Merrill Lynch Employees Honored as Top Advisers


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Nine Merrill Lynch wealth management advisers in metro Detroit were recently recognized on the 2016 Barron’s “America’s Top 1,200 Advisers:  State-by-State” list.

The magazine’s largest ranking represents the top 1 percent of advisers and is based on assets under management, revenue produced for the firm, regulatory record, quality of practice, and philanthropic work.

The honorees include:

Dana Locniskar, Frank Migliazzo, Thomas Pursel, Abraham Post and Marie Vanerian based in the Troy office; David Pappas and Melissa Spickler at the Bloomfield Hills office, John Kulhavi in Farmington Hills, and Leo Stevenson’s office is in Wyandotte

Locniskar focuses on wealth management, concentrated stock strategies, and philanthropic, trust and estate services. He serves on the boards of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, the Futures Foundation and Beaumont Hospitals Foundation. He is chairman of the Beaumont Foundation Planned Giving Committee; is Trustee Emeritus for Detroit Public Television. He is also a member of the Robert H. Tannahill Society Estate Planning Council of the Detroit Institute of Arts and a volunteer for more than 20 years with Cornerstone Schools. He is a member and the founding president of The Planned Giving Roundtable of Southeast Michigan and a member of the Alexis de Tocqueville Society.

Migliazzo is the leader of the Migliazzo Group that provides strategic direction and investment policy. He is one of approximately 80 advisers nationally who are designated as Global Institutional Consultants at Merrill Lynch. He has served as chair of two prestigious leadership bodies within the firm: the National Advisory Council to Management at Merrill Lynch, and the Private Banking and Investment Group Advisory Council to Management.

He serves on the board of the Boys & Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan and the Manresa Jesuit Retreat House. Migliazzo, of Bloomfield Hills, earned his undergraduate degree from Western Michigan University and his MBA from the University of Detroit.

Pappas has nearly 35 years of investment experiences. He is a senior vice president-wealth management, wealth management adviser and has his Certified Investment Management Analyst Certification.

Pappas, of West Bloomfield, graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University.

Post provides guidance to businesses on their company-sponsored retirement plans and holds a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor designation. In 2014 and 2015, Post was also named to the Barron's list of America's Top 1,200 Financial Advisers. In 2013, he was named to the Barron's list of the Top 1,000 Advisors in the United States.

Post, of Troy, graduated from Wayne State University in Detroit with a bachelor's degree in finance, with an emphasis on market and investment analysis.

Pursel works with affluent individuals, families, and institutions to create customized wealth management strategies and advice.  He has experience in investment management, and is a qualified portfolio manager who, in addition to providing traditional advice and guidance, can help clients pursue their objectives by building and managing his own personalized or defined strategies, which may incorporate individual stocks and bonds, model portfolios, and third-party investment strategies.

Pursel is past president of Detroit Golf Club and former chairman of the membership committee. He is also a former board member of First Tee of Michigan, a community outreach program that seeks to promote character, values, and education for youths of all backgrounds through the game of golf.

Pursel, of Bingham Farms, holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan.

Spickler works on behalf of multiple generations of clients in 30 states — including successful small business owners, manufacturers, corporate executives, as well as affluent retirees, widows and many in the LGBT community. For clients of The Spickler Group and throughout Merrill Lynch, Spickler has become a vocal advocate for both elder care and long-term-care. 
She was also named on the Barron’s list of Top 100 Women Financial Advisers and Registered Rep’s list of Top 50 Wirehouse Women. She has served as a member of Merrill Lynch’s Advisory Council to Management.

Previously, Spickler was an undercover agent for the Attorney General in Michigan and is the founder of the Spickler Wealth Management Group.

Spickler, of Bloomfield Hills, earned he bachelor’s degree in criminal law from r ng from Michigan State University.

Vanerian has recently been awarded the Accredited Investment Fiduciary designation from Fiduciary 360, an organization offering training, tools and resources to promote a culture of fiduciary responsibility and improve the decision making processes of fiduciaries. The AIF designation signifies knowledge of fiduciary responsibility and the ability to implement policies and procedures that meet a defined standard of care.

Throughout her career, she has been working with defined benefit and defined contribution retirement plans, foundations, endowments, religious organizations and private family offices in providing institutional consulting services. She is primarily responsible for investment policy, asset allocation, performance measurement, investment manager due diligence, and client education and communication.

Vanerian, of Grosse Pointe,  was granted the Certified Investment Management Analyst designation by completing a program offered through Wharton Business School, in conjunction with Investment Management Consultants Association.

Stevenson manages in excess of $450 million in assets  and has trained more than 500 Merrill Lynch financial advisers across the United States on practice management.

Previously, Stevenson was employed by a division of Molson Brewery.  With an initial position held in the accounting department, he changed disciplines and ascended to the position of director of national account sales and concluded his career as vce president of international marketing.

Stevenson is active in local community social activities. Some of these activities include the opening of a soup kitchen, past director of the local Salvation Army, finance committee member of his local parish and Member of the Wyandotte Downtown Development Authority.

Stevenson, of  Grosse Ile, graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in finance.

Kulhavi has been Merrill Lynch Financial adviser for more than 40 years. The former chairman of the Vietnam War Memorial Council, he serves as  the chair of White Lake’s Civil Service Board, on the U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities Board and on the Board of Graceland Fruit. He  was a highly decorated helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War.

Kulhavi, of White Lake, is an alumnus of Central Michigan University and former chairman of its board of trustees. He also serves on the executive committee of the development board and on the curriculum committee for the school of business. For more than 25 years, he was president of the White Lake Township Civil Service Board.

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