Team

While many firms are made up of a collection of individuals, ours works as a team to see to your every need. The sum of our combined experience comes together to create a team that can meet not only the needs of a wide range of clientele, but also the many personal requirements of each individual client. We invite you to click on each associate to learn about our team’s care, contribution and experience.

Leadership
  • John Merrill
  • Keith Fenstad, CFP®
  • Brian Merrill, CFP®
John Merrill

President, Chief Investment Officer

John was raised in Arlington, Texas, and moved to Houston in 1973.  John attended the University of Texas at Arlington and received his Bachelor of Science degree in University Studies with concentrations in economics, government and mathematics.  He completed his Certified Financial Planner studies in 1980.
 
John is a pioneer in wealth management services. After working with a local financial planning firm from 1974 to 1979, he founded Tanglewood as Houston’s first “fee only” (no commissionable products) financial planning and investment management firm in 1979.  From the beginning, John believed that there should be no conflicts of interest with clients.  John is proud of the fact that he has never raised fees and, in fact, has lowered them four times over his career.
 
John is a recognized leader in the Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) community.  He served on Charles Schwab’s Advisory Board (2007-2008).  He has been recognized by both Barrons and Worth magazine as one of the top advisors in the country.  He has often appeared on CNBC, Bloomberg TV and the Fox Business channel.  He has been quoted in a wide variety of business publications including The Wall Street Journal, Barrons, Investors Business Daily and the Houston Chronicle.  John manages over $800 million in client assets.
 
John has written or co-written five books on portfolio management.  The latest, Investing in Uncertain Times (2012), was co-written with his son Brian (who also works at Tanglewood).  John also wrote Outperforming the Market, McGraw Hill, (1998) and Beyond Stocks (1997).
 
John and his wife Diane are very active in the Houston community.  John serves as chairman of the Financial Literacy Board, a non-profit endowment at the University of Texas at Arlington. Diane is very involved with the Houston Holocaust Museum.  Both John and Diane are avid golfers.  They also enjoy traveling and include golf on most trips.
 
“There is absolutely nothing more rewarding than helping clients create a plan that meets all of their goals and that balances the tradeoffs between current and future needs.  For me, it is all about the client, getting to know them, appreciating their personal needs and formulating a strategy that helps them achieve what matters most to them.”

 

 

 

 

Keith Fenstad, CFP®

Partner, Director of Financial Planning, Chief Compliance Officer

Keith was born in 1970 and spent much of his early life in Omaha, Nebraska before his family was relocated to Houston in 1986.
 
Keith attended Sam Houston State University and received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree majoring in Finance.  Keith went on to complete the Personal Financial Planning program at the University of Houston and achieved the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation in early 2000.
 
Keith has spent his entire career in the Financial Services industry. Prior to joining Tanglewood in March of 2002, he was a Financial Advisor with several large institutions and advisory firms. 
 
As Tanglewood’s Director of Wealth Planning and member of the Wealth Advisory team, Keith’s primary responsibility is to advise clients as they navigate through life’s wealth planning issues. He firmly believes that successful long-term client relationships are built on the pillars of trust, communication and knowledge.  Knowledge not only about the many planning areas and issues of today but also a deep understanding of the client’s own unique needs and situations. 
 
Keith is also Tanglewood’s Chief Compliance Officer with responsibilities for overseeing and managing Tanglewood’s compliance program and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  
 
Keith and his wife Dawn were married in 1994 and have two children, Grace and Grant.  They are very active with their church and community - actively volunteering with several ministries and outreach projects.  In his personal time, he plays tennis regularly and can often be found spending late nights out in the garage restoring his vintage Mustang.
“My work isn’t a job for me, it’s a passion.  I serve as a personal Financial Coach through my church and lead groups through financial planning workshops, continually looking for ways to help people improve their lives through wealth management.  I especially enjoy helping people who come in with questions and uncertainty by communicating complex strategies and planning concepts in a way that’s straight forward, understandable and relatable.  Providing the peace of mind that comes with knowing they have a plan in place that meets their needs.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Media Appearances:

Why You Should Do a Digital Inventory of Your Assets  U.S. New and World Report, February 8th, 2016 
 

How to Discuss Aging Issues With Your Kids     U.S. News and World Report, April 3, 2015

Keeping Good Debt Can Net You More Money    MainStreet.com July 14, 2014

Lottery Winning 101: First Get a Lawyer and Tax Expert    NBC News, September 19, 2013

What to Do When You Win the Lottery     CNBC, August 8, 2013

How do you fight back if student-loan interest rates double? (Video)      Houston Business Journal, June 5, 2013

What to Do With Your 401k When You Leave Your Job    DepositAccounts.com,  April 15 2013

Brian Merrill, CFP®

Partner, Director of Marketing, Investment Committee

Brian was born and raised in Houston, graduating from Memorial High School in 1997. He proceeded to Southern Methodist University where he earned a BBA in Finance and Marketing (double major) in 2001.
 
Brian interned at Enron Corp. and then accepted a full time offer upon graduation. Two months after the infamous Enron collapse, Brian left to join his father at Tanglewood.
 
For his first three years at the firm, Brian served as an investment analyst doing research and assisting with portfolio management. In 2004 he started the “All Seasons Retirement Portfolios” program at Tanglewood, now named “Tanglewood Portfolios”. 
 
In 2014, Brian purchased a 10% stake in Tanglewood and joined the firm as the third equity partner.  With this change, Brian’s role transitioned to greater leadership, including his current role as Director of Marketing and serving as a key member of the firm’s Investment Committee.  Brian continues to serve as Wealth Manager for firm clients.  
 
Brian has co-written two books with his father, The Sure Road to Investment Success (2007) and Investing in Uncertain Times (2012). Beginning in 2009, he served a two-year term as a member of Charles Schwab & Company’s Technology, Operations and Service (TOS) Advisory Board, where he was the representative for the South Central region of the United States.
 
Over the years Brian has taken leadership positions for several nonprofit groups in the Houston area.  In 2014, he married the love of his life, Nikki.  In 2016, their son Brendan was born.  They have two rescue dogs “Lucky” and “Little Guy” and the five of them live near Memorial Park in Houston.
“I’m fortunate to work with such a high quality firm, and to do work that I love with people I respect. Personally, I most enjoy working with successful professionals under 50 who are committed to their long term goals.  These highly motivated, high earners are still working toward their goals, understand the value of savings, and value an Advisor they can partner with to plan, protect and preserve their accumulating wealth so that they can focus on other priorities during this time in their life.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Media Appearances:

The Financial Planner's Guide to Giving-3 Tips for the Holidays    Houston Business Journal,  November 20, 2015

Oil prices up as report says companies re-evaluating $1.5 trillion in projects     Houston Chronicle, Septemver 21, 2015

Advisors Go Paperless for Efficiency and Growth     Financial Advisor IQ,  July 29,2015

Outsourcing Inspires Strong Feelings in FAs: Study    Financial Advisor IQ, April 27, 2015

60 is the new 30: Here’s how that has revolutionized Houston’s retirement industry    Houston Business Journal, August 29, 2014 

Have too much money in your retirement account? See this guy     Houston Business Journal, June 12, 2014

Smooth Transitions      Morningstar Advisor, April 14, 2014

Tech cuts costs, lower clients fees for Houston financial advice firm     Houston Business Journal, July 3, 2013

Wealth Advisors
  • Jeff A. Speight, CFP®
  • Abigail Gunderson, CFP®
  • Peter Faust, CFP®
Jeff A. Speight, CFP®

Wealth Advisor

Jeff was born in Kankakee, Illinois in 1965 and grew up in a retirement community in the Ozarks.  He attended the University of Tulsa from 1983 to 1988 and received a B.S.B.A. degree in Finance with a minor in Management Information Systems. Jeff went on to earn his CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation in 2001.  
 
Jeff has worked in the financial services and investments industry since 1987, including over ten years with Schwab Advisor Services. In Orlando, he worked as a supervisor of various Schwab service teams. 
 
For almost 6 years, Jeff was a successful Business Development Officer for Schwab in Houston, helping Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) move their practices to Schwab. His expertise was helping successful advisors start their own RIAs. While at Schwab, Jeff received recognition in both the Service and Business Development areas, including: Excellence in Service and President’s/Chairman’s Club awards.
 
He joined Tanglewood in September 2012 as a Wealth Advisor and member of the Wealth Advisory team. His other duties include developing business opportunities with professionals and small business owners.
 
In January 2015, Jeff was ordained a Permanent Deacon in the Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, a lifetime commitment. While in formation, Jeff earned a Masters of Arts in Pastoral Studies in 2014 at the University of St. Thomas. When not serving our Tanglewood clients, Jeff is a clergy member at Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church.
 
Jeff also volunteers his time to community organizations, including serving as House Chaplain for a faith-based transitional housing program.
 
Jeff and his wife, Terri, have been married 28 years. Jeff and Terri have three sons, one in high school, another in college and one recent college grad. All three were involved in Scouting, with their oldest becoming an Eagle Scout.
 
In his free time, Jeff enjoys family fun in the pool, reading a good book, and playing guitar.
 
“As both a Wealth Advisor and as an ordained permanent deacon I spend a lot of time talking to people about details of their personal and financial lives.  People often tell me that I am one of only a couple people with whom they’ve ever felt comfortable sharing this information.  Knowing that I have developed this type of trust with many clients is something I do not take lightly, and a privilege I enjoy immensely as it is central to my ability to help people enjoy fuller lives through their finances.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Media Appearances:

  Financial Advisor IQ, December 18, 2015

With Clients, Partway is Better Than No Way at All    Financial Advisor IQ,  May 28,2015

Advice for Researching Your Financial Adviser    Houston Chronicle, January 5, 2015

Houston a draw for those in the finance industry   Houston Chronicle, September 8, 2014

Tips for Investing Your Tax Refund    Mainstreet.com, April 9, 2014

Relationships Are A Key For Success To A Financial Advisor In Houston   CBS Houston, December 30,2013

Planning for the Medicare surtax   Bankrate.com, November 20, 2013

80 is the New 60 When it Comes to Retirement   New York Post, November 16, 2013

When the roofs cave in...    The Christian Science Monitor, May 8, 2013

 

Abigail Gunderson, CFP®

Wealth Advisor

Abigail was born in 1969 and raised in the Philippines.   Having a father that worked as an airline executive expatriate for years, Abigail had the opportunity to study and live in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Manila and California before moving to Houston in 1992.

Abigail attended the Ateneo de Manila University from 1987 to 1991 and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering.

Abigail began her career working in the aerospace industry.  She worked closely with astronauts, cosmonauts and scientists at NASA and Star City, Russia in the development of experimental procedures utilized on the Space Station MIR.

Since finance was a field that increasingly interested her, Abigail decided to make a career transition. She completed the Personal Financial Planning program at the University of Houston and obtained the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation in 2006.

Abigail has been in the financial field for since 2003.  During this time, she worked for one of the largest national accounting firms in their Private Client group and gained valuable tax experience. She also worked for two local Registered Investment Advisors where she developed collaborative relationships with executives, professionals, and business owners, and designed many comprehensive financial and estate plans. She is committed to building beneficial relationships with clients and helping them successfully implement financial plans tailored to meet their unique needs and goals.

Abigail joined Tanglewood in April 2013 as a Wealth Advisor.  Her other duties also include developing business opportunities.  She serves as a member of the Houston Business & Estate Planning Council and the Financial Planning Association.

Abigail and her husband, Bruce, a native Texan, were married in 1992 and have a son, Richard Austin.  In her free time, Abigail enjoys traveling with family and friends, the performing arts, watching movies and reading a wide variety of books and publications.  She and her son are also active volunteers of their local church’s Hospitality Ministry.

Media Appearances:

Why Every Woman Needs an Emergency Fund     USA Today, July 4, 2015

"Saying 'Yes' to a Couple's Dream Home"     Wall Street Journal, May 1, 2015

Helping Clients Resist Emotional Investing     Wall Street Journal, March 11, 2014

Younger people taking advantage of Roth 401ks    DepositAccounts.com, Aug 13, 2013

Peter Faust, CFP®

Wealth Advisor

Peter, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, joined Tanglewood in May 2016 as a Wealth Advisor. In this role, he works with the next generation of wealth management clients.
                                                                          
Peter has spent his entire career, which spans more than a decade, in the financial services industry. He is skilled at helping individuals and families discover what is most important to them, and then identifies strategies to manage their wealth in accordance with their goals.

His diverse experience includes financial planning, investment management, and managing client relationships. Peter has worked for a local wealth-management firm, a national multi-family office, and a Michigan-based financial advisory firm.

Peter holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from the Haworth College of Business at Western Michigan University. He graduated magna cum laude.

Originally from Detroit, Michigan, and previously a resident of Florida and Arizona, Peter jokes that he got to Texas as fast as he could. He moved to Houston, Texas, in 2013.

Peter and his wife Alexis, a native Texan and Houstonian, live in Kingwood with their daughter Alexandra. In his free time, Peter enjoys spending time with family, reading, and traveling.

“I love what I do because I can make a significant impact on my clients' lives. My role is all about helping people by really listening to their concerns, finding out what is important to them, and then coming up with the right strategies to help them achieve their goals. I am honored to serve as my clients’ advocate and provide independent advice that serves their best interest.”

 

Client Service and Coordinators
  • Judy Lucas
  • Victor Powell
  • Sandra Tamez
  • Kristal Bond
Judy Lucas

Office Manager

Responsibilities:

  • General Office Services
  • Client Servicing
  • Plan and orchestrate special client events

Professional Experience:

  • Joined Tanglewood Total Wealth Management in November, 2000
  • Began financial services career in 1977

Education:

  • Associate Degree from San Jacinto College North

Victor Powell

Client Relationship Coordinator

Responsibilities:

  • Coordinates the Client Relationship Managers activities with the Client Services team.
  • Assists in the financial planning process with Client Relationship Managers.

Professional Experience:

  • Over 4 years of financial planning and tax experience in the Houston Wealth Management community.

Education:

  • BBA in Finance w/ Concentration in Personal Financial Planning, Stephen F. Austin State University

Sandra Tamez

Senior Client Services Associate

Responsibilities:

  • Handles administrative aspects of Tanglewood's investment advisory accounts
  • Serves as liason between Tanglewood and Charles Schwab
  • Addresses account administration questions

Professional Experience:

  • Joined Tanglewood Total Wealth Management in July 2012
  • Served in the Army National Guard from 2010 to 2016

Education:

  • Associate Degree from San Jacinto College-Central 

Kristal Bond

Client Services Associate

Responsibilities:

  • Opening and servicing accounts
  • Facilitating account transfers
  • Facilitating distribution requests from clients
  • Documentation of client service activities in client relationship management system

Professional Experience:

  • Joined Tanglewood Total Wealth Management in April 2016
  • Began Customer Service career  in 2006

Education:

  • Attended College of the Mainland

Investments and Operations
  • Curtis J. Holden, CFA
  • Alma Ozuna
Curtis J. Holden, CFA

Senior Investment Officer

Curtis is a native Houstonian and a sixth-generation Texan.  He grew up in the Pearland area where he graduated from Pearland High School in 1993.  Curtis holds a BBA in Finance from The University of Houston, Bauer College of Business (1997) and a Master of Science in Finance from

The University of Houston, Bauer College of Business (2001).  He is a CFA charter holder and member of the Houston Society of Financial Analysts.

Curtis brings a unique mix of analytic and interpersonal skills.  He started his professional career in valuation where he was charged with evaluating interest in family partnerships and closely-held businesses.  Curtis then worked in banking where he served as an institutional trustee and relationship manager.  He entered wealth management in 2005 and worked for a local, independent wealth manager for 8 years.  Curtis joined the Tanglewood team in November 2013.

As a Senior Investment Officer, his responsibilities include investment research, fund due diligence, asset allocation and economic research.  Curtis also serves as the primary relationship manager for clients enrolled in Tanglewood Portfolios.

Curtis makes frequent appearances in online and print media as a guest commentator on the financial markets.  He has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, CNBC.com, The Washington Post and The Houston Chronicle, among others.

Curtis is an Eagle Scout and has served as an adult volunteer for the Boy Scouts of America.  He is also active in the local community and serves as the Treasurer for his church and missionary fund.  Curtis and his wife, Rachael, make their home in Pearland.  They have four school age children.  Their oldest three children participate in a magnet program in the Pearland ISD.

“I have a deep knowledge of investments from years spent working in institutional banking. I was blessed to discover my passion helping investors achieve their personal goals. I have always been inspired by the story of my grandfather who grew up in an impoverished background with only a junior high school level education, but became financially successful through hard work and studying investing. I believe wise investing is about more than academic training, and is also cultivated by experience, perseverance and humility.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Media Appearances:

 Volatility Falls to 2016 Low    CNBC, March 3rd, 2016  

Time to go global?   CNBC, March 3rd, 2016   

Once Hot, Master Limited Partnerships Reel From Sharp Selloff      Wall Street Journal, October 18, 2015

Stocks Gain While Bonds, Emerging Assets Sink After Fed Comments      Bloomberg.com, September 22, 2015

10 Reasons New Investors Should Enter the Market     U.S. News, September 14, 2015

Bad News: Even After Panic, Stocks Aren’t Cheap     CNBC.com, August 21, 2015

As China's economy grows, don't forget that it's a communist country     Houston Chronicle, July 22, 2015

Why This May Be a Golden Opportunity to Buy Bank Stocks      CNBC.com, July 13, 2015

Sinking Feeling Hits S&P 500 as Buy the Dip Stops Paying Out      Bloomberg.com, July 13, 2015

Venezuela Index Skyrockets    CNBC.com, July 10, 2015

Next Move For Chinese Stocks      CNBC.com, July 10, 2015

Stocks With Soaring Valuations      CNBC.com, June 26, 2015

Which Way Will the S&P Break?      CNBC.com, June 26, 2015

Since 1979, This Has Signaled a Breakout in Stocks     CNBC.com, June 26, 2015

3 Economic Trends That Matter to Investors in the Year's Second Half    U.S. News and World Report, June 23, 2015

It's over! Stocks and Oil May Finally Break Up     CNBC.com, February 8, 2015

Sticker Shock—Stock Valuations at 10-Year High     CNBC.com, January 26, 2015

Houston Investment Officer Finds Fulfillment In Helping Others     CBS Houston, January 12, 2015

Oil to Put Chill on U.S. Earnings Season     Wall Street Journal, January 11, 2015

Dow’s Charge Turns the Year Positive     Wall Street Journal, January 9, 2015

Made in the USA! Investors Bet 2014's Big Trend Will Continue     CNBC.com, December 7, 2014

With Stocks No Longer Cheap, Investors Reassess     CNBC.com, November 12, 2014

Investors face unexpected taxes in Kinder Morgan deal     Houston Chronicle, October 10, 2014

Wall Street Calms Down Ahead of the Jobs Report     Washington Post, October 2, 2014

Asian Morning Briefing: Dow Closes at Record    Wall Street Journal, September 17, 2014

Real Estate's Rise Calls for Inspection     Wall Street Journal, June 25, 2014

Concentrated Mutual Funds Pullling in Assets, Not Returns     Reuters, May 22, 2014

Japan Stock Futures Gain as S&P 500 Advances on Economy      Bloomberg.com, March 25, 2014

Most Irrational Investing Missteps      Mainstreet.com, January 30,2014

Know the MLP Pitfalls Before Putting Money In      FuelFix.com, January 5, 2014

Curtis Holden Recognition Plaque       Houston Business Journal, December 13, 2013

Alma Ozuna

Director of Operations

Responsibilities:

  • Manages all trading activities
  • Preparation of client reports - including quarterly reports and tax reports
  • Maintains Tanglewood's portfolio management & CRM systems

Professional Experience:

  • Joined Tanglewood Total Wealth Management in February 2007
  • Began Financial Services career in 2000

 

Contact Information

1400 Post Oak Boulevard, Suite 550
Houston, TX 77056
Phone: (713) 840-8880
webmaster@tanglewoodwealth.com

 

Follow Us