MGWM’s team averages over 17 years industry experience

Bennett Marks

Bennett Marks  |  President, Chief Investment Officer

Ben’s tenacious commitment to our clients’ prosperity rightfully makes him the namesake and president of our firm. While most of us are still asleep, Ben is busy chipping icicles off of his eyebrows from winter morning bike rides. Ben plays hard, but he works even harder, especially when it comes to managing your investments. Ben has over 30 years of wealth management experience and simply put, he knows what works and what doesn’t. Just ask our clients. When MGWM launched in 2008, we had a 96% client retention rate.

Ben and MGWM have received accolades from the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal and the Star Tribune, but his greatest accomplishment is having a network of clients and employees who trust and respect our firm’s vision.

When Ben isn’t covering new terrain in the investment world, he’s covering it outside of the office on his mountain bike. In his free time, Ben also studies architectural design and cherishes time with his wife, Brenda, and their three children at the family cabin on Lake Namakagon.


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John Feste

John Feste  |  Managing Principal

Two minds are better than one. In the case of the MGWM leadership team, two minds are a force to be reckoned with. John is Ben’s trusted partner who acts as the firm’s strategic director and oversees relationship management for many of our key clients. With over 15 years of wealth management experience, John’s business and market insight help shape our biases and outlook, which ultimately drive our investment strategies and model portfolio decisions.

In 2013, John was honored by The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal in their “40 under 40” list, an annual celebration of the Twin Cities’ emerging business and civic leaders. John has also provided market commentary on Fox 9 News and has been published in the Star Tribune.

John has a big heart as well and leads the firm’s charitable efforts. He is a member of the Mother Baby Task Force at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota where he was a patient as a child. He also serves on the board of directors at St. David’s Center for Child and Family Development. A skilled outdoorsman, John’s eye for smart investments is even sharper in a duck blind. A lifelong Minnesotan, he lives in Deephaven with his wife Katie, children Frank and Jane, and their two dogs.


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Jeremy Schmidt

Jeremy Schmidt, CFP® | Director of Asset Management

As the team’s Certified Financial Planner, Jeremy works both behind the scenes and alongside clients to implement investment strategies with our firm’s management team. Jeremy plays an active role on the Marks Group Investment Committee and oversees many of the macro decisions with our portfolios. He also quarterbacks the in-depth financial planning process for clients interested in a more comprehensive analysis of their financial lives.

A native of Bismarck, ND, Jeremy received a B.A. in Financial Management from the University of North Dakota. Outside the office, he is an alley cat who bowls a 165 average and a devoted Sioux fan that bleeds Kelly green (hey, nobody’s perfect). Jeremy lives in Plymouth with his wife Brooke, their daughter Bryn, and son Lucas.


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Patrick J. Deeg, AAMS

Patrick Deeg  |  Senior Investment Advisor

A natural in the financial industry, Pat’s ambition has helped him consistently earn recognition as a “Five Star Wealth Manager” from Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine/Twin Cities Business. Backed by an impressive track record, Pat joined MGWM in 2010 after establishing his own successful advisory practice. As a member of our investment committee, Pat focuses his work on high-net worth families and small company retirement plans, while also leading our firm’s business building initiatives.

A Minnesota native, Pat received a B.A. in Business Management and Marketing from St. Mary’s University. He and his wife Kelli live in Minnetonka, but love spending part of their summers on Madeline Island. In the fall, Pat and his dog Kula are an ace pheasant and duck hunting team. Pat and Kelli are the proud parents of two daughters, Grayson and Logan. But unlike the investment world, daughters become more difficult to understand as time goes on. Sorry, Pat.


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Brett Angel

Brett Angel  |  Senior Investment Advisor

After five years of going it alone as an investment advisor in downtown Minneapolis, Brett teamed up with MGWM in 2011. As a member of the investment committee, Brett stresses honesty, awareness, and accessibility as guiding principles when working with our clients. A journalism degree from the University of Minnesota makes Brett a key contributor to our regular MGWM publications. He’s also involved in the management of our private foundation and endowment clients, and advises condo, townhome, and homeowners associations (HOAs) on the responsible investment of their reserve accounts and financial well-being.

Brett’s personal résumé includes paid employment as the lead in an opera, country club sous chef, and Gophers beat writer. He is a lifelong soccer player, dedicated Gopher fan, and enjoys developing his craft as a capable home brewer. Brett lives in Edina with his wife Kristen, son Walter, and their two dogs, Zeus and Werlee.


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Matt Arnold

Matt Arnold, CFP®   |  Senior Investment Advisor

Leadership, expertise, and a commitment to improve the people he works with are the attributes Matt brings to Marks Group. His approach prioritizes financial planning in every relationship to make sure investment strategies align with clients’ needs, even as those goals change through the years. The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation next to Matt’s name demonstrates his knowledge of our industry, but it’s the desire to educate others that sets him apart.

With a Master’s degree in Education from St. Mary’s University, Matt is a natural teacher. He regularly leads seminars on social security and income planning that help families better prepare for retirement. He also owns a Journalism degree from the University of St. Thomas, where he was a starter and captain on the Tommies basketball team.

Matt grew up in Hopkins and currently lives in Chanhassen with his wife Jessica and their two daughters, Lauren and Kate. He coaches basketball for the girls and, if there’s any time left over, volunteers in the children’s program at Cornerstone, a non-profit organization for victims of domestic violence.


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Karly Zimmerman

Karly Zimmerman | Investment Advisor Representative

Part marketing maven, part new business builder and part client relationship manager; Karly plays a unique role within our firm. As a Jacqueline of all trades, Karly is a versatile member of our team who manages anything from our marketing campaigns to various client relationships.

A Bloomington native, Karly graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Economics. A self-proclaimed foodie, Karly loves visiting new restaurants across the Twin Cities. But, that isn’t to say she’s just a customer; Karly also loves to create her own signature dishes and recipes. When she’s not pleasing her palate, Karly is a bit of a fashionista as well. In fact, she’s still crossing her fingers that “Vogue” will start covering financial news someday.


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Casey Palmer

Casey Palmer | Investment Advisor Representative

When you hire an advisor to help manage your financial life, you want that person to have some backbone. Behind Casey’s wiry frame and spectacled guise is an amateur boxer who grew up in the ring and still moonlights as an official judge for USA Boxing and Golden Gloves tournaments. He also makes two annual treks to North Dakota during duck hunting season and has a business marketing degree from the University of Minnesota. So, when it comes to navigating financial markets, he’s well equipped for the challenge.

On top of that, Casey has a genuine interest in helping others succeed. He worked at both Ameriprise Financial and Merrill Lynch before joining Marks Group in 2014, though he’d rather talk about the two weekends a month he spends volunteering with charitable organizations like People Incorporated, a local non-profit committed to helping mentally ill individuals in our community. Casey grew up in Edina and recently moved to St. Louis Park.


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Nick Slettum | Lead Trader

With over 13 years of trading operations experience, Nick’s attention to detail, analytical eye and problem solving skills are invaluable to Marks Group. As our lead trader, Nick ensures timely execution of all securities transactions in our clients’ accounts. He constantly monitors our proprietary investment models and is the latest addition to our Marks Group Investment Committee.

Since graduating from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a degree in Finance, Nick worked with Norwest Bank, US Bancorp and Piper Jaffray before joining our firm in 2014.

Nick’s knack for precision execution also serves him well on the softball diamond and as acting Grillmaster for the postgame tailgate. Nick and his wife Sara recently bought a home in New Hope and love to entertain family and friends with their daughters Sofia and Sabella.


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Shelly Aeshliman

Shelly Aeshliman | Administrative Manager

If MGWM is a well-oiled machine, then Shelly is our mechanic. With more than 25 years of financial industry experience, Shelly manages the firm’s administrative duties while handling daily requests from our clients.

Outside of the office you can find Shelly relaxing at her family cabin, being an active member of her church and spending time with her three children and granddaughter. We don’t know if Shelly has any tattoos, but we do know she has a wild side and loves roaming the country from the back of a Harley.


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Debbie Schaust

Deb Schaust | Client Service Manager

Deb has over 11 years of experience in the financial industry, and acts as the first point of contact for our clients. Deb handles all incoming calls and coordinates all client meetings, but more importantly, she helps ensure that every client has the best experience possible.

Prior to entering the financial industry, Deb worked with special needs children in the Delano School District. She loves to spend time with her family as the proud mother of three children, and the proud “Meemaw” of three grandsons and one granddaughter. Deb also enjoys gardening on her family farm in Delano. Despite our requests, she still won’t drive her tractor to the office.


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Strategic Partners

Bill Patterson, CFA

Bill Patterson, CFA® | Senior Equity Consultant

As MGWM’s trusted Senior Equity Consultant, Bill Patterson has an impressive track record that speaks for itself. A finance graduate from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, Bill is a Chartered Financial Analyst with over 25 years of Wall Street experience. An innovator in the field, Bill has a reputation for managing index-beating portfolios with his self-designed proprietary tracking model. Prior to consulting for MGWM, Bill formed Second Avenue Capital and previously managed a $200 million long-short portfolio at Deephaven Capital.

When he’s not flexing his mental muscles, Bill enjoys hockey, golf, and off-piste skiing. But like most devoted dads, you can also catch Bill chauffeuring his three kids to hockey and lacrosse practice. He and his wife Joanne live in Edina.

Bill Patterson is not affiliated with LPL Financial.

Note: Barron’s-Winner’s Circle lists recognize the top financial advisors in the industry, who represent high levels of ethical standards, professionalism and success.  Quantitative and qualitative criteria are employed, such as: industry experience, compliance records, client retention, customer satisfaction, revenue, assets under management and interviews with senior management and peers.

The 5 Star Wealth Manager is an award based on client satisfaction. Respondents evaluate criteria such as customer service, expertise, value for fee charged and overall satisfaction. The overall evaluation score is based on an average of all respondents and may not be representative of any one client’s evaluation.