5 Next Generation Financial Services Professionals to Watch in 2020

5 Next Generation Financial Services Professionals to Watch in 2020

The American College of Financial Services
November 26, 2019

The financial services industry is on the brink of a major disruption as tenured advisors enter their own retirements and the next generation takes the reins. There are new hurdles to maneuver including technological demands and the growing epidemic of student loan debts. The NextGen advisors are uniquely positioned to connect with clients or all ages and have greater adaptability, having grown up in the digital area. 

For the fourth year, The American College of Financial Services has honored the brightest young leaders in financial services who represent the future of the wealth management industry. This cohort of young men and women were each nominated for The 2019 NextGen Financial Services Professional Award by a colleague in financial services as recognition for making a significant impact in the profession.

"The 2019 award winners represent a diverse group of elite professionals that are shaping financial services. The group represents a wide range of expertise, experiences, and companies," says Ross Riskin, Chair of the NextGen Advisory Task Force, Assistant Professor of Taxation and CFP® Program Director at The American College. "It is an honor to be involved with The College's initiative to work with the next generation of financial services professionals and this accolade allows us to celebrate the recipient’s accomplishments and contributions."


Meet the five next generation financial services professionals to be watching in the New Year (in alphabetical order):

1. Joshua A. Gonzalez, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®, is an agent of the New York Life Insurance (NYL) Company and Financial Advisor with Eagle Strategies LLC doing business as Modern Wealth Strategies, LLC. He began his tenure with NYL in August of 2014 and earned the distinction of Rookie Agent of the Year in 2015 and 2016. In April of 2017, he accepted a promotion to Sales Development Manager in the Northern Virginia General Office and in 2019 he transitioned to Modern Wealth Strategies. As a financial advisor, Josh feels like he is the architect and steward of the financial plan that guides his clients to lasting financial peace and the ultimate retirement goal to get out of working for a living.

Having a lifetime of financial decisions ahead of them, younger generations need help to learn how to handle money and investing for their future. “Younger financial advisors who grew up in this generation can speak to those young adults who feel like they're behind financially. We can help our peers sort through the myriad of opinions, topics and trends to find the answers that work for them and their unique situations,” says Gonzalez. “People in their mid-30's, like me, can serve as a bridge between the generations. While I remember life before the internet and smartphones, I was also a member of the generation that was first to adopt them. I can relate to both sides.”

A Few Things You Didn’t Know About Joshua 

  • Favorite hobby? - If I couldn’t be a Financial Adviser anymore, I would be a chef. Cooking, for me, is a spiritual activity; it’s bringing order out of chaos. I find cooking deeply therapeutic
  • Favorite book? - No book will ever top How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. If you could only read one book for the purpose of improving your leadership acumen, people skills, and sales effectiveness, HWFIP is it.
  • Favorite quote? - That which is not impossible is inevitable. Nick Murray
  • Coffee or tea? - Coffee with cream and Splenda

Joshua Gonzalez










2. Ray Morrill, CFP®, is currently a manager at RSM Wealth Management LLC. He is a Certified Financial Planner™ and is currently pursuing the Accredited Estate Planner® designation through the American College of Financial Services. He has a degree in Economics from Cal State Fullerton University and a Personal Financial Planning certification from UCLA. He primarily provides financial planning services for high net-worth families, executives and closely held family business owners. Day to day, he and his team work to be proactive in the financial planning and investment management process while working in coordination with their client and their client’s other professional advisors.

Financial literacy is a nationwide issue and many Americans lack basic understanding of financial concepts that lead to debt and lack of stability. “Financial literacy continues to be an issue and NextGen advisors are uniquely situated to have an impact on a wide demographic of clients,” says Morrill. “It is important for the NextGen to pursue a career in the financial services profession because of the impact they can have on the lives of the families that they work with. Financial services is a great field to pursue as it combines both technical and social skills on a daily basis.”

It is immensely important that advisors are considering new ways to provide value to their clients in meaningful ways. “As investment management becomes more commoditized through the use of low cost index funds and robo-advisors, we need to be proactive with our clients and show value in other areas,” says Morrill. “Currently, I believe that tax and estate planning are huge opportunities for many of our clients and we need to continue to develop our skills to be proficient in these areas.”

A Few Things You Didn’t Know About Ray

  • Favorite hobby? - Running around the dog beach with my goldendoodle puppy.
  • Are you involved in an organization? - I’m proud to be a part of Shelter Partnership’s Associate Board, a nonprofit organization collaboratively solving homelessness in Los Angeles County. The organization is full of talented and dedicated individuals all working towards a common goal.
  • Last meal? - My last meal would have to include a medium rare steak, scallops, french fries and chocolate cake. The Cork in the Cow in Franklin, Tennessee does an amazing job on all these items.
  • Best vacation you ever took? - My recent favorite was my time spent exploring Provence, drinking good wine and eating too many chocolate croissants.

Ray Morrill










3. David R. Peters**, CPA®, CFP®, CLU®, CPCU®, ChFC®, CGMA®, founder and owner of Peters Tax Preparation & Consulting, has been working in the financial services industry for fourteen years, including 3 years in the hedge fund industry and six years in the insurance industry. In addition to starting his own tax prep company, he is a financial advisor. Peters was the first-ever Chief Financial Officer at Compare.com - a position he held for over three years. He is a national CPE instructor/discussion leader for the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), Surgent, and Kaplan and regularly teaches courses in accounting, finance, insurance, financial planning, and ethics throughout the United States. He holds four Masters degrees, and is currently pursuing his PhD in Financial Planning. 

With a number of factors affecting how people plan for retirement, the rising cost of education is now one of the biggest financial challenges a family may face. “Most of my clients are working class families that have children. They know that while college tuition continues to increase at a very fast rate, education is still positively correlated to career earnings,” says Peters. “In addition to the normal 529 plan funding, I work with my clients to find alternative sources of college funding that will not hamper their retirement and other long-term financial goals. It’s important to educate families on how the FAFSA works, as well as use tax planning, insurance, and investment strategies to help clients best deal with the cost of education.”

A Few Things You Didn’t Know About David 

  • Favorite hobby? - Shooting pool
  • Who is your mentor? - Andrew Rose, CEO of Compare.com. He hired me in 2009 and gave me a chance to help him build a company. He also gave me a chance to be an executive when I was still very green. I am eternally grateful for those opportunities and I am thankful for his friendship
  • Coffee or tea? - Coffee, without a doubt!  Two creams and two sugars – can’t be too sweet!
  • Last meal? - Deep dish pizza - I grew up in the Chicago area, and it definitely shows!

David Peters










4. Andrew Spafford, ChFC®, ChSNC®, is Special Needs Planner on the team at A Special Needs Plan; a national special needs planning firm designed to serve families who have a loved one with a disability. He joined the team in 2010 and quickly became enthralled with helping families find clarity and discover peace surrounding planning for two lifetimes. Andrew quickly moved through the ranks of the organization now serving as one of their premier Chartered Special Needs Consultants® and planners. He volunteers with multiple organizations and serves on multiple Boards of Directors in support of individuals and families with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Spafford is in a unique field within the financial services industry. The ChSNC® program is designed for experienced financial advisors who want to gain the additional knowledge they need to make a real difference in the lives of people with special needs. “The biggest challenge facing the clients that I work with is the uncertainty surrounding their child’s future. Alongside my team, we have developed a very specific process that guides families every step of the way in developing, implementing and managing a financial plan that will provide clarity and the desired future for all those they love,” says Spafford. “I feel that I am at an advantage as a younger person in the financial services profession because the families I work with are usually older than I. Due to that age difference, my clients feel more at peace knowing that I will be able to guide them during the parents’ lifetime. It is important for the next generation to pursue a career in the financial profession because it is extremely rewarding, with the opportunity to help others.  It is also an area of our society that is in great need of proper education and effective guidance.”

A Few Things You Didn’t Know About Andrew 

  • Favorite Hobby? – Backpacking
  • Organization of Choice? – I‘m the Vice President of Fund Development for the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte and on the Board of Directors for a Social and Recreational group for adults with I/DD; the Exceptional Foundation of Charlotte.
  • Mentor? – Ryan Platt, the Founder of A Special Needs Plan and an all-around amazing planner, advocate and father
  • Favorite quote? – “The only thing that stands between a man and what he wants from life, is often merely the will to try it and the faith to believe that it is possible.” – Anonymous

Andrew Spafford










5. Stephanie Tsang, CFP®, ChFC®, is a partner and financial advisor with North Star Resource Group. As a leader in North Star’s Southwest Division, Stephanie mentors young advisors in the San Diego and Scottsdale areas and supports their growing practices. She also works with a varied client base—medical and dental professionals, business owners and 1099 employers, in addition to other emerging professionals. Her practice focuses on comprehensive business and personal financial strategies while incorporating a creative and holistic approach. 

Tenured financial advisors are beginning to enter retirement which is creating an increasing demand for next generation services. “At this time – there is a tremendous opportunity for younger advisors to help with these transitions through partnerships,” says Tsang. “As our clients age, they want to make sure that someone is going to be there to take care of not only them, but their children. Being younger in this industry allows us not only to help them through their retirement, but to make sure that any legacy planning continues. My clients like knowing that I am going to be here for a long time.”

There is an increasing demand for well educated, trusted financial advisors who can help guide their clients through an increasingly complex financial world. The industry landscape is rapidly changing and there is an expectation that financial service professionals will keep their finger on the pulse. “Our clients have a high level of trust in our capabilities and it is critical that I am always continuing to grow my knowledge base,” says Tsang. “I have a CPA, and while I do not do taxes, I always keep this certification current as an additional way to learn more about other aspects of our industry that can help our clients.”

A Few Things You Didn’t Know About Stephanie

  • Favorite podcast? - Criminal – It discusses recent and historical true crime cases that keep you hooked
  • Who is your mentor? - Phil Richards – I wouldn’t be where I am today without his guidance
  • What is your spirit animal? - Wolf 
  • Last show you binge watched? - Schitt’s Creek

Stephanie Tsang










To read the full press release, click here


**Peters Financial, LLC

454 S. Anderson Road, Suite 124, Rock Hill, SC 29732


Registered Representative offering securities through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, member FINRA/SIPC.  Advisory services offered through Carroll Financial Associates, Inc., a Registered Investment Adviser. Carroll Financial and Cetera Advisor Networks, LLC are under separate ownership and are not affiliated with any other named entity.

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