WSR Names Barraza, Coletti, Hoosier, Kallsen And Nuttall To Inaugural Group Of Outstanding Operations Executives
The C-suite is filled with crucial roles that keep a firm running – but none more necessary than the person whose job literally is to keep the firm running: the chief operating officer. COOs manage and coordinate details across the full array of a firm’s activities, while implementing plans that bring the management’s future vision to life.
The wealth management industry is fortunate to have many capable COOs driving asset and business growth, implementing new systems and practices seamlessly, and orchestrating corporate functions spanning from legal to sales into a singular machinery. From the many excellent COOs across the industry, our team selected the top five as the inaugural, invitation-only COO 5: Top Wealth Management COOs.
To arrive at this list of extraordinary operations leaders, our team reviewed COOs on their demonstrated dedication to the industry, reputation and recognition across wealth management, the ability to manage change and growth from an operations perspective and their impact on the industry.
The honorees’ names are set out alphabetically below. Please join us in congratulating them.
Micaela Barraza, SVP Operations, Nitrogen
With over 10 years at Nitrogen, Micaela Barraza focuses on steering the firm’s corporate strategy as it transforms both in brand identity and operational ethos. Not only has the firm rebranded from its previous name, Riskalyze, in the past year, but in the past few years it has transformed from 90% in-office working arrangements to 90% remote. As SVP Operations, Barraza was involved in both transformations.
The transition to a primarily remote workforce required strategic investments in systems that met the firm’s needs in the new situation and a redesign of the processes that connect, empower and support the remote workforce. At the same time, the firm had to maintain its corporate culture and develop ways to flourish in the new environment.
To support its rebrand, the firm required a technological transition across its systems and organizations as hundreds of users and systems were tied to the former domain. The project required painstaking preparatory work and execution by Barraza’s operations teams.
According to Barraza, one of the most challenging aspects of her role is building systems and processes that align a global workforce. “With teams in the United States, Canada and Poland, we are collaborating across distinct time zones, regulatory environments and cultures.”
She continued, “This challenge is also one of our greatest opportunities. Our diverse and distributed culture empowers us to hire, retain and reward top talent as we collectively propel forward our mission to deliver cutting-edge growth tools to wealth management firms and empower a new generation of fearless investors.”
Michele Coletti, COO, American Trust Custody
In her role at American Trust Custody, an AmericanTCS business, Michele Coletti leads the development and implementation of solutions for the firm’s platform, which provides clearing and custody support to intermediary partners and outside dealers. She leads the firm’s enterprise risk management and the division responsible for compliance and processing solutions for large broker-dealers.
In addition, she manages the firm’s mutual funds services team, which negotiates mutual fund sales and servicing agreements, fund compliance, dealer compensation, and fee and commission invoicing and collection.
With over 25 years of experience in the retirement plan industry, Coletti served at American Trust Company and its predecessor for almost 16 years. Previously, she worked at SunGard.
Coletti is also a member of the Investment Company Institute’s Bank, Trust and Recordkeeping Advisory Committee (BTRAC). She holds the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS) and
Qualified 401(k) Administrator (QKA) designations.
“Trust and custody operations are frequently viewed as commodities given the back office nature of the tasks performed,” Coletti says. “ERISA plan custody is uniquely complex, particularly open architecture platforms like ours. Each plan has multiple service providers engaged in a variety of roles: advisors, TPAs, recordkeepers, 3(16) fiduciaries, education consultants and more. We support ERISA and non-ERISA accounts so we must tailor our processes and procedures based on account type, adding even more complexity to our environment.”
Jene Hoosier, COO, Sanctuary Wealth
Arriving at Sanctuary Wealth as Head of Platform Strategy in April 2022, Jene Hoosier rose to COO in January. Previously she served at Goldman Sachs Personal Financial Management and its predecessor United Capital Financial Partners for 10 years in various roles managing functions including training, operations and onboarding acquisitions, culminating as an SVP and COO of its FinLife technology platform.
Prior to that, Hoosier acted as a practice management consultant at Quantuvis Consulting, a Genworth Financial subsidiary, helping large RIAs and financial institutions improve business operations. She is a graduate of California State University-San Bernadino in finance and accounting.
Hoosier says that a focus on strategic initiatives, as well as communication and collaboration across teams, allows her firm to remain aligned with its evolving needs in a rapid growth environment. “As we continue to attract elite financial advisors from wirehouses who run sophisticated businesses, we have built a robust platform to support these advisors’ understandably high expectations.”
Hoosier says that her priority as COO is delivering on client expectations through platform enhancements, service, technology and curated solutions. “It’s important to ensure we invest our time, talent and resources effectively to create an environment where advisors can efficiently grow their practices, establish deeper relationships with clients and build true and lasting equity in their businesses.”
Terri Kallsen, Senior Operating Partner, Rise Growth Partners
Recently joining Rise Growth Partners, Terri Kallsen previously served as COO of Wealth Enhancement Group and, prior to that, in various executive roles at Charles Schwab, including EVP Investor Services, SVP Branch Network and SVP Portfolio Consulting.
At Schwab, her team orchestrated the integration of multiple RIAs into franchise offices and other businesses, improving the transformation process. Her team saw a 28% net new asset compound annual growth rate with a new advisor referral strategy and improvements in the firm’s portfolio accounting system integration, receiving J.D. Power Awards for full-service brokerages for three consecutive years.
I’m grateful to now work with Rise Growth Partners as we cultivate an environment where innovation thrives and propels firms forward,” said Kallsen. “It’s more than numbers, it’s about seamless integration of new assets and a commitment to consistently delivering outstanding service.”
“I am wholeheartedly looking forward to working with the entire Rise team to cultivate a culture of candor and trust where we challenge the status quo day in and day out,” she continued. “After a 30-year career working with entrepreneurs, I now get to be part of an entrepreneurial organization that has a spirit of innovation and a spirit of doing what is right on behalf of the end-client. The mission-driven essence of the Rise team aligns with my goals to maximize the potential of fiduciary advisors that want to grow.”
Phil Nuttall, COO, Stratos Wealth Partners
Joining Stratos Wealth Partners in August, Phil Nuttall is responsible for the company’s operations and infrastructure, and also serves on the executive committee. In his role as COO, he focuses on the firm’s systems, tools and processes that support advisors.
Nuttall most recently served as SVP – Enterprise Alliances at LPL Financial, leading the firm’s strategic accounts group and, prior to that, as Head of Advice & Financial Planning at Capital One. He held multiple roles at HSBC including SVP, Wealth Sales Manager, leading the firm’s mid-Atlantic wealth region, and began his career with HSBC in London in 2008.
Nuttall holds a CFP designation and the FINRA Series 6, 7, 9, 10, 63 and 65 registrations. He is a graduate of the University of Keele and the University of Manchester.
Nuttall says he is excited to play a role in ensuring the continuation of Stratos’ track record of helping advisors recruit talent and source M&A opportunities. “I’m most excited about the opportunity to lead a data transformation effort that will enhance the advisor experience and unlock the ability to capitalize on some of the major advances in technology over the last few years. My role is to ensure Stratos has the right structural foundation to build upon and I’m extremely pleased with the behind-the-scenes work the team has accomplished this year.”
Janeesa Hollingshead, Contributing Editor at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at email@example.com.