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Executive Committee

Fred DiSanto - Image

Fred DiSanto

Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Fred DiSanto was named the Chief Executive Officer at Ancora, a registered investment advisor, in January 2006. Fred was also named Chairman in December 2014. He was the former President and Chief Operating Officer of Maxus Investment Group from 1998 until December of 2000. He was responsible for the marketing, sales and financial operations. Prior to Maxus, Mr. DiSanto was Managing Partner at Gelfand Partners Asset Management from 1991 until its merger with Maxus Investment Group in 1997. He began his investment career in 1985 with McDonald Investments in Institutional Equity Sales. In January 2001 Maxus was sold to Fifth Third Bank. Mr. DiSanto served as Executive Vice President and Manager of the Fifth Third Bank’s Investment Advisors Division overseeing Investment Management, Private Banking and Trust and Banking Services. Mr. DiSanto is currently on the boards of Medical Mutual of Ohio, Case Western Reserve University, The Cleveland Film Commission, WF Hann and Sons and The Eastern Company. He is also on the Executive Committee for the Board of Trustees at Case Western Reserve University. Fred is a former Chairman of the Board of Regents of St. Ignatius High School and former Chairman and current Trustee of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. He is a past Board Member of Lorain National Bank (LNBB) and Parkview Federal Savings Bank (PVFC). He is a Board Member for Edgewater Technology, Inc. (EDGW), Eastern Company (EML) and Regional Brands, Inc. (RGBD). Fred earned a Bachelor degree in Management Science from Case Western Reserve University and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University, Weatherhead School of Management (Cleveland, Ohio).

Richard Renner - Image

Richard Renner

President, Ancora Inverness

Rick has advised affluent families for over thirty years. His industry career began with Alex Brown & Sons in 1986. As a better way to add value for families, Rick began Inverness Investment Group, a registered investment advisor (RIA) in 2002. At Inverness he built an experienced team to advise on investing and to consult on planning for client’s future financial events. At Inverness the team advised over three hundred exceptional, affluent families. In 2015, Inverness merged with Ancora where Rick currently serves as President of the firm's Family Wealth practice. Rick is also a member of Ancora's Executive Committee. Rick believes the goal of the firm's Family Wealth advisory practice is to help families plan and navigate their finances and investments through future uncertainty. Rick leads a team of experienced professionals who build high comfort levels and trusting relationships to reduce as much tension and stress as possible related to financial matters  for family and individual clients. Rick has served on many boards over the years and currently is on the Board of Trustees at Fieldstone Farms and their associated Therapeutic Riding Center Foundation where he serves as an active member on the investment committee. Rick also is the founder and still chairman of the investment committee for Beaumont School’s endowment fund. Rick earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Bucknell University, where he was captain of the Water Polo team for two years. E-mail: rick@ancora.net

John Bartels - Image

John Bartels

Managing Director, Family Wealth Advisor

John is a Managing Director and member of Ancora's Executive Committee. As a financial advisor and investment strategist with twenty years of experience, John works with a team of dedicated financial and legal specialists in Ancora's Family Wealth practice providing high net worth families with custom executive and lifetime planning services.  Many of the high net worth families and entrepreneurs that he serves appreciate the familiarity of our family CFO concept. Ancora's Family Wealth clients receive highly customized consultation in the areas of investing, retirement planning, tax compliance, risk management, and legacy planning. Mr. Bartels founded Independent Advisors in 2000 with the goal of providing world class wealth management to his clients. In 2009, Independent Advisors and Inverness merged, creating a team of specialized and dedicated financial and legal professionals. Prior to founding Independent Advisors, John was a branch manager for Raymond James Financial Services. Before Raymond James, John was an associate with the Estate Planning Team, where he learned wealth management and estate planning techniques for high net worth families. He is a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), a board member for Shaker Heights Country Club, Womankind, NEO360 and Gateway Cancer Research. John earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from John Carroll University. He is a FINRA licensed registered representatives. E-mail: jbartels@ancora.net

James Bernard, CFA - Image

James Bernard, CFA

Managing Director, Fixed Income

James M. Bernard, CFA, joined Ancora in 2006 as Director of Fixed Income. Jim manages taxable and tax-exempt fixed income portfolios for various institutional and high net worth individual accounts. In addition to portfolio management, he provides fixed income consulting services for various financial institutions. Jim managed fixed income portfolios as well as the Ohio Municipal Bond Fund and the Kentucky Municipal Common Trust Fund for Fifth Third Investment Advisors prior to joining Ancora Advisors. His prior experiences include serving as Chief Investment Officer and Treasurer of a multi-line insurance organization in central Ohio. He also managed funds for banks and trust companies in Indiana and Kansas City during his 30 years in the investment business. Jim earned a Bachelor degree in Business Administration from Xavier University and an MBA from Ball State University.  He holds the CFA designation and is member of CFA Society Cleveland. He is a registered representative holding Series 7 and Series 24 (principal) licenses.   He is a board member and former Chairman of the Board of Solutions Behavioral Healthcare Incorporated, a non-profit mental health, alcohol, and drug abuse consulting provider. E-mail: jb@ancora.net

Howard Essner, JD - Image

Howard Essner, JD

General Counsel, Managing Director, Family Wealth Advisor

Howard is a Managing Director and member of Ancora's Executive Committee. Howard is an attorney licensed in Ohio with more than 30 years of legal experience. Howard leads Ancora's Lifetime Planning Group, overseeing a team of financial planning specialists providing high net worth families with custom retirement planning, cash flow planning, tax planning and compliance, risk management, and legacy planning. Howard started his legal career with the law firm of Hahn, Loeser and Parks in Cleveland, where he was first an associate and then a partner.  Howard’s practice included corporate, tax, employee benefits, estate planning and non-profit law. In 1991, he became General Counsel and Senior Vice President for PASCO, Inc., a privately held company in Hudson, Ohio. Howard is a member of the Executive Committee and second Vice President of the Northern Ohio Golf Association, and past President and Trustee of the Silver Lake Country Club in Silver Lake, Ohio. Howard earned a Bachelor of Arts degree (cum laude, with distinction) in History from The Ohio State University, a Master of Arts degree in History of Religion from Brown University, and a Juris Doctor degree from The University of Akron School of Law. E-mail: howard@ancora.net

Brian Hopkins - Image

Brian Hopkins

Managing Director, Corporate Development

Brian Hopkins has been a Partner and Portfolio Manager at Ancora for over ten years. He is a Managing Director of Corporate Development and a member of the Executive Committee at the firm. Mr. Hopkins is responsible for making recommendations and sourcing opportunities for strategic growth of the firm, including acquisitions, joint ventures and new product opportunities. He is also a Portfolio Manager for the firm. As Portfolio Manager he is responsible for making investment decisions for the firm’s alternative products. Prior to joining Ancora, Mr. Hopkins was an Investment Associate with Primus Capital Partners, one of the largest private equity firms in the Midwest.  At Primus, he performed due diligence for new investments and monitored portfolio investments. Before joining Primus, he worked in the Investment Banking Division of Deutsche Bank in London as an Associate after completing the Investment Banking Analyst Program with Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown. He worked in the Consumer Industry Group focusing on Mergers and Acquisitions. Brian is currently a board member for 1st Menasha Bancshares, Inc. (FMBJ) and Regional Brands, Inc. (RGBD). Brian earned an Honors Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from Georgetown University.

John Micklitsch, CFA CAIA - Image

John Micklitsch, CFA CAIA

Chief Investment Officer

John Micklitsch, CFA, CAIA started with Ancora in 2006 and is Ancora's Chief Investment Officer. In addition to his Chief Investment Officer responsibilities, John manages global, multi-asset class separate accounts for the firm's high net worth and institutional clients. John began his money management career in 1996 at the firm of Robert E. Torray & Company Inc. where he was an analyst and head trader on the firm's $5 billion large cap value strategy. In 2003, he joined Fifth Third Asset Management, where he researched and managed small and micro cap investments for the firm's mutual funds and individual accounts. Prior to joining Ancora, John was lead portfolio manager for the small cap value strategy at Allegiant Asset Management, the institutional money management division of National City Corporation. During his tenure, he was responsible for assets in excess of $1 billion, including the strategy's publicly traded mutual fund and separate accounts. John has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Duke University, an MBA from Johns Hopkins University’s Carey School of Business and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designations. He also serves on the board of Biltmore Trust, a South Dakota trust company, and Biltmore Insurance Company and is a member of Bluecoats Inc. E-mail: johnmick@ancora.net