Our Group

We are a collaborative, multi-disciplinary group of financial professionals each possessing special skills, training and credentials with decades of experience working together. These multiple core competencies are collectively engaged on each client’s case to provide a comprehensive evaluation and management system.


James A. Pupillo

CIMA®, CIMC®, C(k)P™, TFMC™, GFS™

Managing Director, Partner

Jim has been involved in the Investment Management Consulting Advisory business since 1987 and is the Managing Director, Partner for HighTower | Scottsdale. Prior to joining HighTower Advisors his career began in 1987 with E.F. Hutton’s Consulting Group, which today is Morgan Stanley Graystone Consulting. Jim graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management-Administration and Marketing from Indiana University-Bloomington. Jim began conceptual development of LDi-MAP with Dr. Frank Sortino at the Pension Research Institute in 2007.

Jim was chosen as one of America’s Top 100 out of 7000 Investment Management Consultants screened in 2006-2012 and ranked #1 in Arizona for 2009 by Barron’s Magazine, selection related to ethical standards and professionalism.

Jim has earned the Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) designation in 1997, and Investment Strategist Certification, both offered by the Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA) through the Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania.  Jim has been past president of the Institute for Investment Management Consultants – IIMC (1994) and the Association for Investment Professional Investment Consultants – APIC (2004). Jim was awarded 3 of 4 APIC awards, John Coggins, Harry Irvine and Tom Gorman awards for leadership innovation and client dedication. In 2006 he completed as valedictorian the Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF) conducted by the Center for Fiduciary Studies. In 2012 Jim attended The Retirement Advisor University (TRAU) at the UCLA Anderson School of Management Executive Education to complete the Certified 401(k) Professional (C(k)P™) program and is an Adjunct Lecturer for TRAU’s Plan Sponsor University.  Jim serves on the National Association of Plan Advisors (NAPA) Government Affairs Committee.  Jim also completed the American Indian Policy Institute Tribal Financial Management Certification (TFMC) program at Arizona State University. In 2013 Jim also obtained the Global Fiduciary Strategist (GFS©) designation awarded by 3ethos and the Thunderbird Graduate School of Global Management.

Jim has had several articles published and contributed to several books on the subject of advanced portfolio construction and fiduciaries responsibility. Jim serves on the Help in Healing Foundation, Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) Advisory Board and HighTower|Scottsdale is a MIM corporate sponsor. Jim is a Director of the Yavapai Indian Foundation.





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David Brasfield

CRPS®, C(k)P™, GFS™

Director, Partner

David Brasfield is a Director and Partner at HighTower | Scottsdale. David has specializes in Private Client and Plan Participant wealth & retirement planning for the group since 1996. Prior to HighTower, David wasSecond Vice President of Investments at E.F. Hutton’s Consulting Group, now Morgan Stanley Graystone Consulting. Previously, David was a member of the Association of Professional Investment Consultants (APIC), President of the Phoenix Chapter of the Institute for Investment Management Consultants (IIMC), and a member of the technology committee of the K-Group (an APIC group of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney) that helped financial advisors with retirement plans.

David earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation from Central Washington University. He holds the Chartered Retirement Plan Specialist® (CRPS®) designation. He completed the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) program, as well as the Certified 401(k) Professional™ (C(k)P™) program. He currently serves as an adjunct lecturer for The Retirement Advisor University (TRAU) Plan Sponsor University. David also holds the Global Fiduciary Strategist™ (GFS™) designation.

Along with his partners, David is a corporate sponsor of the Musical Instrument Museum, as well as Help In Healing Home at Mayo Clinic.

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Aaron Brasfield, GFS™

Senior Business Manager

Aaron Brasfield has been the Senior Business Manager for the HighTower | Scottsdale group since 1998. He brings 20 years of financial services and consultation experience to the group.  
Prior to joining HighTower, Aaron worked for Graystone Institutional Consulting, where he focused on account administration and operations. Previously, he also served as a commercial loan Portfolio Manager for Bank One in Phoenix, Arizona. As a past member of the Association for Professional Investment Consultants (APIC), which is a group of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney consultants that is committed to client service and ethics, Aaron is well-versed in providing clients with an institutional yet concierge Client experience.  
Aaron earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and Finance from Washington State University. He completed the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) program, and also holds the Global Fiduciary Strategist™ (GFS™) designation.
 
Along with his partners, Aaron is a corporate sponsor of the Musical Instrument Museum, as well as Help In Healing Home at Mayo Clinic.
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Darren A. Evans, CIMA®, GFS™

Director, Asset Management

Darren Evans has been the Senior Research Analyst for the HighTower | Scottsdale group since 1999.
 
Prior to joining HighTower, Darren worked with Smith Barney’s Consulting Group and Morgan Stanley Graystone Consulting where he gained a deepunderstanding in capital market research and finance. While at Graystone Consulting, Darren was an active contributor to the Consulting Group’s product development focus group and Graystone Consulting’s manager research.  He was responsible for contributing to the introduction of the firm’s proprietary performance measurement software program and Unified Managed Account integrated portfolio strategy platform.
 
In 2000 and 2005, Darren was recognized on a national level for his outstanding achievements and contributions to Morgan Stanley by receiving the Consulting Group’s “Analyst of the Year” award.  Darren also received the Technical Excellence Award from the Association of Professional Investment Consultants (APIC) in 2003. Darren is also an active member of the Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA).
 
Darren earned his Bachelor of the Arts degree in Finance from the University of Windsor in Ontario, where he graduated with honors. He holds the Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA®) and the Global Fiduciary Strategist™ (GFS™) designations. Darren also completed the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) program.
 
Along with his partners, Darren is a corporate sponsor of the Musical Instrument Museum, as well as Help In Healing Home at Mayo Clinic. He also serves on the 1MISSION board.
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Frank Gesuale, MBA, C(k)P™, GFS™

Business Development Officer

Frank is the Business Development Officer at HighTower | Scottsdale since 2013. He brings more than 30 years of senior management business and board governance experience to the group.
 
Prior to HighTower, Frank performed the duties of the office of Chief Executive and Chief Financial Officer, where he worked closely with senior management to implement operational plans, drive marketing and business development strategies, and partner finance with core operations to increase enterprise value. He has a broad cross-section of industry experience that includes financial services, healthcare, technology, manufacturing, fabrication, distribution and aggregate mining.
 
Frank earned his Master of Business Administration degree from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. Frank completed the Certified 401(k) Professional™ (C(k)P™) program, and holds the Global Fiduciary Strategist™ (GFS™) designation.
 
Along with his partners, Frank is a corporate sponsor of the Musical Instrument Museum, as well as Help In Healing Home at Mayo Clinic. He has also served on the boards of several public, private and community-based non-profit organizations.
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