About Us

Meet the KBR&C Principals

Kenneth Kehrer, PhD

Kenneth Kehrer, PhD

Email: ken.kehrer@kehrerbielan.com

Phone: (919) 533-6241

Dr. Kehrer has been studying the transformation of banks and credit unions to financial services stores since the early 1980s. His research has influenced the metrics that a generation of industry practitioners use to assess their businesses and assimilate best industry practices.

More About Ken

Dr. Kehrer has been studying the transformation of banks and credit unions to financial services stores since the early 1980s. His research has influenced the metrics that a generation of industry practitioners use to assess their businesses and assimilate best industry practices. He also pioneered the concept of forming bank roundtable discussion groups that bring together professionals with similar job responsibilities to share experiences and react to the latest research. The work he formerly did through Kehrer-LIMRA was the foundation of Kehrer Saltzman & Associates and now Kerhrer Bielan Research & Consulting.

Since the formation of Kenneth Kehrer Associates in 1985, Dr. Kehrer, along with his wife and partner Christine, leveraged his proprietary research to help scores of banks and credit unions start investment and insurance businesses or improve existing ones. He has also consulted for over a hundred product and service providers—insurers, investment companies, securities firms, technology providers, management consultants, and marketing organizations—on the development of strategies for bank distribution. The firm initiated many groundbreaking publications including The Kehrer Report: Quarterly Newsletter of the Bank Insurance and Investment Industry and the first annual benchmarking and compensation studies. Kenneth Kehrer Associates provided the annual Consumer Investments Study for the Consumer Bankers Association beginning in 1993, the Quarterly Productivity & Performance Report for the Bank Insurance and Securities Association beginning in 1996, and the Annual Bank Life Insurance Sales Study with LIMRA International beginning in 1999. Most of these publications continue to be a resource for the industry today.

In 2004, Dr. Kehrer received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the Bank Insurance and Securities Association for his contributions to the industry. In 2006, the ongoing surveys and roundtable discussion groups of Kenneth Kehrer Associates were sold to LIMRA. The resulting company Kehrer-LIMRA continues some of the activities that Dr. Kehrer and Christine Kehrer initiated over the past 27 years. Over the past few years, Dr. Kehrer has been writing a series of whitepapers that draw on the cumulative experience of the industry over the past three decades to better illuminate best practices and chart the future of the financial advice industry in banks and credit unions.

Dr. Kenneth Kehrer reaches a much wider audience through his public commentary. He has testified before both houses of Congress and is frequently asked to comment on industry trends by the media. He has also been a member of the faculty of the StonierGraduate School of Banking, a contributing editor of the ABA Banking Journal, a columnist for Bank Investment Consultant, and a frequent contributor to the AmericanBanker, Bank Insurance and Investment Marketing, and other publications.

He earned his PhD in Economics from Yale University after graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Williams College and earning a Masters Degree in Indian History from Panjab Univerity in Lahore, Pakistan as a Fulbright Scholar.

Peter G. Bielan

Peter G. Bielan

Email: peter.bielan@kehrerbielan.com

Phone: (770) 331-1280

Mr. Bielan has been an active participant in the bank-owned retail investment and insurance industry since 1985. His roles have encompassed advisor, sales manager, and president of the retail broker/dealer for two of the 15 largest U.S. banks.

More About Peter

Mr. Bielan has been an active participant in the bank-owned retail investment and insurance industry since 1985. His roles have encompassed advisor, sales manager, and president of the retail broker/dealer for two of the 15 largest U.S. banks.

As part of Kehrer Bielan Research & Consulting, Mr. Bielan’s focuses on growing investment, wealth management, and insurance business within banks. This includes everything from complete program reviews, to executing specific projects, to moderating industry conferences. 

Throughout his career he has strategically focused on profitably growing sales, developing the infrastructure needed for expansion, and leveraging the partnership between the investment area and the other departments within the bank. In recent years, he has personally championed the transformation to fee-based business, established non-branch based advisors, incorporated insurance offerings, expanded licensed banker platform programs, and developed advisor recruiting programs. He has also performed leadership roles for retail banks, providing a first hand understanding of the significance of deposits and loans.

Mr. Bielan has served multiple terms on the Bank Insurance Securities Association (BISA) Board Member and has been a presenter at multiple industry events and  BISA conferences. He works from the firm’s Atlanta, GA office.

Meet the KBR&C Team

Christine Kehrer

Christine Kehrer

E-mail: chris.kehrer@kehrerbielan.com

Phone: (919) 533-6241

About Christine

Ms. Kehrer directed the information services and survey business of Kenneth Kehrer Associates, including the Kehrer Bank Fixed Annuity RateWatch and RateWatch Plus [which monitored the features and pricing of the best selling fixed annuities through banks], the Monthly Bank Investment Services Monitor survey of large banks, the Monthly Community Bank Brokerage Survey, quarterly surveys of bank annuity and mutual fund sales, and the company’s hallmark information service—the Annual Kehrer Financial Institution Investment Program Benchmarking Survey. In addition, she was the author of the annual Bank Investment & Insurance Services Compensation Study, and co-author with Dr. Kehrer of the BISA Quarterly Productivity and Performance Report and Annual Industry Trends Study. The information services and survey business was sold to LIMRA, which carried on the studies through Kehrer LIMRA and subsequently BISRA. After the termination of BISRA, many of these studies continue to this day, as other firms have copied their methodology.

At Kehrer Bielan she contributes to the strategic direction of the firm, and manages the firm’s technology.

Prior to the formation of Kenneth Kehrer Associates she was an analyst and survey manager at a Princeton-based think tank.

Tim Kehrer

Tim Kehrer

E-mail: tim.kehrer@kehrerbielan.com

Phone: (919) 903-9043

About Tim

As director of research at Kehrer Bielan Research & Consulting, Tim Kehrer oversees the firm’s survey research activities, including the annual TPM Survey, Credit Union Benchmarking Survey, and the Bank Broker Dealer Survey. He has also been a driver of the firm’s consumer research using the MacroMonitor database, the gold standard of consumer financial surveys, conducted every other year by the Consumer Financial Decisions group of Strategic Business Insights.

He is co-author of a study of the opportunity for credit unions in offering investment services, the landmark study of the value of an investment client to a bank or credit union, and a study of how to create an effective compensation plan for Financial Advisors in credit unions.

Mr. Kehrer joined Kehrer Bielan Research & Consulting after a successful career in political management that included stints on three winning campaigns for the U.S. Senate. He worked for the independent expenditure arm of a national party committee where he studied public opinion surveys and focus group research from across the country as part of the production and deployment of television and radio advertisements. In addition to his time on the campaign trail, he served as a senior advisor in the U.S. Senate and worked for the Senate Committee on Finance.

Mr. Kehrer holds a BA in government from Georgetown University.

Stephen A. Lipker

Stephen A. Lipker

E-mail: steve.lipker@kehrerbielan.com

Phone: (847) 714-4409

About Steve

Steve Lipker directs the insurance, technology, and alternative distribution consulting practice at Kehrer Bielan Research & Consulting, helping financial services firms across the country realize their potential with insurance products and distribution.

He is a financial services veteran with a reputation for delivering exceptional sales and revenue growth while disrupting and transforming the insurance industry. Covering many different leadership roles in insurance and annuities, banking, brokerage, and product distribution, he is recognized as a decisive and steady leader skilled in successfully driving business objectives.

Mr. Lipker has been at the forefront of fintech, insurtech, D2C, and digital life insurance distribution, serving most recently as the Head of New Business Development for Digital Partnerships for a large global insurer and Vice President of Affinity Relationships with a large domestic insurer. He worked directly with one of the world’s largest big box retailers to deliver life insurance to their members, which was hailed as one of the most cutting edge, innovative, and disruptive initiatives in the industry.

He is now providing his expertise to organizations looking to take their insurance vision to the next level.

Mr. Lipker has a BA in Journalism from The Ohio State University and holds his FINRA Series 7, 63, 66 and 24 registrations and his life, health, and annuity insurance license.

Denise Tognarina

Denise Tognarina

Email: denise.tognarina@kehrerbielan.com

Phone: (603) 591-8625

About Denise

Ms. Tognarina has more than two decades of experience in sales program and content development, sales training, and marketing. She previously served as vice president, consulting delivery manager on the LPL Financial Institution Services Relationship Management team. In this role, Ms. Tognarina was responsible for enhancing the relationship management team value proposition by developing content, tools, and resources to empower team members to best serve their clients and drive business growth.

Prior to LPL, Ms. Tognarina held a number of roles at UVEST Financial Services, including National Manager of Sales Campaigns and Sales Training Manager where she developed turn-key sales and marketing campaigns and training programs for the LPL Institution Services Business Consulting team.

Prior to joining UVEST in 2006, Ms. Tognarina spent eight years at Fidelity Investments where she developed and led the sales training program for Retirement Investment Services, their 401(k) asset retention team.

Ms. Tognarina is a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University and holds a Bachelor of Science in International Business as well as a Masters in Organizational Leadership.

Jonathan P. Gabriel

Jonathan P. Gabriel

E-mail: jon.gabriel@kehrerbielan.com

Phone: (908) 347-8197

About Jonathan

Mr. Gabriel is a seasoned securities and banking executive who combines financial analysis skills with decades of hands on management of investment services businesses inside financial institutions. He has been a senior executive at two savings banks, chief operating officer of the then largest third party broker-dealer supporting financial institutions, and president of two large bank broker-dealers, and has directed the creation of several broker dealers.

Mr. Gabriel leads the firm’s due diligence practice, conducting due diligence on broker dealers and Third Party Asset Management Platforms (TAMPs), and has consulted for a large RIA platform provider and a major clearing firm, and for banks and credit unions on the decision to form a broker dealer. He has contributed to the firm’s research on industry trends and evaluation of annuity processing platforms and advisory offerings.

Mr. Gabriel has a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and has held Series 24, 27, and 79 registrations.




Leigh Van Heule CFP®, AWMA®, CRPC®, CRC®

Leigh Van Heule CFP®, AWMA®, CRPC®, CRC®

E-mail: leigh.vanheule@kehrerbielan.com

Phone: (224) 383-4964 

About Leigh

Ms. Van Heule consults for financial planning at Kehrer Bielan Research & Consulting, helping firms across the country realize the potential in financial planning. As an advisor she grasped that understanding her clients’ needs, wants, and wishes empowered her to offer solutions to achieve what was important to them, and realized that she wasn’t selling, but building relationships. Based on that experience, she spent the next decade coaching advisors at JPMorgan Chase, PNC Investments and most recently at BMO Harris Financial Advisors where she transformed its financial planning program. Ms. Van Heule is now providing that expertise and energy to firms looking to bring their financial planning vision to the next level. She advises firms in the development of more effective client centric goals-based programs with a focus on quality and best-interest standards.

Ms. Van Heule has a BA in Mathematics from Western Michigan University and holds Series 7, 66 and 24 registrations and her life, health and variable contracts insurance license.

Lacey Taplin

Lacey Taplin

E-mail: info@kehrerbielan.com

Phone: (720) 515-6335

About Lacey

Ms. Taplin manages communications for Kehrer Bielan Research & Consulting, including marketing campaigns, press releases, and social media. She also formats and publishes the firm’s documents. She designed and currently maintains the firm’s website.

Ms. Taplin has been a technical editor for over 10 years with expertise in document design, style guides, formatting, writing, proofreading, comprehensive editing, and website design and maintenance in the civil and environmental engineering fields. 

She has a BA in English and Spanish from Washington & Jefferson College and a Technical Writing Certificate from Brooklyn College.