Ten Metro Detroit Merrill Financial Advisors Win Top Honors

Ten Metro Detroit Merrill advisors have been honored by Forbes and two have been recognized by Barron’s.
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Nicole Christians and Melissa Spickler were named to Barron’s 2024 Top 1,000 Financial Advisors list. // Photo courtesy of Merrill

Ten Metro Detroit Merrill advisors have been honored by Forbes and two have been recognized by Barron’s.

Kristina Abro, Tony Benvenuti, Jason Bowens, Joseph Carter, Nicole Christians, Joe Fioroni; Jeffrey Gembis, Chris Liparoto, Phillip Serra, and Melissa Spickler were named to Forbes’ 2024 Best-in-State Wealth Advisors list.

Additionally, Christians and Spickler were named to Barron’s 2024 Top 1,000 Financial Advisors list.

Christians joined Merrill in 2002 after graduating from the University of Michigan with degrees in history and philosophy. She works with high-net-worth clients on estate, wealth, and tax planning strategies.

Spickler joined Merrill in 1980 and holds the chartered retirement planning counselor designation and also is a qualified portfolio manager. She built her team and clientele to provide individuals and businesses with the same high-quality wealth management she would expect to receive as a client. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University in criminal justice.

Abro joined Merrill in 2012 upon graduating from Central Michigan University with a degree in Economics from the School of Business. Abro works with clients to help them identify and meet their financial goals, with an aim at simplifying their financial lives. She uses a broad asset and liability management approach along with her understanding of the financial sector to benefit her clients.

Benvenuti joined Merrill in 2008. As a certified financial planner, he follows a disciplined process that begins with getting to know his clients, their families, financial situation, and what matters most to them.

Bowens, a senior portfolio manager and wealth manager advisor, focuses on total wealth management for clients and Merrill recognizes him as a sports and entertainment advisor and has achieved Merrill’s Retirement Benefits Consultant title. After graduating Michigan Tech University where he played collegiate football for four years, Bowens earned two master’s degrees, in engineering from Purdue University and an M.B.A. from the Indiana University – Kelley School of Business.

Carter is a portfolio manager and holds the chartered retirement planning counselor designation. He takes a detail-oriented approach in understanding client goals and designing strategies to fulfill. He graduated Western Michigan University with a finance degree.

Fioroni joined Merrill in 1982. He provides investment and wealth management advisory services, driven by clients’ individual needs and aspirations. Before joining Merrill, Fioroni worked for WNEM-TV in the Flint/Saginaw area.

Gembis joined Merrill in 1984 and provides strategic vision investment policy for his practice and delivers it to clients through a goal-based wealth management process. He has earned and maintained the Certified Investment Management Analyst designation from the Investments and Wealth Institute at the Wharton School.  Gembis also holds the chartered retirement planning counselor designation awarded by the College for Financial Planning Institutes Corp. He is a graduate of Michigan State University.

Liparoto joined Merrill in 1993 and focuses on wealth management and invest-based strategies; estate and wealth transfer; money management selection; as well as attending to needs of small businesses with financing, treasury management, and merchant services.

Serra focuses on retirement planning and income strategies; investment management; lending, banking and cash management; life insurance and long-term planning; trust and estate planning; wealth transfer and charitable giving; and business advisory consulting. He is a certified financial planner and a CPA. Serra graduated Oakland University with bachelor’s degree in accounting.