Christopher Scance, President
Chris has been involved in issues related to estate planning for Persons with Disabilities for more than twenty-five years. He has both depth and breadth of experience in the practical application of financial planning, including estate planning, risk management, investments, and taxation. Chris is also well schooled in various types of public benefits as well as insurance: long-term care, disability, and life. He is a graduate of George Washington University with a degree in business administration. In 1992, he received his CFP (Certified Financial Planner) designation from the College for Financial Planning. He continues to maintain his CFP status.
A 38-year veteran of the financial services industry, Chris is well versed in portfolio management and investment selection. He currently serves as the company’s Chief Investment Officer, taking personal responsibility for creating and overseeing our clients’ investment portfolios. His global perspectives as well as an acute understanding of the finer points of investing have allowed him to reap quite respectable gains during good years. More importantly, his almost sixth sense and keen appreciation of history have allowed him to steer clients’ investments into safe waters during sharp downturns.
Greg Suarez, CEO
Greg joined GFS in 2016 as an Executive Assistant where he focused on record keeping and compliance issues for the company. Now CEO, he uses his years of experience in everyday operations, ensuring that all departments have the support they need to efficiently and effectively provide necessary services to our clients. Before joining the GFS team, he worked for ten years at UPS managing a variety of employees. Greg earned his bachelor’s degree in finance in 2021 and will be eligible to sit for the CFP exam late in 2022.
Derek Stone, Vice President & Portfolio Manager
Derek fills the vital role of Portfolio Manager for the GFS family. He has worked for GFS since 2005, assisting in the management of our beneficiaries’ trust assets. Over the last several years, he has helped families with their overall financial, life, estate, tax, insurance and investment planning. More importantly, he has been a guide to families with Special Needs children to help make sure they are organized and prepared for the future—especially for the time when GFS steps in as trustee for the Special Needs individual.
Derek brings his many years of demonstrated expertise in analysis, research, and problem solving to GFS, where he applies these skills in working with our clients’ investment portfolios. His technical expertise, combined with a warm and engaging personality, have translated into consistent results and satisfied clients. Working hand in hand with Chris Scance, Derek makes sure that clients reach or exceed their desired goals.
Derek has bachelor’s degrees in aviation science and mathematics from Metropolitan State University of Denver. Early in his career, he worked in the aviation industry as a pilot as well as a consultant to individuals and businesses to ensure their aircraft requirements were being met.
Nicholas Jones, Vice President
Nick joined Golden Fiduciary Services in 2022. Located in the Seattle area, Nick provides a local presence to our clients in Washington State. He brings with him 15 years of experience as a trust officer managing special needs trusts and as a civil litigator. Using a holistic approach, he also participates in planning conversations with individuals and families who are concerned about meeting the needs of their loved ones in the future. In addition, Nick engages in conversations around pre-settlement planning and the options available to an individual receiving a personal injury award. As an attorney, he encountered hundreds of people impacted by serious accident related injuries, many of whom had specials needs. Nick brings with him an understanding of the litigation process that often precedes the creation of Special Needs Trusts and a passion for working with people.
In order to provide advice and guidance to his clients, he routinely participates in educational seminars that focus on rules, regulations, changes, and best practices regarding the administration of trusts for individuals with diverse abilities.
A native of the Seattle area, Nick received a B.A. in economics from the University of Washington and a J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law. For the past 6 years, Nick has served on the Board of Trustees for Kindering, a non-profit that provides therapies, education and support to children with special needs and their families. He is also past-president of the Rotary Club of Kirkland Downtown.
Louis DiBiase, Chief Trust Officer
As our trust officer, Louis works with our clients and their circles of support to make sure that each beneficiary receives the care and attention they need. He is typically the first point of contact, and he will promptly address any issues or concerns, no matter how big or small they may be.
After serving honorably in the United States Army, Louis earned his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and his law degree from Georgetown University. He worked as a Legislative Analyst and Attorney with the Kentucky Legislature before transitioning to a career in trusts and estates in 2016. He joined the GFS team in 2019 and has been a valuable asset since.
Wendy Walker, Accounting Manager
Wendy is the company’s Accounting Manager. Prior to joining GFS in 2007, she served in accounting-related positions with construction, insurance, and high tech companies, making her very experienced in a wide variety of accounting fundamentals.
Wendy is, by nature, a detail-oriented person. This fits well with the many and varied duties she carries out on a daily basis. She works with clients to facilitate the regular and timely payment of bills. With each passing day this involves more and more ACHs (electronic payments) and wire transfers. Wendy is also involved in the preparation of tax-related data, which is ultimately passed on to the trust CPAs with whom we work. She can answer all sorts of questions from beneficiaries, their families, and vendors. Wendy is well-versed in our accounting software, which makes it easier for her to help callers go from questions to answers and solutions.
Amanda Conner, Trust Officer
Amanda joined GFS in 2021 after seven years as an educator primarily working with students with disabilities. Her background provides GFS with a very unique and incredibly valuable set of skills that allow her to assist in fostering meaningful relationships with our clients and their families. Her goal as trust officer is to help clients gain clarity around their financial decision making and to help them build confidence for their futures.