WSR Honors Inaugural NEXT 5 – Top Next Gen Wealth Management Leaders

WSR Inaugural List Of Leading Next Generation Professionals Recognizes Executives From AdvizorStack, Diamond Consultants, LPL, Stratos And Berkshire Global Advisors.
Chris Latham, Managing Editor, Wealth Solutions Report
Chris Latham, Managing Editor, Wealth Solutions Report

In the past, Next Gen recognition lists have focused mainly on financial advisors.

And while advisors are quite deserving of those honors, in a lot of ways the advisor population demographically reflects the broader industry population – from home offices of RIA and independent broker-dealer enterprises to executive teams at third-party solutions providers. So any discussion of Next Gen leaders ought to consider how the full ecosystem of the wealth management industry interconnects across this larger landscape.

Furthermore, just as long-established veteran financial advisors must engage in succession planning on behalf of their clients and colleagues, so must the management teams of forward-thinking organizations. Therefore, when we think of Next Gen, we are looking for the rising talent of today who can steward the industry into tomorrow.

Our inaugural edition of the invitation-only NEXT 5 features leaders who have distinguished themselves throughout their careers, which are still very much in progress, by demonstrating exceptional drive, vision and the ability to inspire others to achieve positive change at their organizations. We congratulate them on their accomplishments, which we have summarized below.

Here are the winners, presented in alphabetical order.

Nico DeMaio, President, AdvizorStack

Nico DeMaio, President, AdvizorStack
Nico DeMaio, President, AdvizorStack

Nico DeMaio is President of AdvizorStack, a consultative outsourced CTO that provides customized technology stacks for RIAs. Its solutions encompass client onboarding, billing and reporting, trade and order management, financial planning, research and analytics, as well as CRM.

The 30-year-old is a Pittsburgh native and University of Arizona Eller College of Management graduate. DeMaio had a passion for finance and technology at a young age. He started his career at Charles Schwab in 2017, where he was Head Junior Advisor for a $3 billion practice. Moving on to TD Ameritrade in 2018, DeMaio started his own book of business in Silicon Valley, where he oversaw more than $750 million in assets.

As a top performing Senior Financial Consultant at TDA, DeMaio saw the need for technology in an industry that he felt was significantly lacking innovation. From 2020 to 2022, DeMaio worked at the wealthtech platform Amplify, where he served as Relationship Manager. He oversaw growth from $400 million to $6 billion in 18 months.

In December 2022, DeMaio launched AdvizorStack with his father, Paul, who serves as CEO and Managing Partner. Nico DeMaio brings his expertise in financial planning, technology and relationship management to building and growing a company that he strives to be recognized as “truly for advisors, by advisors.” AdvizorStack has grown over 300% since the start of 2024.

Louis Diamond, President, Diamond Consultants

Louis Diamond, President, Diamond Consultants
Louis Diamond, President, Diamond Consultants

As President of Diamond Consultants, Louis Diamond is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the firm, with an eye toward future growth. As a consultant to advisors, he guides many of the industry’s top teams in transitioning to another employee-model firm or launching their own RIAs. Diamond also has a firsthand understanding of the needs and requirements of complex multi-generational teams and business owners considering succession.

He joined Diamond Consultants in 2015, and at the start of 2021 took over the reins as President of the firm created by his mother, Mindy Diamond, more than two decades earlier. Together, they forged a partnership designed to carry the recruiting firm forward and create a legacy to evolve with an ever-changing industry.

Under Louis Diamond’s stewardship, the firm successfully guided advisors transitioning over $300 billion in assets under management (AUM) over the last seven years and facilitated over 25% of $1 billion-plus transitions. He grew the Diamond team by 20%, bolstering the Next Gen leadership in the process.

His direction in expanding the firm’s capabilities around M&A, strategic consulting and moving upmarket to represent many prestigious teams in the industry resulted in Diamond Consultants experiencing 20% year-over-year growth during his tenure.

The 33-year-old is a magna cum laude graduate of The George Washington University with a dual degree in Finance and International Business. He honed his expertise at Ernst & Young, Morgan Stanley and UBS. Diamond is an author and contributor to financial media, and co-hosts the Diamond Podcast for Financial Advisors.

Joanna Kanakis, SVP – Business Development, Financial Institutions, LPL Financial

Joanna Kanakis, SVP - Head of Business Development, Financial Institutions, LPL Financial
Joanna Kanakis, SVP – Head of Business Development, Financial Institutions, LPL Financial

Joanna Kanakis is Senior Vice President of Institution Services and leads the product manufacturer segment at LPL Financial. With nearly 20 years of experience, she has led successful strategic initiatives across new regions and countries, markets and product lines.

The LPL Institution Services team works with financial institutions to optimize their wealth management businesses and create value for their clients. In her role, Kanakis brings renewed focus and scale to product manufacturers to grow their wealth businesses sustainably and purposefully.

Previously, Kanakis was the Executive Vice President and Head of Institutional Business Development at Halo Investing, where she launched and led sales initiatives to institutional clients in the Americas and covered key opportunities, working to democratize and disrupt the world of defined outcome investing.

Before Halo Investing, Kanakis was a Director in the Prime Services Division of Global Markets for Societe Generale. She led Midwest sales efforts across global markets products for institutional clients and led sales development in Latin America. Earlier, Kanakis was a Sales-Trader at Newedge (which Societe Generale acquired) and Credit Agricole, providing voice execution and direct market access to global listed derivatives and options markets.

In 2006, Kanakis graduated magna cum laude from North Park University with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. In 2016, she received the North Park Distinguished Young Alumni Award. Kanakis serves on the Board of Trustees for North Park University’s School of Business.

Sarah Pochedly, Practice Management Consultant, Stratos

Sarah Pochedly, Practice Management Consultant, Stratos
Sarah Pochedly, Practice Management Consultant, Stratos

Sarah Pochedly is a Practice Management Consultant for Stratos, a Beachwood, Ohio-based independent, partner-owned and operated financial services firm that supports more than 350 independent financial advisors, with over 75 home office support professionals.

When Pochedly joined Stratos in 2018 from the nonprofit industry, she initially played a pivotal role in helping to guide advisors and their teams through transitioning to the independent space at Stratos Wealth Partners. She coordinated account-specific transactions, marketing collateral, license transfers and other details.

Pochedly became a member of the Practice Management team in 2020, serving as an Associate to the three consultants in that department. In that role, her contributions included developing platforms and resources, assisting with talent acquisition and managing the delivery of educational webinars to Stratos advisor teams. In early 2024, Pochedly was promoted to her current role.

Her contributions include facilitating a peer group for female contributors at Stratos, fostering the exchange of best practices; leading a training and oientation program to integrate new advisor team members into Stratos and custodial platforms; coordinating a monthly advisor enrichment series that delivers timely and relevant information; identifying and sourcing key talent for advisors to bring into their practice; and managing the public relations process for the organization as a whole.

She holds the ClientWise Certified Financial Coach designation, which she utilizes in customized coaching sessions with dedicated advisor populations. In 2005, Pochedly graduated from Miami University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, Journalism and Related Programs.

Stephen Stephano, Vice President, Berkshire Global Advisors

Stephen Stephano, Vice President, Berkshire Global Advisors
Stephen Stephano, Vice President, Berkshire Global Advisors

Stephen Stephano is a Vice President at Berkshire Global Advisors, an M&A investment bank that he joined in 2017. Stephano is actively involved in all of Berkshire’s sector practices. He has 10 years of industry experience – executing nearly 50 deals during that time – with M&A activity across the wealth management, investment management, securities and financial technology sectors.

Some of Stephano’s notable transactions include Sammons Financial Group’s majority stake acquisition of NorthRock Partners, Hightower’s strategic investment in GMS Surgent, Rosemont Investment Group’s minority stake investment in Landmark Management, the TMI Holdings merger with Argent Financial Group, as well as the Wealth Partners Capital Group (WPCG) and HGGC strategic investment in Warren Averett Asset Management.

He emphasizes building strong long-lasting relationships with clients and other market participants, while dealing with the complex nature of human capital intensive businesses. Beyond dealmaking, Stephano co-leads Berkshire’s junior banker development program and firm resourcing, supports the firm’s AI task force and initiatives, and contributes to its philanthropic efforts.

Prior to Berkshire, Stephano worked for over two years as an M&A Analyst at Cambridge International Partners. In 2014, he graduated from the University of North Carolina with a BS in Business Administration and a BA in Economics.

Chris Latham, Managing Editor at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at clatham@wealthsolutionsreport.com

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