Foundations

Meet our

Leadership Team

 
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Bryon Rice, Founder & CEO

Founder and Chief Executive Officer Bryon Rice established Foundations Investment Advisors in 2015 with the directive of providing the end client a legitimate opportunity to achieve their financial goals. As a 23-year veteran of the financial services industry, Bryon leads the decision-making process at Foundations with the input of a team he hand-picked for their ability to laser-focus on the client without dropping the ball, because doing so can be catastrophic for the investor at or near retirement. Providing straightforward advice and always doing what you say you will do aren’t just the words he lives by; they are the founding principles and modus operandi of the entire firm.

A lifelong entrepreneur, Bryon acquired his work ethic at the age of eight, working days, evenings, and weekends at the Pioneer Chicken restaurant owned by his father. By the age of seventeen Bryon owned his own successful business and from there was recruited into the insurance industry in 1996. After setting up his own retail practice in Corona, California, where he currently lives with his wife and four kids, Bryon went on to become President of Magellan Financial in 2002, one of the fastest-growing financial marketing organizations in the industry, with nearly $2 billion in annual sales. In 2018 he established the full-service advisory firm Alpha 1Tax & Wealth, with Pro Football Hall of Famer Terrell Davis, based out of Denver, Colorado. He is a supporter of the Travis Mills Foundation to aid recalibrated veterans and their families, and when not running his companies, he enjoys fishing and is a self-professed foodie and lover of wine.


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David Young, CIO

Chief Investment Officer David Young has provided investment strategy, portfolio management, and asset allocation for many of the largest and most sophisticated institutional and private investors across the globe. During his 26 years of investment experience, he served as the executive vice president of Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO) for fourteen years, retiring in 2008 to pursue teaching opportunities at the Paul Merage School of Business in Irvine, California. As a professor, he currently teaches finance and investment courses there and at the Financial Times Knowledge Programs in the UK, along with CFA exam preparation courses sponsored by CFA societies in California and abroad. From 1999 to 2006, David also served as head of the PIMCO account management group in London, where he built a team of investment professionals managing approximately $50 billion in assets across the UK, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

David holds the chartered financial analyst (CFA) designation from the CFA Institute, considered by many to be the most difficult test on Wall Street. He also earned an MBA with a concentration in finance from the Paul Merage School of Business, with degrees in economics and political science from the University of California, Irvine. He sits on several non-profit investment committees and boards, including the county-organized health system, CalOptima, serving residents of Orange County, California.


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Dan Biagini, CDO

Prior to joining Foundations Investment Advisors, Dan Biagini spent eight years working for Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America. As regional vice president of sales at Allianz, he led a sales team who worked with Field Marketing Organizations and financial professionals alike. His responsibilities included educating advisers on the use of fixed indexed and indexed variable annuities within a financial portfolio, for the creation of retirement strategies that help clients meet their long-term financial goals in a variety of market conditions. In late 2017, Dan was selected for an assignment in Sydney, Australia to help Allianz SE’s initiative to launch a new retirement product. Dan served as a consultant and subject-matter expert to Allianz’s sister company, PIMCO, who was tasked with launching the first indexed variable annuity to the Australian market. With the unrivaled insurance know-how of Allianz SE, coupled with the investment expertise of PIMCO, the new Australian-based company Allianz Retire+ Powered by PIMCO was formed. Their first product launched in early 2019. Due to his extensive work, Dan was nominated and chosen as a finalist for Employee of the Year in 2018.

Dan graduated from the University of Saint Thomas in Minnesota with degrees in business and real estate. He holds his Series 6 and Series 63 securities licenses and a Minnesota life and health insurance license. When Dan isn’t working, he enjoys traveling with his wife Emily and spending weekends at the lake.


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Kyle Mann, CFO

As the Chief Financial Officer, Kyle Mann handles the finances and accounting, as well as providing oversight on investment advisor representative fees, payments, and general billing to the firm’s clients every month. His goal day in and day out is to ensure the financial stability and accuracy for both clients and advisors.

Educated at Brigham Young University where he studied Chemical Engineering, Kyle served as a missionary for two years in Argentina before building a career and buying ownership into an independent marketing organization. He was the head of annuity distribution until he joined Magellan in 2012, where he currently serves as Chief Operating Officer. He considers the financial services industry an opportunity to build relationships with people that at this point in his career, he regards as family. He believes in the planning process and the ability of the range products offered by the companies he works for to help people build wealth as well as retire securely and with peace of mind.

When not balancing the books or overseeing financial operations, Kyle stays involved in his community of Corona, California, where he is the father of three, enjoys working out and golfing, and is an avid snowboarder. A big supporter of the Amber Waves of Grain initiative to raise money for veteran charities, he can be seen as a sponsor at their annual event and beer tasting venue featuring more than 40 different microbreweries. He also does his part to support his local craft brewery, also veteran-owned and operated. 


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Ernest J. C’DeBaca, General Counsel & CCO

JD, LLM, CFP®, ChFC®

As General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer, Ernest J. C’DeBaca (Ernie) assists the firm with all legal and compliance issues, focusing on the various federal and state laws and related rules governing investment advisers and the insurance industry. Active as an in-house counsel and compliance officer since 2000, he has extensive expertise in all areas of regulatory compliance and aids clients in preparation for regulatory examinations and the preparation of compliance policies and procedures. He enjoys the challenges of working on the developing side of financial services because of Foundation’s phenomenal growth pattern and the integrity at the core of the firm.

Ernie received his bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico and an MBA in finance from Webster University. From the University of New Mexico School of Law, he earned his Juris Doctor degree, and from Georgetown University Law Center he earned his LL.M. (Master of Laws) in securities. Ernie also holds both the Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®) and Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) designations. He began his legal career focusing on tax law and estate planning and has served as an attorney for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Away from the office, he is actively involved with several local non-profit organizations, including the church he attends with his wife and three children, and his homeowners’ association. Whenever possible, he remains optimistic about trying to improve his golf game.


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Darren Leavitt, CFA Portfolio Manager & Sr. Market Analyst

Darren has been working in the financial markets for over 20 years, primarily as a buy-side institutional investor.  He has provided multiple investment solutions to clients utilizing his extensive knowledge of the public and private global markets. Darren has created growth-oriented equity portfolios, fundamental tactical asset allocation models, passive asset allocation models, and developed quantitative strategy solutions for clients. Throughout his career, Darren had held a variety of senior positions including Chief Investment Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Portfolio Manager, Senior Analyst, Senior Trader, and Financial Advisor.  

Darren received his BS in Finance from DePaul University and an MS in Financial Markets and Trading from the Illinois Institute of Technology.  Darren is a CFA charter holder and is a member of the CFA Society of San Francisco.  He has also been a member of both the San Francisco and Chicago Security Traders Associations. 

Outside of work, Darren enjoys spending time with his two sons, Cole and Declan.  He is an avid Thoroughbred racing fan.  His other interests include art, golf, travel, and cooking. 


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Peter Van De Zilver, Head of Portfolio Management

Peter Van de Zilver is a chartered financial analyst (CFA) certified by the CFA Institute and serves as head of portfolio management at Foundations Investment Advisors. With over 20 years of investment management experience, he served 18 years at Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO) from 1992 to 2010, where he started as a financial engineer and retired from a senior position in portfolio analytics to pursue the development of quantitative trading algorithms. At PIMCO he was responsible for the architecture, development, and implementation of many of their analytics and risk management systems.

In addition to achieving the highest distinction in the investment management profession, Peter holds degrees in physics, mathematics, and economics from the Universities of Utrecht and Amsterdam, as well as an MA degree in economics from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.


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Kevin Vanderbilt, Sr. Investment Analyst

As an advanced investment consultant, Kevin Vanderbilt holds a certified investment management analyst (CIMA®) designation and serves as the firm’s senior investment and business development analyst. He is responsible for interfacing with prospective and current clients while also assisting the portfolio managers with their marketing and research efforts. He joined Foundations with experience in the financial service industry as a managed account specialist at Dreyfus, an internal sales consultant with Henderson Global Investors, and a sales director with Elysian Capital Markets Group.

A graduate of Villanova University, Kevin holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in marketing and a double minor in finance and international business. He holds the CIMA® designation from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and maintains his FINRA Series 6, 7, 63 and 65 registrations.


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Cameron Baxter, Investment Analyst

As an investment analyst at Foundations, Cameron Baxter assists the portfolio managers in the trade room, conducts investment and portfolio research and analysis, and is responsible for business development and support. He recently joined the team after spending two years at a material handling supplies company, where he was responsible for business development and operations analysis.

Cameron is an investment advisor representative (IAR) with a Series 65 license held to the fiduciary standard of liability and is pursuing additional credentials and training. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Languages from The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, California.


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Stephanie Roper, SVP Business Development

Stephanie Roper began her career in the financial services industry in 2008 and she came to Foundations Investment Advisors with more than 10 years experience in operational management. Prior to joining FIA, Stephanie provided HR, compliance and operational support for two other SEC registered investment advisers, which she helped grow to over $100 million in five years. In 2012, Stephanie obtained her B.S. in Business with a concentration in Finance.

Stephanie is an integral part of the Foundations Investment Advisors team; she supervises, administers and manages the firm’s day-to-day activities. In addition, she cultivates strong relationships with advisers and business partners to create leading-edge technology solutions. Stephanie’s overall goal is to provide the highest-level of service to advisers and clients by fostering operational excellence. Stephanie resides in the Gilbert/Phoenix area with her husband and two children. She enjoys going to Broadway musicals with her son who is very active in community theatre.


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Josh Cooksey, VP of Operations

Originally from Indiana, Josh Cooksey first began working in the financial industry in 2011 as an independent insurance producer. He built a book of business by providing clients assistance with Life Insurance, Annuities, Medicare, LTC, and Health insurance products. While doing this he also learned valuable skills assembling and managing a team of agents under him until 2015 when he decided to acquire his series 65 and practice as a financial advisor. He joined with Foundations Investment Advisors in 2016 as an operations specialist in addition to meeting with clients.

In 2017 he put his degree in software design to use and developed a program to help financial firms with processing documents.  Josh currently heads the operations of Foundations and works to provide advisors and their staff top level service through design and implementation of improvements toward the infrastructure of the firm.  He currently resides in Chandler, Arizona with his wife, Tracy, and two daughters.  When not at the office he enjoys technology, golf, basketball and weightlifting.


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Nick Kaiser, Director of Financial Planning

CFP®

A rare breed born and raised in Arizona, Nick Kaiser has amassed over 10 years wealth management and financial planning experience in the high net worth segment. At Edward Jones he was part of the operational team to help launch their Advisory Solutions managed account product where he educated financial advisors on the new product and how to best position it for their clients. He also spent over 6 years working directly with clients in a Wealth Management office at Northwestern Mutual with over $150 million in AUM. He mainly helped clients with retirement and retirement income planning by using portfolio analysis and financial planning software to create plans that helped guide them through retirement.

Nick has his Certified Financial Planner designation along with the Series 6,7,63, and 65 certifications. He is also currently pursuing the Certified Investment Management Analysis designation. He has a passion for supporting advisors in securing new and retaining current clients using the CFP planning process and operating as a fiduciary.

When away from the office Nick enjoys spending time at the ballpark watching and coaching his two sons play baseball with his beautiful wife.