Strategic Advisory Consulting Group

“All business operating models have a finite shelf life; they require regular refresh, refinement or replacement. Given the velocity of today’s operating environment, the level of urgency for evaluating and updating a company’s business model is greatly elevated. That’s where SACG comes in. We work with businesses that need to adjust to a rapidly changing environment - organizations in transition, companies revisiting their future state definition, and firms underperforming expectations.”
What We Do

We serve clients by helping them define, design and deliver their vision.

We know that a foundational pillar for all successful organizations is a shared vision. We help bring an organization’s vision to life by deconstructing it into actionable strategies and processes to guide all daily activities.

Together we’ll generate a well-defined strategy, then create lasting momentum to change behaviors and processes within your team.

Implementation is the most important part of any plan—so we won’t leave you to figure out how to execute complex strategies on your own.

Throughout the process, we collaborate with you to ensure that your organization is attuned to customers, aligned with your vision, and agile in navigating change.

Strategic Advisory Consulting Group

Dave Coffaro


Dave Coffaro


Dave Coffaro is a strategic advisor, executive coach, keynote speaker and author. His area of expertise is guiding business and leaders in navigating change. Dave is a trained strategist (Peter F. Drucker School of Management) with deep experience in financial services. He helps clients develop and deploy innovative business operating models that bring their vision to life.

Dave’s broad financial services experience includes strategy consulting and leadership positions in commercial banking and wealth management. His consulting work focuses on banks and registered investment advisory firms. As a practitioner, Dave has served in for-profit and nonprofit leadership positions, including Interim President & CEO of Members Trust Company, Interim CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County, Executive Vice President, Chief Fiduciary Officer and Head of Trust & Fiduciary Services at Wells Fargo, and Senior Vice President and Head of Strategy for International Trade Finance at Bank of America. He is co-founder of Atticus, a fintech firm providing individuals and professional advisors easy to use, do-it-yourself tools for fiduciary-based activities. Dave’s corporate board experience includes previous service as a director with Members Trust Company.

Dave’s strategy consulting work began in graduate school, working with a team that developed a turnaround plan for an unprofitable airline. Following graduate school, consulting engagements focused on financial services firms, franchisors and privately held businesses, developing actionable, practical, strategic pathways to greater success.

Dave is committed to enhancing strategic leadership acumen and professional competency in organizations. In the financial services industry, he furthered this mission as Founding Chair of the UC Berkeley Extension Wealth Management Program, served on the American Bankers Association Professional Development Council and through the Trust Management Association. Dave also contributes to professional development through Executive Coaches of Orange County, serving nonprofit executives through one-to-one coaching on a pro-bono basis. He taught strategic management at California State University, Fullerton. Dave served on the boards of directors of Members Trust Company, Rancho Santiago Community College District Foundation, and Second Harvest Foodbank of Orange County.

Dave speaks and writes on topics related to leading change, organization transformation and innovation, and financial services, with articles published in American Management Association Journal, SmartBrief on Leadership, ABA Banking Journal, Financial Executives International, Quality Digest, Psychology Today, and Business Transformation SmartBrief. His books, Leading from Zero: Seven Essential Elements of Earning Relevance and Leading from Where you Are: 7 Themes to Make a Meaningful Impact in Your Work are available on Amazon.

Dave earned a Master of Business Administration degree in Strategic Management from the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management at the Claremont Graduate University, with an undergraduate degree in Organizational Behavior and Business Administration from California State University, Fullerton.


Wealth/Trust Unification

The Bielan Group

The Bielan Group and Strategic Advisory Consulting Group draw on their collective experience to help clients build strong, integrated wealth management organizations. Together they generate a well-defined strategy, then create lasting momentum to change behaviors and processes within a team.

The Bielan Group is a trusted force in the wealth management industry, equipped with vast experience and resources to aid firms in making informed decisions and enhance business performance. Recognizing the need for collaborative solutions in today’s intricate business landscape, we have formed partnerships with subject matter experts, augmenting our ability to deliver world-class service and innovative solutions. Drawing on 35+ years of experience and an extensive network of industry partners, we are proficient in assembling the right team to cater to your firm’s specific needs and objectives, ensuring unparalleled success at every turn.


Industry Data & Analytics

Wise Insights

WISE is a boutique analytics and advisory firm founded on the belief that wealth managers and trust companies deserve the type of high-quality data analytics that are common elsewhere.

Our IM&T, Wealth Management, and Brokerage Performance Assessment provides detailed comparative data and analysis about profitability, growth, sales, team productivity, and spending. We focus on what matters most: the essential data you need for evaluating your firm’s performance, for making decisions, and for communicating with stakeholders. The assessment gives you access to aggregate KPIs and trend data for 100+ bank wealth managers and trust companies nationwide, from small firms to large, national brands.

Our goal is to help you make decisions about your business – its risks and opportunities—by bringing a fresh, evidence-based perspective to your decision-making.


Advisor Training & Development

Cannon Financial Institute

Cannon Financial Institute equips people and organizations with practical solutions. With over 60 years of institutional knowledge and each instructor with four decades of real-world experience, Cannon is recognized as a leading training and professional development firm within financial services.

Cannon constructs tailored consulting and blended learning solutions that create immediate and sustainable impact. Their instruction in technical and sales skills is regarded as the industry standard in areas of personal trust, corporate trust, wealth management sales, relationship and practice management, retirement planning, operations, risk management, audit and compliance, and investment management.


Operations & Technology Consulting

Carpenter Operations Group

Chris Carpenter is an industry veteran and executive with a proven record in helping firms improve operations functions, reduce operational costs, and provide a better product for clients. Chris has experience as both a vendor and consumer of operational services. He has worked with small and large firms in a variety of financial service business lines including bank trust and custody, broker/dealers, and RIAs alike.

Chris has architected numerous strategic operational and system solutions, created and implemented operational strategies for organizations, and created new products and services. He also has significant experience in managing transitions as a result of technology and organizational change.

Strategic Advisory Consulting Group

Featured Keynote Topics

Chaos or Comfort in Navigating Change?

Why do some organizations thrive when their operating environment changes while others crumble? How do strategic leaders approach disruptions to their way of doing business?

Managing change is often viewed as an event. Organizations talk about the “New Normal” as a destination. In reality, what we consider “normal times” are never really status quo; our business world is always in motion.

Organizations thrive when they recognize they operate on a continuum of change: Changing customer needs. Changing competition. Changing operating environments. Mastering movement to each stage of a new normal is essential to long term success and bringing an organization’s vision to life.

Key Takeaways:

  • Learn what it means to practice Change Leadership
  • Understand the Change Guidance approach to leading your team through transition
  • See how future state vision informs your path forward to the next new normal

It’s Not About You! Earning and Sustaining Relevance as a Wealth Advisor

Relevance is the pertinence and importance an advisor earns in the financial life of a client. When you are the client’s first call to discuss meaningful topics affecting their financial life, you have earned relevance. The question for advisors and wealth leaders today is: How will we earn and sustain relevance with our clients over tomorrow?

Key Takeaways:

  • Learn how to see yourself as clients see you
  • Understand the importance of refreshing your client engagement approach
  • Learn the importance of agility as an advisor

Leading From Zero

Why do some organizations always seem to be crisp, current and relevant and others appear a little stale? What creates an environment that is continually evolving and engaging to an organization’s team members, customers, and stakeholders?

The Leading from Zero mindset says organizations have no entitlement to team members, customers, or revenue. Leaders must influence their organizations and earn relevance with all stakeholders daily. Employees and customers will only engage with an organization if its mission is relevant, its value proposition is clear and it continually delivers on both the mission and value proposition.

Key Takeaways:

  • Learn what it takes for your organization to earn and re-earn relevance daily
  • Understand how to practice self-initiated disruption
  • Learn how to differentiate your business as a resource development exemplar

Picture the Future to Frame Your Focus Today

How does an organization define its future state? What does it take to move the business from where it is today to where it needs to be tomorrow?

Defining, designing, and delivering your organization’s vision starts with getting a clear picture of your future state then deconstructing each step necessary to bring the vision to life.

Key Takeaways:

  • Learn how to create the future state picture for your organization
  • Understand how to align priorities and activities with the vision
  • Discover what steps you can take today to start framing your company’s future

“Dave Coffaro’s vast industry experience, coupled with his consulting skills allows him to add value upon arrival.  Dave is a consummate professional who can work across an organization very quickly to deliver results.   He is a trusted advisor, and his breadth of knowledge gives him an instant seat at the table”

Jodi M. Director, Mid-sized regional bank

“Dave stepped in to guide our leadership transition at a time when everything was changing around the Food Bank. On the heels of COVID-19 pandemic, Dave helped foster clear, concise and effective dialogues among senior staff. He led our executive team to identify top strategic priorities and to ensure the Food Bank would be ready for any challenge the future brought. In addition, Dave’s thoughtful and methodical approach to assembling and leading our newly formed investment committee has positioned the Food Bank well for growth. His impact will be felt for decades”.

Claudia, Chief Executive Officer, regional food bank

“Having managed a few teams in transition, the best first step I have ever taken is to call Strategic Advisory Consulting Group for advice on developing a thoughtful, curated plan to help guide staff members through the transition process. Whether it be a new leader with a new vision that needs to get the buy in of an established team, the merger of two large teams into one big department or simply finding a way to reinvigorate a well-functioning team after the disruption of the transition to a remote and hybrid workforce, the results from Strategic Advisory Consulting Group have been very positive. In particular, Dave Coffaro is the consummate professional putting everyone at ease the moment he enters the room, from CEO to frontline worker. He knows how to cut through the business-speak and get us to focus on the root of the issue. He is diligent about collecting information and thoroughly explains the practical applications his work has for our organization”.

Kate, Chief Operating Officer, Research University

“I highly recommend Dave Coffaro based on his exceptional industry knowledge, collaborative approach, mindset for challenging assumptions, and forward-thinking perspective. He provides invaluable insights and solutions tailored to specific needs, cultures, and organizational structures. Dave’s ability to engage stakeholders from across the organization, challenge conventional thinking, and propose innovative strategies ensures optimal results. With Dave, expect a transformative partnership that propels your business forward."

Ken, President & Chief Executive Officer, national wealth management firm

“Our Wealth Management and Trust organization selected Dave to help us build out a road map for reimagining how we deliver clearly defined enhanced value to our members - focusing on our goals of greater membership engagement and growth. He did a great job, working closely with our core executive team designing and implementing an action plan to drive these desired outcomes for us in both the short-term and long-term.”

Curtis, Senior Vice President and Head of Wealth Management, Southwest-based bank

"It is rare to find a consultant that can provide both strategic and operational advice and back it up with years of personal experience married with leading-edge current practice. Dave did that for our bank and did so thoroughly and with urgency. He didn’t come in with preconceived notions but rather studied our data, learned our culture and took time to understand our team and client dynamics. The result was an actionable plan that was resoundingly accepted by the team and adopted by management and which is already paying benefits for our clients."

Richard, Executive Vice President and Managing Director/Wealth Management, Midwest-based bank