Trusted Advisor

We serve as a trusted advisor for our clients and develop long-term relationships. A senior professional oversees each client engagement and is supported both by a strong client-service team and by substantial research expertise.

Great People

We invest substantial resources to attract, retain, develop, and excite truly great people. We believe that the quality of our people meaningfully distinguishes us from many other advisory firms, reflected in academic and professional credentials, seniority of professionals, years of experience serving high net worth families, breadth and depth of investment and planning knowledge, intellectual rigor and orientation to truth, ethical standards, and interpersonal skills and empathy.

Size and Stability

Our firm was founded in 1969. We have over 50 team members. We have no external owners. Our business model allows us to do what is right for our clients. Our independence also results in very stable client-service teams who can work with clients for decades.

Committees

Most senior professionals serve on one or more of our committees. Our investment committees include: Impact Investing, Investment Strategy, Private Equity and Credit, Public Markets, and Real Estate. Our other committees include: Executive, Financial Planning, Knowledge Management, and Risk Management.

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Mary Claire Allvine Chicago MBA, Princeton AB, CFP®
Mary Claire Allvine

Mary Claire chairs BRF’s Knowledge Management Committee and co-chairs the Risk Management Committee. She serves on the Firm's Executive Committee. Mary Claire has also served on BRF’s Real Estate Committee since 1996 and has previously co-chaired BRF’s Investment Strategy Committee. She has particular expertise in inter-generational wealth transfer issues.

Prior to joining BRF, Mary Claire worked for a Chicago-based bank technology consortium and an international business consulting firm.

Mary Claire received an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business and an AB from Princeton University. She is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner. Mary Claire authored a financial planning book for young couples entitled “The Family CFO” (Rodale 2004). She regularly writes financial planning articles for several national publications and is frequently quoted in the national media. A former board member for the Atlanta chapter of Teach For America, Mary Claire also is trustee emeritus for her church’s endowment and serves on the PTA executive committee for her children’s public school.

Kristin Balon Northwestern Kellogg MBA, Michigan BBA, CFP®
Kristin Balon

Kristin joined the Chicago office of BRF in 2003. She is currently a member of the firm’s Private Equity and Credit, Financial Planning, Risk Management, and Impact Investing Committees.

Kristin received an MBA from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management. She has a BBA with concentrations in Finance and Accounting from the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan in 2003. She is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner.

Barbara Booth Columbia MBA, Kentucky JD, Vanderbilt BA, CFA, CAIA, FRM
Barbara Booth

Barbara serves on the firm’s Financial Planning, Public Markets, and Private Equity and Credit Committees.

Prior to joining BRF, Barbara was a Senior Equity Analyst and Sector Manager responsible for industrial, media, and telecom investments for firms including Dreman Value, Lord Abbett, and Bankers Trust.

Barbara received an MBA in Finance from Columbia University, a JD from the University of Kentucky College of Law, and a BA in Economics from Vanderbilt University. She is a Chartered Financial Analyst as well holds the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation.  Barbara is also an active pro bono consultant to the Taproot Foundation in New York City.

Fred Brownson Chicago PhD, Duke BS
Fred Brownson

Fred is currently Of Counsel and is no longer an employee of BRF. Fred founded Brownson & Associates (BRF’s predecessor organization) in 1969 having previously been with Irwin Management Company, the family office of J. Irwin Miller of Columbus, Indiana, and the Weyerhaeuser Company. Having transitioned most of his clients to other Principals of BRF, Fred continues as active advisor to a small number of families and individuals who have been clients of his for many decades. He is Chairman of the board of one not-for-profit and managing member of two real estate LLCs.

Fred received a PhD from the Graduate School of Business of the University of Chicago and a BS in Civil Engineering from Duke University.

Keith Cardoza Chicago BA, CFA
Keith Cardoza

Keith is BRF’s Chief Investment Officer and co-chairs the firm’s Investment Strategy and Impact Investment Committees. He serves on BRF’s Private Equity and Credit, Public Markets, Real Estate, and Knowledge Management Committees. He leads the firm’s asset allocation and manager selection efforts.

Prior to joining BRF, Keith served as a Managing Director of Merrick Ventures, an investment firm focused on technology investments. The U.S. Patent Office awarded three patents to Keith, including one for the Ocean Tomo 300 Patent Index, the first intellectual-property based stock-index. Previously Keith chaired Boeing’s Investment Strategy and Asset Allocation Committee, responsible for the investment strategy for $41 billion in retirement assets. This committee included the Directors of Equities, Fixed Income, Alternative Investments, and Risk. Prior to Boeing, Keith managed the $6 billion equity portfolio for the Illinois State Board of Investment pension fund.

Keith received a BA in Economics from the University of Chicago. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation and is past chair of CFA Society Chicago. Keith serves as Assistant Treasurer of the Economic Club of Chicago. He serves on the board and investment committee of the Malta Human Services Foundation, which makes grants to support the charitable mission of the Sovereign Order of Malta. He has served on the executive committees of Chicago Children’s Choir, Steppenwolf Theatre, and Chicago Stock Exchange. He also served on the boards of Joffrey Ballet, the Chicago International Film Festival, and the Union League Club of Chicago. Keith is a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago and The Chicago Club.

Rebecca Deaton Chicago MA, Princeton AB, CFP®
Rebecca Deaton

Rebecca co-chairs BRF’s Real Estate and Impact Investing Committees and serves on the firm’s Public Markets and Financial Planning Committees.

Prior to joining BRF, Rebecca worked in non-profit community development for several organizations including South Shore Bank in Chicago.

Rebecca received an MA for the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy Studies and an AB from Princeton University. She is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner. She is on the the board of Princeton Alumni Corps, a civic leadership program that places talented young people with non-profit organizations across the country.

Kate Donaldson Michigan MM, Northwestern BM, CFP®
Kate Donaldson

Kate co-chairs BRF’s Real Estate Committee and serves also on the Financial Planning Committee. She has previously chaired BRF’s Financial Planning Committee and been a member of the Investment Strategy and Risk Management Committees. Working with many corporate executives and CEOs, Kate has become an expert at deciphering diverse employee compensation plans.

Prior to joining BRF, Kate worked for an e-business solutions company and a business training company. Previously she was a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the Rockford Symphony Orchestra.

Kate received an MM in Violin Performance from the University of Michigan and a BM in Violin Performance from Northwestern University. She is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner. Kate has served on the board of the CFA Society of Chicago. She serves on the board of the Grant Park Orchestra Association and is a member of The Economic Club of Chicago and the Founders Council at the Field Museum of Natural History.

Rick Doppelt Stanford MBA, Harvard JD, UC Berkeley BS
Rick Doppelt

Rick co-chairs BRF’s Private Equity and Credit Committee and serves as BRF’s President. He serves also on BRF’s Public Markets Committee. He has been responsible for developing several of the firm’s private equity and venture capital investment opportunities.

Prior to joining BRF, Rick served as a Partner and Director with Allstate Private Equity, a large venture capital and buyout fund. He had responsibility for originating and evaluating investments, negotiating financings, participating on Boards of Directors, and advising management teams. He invested successfully in numerous sectors including business and consumer services, telecommunications, healthcare services, retail, and technology. Previously Rick was a corporate, tax and estate planning attorney for the international law firm of Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco.

Rick received an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, a JD cum laude from Harvard Law School, and a BS with highest honors from the University of California-Berkeley. He is a member of the California and Massachusetts Bar Associations.

Allison Kollar Illinois at Urbana-Champaign BS, CFP®
Allison Kollar

Allison co-chairs the Firm's Financial Planning Committee. She currently serves on the Firm’s Real Estate and Impact Investing Committees.

Prior to joining BRF, Allison worked for the Family Wealth Management division of Credit Suisse where she was part of a team providing financial planning services to high net worth families. Prior to her four years at Credit Suisse, she worked for two fee-only financial planners providing comprehensive planning services to families and individuals.

Allison received her BS in Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner.

John Lafferty SUNY Buffalo MBA, BS, CFA, CPA, CFP®
John Lafferty

John Lafferty co-chairs BRF’s Public Markets and Investment Strategy committees. He serves on the Firm’s Financial Planning and Risk Management Committees. He previously served on the Technology Committee.

Prior to BRF, John was Managing Director of Silver Ventures, a family office in San Antonio Texas. Prior to joining Silver Ventures he served as the Chief Investment Officer for Market Street Trust Company, a family office in Corning, New York for 11 years. John has spent over 20 years advising individuals in the areas of tax and investments and 15 years operationally in Forbes 400) family offices.

John received his BS and MBA degrees from the State University of New York at Buffalo, with specialties in Accounting, Finance, and Operations Research. John is a Chartered Financial Analyst, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner, and a Certified Public Accountant. John has published articles for the AICPA and Trusts & Estates magazine. He has been an invited speaker on a variety of topics related to wealth management. He has served on a number of non-profit boards, with a particular focus on strategic planning.

Hal Leavell Texas MPA, BBA, CPA, CFP®
Hal Leavell

Hal co-chairs BRF’s Financial Planning Committee and serves on the Real Estate and Private Equity and Credit Committees.

Prior to joining BRF, Hal provided financial and tax planning services for executives and high net worth individuals and families as a manager in Ernst & Young, LLP’s Human Capital Practice.

Hal received his Masters in Professional Accounting and BBA from The University of Texas at Austin. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Hal is a member of the Financial Planning Association.

Bob Loveman Chicago MBA, Princeton AB, CPA, CFP®
Bob Loveman

After twenty-four years with BRF, including ten years as its President, Bob is Of Counsel and remains in a non-employee consulting capacity with BRF.  Previously, Bob chaired the firm’s Executive Committee and served on the firm’s Investment Strategy, Private Equity and Credit, Financial Planning, Knowledge Management, Real Estate, Risk Management, and Public Markets Committees.

Bob received an MBA from University of Chicago Booth School of Business and an AB from Princeton University with honors. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner and a Certified Public Accountant. Bob remains involved in numerous charity boards such as the Field Museum of Natural History (as a Life Trustee), two University of Colorado boards, a Chicago social service agency board, the Boulder Mountain Fire Protection District, the Pine Brook Hills Water District, and the PBH Homeowners Association.

Cosmin Lucaci Chicago MBA, Northwestern BA, CFA
Cosmin Lucaci

Cosmin is a member of BRF’s Real Estate, Private Equity and Credit, Public Markets, Knowledge Management, Impact Investing, and Investment Strategy Committees. As a member of the research department, Cosmin helps in designing and implementing the company’s investment strategies as well as identifying investment managers.

Prior to joining BRF, Cosmin was at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. In his time there he worked on several projects, including co-authoring a study with senior economists that was presented at the Federal Reserve’s annual Bank Structure Conference and subsequently published in the Journal of Financial Services Research.

Cosmin received his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and his BA in Economics and Political Science from Northwestern University. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation. Cosmin is a Board member for the UL Boys and Girls Club, where he served on the executive committee and was the President of the Associate Board. He is also a Board member for the Chicago Engineers’ Foundation and the CFA Society of Chicago. Cosmin has also served on various committees for The Logos School of Music, Northwestern University, and the Union League Club of Chicago.

Carlyle Madden Wellesley BA, CFP®
Carlyle Madden

Carlyle serves on BRF’s Public Markets and Risk Management Committees. She previously served as the firm’s Chief Security Officer.

Prior to joining BRF in 2016, Carlyle spent eleven years at Morgan Stanley in their Private Wealth Management group addressing the complex financial issues of ultra-high net worth individuals and families. Her career as a financial advisor began with Optimum Investment Advisors and Valence Capital where she worked with several of the nation’s wealthiest family groups. Previously, Carlyle worked for Leslie Hindman Auctioneers and Branca Inc. after beginning her career at the Chicago Board of Trade.

Carlyle received a BA from Wellesley College where she recently served on the national committee of the Davis Museum. She is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner. Carlyle is a member of The Arts Club of Chicago and is involved with the Lakeview Food Pantry.

Ryan Marietta Loyola University MBA, Miami University BA, CFP®
Ryan Marietta

Ryan serves on the Firm’s Real Estate Committee.

Prior to joining BRF in 2015, Ryan worked at two RIAs in Chicago, Altair Advisers and AMG National Trust Bank, where he provided comprehensive financial planning and investment management advice to high net worth families and individuals. He began his career as a personal banker for Bank of America in Atlanta.

Ryan received an MBA from Loyola University of Chicago and a BA from Miami University. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner.

Kristi Mills Eureka College BA, CFP®
Kristi Mills

Kristi serves as the secretary of the firm’s Knowledge Management Committee.  She serves also as a member of the Risk Management and Investment Strategy Committees.

Prior to joining BRF in 2005, Kristi worked for State Farm Insurance Company in their corporate offices.

Kristi received a BA in Business Administration from Eureka College.  She is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner.  

Bob Patterson Northwestern Kellogg MBA, Williams BA
Bob Patterson

After seventeen years with the Firm, Bob retired and remains in a non--employee consulting capacity with BRF. Previously, Bob served on BRF’s Knowledge Management, Investment Strategy, and Public Markets Committees. Bob has previously co-chaired BRF’s Investment Strategy and Public Markets Committees.

Prior to joining BRF, Bob held various senior management positions at Bank One and its predecessor organizations. These positions included Executive Vice President and Head of Credit Portfolio Management, Vice Chairman of Bank One Capital Markets and Head of Corporate Finance, Head of Large Corporate Banking, Head of Mid Corporate Banking, and Head of Europe Middle East and Africa. Bob started his career as a First Scholar at First National Bank of Chicago.

Bob received an MBA in Finance from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management and a BA (Phi Beta Kappa) from Williams College. He currently serves as a member of the Chicago Community Trust Professional Advisory Committee and as a member of the Investment Committee of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago. Bob has served on numerous other non-profit boards including The Hinsdale Public Library and Foundation, Court Theatre and, the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana.

Kevin Pendergast University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign BS, CFP®
Kevin Pendergast

Kevin serves on BRF’s Financial Planning, Private Equity & Credit, and Public Markets Committees.

Prior to joining BRF in 2015, Kevin worked at Ayco, a Goldman Sachs company where he provided comprehensive financial counseling to corporate executives and other high net worth individuals.

Kevin received a BS with high honors from the CFP® Board Registered Financial Planning Program at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner.

Anne Petty Michigan BA, CFP®
Anne Petty

Anne serves on BRF’s Public Markets, Private Equity and Credit, Risk Management, and Knowledge Management Committees.

Prior to joining BRF in 2015, Anne worked at two independent, fee-only RIAs in Chicago where she provided comprehensive holistic financial planning services to a wide range of clients. She began her career as a financial advisor with A.G. Edwards in Atlanta. Previously, Anne worked in non-profit development at the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust in Oak Park, Illinois.

Anne received a BA from the University of Michigan. She is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner.

Fred Putney Stanford PhD, Washington BBA
Fred Putney

Fred is currently Of Counsel and is no longer an employee of BRF. Fred co-founded Brownson & Associates (BRF’s predecessor organization) in 1969. Fred became an active Principal in BRF in 1981 after leaving full-time academic positions at Columbia University. He currently consults with John Lafferty, as requested, on asset allocation and macroeconomics.

In 1975, Fred co-founded the Riverside Group, a corporate training and development firm serving major financial institutions and non-profit organizations. On behalf of Riverside Group, he tailored custom programs for Columbia University Executive Programs and other corporate clients including Citigroup, American Express, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Prudential. Fred has authored and used with clients two proprietary simulation programs (Asset Allocation and Macroeconomics) for training investment and private banking professionals.

From 1968 to 2013, Fred was a member of the Columbia Business School faculty where he was previously a Professor and where he originated courses in Investment Strategy.

Fred received a PhD from Stanford University and a BBA from the University of Washington.

Phil Ridolphi Iowa BA, CFP®
Phil Ridolphi

Phil serves on the firm’s Financial Planning and Public Markets Committees.

Prior to joining BRF in 2016, Phil spent eight years at Balasa Dinverno Foltz LLC, a boutique Chicago wealth management firm. Phil provided comprehensive financial planning advice to clients and served as a member of the firm’s Wealth Management Committee, Women’s Service Team and Business Owner Team. Phil began his career as a Licensed Personal Banker with J.P. Morgan Chase in Chicago.

Phil earned his BA in Finance from the University of Iowa. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner.

Susan Shacklette Michigan MBA, Carleton BA, CFP®
Susan Shacklette

Susan co-chairs BRF’s Risk Management Committee. She serves also as a member of BRF’s Executive and Impact Investing Committees. Previously, Susan served as BRF’s President and member of the Firm's Technology Committee.

Prior to joining BRF, Susan led corporate planning for the Walgreen Company advising executive management on a wide range of strategic and operational issues. Prior to Walgreen’s she was a client services director for a Chicago-based technology start-up and also worked as a management consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers. Previously she helped found for Carleton College a donor stewardship program in non-profit development.

Susan received an MBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and a BA from Carleton College. She is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner. Susan is a member of The Chicago Club.

Laura Stern Northwestern Kellogg MBA, Chicago BA, CFA, CFP®
Laura Stern

Laura joined the Chicago office of BRF in 2014. She currently co-chairs the Private Equity and Credit and Public Markets Committees and serves on the Impact Investing, Investment Strategy, and Financial Planning Committees. She previously co-chaired the Financial Planning and served on the Private Equity and Credit Committees.

Prior to joining BRF, Laura consulted on several projects as principal and owner of Ellestar Consulting, completing engagements at JP Morgan and University of Chicago. Previously, Laura worked for over 10 years at Prudential Retirement Services in Chicago, where she started as an investment consultant in 2001 and progressed to Vice President, leading the Investment Advisory Services unit. Prior to joining Prudential, Laura founded an asset management firm in 1991 servicing high net worth individuals, foundations, endowments and pension plans in Rochester NY and continued to manage her clients and business after relocating back to Chicago in 1994. Laura started her career as an investment analyst overseeing numerous family trusts in the Trust and Estates unit of Chapman and Cutler, a Chicago law firm.

A Chartered Financial Analyst and a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner, Laura earned an MBA from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management and a BA with honors from the University of Chicago. She joined the board and the investment committee of VNA Foundation in 2013. Laura has also served the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago since 2007, currently as chair of the Retirement Sub-Committee and as a member of the Finance Committee. An active member of the CFA Society of Chicago, she served on the board from 1998-2004, holding the role of President in 2002-2003.

Andrew Tracey Northwestern University BA, CFP®
Andrew Tracey

Andrew serves as secretary on BRF’s Private Equity & Credit Committee.

Prior to joining BRF in 2014, Andrew worked for Citigroup’s state and local tax department in New York City.

Andrew received his BA from Northwestern University, with majors in Mathematics and Economics and a minor in English. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner.

Ruth Uress Illinois at Urbana‐Champaign BA, CFP®
Ruth Uress

Ruth serves on the firm’s Financial Planning, Private Equity and Credit, and  Impact Investing Committees. She serves as secretary of the Investment Strategy Committee.

Prior to joining BRF in 2015, Ruth spent seven years at Kovitz Investment Group, a boutique Chicago wealth management firm. Ruth provided comprehensive financial planning advice to clients and chaired the firm’s 401(k) group to implement and monitor corporate retirement plans. Ruth started her career as a Financial Representative at the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.

Ruth earned her BA in Finance with a minor in French from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner. Ruth is a member of Legacy Partners of the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation and the Junior League of Chicago, where she has served on its Board of Directors.