Unlocking the value of your business

Private Wealth Management 

Helping business owners understand their options

Exiting a business can be a time-consuming and often emotional process for an entrepreneur or business owner. It is important to have a team of professionals that you can turn to for help with any part of the exit process.

The Capital ESOP Group has helped business owners and their families create over $2 billion of liquidity. We follow a disciplined process when it comes to evaluating your options for transitioning your business.

We are equally focused on your post-liquidity needs. Our team provides holistic wealth management solutions, sophisticated tax and estate planning strategies, and targeted investment recommendations. Our process is intended to help preserve your wealth as you enter the post-liquidity life you’ve long envisioned for yourself and your family.

  • Keith Apton Profile Photo

    Keith Apton, CEPA

    Managing Director–Wealth Management

    Private Wealth Advisor

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    Keith has over 21 years of experience in the financial services industry, with an extensive background in corporate finance. As the founding partner of The Capital ESOP Group at UBS, he heads the team's private wealth practice, in which he works to determine client needs and match them with the proper resources of UBS, a leading global bank. Keith focuses on solutions encompassing asset allocation, wealth and liability management, and tax and estate planning in order to create tailored financial plans for his clients. Prior to joining UBS in 2009, Keith was a financial advisor at Morgan Stanley, where he was an integral member of the team handling all of the firm's ESOP transactions. His process entails a disciplined approach to help small- to middle-market business owners with sell-side advisory solutions and post-sale financial planning to include holistic wealth management and tax and estate planning strategies. Keith is an author and nationally recognized leader on ESOPs and Internal Revenue Code § 1042 rollovers.

    In 2014, Keith was given the prestigious opportunity to sit on the UBS Capital Markets Advisory Committee. More recently, he became a Managing Director and member of the UBS Pinnacle Council, which consists of the top 2% of advisors nationally at UBS. As an active member in the ESOP community, Keith's total participation in ESOP transactions has exceeded $2.5 billion in transaction value across various sectors and industries.

    Keith is a member of both the National Center for Employee Ownership and the finance committee for the ESOP Association. He coauthored the book Selling Your Business to an ESOP, now in its ninth edition. After becoming a Certified Exit Planning Advisor® (CEPA®) in 2018, he was asked to teach and became an instructor for the Exit Planning Institute. Additionally, Keith frequently speaks at national conferences on topics including ESOPs, § 1042 rollovers and business succession planning.

    Keith previously sat on the board of Patriot Farmers of America, a nonprofit teaching entrepreneurship and sustainability to veterans who are seeking a future in farming. Outside the office, he enjoys traveling, fly-fishing, reading and spending time at his family farm in Virginia. More than anything, he simply loves being a dad. Keith lives in Washington, DC with his wife, Kathryn, and their daughters, Lyla and Sutton.

    • Barron's Top 1,000 Financial Advisors, 2012, 2013
    • Barron's Top 1,200 Financial Advisors, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
    • Financial Times Top 400 Financial Advisers, 2016, 2017, 2018
    • Forbes/SHOOK Best-In-State Wealth Advisors, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
    • Forbes/SHOOK Top Wealth Advisors, 2021
    • On Wall Street – Top 40 Advisors Under 40, 2016, 2017
    • REP. magazine and WealthManagement.com "Top 40 Wirehouse Advisors Under 40", 2014, 2015
    • UBS Top 35 Under 35, 2013
    • National Center for Employee Ownership, Member
    • Finance Committee ESOP Association
    • Private Wealth Advisor
    • Certified Exit Planning Advisor
    1501 K Street North West
    Suite 1100
    Washington, DC 20005
  • Nick Francia Profile Photo

    Nick Francia, CEPA

    Managing Director–Wealth Management

    Private Wealth Advisor

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    Nick joined UBS in 2011. Prior to his tenure at UBS, he worked with high net worth individuals at a hedge fund in Greenwich, CT.

    As a partner of The Capital ESOP Group, Nick focuses on educating business owners on tax-efficient exit strategies. He is committed to helping clients recognize their options, understand the pros and cons of each strategy and choose the best succession plan for themselves and their families. Nick also creates tailored cash flow models comparing the taxable sale of privately held businesses and a tax-deferred sale to an ESOP under § 1042 of the Internal Revenue Code.

    With a consultative approach, Nick earns his clients' trust through open, transparent communication and by working with clients' tax and legal advisors to construct an overarching strategy.

    In 2021, Nick was promoted to Managing Director-Wealth Management. He is frequently asked to speak on a national level regarding employee stock ownership plans and § 1042 rollovers. He is an associate member of the finance committee for the ESOP Association and a member of the National Center for Employee Ownership. Nick was also appointed vice president of Business Networking International in DC.

    In January 2021, Nick, his wife Mary Elizabeth and their son Sebastian ("Baz") welcomed the newest member of their family: Ramsey Jay ("RJ") Francia. Outside of the office, Nick enjoys spending time with his family, reading, fly-fishing and traveling with his wife.

    • Barron's Top 1,200 Financial Advisors, 2021, 2022
    • Financial Planning Top 40 Financial Advisors Under 40, 2021, 2022
    • Forbes/SHOOK Best-In-State Next-Generation Wealth Advisors, 2018, 2019
    • Forbes/SHOOK Best-In-State Wealth Advisors, 2020, 2021, 2022
    • Forbes/SHOOK Top 250 Next-Generation Wealth Advisors, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021
    • UBS Rising Advisors, 2021
    • UBS Top 35 Under 35, 2019
      • Private Wealth Advisor
      • Certified Exit Planning Advisor
      1501 K Street North West
      Suite 1100
      Washington, DC 20005
    • Robert Allred Profile Photo

      Robert Allred, CFP, CPWA, Strategic Partner

      Managing Director–Wealth Management

      Wealth Advisor

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      With a focus on post-ESOP financial planning, Rob Allred has significant experience in creating customized financial plans that take into consideration the specific needs of business owners who have sold their stock to an ESOP. Rob incorporates the amortization of the seller note, the interest paid on the seller note and any nonqualified deferred compensation into his financial planning decisions. He also focuses on developing personal relationships with clients so he can successfully implement tailored asset management strategies, insurance, tax and estate planning solutions.

      Over his more than 20-year career at UBS, Rob has joined the elite group of UBS Financial Advisors who have earned the designation of Wealth Advisor. He also holds the Certified Financial PlannerTM (CFP®) professional designation.

      Rob graduated from Randolph-Macon College with a degree in business and economics. Rob lives in Vienna, VA with his wife, Molly, and their three children, Lilly, Annie and Robert Jr.

      • Forbes/SHOOK Best-In-State Wealth Advisors, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
      • Randolph-Macon College, Business and Economics
      • Wealth Advisor
      • CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™
      1501 K Street North West
      Suite 1100
      Washington, DC 20005
    • Joanne Pronk Profile Photo

      Joanne Pronk, CFA

      Senior Wealth Strategy Associate

      Chartered Financial Analyst®

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      Joanne serves as the team’s primary investment consultant, leveraging her knowledge across asset classes and investment vehicles to provide clients with customized portfolio solutions to meet their cash-flow needs, planning goals and risk tolerance in a tax-efficient manner. She examines top-down economic research and performs in-depth investment manager due diligence to help shape the team’s view on portfolio construction and implementation. Apart from her role on the wealth management side, Joanne is also intricately involved with the ESOP arm of the business. On that front, she assists with qualified replacement property implementation and cash flow analysis.

      Prior to joining The Capital ESOP Group, Joanne worked with an independent investment advisory firm. She had previously worked as a financial analyst in the private wealth management division at Goldman Sachs. Her experience in the financial services industry has been focused exclusively on helping high net worth individuals and families navigate their financial lives.

      Joanne graduated summa cum laude from the George Washington University with a B.B.A. in finance and international business. Outside of the office, she enjoys traveling, spending time on the water, and taking weekend trips to the nearby Shenandoah Valley.

        • The George Washington University, B.B.A. Finance and International Business, summa cum laude
        • Chartered Financial Analyst®
        1501 K Street North West
        Suite 1100
        Washington, DC 20005
      • Sarah Bothner Profile Photo

        Sarah Bothner, CEPA

        Senior Wealth Strategy Associate

        Certified Exit Planning Advisor

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        • VA
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        Sarah is responsible for managing the team’s tailored cash flow modeling function. Through detailed analyses, she helps business owners compare the taxable sale of privately held businesses with §1042 tax-deferred sales to employee stock ownership plans. She also leads the team’s marketing campaigns and creates original content regarding ESOPs. Prior to officially joining The Capital ESOP Group, Sarah worked at UBS and gained experience in both the wealth management and business solutions fields.

        Sarah graduated with a B.S.B.A. from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, where she majored in operations and information management and finance. She is originally from Rochester, NY. Outside the office, she enjoys reading, playing golf and attending concerts in the DC area.

          • McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, B.S.B.A.
          • Certified Exit Planning Advisor
          1501 K Street North West
          Suite 1100
          Washington, DC 20005
        • Steve Brinckhaus Profile Photo

          Steve Brinckhaus

          Senior Client Service Associate

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          In successfully managing all service needs for clients of The Capital ESOP Group, Steve Brinckhaus leverages the vast experience he’s gained over his nearly 15-year financial services career. He also helps to keep the team operating in an organized and efficient manner.

          Steve holds a B.A from the University of Mary Washington. He resides in Severna Park, MD and enjoys traveling with his wife and kids, playing sports and rooting for the Washington Redskins.

            • University of Mary Washington, B.A.
              1501 K Street North West
              Suite 1100
              Washington, DC 20005

            Monetizing your privately held business

            Making the ESOP decision

            A strategy for succession

            Five owners make an effective exit

            Leverage an ESOP

            A way forward

            Understanding your life, your wealth and what you want to accomplish.

            We ask the questions and find the answers that can help you explore and pursue your financial goals in the short term, long term or whatever your terms may be.

            Let's talk about how we can help you plan for the life you want

            Our approach incorporates Liquidity. Longevity. Legacy. strategies to assist clients in exploring and pursuing their wealth management needs and goals over different time frames. This approach is not a promise or guarantee that wealth, or any financial results, can or will be achieved. All investments involve the risk of loss, including the risk of loss of the entire investment.

            Backed by the strength of UBS

            A global leader in wealth management

            $3.3 trillion

            In invested assets globally 
            As of 12/31/2021

            51 countries

            Our global footprint

            Global leader

            UBS is a world-leading wealth manager

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