Meet Our Staff

Kenneth D. Graves

Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer

Ken is one of the cofounders of Capital Research Advisors, where he currently serves as the company’s Chief Investment Officer.

Ken’s career in financial services began in 1987 with a small independent firm in Texas. That small firm soon merged into a much larger firm, and through that merger Ken became a Sr. Vice President in 1992. In 1994, Ken moved to Atlanta after Citigroup bought yet another company. However, less than two years after moving to Atlanta, Ken knew that he wanted to be back in the world of independent thinkers where he would not be bound by a confining company policy with its “preferred” products. As such, he resigned his position with Citigroup and joined a much smaller independent firm based in the Midwest, although he remained in Atlanta.

In 2002, Ken and one of the other future cofounders of Capital Research Advisors began to map out a more strategic investment company. Using their tactical models of investment management, they designed the company which, in 2003, was launched as Capital Research Advisors, LLC. Four years later, Ken took over the responsibilities of Chief Investment Officer.

In addition to his longstanding dealings with the profit driven market, Ken is also actively involved in the nonprofit world. He has served on the boards and committees of the Guggenheim/Rydex Advisory Board, Victoria’s Friends, the Student Scholarship Foundation of Georgia, and the Heritage Foundation. In addition, he has ongoing interests in Compassion International, the National Association of Active Investment Managers, Victoria’s Friends, and Camp All American. All of these connections give Ken avenues to make contributions to the areas of life which he feels are most important.

Although he is now firmly settled in Georgia, Ken has lived in various parts of the world, including the United States, Japan, Guam, and Canada.




Darren R. Heil

VP and Senior Portfolio Manager

Darren R. Heil, CMT currently serves as V.P. and Senior Portfolio Manager at Capital Research Advisors. Darren’s interest in and involvement with the investment world began when he was quite young, well before he went off to college. However, it was in his junior year at Cornell University, that Darren’s burgeoning interest in the investment world and finance motivated him to start his own investment fund. Upon completing both undergraduate and graduate degrees at Cornell (B.S. Engineering, MENG Engineering), he joined a money management firm in New York.

He has held significant positions in investment firms such as Schonfeld Securities/Opus Fund and Spectrum Capital Partners. In addition to his roles at those firms, he has also been a founding partner in two consulting firms, DifEQ and Transform, and a consumer technology company, Travel Tech Systems.

After transitioning away from his work with a major brokerage house, Darren joined us here at Capital Research Advisors. Darren is a Charter Market Technician (CMT), and an active member in both the National Association of Active Managers (NAAIM) and the Market Technicians Association (MTA). He also contributes his time to several non-profits and is an active leader at Peachtree City UMC and with the North GA Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Darren and his wife Claire live in Peachtree City, GA, along with their two children.


David Simmons

Vice President

David Simmons works with Capital Research Advisors in the role of Vice President.

David’s education has prepared him well for that role and for his career in financial and investment services as a whole. He graduated from The McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee and went on from there to attend Vanderbilt University. At Vanderbilt, he earned a B.S. in Economics and a B.S. in Human and Organizational Development.

David has found plenty of ways to apply his education. Prior to joining Capital Research, he was a financial advisor with a national bank in Dalton, Georgia for seven years. David also worked for many years as a financial advisor with another national firm in Atlanta, before moving back home to Dalton.

That educational and professional background has enabled David to substantively contribute to the Capital Research team as an effective organizer and an experienced analyzer.

Currently, David is still living in Dalton, along with his wife, Leslie, and their two children. He enjoys staying engaged in the Dalton community where he is an active member of Rock Bridge Church and is involved with the United Way of Northwest Georgia.

J. Michael Trafford

Sr. Financial Planner & Portfolio Advisor

Michael Trafford has now joined Capital Research Advisors as of September of 2012. He graduated from Georgia State University with an undergraduate degree in finance in 1988. Returning to G.S.U., in 1994, he also earned a master’s degree in personal financial planning along with a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation.

Michael has been a financial advisor for over twenty years, with Wall Street firms as well as other independent advisory firms, the last ten of which were spent at a national firm here in Atlanta Georgia.

Made in England, like Jaguar, his favorite car, Michael has lived in the U.S. for over thirty years. He enjoys showing his Jaguars and loves to drive them in the north Georgia mountains.Capital Research Advisors is excited to have Michael on board with us to assit us with all our client needs and in growing our firm.