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Leadership

Experienced. Engaged. Collaborative. Change is all around. With our eye toward the future, we’re here to help you visualize the opportunities for your business and support the delivery of exceptional client experiences.

President

John G. Peluso, Jr.

John G. Peluso, Jr.

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John is the head of First Clearing and is responsible for the strategic direction and management of First Clearing, including building key relationships with current and prospective broker-dealer principals. He also is a member of the Wells Fargo Advisors Operating Committee.

John has worked in the financial services industry for over 30 years. Previously, he was President of Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network and was responsible for setting the strategic direction for the management, satisfaction, retention and organic growth of the firm’s independent representative channel. John also served as a Managing Director in the Wells Fargo Advisors Private Client Group where he led the business development efforts for retail brokerage recruiting and was the National Director of profit formula. Prior to that, he held various positions within Wheat First Securities, a legacy firm to Wells Fargo Advisors.

John earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from the College of William & Mary and his MBA from Virginia Commonwealth University. He completed the Wachovia Executive Leadership Program at the Keenan-Flagler Business School of the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill and is a graduate of the SIFMA Securities Industry Institute at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He holds FINRA Series 7, 9/10, 24 and 65 registrations.

He served as past chair of the SIFMA Independent Firms Committee, a former board member of the Wealth Advisory Institute and a former executive member of the Athletic Educational Foundation of the College of William & Mary. John has served on the St Louis Children’s Hospital Development Board and currently serves on the board of FOCUS St. Louis.

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Chief Client Growth Officer

William A. Coppel

William A. Coppel

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As a member of the First Clearing Leadership Team, Bill leads First Clearing’s organic growth and productivity initiative, as well as its platform-adoption initiatives.

He also oversees First Clearing’s thought leadership efforts, brand positioning and market strategy, leading a team of seasoned communications and marketing professionals. After starting his career as a financial advisor, Bill rose to senior-management positions in retail sales, marketing and product development, as well as on the clearing side of the business. Throughout, he has been active in the industry, having served on the Financial Services Institute Broker-Dealer Conference Task Force, the SIFMA Membership Committee and the SIFMA Sales & Marketing Committee.

Formerly a nationally ranked age-group triathlete for over 10 years, Bill also has an extensive background in wellness, with experience in fitness, nutrition, human performance and mind-body connections. Recently, he has been exploring how wellness intersects with financial services: If the ultimate goal is to achieve well-being in all areas of life, then financial advisors are uniquely positioned to help clients do just that, he asserts. In fact, Bill believes for advisors to remain relevant in the 21st century, they will need to deliver value beyond that of an algorithm — value not limited to investment management. Bill is now developing First Clearing’s vision for the future of advice, in which the role of the financial intermediary — the advisor — includes the delivery of services aimed at “Cultivating Client Well-Being.”

Bill serves on the board for the Missouri History Museum and Trailnet. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Fairfield University, holds an MBA from Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis and is a graduate of the SIFMA Securities Industry Institute at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

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Strategic Solutions and Controls

Albert Caiazzo

Albert Caiazzo

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Al is responsible for relationship management and the delivery of strategic solutions, technology, compliance and risk management services to client firms that use the fully disclosed clearing and custody services of Wells Fargo Clearing Services LLC.

His team is also responsible for business controls, regulatory and industry engagement, regulatory compliance and contract administration. Al is a member of the First Clearing Leadership Team and is the current Chair of the firm’s Business Review Committee. Al also sits on the Wells Fargo Advisors Technology Oversight Committee.

Al is active in the industry and serves as chair of the Clearing Firms Forum of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA). Al also represents Wells Fargo on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) Clearing Firm Advisory Committee.

Al currently serves on the board of directors of the St. Louis Public Schools Foundation, Jazz St. Louis and the Craft Alliance Center for Art and Design in St. Louis. Al is a former Director of the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond Virginia.

He is a graduate of Kean University of New Jersey and the SIFMA Securities Industry Institute at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

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Director of Business Initiatives

Rich Elias

Rich Elias

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As Director of Business Initiatives, Rich is responsible for providing strategy and growth initiative oversight to First Clearing, including industry and business analysis, and strategic program planning and execution.

Rich has been with Wells Fargo Advisors for over 13 years, including the past 7 years with the Independent Brokerage Group, providing strategy and business support to the group’s operating business units.

Prior to that role, Rich spent 4 years with the Wells Fargo Advisors Strategy team. Prior to Wells Fargo Advisors, Rich spent 10 years at Fidelity Investments, serving as Senior Director of Finance supporting the retail and institutional brokerage groups.

Rich serves on the Board of St. Louis Arc and participates in the Wells Fargo Advisors College of Risk program. He has completed the Wealth & Investment Management Leader Forum.

Rich earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from Northeastern University and his master’s degree in finance from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He is a graduate of the SIFMA Securities Industry Institute at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and holds Series 7 and 24 registrations.

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Senior Financial Officer

Chris Lubbring

Chris Lubbring

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Chris is responsible for First Clearing’s financial management, including financial operations, analysis, pricing and billing administration.

He is a member of the First Clearing Leadership Team, and his team supports leadership in making resource allocation decisions and optimizing the firm’s financial performance. He is also responsible for the implementation and enhancement of the financial controls for the business.

Chris’s experience in the financial services industry spans over 11 years, including seven years in a leadership position supporting First Clearing and two years supporting Lending & Banking Services within Wells Fargo Advisors. In both positions, he played an integral role in fostering growth and partnership opportunities to help meet clients’ needs.

Previously, he worked as a Finance Manager at United Parcel Service where he was employed a total of 12 years, eight years in a finance support capacity.

Chris holds a bachelor’s degree from Quincy University in both finance and accounting.

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Director of Business Development | Client Satisfaction & Loyalty

Craig M. Avery

Craig M. Avery

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Craig joins us from Innovation & Strategy, where he has led the Business Process and Change Management teams, formalizing the capability of organizational change management within Wells Fargo Advisors (WFA).

But his connections to WFA go back to 2003 first, as a Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network (FiNet) business owner and Financial Advisor at LioneStone Wealth Management, and later as both Regional Director of Recruiting and then Divisional Director of Business Development for FiNet. During his time in FiNet, Craig also built out FiNet’s Innovation & Growth team, which helped find new and better ways for FiNet business owners to grow and enhance equity in their independent practices.

Prior to his time in FiNet and Innovation & Strategy, Craig spent time in management consulting at both Andersen Consulting and KPMG, as a Financial Advisor at Merrill Lynch, and at TMX Finance.

Craig is a 13-year veteran of the U.S. Army, has been married 22 years to his wife, Eva, and has four children. Craig is very involved in several non-profit community organizations including helping lead the St. Louis VP Parade, chair his parish Springfest, and as a scout leader for Boy Scouts of America.

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Sr. Director, Technology

Joe Nestlerode

Joe Nestlerode

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Joe Nestlerode is a Sr. Director of Technology at Wells Fargo Advisors where he is responsible for the technology needs of First Clearing, Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network and the client call centers for all Wealth lines of business.

He leads multiple teams that care for the support, strategy and execution of all technology solutions on behalf of his internal and external customers.

Prior to his current role, Joe led several application development teams at Wells Fargo Advisors including Asset Movement, Image Document Workflow, Transactional Workflow, Performance Reporting and Advisory Products.

Joe joined Wells Fargo Advisors after working as a consultant with iGate Global Solutions, where he led India-based development teams on behalf of his clients who included Charles Schwab, US Trust, Wells Fargo, HDVest Financial Services, Lincoln Financial Group and First Union.

Joe grew up in Pennsylvania and is a passionate Penn State fan.He’s a graduate of the University of North Carolina Charlotte with a bachelor’s degree in Finance.

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