SwanDog Management Team

Dave Swanson, Founder & Managing Partner

swansonphoto1bDave has over 35 years of senior management and marketing experience, including nearly 30 years in asset and wealth management. Over his career, he has served as Chief Operating Officer of Van Kampen Investments, President and CEO of Scudder, Stevens & Clark, Canada, Ltd., Managing Director and Head of Global Investment Products at Morgan Stanley and Executive Vice President and Head of Distribution (sales and marketing) at Calamos Investments.

In addition to his senior management experience, Dave has deep roots in marketing, including serving as Chief Marketing Officer at Van Kampen Investments, Director of Marketing for the Morgan Stanley Mutual Funds, Director of Marketing at Kemper Funds and Marketing Manager at Sears, Roebuck & Company.

Dave serves as Lead Independent Trustee for ALPs Variable Insurance Trust and as an Independent Trustee for U.S. Bank’s Managed Portfolio Series Trust and the RiverNorth Opportunities Fund.

A highly sought after speaker, Dave has authored numerous industry white papers and research initiatives, the most recent being The RIA Dig, one of the most sweeping explorations yet of the Registered Investment Advisor (from a sales and marketing perspective). Dave holds a Master of Business Administration from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Southern Illinois University.


Bill Barsanti, Principal

bbarsanti .5x.75 A brand expert with over 30 years of experience, Bill has worked for some of the nation’s leading ad agencies, including Ogilvy and Mather and Della Femina. In addition to helping build strong brands like Caterpillar, Craftsman and Wilson Sporting Goods, Bill served as Vice President, Director of Brand and Advertising for Kemper Funds. At Kemper he helped develop and manage a complete and successful brand re-positioning. In a similar role for Scudder Investments, Bill oversaw the transition of the Scudder brand from a direct-sold to advisor-sold product line.

Additionally, Bill has cultivated innovative sponsorships with the PGA, LPGA, the Big 10 Conference, TIME Inc. and many other media properties.

Bill joined SwanDog 2006, where he works on strategic brand initiatives and oversees the Marketing Fuel training program.


James Lesser, Principal

jlesser .5x.75James is a marketing executive specializing in wealth and asset management. His roles with corporate clients and advertising agencies have lent him insight to the unique needs of financial services firms with complex, diverse product lines and sales structures.

At Morgan Stanley, James was in charge of product marketing including mutual funds, 529 plans, unit trusts, separate accounts and alternatives. At Smith Barney, he led marketing for the Trak account and Citi Trust Services.

James’ advertising experience includes account management roles at Wells, Rich Greene, Masius, and Cossette Communications. At Cossette, he was in charge of the financial services practice as well as leading new business efforts in the category. At Masius, he headed the Lord Abbett, Touchstone Energy and Philips Medical Systems accounts. James cut his advertising teeth at Wells Rich Greene on the Chase business.

Since 2008, he has been helping SwanDog clients develop their marketing and distribution strategy, energize and challenge their marketers and align their sales and marketing activities.

He graduated from Hamilton College and has an MBA from NYU in Marketing and International Business.