The Richards Group is one of Vermont's and New England's top retirement and fiduciary advisors

Meet Your Investment Team


Benjamin Taggard
Ben is a Vice President and has led Wealth Management & Retirement Plan Advisory Services at The Richards Group since 1998. He is an Investment Advisor Representative and provides individuals, business and non-profit clients with investment management, executive benefits and retirement planning strategies. Ben is the firm’s Registered Principal and has his FINRA Series 6, 7, and 24 registrations and Series 63 state securities license. Previously, Ben was employed as a Financial Analyst with Cabot Corporation, a multinational chemicals company, where he concentrated on analysis of the company’s operations in Europe and Asia. Ben earned a Master’s degree in Finance from the Carroll Graduate School of Management at Boston College, a B.S. in Economics-Finance from Bentley University and has been awarded the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® designation by the Center for Fiduciary Studies.


Michael Mandracchia
Mike joined The Richards Group in the fall of 2005 and focuses on retirement plan services and asset management strategies for business and non-profit clients as well as investment management solutions for individuals. He is an Investment Advisor Representative with FINRA Series 7 and Series 66 state securities licenses, and has been awarded the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® designation from the Center for Fiduciary Studies, enabling him to provide a broad range of securities and investment programs to his clients. Mike began his investment and finance career in New York with Prudential Securities and then spent 16 years with Citigroup in a number of Human Resources, Corporate Finance and Investment Banking positions serving domestic and multinational corporations. Since 1996, Mike has worked in Brattleboro delivering investment and lending solutions to individuals and businesses. 


Steven T. Burnett
Steve joined the Richards Group in 2012 and has over 34 years of Employee Benefits experience. Steve specializes in providing co-fiduciary services to employer-sponsored 401(k) and 403(b) plans throughout Vermont, New Hampshire and beyond. He is based in The Richards Group’s Hanover, New Hampshire office. Prior to joining The Richards Group, Steve spent 7 years as the New England Pension Consultant for The Standard’s retirement plan division. Before joining The Standard, Steve was the National Growth Market Sales Manager for CIGNA Retirement & Investment Services (now part of Prudential Financial). The first 13 years of Steve’s career were spent in health benefits within the HMO and managed care industry. Steve is licensed in life and health and also holds Series 7, 63 and 66 licenses. He has been awarded the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® designation from the Center for Fiduciary Studies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hamilton College in Clinton, NY. Steve and his wife Maggie reside in Hartford, VT and have 2 grown daughters.


Jill Golden
Part of The Richards Group since 1998, Jill has her FINRA Series 7 and 24 registrations and is an Account Executive, working with advisors to assist clients regarding retirement plans, investments, and asset management programs as well as life and disability coverage as part of their personal planning strategies. In addition, Jill is the Compliance Manager of the firm’s Wealth Management and Retirement Plan Advisory Division.

Prior to joining The Richards Group, Jill was an ERISA paralegal for 9 years in Seattle at William M. Mercer, Inc., an international employee benefits consulting firm, a career which provided broad exposure to many Human Resources components including benefits/employment law, COBRA administration, and ERISA compliance, specializing in Forms 5500 and Summary Plan Descriptions. Jill graduated from Seattle University and received a Certificate of Graduation from the Institute for Employee Benefits Training in Philadelphia. 


Sara Kermenski
As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, Sara is passionate about helping people achieve financial goals. Sara’s role as Retirement Plan Account Executive is to help business clients and their employees to maximize their 401k, 403b, Profit Sharing, Defined Benefit, 457, SIMPLE IRA, or Money Purchase Pension Plans. Sara supports companies in the management of their retirement plans through quarterly fund analytics, investment due diligence, fee benchmarking, fiduciary compliance, plan design, and on-site education initiatives for participants. She meets with individuals and families to discuss their employee retirement benefits as well as general financial planning topics such as budgeting, investments, 529 College Savings plans, retirement savings calculations, financial markets updates, Social Security, and tax treatment of ROTH and pre-tax contributions. Sara is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, holds the FINRA Series 6, 63, and 65 Securities licenses, the Vermont Life & Health license, and the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® designation from the Center for Fiduciary Studies.

Allisyn Houghton
Allisyn joined The Richards Group in 2016 and holds her FINRA Series 7, 6, 63 and 65 securities licenses, and the Vermont Life & Health license and has been awarded the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® designation from the Center for Fiduciary Studies. Allisyn advises employers regarding management of their retirement plans as well as leads onsite education initiatives for plan participants. 

Most recently Allisyn was employed by an international digital publishing company where in addition to being a Staff Accountant she provided financial analysis based on sales data and anticipated market trends, and coordinated the sales and marketing efforts of the North American branch. She graduated from the Isenberg School of Management with her Bachelor's in Accounting in Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Allisyn is passionate about helping local businesses succeed and has provided guidance to various businesses and nonprofits with regards to bookkeeping, accounting and tax code adherence. She has also been involved in area youth sports for more than a decade, volunteering in both a coaching and officiating capacity.

You can view the background of investment firms and professionals on FINRA's BrokerCheck.

Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Registered Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA / SIPC. Investment Advisory Services offered through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc, a Federally Registered Investment Adviser. Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. and The Richards Group are not affiliated and do not provide legal or tax advice.

Investment Advisor Representatives at The Richards Group are licensed and registered to offer products and services in Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New York, New Jersey, California, Colorado and Florida