Cognetic Capital Advisors

Cognetic Capital was founded as a wealth management practice designed to help individuals, families and organizations achieve and maintain financial security by utilizing a clearly defined and disciplined process. Each partner has more than 20 years of global capital markets investment experience. This wealth of knowledge and historical perspective provide invaluable insight as the Cognetic team works together with clients to construct customized asset allocations and investment portfolios specific to their needs and goals.

With a passion for detail and a commitment to excellence, Cognetic delivers an excellent client experience.

"Financial success does not always simplify life. We help individuals identify and solve the critical issues that frequently accompany affluence. Our primary focus is on prudent investment management, but our clients often engage us to become their personal Chief Financial Officer, to help them organize, simply and manage their financial lives."
Joel Talish, Founder, Top Financial Adviser list, Financial Times FT 400 Ranking (2014, 2015, 2016)

Your Cognetic Experience

Financial success often creates complications. Because of this, Cognetic works with you to identify and help solve the critical issues that affect your current lifestyle as well as your plans for the future.

We believe that the accumulation, preservation and distribution of wealth requires a clearly defined, disciplined process directed by an experienced advisor. Our holistic planning process allows us to work with you to tailor strategies specific to your unique circumstances and expectations.

Our recommendations are focused on providing value and benefit to our clients.


Our holistic planning process allows us to work with you to tailor strategies specific to your unique circumstances and expectations.


Our recommendations are focused on providing value and benefit to our clients.


Our comprehensive approach is designed to give you greater control over your finances, and enable you to focus on what matters most to you.


True Fiduciary

Cognetic Capital Advisors is a boutique private wealth management practice. We distinguish our planning and investment management offerings by serving as a true fiduciary. That means that your interests come first. We are legally bound by and fully supportive of the fiduciary laws and standards set forth by the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC).


Senior Team

Joel G. Talish, CFP®, CIMA®


John T. Buffa



Joel is a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) professional and Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA®) with almost 30 years of investment and money management experience within the global capital markets.

In his practice, Joel brings together many of the services and skill sets found in a traditional family office to service his clients. As such, he acts as the leader of their virtual family office, providing comprehensive counsel on their financial lives, including multi-generational wealth transfer and philanthropic planning. The combination of financial planning skills and investment management experience he attained through the rigorous CFP and CIMA accreditation processes help greatly as he leads this effort on his clients’ behalf.

Along with his experience providing investment strategy, asset allocation, portfolio construction and risk management services, Joel is skilled at assisting clients in managing the liability side of their balance sheet. He has led structuring efforts on complex lending needs including tailored facilities backed by illiquid assets (Private Equity and Hedge Funds), real estate and aircraft.

Prior to founding Cognetic Capital Advisors, Joel was a Managing Director, Investments, at Wells Fargo Advisors where he spent the prior 10 years as a partner of the Westchester Wealth Management Group. He started his private client wealth management career in 1998 at Smith Barney.

Joel received his undergraduate degree from Hobart College and earned his CIMA® Certification from IMCA at the Wharton School of Business. As a member of the Investment Management Consulting Association (IMCA), Joel strives to stay at the forefront of his profession.

Joel was a founding member of the planning board for School In The Square, a public charter school in New York City which successfully opened its’ doors this year and currently serves as Treasurer of the Board. He is also active in his local chapter of Swim Across America, participating in annual fundraising open water distance swims for the benefit of its research partners, providing vital seed funding for their efforts to develop new cures and treatments to defeat cancer.

He lives in Scarsdale, New York with his wife, Naomi, and their daughters, Julia and Abigail.


John is a co-founder of Cognetic Capital Advisors. Prior to Cognetic, John was a Senior Portfolio Manager and member of a Family Wealth Advisory team at Morgan Stanley where he had been dedicated to working as a trusted advisor to affluent individuals, corporate executives, entrepreneurs and family business owners.

Acting as a personal Chief Financial Officer to the families he advises, John’s role is to assist in managing the complexities associated with significant wealth, thereby providing balance and control over one’s finances by giving each family member time to focus on the priorities of his or her life. He achieves this by using a flexible and integrated approach to wealth management – one that provides the guidance and services of a comprehensive family office delivered with a high level of personalized service and attention to detail.

John earned his Bachelor’s degree from St. Lawrence University in 1991. He lives in Saddle River, New Jersey, with his wife Gina and daughters, Alexa, Taylor and Blake.

John is a founding family member of The Go4theGoal Foundation, a public charity whose mission is to enrich the lives of children battling cancer and funding research for a cure.


Supporting Team

Stacy Howell

Director of Client Service and Operations

Scott Urbanski

Registered Client Service Associate

Andrew McAllister



Stacy Howell is a Director of Client Service and Operations at Cognetic Capital Advisors. With more than 16 years of experience in the financial services industry, Stacy brings a deep commitment to delivering an excellent client experience to the team.

Stacy provides administrative and operational support, and often acts as clients’ financial executive assistant.

Prior to Cognetic, Stacy served as a Senior Client Service Associate and Regional Administrative Assistant at Morgan Stanley, where she supported and engaged daily with senior members of the management team. Stacy has also worked as a market maker on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange with Goldman Sachs and Spear, Leeds Kellogg.

Stacy earned her Bachelor of the Arts degree in Marketing from Lycoming College.

In her free time, she enjoys skiing, hiking and playing golf.

Scott is a Registered Client Service Associate at Cognetic Capital Advisors. With more than 16 years of experience in the financial services industry, Scott understands client's needs and strives to ensure their requests are met with attention and care.

Prior to Cognetic, Scott spent a decade plus with Alliance Bernstein, most recently as Assistant Vice President of the Private Client Services group where he led a team focused on ensuring professional client service while driving firm-wide operational efficiencies. Partnering with advisors, portfolio management and operations teams on global initiatives, he fully understands all aspects of client service and is committed to bringing that experience to the clients of Cognetic Capital Advisors.  Scott earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics at the University at Albany.  In his free time, he enjoys fishing, mountain biking, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and spending time with his wife Sonia. 
Andrew is an Associate at Cognetic Capital Advisors. A Finance and Accounting graduate of the Robins School of Business at the University of Richmond, Andrew began his career at Gartner selling advisory solutions to financial institutions before joining the Cognetic team. Andrew has passed Level 1 of the CFA Program and recently sat for the Level 2 exam. Outside of the office, Andrew enjoys spending time fishing in Long Island Sound and snowboarding in Wyoming.