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Leadership


Supportive,
empowering, and
engaged

Poer

James Poer

Chief Executive Officer, Kestra Financial, Inc.

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James Poer

As chief executive officer of Kestra Financial, James is dedicated to helping independent financial professionals fulfill client goals through a unique integration of technology and service. Kestra Financial serves independent financial firms with varying business affiliations, including independent registered investment advisors (RIAs) and hybrid professionals.

James joined Kestra Financial (previously NFP Advisor Services) in 2003 and has served as president since September 2008. Under his leadership, the business has experienced unparalleled growth, doubling its advisory assets under management to over $21 billion, increasing annual gross revenue by over $177 million, and acquiring nine firms. Through his support of the open architecture platform, James continues to position Kestra Financial as a leader in the independent financial services space with $75.3 billion in assets under advisement among 1,700 affiliated financial professionals. In addition, Kestra Financial has a 90 percent retention rate since 2007, with financial professionals choosing to remain affiliated with Kestra Financial year after year. Prior to joining Kestra Financial, he held marketing and product development roles for two asset management companies and served as director of Advisory Services for two AIG RIAs.

James currently serves on the board of directors for the Financial Services Institute and on advisory boards of the Financial Planning Association and the Investment Management Consultants Association.

James received his Bachelor of Science from Texas Christian University and completed the Securities Industry Institute at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School. He is a licensed registered representative holding FINRA Series 7, 24, 63, and 65 licenses.

Stephen Langlois

President

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Stephen Langlois

As president of Kestra Financial, Stephen drives Kestra Financial’s revenue growth, executes and expands the company’s existing growth strategy, and furthers the evolution of Kestra Financial’s value proposition. Stephen has a deep and singular focus on delivering technology and wealth management platform innovations and enhancing the practice management solutions for the Kestra Financial platform.

Prior to joining Kestra Financial, Langlois held senior positions at leading wealth management firms, including eMoney Advisor, Fidelity Investments, and LPL Financial. A results-oriented leader, Langlois has a combination of strong strategic and analytical skills, a keen sense of client and team, and a practical aptitude for driving growth and creating value.

Amore

John Amore

Executive Vice President, Wealth Management

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John Amore

As the Head of Wealth Management at Kestra Financial, John leverages his global leadership experience to ensure every aspect of the wealth management offering drives growth and innovation, enabling financial professionals to accomplish their business objectives. He aspires to see all our independent financial professionals exceed client expectations by taking full advantage of the freedom and flexibility available through their partnership with Kestra Financial. Specifically, John is responsible for overseeing the firm’s robust platforms focused on wealth management, portfolio construction, investment products, advisory services, financial planning, and retirement plans. His diverse background allows him to contribute valuable insights as he calibrates all efforts towards empowering financial professionals to better serve their clients.

John has had the privilege of leading wealth management teams for more than 14 years in the United States, Europe, and Latin America. Prior to joining Kestra Financial, he led global businesses at UBS across financial planning, portfolio construction, estate planning, wealth planning, investment products, and trust solutions.

John began his career in management consulting in the financial services sector and earned his MBA/MIA at Columbia University and his BS at Boston College.
Bartenstein

Robert Bartenstein

Senior Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Kestra Private Wealth Services

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Robert Bartenstein

As the chief executive officer of Kestra Private Wealth Services, Rob is dedicated to providing experienced financial professionals with the services and support they need to start their own successful, independent businesses.

He began his career in financial services as a private banker and acted in that capacity for three firms, Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, its successor Credit Suisse First Boston, and Merrill Lynch, establishing private banking offices for Credit Suisse and Merrill Lynch in the Washington, D.C. market. In 2008, he joined Morgan Stanley in an executive role to lead business development in California, Hawaii, and Nevada. In 2011, he left Morgan Stanley to help establish Washington Wealth Management, which rebranded as Kestra Private Wealth Services in 2016. Rob is a regular contributor to CNBC, Fox Business, and Bloomberg, as well as numerous industry publications.

A U.S. Army veteran, Rob graduated from Mary Washington College, magna cum laude. He holds a Juris Doctor from George Mason University School of Law.

Joel Bennett

Joel Bennett

Chief Financial Officer

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Joel Bennett

As the chief financial officer for Kestra Financial, Joel is responsible for managing the company’s financial performance and risk. He is also responsible for the internal and external reporting, budgeting, accounting, financial analysis, producer compensation, and treasury operations.

With more than 35 years of leadership experience in the financial services field, he has consistently delivered improved productivity and higher profit margins. Prior to joining Kestra Financial in September 2016, Joel worked with HD Vest Financial Services for 26 years, serving in a number of positions, including chief financial officer.

Joel received a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting from the University of Texas at Dallas. He holds the FINRA Series 7, 27, 65, and 24 licenses, and he is a certified public accountant (CPA), certified management accountant (CMA), and certified cash manager (CCM).

Kris Chester

Kris Chester

Chief Operating Officer

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Kris Chester

As chief operating officer, Kris is responsible for ensuring that Kestra Financial offers financial professionals the latest technology and highest-quality service while overseeing the continued simplification and streamlining of business processing. In this role, she leads the Client Service, Onboarding, Operations, Program Management, Sales Supervision, and Technology departments.

A strategic, innovative leader, Kris has extensive experience in merger integration, business transformation, product development, and client delivery. Prior to joining Kestra Financial in January 2018, Kris worked for Wells Fargo Bank for 18 years, most recently serving as executive vice president, head of Treasury Management Implementation & Delivery. In that capacity, she led a team of more than 750 people that implemented and integrated the bank’s Treasury Management solutions, among other responsibilities.

Kris received a Bachelor of Arts in business administration – finance from Texas A&M University. A Certified Treasury Professional, she also graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin’s BAI Graduate School of Banking.

Amy Gordona

Amy Gordona

Senior Vice President, Marketing

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Amy Gordona

As the Senior Vice President and Head of Marketing for Kestra Financial, Amy has elevated Kestra Financial’s brand creating lasting impact for both end customers and financial professionals through her direction and expertise. She efficiently builds campaigns piece-by-piece, expertly collaborating with her team for a cohesive message that solves problems and drives results. Her vibrant communication style, unconventional critical thinking, and ardent passion for her field make her a distinguished, irreplaceable member of the Kestra Financial team.

A northeast native, Amy currently resides in Austin, Texas. She received her education from the University of Connecticut, entering the finance industry shortly after and never looking back. With more than two decades of experience and several awards for her outstanding performance, she has truly found a career she loves.

If you hear laughter coming from a soccer field in central Texas, it’s likely Amy spending time with her two daughters. It’s her favorite weekend activity, along with reading a good book and working out.

She holds FINRA Series 7 and Series 24 licenses.

Nick Harness

Nick Harness

Chief Information Officer

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Nick Harness

As Chief Information Officer, Nick focuses on the optimizing the financial professionals’ end-to-end experience through forward-thinking technology leadership, innovative platform capabilities, and delivering meaningful data to empower business growth. Supporting Kestra Financial, Kestra Private Wealth Services, H. Beck, Arden Trust Company, and Bluespring Wealth Partners, Nick’s specialty is driving positive change in fast-paced and highly regulated business environments.

Prior to joining Kestra Financial, Inc., Nick served as Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer of Asset Management at JPMorgan Chase & Co, where he set the IT strategy, vision, and roadmap for the global distribution/sales organization and built a high-performance application development team that executed upon the roadmap. He also spent nearly two decades at Morgan Stanley, advancing into a variety of leadership roles including Chief Information Officer and Managing Director of the Investment Research Division.

Mary Hjorth

Mary Hjorth

Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer

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Mary Hjorth

As executive vice president and chief human resources officer, Mary has led the creation of the Human Resources department and the development of the company’s policies, procedures, and benefits. In this role, she also directs Kestra Financial’s efforts to attract and cultivate highly qualified employees.

Before joining Kestra Financial in September 2016, Mary was president of her own HR consulting service and helped guide Kestra Financial’s transition from NFP. Mary has more than 20 years of leadership experience in the field of human resources.

Mary received a Bachelor of Arts in business from Texas A&M University. She is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and is an SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP). Her credentials also include certification as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) from the HR Certification Institute.

Bredt Norwood

Bredt Norwood, J.D.

Executive Vice President and General Counsel

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Bredt Norwood, J.D.

Bredt serves as executive vice president and General Counsel of Kestra Financial and manages an experienced team of attorneys dedicated to supporting the legal and compliance needs of the company and member financial professionals. He and his team work to maximize the independent professional's ability to serve clients, while striving to minimize legal and compliance risks to clients, financial professionals, and the company. Bredt is also responsible for litigation management and helps financial professionals navigate the complexities of the dispute resolution process. His team manages the errors and omissions program, which offers broad coverage and limits designed to support the unique needs of entrepreneurial advisors.

Prior to this role, Bredt held senior legal positions with NFP Corp., Wells Fargo, and HD Vest Financial Services. Bredt holds a Bachelor of Arts in government from The University of Texas and a J.D. from Southern Methodist University.

Mike Pedlow

Mike Pedlow

Executive Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer

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Mike Pedlow

As chief compliance officer for Kestra Financial and Kestra Private Wealth Services, Mike directs all aspects of Compliance to ensure alignment with regulatory policy, while helping independent financial professionals meet the expectations of regulators as they conduct their day-to-day business. Working to balance the risk and reward challenges within the tightly regulated financial sector, Mike and his team actively seek to influence policy, rules, and laws that may impact financial professionals and their practice. Under his leadership, financial professionals experience a uniquely proactive, collaborative, and supportive team of consultants, including Advertising Compliance, Retirement Plan Compliance, and Firm Policy. He attributes this fresh, highly engaged approach to his years of working as an independent financial professional.

Previously, he held senior compliance positions as vice president of Investment Advisory Compliance at NFP, and as RIA compliance officer at Raymond James Financial Services.

Mike holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of South Florida and multiple industry licenses, including the FINRA Series 7, 24, and 66.

Mike Schoenbeck

Mark Schoenbeck, CFP®

Executive Vice President, Advisor Engagement

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Mark Schoenbeck, CFP®

In his role, Mark is responsible for leading Kestra Financial’s engagement initiatives and the Business Consulting team. His team provides guidance and shares best practices to financial professionals in six critical business areas: strategy, people & performance, operational efficiency, growth & marketing, wealth management, and financial management. In addition, they help ensure Kestra Financial firms are fully leveraging all of the technology, valued added services, and the community events we provide our top firms.  

For more than 20 years, Mark has been committed to helping financial professionals build quality, sustainable businesses. He has worked with top independent financial professionals to help them maximize their revenue, free time, and business value. He has extensive experience as a financial professional, product marketer, chief marketing officer, and practice management consultant. Mark believes that real change happens when you combine emotionally charged goals with accountability and practical execution.

Previously, Mark held senior executive roles at Mutual Service Corporation, AssetMark, and Curian Capital. Mark received a Bachelor of Science in business administration and entrepreneurship from California Lutheran University. He holds FINRA Series 7, 24, 63, and 65 licenses, and he is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional.

Daniel Schwamb

Daniel Schwamb

Executive Vice President, Business Development

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Daniel Schwamb

Daniel serves as executive vice president of Business Development, using his firsthand experience as a former financial professional to relate to prospective recruits, to listen to their day-to-day challenges, and to unlock their critical expectations for a successful broker-dealer and RIA relationship.

Calling upon his 25 years in the industry, he actively identifies, selects, and recruits independent advisory firms to Kestra Financial, looking for those ideal prospects who are seeking a consultative, accessible, world-class partner to help them (and their back-office staff) take the next leap forward. Additionally, Daniel supports member firms who are hiring other independent financial professionals to grow the practice. Previously, Daniel served as vice president of Business Development, LPL Financial.

He received a Bachelor of Science in business administration and management from Wesley College. He holds FINRA Series 7, 63, and 65 licenses.