Financial Times rates advisors among tops in US


Brad Pinter. Photo via

A group of West Michigan financial advisors have been ranked among the best in the nation by an industry publication.

Three West Michigan Merrill Lynch advisors — Kimberly Hammond, Brett Howell and Craig Sharp — and Brad Pinter — a Stonebridge Financial Group advisor in Grand Rapids — were included on the fourth-annual list of the “Top 401 Retirement Advisors” by the Financial Times.

The list published this fall represents the best industry professionals who specialize in advising defined contribution plans, or DC plans, offered by corporate, nonprofit and government employers.


Financial Times and its sister organization, Ignite Research, contacted large U.S. brokerages, independent advisors and other wealth managers to identify qualified applicants.

Applicants were required to advise on at least $75 million in DC plan assets — an increase from last year’s $50 million — and have at least 20 percent of their client assets in such plans.

The qualifying advisors completed a questionnaire about the nature of their practice.

Financial Times used six key criteria to rank the advisors: DC assets under management; growth rate of plans; specialization; years of advising experience; industry certifications; and compliance records.

According to the publication, “because each advisor takes different approaches to their practices,” the FT “401” list is unranked.

West Michigan honorees

Kimberly Hammond

Hammond provides wealth management services to corporate executives and their families out of her office in Muskegon.

During her 28-year tenure with Merrill Lynch, Hammond has helped clients “integrate their corporate benefits into a long-term financial strategy” that focuses on risk management. This is the fourth year she has been recognized on Financial Times' “Top 401” advisors list.

She holds a B.A. in economics from Michigan State University.

Brett Howell

Howell is one of the founding partners of the Howell & Sharp Group with Merrill Lynch and works in Grand Rapids.

Since joining Merrill Lynch in 2000, he has focused his efforts in the area of retirement planning for individuals, as well as qualified and non-qualified retirement plans for corporations and nonprofits.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in business marketing from MSU.

Craig Sharp

Sharp focuses on advising individuals, nonprofits, foundations and retirement plans on investment management issues out of his office in Grand Rapids.

Also a founding partner of the Howell & Sharp Group with Merrill Lynch, he helps clients develop wealth management strategies through a process that includes “goal definition, portfolio development, risk mitigation, performance measurement, income management, tax minimization and liability management.” He joined Merrill Lynch in 2000.

He holds a B.A. from Hope College and two master’s degrees from the University of Michigan.

Brad Pinter

Pinter is managing partner of Stonebridge Financial Group in Grand Rapids, which provides investment advisory services through a partnership with Troy-based Global Financial Group Advisors.

He is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the retirement plan consulting business at Stonebridge and Global Financial. Since 2004, he has worked with closely held businesses, publicly traded companies and nonprofits, evaluating existing retirement plans to develop goals for success.

He holds a B.A. in liberal arts/business from MSU and an M.B.A. in finance from the University of Detroit Mercy.

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