Meet the Team

We are a group of leading financial professionals who provide tailored recommendations for our clients’ unique intentions. Our team-based approach allows us to bring in knowledgeable professionals to meet our clients’ needs while ensuring a consistent and ongoing relationship.

The Team

We are dedicated to educating and informing the families and individuals we work with – whether they are utilizing our concierge wealth management services or are participating in an employer retirement plan with us. 

Our commitment to constant learning and development is evidenced by the numerous credentials our financial advisors hold, including CFP, CFA, CDFA, ChFC and CLU. In addition to our team of financial advisors, we have a strong support staff across 3 offices to help attend to our clients’ complex situations.

Joseph H. Miller III (Joel), CLU®, ChFC®

Managing Partner & Financial Advisor

Frank DeFrancesco, CRES

Partner & Financial Advisor

Bennett Pardue, CDFA®

Partner & Financial Advisor

Joseph Scappatura, CFP®

Partner & Financial Advisor

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Joseph H. Miller III (Joel), CLU®, ChFC®

Managing Partner & Financial Advisor

Joseph (Joel) H. Miller III co-founded New Canaan Group, LLC in 1990 and is the Managing Partner of the firm. He represents the second generation of leadership for New Canaan Group and has been instrumental in leading the team to where it is today.

Joel holds the Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®) and Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®) professional designations. With that he brings 30 years of experience in the wealth management business, taking care of his clients and their businesses overall planning and protection needs.

Joel has served on the board of several local charitable organizations and is currently on the Board of Directors for The Inner-City Foundation for Charity & Education.

Joel and his wife, Judy, live in New Canaan, CT and are the proud parents of Jake, Cassie, Elizabeth and Zachary.

 

California insurance license number: 0835014 Utah insurance license number: 219497

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Frank DeFrancesco, CRES

Partner & Financial Advisor

Frank DeFrancesco is a Partner and Financial Advisor at New Canaan Group. He has over 20 years of financial experience. With a focus on retirement benefits and financial literacy, his experience is in helping his clients prepare for their financial future. This is done through customized financial plans using investment & risk management, wealth preservation, and wealth distribution strategies.

Educational Approach: His passion is helping people by taking an educational approach to financial planning. This is evident whether he is meeting one-on-one with an individual or presenting to large group audiences. He has been invited by many school districts and organizations throughout the state to present educational and financial literacy workshops specifically designed to help Connecticut educators understand some of the most critical details on their pension and personal assets. It’s one of his favorite things to do and he is actively working to expand the availability of these workshops.

Investment Focus:  Frank focuses on helping educators translate their lifetime of income into a legacy for themselves and their family. “As my client’s needs have matured, so has my business” says Frank “From their first year of teaching to their retirement, I pride myself on experienced guidance in retirement funding and accumulation strategies during the greatest earning phase of their career.” Frank’s knowledge and access to numerous financial products, as well as various investments and insurance companies, allows him to provide unbiased guidance and appropriate investment vehicles to help meet his client’s changing needs for themselves and their family.

Customer Service Excellence: Frank is committed to his clients. He is accessible via on-site school visits, virtual or in-person office meetings, as well as offering in-home consultations upon request. He has an experienced support team that is dedicated to providing first class service to his clients.

Honors:  Over the years he has earned numerous company and industry awards and was inducted into the Equitable Advisors Hall of Fame in 2013. In addition, he is a member of the Elite Advisor Group (EAG) which is an internal recognition program of Equitable Advisors and is recognized as a Paramount Planning Group member based on achieving a certain sales production level among all financial professionals within our organization

His Beginnings: Frank began his career in 2000 as a Financial Professional with the Retirement Benefits Group, a specialized division of Equitable Advisors, LLC. In 2005, he was promoted to Divisional Vice President of the Northeast Region where he oversaw the building and development of a team of financial professionals that now works with over 25,000 active and retired educators in Connecticut.

Personal: Frank has a B.S. and MBA in Finance from Quinnipiac University and holds the FINRA Series 7, 24, 63, 66 registrations and CT Life and Health licenses. He resides in Fairfield, CT with his wife Deborah, and 2 children. He is a member of the Stamford Exchange Club and offers scholarship funds in many public schools to further educational benefits to their students.

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Bennett Pardue, CDFA®

Partner & Financial Advisor

Bennett Pardue is a Partner and Financial Advisor at New Canaan Group. For the last 17 years, he has committed himself to helping his clients work toward the financial goals they set for themselves, their families and their businesses. Bennett is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (CDFA®) practitioner and enjoys working with clients through the transitional periods of their lives by counseling them in all areas of financial planning and wealth management.

He began his career with the Retirement Benefits Group, a specialized division of Equitable Advisors, LLC in 2007. This is when he first started working with individuals in public schools, municipalities, and nonprofit organizations to help them make informed financial decisions, particularly regarding retirement planning. In 2013, he was promoted to Divisional Vice President of the Northeast Region where he oversaw the building of a team administered the retirement plans for 25,000 active and retired educators in Connecticut. He has since expanded his focus and the individuals he serves while continuing to be a valued resource in those sectors.

Bennett has a B.S. in Finance from Quinnipiac University and holds the FINRA Series 7, 24, 66 registrations and CT Life and Health licenses. Bennett lives in Easton, CT with his wife Arianne and their three sons.

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Joseph Scappatura, CFP®

Partner & Financial Advisor

Joseph Scappatura is a Partner and Financial Advisor at New Canaan Group. Since starting as a Financial Consultant in 2011, he has been consistently recognized as a nationwide leader within the Retirement Benefits Group, a specialized division of Equitable Advisors, LLC.

Joe is committed to understanding his client’s unique situations so that he can provide investment strategies designed to be obtainable while providing clients with a clear path to monitor their progress.

Joe is a proud graduate of Quinnipiac University and has a B.S in Finance. He holds the FINRA Series 7, 63, 65 registrations and CT Life & Health insurance licenses. Additionally, Joe obtained the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional designation.

A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ is a type of financial advisor who possesses one of the most rigorous certifications for financial planning knowledge. They must have several years of experience related to financial planning, pass the CFP® exam and adhere to a strict ethical standard as set by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. CFP® professionals must meet ongoing education and ethical standards, and are committed to serving their clients' best interests today to prepare them for a more secure tomorrow.

In his free time Joe enjoys spending quality time with family and friends. He resides in Easton, CT with his wife Erin, 2 children, and dog Risotto.

 

Bradley Thompson, CFA®

Director of Portfolio Strategy

Kristen Burke, MBA

Director of Operations

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Bradley Thompson, CFA®

Director of Portfolio Strategy

Bradley Thompson is the Director of Portfolio Strategy for New Canaan Group. In this role Bradley develops and implements investment portfolios to meet a variety of client needs. He has been managing wealth for individual, institutional, high and ultra-high net-worth clients for more than 15 years.

Prior to joining New Canaan Group, Bradley was a Senior Investment Strategist for Wells Fargo Private Bank in New York City where he managed wealth for high net-worth individuals and non-profit foundations for eight years. He was responsible for crafting client Investment Policy Statements, portfolio development and reporting.  He began his career as part of a Barron’s Top 1,000 financial advisor team based out of Jackson, MS.

Bradley frequently provides timely market ideas and strategies to a wide range of audiences, as well as having been sourced by CBS News Money Watch.

Bradley earned the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) designation, which is awarded after completing three rigorous exams and covers topics from company analysis to financial planning and portfolio implementation. He has a depth of experience across all asset classes including traditional equity markets, fixed income and alternative investments. Bradley holds the Series 7 and 66 registrations as well as New York and Connecticut insurance licenses.

Bradley received an undergraduate degree and MBA from Millsaps College in Jackson, MS. He is a member of the CFA Society of Stamford and enjoys volunteering at Year Up which teaches financial literacy and professional skills to young adults transitioning into the workforce. He resides in Stamford, CT with his wife Lauren and their son.

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Kristen Burke, MBA

Director of Operations

Kristen Burke is the Director of Operations for New Canaan Group and is directly responsible for ensuring all areas of the business run efficiently. She manages the day-to-day operations while building and implementing strategies that will help the team continue to grow and serve clients effectively.

Kristen is passionate about helping people. She believes in building relationships, earning trust, and making the group a valuable resource not only to their clients, but their families and friends as well.

She began her career in 2014 as a Financial Consultant with her current broker-dealer, now Equitable Advisors. While she thoroughly enjoyed this time in her life, she realized this opportunity with New Canaan Group would allow her to work with a great team and impact even more lives.

Kristen has a BSBA from Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island and an MBA from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. She currently holds the FINRA Series 7, 66 registrations, and CT Life & Health licenses. She lives in Long Island City, NY with her fiancé.

Kristen Burke is registered with Equitable Advisors, LLC (NY, NY (212) 314-4600), Member FINRA, SIPC, and provides administrative support services only.

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Emmanuel Kouzelis (Manny), CRES

Financial Advisor

Emmanuel (Manny) Kouzelis has spent the past 10 years curating a background in financial strategies and management support. He began his career as a Financial Advisor with the Retirement Benefits Group, a specialized division of Equitable Advisors, LLC.

Manny is dedicated to helping school districts, municipalities and businesses simplify complex information to make informed decisions for the future. He is passionate about helping his clients develop a plan tailored to their needs. He does this by assisting with a wide range of services including retirement, investment and insurance planning, as well as group benefit plans.

He is a graduate of Southern Connecticut State University with a degree in Business Administration and a concentration in Finance. He holds the FINRA Series 7, 66 securities registrations and a CT Life, Health and Disability income insurance licenses. He is a Certified Retirement Education Specialist (CRES), a designation offered by the National Tax-Deferred Savings Association (NTSA).

Manny resides with his wife and daughter in Meriden, CT. They are committed to serving their community and are actively involved with the Greek Orthodox Church in New Britain. In his leisure time he enjoys working out, traveling with his family and loves getting to be a life coach to his daughter.

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Lloyd V. McClean (Vince)

Financial Advisor

​Vince McClean was brought into New Canaan Group, LLC having begun his career as a Financial Consultant in 2012.

Vince’s broad knowledge base has allowed him to assist his clients focusing on a variety of areas including individual wealth accumulation and risk management as well as employer sponsored markets.

Vince is very active with local charitable organizations and currently serves as President of the Stamford Exchange Club, President of the Board of Stamford Exchange Club Parenting Skills Center and is District President Elect for the Connecticut Region of the National Exchange Club. In addition he volunteers for the Bridgeport Public Schools Read Out Loud program.

Vince and his wife Carol Ann live in Stamford, CT with their sons Brandon and Devan.​

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Michelle McGuire, CDFA®, RICP, CRES

Financial Advisor

Michelle started her practice in 2004. She engages in active listening with her clients as she believes a financial plan is an evolving document and key to understanding a household’s changing wants and needs. This often means working with other strategic advisors and bringing a team approach to planning.

This philosophy drives her vision, that the value of a wealth manager is putting together a strategy, implementing and reviewing that strategy regularly and being mindful of where there is flexibility. This strategy allows the client to take the scenic route and seek out opportunities that come along, knowing that their advisory team is on standby, like a GPS, to help recalculate the route.

Michelle believes that collaborating with your professional advisory team of attorneys, accountants, bankers and partners can create a more meaningful plan that includes consideration of your investment, insurance, tax and estate goals.

She frequently consults on the Connecticut Teachers Pension, its impact on Social Security and spousal considerations. Michelle offers professional continuing education (CE) credits, employee benefits workshops, small business planning, and consulting with employers or brokers on the latest benefit concerns and solutions.

As an ex-pat herself, she enjoys the complexity of working with families and their professional team of accountants and attorneys with international estate tax planning challenges. When addressing this and other unique planning scenarios, such as small business continuation or planning for a disabled family member, she believes it is important to pull in the appropriate resources and specialists.

Michelle currently splits her time living in Cross River, NY with her husband Denis and daughters AND in Denmark with her family, where she values travel and teaching her daughters about the cultures of the world. When home, she likes being on the hiking trails with her dog, biking and playing tennis, kitchen experimentation and enjoying New York City.

Retirement Planning Specialist title awarded by Equitable Advisors, based upon receipt of a Certificate in Retirement Planning from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

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Kirk G. Welcome

Financial Advisor

Kirk is a Financial Advisor with over two decades of experience and a primary focus on investment planning and insurance protection for high-net-worth families and small business owners.

His mission is to provide every client with targeted comprehensive financial advice with the highest level of personal service and professional integrity. He works on surrounding himself with the best team to look at short- and long-term objectives, including potential blind spots such as living too long, dying too soon or getting sick or ill for an extended period.

As part of our alliance with Equitable, I can provide access to our Advanced Planning Team, world class Investment and Wealth Strategies, trust and Insurance plans all with the knowledge and experience to manage our clients through challenging times across multiple generations.

Prior to joining the firm, Kirk spent over 11 years at JPMorgan and Wells Fargo Advisors in New York City managing investment assets for high-net-worth individuals and their families.

Away from the office, he is passionate about fitness, 90’s R&B and reggae music, vintage movies and a love of travel. Born in British Guyana, he grew up in Brooklyn, NY and is active in his community. Since 2010, he has worked closely with a prison-to-college program launched by a close friend and has also been active with the New York Blood Center drive since 9/11.

Kirk holds the Series 7, 24 and 66 registrations and NY Life and Health licenses.

Kirk lives in New York and enjoys spending time with his wife and her daughter, his three nephews, and his mom who provide him tremendous joy.

Support Staff

Ellen Brockett

Client Success Specialist

Heather Callahan

Client Success Specialist

Brittney Bottino

Client Success Specialist

Christopher Brockett

​Wealth Management Specialist

Susan Turcotte

Implementation Assistant

Julie Estep

Communications Specialist

Joseph H. Miller, CLU®

Co-Founder (1938-2011)

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Ellen Brockett

Client Success Specialist

Ellen has been a passionately dedicated member of the company since 1997, striving to provide clients and the team with premier service and support. When Frank and Bennett stepped out of management and joined New Canaan Group, she was right alongside them and instrumental to the success of that transition.

Ellen brings years of experienced customer service to her role as Client Success Specialist and is responsible for: taking care of our clients, processing service requests in a timely and professional manner, as well as maintaining client databases and files.

She is the right-hand to Frank DeFrancesco.

Ellen Brockett provides administrative support services only.

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Heather Callahan

Client Success Specialist

​Heather started with the company in 2002 before joining New Canaan Group in 2008. She is responsible for client services, sales support and policy administration.

​Heather graduated from the University of New Haven and resides in Norwalk, CT.

Heather Callahan  provides administrative support services only.

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Brittney Bottino

Client Success Specialist

Brittney Bottino has been with New Canaan Group since 2021.

In her role as Client Success Specialist, Brittney is responsible for ensuring our client’s service needs are met in a timely manner as effortlessly as possible. She is dedicated to interacting with clients in a way that helps build our relationships and grow our understanding of their needs and the ways we can help. She is a true team player and is always willing to go above and beyond whenever needed.

​Brittney is the right-hand to Joseph Scappatura and Bennett Pardue.

Brittney Bottino provides administrative support services only.

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Christopher Brockett

​Wealth Management Specialist

Christopher Brockett has been a valuable part of the team since the beginning of 2019. He started part-time as an Administrative Assistant for Frank DeFrancesco while pursuing his MBA from the University of New Haven. Upon successful completion of the program, he started working full-time and was promoted to Implementation Specialist of New Canaan Group.

Chris is a hardworking, dedicated member of the team and is directly responsible for ensuring the Financial Advisors of the group have everything they need in preparation of a meeting, gathering and completing the paperwork involved in new business, and overseeing/tracking the entire new business process.

Chris enjoys fishing, softball, and all kinds of food. He lives in North Haven, CT with his wife and dog, Luna.

Christopher Brockett provides administrative support services only.
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Susan Turcotte

Implementation Assistant

Susan joined us in 2023 and assists with all client implementation endeavors. She is responsible for ensuring that our Financial Advisors have everything they need in preparation of client meetings, sees through the successful processing of salary reduction agreements for our educator clients, and helps gather and complete new business applications for the team.

She brings over 20 years of experience in finance, sales and marketing and has an MBA from New York University. In addition, she has had over 15 years of experience in fundraising with nonprofit organizations and holds a Real Estate license.  

Originally from Malaysia of Indian origin, Susan came to the US in in the early 1980’s as a foreign student, after living in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East as part of the Malaysian diplomatic community. She currently lives in North Stamford with her husband, Chris and son, Pierce.

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Julie Estep

Communications Specialist

Julie Estep joined New Canaan Group as our Communication Specialist in 2022. With a background in the journalism industry, she brings a variety of writing, editing and content creating experience to the team.

Julie is primarily responsible for client communications and engagement programs. She helps the financial advisors in the firm coordinate client meetings and reviews on a regular basis. She plays an instrumental role in the preparing and implementing of our educational seminars.

Growing up in a family of teachers taught her the value of hard work and having pride in her career. She enjoys the opportunities to work directly helping teachers prepare for their future.

Though born and raised in North Carolina, Julie now resides in Norwalk, CT. She enjoys reading, hiking in Vermont and New Hampshire, playing golf and her new proximity to the Yankees and Giants games.

Julie Estep provides administrative support services only.

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Joseph H. Miller, CLU®

Co-Founder (1938-2011)

Joe started his professional career with Equitable in 1960. In the early 1990’s he retired from Equitable’s management force to focus on Insurance Planning and Wealth Management for families and business professionals through New Canaan Group which he started with his son, Joseph H. Miller III (Joel).

Joe was an avid golfer and loved spending time with his family.  Joe is survived by his wife, Barbara, their 5 children and 19 grandchildren. Barbara resides in New Canaan, CT and Naples, Florida

Let’s Talk

If you are in need of professional wealth management services, we would be honored to assist in helping you and your family reach your goals. With deep investment, risk management and retirement planning experience, we can help you and your loved ones plan for the future, just as we have for thousands of clients.

Let’s Talk

If you are an educator in need of financial,
pension, or retirement planning, we would be
honored to assist you in reaching your financial
goals as we have for thousands of your
colleagues. If you are an existing client and
want to make adjustments to your account or
setup a review with your advisor, reach out to us
today!