Howard County Financial Advisors | Williams Asset Management

About Us | Our Team

A truly collaborative team of financial advisors, financial planners, and investment specialists, we’re adept in helping you tackle a broad range of needs — from retirement income, education, estate, tax, and insurance planning to the efficient management of tax-smart investment portfolios. Additionally, the Commonwealth team consists of more than 45 professionals with the CFA®, CFP®, ChFC®, or JD certification/designation. These experts act as an extension of our own team; supporting us in delivering tailored guidance. Working together collectively, we’ll help ensure that even the smallest details of your financial life are properly addressed.


Forbes Best-In-State Wealth Advisor Gary Williams from Williams Asset Management
2019-2023 Forbes Best In State Wealth Advisors, created by SHOOK Research. Presented in April 2023 based on data gathered from June 2021 to June 2022.  22,243 Advisors were considered, approximately 7,321 Advisors were recognized. Advisors pay a fee to hold out marketing materials. Not indicative of advisor’s future performance. Your experience may vary. Click here for more award information.

 

 

Gary Williams, CFP®, CRPC®, AIF®

Founder and CEO

Growing up as the son of a Baltimore County bricklayer, Gary learned lifelong lessons about money at an early age. His family’s frequent financial struggles (deepening with the death of Gary’s mother when he was just eight years old) forced them to periodically rely on welfare, with little or no extra cash for emergencies. It was an experience that instilled a profound belief in the values of hard work, putting family first, and saving and investing for a more secure future—values that ultimately shaped his career.
 
Gary attended Towson University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with a concentration in finance. He quickly realized that, as a financial advisor, he could help others avoid mistakes and achieve financial security; it's something he feels strongly about. And for the past twenty-four years, Gary has done just that, specializing in working with pre- and post-retirees to help them maintain an enjoyable lifestyle during their retirement years.
 
Gary began his esteemed career in 1994 and has earned well-respected credentials including the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification, the Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor℠ designation, and the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® designation. His extensive experience has made him a highly sought-after investment commentator for news outlets such as Money Magazine, Bankrate.com, Yahoo Finance, Maryland Public Television’s Business Connection, The Business Monthly, and others as well as a regular columnist for the Baltimore Business Journal.
 
To help raise money for charities dear to his heart, Gary wrote the acclaimed Amazon best seller* The Art of Retirement (with foreword by NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott). The book uses the story of Michelangelo’s incredibly long (and challenging) life and famed art as a metaphor to compare the reader’s life to a masterpiece while emphasizing the importance of creating a resilient, well-crafted portfolio. All profits from The Art of Retirement are donated to the Y in Central Maryland, Augie’s Quest, the Maryland SPCA, and the Brigance Brigade Foundation.
 
Gary is exceedingly active in the community and serves on numerous nonprofit boards including the Association Board of Directors of the Y in Central Maryland, the Investment Committee for Mount Saint Joseph High School Endowment, and the Investment Committee for the Y in Central Maryland Endowment.
 
Gary lives with his family and goldendoodle, Cali, in Howard County, Maryland. In his spare time, Gary enjoys spending time with his family, exercising, skiing, and surfing.

 

*Ranked #62 in Retirement Planning books for 2013


Leaders seal
 

Gary is proud to have been recognized as a Leaders Level advisor for 2022—a distinction based on annual production that places him among the top 6 percent of advisors affiliated with Commonwealth Financial Network.

Each year, Commonwealth, the broker/dealer–RIA that helps us process investment transactions on your behalf, recognizes Leaders Level advisors by inviting them to an exclusive gathering of their peers, leading industry experts, and Commonwealth home office staff. Leaders Level advisors benefit from an intensive learning and networking experience designed to help them hone their expertise, share best practices, and provide ever-higher levels of service, education, and leadership to their clients.


Gary Williams CFP Certified Financial Planner

Brian McKinney, CFP®

Vice President – Wealth Management & Senior Financial Advisor

Brian was born and raised in Baltimore County. At nine years old, his life changed dramatically when his mother suddenly suffered a stroke. Going from a dual to a single income household was challenging, but it equipped Brian with an insight into how life and financial situations can suddenly change. Learning independence (e.g., cooking meals, cleaning/ironing clothes, and budgeting money) at a young age led him in search of a career where he could help others.

He saw how hard his father worked to provide for his family and learned what it took to achieve success. Therefore, he decided to embark on a career where he can challenge himself by helping others achieve financial success. Therefore, after working at T. Rowe Price for about 2 years, Brian chose to join Williams Asset Management as an associate financial planner in 2016 and has since transitioned into a lead financial advisor.

Brian is dedicated to helping his clients identify their unique retirement goals and educates them on how to get there through comprehensive financial planning. He earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from The Joseph A. Sellinger, S.J. School of Business and Management at the Loyola University of Maryland. He also earned his CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER (CFP®) certification in April 2019. His financial background and advanced certification help him guide those who are uncertain about where they are financially and put them in a place where they can gain confidence in their financial future.

Brian currently resides in Baltimore County, in the Lutherville-Timonium area, with his girlfriend, Cameron. When he is not helping clients plan for their retirement, Brian likes to stay fit and active by going to the gym and playing golf on the weekends. Also, being from Baltimore, Brian enjoys sitting down with either friends or family and eating steamed crabs. If you ask him where is the best place to get crabs in the greater Baltimore area, his response would be Bird River Inn & Crab House, a quaint crab house located in Middle River.


Brian McKinney CFP Certified Financial Planner

Nicholas A. Ibello, CFP®, AIF®

Senior Financial Advisor

Born and raised in Baltimore, Nick’s attraction to the financial services industry started with a high school finance class stock market game where students created investment accounts, researched stocks and then invested with play money. Despite loving the game, he was prompted by his low ranking to ask the student who won the challenge how he did it. “My dad is a financial advisor” was the reply.

It lit a spark that drove Nick to learn as much about the industry as he could. He graduated cum laude with a bachelor of arts in economics with a concentration in finance from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. After cutting his teeth at T. Rowe Price, Nick began looking for a firm that more closely matched his philosophy, investment process, and passion for helping people reach their financial goals—joining Williams Asset Management as a full-time financial planner. Nick has earned prestigious designations, including the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification and Accredited Investment Fiduciary designation.

Nick has always placed an emphasis on giving back to the community, and after witnessing the polarizing income levels and economic conditions in the city firsthand, Nick decided to volunteer through the CASH Campaign of Maryland’s Pro Bono Financial Planning Program. This program has been specifically designed to provide free access to quality financial planning guidance and coaching for low-to-moderate-income individuals and families in Baltimore and across Maryland.

He is also President of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter for The Society for Financial Awareness, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to providing educational pro bono financial workshops to communities and organizations in an effort to increase financial literacy and empower families to take control of their finances.

Outside of work, Nick maintains his energy and focus by staying healthy and fit: playing racquetball, cross-training, and golfing. Growing up in a tight-knit Italian family, he’s come to understand the value of always having someone there to look after your best interests. It’s a lesson he’s carried over into his professional relationships, for which his clients are incredibly appreciative.

As fiduciaries, we’re uncompromising when it comes to the integrity, accountability and mutual respect of our team. We demand much from ourselves to ensure that we always earn your trust. Our core group of dedicated professionals shares one common purpose: to provide you with the expertise, sound judgment and white-glove service that will allow you to confidently pursue your financial goals.


Summit
 

Nicholas Ibello is proud to have been recognized as a Summit Club advisor for 2022—a distinction based on annual production that places him among the top 19 percent of advisors affiliated with Commonwealth Financial Network.

Each year, Commonwealth, the broker/dealer–RIA that helps us process investment transactions on your behalf, recognizes Summit Club advisors by inviting them to an exclusive gathering of their peers, leading industry experts, and Commonwealth home office staff. Summit Club advisors benefit from an intensive learning and networking experience designed to help them hone their expertise, share best practices, and provide ever-higher levels of service, education, and leadership to their clients.


Nicholas Ibello CFP Certified Financial Planner
 

G. Thomas Watson, CFA®, CFP®

Senior Financial Planner & Chairman of Investment Committee

Growing up as an only child in his family in Harford County, Tom enjoyed going out to his local golf course late on weekend afternoons to play nine holes with his dad. It was during this quality time that he learned that having a positive attitude and an even-keeled temperament can help overcome many obstacles.

After attending the College of Charleston and caddying at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, he returned to Maryland and enrolled in the actuarial science program at Towson University to put his aptitude for math and problem solving to good use. When Tom was in college, his father was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. In the intervening years before his father finally lost his battle with cancer, Tom saw in the overwhelming support of family and friends just how much impact one individual can have on their community. Although it was a difficult period in his life, Tom graduated with a bachelor of science in mathematics in 2010.

His desire to learn as much as possible about investments drove Tom to earn the Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®) credential. It's the most respected investment management designation in the world, requiring nearly 1,000 hours of rigorous study. Tom has also earned the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER (CFP®) certification since joining Williams Asset Management, which will better enable him to serve our client’s comprehensive financial planning needs and help them meet their financial goals.

He resides in Eldersburg, Maryland, with his beautiful wife, Lauren, and their children, Riley, George, and Evelyn. The family loves to take walks with their friendly rescue dog, Athena, on the weekends and enjoys spending quality time together around the house or going out for an occasional afternoon round of golf.


Thomas G Watson CFP Certified Financial Planner
 

Karissa Goessl

Investment Operations Specialist

Karissa was born and raised in Syracuse, New York as the youngest of two children She developed a strong interest in the finance industry in her teenage years after seeing and experiencing the economic struggles of her own family. This gave her the drive to start her career and learn more on how she could help others. She attended Le Moyne College in New York, where she completed a BS in business with a concentration in finance and business analytics. 
 
After leaving school, she started her career in 2013 at a well-known broker-dealer. During this time, she earned her securities license and spent many years working on various trade desks. This allowed her the opportunity to work with and speak to many financial advisors. It was through her close interactions with them that she realized she wanted to work directly with clients to help them achieve their goals through financial planning. 
 
Once Karissa found the opportunity to become a part of the Williams Asset Management team as a client service associate, she relocated to Maryland. Karissa has a strong work ethic and is dedicated to growing her knowledge of the financial services industry as well as ultimately studying to achieve her CFP ® certification to better enable our clients to reach their goals. 
 
As a client service associate, Karissa plays an integral role in the financial planning process. Working with our associate financial planners and financial advisors, she helps the team provide first-class client service and operational support.
Karissa currently lives in Baltimore County with her son, Stanley. In her free time, she enjoys reading, baking, and going on adventures with Stanley.

Tim Chesser, CFP®

Paraplanner

Tim Chesser's journey to becoming a Certified Financial Planner® is as diverse as it is intriguing. As a student at Towson University, he delved into Business Administration with a focus on Investments and Financial Planning, laying the foundation for a career dedicated to helping individuals navigate their financial futures.

What sets Tim apart is his early initiation into the world of finance. Long before he pursued his formal education, Tim was already displaying an entrepreneurial spirit. He cultivated a landscaping business while harmonizing church melodies on the piano for the Church of the Nativity and serving as a waiter at a local retirement community. It was during his high school years that he first dipped his toes into finance through a Money Management club, sowing the seeds of what would become his passion.

During his college years, Tim gained invaluable experience by interning with Buttonwood Financial Advisors, an opportunity that exposed him to the intricacies of financial planning. Recognizing his fervor for working directly with clients, he charted a career path toward becoming a Financial Planner.

Tim embarked on his professional journey with AIG Retirement Services, focusing on financial planning for Baltimore County Public School teachers. This experience honed his skills and deepened his commitment to guiding individuals toward financial security.

In August 2023, Tim achieved a significant milestone by obtaining his CFP designation, a testament to his dedication to his craft and his clients.

Hailing from Cockeysville, Maryland, Tim treasures his close-knit family ties. Beyond the world of finance, he is a passionate pianist, lending his musical talents to his church on weekends and leading a college-aged small group. Tim thrives on quality time spent with cherished friends and family, embraces the challenges of weightlifting, and enjoys the camaraderie of golf, whether it's a casual round with friends or a memorable game with his father. Tim Chesser is more than a Financial Planner; he is a multi-faceted individual who brings depth and dedication to every aspect of his life.

Marie Lee

Office Manager & Executive Assistant to the President

Marie was born in Puerto Rico and moved to the U.S. when she was just a couple months old. She grew up in Howard County, Maryland, with her parents and two sisters. Her positive and cheerful personality and a deeply engrained strong work ethic are instrumental in helping to keep our office flowing. 

Drawing on years of experience working in fast-paced environments, including large companies such as Deloitte and Sinai Hospital, she has mastered the skill of going above-and-beyond to continually exceed expectations, ensure the accuracy and completion of even the smallest details, and deliver a truly exemplary client experience.

Marie also has a longstanding passion for art. She was honored to be awarded a certificate from the Howard County Board of Education as Art Student of the Year—a skill which has taken her far on the creative side of our business, including selecting the art and accessories for our beautifully designed conference room and third-floor offices.

In her spare time, Marie enjoys painting on weekends and spending time with her husband and two children, Mya and Adrian.

Duncan McCall

Senior Client Service Associate

Duncan was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, as the second of four brothers. At a young age, he developed an interest in finance from his entrepreneur father as he watched him run his business. It was through witnessing the ups and downs of business ownership that Duncan learned the value of hard work and the importance of financial freedom. Throughout his education, Duncan took part in numerous finance clubs and stock market competitions to explore his interest in this field. Duncan attended the Pennsylvania State University where he graduated summa cum laude with a BS in finance and a minor in economics.
 
Throughout his life, Duncan has always looked for ways to help others. Whether it’s through volunteering at his local library or raising money for Penn State THON, Duncan takes every opportunity to assist others. After talking to professionals in the financial services industry, he learned that a career in financial planning would allow him to continue to serve others. This realization led him to Williams Asset Management with the ultimate goal of becoming a financial planner.
 
As a senior client service associate at Williams Asset Management, Duncan works alongside our associate financial planners and financial advisors to provide first-rate client service and operational support—an essential role in the financial planning process.
 
Duncan currently resides in Howard County, MD. Outside of the office, he enjoys reading, learning new skills, going to concerts, and spending quality time with friends and family.

Brian Modarress

Client Service Associate

Brian was born in Baltimore, MD, but spend much of his young life growing up in Gaithersburg, Maryland. He is the middle child of two brothers and has a very close-knit relationship with them. In his High School years, Brian had a very influential finance teacher who took the role of mentoring him. He taught him the importance of money, and how to invest and save for retirement. He saw the excitement and joy learning finance brought to Brian, and he recommended Brian pursues a career in Wealth Management and become a Financial Advisor. Then and there, Brian knew this was the right path for him.
               
Brian’s interest in finance began to grow, and to purse this newfound passion, he attended Loyola University Maryland and was accepted into their business honors program at The Joseph A. Sellinger, S.J. School of Business and Management. During his time at Loyola, he wanted to enhance his understanding of global finance, and thus decided to study abroad. He went to New Zealand and attended the University of Auckland to further his knowledge. Once returning to Loyola, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in finance. 
 
As a client service associate at Williams Asset Management, Brian works alongside our associate financial planners and financial advisors to provide first-rate client service and operational support—an essential role in the financial planning process.
 
Brian currently resides in Montgomery County, MD. Outside of the office, he enjoys white water kayaking, hiking, reading, and spending quality time with friends and family. Brian is very determined young man and is eager to make a positive impact at our firm. One of his goals is to obtain the CFP within the next coming years. 

Christy L. Fear

Administrative Associate

Christy, joined our team in April 2023, bringing with her a wealth of experience and a passion for exceptional service. With a solid foundation in the financial industry, Christy began her career as a mortgage consultant in 2002, establishing herself as a trusted consultant while working with various prestigious financial institutes in Maryland. Her outstanding performance and dedication earned her recognition as a member of the esteemed "Leaders Club."

At Williams Asset Management, Christy is committed to creating a warm and welcoming environment for both our valued clients and guests alike. As an administrative associate, Christy consistently strives to provide seamless support and anticipate the needs of our clients. She takes great pride in her ability to assist in streamlining operations, managing complex schedules, and facilitating effective communication across all levels of our organization.

Beyond her professional endeavors, Christy finds enjoyment in engaging with the community and giving back through volunteer work along with her son and fiancé. Her passion lies with fostering, training, and rehabilitating abused and neglected animals. As a foster caregiver, Christy is dedicated to providing these animals with the care they deserve and helping them find their forever homes. 

Research Team

Our partnership with Commonwealth Financial Network®, a leading Registered Investment Adviser–broker/dealer, provides us access to a team of investment research specialists who assist us in our efforts to provide you with the best possible service. Each of the professionals on this team brings a breadth of experience in the industry and within his or her own specialization.

Click here to learn more >

Advanced Planning Team

Our partnership with Commonwealth Financial Network®, a leading Registered Investment Adviser–broker/dealer, gives us access to a team of advanced planning specialists who can help us provide you the best possible service.

Click here to learn more >