speakers

Speakers

  • Derek Ashworth

    Associate Director, FINRA

    Derek Ashworth is an Associate Director in FINRA’s Advertising Regulation Department. The department protects investors by ensuring broker-dealer members of FINRA use communications that are fair, balanced and not misleading. Derek’s primary responsibility is managing staff members dedicated to the routine review of member firm communications. Derek also participates in the Department’s outreach efforts including serving as a panelist in FINRA conferences and presenting during selected FINRA Compliance Boot Camps. He has been with the Advertising Regulation Department for 18 years.  Prior to joining FINRA, Derek was a program manager for a business and education partnership at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Previous to this role, he was a specialty banker and registered representative with First Union in West Palm Beach, FL.  Derek received his bachelor’s degree from Stetson University and completed his M.B.A. at Johns Hopkins University.

  • Susie Bauer

    529/UIT Manager, Senior Vice President/Chair, Robert W. Baird & Co./SIFMA 529 Working Group

    Susie Bauer Susie is the 529/UIT Manager for Baird, where she has worked in UIT marketing since 1997 and 529 marketing since 2000. Susie leverages her expertise in client and prospect meetings discussing their 529/UIT needs with Baird’s Financial Advisors. Susie supports Financial Advisors in a marketing and training capacity, helping them understand the benefits of using 529’s and UIT in the planning process. Susie is also a trainer and conducts e-learning sessions and Continuing Education presentations for Baird associates. In addition, she speaks to numerous client and professional groups about education planning and financial aid strategies, and is a mentor for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Capstone course. Since 2004, Susie has served as chair of the Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association’s (SIFMA) 529 Working Group. Susie is also an active member of the SIFMA UIT Roundtable. Prior to joining Baird, Susie was the Artistic Director and Administrative Director of Educational Programming for Bauer Contemporary Ballet, Inc. from 1974 to 1996. In addition, she was an Administrative Director for the Creative Music Factory from 1993 to 1997. Susie earned a bachelor of fine arts from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a master of arts from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. She holds the FINRA Series 7, 9, 10, 24, 51, 53 and 63 licenses. Commentary from Susie on a wide range of education planning topics has been featured in national, regional and trade media such as Biz Times of Milwaukee, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, HuffingtonPost.com, Investment News, Morningstar, The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report, Worth, Yahoo News, WTMJ radio and Wisconsin Public Radio.

  • Rosemary Becchi

    Strategic Advisor and Counsel, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP

    Rosemary Becchi combines technical expertise in tax and financial services matters and a robust bipartisan network developed over the span of her career to navigate high-stakes tax and financial services policy, both in Congress and federal agencies, and advise executive leaders on initiatives and trends. A versatile strategist in both public policy and the law, Rosemary has spent her career working in the trenches of policy and regulatory matters, developing collaborative relationships with key leaders in both chambers in Congress, the Treasury Department, the Securities Exchange Commission, the Federal Reserve Board and other federal and state agencies as well as industry and trade associations. She began her career in the public sector at the IRS as an attorney and advisor before moving on to the majority staff of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee as tax counsel. She has also held in-house executive positions, including as vice president of federal government relations at Citigroup and Fidelity Investments, where she established the firm’s government relations office. In private practice, Rosemary counseled clients through strategic and technical counsel in both legislative and regulatory matters and led government relations departments with her skill in business planning and development, operations, staff management and cross-functional collaboration. She is a widely published and recognized thought leader on public policy matters. Rosemary advises the firm’s Government Relations Department as an independent contractor.

  • George Betzios

    Founding Partner, Spectra Professional Services, LLC.

    George Betzios is a founding partner at Spectra Professional Services, LLC., with 44 years of operational expertise. Mr. Betzios began his career in the fund industry with National Securities and Research Corporation (National Funds) as a systems programmer. He acted as Head of Information Technology and then Head of Operations. Mr. Betzios subsequently accepted a position as Head of Mutual Fund Operations for Salomon Brothers Asset Management. Through various mergers and acquisitions he continued as Director of Mutual Fund Services and Transfer Agency Operations for both domestic and international operations at Smith Barney Asset Management, Citigroup Asset Management and most recently at Legg Mason, Inc. Mr. Betzios has extensive experience in vendor selection, consolidation of shareholder- servicing functions for both onshore and offshore mutual funds as well as the conversions and oversight of multiple Section 529 programs. He has developed and implemented several vendor and service level oversight programs and metrics reporting both in the US and offshore. Mr. Betzios has served on the Investment Company Institute’s Operations and International Operations Committees.

  • Jacob Borbidge

    Portfolio Manager, Global Investment Solutions, Invesco

    Jacob Borbidge is a Portfolio Manager and the Head of Research for the Invesco Global Solutions Development and Implementation team, which provides customized multi-asset investment strategies for institutional and retail clients. In this role, Mr. Borbidge is responsible for directing the research and portfolio implementation efforts of the team’s investment process. This involves setting the research agenda, defining portfolio implementation methodology, and providing in-depth presentations of the investment process to internal and external teams. Previously, Mr. Borbidge spent 10 years as an analyst for the Invesco Global Quantitative Strategies team. Prior to joining Invesco in 2004, he was a mechanical engineer with ExxonMobil. Mr. Borbidge earned a BS degree in mechanical engineering from Lehigh University and an MS degree in finance from the University of Houston. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA) and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) charter holder, and he regularly lectures on the topic of quantitative finance for the graduate program at the University of Houston.

  • Bernard V. Canepa

    Vice President & Assistant General Counsel, SIFMA

    Bernard Canepa is a Vice-President and Assistant General Counsel, Office of General Counsel at SIFMA, where he works on a variety of legal and policy issues, including 529 and ABLE plans. He monitors and keeps SIFMA members apprised of relevant developments, engages in ongoing dialogue with regulators, and advocates industry positions. Prior to joining SIFMA, Mr. Canepa was an attorney in FINRA’s Member Supervision Department. During his time there, he represented the department in non-disciplinary matters such as membership eligibility proceedings. Before that, he was an analyst in FINRA’s Registration and Disclosure department. Mr. Canepa has an undergraduate degree in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia and a law degree from the University of Miami.

  • Paul Curley

    Director of College Savings Research, Strategic Insight

    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.

  • Mark Chapleau

    Member, Weston Patrick, PA

    Mr. Chapleau is a Member at Weston Patrick, PA in Boston. Massachusetts. Mark is one of the nation’s foremost authorities on the legal and business issues involved with tax-advantaged Section 529 college savings plans and Section 529A ABLE Plans.

              Mark provides consulting, counseling, representation, and training services to 529 and 529A program managers, state agencies, non-profits, law firms, and individuals on a wide range of matters.  His goal is to make the laws and regulations surrounding tax-advantaged college savings and disability plans understandable so that stakeholders may take full advantage of these powerful financial tools.

    Mark is a recognized expert in the field of Section 529 college savings plans and 529A disability savings plans. He has advised clients for the last fifteen (15) years in connection with more than thirty-eight (38) separate Plans sponsored by twenty-five (25) states. Mark is an active member of the Legal and Regulatory Affairs Committees of the College Savings Foundation and the College Savings Plan Network, which both educate the public on college savings plans and ABLE Plans. In addition, Mark is a frequent speaker on, and moderator of, panel discussions at college savings and disability savings plan conferences.

    Mark is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Clearway School in Newton, MA. Clearway is a small, private, non-profit day school for students in grades 6 to 12 with language-based learning disabilities, nonverbal learning disabilities, dyslexia, and other similar special needs.

  • Jim Diskin

    Vice President, Institutional Stable Value, Prudential Financial

    Jim Diskin, CFA Vice President, Stable Value, Prudential Jim Diskin is part of the Stable Value Product Team at Prudential. In his role, Jim leads a team responsible for executing new business transactions, maintaining the in-force book of business, and the development and implementation of new products. Prior to this role, Jim led the Stable Value Strategy and Planning Team, responsible for strategic initiatives as well as financial and operational planning efforts. Jim earned a BA in English from Seton Hall University and an MBA with a concentration in Finance from Rutgers University. Jim is also a CFA charterholder.

  • Jim DiUlio

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

    Jim DiUlio Director, Wisconsin 529 College Savings Program Chair, College Savings Plans Network (CSPN) Jim is the administrator of the Wisconsin 529 Program, which includes the Tomorrow’s Scholar advisor-sold and RIA plan, the Edvest direct-sold plan, and the legacy Tuition Units plan. 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 of the College Savings Plans Network (CSPN), the national association of 529 plan administrators, and is its current Chair. 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 at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, and is a frequent speaker, panelist, and media guest on program governance, asset allocation, and financial literacy and wellness topics.

  • Pamela K. Ellis

    Associate General Counsel, Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB)

    Pamela Ellis is Associate General Counsel for the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board. She provides legal expertise and support associated with the development of regulations governing municipal market professionals, including dealers and municipal advisors.    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 college tuition 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.

  • Richard Ellis

    Senior Director for Compliance, Communications, Finance & Investments, my529

    Mr. Ellis is the Senior Director for Compliance, Finance and Investments at my529, formerly Utah Educational Saving Plan. His day-to-day responsibilities include oversight of all regulatory compliance, finance and investment functions for my529. He joined my529 in November 2015. Prior to that, he served seven years as Utah State Treasurer. Mr. Ellis has served as a member of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board since October 2012, and currently serves as chair of the Audit Committee. Other professional experience includes serving as Chief Deputy State Treasurer, Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, and Executive Director of the Department of Administrative Services for the state of Utah. Mr. Ellis served on the board of trustees for the Utah Retirement Systems and chaired the Utah Council for Financial and Economic Education. He has served as an adjunct faculty member at the Marriott School of Business, Brigham Young University where he taught investments and cash management. Mr. Ellis was actively involved with the National Association of State Treasurers having served as the association’s president in 2014. He received the NAST Harlan Boyles/Edward T. Alter Distinguished Service Award in 2011 and the Jesse M. Unruh Award in 2015. He received his MBA from the University of Utah and a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Brigham Young University.

  • Andrea Feirstein

    Managing Director, AKF Consulting Group

    Andrea Feirstein is a Managing Director with AKF Consulting Group, which she formed in March 2002.  Over the last sixteen years, Ms. Feirstein has advised thirty-eight public administrators of college savings, prepaid, ABLE and state-run retirement plans. In the ABLE market, she has advised on the design and implementation of 11 plans, including the launch of Ohio’s STABLE Account, the first ABLE plan offered in the country. In all, Ms. Feirstein has approximately 34 years of experience in the municipal finance industry.  From 1999 to 2002, she managed the proprietary 529 business for Citigroup Asset Management, with overall responsibility for engagements with Colorado and Illinois.   Previously she was an investment banker with Salomon Smith Barney’s Municipal Securities Division (1987 to 1999), and she was a bond lawyer with Brown & Wood (1984 to 1987, now Sidley Austin LLP). Ms. Feirstein is active in the National Association of State Treasurers (“NAST”), where she chaired the Corporate Affiliate Advisory Board (2014 to 2016), and she currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Institute of Public Finance, a joint venture between the NAST Foundation and Pepperdine University.   Ms. Feirstein is also a member of the Boards of Directors of the New York City Industrial Development Agency (the “IDA”), Build New York City (“BNYC”), and the Randalls Island Park Alliance (“RIPA”). She chairs the Finance Committees of the IDA and BNYC, and she serves as Treasurer of RIPA, where she also chairs the Finance Committee and previously chaired the Audit Committee. Ms. Feirstein graduated from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and the University of Virginia School of Law, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Virginia Tax Review.  She is an SEC-registered, MSRB-licensed Municipal Advisor (Series 50), and was previously a FINRA-licensed Registered Representative (Series 7), Municipal Principal (Series 53) and Uniform Securities Agent (Series 63).  

  • Eva Giles

    College Savings Program Manager, Finance Authority of Maine

    Eva joined the Finance Authority of Maine in January, 2016 as the College Savings Program Manager. In this role she provides day-to-day oversight, management, support and strategic direction for FAME as it relates to college savings programs, including NextGen 529, and the administration of the Harold Alfond College Challenge. She brings to this role experience in workforce training and development, the financial aid process, and preparing to afford post-secondary education. Prior to joining FAME, Eva worked in both Adult Education and Higher Education administration in Maine. Eva holds from St. Joseph’s College and a MS from the University of Southern Maine. She lives in southern Maine with her husband, Jon, and has two adult children Mitchell and Olivia.

  • Tim Gorrell

    Executive Director, Ohio’s 529/CollegeAdvantage

    As executive director of the Ohio Tuition Trust Authority (OTTA), Tim Gorrell is responsible for leading the agency and its 30 employees, recommending and implementing the investment strategy as approved by an 11-member fiduciary Investment Board, and managing the overall operations of Ohio’s 529 College Savings Program/CollegeAdvantage.

    Prior to joining OTTA Gorrell served as the director of the Ohio Department of Veterans Services. He has also served as an Ohio Deputy Inspector General and as Command Inspector General for the Ohio National Guard. Gorrell retired from the U.S. Army as a Colonel after 31 years on active duty. His service has spanned the globe. Throughout his military career, he served in such senior positions as Chief of Staff to the Commander of the U.S. Third Army in Kuwait and as the Military Assistant/Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations and Environment at the Pentagon. He is a native of Toronto, Ohio and received his undergraduate degree in education from The University of Akron. He holds master’s degrees in history and strategic studies from the University of Monmouth and the U.S. Army War College, respectively.

    He and his wife, Lisa, reside in Powell, Ohio and are the parents of two adult daughters.

  • Alex Heuer

    Associate Director of Business Development, Peachjar

    Alex Heuer is the Associate Director of Business Development at Peachjar. For the past 2 years, Alex has helped direct-sold 529 plans across the nation, reach millions of K-12 families and increase revenue through easy and effective school-approved communication.

  • Jordan Lee

    Founder and CEO, CollegeBacker

    Jordan is a seasoned technology entrepreneur and product leader with a policy background. Prior to founding CollegeBacker in 2015, he was a senior product manager at ClearSlide, founder of a Y-Combinator-backed startup, and a researcher at the Brookings Institution. CollegeBacker’s focus on financial inclusion and college access is motivated by his own improbable tour of American higher education, where he pursued a doctorate in political science at Princeton University and earned degrees from Harvard and Yale. He is the lead investment adviser representative at CollegeBacker and holds a Series 65 license.

  • Douglas Magnolia

    Managing Director/CEO, BNY Mellon/Sumday 

    Douglas Magnolia has over 28 years’ experience in banking and capital markets in New York and London, and is currently a Managing Director at BNY Mellon in our Investment Services group. He is responsible for several important and emerging opportunities for BNY Mellon, both in Fintech in general and for digital solutions. Specifically, Doug is the CEO and co-founder of Sumday Administration, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary. Doug is also an advisor to Fintech Collective, a NY-based early stage venture capital firm. Prior, he was working in a strategy role for our Investment Management division focusing on digital transformation and retail solutions. He also worked in the Office of The President looking at longer-term strategic opportunities for the company as a whole. Prior to that Doug was President and CEO of QSR Management, Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of BNY Mellon. While leading QSR, Doug was able to capitalize on QSR’s unique expertise during the financial crisis in 2007/08 enabling QSR to play an instrumental role in a number of financial stability programs, notably as the Financial Agent for the U.S. Treasury TARP program, PPIP and for the N.Y. Federal Reserve Bank’s TALF and Maiden Lane II & III programs. 

  • Christopher T. McGee

    General Counsel, Virginia529 and ABLEnow

    Chris McGee serves as Virginia529 and ABLEnow’s General Counsel. In his role, he provides legal support and counsel to the Board of Directors, CEO and agency staff. Chris joined Virginia 529 in July 2008 as Deputy General Counsel. Prior to joining Virginia 529, Chris was in private practice for 13 years with a focus on commercial litigation and commercial transactions and served in the Office of the Attorney General. He is a graduate of the University of Richmond School of Law where he was the Executive Editor of the University of Richmond Law Review. Prior to attending law school, Chris was an Associate Vice President at Sovran Investment Corporation. He was selected for and completed Sovran Bank’s commercial lending associate program, a full-time, year long program with an emphasis on quantitative analysis, credit policies, and loan structuring. He is a graduate of the Virginia Executive Institute and has been a speaker, moderator, and panelist at several national legal, 529 and ABLE industry conferences.   He also currently serves as the co-chairman of the College Savings Foundation’s Legislative, Legal, and Regulatory Affairs Committee.

  • Bette Ann Mobley

    Director Maryland ABLE, Maryland ABLE

    Bette Ann Mobley has worked with state and national organizations in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities for more than 35 years. She has served in many leadership roles supporting people with disabilities through advocacy, developing and implementing quality systems, and providing consultation to organizations that provide supports and services. She previously held the position as the Assistant Director for Programs with the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration where she was able to establish relationships with key stakeholders and leaders throughout Maryland. As Director of the Maryland ABLE program, she is excited to be a part of the continued development and implementation of the new Maryland ABLE program. Throughout this process Bette Ann welcomes input and feedback to ensure that the program meets the needs of qualified ABLE account holders throughout Maryland with their investment and savings needs without jeopardizing their benefits.

  • Troy Montigney

    Executive Director, Indiana Education Savings Authority

    Troy Montigney is Executive Director of the Indiana Education Savings Authority (IESA) and has grown the state’s CollegeChoice 529 program to over 350,000 accounts and $4.5 billion in assets under management. Under his leadership, Plan participants have realized seven fee reductions totaling nearly $20 million in five-year savings. He currently serves on the Indiana Commission for Higher Education’s 21st Century Scholars Advisory Council, as co-chair of the CSPN Federal Initiatives committee, and as a member of the CSF Media Relations committee. Prior to joining the IESA, Troy was Political Affairs Manager for the Indy Chamber, leading its bipartisan Business Advocacy Committee PAC to record fundraising in 2014. He contributed to the election of three Indianapolis Public Schools Commissioners and represented the Chamber on policy coalitions like Freedom Indiana, Hoosiers for Sunday Sales and Indy Connect Now. Troy is 2014 class president and a board member of the Indiana Leadership Forum. He also serves on the board of the Indianapolis Propylaeum and young professional boards for United Way of Central Indiana and the Indianapolis Cultural Trail. In 2016, he was a candidate for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Indianapolis Man of the Year and remains a member of the campaign leadership team. A resident of the Broad Ripple neighborhood in Indianapolis, Troy is a proud graduate of DePauw University (B.A., Communication).

  • Patrick R. Noonan

    Advanced Planning, Commonwealth Financial Network

    Patrick joined Commonwealth in June 2014 as an advanced planning consultant and was promoted to Team Lead in 2017. In this role, he serves as an escalation contact and peer mentor for new associates. In his consulting role, Patrick is a resource for advisors on issues involving stock option strategies, as well as education, retirement income, social security, estate, and business planning. Prior to Commonwealth, he worked for Advest Inc., Merrill Lynch, and then Janney Montgomery Scott. Patrick is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional, has his FINRA Series 7 and 66 securities registrations, and holds a life and health insurance license. He earned his BS in finance from Fairfield University. Patrick enjoys spending time at his house in Cape Cod, cooking, reading, and traveling.

  • Kaprel Ozsolak

    Founding Partner, Spectra Professional Services, LLC.

    Kaprel Ozsolak is one of Spectra’s founding partners. He brings 29 years of experience to the organization. Previously, Mr. Ozsolak was the chief financial officer for Legg Mason mutual funds, overseeing all treasury, shareholder reporting, board reporting, vendor oversight and a wide range of other fund administration functions. He was active in the firm’s successful launch of several innovative and complex new products. Prior to joining one of Legg Mason’s predecessor firms as controller in 1996, Mr. Ozsolak spent seven years at Ernst & Young, providing assurance services to clients, primarily specializing in financial services and asset management firms. Mr. Ozsolak has served at the ICI Accounting and Treasurers Committee as well as Accounting Policy Subcommittee. He has also helped plan ICI’s annual Tax and Accounting Conference and was a speaker on several panel discussions speaking on a variety of subjects. Mr. Ozsolak received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in finance and accounting from Bogazici University in 1989.

  • Tom Pappas

    Vice President-Advertising Regulation, FINRA

    Thomas A. Pappas is Vice President of the FINRA Advertising Regulation Department.  The Department applies FINRA, SEC, MSRB and SIPC rules to written and electronic communications used by FINRA member firms.  His responsibilities include rule development, management of the filing review program and related regulatory activities. He served in the same role at NASD prior to 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.

  • Rob Percival

    Senior Vice President, Strategic Products, Ascensus College Savings

    Rob has 22 years of financial services experience, having served 6 years at Fidelity Investments before joining ACS in 2002. In his current role, Rob leads the Strategic Products line of business, with dedicated focus on oversight of the firm’s ABLE strategy and implementation. Prior to this role, Rob led the Operational Risk Management & Analytics team since its inception in 2012. Under his leadership, the team facilitated all aspects of operational controls and audit, client service training and quality assurance, information security, and data analytics. During his tenure at ACS, Rob has been responsible for business development, project management, and served as relationship manager for the states of Arkansas and North Carolina. While at Fidelity, Rob was a Reporting Manager in the 529 College Investment Trust, Client Service Manager in the Variable Annuities Group, and a Product Manager in the Legal Product Group. While in the 529 group, Rob was actively involved in the initial implementation of plans for New Hampshire and Delaware. Rob holds a B.A. in Economics and Communication from Stonehill College, an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, with concentrations in Finance, Accounting and Economics, as well as FINRA Series 6, 7, and 24 licenses.

  • Richard Polimeni

    Director of Education Savings Programs/Chair, Bank of America Merrill Lynch/College Savings Foundation

    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 19 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.

  • Rachel Ramos

    Assistant Vice President, Investment Services, American Funds

    Rachel Ramos is a product manager for American Funds, part of Capital Group, responsible for the product development and management of American Funds’ education savings product suite, including CollegeAmerica® and ABLEAmerica®. She has 19 years of industry experience, all with Capital Group. Earlier in her career at Capital, she contributed to the firms’ marketing, conference and overall independent broker-dealer strategy, and distribution and service center efforts. Rachel is based in Los Angeles.

  • 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 18 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.

  • William (Bill) Reilly

    Director, Product Management – IRA, 529, DAF, UBS Financial Services, Inc.

    William (Bill) Reilly is a Director of UBS Financial Services Inc. and is the firm’s Product Manager for 529 college savings plans and Donor-Advised Funds. Bill is responsible for developing sales campaigns, policies, procedures, IT programs, Financial Advisor training, client marketing materials, and account documents/forms to support the firm’s 529 and DAF businesses. Additionally, he ensures UBS Financial Advisors, clients, and the firm remain in compliance with the intricate complexities of IRS rules for these products. Bill earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Seton Hall University and holds Series 7, 66, & 24 FINRA securities licenses. He is also a Certified Financial Planner™ and a Certified Investment Management Analyst®.”

  • Joe Ridder

    Managed Investments, Edward Jones

    Joe Ridder is a Team Leader in the Managed Investments Department at Edward Jones.  In that capacity, his team is responsible for leading the firm’s Strategic Product Partner relationships for mutual funds, exchange traded funds, 529 plans, and unit investment trusts.  He also helps to lead and coordinate ongoing product management for these products. He assumed his current responsibilities in early 2017.

    Ridder began his career at Edward Jones in 2014. He joined the firm as a Department Leader in the Operations division, with responsibility for margin loan operations.  In 2015, he joined the Banking Products department as a Product Leader, where he led product strategy for the firm’s margin lending and credit card programs, as well as the development of new credit products. Prior to joining Edward Jones, Ridder spent 9 years in the banking industry, holding leadership and relationship management positions in commercial and retail lending. Ridder earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Saint Louis University, and is Series 7 and 66 registered.

  • Shurid Sen

    Senior Marketing Manager, T.Rowe Price

    Shurid Sen is the Senior Marketing Manager for College Savings Plans in the Individual Investors department of T. Rowe Price. In this role, he oversees the marketing team responsible for the strategies, campaigns, and health of the three direct-sold plans managed by T. Rowe Price. Before joining the College Savings organization, Shurid was a Lead Manager in Client and Market Insights (CMI). He brings expertise in strategic marketing and research capabilities and experience across both consumer and intermediary segments through his tenure in CMI. Before coming to T. Rowe Price in 2013, Shurid started his career on Capitol Hill, where he worked as a social media coordinator and legislative correspondent for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and as press secretary for the House Rules Committee. He has a B.A. in political science with a minor in economics from the University of Arizona, and an MBA from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.

  • Stuart Spielman

    Senior Vice President, Advocacy, Autism Speaks

    Stuart Spielman is senior vice president of advocacy for Autism Speaks.  He joined Autism Speaks in 2008 as senior policy advisor and counsel after a long legal career and years of advocacy as a volunteer.  Stuart advocates on Capitol Hill and before federal agencies for research and services that can improve the lives of children and adults on the autism spectrum.  He has worked on the passage and the implementation of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) for the past decade.  Stuart holds a juris doctor from the University of Wisconsin School of Law and a master in laws in taxation from the New York University School of Law. He and his wife Mona are the parents of two sons, one of whom is on the autism spectrum.

  • Tiffany Spudich

    Chief Client Officer, Capital Cities, L.L.C.

    Ms. Spudich is a Principal and the Chief Client Officer at Capital Cities, L.L.C. of Indianapolis, Indiana. Her primary responsibilities involve overseeing and supporting the firm’s client relationships by providing proactive and responsive service. Ms. Spudich plans, develops and manages client projects by providing custom solutions for each client’s unique initiatives. While Ms. Spudich serves all of the firm’s clients, her expertise is in participant-directed plans including 529 and defined contribution plans. As a member of Capital Cities’ Investment Committee, she actively conducts investment manager research, along with ongoing due diligence of clients’ investment managers. Ms. Spudich authors insightful white papers for the firm’s clients and prospects. She also assists with the development and execution of Capital Cities’ marketing initiatives. Ms. Spudich is a member of the Executive Women in Finance of Indiana. Ms. Spudich is a fifteen-year veteran of the firm. B.S., Business, Indiana University; M.B.A., University of Indianapolis.

  • Chris Stack

    Managing Consultant, Savingforcollege.com LLC

    Chris Stack, Esq. Managing Consultant, Savingforcollege.com, is a nationally recognized 529 authority and experienced in educational finance. An attorney for over 25 years, licensed in New York & Pennsylvania, Chris has experience in finance, investments and law relating to tax-advantaged products, including Section 529, since it became federal law in 1996. As a partner at a major New York law firm, he advocated to his state clients the benefits of 529 programs and beginning in 1997 served as the principal or participating author for a number of states’ legislation establishing 529 programs. He assisted several states implement their 529 saving programs which now service over $15B in assets. He has been leading Savingforcollege.com LLC consulting and educational services since 2001. He is intimately familiar with the provisions of Section 529 itself, as well as the various state programs. Currently, Chris advises and consults with states and investment companies, and presents nationally to employers, financial advisors, accountants, attorneys and actual investors on 529 plans. Chris is a graduate of Fordham College and Fordham University School of Law, located in New York City. He has participated in 529 programs for his two boys since 1997

  • Carrie Fisher Stone

    Deputy Executive Director, CalABLE

    Carrie Fisher Stone has served as Deputy Executive Director for the California ABLE Act Board since the board’s inception in July 2016. In this capacity, she is supporting the board’s executive director in the implementation and administration of California’s ABLE program, CalABLE. In addition to managing the board’s administrative functions, she also develops and oversees outreach strategy and communications. Carrie began her career in the investment management industry in 1996, working first for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), followed by the Capital Group Companies in San Francisco. She later held positions in in higher education administration for the UC Davis Office of the Chancellor and Provost, and then as a recruiter and career services counselor for the University’s MBA program. When her young son with autism failed to receive appropriate supports in his public school, Carrie’s career took a detour into elementary education and nonprofit management, as she helped establish a private nonprofit elementary school in Davis, serving as administrative director for four years. Her current position with CalABLE has allowed her to combine her experience in management and program administration with her passion for advocacy for the independence and equality of people with disabilities. As a consumer of ABLE accounts, she has been committed to ensuring that the CalABLE program is developed with the participation and input of the disability community.

  • Vivian M. Tsai

    Senior Director, Head of Relationship Management / Vice Chair, TIAA / College Savings Foundation

    A member of TFI’s Senior Leadership team, Vivian leads the TFI Relationship Management and Field Consulting teams and is responsible for client relationship management, including contractual compliance, ensuring client satisfaction, and driving plan growth and strategy across eight state plans. Prior to joining TFI in 2014, Vivian spent nine years with BlackRock iShares in institutional product management and sales roles, having led their entry into the advisor-sold 529 plan marketplace, and developed BlackRock’s investment only strategy providing ETF and fund 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 sits on Executive Committee 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 holds FINRA Series 7, 66, 24, 31, 51 registrations.

  • Jennifer Tierney

    Vice President, 529 Product Development 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 firm’s 529 college 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 529 college savings business.

  • Winnie Sun

    Managing Director and Founding Partner, Sun Group Wealth Partners

    Winnie is one of the most followed financial advisors on social media today. With more than 17 years of experience in the financial services industry, Winnie serves on the CNBC Financial Advisor Council, earned a spot on the Forbes. Best-In-State-Weath Advisors List, has been selected as Investment News’ Twenty Women to Watch*, is frequent speaker at national events, appears on CNBC’s Closing Bell, Fox Business News, and Cheddar TV as a market commentator, is a regular contributor to Forbes, NerdWallet, Influencive, MoneyTips, ModernMom, Galtime, Bloomberg’s AssetTV, is the host of TuneIn radio’s business show Renegade Millionaire, appears on CBS as a finance professional, and is quoted in publications including The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, ABC, The New York Times, Yahoo! Finance, AOL Finance, HuffPost LIVE, theStreet TV, USA Today, TheStreet show, Rep Magazine, OnWallstreet Magazine, Financial Planning Magazine, FA Magazine, AdvisorOne Magazine, GreersOC, Orange County Business Journal, Orange County Register, OC Metro, OC Family, and many others. Winnie was previously First Vice President of Wealth Management, Senior Investment Management Specialist, and Lead Financial Advisor for the Sun Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. Her exemplary young team was a premier leader in managing client portfolios and providing professional customized service. Winnie began her investment advisory practice with Salomon Smith Barney where she was awarded their highest honors for success with her membership in the elite Blue Chip Council (2001-2004), Century Council, and President’s Council throughout her tenure**. Winnie was also an advising member of the Smith Barney Asian Advisory Council. Prior to entering the financial planning industry Winnie was an entrepreneur. She owned and operated CH Entertainment, which was headquartered in Los Angeles, California. Her firm was a leading television audience production company, with many high profile clients including America’s Funniest Home Videos, Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune and Judge Judy. Winnie participated in over 350 television taping productions, and was a voting member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (Emmys).

  • Rob Tirrell

    529 Business Development Specialist, VOYA Investment Management

    Rob Tirrell is a 529 Business Development Specialist for Voya Investment Management, responsible for growing new business as well as transitioning existing plans to the Voya 529 plans. Rob was an Internal Wholesaler with Voya, covering Wisconsin and Chicago since 2011 before moving in to his current role in 2013. Prior to joining Voya, he was a Relationship Manager with MassMutual Financial. Rob began his career with MassMutual in 2007 helping service the top 75 Advisors within the MassMutual Advisor network. Rob received a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Westfield State University. Rob holds the FINRA Series 7, 66, and 24 licenses and is currently co-authoring a book on 529’s.

  • Sara Weir

    President & C.E.O, National Down Syndrome Society

    Sara’s M.O. is that if you aren’t at the table, you’re on the menu, and as the President & CEO, she makes it a priority to bring people with Down syndrome to the table.  Fun Fact: My political party = Down syndrome!  Sara Hart Weir, MS, is the President & CEO of the National Down Syndrome Society. A Kansas native, Weir’s passion of fighting for the human rights of all people with Down syndrome stems from her experience as a peer mentor and friend to a young woman with Down syndrome, Kasey, over two decades ago. As NDSS’ President, Weir oversees the organization’s mission, vision and administration, which is the largest nonprofit in the United States dedicated to advocating for people with Down syndrome and their families. Weir’s philosophy to effective advocacy is “to be at the table” and she works each day to ensure people with Down syndrome earn and are represented at every table where critical decisions are made – whether it’s the White House, the U.S. Congress, the United Nations or in state capitals across the country.  Under Weir’s leadership, NDSS led the bipartisan advocacy effort behind the passage of the landmark, historical Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act in 2014, and the state advocacy effort to enact 48 state ABLE laws as well as played a significant role in working to launch over 20 state ABLE plans. The ABLE Act established tax-free savings accounts for people with Down syndrome and other disabilities and is hailed as the most significant legislation for the disability community since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Weir is also the co-founder of the ABLE Alliance for Financial Empowerment.  Weir spearheaded the launch of NDSS’ new #DSWORKS® Campaign, the first-of-its-kind campaign showing the world that people with Down syndrome are ready, willing and ABLE to work. She has also formed international partnerships with SAUT: The Voice of Down Syndrome in Saudi Arabia and Ukrainian Down Syndrome Organization. Weir also serves as a member of the National Task Group on Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia Practices, the National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability® and was appointed by former Governor Martin O’Malley to serve on the Maryland Commission for Effective Community Inclusion of Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Weir joined NDSS in 2012 as its Vice President of Advocacy & Affiliate Relations and established the NDSS DS-AMBASSADOR® program, the first-ever grassroots advocacy network for the Down syndrome community that encourages advocates of all kinds to speak up and speak out on issues of critical importance.  Weir has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Political Leadership from Westminster College and a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College. Weir has earned many honors including; Westminster College Senior of the Year, Winston Churchill Award for Leadership and Service, Coca-Cola Community All-American and was the recipient of the 2014 Westminster College Young Alumni Achievement Award. Weir also served on the Board of Trustees for her alma mater, Westminster College from 2012-2015, and is currently the President Emeritus of its Alumni Council. In 2014, Weir gave the 2014 Westminster Convocation Address highlighting her passion for NDSS and advocating for people with Down syndrome. Weir is an international expert and featured speaker on Down syndrome, advocacy, the ABLE Act and human rights for people with disabilities. Weir has been featured in USA Today, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, Washington Post, CNN, Fox News, The Hill, Money Magazine, Al Jazeera and many others. In her spare time, you can find Weir deep into a new nonfiction book or at a SoulCycle or hot yoga class in Washington, D.C. or New York City.

  • Ryan White

    529 Specialist, Product Management, Columbia Threadneedle Investments

    Ryan White is the 529 product specialist at Columbia Threadneedle Investments. In this role, he is responsible for product management, distribution and sales support for the Future Scholar 529 Plan. Ryan joined one of Columbia Threadneedle Investments legacy firms in 2012. Previously, Ryan held various positions at Fifth Third Bank and Fifth Third Securities. He has been a member of the financial services community since 2010.Ryan received a B.A. in Economics and a B.A. in Management and Society from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and holds the Series 6 and 63 licenses with FINRA. In addition, Ryan holds the Certified Investment Management Analyst® certification, administered by the Investment Management Consultants Association® and taught in conjunction with the Yale School of Management.

  • Wayne Weber

    CEO, GiftofCollege.com

    Wayne Weber is CEO and Founder of GiftofCollege.com, a company that revolutionizes college savings. He is passionate about providing families a simple and easy way to save for college tuition – bringing change to a complex process. Since 2008, Wayne has developed Gift of College into a social savings platform for parents, friends and communities with the aim of establishing the company as the leading gifting platform for college savings plans. GiftofCollege.com builds innovations and technologies that encourage the awareness, use and growth of college savings investment plans. Wayne has built significant partnerships across the industry to ensure that GiftofCollege.com supports not only the needs of the investor but also meets the high standards of the investing community. Before founding GiftofCollege.com, Wayne led business development and sales efforts of software and hardware solutions for Fortune 500 companies including NCR Corporation and CDW. In 2007, Wayne founded Gimmepleez.com, a social savings platform that was the forerunner to his current company. Wayne is a graduate of Northern Illinois University with a B.S. in Marketing.

Special Sessions

“529 Essentials Seminar” (pre-conference session – September 24)
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 26)
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
617-913-0571
austin.ulep@strategic-i.com
General Information:
Carol Popkins
203-461-0985
carol.popkins@strategic-i.com