Citi-Smith Barney Spawns New Advisory Shop

Stanford Financial Group announced the formation of Stanford Institutional Consulting, a new business group within its global network of financial services companies.

Based in Baltimore, Stanford Institutional Consulting (SIC) serves the needs of both high-net-worth clients and institutional clients spanning education, healthcare, foundations, endowments, associations, and retirement plans, with assets ranging in size from $10 million to over $1 billion, according to a press release.

SIC will be led by Financial Adviser Christopher C. Aitken, who will serve as executive managing director and senior investment consultant, and Stephen L. Thacker, managing director, senior investment consultant. Aitken and Thacker have worked as a team for the past 15 years, according to the release.

“The formation of Stanford Institutional Consulting underscores our commitment to using our strong balance sheet to build a top-notch portfolio of institutional and wealth management services,” said Sir Allen Stanford, chairman, Stanford Financial Group of Companies, in the release. “At a time when the financial services industry is facing unprecedented challenges, the Stanford Group is poised to continue its proven track record of growth.”

According to the company, Aitken brings more than 22 years financial services experience to Stanford and has been ranked among Barrons‘ “Top 100 Financial Advisors” for the past three years and Registered Rep‘s “Top 100 Financial Advisors” for the past two years. Prior to joining Stanford Institutional Consulting, Aitken was managing director for Citi-Smith Barney Institutional Consulting.

Thacker also joins the company from Citi-Smith Barney Institutional Consulting,where he has served for the past 16 years, most recently as a senior institutional consultant. In his new role, Thacker will provide counsel on investment policy statements, asset allocation, investment adviser research, and performance reporting for foundations, endowments, hospitals, pensions ,and high-net-worth families.

The following individuals have also joined at Stanford Institutional Consulting, according to the release:

  • Dawn Pfaff, vice president and senior analyst, is responsible for managing the team of analysts at Stanford Institutional Consulting. She brings more than 20 years industry experience to Stanford and joins the company from Citi-Smith Barney Institutional Consulting, where she was manager, research analyst.
  • Timothy J. Truss, senior analyst, also joins from Citi-Smith Barney Institutional Consulting where he was a research analyst. With more than 10 years financial services experience, Mr. Truss is responsible for conducting manager research, developing research reports, and analyzing portfolios.
  • Danyelle Berger, senior analyst, brings nearly 10 years experience to Stanford Institutional Consulting and is responsible for manager and statistical analysis, performance reviews and client reporting. Prior to joining the company, she was a research analyst with Citi-Smith Barney Institutional Consulting.
  • Ayaz Hasan, analyst, spent the last two years at Citi-Smith Barney Institutional Consulting where he served in the same capacity. In his new role, Ayaz will focus on client reporting, performance analysis and manager research.
  • Shari Serafin, vice president, Operations Manager has nearly 20 years financial services experience and most recently served as senior portfolio administrator for Citi-Smith Barney Institutional Consulting. She also has worked with Prudential Securities in New York where she managed the municipal bond liaison desk. She began her career with First National Bank of Maryland where she was a junior fixed-income trader.
  • Teri Houp, vice president, Portfolio ADMINISTRATION, joins Stanford Institutional Consulting as administrator from Citi-Smith Barney Institutional Consulting, where she has served for more than 22 years in portfolio administration. Prior to Citi, Houp held various positions with Legg Mason Wood Walker, Inc.
  • Karen Doggett, senior portfolio administrator, brings more than 25 years industry experience to Stanford. Most recently, Doggett worked in portfolio administration with Citi-Smith Barney Institutional Consulting, prior to which she worked with George K. Baum & Co. where she held the positions of first vice president, Municipal Syndicate and vice president of Operations.

More information is available at