Who We Are

Meet the Charles Stephen team.

Your success is our top priority. At Charles Stephen, we take your financial future personally. That’s why we’re on a first-name basis with our clients.

Our Service Commitment

We develop long-term relationships with our clients and their families. That’s our commitment to you as a valued client.

Our team works closely with you, communicating openly and providing multi-faceted solutions tailored to meet your needs. We’re proactive with your financial affairs, meeting with you regularly to review your portfolio, discuss changes in your situation and keep you informed of issues that could affect your financial goals.

We serve as your chief financial officer, guiding you through both ordinary and unforeseen life events. This involves creating, enhancing and preserving wealth.

Our Mission Statement

We educate, engage and inspire our clients by providing a full range of financial services through a team of trusted advisors.

Our Core Values

HEART – We make a difference in the lives of others.

INTEGRITY – We do what is right, all the time.

EXCELLENCE – We deliver the best in all that we do.

RESPECT – We encourage and value different ideas, experiences, perspectives and backgrounds.

Our Signature Financial Services

  • Multi-generational Financial Planning
  • Retirement Planning and Management
  • Portfolio Development and Management
  • Budgeting and Cash-flow Management
  • Business Succession Planning
  • Asset Protection and Risk Management
  • Tax Planning Strategies
  • Estate and Legacy Planning
  • Trusts and Charitable Giving
  • College and Education Planning
  • Financial Document Organization

 

Check the background for our investment professionals on FINRA’s BrokerCheck.


Our Associates

Steve Ciepiela

President & Partner

When Steve co-founded Charles Stephen in 1983, he did it with one goal in mind: Help clients manage their finances so they have the freedom to live their lives the way they want. More than 35 years later, Charles Stephen successfully coordinates the finances of a select group of families and business owners throughout the Southwest. Steve has 40 years of experience in financial and income planning, retirement planning, investment strategies, risk management and business succession planning. He created the company’s Signature Financial Services, a process to utilize and develop strategies to help clients achieve financial independence. After his business partner’s sudden death in 2004, Steve authored When A Partner Dies, a guide to help other business owners with succession and exit planning. In 2005, he started speaking about transition planning for business owners based on his own experience. Steve's expertise has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Barron’s. Steve has been the recipient of many honors and awards, including being chosen by his peers in a special issue of Money Magazine as one of the top 200 financial planners in the country and named in Wealth Manager Magazine as one of the top wealth managers in the United States for two years in a row. He received the New Mexico Business Weekly’s Top Performing CEO Award and the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce Harry E. Kinney Good Neighbor Award, which recognizes the personal character and contributions of Albuquerque residents that personify integrity, leadership and generosity. Steve is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® (license #70), a Certified Retirement Counselor® and an Accredited Investment Fiduciary™. He is an Investment Advisor Representative with NFPSI. Steve attended the United States Air Force Academy and received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of New Mexico. A proud father of three, Steve and his wife Marian live in Albuquerque. He loves the White Sox and the University of New Mexico Lobos, is an avid reader, enjoys visiting new places, and spending quality time with his children and grandson.

Adam Ciepiela

Vice President & Partner

Adam is a principle advisor with the firm who specializes in personal wealth management for individuals and families but truly has a passion for helping millennials.  In addition to advising clients, Adam oversees Charles Stephen’s business operations. He manages resources, directs company marketing and business development activities, and ensures that company processes are efficient and effective. He joined Charles Stephen in August 2009. Adam holds FINRA Series 7 (General Securities) & 66 (Uniformed Combined State Law) licenses and is licensed in Life, Health and Disability. He also is an Accredited Investment Fiduciary, a National Social Security Advisor®, a Certified Retirement Counselor® and an Investment Advisor Representative with Kestra Advisor Services, LLC. In addition, he is currently pursuing his CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® designation. Adam holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Nevada – Las Vegas. Active in the community, Adam regularly speaks to groups about financial wellness and current economic trends and news. Adam has served in many leadership roles locally and on a national level. Active 20/30 Club of United States and Canada, Young Professionals of Albuquerque, and the Governing Council of the Public Academy for Performing Arts charter school, just to name a few.  He is currently on the Board of Directors for the Ronald McDonald House of New Mexico and Junior Achievement of New Mexico. He was featured in US News and World Report discussing the importance of retirement for millennials. In 2012, he received the “40 Under Forty” Award from Albuquerque Business First and this year Adam was a Young Leader Nominee for the 2016 "New Mexico Ethics in Business" award. In 2017 Adam was honored with the AssetMark Community Inspiration Award for all of his dedication to the Albuquerque community and was featured in Barron’s Wealth magazine.

Kelly Famiglietta

Vice President & Partner, Retirement Plan Services

Kelly has more than 20 years’ experience helping companies navigate the complexities of retirement and fiduciary responsibility, starting with designing and implementing pension plans and strategies that fit a company’s needs. She monitors investments, manages relationships with vendors and teaches employees about achieving financial wellness. In addition, she helps plan sponsors and fiduciaries manage their fiduciary responsibilities. Kelly joined Charles Stephen in 1997.

In 2013, Kelly was one of the first 200 people in the country to earn the prestigious Certified 401(k) Professional® designation, which distinguishes financial professionals who have demonstrated the knowledge and ability to positively affect retirement outcomes for participants in company retirement plans. In addition, she is an Accredited Pension Administrator, an Accredited Pension Representative, an Accredited Investment Fiduciary, a National Social Security Advisor, and a Certified Retirement Counselor ®. Kelly is a FINRA Series 7 General Securities Registered Representative and a Series 63 Uniform Securities Agent, holds her Series 66 Uniform Combined State Law Licenses and is an Investment Advisor Representative with NFPSI. She has an associate’s degree from Central New Mexico Community College.

Kelly has published several articles about employer-sponsored retirement plans and their importance in today’s economy. She is a nationally recognized expert and a frequent speaker on the subject of retirement planning. In 2012, 401k Wire recognized her as one of the top defined contribution advisors in the United States. Kelly was nationally recognized as one of fifty women for National Association of Plan Advisors “2016 Top Women Advisors”. This year Kelly was one of 27 women in New Mexico to be honored with the Albuquerque Business First’s “Women of Influence” award.

Kelly is actively involved in the Domestic Violence Resource Center of New Mexico and serves on the board of directors for the Albuquerque chapter of Campfire USA. In addition, she volunteers for youth soccer clubs and has an impressive shoe collection. Combined, Kelly and her husband have six kids and live in Corrales.


Jonathan Stoner

Financial Advisor

Jonathan is our newest team member and brings to Charles Stephen over 15 years of financial industry experience. Originally from Oklahoma, he has worked for top financial companies such as Wells Fargo and Edward Jones in Arkansas and California. He moved to New Mexico for his love of the mountains and also to carry on his passion for developing loyal, long-term client relationships to help clients achieve their financial goals.

Jonathan holds the FINRA Series 7 (General Securities) and 66 (Uniformed Combined State Law) licenses and is also licensed in Life, Health, and Disability insurance. He was a recipient of the Edward Jones’ Spirit of Partnership award in 2013, 2014, and 2015 as well as receiving the TNT Client Development award in 2015. In 2016, he was awarded the Ted Jones Entrepreneurial Achievement award for his client dedication. He has a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Marketing from the University of Oklahoma.

In his spare time, Jonathan enjoys being outdoors. His top three favorite activities are backpacking, fly fishing, and snowboarding. Thanks to his roots, he is a lifetime devoted OU Boomer Sooner college football fan!

Susan Gundrum

Director of Special Projects

Susan brings over seven years of experience in hospitality management, event and meeting planning, social media, creative design, and marketing expertise to the team at Charles Stephen. She creates and directs the social media content, communications, and press releases to expand financial education and expertise of Charles Stephen. Susan is also in charge of planning and producing special events to include education, service, and client experience.

Susan is an Albuquerque native who attended New Mexico State University in Las Cruces (Go Aggies!) and holds her bachelor’s degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management. Passionate about her alma mater NMSU, she is active within the Alumni Association and tries to visit as often as she can. Encouraged by her colleagues at Charles Stephen, Susan hopes to become more active within the Albuquerque community and be more involved with the young professional groups around the city.

In her free time she enjoys cooking, traveling, watching her TV 'dramas', cheering on the Albuquerque Isotopes, taking her Boston terrier ‘Yogi’ to the dog park, and country two-steppin' with her husband!


Lea Sauri, CRC

Relationship Manager, Retirement Plan Services

Lea is the Relationship Manager for Charles Stephen’s retirement plan services. She services pension plans, manages client relationships and supports clients as they enroll and educate their employees about retirement plans and options.

Lea is a Certified Retirement Counselor® and a FINRA Series 6 (Investment Company and Variable Contracts Products Representative) & Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law) Representative. She has an associate’s degree in accounting. Lea joined Charles Stephen in October 2005.

A devoted wife and mother to three young children, Lea regularly volunteers at her kids’ schools. In her free time, she loves to cook, scrapbook and travel.  


Yunchi Zhu

Administrative Assistant/Concierge

Yunchi is responsible for making sure clients have a positive experience with Charles Stephen. Accommodating and organized, she schedules and coordinates client events, seminars and meetings and manages client requests. In addition, she provides administrative support to Steve and Adam.

Yunchi brings more than 19 years of hospitality experience to Charles Stephen. Prior to coming to New Mexico, she opened her own concierge business in 2004 after serving as a concierge at the prestigious St. Regis Hotel in Washington, D.C. Yunchi holds a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management from Washington State University and a Swiss diploma in hotel management from the Cesar Ritz Colleges in Switzerland.

Originally from Shanghai, Yunchi moved to Albuquerque to attend a Pilates certification program at a world-renowned studio. She loves learning about new cultures and enjoys archery, cooking, reading and writing.    


Patty Ramsauer

Client Relationship Manager

Patty joins the Charles Stephen team with over 16 years of experience in the financial industry. In her previous role, she was Director of Client Services for a highly successful locally-owned financial planning firm. Patty excelled in offering a high level of client experience and service, and will continue to do so with Charles Stephen. She places a high value on client relationships and being detailed oriented, and will work hard to earn the trust of our clients.

In 2002, Patty moved from Miami, Florida where she held multiple managerial positions within the Hall Financial Group.  Prior to her management positions with the company, Patty traveled extensively training the sales force team in the southeast region of Florida.

Patty is married to Steve Ramsauer and together they have five children and four lively grandchildren.  She loves to cook, read, and ride bicycles with her husband along the beautiful trails here in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


Cynthia Thompson

Client Relationship Manager

Cynthia, originally from New York, brings over 30 years of experience to Charles Stephen. From major financial corporations such as Morgan Stanley and Thornburg Investment Management, to independent financial advisor companies, she has done it all. Her favorite parts about working in the financial industry are the relationships she develops with clients and helping them form their desired financial life.

She is currently working on the FINRA Series 7 (General Securities) and taking classes at Central New Mexico to finish her degree in Business.

Cynthia’s other passion is theater.  In the past ten years she has performed on some of New Mexico’s most prestigious stages as well as stage-managed for numerous productions.  Being a stage manager is her preference because you can step back and see the results of your labor. For relaxation, she enjoys spending time with her family, quilting, and volunteering at numerous non-profits.


Debra Putnam

Administrative Assistant

Debbie joined the Charles Stephen team in early 2016 as a part-time assistant helping with everyday tasks such as filing, scanning, and general office organization. Now, as an Administrative Assistant, she is a full-time staff member who has been officially dubbed as our “Office Mom”.

Since joining the team, Debbie has organized and managed many projects - the remodeling of our office, the new team conference room and our back-of-house storage system. Debbie is in charge of our secure online filing system, organization of our CRM (client relationship manager) software program, and has continued everyday office organization.

Debbie is a native New Mexican who grew up in Santa Fe. She has raised two children with her husband and enjoys being a grandmother. In her spare time, she enjoys cheering on the UNM Lobos, traveling to visit her children (New York and Phoenix), and remodeling every square inch of her new house.