Alp Atabek, AIF®

Founder & Managing Partner at AFS Financial Group, LLC 

Why I get up in the morning

I often hear clients say how much they look forward to retirement and I think I must be blessed because I love coming to work every day and can’t wait to get my day started each morning after my “lengthy” four-minute walk to the office.

My main purpose is to create innovative investment solutions. Having a sound investment selection and monitoring process makes the difference between a good retirement plan and an excellent retirement plan. We provide an institutional approach to investment selection and make recommendations on any necessary modifications to the plan’s investment lineup. 

How I got here

I consider myself a local product. Although I was born in Minneapolis, I moved to Maryland when I was 2 years old and have been a proud Marylander ever since. I grew up in Silver Spring, attended Springbrook High School, and graduated from Catholic University.     

After graduating from Catholic, I passed the CPA exam and opened a firm that focused on tax preparation and small business accounting. As luck would have it, I sublet office space from a prominent Bethesda financial planning firm, in hindsight, a decision that dramatically impacted my career. I enjoyed the financial planning environment so much that in 1988 I began offering my clients financial planning and investment management services to complement my tax and accounting services.

In 2000, I decided to sell my CPA practice to focus 100% of my efforts on helping clients with their financial planning and investment management needs.

I obtained my CPA license in 1984 and am an Investment Advisor Representative of AFS Financial Group, a Registered Investment Adviser. I have also earned the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) professional designation, awarded by the Center for Fiduciary Studies, which is associated with the University of Pittsburgh.

What I do really well

Financial planning allows me to help plan someone’s future, rather than just focus on their past. Over the course of 25+ years, I have developed lasting partnerships with my clients based on a shared focus on helping them achieve life’s goals. I enjoy reflecting with clients on how I helped them open their first IRAs in the 1980s and today help them put the final touches on their retirement plans.

I am in tune with the pulse of the market and I strive to stay informed on current market trends and issues in order to assist our clients in making prudent investment selection decisions.

What I’m most interested in for the financial wellness industry today

Investment selection, monitoring, and due diligence. Employers are under increased scrutiny regarding their fiduciary duties, specifically related to selecting and managing their plan’s investments. It is important for employers to have a consistent and objective Investment Performance Review program that results in institutional-level monitoring tied to the plan’s Investment Policy Statement.

Who I am really

Outside of the office, my favorite pastime is spending time with my wife, Karen, our two daughters, Natalie and Casey, and our Yorkie, Molly. Karen, who is my high school sweetheart, is a newly retired Reading Specialist who worked in the Montgomery County Public School system for over 30 years. Natalie serves as the Director of Communications for AFS, and Casey is a Middle School Math Teacher at Odessa Shannon Middle School in Silver Spring, MD.

After work and on the weekends, you will frequently find me biking around the city. I enjoy riding the Capital Crescent Trail to Georgetown during the week, and Karen, Molly, and I spend our weekends at our house in St. Michaels, MD, where I enjoy a 30-mile bike ride to Tilghman Island and back. Natalie and Casey, along with their partners and pups, often spend time in St. Michaels on the weekends too, making it a wonderful place for our family.

My family and I love to travel and dedicate one week every summer to exploring and spending time in a new place together. We most recently vacationed in Lake George, NY, and this summer, we are planning to venture to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. We love drivable destinations so all of the pups can come too.

About AFS Financial Group*

We are an independent, fee-based registered investment advisory firm that acts in a fiduciary capacity to bring our clients financial confidence. We are passionate about making a difference in people’s lives and helping individuals and families navigate life’s financial complexities. We take our clients’ financial success personally, and the relationships we build with our clients are long-term partnerships that often span generations within families. Our clients are mothers and fathers, executives and professionals, grandparents, retirees, aunts and uncles, sisters and brothers, and promising next-gen leaders who recognize the value in having a personal Chief Financial Officer, so they can focus on their own careers, hobbies, and overall well-being, knowing their financial life is in trusted hands. We are located in Bethesda, MD, and service clients across the country.


*AFS Financial Group, LLC is a Registered Investment Adviser and is separate and unrelated to Commonwealth Financial Network