Financial advisors help put their clients in a position to make money work for them instead of chasing it their entire lives. Arkansas Money & Politics asked readers to reveal their favorite financial advisors, and they delivered. The professionals listed in this special section are committed to guiding their clients through the sometimes intimidating world of investments and transforming “finances” from a potential source of stress to a golden opportunity.
Northwestern Mutual/The Bertasi Financial Group, Little Rock
Bertasi believes that identifying your financial goals and suggesting innovative solutions to help you implement them is a hallmark of a great financial advisor. In addition, through his association with The Bertasi Financial Group, he has access to a staff of seasoned professionals, which ensures he has the manpower and technical ability to promptly meet the needs of his clients.
Melissa W. Bradley
Merrill Lynch Wealth Management/Smouni Bradley Group, Little Rock
Bradley believes that helping clients achieve their goals and dreams never gets old, even after more than 20 years of working with individuals and families. She values the relationships that she has built over the years and truly believes the key to success is a written financial strategy.
Johnny Brown, CFP®
Brown Capital Management, Little Rock
Brown is a Certified Financial Planner™ and president of Brown Capital Management. He has been in the investment industry since 1999 and has experience managing investments through two of the worst recessions and bear markets in the stock market in U.S. history. He has eight years of experience as an equity analyst.
Scott Burton, CDFA®
Burton is a Hot Springs native and graduate of the University of Arkansas. After his divorce, he decided to help others navigate the financial aspect of divorce by earning the designation of Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA). He is heavily involved in the Hot Springs community through the Chamber of Commerce and Oaklawn Rotary Club among other community activities.
Chad Carlson, CFP®
Simmons Investment Services, Little Rock
Carlson is a Certified Financial Planner™ with more than 24 years of experience in the financial services industry. A Little Rock native and graduate of Catholic High School for Boys, Carlson returned home after his graduation from Baylor University to begin his career in 1996. In 2001, he joined Delta Trust, which was later acquired by Simmons Bank.
Jason Chacko, CFP®, CRPS®
The Chacko Group, Hot Springs
Chacko is a Certified Financial Planner™ and Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist® with Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. Since joining The Chacko Group as a financial advisor in 2009, he has concentrated on providing effective and efficient financial solutions for the individual goals of his clients. In addition to his care for his clients, Chacko currently serves as the branch manager for the Morgan Stanley office in Hot Springs.
James Chavez Jr.
Encompass Financial Partners, Little Rock
Chavez is a partner and financial advisor at the Little Rock firm. He previously served as a financial advisor and college unit director for Northwestern Mutual in Little Rock. His goal is to work with business owners who want to improve their bottom line, medical professionals who want to achieve profitability for their practice and young professionals and families who are looking to put their best foot forward financially.
Raymond James Financial Services/Signature Private Wealth Management, Fayetteville
Cole received a Bachelor of Science in business administration (marketing) from the University of Arkansas in 1990. After college, he attended the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, receiving a juris doctor in 1994. Cole practiced law for six years, focusing primarily on banking and probate law, and remains a member of the Arkansas Bar Association. After leaving private law practice, Cole managed the Arvest Asset Management office in Fayetteville for several years. He then joined Raymond James in May of 2006.
Cindy Conger, CPA/PFS, CFP®
Conger Wealth Management, Little Rock
Conger earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1981 and her MBA at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1983. In 1985, she was a founding partner in The Arkansas Financial Group, Inc. in Little Rock. There she gained experience, expertise and national acclaim. Worth magazine recognized Cindy for a decade as one of the top practitioners in the nation.
Barry M. Corkern, CFP®, AIFA®
Barry M. Corkern and Company, Little Rock
Charging a fee for objective advice, unclouded by commission-driven sales rhetoric, was a novel idea in 1982. This led to Corkern to become the first person in Arkansas to register solely as an investment advisor. Corkern is a graduate of the private wealth management profession tract at the esteemed Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania), has provided litigation support and expert witness testimony in more than 75 cases, is the founding president of the Arkansas Chapter of the Financial Planning Association.
Kelley Curtis Dunlap, CRPC®
Stifel/The Curtis Team, Little Rock
With more than 20 years in the financial industry, Dunlap has been a partner of The Curtis Team at Stifel since 2011. Devoting her time to a select client base consisting of affluent families and successful businesses, she focuses on mitigating risk and pursuing growth of her clients’ wealth with an emphasis on holistic planning and risk management strategies. She utilizes her Chartered Retirement Planning CounselorSM (CRPC®) by assisting business owners in developing a retirement plan tailored to their needs. She also is a member of National Association of Plan Advisors (NAPA) and sits on the Stifel Retirement Plans Roundtable.
Arvest Wealth Management, Little Rock
Eidson is a vice president and Senior Retirement Plan Relationship Manager with Arvest Wealth Management, serving the Little Rock and Fort Smith markets. He works closely with retirement plan sponsors to assist with ﬁduciary and compliance responsibilities, investment selection and monitoring and a customized education plan for participants. Eidson joined Arvest Wealth Management in 2013 and previously served as an investment assistant and client advisor. A University of Arkansas graduate, he holds the designations of Accredited Investment Fiduciary® and Chartered Retirement Plans SpecialistSM.
Jason Feilke, CFP®
Meridian Investment Advisors, Little Rock
Feilke joined Meridian in 2012 as Director of Retirement Plan Services in charge of retirement plan consulting to businesses. He previously worked at BKD Wealth Advisors and Merrill Lynch, where he managed retirement plans for businesses and served as wealth management advisor to families. He received his bachelor’s degree in financial management and an MBA from the Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™.
Investment Advisors, Little Rock
As managing partner for Prime Capital Investment Advisors, Gerber provides both financial planning and wealth management services. His team also advises companies, large and small, on how to best manage and offer a retirement plan to its employees. With 15 years experience, Gerber enjoys serving his clients with a personalized problem-solving approach that best helps his clients feel empowered to make the right decisions for their future. He graduated from Ouachita Baptist University and earned a master’s degree in financial planning. He is a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional and an Accredited Investment Fiduciary®.
Heritage Oak Wealth Advisors, Rogers
Gibson is the founder and owner of Heritage Oak Wealth Advisors, where he works with a select group of high-net worth clients to provide a comprehensive wealth management plan personalized to the needs and desires of each client and family. He has a passion for cultivating lasting relationships with the clients he serves, and his personal care towards each client’s needs are unmatched. Gibson has worked in wealth management for almost 20 years and executes a unique approach to detailed planning and execution.
Cory Denice Grummer
Cory Grummer, CFP®, is a senior vice president and leader of the Wealth Planning team at Stephens. She has a background working as a financial analyst in private equity and in the public sector. In 2013, Grummer joined Stephens where she now works with clients to create comprehensive financial plans for various stages of life. She particularly enjoys wealth planning and helping families to achieve their legacy and charitable goals and is inspired by seeing the empowerment clients gain and the success they enjoy from having a long-term financial plan.
Sarah Catherine Gutierrez, MPP, CFP®, CRPS®
Services, Little Rock
Gutierrez is the founder of Aptus Financial. She holds an MPP from Harvard University and the CFP® and CRPS® designations. She was recently recognized in the 2020 Investment News 40 under 40 class of investment advisors and serves as adjunct instructor in personal finance in the Department of Surgery for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Gutierrez is a national speaker on “living like a resident” for physicians; eliminating conflicts of interest in the financial industry; and recruiting women to become financial advisors.
Harkins Rafferty Wealth Management/Raymond James, Little Rock
Harkins has been helping families and individuals for more than 30 years. Working with a smaller group of clients allows Raymond James to create a greater understanding of your goals along with viable solutions for every element of the wealth management equation. Harkins takes a deep dive into addressing clients’ interests and concerns, helping them better understand their options and solutions. Originally from Chicago, Harkins attended Loyola University of Chicago.
Hartz is the founder and a senior partner at Foundation Resource Management (FRM), a SEC-registered investment advisory firm in Little Rock. Hartz has 35 years of experience as a value investment portfolio manager. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charterholder and holds the Personal Financial Specialist designation of the American Institute of CPAs. He is a life-long resident of Arkansas.
John Hoefl, CRPC, & Lara Wilkerson
As a financial professional and an active member of his community, Hoefl is dedicated to helping individuals and businesses build their financial futures. Wilkerson has been in the financial industry for more than 15 years. She has worked with various broker dealers, and her expertise ranges from bonds, annuities, long-term care and more.
Wealth Management Inc., Little Rock
By learning from the past and planning for tomorrow, Holdford helps clients live powerfully in the present moment, free of worry and regret. He is an author, wealth advisor, life coach and public speaker. For more than 30 years in the financial services industry, Holdford has practiced within the discipline of comprehensive financial planning, concentrating on retirement planning, estate planning and investment tax reduction strategies.
Loren Marshall Ipsen
Ipsen Advisor Group, Little Rock
Ipsen has 19 years of experience in the industry. He earned an associate degree in arts business administration from Texarkana College and a Bachelor of Business Administration (finance) from Texas A&M-Texarkana. Ipsen believes that clients’ financial goals are individual and strives to help them achieve those goals. Ipsen takes the time to understand what’s truly important, whether it’s saving for college, retiring the way clients want, making smart investments or anything else.
Transparent Wealth Partners/Ameriprise, Little Rock
Irico has been a financial planner for 34 years. As chairman and founder of Transparent Wealth Partners, he continues working with the firm in a special projects role working on firm-wide matters that benefit all clients. Throughout his career, he specialized in retirement income strategies, tax planning, employee stock options and comprehensive financial planning.
Foresight Investment Advisors, Hot Springs
Irwin has been serving the insurance and financial needs of senior clients for more than 29 years. He developed a passion for working with retirees who want to minimize risk and ensure their money lasts. Irwin’s success with clients in Arkansas led him to share his knowledge and techniques to hundreds of agents and advisors from around the nation. He founded Irwin Financial Group Inc., the fastest-growing fixed index annuity wholesale company in the United States from 2000 to 2009, which he sold in 2010.
Matt Jones, JD, CFP
Legacy Capital Wealth Partners, Little Rock
Jones began working in the wealth management industry in 1994 after receiving his undergraduate degree from the UA and his law degree from UA Little Rock. Having completed the requirements to become a CFP®, he worked locally for both Morgan Keegan and Stephens Inc. In 1997, he joined the late Frank McGehee to form what is today Legacy Capital. Jones now serves as president and directional leader for Legacy. He and the firm’s other advisors focus on providing holistic and customized wealth management services to affluent and ultra-affluent clientele. Legacy’s client base is nationwide and includes some of Arkansas’ most prominent families.
Kelly Journey, CFP, AAMS, CRPC, CRPS and ADPA
Edward Jones, Little Rock
When Journey was young, she would balance her mother’s checkbook, remind kids at school they needed to save some of their allowance and loved reading the Wall Street Journal at the library. The financial industry always fascinated her from an early age. As a woman, she is keenly aware how important it is to have financial independence, no matter what your family dynamic. Journey is a general partner and financial advisor with Edward Jones in Little Rock. She and her team have a passion for serving clients from all walks of life for more than 20 years with a tailored and unique approach. Their focus is to make clients’ financial lives easier, not harder. Journey holds many professional designations and consistently adds new designations to keep her knowledge fresh and relevant for her clients.
Frank Kelly, CFP®
Ifrah Financial Services, Little Rock
Kelly has been working in the financial services since 1976 and earned his CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Certification in 1990. He served for six years on the board of the Arkansas Chapter of the International Association for Financial Planning (IAFP) and for two of those years as president. He is a member of the Financial Planning Association (FPA). Kelly is the current chairman of the Arkansas Renewable Energy Association, an Arkansas based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization where he is active in helping Arkansas develop policies to promote the adoption of renewable energy systems.
ClientFirst Wealth Management, Little Rock
Mahaffy, a repeat member of this list, founded ClientFirst Wealth Management, a fee-only RIA and fiduciary managing more than $200 million for Arkansans, in 2007. Prior to launching ClientFirst, he spent six years as a branch manager and portfolio manager with Raymond James, six years as a vice president and portfolio manager at Merrill Lynch and 11 years as a financial advisor and portfolio manager at Stephens Inc. Designated as a Certified Financial Planner and Chartered Financial Consultant, Mahaffy holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from The Citadel, and he earned his MBA from the UA.
Natural State Private Wealth Group/Ameriprise, Little Rock
Matlock is CEO of the Little Rock firm and has more than 26 years of experience in the industry. His retirement income strategies include wealth preservation strategies, investments, retirement plan distribution, tax planning strategies, estate planning strategies and charitable giving. He holds the APMA®, CFP® and CRPC® designations.
Transparent Wealth Partners, Little Rock
Meador has more than 20 years of investing, financial planning and wealth management experience. As founder and owner of Transparent Wealth Partners, Meador continues the love for his work and his clients while he finds joy in collaborating on thoughtful financial planning with his clients.
Foundation Resource Management, Little Rock
Moll is a partner and portfolio manager at FRM. A CFA Charterholder, she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from Columbia University. She has 16 years of experience. FRM serves charitable foundations, insurance companies, hospitals, retirement plans and high net-worth families. The company began operation in 1992 and has seven CFA charter holders.
As an Edward Jones financial advisor, Murchison enjoys developing long-term relationships with clients in which they can build wealth, live generously and leave a legacy. This is accomplished by using an established process to build a personalized strategy that will help clients achieve what’s most important to them.
Geoffrey H. Niebaum
Mendel Capital Management, Little Rock
Niebaum brings 15 years of investment advisory experience to his role leading Mendel Capital Management. As president, he focuses on investment management and overall strategic growth of Mendel Capital. Prior to joining Mendel Capital, Niebaum was a partner and portfolio manager for Integra Capital Advisors. His investment management career began with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.
Phillips, who served in the Marine Corps for four years, strives every day to be the catalyst for his clients’ financial success. He is passionate about his clients, and that partly comes from his “why” — Phillips had a heart attack at 31, so he truly knows the importance of planning ahead and putting his clients in a position of financial power.
Harkins Rafferty Wealth Management/Raymond James, Little Rock
Rafferty is a vice president with Raymond James in the firm’s Little Rock branch office. He provides a comprehensive approach to wealth management, risk management and estate planning to individuals, families and businesses. Originally from New Orleans, he is active in the community as a volunteer for organizations such as Little Rock Montessori School and Christ the King Catholic Church.
As an Edward Jones financial advisor, Rector unites her two passions — serving others and education. Being a financial advisor allows her to serve others and her community by helping people meet financial goals.
Larry Root and Associates/Ameriprise, Little Rock
Root’s practice has changed over the years with its clients. Many clients have worked with the firm for 25 years or longer. Root understands the impact the firm can have in clients’ lives through a fulfilling retirement, education of children and grandchildren as well as facing the difficult events of life. The firm works to make a difference in the lives of its clients.
Maureen Ruggiero, CFS
Mendel Capital Management, Little Rock
As CFO, Ruggiero is Chief Compliance and Operating Officer for the firm. Since joining Mendel Capital in 2000, she has earned her Series 65 license, the CFS designation and a master of business administration. She advises clients on their wealth management concerns, retirement plan services, portfolio management and investment analysis.
Strategic Financial Partners, Little Rock
Rush helps corporations, high-net-worth individuals and affluent families accumulate and retain their wealth. He understands that every client has a unique situation and believes each client’s situation deserves highly customized and fully transparent solutions. Rush earned his bachelor’s in business administration from the University of Central Arkansas in 2006.
Fiduciary Wealth Management,
Senavinin is president and co-founder of Fiduciary Wealth Management, a fee-only registered investment advisory firm in Little Rock. As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, he has advanced training in the holistic process of creating a personal financial plan that addresses a person’s comprehensive needs for both the short and long term.
Genwealth Financial Advisors, Bryant
Shrewsbury has been helping Arkansans work toward financial independence for more than two decades. He believes financial planning truly has the power to change lives. As co-owner and managing principal of Genwealth Financial Advisors, he has a heart for developing leaders within his team and serving his clients with excellence.
New Wave Wealth Advisors, Springdale
Originally from Poland, Siwiec moved to Rogers in 1999, where he launched his career at Arvest in commercial lending and wealth management. With an MA in finance and nearly 20 years of experience, he joined New Wave Wealth Advisors in 2019 and is solely focused on helping his clients by leveraging independent solutions for investments management and financial planning.
Joey Small, CRPC®, APMA®
Small & Associates Financial/Ameriprise, Little Rock
Small is a private wealth advisor and president of Small & Associates Financial, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial. He provides personalized financial advice to help clients achieve their goals, today and tomorrow. Small has 22 years of experience with Ameriprise Financial, during which time he has been named to numerous top advisor lists.
Legacy Capital Wealth Partners, Little Rock
With more than three decades of wealth management experience and after seven years as an investment representative with two major firms, Trent became inspired to start his own company focused on unbiased, objective money management service. In early 1996, he founded Trent Capital Management Inc., a Registered Investment Advisory firm. He merged his firm with Legacy Capital on Jan 1, 2021.
Karron E. Wages CFP®
Financial Decisions Inc., Little Rock
Wages is the president and lead financial planner at Financial Decisions Inc. She began her financial planning career at The Arkansas Financial Group in 1996, working her way up to vice president and chief compliance officer. In 2005, she transferred over to manage the affiliate firm, Financial Decisions Inc., which delivers financial planning and investment management services to clients of all financial asset levels.