Dr. LEWIS ALTFEST, Ph.D., CFP®, CFA, PFS:
CEO, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, PRINCIPAL ADVISOR
Lewis J. Altfest, Ph.D., is CEO, Chief Investment Officer, and a Principal Advisor for Altfest Personal Wealth ManagementSM. Prior to founding the firm in 1983, he was a General Partner and Director of Research for Lord Abbett & Co., a large mutual fund and investment management company that manages more than $100 billion in assets. Lew began his investment career as a research analyst at Wertheim & Co.
Lew was the sole recipient of the 2007 Charles R. Schwab IMPACT Award® – arguably the highest distinction in the profession – for his sustained vision, outstanding leadership and client commitment. He was named one of the “Best Financial Advisers” in the country by Barron’s, as well as by Money, Worth, Mutual Funds, Medical Economics, and Dental Practice Report magazines. In 2013, Financial Planning magazine honored Lew in a cover story with the Lifetime Achievement Influencer Award, as an advisor who over the course of his career, has changed financial planning for the better and pushed the industry to higher levels. In 2012, and again in 2013, he was named to Financial Advisor magazine’s Due Diligence/Research Manager All-Star Team. His academic textbook, Personal Financial Planning, was published by McGraw Hill and is currently used at leading universities around the country. Lew is co-author of Lew Altfest Answers Almost All Your Questions About Money, which was named one of the best financial planning books by Money magazine, and co-author of An Introduction to Business.
Lew is an Associate Professor of Finance at the Lubin School of Business at Pace University, where he teaches financial planning and investments. Previously, he was co-director of the Investment Program at the New School. In addition to the books listed above, Lew is the author of many scholarly articles on financial planning and investments.
Lew lectures frequently to investors, pre-retirees and retirees as well as to other financial professionals. He is often interviewed by the media and currently writes a monthly investment column for Medical Economics. Lew is listed in Who's Who in Finance and Who's Who in America and is the recipient of the 2006 Career Achievement Award from The City College of New York for his “integral role in the development of the financial planning profession.”
A founding member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), Lew has served on its Board of Directors. He was selected as one of NAPFA’s 30 Most Influential in 2013. He also is a member of the Financial Planning Association (FPA), Academy of Financial Services, Financial Management Association, American Finance Association, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the New York Society of Security Analysts.
Lew received his Ph.D. from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He has an M.B.A from New York University and a B.B.A from Baruch College. He also holds the CFA, CFP®, and PFS designations.
Dr. KAREN C. ALTFEST, Ph.D, CFP®:
PRINCIPAL ADVISOR, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT CLIENT RELATIONS
Karen Caplan Altfest, Ph.D., is a Principal Advisor and Executive Vice President of Client Relations. She helps many of the firm’s clients on a variety of investment and financial planning issues.
Karen is frequently a speaker on the subject of women and money and conducts educational seminars for recent widows and people looking to retire. She is often interviewed by the national media and wrote a monthly Financial Question and Answer column for All You magazine. Her Financially Savvy Woman programs, including the Women’s Financial $pa, are popular with clients.
Karen’s most recent book, Keeping Clients for Life, was published by John Wiley & Sons in 2001. An earlier book, Lew Altfest Answers Almost All Your Questions About Money, which she co-wrote, was published by McGraw-Hill and was named one of the best financial planning books by Money magazine.
Worth magazine named Karen one of the “Best Financial Advisers” in the United States. She has been named one of the “120 Best Financial Advisers” by Medical Economics, and selected as “Planner of the Month” and one of “100 Top Advisors” by Mutual Funds magazine. In 2013, Financial Planning magazine honored Karen in a cover story with the Lifetime Achievement Influencer Award, as an advisor who over the course of her career, has empowered women and pushed the financial planning industry to higher levels. Wealth Manager named Karen one of the “50 Distinguished Women in Wealth Management” in 2008 and 2009. She is also listed in “Who’s Who of American Women” and in 2007 was awarded the Thornton Award by the Ph.D. Alumni Association of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in recognition of her skills in combining the business world with that of academia.
Karen received her Ph.D. in history from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She also holds M.A. and B.A. degrees from Hunter College, is a graduate of McGill University in Montreal, and holds the CFP® designation. She is a member of the Financial Women’s Association and is on the board of directors of Temple Shaaray Tefila in Manhattan. Karen sits on McGill’s Alumni Board of New York, and is a founder and former chair of the Yorkville Common Pantry.
Karen is a former President and Chairperson of the New York Chapter of the Financial Planning Association (FPA) and a former Chairperson of the Northeast Region of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA). She was the co-Director of the Financial Planning and Investments Program at The New School in New York City and the Coordinator of the Certified Financial Planner program, a professional program for financial planners, which she originated at Pace University in White Plains, New York.
DAWN BROWN, CFP®:
SENIOR FINANCIAL ADVISOR
Dawn is a Senior Financial Advisor at Altfest and has been helping clients with their retirement planning and other financial planning questions since joining the firm in 2002. She brings to her work a deep understanding of IRAs and qualified retirement plans, as well as college planning. Dawn sits on the firm’s Financial Planning Committee, which develops timely financial planning strategies to help clients.
Prior to joining Altfest, Dawn worked in accounting for British Airways. A native of Birmingham, England, she received her B.A. with honors from Birmingham City University (formerly Birmingham Polytechnic). She is a graduate of Pace University's Financial Planning Program, a CFP® licensee and a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA).
“I am aware of the trust that clients place in us, and it is very fulfilling when they come back and thank us for advice that really helped them. I enjoy the interaction with clients and appreciate the respect they have for our knowledge.”
Dawn has written about reverse mortgages and gifting, and has spoken about IRA's, budgeting, cash flow, and saving with a purpose. She has appeared in many media publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Money, Consumer Reports, and Black Enterprise. She enjoys reading and collecting African-American Art.
DANIEL J. DUCA, CFP®:
SENIOR FINANCIAL ADVISOR
Dan, a Senior Financial Advisor, advises clients on investment and financial planning strategies, working with them to achieve their financial objectives.
Prior to joining the firm, Dan worked at AMG National Trust Bank where he was intimately involved in all aspects of financial planning for high net worth clients. Dan is a CFP® professional and a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA). He also completed the Financial Planning Program at Farleigh Dickinson University. Dan graduated from Villanova University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in finance.
"Clients expect expertise, trustworthiness, and high ethical standards from their financial advisor. Having these qualities is essential, as is the ability to provide advice tailored to each individual. By putting myself in my clients’ shoes and considering each of their unique perspectives and goals, I can better deliver customized service and help each one make informed decisions."
Dan is an avid golfer, enjoys playing softball and skiing.
FINANCIAL PLANNING ASSOCIATE
As a Financial Planning Associate, Brett supports clients with their operational requests and works with senior advisors to develop financial planning strategies for clients.
He received his Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning and Finance at Texas Tech University and his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at Stephen F. Austin University, where he majored in finance.
While working towards his Masters, Brett worked in an operations role at Blake Cooper Financial Strategies. He has Life, Accident, Health and HMO licenses in Texas and recently passed the CFP® exam. Brett is a National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) member.
“I enjoy this business because I want to use the knowledge that I have gained in order to help people reach their financial goals.”
Brett, a native of Dallas, is a lifelong Dallas Cowboys fan. In his spare time, he follows sports, works out, and plays golf.
FINANCIAL PLANNING ASSOCIATE
As a Financial Planning Associate, Brendan supports clients with their operational requests and works with senior advisors to develop financial planning strategies for clients. Brendan also administers the firm’s trading software.
Brendan received his MBA from Pace University’s Lubin School of Business and was a member of the Alpha Rho chapter of Omicron Delta Epsilon, an International Honor Society in Economics. While at Pace, Brendan took Lew Altfest’s Investment Analysis course and was invited to be an intern at the firm, where he supported various investment research projects and also aided in various investment reporting client requests.
Prior to attending Pace, Brendan was an Investment Advisor Representative for Laidlaw and Company where he advised clients and prospective clients on equity investments.
Brendan received his undergraduate degree at Denison University where he majored in economics and minored in theatre arts.
"Forming short, medium, and long-term strategies for the financial markets provides such fascinating challenges every day that I come into work."
Brendan is a native of Redding, Connecticut and is an excellent saxophone, piano and guitar player. He also enjoys playing tennis and golf.
GREG LAVINE, CFA, CFP®:
Greg, who holds both the CFA and CFP® designations, helps develop and rebalance portfolios for clients and advises clients on investment and financial planning strategies. He also contributes to the firm’s investment research, specializing in bonds.
Previously, Greg worked as a credit analyst at Boston Private Bank & Trust and before then as a financial advisor in Providence. He graduated from the University of Vermont with a degree in Business Administration.
Greg is a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) and has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News and The Chicago Tribune. Greg is a former member of the Jewish Voice and Herald Business Committee; the steering committee for Exchange City Rhode Island, a non-profit organization that teaches children about finance and economics; and the Board of Directors of the Touro Synagogue, the oldest synagogue in the United States.
“Working with clients and their families is highly rewarding and a source of great satisfaction. I value this opportunity to help people and pride myself on providing expertise and service that exceeds my clients’ expectations."
In his spare time, Greg enjoys playing tennis and guitar.
FINANCIAL PLANNING ASSOCIATE
As a Financial Planning Associate, Kelly supports clients with their operational requests and works with senior advisors to develop financial planning strategies for clients.
Previously, Kelly worked as an Equity Research Analyst at Merrill Lynch, where she created financial models and wrote reports on Business Services & Education Companies.
She received her Bachelor of Arts from UC Berkeley with high honors, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. Kelly graduated from Northwestern’s Financial Planning Program, has passed the CFP® exam, and is working towards her financial planner certification.
“I enjoy working with clients to plan for their future and help them achieve their financial goals. It’s very rewarding, knowing that we always put the client’s interest first.”
Kelly is originally from California, and was a high school basketball player. She enjoys traveling, cooking, and yoga.
PAUL PALAZZO, CFP®, COA:
Paul leads a team of advisors who help clients with all of their financial planning and investment needs. In addition, he heads the firm’s Financial Planning Committee, sits on the Leadership and Investment Committees, and is co-director of the Altfest Dental Group. He was named managing director in 2007, having joined the firm in 2000.
A CFP® licensee, he specializes in quantitative financial planning analysis. He received acknowledgment for making a major contribution to the case study in Lew Altfest’s collegiate textbook, Personal Financial Planning. In 2005 Paul became a Certified Option Advisor, a designation focused on employee stock options and other forms of stock-related compensation.
He has written on a variety of financial planning and investment topics for major publications such as The Journal of Financial Planning and The Seattle Times, and has been interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Washington Times, ABC News and others. In addition to his frequent talks on retirement planning, he has made presentations in front of the American Association of Individual Investors and spoken on Roth IRA conversions to the New York Tax Study Group, of which he is a member. Paul is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Financial Planning Association of New York and of the Practice Foundation Committee of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA). He serves on the Board of Directors of the co-op in Manhattan where he lives with his wife, Lorraine.
“This is just extremely gratifying work, to have the opportunity to play a helpful role in the lives of our clients and establish relationships that grow stronger over the years.”
Paul received his B.A. in history from Western Connecticut State University. In his spare time he enjoys reading, cooking and exploring Central Park. He is a volunteer for and consultant to the Petit Family Foundation.
EKTA PATEL, CFP®:
Ekta, a Managing Advisor, heads a team of advisors who help clients with all of their investment and financial planning matters. In addition, she is responsible on a day-to-day basis for quality control within investment operations and is a member of the firm's Portfolio Action Group and Investment Committee. She covers international investments and is a leader in the firm's women's and non-profit practices.
Ekta joined the firm in 2000. She holds an M.B.A. in investment management and information systems from Pace University and a B.S. in mathematics from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. While working toward her M.B.A., she was initiated into both the International Honor Society in Economics and the Honor Society for Collegiate Schools of Business. Ekta is a CFP® licensee and a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), and was named to Financial Advisor magazine’s Due Diligence/Research Manager All-Star Team in 2012 and 2013.
While with the firm, she has had numerous speaking engagements on investments and appeared in Investment News and other publications.
“Each client has a specific history and goals for the future, for which I am able to provide advice and guidance,” she says. “My aim is to get a full understanding of the client’s situation – financial as well as personal – so that I can provide the best advice. I want to broaden my clients’ horizon on investment strategies, and be considered a trustworthy advisor.”
In her spare time, Ekta enjoys reading about international politics and traveling to meet people of different cultures.
MIKE PRENDERGAST, CFP®:
Mike is a Managing Advisor, heading a team of advisors who help clients with all of their investment and financial planning matters. In addition, he is co-Director of the Altfest Dental Group and a sits on the firm's Financial Planning and Investment Committees.
Mike joined the firm in 2001 and has served in both the financial planning and investment departments. Mike received his B.A. in Russian studies from Amherst College and his M.B.A. from the Stern School of Business at New York University. He is a CFP® licensee who graduated from the Pace University Financial Planning program, and is a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA).
Mike has written about financial topics like tax qualified plans, speaks in front of health care professionals, and has been a featured speaker in our client education series.
“I like to help clients achieve their goals and increase the quality of their lives by helping them with their financial and investment decisions.”
In his spare time, Mike enjoys language study (he speaks Japanese at an intermediate level), political science and international relations, and singing and dancing.
MATTHEW J. SHALLASH:
SENIOR FINANCIAL ADVISOR
Matt, a Senior Financial Advisor, advises clients on investment and financial planning strategies to reach their financial goals. He also contributes to investment research at the firm. Matt joined the firm after nine years with US Trust, where he worked as a Vice President and Portfolio Manager, managing day to day investment relationships and obtaining a background in trusts.
Previously, he had held a research and technology position with the New York State Senate Finance Committee. He graduated the University at Albany magna cum laude, with a B.S. in Business Administration, a dual concentration in finance and marketing, and a minor in economics.
“I greatly enjoy getting to know our clients. Helping them and their families to achieve their goals through a well-integrated financial and investment plan is very rewarding.”
Matt is an avid cook who also enjoys traveling and outdoor activities such as skiing, ice hockey, cycling, camping and hiking. He was a founding member of the University at Albany Roller Hockey team, playing competitively for two years at the collegiate level. Matt has been involved with the Summer Hope Foundation, an organization of young professionals raising money to help those affected by cancer.
ROSS WOLFE, CFP®:
SENIOR FINANCIAL ADVISOR
Ross, a Senior Financial Advisor, advises clients on investments and financial planning strategies, working with them to achieve their financial objectives.
He covers large-cap investments and specializes in long-term care insurance and socially responsible investing. Ross has appeared in The Wall Street Journal.
Ross joined the firm in 2005 after serving as an analyst with Thomson Financial. He received his M.B.A. in finance from Fordham University, a B.A. in psychology from the State University of New York at Binghamton, and is a graduate of Boston University's Financial Planning Program. Ross is a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA).
“Days in this business are hardly ever the same, and that makes for a stimulating work environment,” Ross says. “Needless to say, it’s rewarding to guide clients on their journey to achieve their financial goals and dreams.”
In his spare time, Ross enjoys cycling, mountain biking and tennis.