WSR Recognizes CFOs From Stratos, Carson, Steward, Edelman And Sanctuary As Inaugural Group Of Outstanding CFOs In Wealth Management
Since ancient times, the leaders of the treasury for a nation or organization were rigorously selected and held in high regard, because finance is the lifeblood of any organization. In the modern world, CFOs carry the same responsibility for honesty and integrity, wise management, detailed planning and loyalty to the organization.
The wealth management industry boasts many excellent CFOs who lead their firms through changes, growth initiatives, acquisitions and sales, adjustments to an ever-changing landscape and intense regulatory oversight. We have selected several outstanding CFOs from among this field to name as our inaugural, invitation-only CFO 5 – Top Wealth Management CFOs.
Each honoree has demonstrated a dedication to the industry, influence reaching across wealth management and a reputation for excellence in leadership, and WSR is proud to recognize them for their achievements and inspiration to our industry.
While we honor these distinguished executives, we also discovered an unsettling fact – a surprisingly small number of the CFOs in wealth management are women. Though we did not engage in a mathematical survey to determine exact data, the gap is apparent. It’s even more surprising when, according to Zippia, 56.8% of certified public accountants are women, a number that has shown little variance since 2010.
We ask wealth management industry participants, including executives, advisors, professionals and board members, to consider this gap and actively address it.
The honorees below are in alphabetical order. Please join us in congratulating them.
Nancy Andrefsky, Founding Partner and CFO of Stratos Wealth Partners
As CFO of Stratos, Andrefsky serves on the firm’s executive committee and leads all aspects of the firm’s financial management, including analysis and forecasting, with an emphasis on the firm’s growth. In addition, she oversees human resources and marketing.
In recent years, she engineered deals that include full buyouts and minority stakes in firms ranging from smaller affiliated firms to multi-billion-dollar international wealth managers. Her development of a simplified onramp for investment established several Stratos-affiliated practices that serve as hubs for M&A activity.
Recently, Andrefsky secured a significant credit facility to drive M&A growth and oversaw the implementation of GAAP reporting for Stratos. She believes that firms must develop a structure that enables growth without allowing expenses to spiral prior engaging in meaningful M&A activity. She says never to compete with a foolish offer from another firm – be willing to walk away.
Previously Andrefsky served as a treasurer for several nonprofit organizations, as a controller for the nonregulated subsidiaries of Bell Atlantic (now Verizon) and as a Senior Accountant at Ernst & Young, where she acted as an independent auditor.
Andrefsky graduated from Franklin & Marshall College where she earned the Wall Street Journal Award in Finance. She lives in Hudson, Ohio with her husband and children.
Nick Engelbart, CFO of Carson Group
At 33, Nick Engelbart is one of the youngest CFOs in wealth management. He leads a 23-person team in Carson Group’s capital allocation, M&A, strategic planning and financial strategy.
Engelbart arrived at Carson in 2018, quickly rising through the ranks to be appointed as CFO in 2020. Prior to Carson, he served at West Corporation as a Director, as well as Dundee Venture Capital and McCarthy Capital.
During his time as CFO, Engelbart led Carson through over 40 transactions, ranging from full acquisitions and minority-stake ownership deals to partner M&A, and played a key role in the buildout of Carson’s headquarters. Under his leadership, the firm has grown to $21 billion in assets under management with 45,000 client families.
Engelbart also led the firm’s search for an equity partner, resulting in a strategic partnership with Bain Capital and a $1 billion valuation for Carson.
Outside the office, he serves on the board of the Much More Foundation, which provides scholarships for schools in Nebraska and Iowa for undergraduate and graduate students of the Boys and Girls Club, takes an active role in outdoor conservation, including supporting Nebraska Game and Parks, is a member of First Lutheran Church of Fremont, Nebraska, and coaches his three children in T-ball.
With over 25 years of experience in wealth and asset management, financial technology and software development, Faber joined Steward Partners in 2022 from Cetera Financial Group, where he served almost nine years, most recently as SVP, Corporate Development.
In his time as CFO at Steward Partners, the firm realized record revenues and profitability in 2022 and recruited over $1 billion in assets in 2023 through late April. The firm also launched a custodial partnership with Pershing in 2023.
Under Faber’s leadership, the firm has put a $140 million credit facility in place to support future growth, launched a new commission processing system to improve efficiency, streamlined and redesigned the firm’s general ledger and built out dedicated finance functions including financial planning and analysis, procurement and real estate.
During his time at Cetera, Faber held responsibility for financial planning and analysis, corporate development and investor relations, participating in the acquisition of assets from Voya Financial and Foresters and the sale of Cetera to Genstar in 2018. He was instrumental to Cetera’s buildout of its planning, reporting and analytical capabilities.
Prior to Cetera, Faber served in investment banking roles at Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse and in corporate development for TD Ameritrade.
Faber lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter. When not in the office, he supports his daughter in figure skating.
Suzanne van Staveren, EVP, CFO and COO, Edelman Financial Engines
With over two decades of experience, van Staveren joined Edelman one year ago in a dual C-suite role that focuses on directing the firm’s financial and corporate strategy, operations and employee experience. Her team of over 175 spans across accounting, human resources, finance, data & analytics, corporate strategy and client operations.
Van Staveren brings a track record of building and growing financial services organizations both organically and through acquisitions. Before Edelman, she served at various roles in Goldman Sachs, including CFO of the Personal Financial Management Group, where she played a role in the integration of Ayco and United Capital, and COO of the Americas institution business within Goldman Sachs Asset Management.
Prior to Goldman, van Staveren held various roles at AXA Equitable, including COO of Corporate Markets, and Fidelity Investments.
Van Staveren also speaks four languages (Dutch, French, German and English) and is a member of Chief, the private network that endeavors to place women in positions of power.
Joining Sanctuary Wealth in March with almost three decades of securities industry experience, Vaughan manages the firm’s financial operations, including budgeting, accounting, planning, forecasting and financial reporting, participates in the firm’s strategic decision-making, risk management, regulatory compliance and M&A, and manages relationships with external stakeholders such as investors and lenders.
Before Sanctuary, Vaughan served as CFO at Axos Clearing, directing multiple teams serving over 70 broker-dealers and more than 220 RIA firms. Prior to Axos, he served over 27 years at Securities America, previously a subsidiary of Ladenburg Thalmann, as SVP and CFO, leading accounting, finance, internal audit, risk management and fee and commission billing.
Vaughan has a track record of developing and implementing financial strategies to produce strong bottom line results, as he demonstrated by taking Securities America’s gross revenue from under $400 million in 2011 to $1 billion in 2021 when serving as the firm’s CFO.
“A strong CFO instills financial discipline into a firm by ensuring capital is deployed strategically. The firm might be growing quickly, but it’s up to the CFO to make certain that growth is profitable,” says Vaughan. “The CFO should pair a risk-focused, broad-based knowledge of the business, with an understanding of the details and data, to ensure the best investment decisions are made for the company.”
Vaughan lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with his wife, where he teaches group fitness classes. He is a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and enjoys travel.
Julius Buchanan, Managing Editor at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.