Merriman Wealth Management, LLC, an independent wealth management firm with over $2.5 billion in assets under management, is pleased to announce the promotion of Geoffrey Curran, CPA/ABV, CFA, CFP® to principal.
“Geoff’s contribution and dedication to Merriman and our clients has been invaluable as we seek to be the destination for clients and employees who are looking to Live Fully,” said Jeremy Burger, CFA, CFP®, CEO of Merriman. Merriman is proud to offer a path to partnership for those individuals who demonstrate through their contributions a strong commitment to improving the lives of our clients, helping the firm grow and giving back to their communities. With the addition of Geoff, Merriman now has 15 principals.
Geoffrey joined Merriman as a Wealth Advisor in January 2016 after spending three years at TD Ameritrade. Geoff graduated from the University of Tulsa and has earned three of the most distinguished credentials in the industry – CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional (CFP®), Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and Chartered Financial Analyst® charterholder (CFA). Geoff is an active member of the South Puget Sound community including serving on the investment committees for the Tacoma Employees’ Retirement System pension and the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation.
Scott:What is your role here at the firm, and how long have you been with Merriman?
Erick: I am the Chief Compliance Officer, and I’m going on my sixth year. When I first started, it was in the Client Service department.
Scott:When did you catch the Compliance bug?
Erick: While I was working at Chase Bank, some of my duties were to check the vaults and review transactions for fraudulent activity. This type of work sparked my investigative nature while allowing me to focus on other areas of the business.
Scott:Why do you love working at Merriman?
Erick: Merriman acts as a fiduciary, putting our client’s needs above everything else—unlike at the bank where it was very corporate. I also enjoy my coworkers who are easy to work with and willing to lend a helping hand. We have a great hiring process that brings us all together.
Scott: Since it’s not every child’s dream when they’re growing up to become a Chief Compliance Officer, what was yours?
Erick: Living in Miami with all the hurricanes, I wanted to be a meteorologist and enjoyed watching the weather channel a lot.
Scott: What changed?
Erick: I wasn’t that good at science.
Scott:Tell me about your family, and where did you grow up?
Erick: I was born in Los Angeles and moved to Miami when I was three. My parents and sisters still live in Florida which I visit often. I’m also an uncle, as my oldest sister has two children.
Scott:Tell me about a few favorites of yours.
Erick: My favorite food is Mexican, specifically chicken with mole. My favorite vacation spot is Mexico City, and my favorite sport is basketball. I’m a huge Miami Heat fan!
Scott:What do you like to do in your spare time?
Erick: I like spending time with my girlfriend, and I’m an avid runner. I run a lot of 5 and 10Ks, and I’ve also run a few half marathons.
Lowell: I’ve worked at Merriman for 13 years. I started in client services before moving to my current advisor role. I made the switch because I wanted to help people achieve their goals and provide peace of mind along the way.
Scott: What do you love about working here?
Lowell: The opportunity to help my clients articulate, achieve, and expand upon their financial and associated life goals.
Scott: What’s on your wish list for the next 10 years?
Lowell: To raise my children in a way that they are responsible, give back, and are well rounded. Professionally, I want to continue developing in my career; and now that I’m getting older, I’m excited to help the next generation do well and advance through their careers.
Scott: If you could give one piece of advice, what would it be?
“‘Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’ said Alice.
‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.
‘I don’t much care where—’ said Alice.
‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.”
–Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
What an amazing quote! My takeaway is that if you have clear direction, you can achieve whatever you set out to do.
Scott: Where are you originally from?
Lowell: Issaquah/Preston/Enumclaw, WA.
Scott: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Lowell: Chicken feet at Dim Sum in Vancouver, BC.
Scott: How was it?
Scott: What’s your hidden talent?
Lowell: I took up the guitar about 20 years ago and have steadily improved. My next level goal is to start playing acoustic sets at local venues.
Scott: What is the last experience that made you a stronger person?
Lowell: Coaching my son’s basketball team. Patience and repetition!
Scott: Merriman has employees take the StrengthsFinder quiz so we can understand how to best work with each other. What are your top five strengths?
Achiever: Those with the Achiever theme have a constant need for achievement. Every day they need to achieve, no matter how small. They take immense satisfaction in being busy and productive.
Learner: Those with the Learner theme love to learn. The process, more than the content or the results, is especially exciting for them.
Self-Assurance: People with this strength feel confident in their ability to take risks and manage their own lives. They have an inner compass that gives them certainty in their decisions.
Competition: People exceptionally talented in the Competition theme measure their progress against the performance of others. They strive to win first place and revel in contests.
Focus: People exceptionally talented in the Focus theme can take a direction, follow through, and make the corrections necessary to stay on track. They prioritize, then act.
Matt: I started in May 2019. When I first got started in this industry, Aimee Butler was my first real boss. We kept in touch, and she let me know about the job opening. It’s great to be working with her again.
Kim: What do you do at Merriman, and what’s your favorite part of the workday?
Matt: I am an associate advisor working with the advisors in the Eugene office, helping our clients by sitting in on meetings that have complex financial needs and working with a group to deliver a good financial plan, then creating a portfolio to back that up in a real way. I also enjoy getting out of the office to meet other professionals in the community to hear how they perceive how our community is growing and changing. I am currently studying for the CFP, preparing to become a wealth advisor and get more involved with helping clients plan for the big goals they have that don’t revolve around money. Money means different things to each client. Helping them figure out what it means to them and what’s the reason for having the money. Helping clients support local charities with monetary donations as well as them volunteering in the community.
Kim: Tell us about your family.
Matt: Laurel and I met when we were summer camp counselors in college. Ten years later, we have a 2 ½ year old son, Trey, and a 20-pound cat named Charlie. Trey loves Charlie, although sometimes we need to remind him to be gentle. We love living in Oregon and having so many breweries and vineyards to explore. On the weekends, we can be found exploring the local parks and eating at the amazing restaurants Eugene has to offer.
Kim: What was your favorite vacation?
Matt: My wife Laurel and I went to Iceland for our Babymoon, and it was the most beautiful place on the planet. Pictures just can’t do it justice. We enjoyed hiking to amazing waterfalls and checking out some of the filming locations for Game of Thrones. I am a huge Lord of the Rings fan, and after watching all of the Lord of the Rings movies and behind the scenes, I would love to go to New Zealand to see those places in the movie in person. I’ve heard the wine is pretty good there too.
Jeff: I went to school at Ohio State. After graduating, I stayed in Columbus and got a job at Ohio State in health care research. As a new employee, I had to figure out my benefit and retirement plan options, which I knew nothing about. I asked a friend about my benefits and he suggested I read A Random Walk Down Wallstreet, which first sparked my interest in personal finance. I then read a lot of books about saving and investing, including Paul Merriman’s books.
After moving to Seattle for a research job at Swedish in 2017, I saw Merriman was hiring and applied for the position. When I was thinking about changing careers, it was either Merriman or staying the course in research. I didn’t want to jump ship for some entry level sales role at a big bank, but I knew Merriman would be a great fit because I really identified with the philosophy and perspective Paul presented in his books. So far, I think I made the right choice.
Danielle: What do you do at Merriman and what do you love about working here?
Jeff: I’m an associate advisor, supporting both advisors and clients. I’m here to answer questions, expedite the process, and make sure nothing slips through the cracks. I love the collaborative experience of working with advisors and our client service team to help clients, and I love teaching clients about the technical side of investing.
It’s great to see how energized the long-time advisors are even though they’ve been doing this for a while. The relationships I’ve built with team members have also been really rewarding. I want to come to work every day, and really enjoy being here.
Danielle: Tell me about your family.
Jeff: My wife, Brooke, is currently working and living in Berlin. We’ve done long-distance before, but it’s still challenging being continents apart. I look forward to visiting Germany, and we are excited to use our apartment there as a home base for touring around Europe.
My parents live down in Florida now, my sister is still in Ohio, and my brother is in a residency program in New York. My whole family is from the east coast, so I’m used to being the farthest west. Seattle is just a little farther than Ohio!
Danielle: What are your hobbies?
Jeff: I have a close group of friends from college, guys I lived with in the dorms freshman and sophomore year, then on the same block off campus. Now that I have moved to Seattle, we all play videogames together online to stay connected. I’m sure my neighbors must hate listening to us shouting over voice chat!
I also try to enjoy what the Pacific Northwest has to offer. I’m usually city-bound, living in South Lake Union, but I try to get out of town with friends sometimes. I’ve started rock climbing with the encouragement of the Merriman team – especially Chris Waclawik and Paresh Kamdar. We have taken a trip out to the “Exits” and hit some of the rock gyms in Seattle. I also play pool locally with Phuc Dang, and he even convinced me to join his team for a session last year. We’d go play a few times a week—it was a lot of fun, and I had the chance to meet some new people.
Kristi: I’m the Chief Operations Officer (COO) and Chief Investment Officer (CIO) at Merriman.
In my role as COO I have the responsibility, together with Jeremy Burger (Merriman CEO) and Tyler Bartlett (Director of Advisory Services), of the overall success of the firm. My main goal is to ensure we’re delivering a great experience for our clients and for our employees. That involves all aspects of the business, from benefits and a great office environment, to making sure our people have the right skills and tools to provide our clients with the best possible experience.
As CIO, I oversee the research team and am responsible for making sure we have the best investments available for our clients. In my time here at Merriman, I’ve helped launch several new funds in collaboration with Dimensional Fund Advisors, championed the widespread adoption of asset location across client accounts, and centralized trading and portfolio management functions.
Overall, my team and I are focused on delivering ever greater value through outstanding service, diversified investment offerings, and easy-to-use technology.
Renske: What is your favorite part of the work day?
Kristi: For me, it’s always about making connections with people and bringing out the best in others. Whether it’s for an employee or a client, knowing I’ve done something to elevate somebody else’s game is enough to send me home happy every time.
Renske: Tell me a little more about your family life
Kristi: My husband and I have been married since 1998, and together since 1994 – more than half my life! We have two children: Piper, who will be 12 next month, and Anders, who will be 10 in May. Spending time with them is something I truly love and enjoy.
As a family we love to play boardgames, and we’re big into cooking. Now that the kids are a little older, we have been able to do some grand travelling. We went to Australia last summer, and this year we’ll visit the Netherlands and Greece. We’re already planning next year’s trip to South Africa as well.
Renske: Any fun facts we should know?
Kristi: I own a flag that flew in the space shuttle…is that cool?
Kristi: I used to work in rocket science, and all rocket scientist have something that flew into space!