrod is very active in his local community, serving on various boards and committees. He is an active member of the Financial Planning Association, Texas Tech Alumni Association, Estate Planning Council of North Texas, Texas Tech University Rawls Advisory Council, and the Texas Tech University Personal Financial Planning Alumni Advisory Board. He enjoys being active in his local church, running, golfing, cooking, and spending time with his family and friends.

 

Krystal Wolf

Senior Planning Specialist

Krystal is responsible for the training and onboarding of new offices with respect to Advice and financial planning software programs. She also assists with blueprint training, case preparation, completing client deliverables, and updating and implementing new deliverable templates. On a daily basis, she serves as a resource to the Regional Offices to answer any questions that they may have regarding client deliverables or the financial planning software programs that can be used to complete these deliverables. She assisted in the development of the BRAIN and has consistently developed resources for the BRAIN.

Krystal will graduate with a BBA in Business Management, BS in Personal Financial Planning, and MS in Personal Financial Planning from Texas Tech University in December 2012. Krystal also plans to sit for the CFP® exam next March. In her spare time, Krystal enjoys decorating for the different seasons, collecting crosses and candles, and spending time with her friends and family.

 

Matt Bennett

Advice Specialist

Matt is responsible for ensuring accurate deliverables for the United Capital Regional Offices. In addition to completing deliverables, he supports various project initiatives and financial planning research requests.

Matt joined United Capital in May of 2012 and earned a MBA, a Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning, and a Bachelor of Science in Retail from Texas Tech University. Matt has his NASAA Series 65 License and is currently preparing to sit for the CFP® exam this July. Outside of work, Matt enjoys playing the drums, following the Texas Rangers and Dallas Cowboys as well as spending time with family and friends.

 

Rene Valenzuela

Advice Specialist

Rene is responsible with supporting the United Capital Regional Offices by completing various deliverables and financial planning research requests. Rene assists with the research and development of new deliverables. He also assists with the training of new employees.

Rene joined the United Capital team in May of 2012. Rene graduated from Texas Tech University with a BS in Personal Financial Planning. Rene has his NASAA Series 65 License and is currently preparing to sit for the CFP® exam this July. Rene enjoys spending time with his friends, family and dogs. Rene is an avid sports fan, especially of the San Antonio Spurs and Texas Tech Red Raiders. Rene’s interests include movies, cooking, traveling and camping.

 
Rory Hart

Rory J.D. Hart, AIF®

Wealth Adviser

Rory is an Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) with experience that includes over 21 years of service in the financial services industry. As a Wealth Adviser for United Capital, Rory’s Financial Planning Practice concentrates on the core values of financial planning including Business Transition, Retirement, and Family Legacy Planning.

His financial services career includes serving as President and owner of a fee-based Registered Investment Advisory located in San Diego, CA and specializing in high net-worth clientele. During this time Rory could be seen on the mid-day news investment education segment for the ABC affiliate, and heard on local radio stations. Mr. Hart also co-authored an investment education manual primarily used in conjunction with enrollment of new participants into 401K plans as well as personal financial planning. Rory has taught adult education classes in the areas of Retirement Planning, and has been quoted in investment professional newspapers and magazines. Rory has also provided planning and investment product guidance to various Fortune 500 employees.

His professional career also includes vice presidencies within the corporate pension plan, institutional money management, and variable annuity marketplace for Fortune 100 companies. Rory attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he studied Business Marketing. He currently resides in Huntington Beach, CA.

Please contact Rory at:
18831 Bardeen Avenue, Suite 201
Irvine, CA 92612
949.999.8830 | Main
949.999.8832 | FAX

 
Alina Di Cesare

Alina Di Cesare

Executive Assistant

Alina is responsible for providing support to multiple members of the Executive Team at United Capital including the Chief Financial Officer, SVP of Client Experience and Training, SVP of Investment Management and the Chief Compliance Officer. Her primary job duties include managing executive travel and calendaring, coordinating internal meetings and organizing special corporate projects.

Prior to joining United Capital, Alina worked for the Irvine Company based in Newport Beach for almost six years in their luxury Resort and Retail Divisions.

With a work hard – play hard attitude, Alina enjoys snowboarding, traveling, golfing and is an avid, 49er faithful fan, often taking day trips to San Francisco to watch her favorite team play. In addition, Alina has been a professionally certified AASI snowboard instructor for over 10 years.