• Deanna Allison

    Financial Benefits Manager, Alliance Data

    Deanna joined Alliance Data 8 years ago and has been in the retirement industry for over 17 years. As Financial Benefits Manager, she oversees associate benefits associated with building wealth as well as our formal filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Internal Revenue Service and Department of Labor. Most recently, her focus within the organization has been preparing Alliance Data for top notch compliance in the mega plan space. Deanna earned a Bachelor in Business Administration from LeTourneau University and holds a double Masters in Business Administration and Strategic Leadership. She has earned a total of 5 professional designations with an emphasis in HR practices and employee benefits.

  • Jeffrey Bennett

    Senior Portfolio Manager, Invesco

    Jeffrey Bennett, CFA Senior Portfolio Manager Invesco Investment Solutions Jeffrey Bennett is a Senior Portfolio Manager for the Invesco Investment Solutions team, which provides customized multi-asset investment strategies for institutional and retail clients. Mr. Bennett serves as portfolio manager for Invesco Oppenheimer Portfolio Series Conservative, Moderate, Equity, and Active Allocation Funds. Prior to joining Invesco, Mr. Bennett was a Senior Portfolio Manager and manager due diligence specialist on the OppenheimerFunds Global Multi-Asset Group (GMAG). Mr. Bennett joined OppenheimerFunds in 2016 from AllianceBernstein where he was a Managing Director on the Alternative Investment Management team, focusing on asset allocation and portfolio construction as well as manager identification and due diligence. Previously, Mr. Bennett was director of research for Fischer & Co., a multi-family office, before which he was the primary analyst at Summit Private Investments, a fund-of-hedge funds that focuses on long/short and event-driven strategies. Mr. Bennett is a Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA) charterholder and holds a BS in chemical engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles, as well as an MBA in analytic finance and econometrics from the University of Chicago.

  • Rachel Biar

    Assistant State Treasurer, Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office

    Rachel Biar joined the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office in January 2005 and serves as the Assistant State Treasurer for the Nebraska College Savings Program and the ABLE Savings Program. Prior to her current position, she worked in the Director’s Office of the Nebraska Health and Human Services System and as a speechwriter in the Mayor’s Office of the City of Lincoln, Nebraska. As Assistant State Treasurer, Rachel is responsible for the administration, marketing and oversight of the state’s NEST 529 College Savings Plans.  Her knowledge and experience with 529 plans provide Nebraskans with a unique perspective on topics such as; determining the best college savings vehicle for parents and grandparents, marketing 529 plans, federal and state tax benefits, gift-tax benefits, estate planning advantages, and strategies of 529 plans.  Her expertise in college savings plans is a benefit to Nebraska residents who are ready to begin saving for their loved one’s higher education.  Rachel serves as a member of the College Savings Plans Network Executive Board and is an active member of the College Savings Foundation. Rachel is also responsible for the Nebraska Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Program. Nebraska’s Enable Savings Plan allows people with disabilities to create tax-advantaged savings accounts. Rachel works closely with Program Manager First National Bank of Omaha to administer the savings program to address the unique needs of account owners, keeping in mind convenience, ease of use, and cost. Rachel was instrumental in developing the Enable Savings Plan Alabama through a partnership agreement with the Alabama State Treasurer’s Office and Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office. Rachel has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science and Business Administration from Nebraska Wesleyan University. She serves as a mentor to the Nebraska Wesleyan University Advancement and Alumni Departments and as a Career Center Student Advisor. Rachel enjoys spending time with family, traveling the country in her classic Mustang, reading and gardening.

  • Paul Curley

    Director of College Savings Research, Strategic Inisght

    Paul Curley, CFA, joined Strategic Insight (SI) as a research analyst in 2008 and currently oversees 529 and ABLE market data, research, events and digital products and services for institutional clients. He is the primary SI contact for proprietary data aggregation and analysis of 529 savings plans, 529 prepaid plans and ABLE accounts, and authors SI’s weekly, quarterly and annual business intelligence publications on the college financial planning market. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the 529 Dash e-newsletter and the 529 Insiders website for financial advisers, institutions and the media; the website also provides marketing services for program managers. Before joining Strategic Insight, Paul was at Loomis, Sayles & Company, L.P. as a fixed-income operations analyst. He also worked in the global treasury and custody fund accounting areas of Investors Bank & Trust. Paul received an MBA from Boston College, where he was awarded the Anne Murphy Award for outstanding contri­bution to the program, and was accepted into the Beta Gamma Sigma honorary society. He also received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and political science from Emory University.

  • Jim DiUlio

    Director/Chair, Wisconsin 529 College Savings Program And College Savings Plans Network (CSPN)

    Jim DiUlio, Director, Wisconsin 529 College Savings Program And Chair, College Savings Plans Network (CSPN) Jim is the administrator of Wisconsin’s 529 College Savings Program which includes the Tomorrow’s Scholar advisor-sold and RIA plan, the Edvest direct-sold plan and the legacy Tuition Units plan; the program is now celebrating twenty-two years of higher education savings. He also directs compliance and is the investment officer for the $5 billion of assets held in trust for families nationwide. Previously a Series 24 FINRA-registered principal, he led 403(b) retirement plans for public school and college professionals, and early in his career placed families in then-brand-new college savings accounts. For the past seven years Jim has served on the Executive Board and is the current Chair of the College Savings Plan Network (CSPN), the national association of 529 plan administrators, experts, and corporate affiliates. He is also active in pre-college volunteer work with the Wisconsin Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. He earned a degree in biology and social sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Superior, and is a frequent speaker, panelist, and broadcast guest on program governance, plan design, asset allocation, financial literacy and wellness topics.

  • Pamela Ellis

    Associate General Counsel, Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB)

    Pamela Ellis is Associate General Counsel for the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB). She provides legal expertise and support associated with the development of regulations governing municipal market professionals, including dealers and municipal advisors. Among her areas of expertise are the MSRB’s advertising rules and the MSRB’s regulation of dealers that sell interests in 529 savings plans and ABLE programs.  Before joining the MSRB, Ms. Ellis was counsel at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP (Sutherland), where she worked for more than 15 years. At Sutherland, she advised financial institutions on the organization and operation of Section 529 savings plans; she also advised financial institutions on the development, disclosure, and administration of innovative life insurance products, including variable, indexed and fixed products. Further, Ms. Ellis served on the staff of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in the Division of Investment Management.   Ms. Ellis earned an A.B. from Wellesley College as a Wellesley College Scholar with Honors in Political Science and a juris doctor from Vanderbilt University School of Law.    About the MSRB  The MSRB protects investors, state and local governments and other municipal entities, and the public interest by promoting a fair and efficient municipal securities market. The MSRB fulfills this mission by regulating the municipal securities firms, banks and municipal advisors that engage in municipal securities and advisory activities. To further protect market participants, the MSRB provides market transparency through its Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA®) website, the official repository for information on all municipal bonds. The MSRB also serves as an objective resource on the municipal market, conducts extensive education and outreach to market stakeholders, and provides market leadership on key issues. The MSRB is a Congressionally-chartered, self-regulatory organization governed by a 21-member board of directors that has a majority of public members, in addition to representatives of regulated entities. The MSRB is subject to oversight by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

  • Adam Faccone

    Director, Stable Value Product Management, Prudential Financial

    Adam is a Director on the Institutional Stable Value Product team at Prudential Retirement. In his role, Adam oversees a deal team responsible for new business transactions and product management of the Synthetic and Traditional GIC Institutional Stable Value products. Prior to joining the Stable Value team in 2011, Adam held various finance roles within Enterprise Discontinued Business Solutions, Individual Life Insurance and Prudential Capital Group. Adam earned a B.S. in finance from the University of Delaware, and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation.  Additionally, he holds Series 6 and 63 licenses.

  • Robert Farrington

    Founder, The College Investor

    Robert Farrington is the founder of The College Investor, a leading personal finance website that helps individuals get out of student loan debt and start investing.

  • Tarun Garg

    Director, Head of College Savings, BlackRock

    Tarun Garg, CFA, Director, is Head of BlackRock USWA College Savings Business (529). In this role, he leads strategy, relationship and business development across BlackRock / iShares branded college savings plans (State of Ohio, State of Arkansas), Merrill Lynch NextGen plan and investment only relationships spanning multiple states and program managers. Tarun joined BlackRock in 2006 as a relationship manager for BlackRock’s largest client (Merrill Lynch) covering Mutual Funds, Hedge Funds and separately managed accounts (SMAs) designed for non-US investors in Latin America, EMEA and Asia. Over time he added coverage of non-US products for Morgan Stanley, UBS and Wells Fargo as well as alternative investments (hedge funds, private equity) and institutional products (Liability Driven Investing) for Merrill Lynch’s US based clients. He was previously also head of USWA National Accounts strategy and client partnerships. Before joining BlackRock, Tarun was a management consultant specializing in the auto industry. He started his career as a computer programmer in 1999. Tarun earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Indian Institute of Technology and an MBA from Indian Institute of Management with a term at University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. He is qualified as a certified financial planner (CFP), is a CFA charterholder and holds FINRA series 7, 63, 24 and 51 licenses. Tarun resides in the Princeton area with his wife and 3 kids. 

  • Ben Gibbons

    Director of Marketing, Ohio Tuition Trust Authority

    For twenty three years, Ben Gibbons has promoted, advocated for, and shared the story of the Ohio Tuition Trust Authority and Ohio’s 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage. Ben now serves as the Director of Marketing, overseeing marketing, digital and strategic communications and outreach, for one of the oldest, largest and best regarded 529 college savings plans in the country. During his time with the Ohio Tuition Trust Authority, Ohio’s 529 Plan has grown from approximately 50,000 customers with $250 million invested in 1996, to almost 641,000 customers with assets under management of $11.9 billion today.

  • Deborah Goodkin

    Managing Director - Saving Plans, First National Bank of Omaha

    Deborah joined First National Bank of Omaha in 2010 and is the Managing Director, Savings Plans including NEST, Nebraska’s 529 College Savings Plans and Enable Savings Plans. She is responsible for all aspects of development, implementation, sales, marketing, continuous improvement and management. Her experience includes over 22 years in the financial services industry including launching proprietary mutual funds for TIAA-CREF and managing college savings plans at TIAA-CREF, Citigroup, Legg Mason and First National Bank of Omaha. Deborah holds the Series 7 FINRA securities license. In addition, she holds an MPA/MUP from New York University, Graduate of Public Administration, and a BA from Syracuse University, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Deborah is delighted to discuss the role of employers in gathering assets for the college savings industry.

  • Peter Greenberger

    Director of Mutual Fund & 529 Plan Product Management, Raymond James

    Peter Greenberger, CFA®, CFP® is the Director of Mutual Fund & 529 Plan Product Management at Raymond James. In this role, he is responsible for due diligence, selection, and oversight of both the mutual fund and 529 plan platforms. Prior to this, he led the research, selection, and monitoring of individual mutual funds that are part of the firms Highly Recommended Funds list. Additionally, he has put in place processes that have standardized and institutionalized the research of the team. He is a member of the firm’s Investment Strategy and Asset Allocation Committees.  He is also a committee member for the Financial Service Institute’s Due Diligence Council and is member of the Investment Company Institute’s Research Committee.  He began his career with Raymond James in 2007 as a research analyst on the international equity team, focusing on both developed and developing market equity managers. From 2002 to 2007 Peter worked at AllianceBernstein L.P. in New York. His responsibilities included developing investment policy statements for trusts, endowments, foundations and ultra-high-net-worth families, including asset allocation and investment decisions. Prior to this he served as the manager for the firm’s executive compensation accounting team.  Peter holds a B.S. and M.A. in organizational psychology from the Pennsylvania State University and Columbia University, respectively.

  • Topaz Morrison

    AVP, Product Management, LPL Financial

    Responsible for ongoing management of mutual fund, ETF and 529 plan product offerings at LPL Financial.

  • Jon Pagnozzi

    Sales Director, CollegeInvest

    As Director of Sales for CollegeInvest Jon is a passionate advocate for increasing access to higher education for Colorado residents. In this role he is responsible for leading the sales group in strategically developing relationships with Colorado financial professionals and tasked with ensuring CollegeInvest is the education leader in Colorado for 529 plans.   Jon Pagnozzi is an expert in business management, relationship building and consultative sales. He is a frequent guest speaker within the financial community and teacher of continuing education courses.

  • Thomas A. Pappas

    Vice President-Advertising, FINRA

    Thomas A. Pappas is Vice President of the FINRA Advertising Regulation Department, which regulates the advertisements, sales literature and correspondence used by FINRA member firms. His responsibilities include rule development, management of the filing and surveillance programs and related enforcement activities. He served in the same role at NASD before its 2007 consolidation with NYSE Member Regulation, which resulted in the formation of FINRA. He was previously registered with Davenport & Company LLC. He received a bachelor’s degree from The University of Richmond and an MBA from Virginia Commonwealth University.

  • Richard Polimeni

    Director of Education Savings Programs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

    Richard Polimeni is Director of Education Savings Programs for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. In this role, Richard is responsible for managing Merrill Lynch’s $13 billion 529 College Savings business. Merrill Lynch is one of the largest distributors of 529 plans to consumers and is the program manager for one of the country’s largest 529 plans, Maine’s NextGen College Investing Plan, as well as the distributor of 18 other state 529 programs. Richard is also Chair of the College Savings Foundation (CSF), a leading nonprofit helping American families save for higher education. Previously, he served in other leadership roles on the CSF Executive Committee as both Vice Chair and Secretary. Additionally, Richard has contributed to the organization over the years as Co-Chair of the Membership Committee, the Conference Committee, and the Media Committee. Prior to joining Bank of America in 2002, Richard spent 15 years with Smith Barney/Citigroup where he helped launch two of the country’s first 529 college savings programs for the states of Colorado (Scholars Choice in 1999) and Illinois (Bright Start in 2000). During his more than 30 years of financial services industry experience, Richard has held various sales, marketing, operational, and management positions supporting retirement and education savings products. Richard is Series 7, 63, 66 and 53 registered (Municipal Securities Principal) and earned a degree in Business Management from Brookdale College.

  • Chuck Ranney

    Vice President, Mutual Funds and 529 Plans, Ameriprise Financial

    Chuck Ranney is Vice President of Mutual Fund & 529 Plans within the Wealth Management Solutions organization at Ameriprise Financial. He oversees the product offering, distribution strategy and relationship management of asset managers with a focus on developing and implementing sales strategies for partner firms to drive business results. Chuck has been with Ameriprise Financial for 19 years, spending the first four years working in the Service Delivery organization before joining the External Products Group as a Product Analyst in 2004. A year later he became a Product Manager working with mutual fund partner firms and has had oversight of all mutual fund and 529 plan product/relationship management since 2009. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.S. in Economics.

  • Jennifer Tierney

    Vice President, 529 Product Manager, Morgan Stanley

    Jennifer Tierney  joined Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in November 2013 as a 529 Product Manager. In her current role, she is responsible for product and platform development for the 529 education savings business. Previously, Jennifer was with AllianceBernstein Investments for 8 years. From July 2010 to November 2013, Jennifer was a 529 Product Manager responsible for management of projects relating to the promotion, support and maintenance of the firm’s $7+ billion 529 college savings business.

  • Vivian M. Tsai

    Senior Director, Head of Relationship Management & Chair, TIAA & College Saving Foundation

    A member of TIAA’s Educational Savings business Senior Leadership team, Vivian leads the State Relationship Management and Field Consulting teams and is responsible for client relationship management. Prior to joining TIAA in 2014, Vivian spent nine years with BlackRock in institutional product management and sales roles, having led the firm’s entry into the advisor-sold 529 plan marketplace, and developed the investment only strategy launching ETF investment management within 529 plans. Vivian began her career in financial services in the wealth management businesses of Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch, and has worked in San Francisco, Hong Kong, Taipei, Los Angeles and New York. Vivian is Vice Chair of the Board of the College Savings Foundation, and has been a Certified Investment Management Analyst and a Certified Private Wealth Advisor since 2007. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Vivian has been funding her sons’ 529 plans since 1998 and 2000, and in recent years has become very familiar with the qualified withdrawal process of their 529 plans. #RideHigh #GoBears

  • Wayne Weber

    CEO and Founder, GiftofCollege.com

    Wayne Weber, CEO and Founder of GiftofCollege.com, is an entrepreneur who recognizes both the importance of higher education and the multi-generational crisis created by attempting to finance it.     Since 2008, Wayne has been passionate about providing a simple and easy way for friends, family and employers to help save and pay for higher education expenses.  With this in mind, he developed GiftofCollege.com into a leading crowdfunding platform.  In doing so, he created a new channel of awareness for 529 college savings plans while also helping families with student loan debt.  His products and innovations include an award-winning first-of-its-kind Gift of College gift card and a financial wellness benefit solution for employers.

Special Sessions

“529 Essentials Seminar” (pre-conference session – September 23)
Whether you are new to the college financial planning market or a seasoned pro, this insightful full-day seminar will drill down into the mechanics of 529 plans and provide you with a clear understanding of the ever-evolving tax, regulatory, governance, financial aid, investment and operational implications driving the market today.

ABLE Deep-Dive Afternoon Summit (post-conference session – September 25)
With the launch of ABLE accounts in 2016, we’re dedicating an entire afternoon to product training, news and trends on how firms are involved in the industry, and how firms can successfully participate in the industry from a consumer, product, marketing, distribution and outlook perspective.

Sponsorship Information:
Austin Ulep
Director, Key Accounts

General Information:
Carol Popkins
Senior Vice President, Global Event Operations