We founded our firm in 1991 with the mission of providing comprehensive financial planning and the best-of-breed investment management that clients were asking for and still seek today. Our people use their skills and passion to develop great long-term relationships with clients.
Ethos and skills
We are devoted to delivering great client experiences. To us, that means using our diverse skills and experiences, and a client's tax and legal advisers, to synthesize issues and reach actionable outcomes that reduce risk, bring order and enhance understanding.
Our experience and skills span portfolio management, law, taxation, estate planning, insurance, startup situations, venture financings, executive compensation plans, alternative investments and other specialized areas.
Particular areas of strength and experience include:
Portfolio design and management
Estate planning and trust administration
Income tax forecasting and tax management of legacy assets
Private investment funds, alternative investments and angel investing
Stock option strategies and executive compensation
Charitable giving strategies
Insurance coverage and claims
Home financing alternatives
The firm or its professionals hold designations or memberships from organizations that play an important role in promulgating quality standards or training curricula related to financial advisory services. Two of our principals also have a role in a related law firm.
National Association of Personal Financial Advisors
The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) is the country’s leading professional association of Fee-Only financial advisors—highly trained professionals who are committed to working in the best interests of those they serve. Since 1983, Americans across the country have looked to NAPFA for access to financial professionals who meet the highest membership standards for professional competency, client-focused financial planning, and Fee-Only compensation. Kutscher Benner Barsness & Stevens, Inc. and all of the principals are members of NAPFA.
CFA Institute is the global, not-for-profit association of investment professionals that awards the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and the Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement (CIPM) designations. CFA and its member societies offer a range of educational programs and services for our members, program candidates, investors, employers, institutions, and the press. Scott Rhodes has been awarded the CFA designation.
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. is the body that awards the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation. The Board’s mission is to benefit the public by upholding the CFP designation as the recognized standard of excellence for competent and ethical personal financial planning. Ted Kutscher and Cameron Barsness hold the CFP designation.
Kutscher Hereford Bertram Burkart PLLC
Kutscher Hereford Bertram Burkart PLLC (“KHBB Law”) is a law firm that is distinct from the financial planning firm Kutscher Benner Barsness & Stevens, Inc. KHBB Law is a firm of eight lawyers focused on providing estate planning, trust counsel, trust and estate and guardianship litigation, and probate advice to individuals, families and professional trustees. The firm also represents investors and business owners in transactions, typically involving angel investments or real estate. Ted Kutscher and Scott Benner, two principals of Kutscher Benner Barsness & Stevens, Inc., are also lawyers in KHBB Law and the two firms share office space and some administrative staff.
As a firm and individuals, we support selected organizations that benefit our community where our involvement can make a material difference.
Several of these are profiled below.
Northwest Entrepreneur Network
The Northwest Entrepreneur Network is the leading Seattle non-profit offering education and networking opportunities to entrepreneurs. Through its workshops, once a year Entrepreneur University and other educational curricula, entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs learn critical skills necessary to successfully launch and build their companies. Very young companies also have the chance to raise capital through NWEN’s First Look Forum. Scott Benner is the Vice-Chair of Northwest Entrepreneur Network.
Northwest Energy Angels
Northwest Energy Angels is a non-profit membership network of angels who invest in startup and young clean technology businesses. Recognizing clean technology is an area of financial opportunity that holds benefits for our environment and society, the angels seek to make investment returns while doing good.
Gage Academy of Art
Gage Academy of Art is devoted to classical art training for all. The non-profit academy was founded on the belief that any person with the passion to make art can be trained in the craft. Their intimate studio programs offer personal attention and hands-on, rigorous training in the techniques of drawing, painting and sculpting. Ted Kutscher is a Trustee of Gage Academy and an occasional student.
Vashon Community Care
Vashon Community Care Center is a non-profit assisted living and skilled nursing facility on Vashon Island. The center is devoted to enriching the resident’s experience of aging through creative, collaborative, caring and community-wide services. Together with other “islanders,” Ted Kutscher helped to transition the center from a for-profit business on the verge of failure to a thriving non-profit that is at the heart of elder care on Vashon Island.
An archive of our most recent and past writings.
Social Security, Medicare, and Year-End Giving Nov. 2015
Scheduled Increases to Medicare Premiums July 2015
Review of Major Asset Classes Jan. 2015
Identity Theft and Internet Security June 2014
Reflections on the Fiscal Cliff, Financial Markets and Portfolio Sustainability Nov. 2012
Managing Through the Muddle Aug. 2012
European Debt, Your Portfolio Positioning and Expectations for Volatility Nov. 2011
Roth IRA Conversions Dec. 2009
Raising Children in Affluence Nov. 2007
Reflections on the Sub-Prime Mortgage Mess Aug. 2007
S&P 500 is Back; Average Investor Lags - Principal Culprit is Market Timing June 2007
Truly Active Management Oct. 2006
Economic Resiliency and Systematic Trimming Dec. 2005
Responsible Mutual Fund Governance - Chris David at
Selected American Points the Way Oct. 2004
The Successful Investor - Mastering Investor Behavior for Building Long-Term Wealth Mar. 2003
Bond Portfolios - Their Purposes and Prices Aug. 2003
Join our Conference Call - Allegations of Abuses by Mutual Fund Management Nov. 2003
Pausing For Perspective Nov. 2002
June and July have been Ugly Months July 2002
September 11, The Most Important Things To Understand Now Sept. 2001
It's a Bear Market, So Where Do We Go From Here Mar. 2001
On Betting Big Aug. 2000
Mixed Economic Signals And Valuation Concerns Produce Volatile Stock Market May 2000
Market News, Firm News and Y2K April 1999
Some Thoughts on Volatility, Active Management, and Education Planning July 1999
Impatient Times - Or Who Wants to be a Tortoise Oct. 1999
Market Recaps & Snapshots:
2015 Market Snapshot Aug. 2015
2015 Review of Major Asset Classes Jan. 2015
2014 Market Recap & Capital Markets Review Feb. 2015
2013 Market Recap & Capital Markets Review Feb. 2014
2012 Market Recap & Capital Markets Review Jan. 2013
2011 Market Recap & Capital Markets Review Feb. 2012
2010 Market Snapshot Aug. 2010
2010 Market Recap & Capital Markets Review Feb. 2011
2009 Market Recap & Capital Markets Review Jan. 2010
2008 Market Recap & Capital Markets Review Jan. 2009
2008 Market Snapshot Aug. 2008
2007 Market Recap & Capital Markets Review Jan. 2008
2006 Market Recap & Capital Markets Review Jan. 2007
2005 Market Recap & Capital Markets Review Feb. 2006
2004 Market Recap & Capital Markets Review Feb. 2005
2003 Market Recap & Capital Markets Review Feb. 2004
2002 Market Recap & Capital Markets Review Feb. 2003
2001 Market Recap & Capital Markets Review Jan. 2002
2000 Market Recap & Capital Markets Review Feb. 2001
2000 Market Snapshot Nov. 2000
1999 Market Recap & Capital Markets Review Jan. 2000
As a comprehensive financial planner and attorney, Ted draws from the various disciplines of investment, tax and law to meet the needs of each client. A founder and principal of the firm, Ted is involved personally and substantially in the planning process for each of our clients.
He received his secondary education at Phillips Exeter Academy (1974), a bachelors of arts in English from Dartmouth in 1978, a law degree from the University of Denver in 1981 (Law Review), a masters degree in taxation from Golden Gate University in 1991, and earned his Certified Financial Planner™ certification in September 1990. As a partner in Kutscher Hereford Bertram Burkart PLLC, his law practice emphasizes estate planning and taxation. Prior to forming our financial firm in 1991, he was an assistant vice president and senior trust officer with Seattle-First National Bank in its trust division (1986-1990). From 1981 through 1985 Ted was with Lasher & Johnson in Seattle. His professional memberships and associations include the Washington State Bar Association, the Seattle Estate Planning Council, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), and International Board of Certified Financial Planners (IBCFP).
Ted and his wife Susan live on Vashon Island, Washington, with their two children, Ellen and William. They own a farmhouse on the island built in 1897. A painter "who loves the smell of turpentine," a trait he may have inherited from his mother Joan, Ted is represented by the Silverwood Gallery on Vashon Island and has many of his works displayed in our office.
Advising clients about portfolios and investments involves a full set of analytical skills that Scott provides as a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). He is a principal of the firm and a key member of our investment committee and planning team, advising clients directly about their overall financial needs.
Scott received his bachelors of business administration in finance with honors from Gonzaga University in 1984 and earned his Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 1998. He joined our firm in 1999 after working for the National Association of Securities Dealers for ten years as a securities brokerage examiner. During his tenure at the NASD he routinely inspected stock brokerage firms to ensure their compliance with federal regulations and the NASD's ethical standards. The bulk of his responsibilities involved the review of client securities transactions and brokerage operations. He also conducted investigations of customer complaints and incidences surrounding stockbrokers' terminations. Prior to Scott's work at the NASD, he was a manager of a consulting firm specializing in securities fraud litigation. In this capacity, he provided counsel to attorneys and stock brokerage firms regarding settlement structuring and damage calculations, appearing before arbitration panels as an expert witness. He still occasionally provides expert witness testimony in connection with investment disputes and has served as an arbitrator for the Financial Industry Regulatory Association. His professional memberships and associations include the CFA Institute and the CFA Society of Seattle.
After making his home in Port Orchard for more than twenty years, Scott and his family recently relocated to Maury Island, making sailing to work and sailing for fun that much easier.
Scott is a principal of the firm, a member of the investment committee and practices law in the adjunct areas of private investments and estate planning.
Scott helps entrepreneurs, professionals and other clients bring transparency, coherence and careful attention to their financial affairs. Common challenges for these clients involve obtaining liquidity for private businesses, understanding the full value of their human capital, reducing concentrations in employer equity, and when and how to distribute deferred compensation. Scott's particular strength is helping entrepreneurs and executives wrestle with these issues in the context of career fulfillment and financial security.
Drawing on 15 years of experience organizing investment funds, structuring venture capital deals, and advising on equity compensation arrangements, Scott also plays a distinctive role in assisting our clients with the integration of their restricted stock, stock options, and real estate and other alternative investments into their overall financial picture. He also takes a lead role in examining private funds and other alternative investments for the firm’s investment committee.
Scott graduated magna cum laude from Pacific Lutheran University in 1988 with departmental honors in economics. He went on to law school at New York University and graduated cum laude in 1991. He commenced his law practice in Seattle at Bogle & Gates LLP and joined Heller Ehrman LLP in 1994. His practice then included public company work, venture capital financings, mutual fund organization and investment advisor compliance. After briefly serving as general counsel of Ride, Inc., he returned to Heller Ehrman in 1996, served clients from its Singapore and Hong Kong offices, became a partner and concentrated his practice on hedge funds and venture capital formation and investment. Scott returned to the U.S. in 2003 to practice in Heller's Seattle and San Francisco offices, where he concentrated on organizing venture capital, real estate, buyout and hedge funds.
Scott is a board member and treasurer of Vashon Allied Arts, the performing and visual arts hub for Vashon, and is a past trustee of the Northwest Entrepreneur Network and MS Society of Washington and gives his time to the Rainier Club and the endowment committee of Gage Academy of Art. Scott continues to practice law through our affiliated firm of Kutscher Hereford Bertram Burkart PLLC. His law practice is focused on estate planning, private investments and personal representation of entrepreneurs and other business owners.
Scott and his wife Kimberly live on Vashon Island.
As a financial planning associate, Jonni is an essential member of the financial team working closely with the firm's principals in the development, presentation and implementation of our clients' financial plans.
Jonni joined the firm in 2000 following a 12-year career in the legal profession as a paralegal both in private practice and with corporate entities. She earned the SEC Registered Investment Advisor license (Series 65) in June 2000 and completed the Certificate in Financial Planning Program in May 2003.
Jonni and her husband Russ live in the Kennydale neighborhood of Renton, Washington. Much of their free time is spent together in the outdoors boating, cycling and skiing with friends and family and vacationing in "sunnier climes".
Cameron is a principal and shareholder of the firm, a Certified Financial Planner® and the lead planner on many client engagements.
Drawn to the “financial coaching” aspect of the business, Cam leads the conversion with many clients around values, goals and the integration of these facets into their investment portfolios and financial lives. This work includes discussions of charitable giving, impact investing and “Environmental, Social and Governance” (ESG) issues. Based on these discussions, she works to develop a tax-advantaged giving plan and with the investment committee to identify suitable investments.
Cam is an active attendee at the Seattle Philanthropic Advisors Network (SPAN). She is passionate about women in the workforce and volunteers with the CFP WIN (Women's Initiative) mentor program in order to help other female CFPs and aspiring CFPs gain confidence and navigate their careers in finance. She is also a regular attendee at the Seattle Ellevate Invest In Women and Seattle Mother’s In Finance events.
Cameron joined the firm in 2006 as an associate and became a shareholder and principal in 2015. Prior to moving to Seattle and joining the firm, Cam was the banquets & catering manager and finance assistant for a restaurant in Red Lodge, Montana. Before that, she was the project manager for an initial capital fundraising campaign for a community Bank in Dallas, TX. She graduated magna cum laude from Santa Clara University in 2004 with a degree in marketing.
Cam and her husband Erik live in Renton, WA with their daughter Reece and sons Thymer and Ollie. Cam was born and raised in Montana and moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2006. In her free time, Cam volunteers as the Council President for Sammamish Hills Lutheran Church and is an active participant in her children’s classrooms at Renton Christian School. She is a competitive athlete at her core, and is happiest when coaching anything from volleyball and basketball to little league t-ball.
Ryan is a principal and shareholder of the firm, a Chartered Financial Analyst and member of the firm’s investment committee.
Bringing cohesion and understanding to clients’ financial lives is an enjoyable challenge for Ryan in his role as lead planner on many client engagements. Ryan’s investment work covers many areas and includes portfolio model analysis, manager due diligence and supervision of the firm’s trade execution. In addition, together with fellow English major Ted, Ryan is a careful editor of the written word and an architect of the firm’s client reports. Endeavoring to apply his alma mater’s “global mindset,” Ryan has a particular interest in behavioral finance, as well as environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing and impact investing.
After he joined the firm as a financial planning associate in 2011, Ryan became a principal and shareholder in 2015. Ryan brings diverse practical knowledge from prior positions. Ryan analyzed company valuations, damages and workout and liquidation scenarios at a forensic accounting firm in Houston. Before that, he supervised the secondary marketing team—managing pricing, risk hedging, rate locking and loan sales—for a regional mortgage bank in Scottsdale, AZ.
Ryan’s interest in things pecuniary was cultivated during his MBA in Global Finance, which he received from Thunderbird School of Global Management in 2008. Before that he participated in the University Honors Program at University of Washington, graduating with a BA in English Literature in 2004 and working for a time in the non-profit behavioral health space in Arizona thereafter.
Happy to be at home in land of Hawks and Dawgs, Ryan enjoys spending time with family in nearby Sammamish, while making time for an annual pilgrimage to his “other side” in Texas. Ryan is also an avid international traveler whose more recent destinations have included Brazil and India, after time spent honing his Spanish skills in Spain, Mexico Argentina, not to mention study abroad stints in the Czech Republic and China. Locally, Ryan has volunteered as investment counsel to the board of 4Culture and is a patron of the Seattle Repertory Theatre and Seattle Symphony.
Taylor helps clients and colleagues in the firm with a variety of documentary and data analysis tasks and other responsibilities in order to facilitate the planning process and follow through on execution.
Taylor joined the firm after graduating cum laude from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington with a degree in History and Political Science. While at Pacific Lutheran, he participated in PLU’s International Honors program, men’s track and field, and as vice president of the student government. As a junior, Taylor also studied abroad in South Africa.
Originally from Seattle, Taylor spends much of his free time enjoying downtown Seattle, playing pick-up games of ultimate frisbee, and hiking in the nearby Cascades.
As an assistant on our team, Danielle helps with the preparation, implementation and coordination of our clients’ financial plans.
Danielle joined our firm in 2015 after graduating magna cum laude with a BS in Business Administration, specializing in Finance and Supply Chain Management, and a minor in Economics from Central Washington University. While at Central, Danielle played varsity soccer, participated in a variety of clubs and programs within the College of Business and co-founded the Happiness Club on campus.
In her free time, Danielle continues to play soccer and enjoys reading, puzzling and spending time with family and friends.
As a financial assistant, Gianna works closely with all members of our team to facilitate the preparation, presentation and implementation of our clients’ financial plans. In particular, she focuses on the publishing and regulatory aspects of our operations.
After two summers with us as an intern, Gianna officially joined the firm in 2015. She graduated with honors from Chapman University, where she earned a double degree in English Literature and Political Science.
A Northwest native, Gianna is happy to be back home. Most of her free time is spent by the fire with a good book, although she loves the outdoors and is always happy to visit her family on Vashon.
An assistant on our financial planning team, Kyle works closely with colleagues in the preparation and implementation of our clients’ financial plans. In particular, Kyle is primarily responsible for data management and executing trades on behalf of our clients.
Kyle joined our firm as a registered Investment Advisor Representative (Series 66) in 2015 after working for another wealth management firm in Bellevue. He is a 2013 graduate magna cum laude of Gonzaga University where he earned a degree in Business Administration with concentrations in Finance and Economics. While at Gonzaga, Kyle was a member of a student-run investment club and participated in a variety of intramural sports.
A native of Sacramento, CA, Kyle has enjoyed making Seattle his home. He spends much of his free time in the great outdoors, particularly on the slopes of Crystal Mountain.