Cetera Financial Group is owned by Genstar Capital Partners, a leading private equity firm. Genstar is ranked #2 on the 2020 HEC-DowJones Private Equity Performance Ranking, which looked at the world’s top-performing private equity funds in terms of how they performed for investors, up from the #3 spot in 2019. Working together, we strive to expand access to independent financial guidance and continue to invest in the tools and capabilities that drive business growth for financial professionals.
Select the link below to separate truth from myth about private equity partnerships, and learn more about why we feel it’s the right path forward for us.
Board of Directors
Chairman of the Board
Chairman of the Board
Ben Brigeman serves as chairman of the Cetera board and as a member of Genstar Capital's Strategic Advisory Board, and advises the firm in the financial services sector. He served as Cetera’s interim CEO from March 2019 to December 2019.
Prior to Cetera, Ben was executive vice president for Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., where he served as the head of the individual investor (retail) business of Schwab responsible for its worldwide branch network, call centers, new client operations, regulatory compliance, product development, project management and wealth services. He was a key member of Schwab’s executive committee setting strategy for the company. Prior to joining Schwab in 1996, Ben was a senior vice president at Key Bank, managing Key’s Retirement Services division.
Ben is a member of the board of directors for Ascensus, Apex Group, and Institutional Shareholder Services (“ISS”). He and his wife Vicki are lifelong residents in the Cleveland, Ohio, area.
He holds both a BS and an MBA from the University of Akron.
Lori Hardwick brings more than 30 years of experience of working in the financial industry as a prominent voice and is known for her intense passion for continuous improvement in the financial advisory industry. Lori has consulting and operating expertise in investment, technology, distribution, and advisory solutions and is a regular speaker at industry events and frequently featured on leadership and fintech podcasts.
Lori was appointed to Genstar Capital’s Strategic Advisory Board in 2020 and at the same time, appointed as a board director for one of their portfolio companies in the financial services sector; Cetera Financial Group and in October 2020, she was appointed to the Orion/Brinker board of directors. In 2019, Lori was appointed to an independent board seat at Vestwell, LLC for which she currently serves as Chairman. Lori also served as a board director for Riskalyze, beginning in 2018 and served as Chairman of that firm from 2019 to mid-2021 when the company was acquired by Hg Partners, a P/E company based in London.
In 2017, Lori created and co-founded a new fintech company, Advisor Innovation Labs (AI Labs). At AI Labs, she served on the board of directors, and was focused on building sophisticated and intuitive ‘systems of engagement’ between advisors and their clients with a digital interface. AI Labs underwent a successful acquisition in March 2020.
Prior to founding AI Labs, Lori served as Chief Operating Officer for Pershing, a BNY Mellon company, sharing leadership responsibility with the CEO for managing the Pershing family of companies. Lori served as a member of Pershing’s Executive Committee and BNY Mellon’s Senior Leadership Team.
Previously, Lori was Co-Founder and Group President of Advisory Services for Envestnet, overseeing all of its enterprise relationship management, institutional advisory sales, strategic partnerships and practice management programs. She had been with Envestnet since its founding in 2000 and served in a variety of roles managing its enterprise, sales, services, advisor orientation and onboarding divisions during her 16-year tenure at the firm. She helped Envestnet prepare and launch a successful IPO in July 2010 (NYSE: ENV).
Most recently, Lori was named as one of the “22 People who will Transform Wealth Management in 2022” by Financial-Planning.com and also recognized as one of the 2020 Top Women of Wealth Tech by ThinkAdvisor. She was also profiled as a “Winner in Wealthtech” in 2018 by Wealth Management Today. In 2017, Lori was named to the “Women to Watch” list by InvestmentNews and also, in 2016, was on Investment Advisor’s list of “The 25 Most Influential People in the Financial Industry”. Lori was also named one of the “50 Most Influential Women in Private Wealth” by Private Asset Management magazine in 2015.
She also serves her community by working on Ben Franklin’s Executive Review Committee where she helps advise Ben Franklin review and assess viability of local start-up firms for investment, with an emphasis on those that will create jobs and economic growth for the City of Philadelphia.
Lori graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Arts. She is also a graduate of the University of Chicago Booth Advanced Management Executive Program, an elite category of year-long masters of business educational programs designed for senior executives.
- University of Chicago Booth, Executive MBA Program
- The Ohio State University, BA
Gary Michel is a member of Genstar’s Strategic Advisory Board and is working with portfolio companies to improve financial leadership and operational performance.
Prior to joining the Strategic Advisory Board, Michel was an operating partner at Providence Equity Partners. He was previously the chief financial officer of TravelClick, a former Genstar Portfolio Company. He oversaw the global financial and legal operations, and served as a key member of the senior leadership team in developing growth strategies and leading the exit process. Before joining TravelClick, Gary was CFO of Register.com, a provider of web services to small and medium-sized businesses. Register.com was sold to Web.com and Gary left after leading the successful integration of the two companies.
Gary’s extensive financial background includes 10 years at Dun and Bradstreet (D&B), where he specialized in growth strategies and global business integration. At D&B he was both the International and Americas chief financial officer, focusing on improving performance and profitability. He also served as head of corporate strategy and M&A. His career also includes leadership roles with The McGraw-Hill Companies and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
He is actively involved with the University of Delaware as part of the Executive Mentors Scholars Program, The Lerner College Leadership Council and the University’s Venture Development Center.
- University of Delaware, Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, BS, Accounting
Sid Ramakrishnan joined Genstar Capital in 2012 and is currently a vice president of the firm responsible for evaluating and executing investments across various sectors. Previously, he was chief of staff to the CEO at AssetMark (a former Genstar portfolio company) and led corporate strategy for the company. Sid began his career in the investment banking division at Morgan Stanley.
- University of Southern California, BS, Business Administration
Tony Salewski is a managing director with Genstar Capital, helping to identify, evaluate and execute acquisition and investment opportunities.
Prior to joining Genstar Capital in 2007, Tony was the chief of staff at Barclays Global Investors (BGI), where he executed strategic initiatives for the executive committee. Prior to BGI, he was an associate at Hellman & Friedman LLC, a private equity investment firm in San Francisco. He began his career in the investment banking division of Morgan Stanley in New York.
- Harvard Business School, MBA, with distinction
- Harvard College, with honors
Hal Strong is responsible for expanding Genstar’s financial services practice, in particular in the areas of asset management, wealth management and financial technology. He serves as a director of Altegris, Apex Group, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), Mercer Advisors, and Strategic Insight. He is a former director of AssetMark.
Prior to joining Genstar, Hal was most recently vice chairman of Russell Investments, where he helped build Russell into a global investment company with $250 billion in assets under management serving individual, institutional and advisor clients in more than 40 countries. During his 18-year career at Russell, he also served as Russell’s chief operating officer, chief financial officer, head of alternative investments and head of investment banking, having founded the latter two businesses at Russell.
Hal has nearly 30 years of experience in the asset management and investment banking industries, beginning his career in the investment banking division of Salomon Brothers in New York.
He is an active member of the theatre community as a trustee and member of the executive committee of Seattle Repertory Theatre.
- University of Washington, MBA
- UC Berkeley, German
Vamsi Yadlapati brings more than two decades of leadership experience in the financial industry and is known for his M&A and strategic expertise. As a member of Cetera’s Board of Directors, he will help guide the firm’s acquisition-related growth strategy as the industry continues to undergo waves of consolidation. He will also help support Cetera’s mission to enable the delivery of an Advice-Centric Experience® to more investors nationwide.
Vamsi most recently was co-head of M&A and business development at Focus Financial Partners. Previously, he was with Summit Partners, where he was responsible for identifying, structuring and executing the firm’s investments. His deal experience there primarily focused on financial services transactions. Vamsi has served in the investment-banking group at Salomon Smith Barney, executing M&A, equity and debt transactions. He also has strong expertise in successfully transitioning financial professionals from wirehouses to independent firms.
Head of Specialty Channel, Cetera Financial Group
Ron Krueger is president of Cetera Financial Specialists, a broker-dealer within Cetera Financial Group. He and his team are responsible for leading the firm’s financial and tax professionals to build great businesses and achieve growth goals through best-in class service, alignment with leading technology and specialty-focused resources within Cetera. For over 20 years, Ron has been passionate about educating, servicing, and making business easy to do for financial professionals and creating a “red carpet” client experience with each interaction. Creating this experience drives the team’s passion to provide superior support and service that’s hands-on and high touch in an environment that promotes a family culture and direct access to senior leaders.
Prior to his current role, Ron has held a variety of leadership and business development positions within Cetera and its predecessor companies. Before joining Cetera, his experience included working as an investment professional at Prudential Securities. He achieved both his Certified Financial Planner® and Chartered Financial Analyst® designations in 2002.
Ron earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Texas in Austin. He is an active member of the CFA Institute and The Financial Planning Association and is a former board member of the Tampa Bay Financial Analyst Society. He is licensed as a financial professional with Cetera Financial Specialists and holds Series 7, 24, 63 and 65 securities registrations. He also holds an insurance license.
He resides in Tampa with his wife Minerva, two daughters, and adopted pets. They enjoy sports, travel, and outdoor activities.
LeAnn Rummel joined Cetera Financial Institutions (formerly PrimeVest Financial Services) in 1992 and currently serves as president and CEO, where she focuses on all aspects of the business. Prior to this role, she served as national sales director, where she oversaw all sales functions, including financial institution relationship management, sales support, product management, Rep on Demand, representative recruitment, sales supervision and strategic partner relations. Additionally, she leads the firm’s executive committee and acts as president of Cetera’s insurance agencies.
LeAnn’s tenure in the financial services industry spans more than 30 years. She has previously served as vice president of the financial institution channel and product marketing for the ING Advisors Network Marketing team. Before that, she served as vice president of product sales and marketing for PrimeVest following her promotion from her role as a banking and independent financial professional. LeAnn also previously served as regional sales director at AEGON where she worked to develop and manage new broker-dealer relationships within a 10-state territory. Prior to AEGON, she was employed in several roles throughout a six-year tenure with the Securities Corporation of IA.
She currently serves as a Bank Insurance Securities Association (BISA) board member. In 2014, she was inducted into BISA’s Circle of Excellence, which honors outstanding professionals for their commitment to the insurance and securities industry.
LeAnn received a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a marketing and economics emphasis from Iowa State University. She is qualified as a general securities representative (Series 7), a general securities principal (Series 24) and a uniform securities agent (Series 63). She also possesses insurance licenses.
Head of Specialty Channel, Cetera Financial Group
Thomas B. Taylor currently serves as president and CEO for Cetera Advisor Networks (formerly Financial Network Investment Corporation) and focuses on all aspects of the business. Tom also leads the Specialty Channel, which encompasses Cetera Advisor Networks, Cetera Financial Institutions and Cetera Financial Specialists. The Specialty Channel emphasizes Cetera’s unique commitment to serve and provide support to a range of unique business models.
Prior to these roles, he served as chief operating officer for over 10 years, where he leveraged his experience in sales, operations, compliance and marketing to lead the firm’s initiatives in technology and operations. He was also responsible for leading the FID Operations department, Electronic Order Entry department and Resource Center to support and serve financial professionals and independent offices nationwide.
Tom has more than 25 years’ experience in the financial services industry. Previously, he spent five years as a top-producing broker at Liberty Securities Corp./IFMG before being promoted to sales manager. He also ran an investment program and managed 10 brokers for a $4 billion financial institution in southern California.
He joined Financial Network in 1997 and has been instrumental in developing many of the new operational, technological and sales initiatives for the company. Previous assignments include due diligence coordinator, vice president of sales and training, vice president of the Financial Institutions Division, and chief administrative officer before taking the role of chief operating officer.
Tom received a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration, with an emphasis in finance and investments, from California State University, Long Beach. He is also a Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®).