Private Wealth Management Leadership and Executive Team

Earning Your Trust Every Day.

Wealth management is an exceedingly complex business that requires a disciplined team of specialists working in close concert. Earning your trust is a tremendous honor that comes with a solemn duty to continually justify that faith through sustained excellence.

SunTrust is an organization built on the character of its people – a culture that’s reflective of and embodied in the strength of our wealth management executives:

Joe Thompson

Head of Private Wealth Management, CEO of SunTrust Investment Services, Inc.

Joseph ThompsonAs Head of Private Wealth Management, Joe sets the overall tone and strategy for Domestic and International Wealth Management, as well as our Sports and Entertainment, Medical and Legal Specialty Groups, and GenSpring Family Offices. A 20-year veteran of SunTrust, he has actively worked to evolve the Private Wealth business; recruiting more women and millennial advisors, encouraging more and deeper collaboration, and focusing the efforts of our entire team on helping wealthy individuals and families achieve greater financial confidence by leveraging the full breadth of SunTrust’s vast capabilities.

Joe has a Bachelor of Arts from Williams College and earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the Harvard Business School. He is a member of the Executive Committee Board of Directors of The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, a member of the board of trustees for the National YoungArts Foundation, and is actively involved in the Woodruff Arts Center.

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Ernie Dawal, CFA®

Chief Investment Officer

Ernie DawalAs Chief Investment Officer, Ernie leads a team that determines how best to allocate investment capital (both strategically and tactically) to help meet both your long- and short-term financial goals. Along with sourcing and vetting all of the investment solutions available to private wealth clients, Ernie is responsible for translating domestic and global economic projections and events into actionable portfolio strategies.

In addition to over 20 years of hands-on investment management and oversight experience, he holds a B.A. in business administration and international studies from the American University, Kogod School of Business & School of International Service, a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Wake Forest University’s Babcock School of Management, and has earned the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

Brian Dowhower

Head of Division and Specialty Wealth Management

Brian DowhowerBrian oversees SunTrust’s regional Private Wealth Management markets, as well as our International Wealth Management, Sports & Entertainment, Medical Specialty Group, GenSpring Family Office Services, and Institutional Investment Services, which includes SunTrust's Foundation & Endowment group, the 401(k) investment management and services group, and escrow services. In this role, Brian is responsible for consistency and excellence across the regional markets we serve, ensuring that regional teams are all working together to provide comprehensive investment and portfolio management, financial planning, trust and estate administration and credit advisory services.

Brian holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia, a J.D. from Washington & Lee University, and he graduated from the Marist School in Atlanta.

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John Geraghty

Chief Fiduciary Officer

John GeraghtyIn overseeing SunTrust’s fiduciary responsibilities to our private wealth management clients, John’s ultimate responsibility is to ensure that all activities conducted on your behalf are always in your best interest. To ensure this, he provides active supervision of our financial planning, retirement strategies, insurance and financial partner teams to help advisors and staff understand potential emerging risks, new tax law changes and other important regulatory requirements.

Along with 30+ years of experience working across a number of private wealth and trust specialty areas, John holds a BA/BS in History and Business Management from Shepherd University. He serves on the SunTrust Bank Affiliated Foundations Board, was recently named as a director of the Trust Management Association, and is a member of The New World Symphony of Miami Beach, Florida.

Sean MacKenzie

Risk Administration Officer

Sean MacKenzieSean leads risk administration activities for Private Wealth Management, including centralized supervisory and quality assurance activities, process and control design, and issue remediation. In addition to his risk administration responsibilities, Sean also leads a team charged with executing strategic initiatives to drive growth and efficiency.

A 23-year veteran of the wealth management industry, Sean has held various risk management and audit roles at leading financial institutions. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in accounting from Villanova University.

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Ken Solis

Head of Wealth Brokerage Services

Ken SolisKen brings nearly 25 years of wealth management and brokerage experience to his role of directing the investment advice and planning efforts of SunTrust Investment Services private wealth financial advisors. He has been a central figure in helping to evolve our advisory approach, building a comprehensive planning-based organization that focuses on relationships, guidance and trusted advice that goes beyond investment management to address your total wealth picture.

Ken holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Barry University in Miami, Florida, and has earned executive certificates from both the Wharton Business School and Emory University.

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Felicia Speetjens, CFP®

Head of Advisory Solutions

Felicia SpeetjensFelicia is the Head of Private Wealth Management Advisory Solutions for SunTrust. In that role, she ensures that the breadth and depth of our non-proprietary wealth solutions are not only comprehensive and capable of addressing your most sophisticated needs, but that they are delivered in a consistent, cost-effective and transparent manner.

A 23-year veteran of SunTrust, Felicia holds a Certified Financial Planner™ designation and is a licensed CPA (inactive). She graduated magna cum laude from the State University of New York at Albany with a B.S in Business Administration, and is a member of the Board of Counselors of Families First (a leading social services agency based in Atlanta) as well as a volunteer for the Women Lead program at Georgia State.

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Leah Wehinger

Head of Wealth Services

Leah WehingerAs Head of the Wealth Services Group, Leah oversees a diverse team with a single purpose – to ensure that your experience as a SunTrust Private Wealth client is unique and distinguished by consistent service excellence. Along with ensuring that all client-facing technology and tools are user-friendly, intuitive and helpful, Leah’s team is responsible for training, equipping and enabling advisors to best serve our clients.

She is a graduate of the College of William and Mary, attended the Securities Industries Institute at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and is a graduate of the CBA Executive Banking School.

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Brent M. Yamaato

Head of Operations

Brent M. YamaatoFrom simplified and convenient account opening and maintenance, to timely and accurate portfolio statements and tax reporting, Brent and his team oversee all day-to-day details of our Private Wealth operations. Over nearly two decades with SunTrust he has held enterprise-wide and leadership roles in the Office of Community Engagement, Treasury Management, Technology Solutions and various areas of Consumer Operations.

A native of Honolulu, Brent holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration with an International Business and Finance concentration from the University of Georgia, and a Master’s in Business Administration (magna cum laude) from Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business.

In his role as a community relations activist, Brent’s served on the boards of the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta and Junior Achievement of Georgia, and provides fundraising leadership for the Boy Scouts of America, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and UNICEF. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and their two children.

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Dowhower and Wehinger are Registered Representatives, SunTrust Investment Services, Inc.

Dawal is an Investment Adviser Representative, SunTrust Advisory Services, Inc.

Thompson, McCallum, Solis, and Speetjens are Registered Representatives of SunTrust Investment Services, Inc. and Investment Adviser Representatives, SunTrust Advisory Services, Inc.

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