John P. Grazioli once studied to be a Roman Catholic priest, but he turned to a career in finance instead.
When he opened his own financial management firm a year ago, he boasted that, with 20 years of experience as an investment adviser, he had overseen a portfolio of $1.4 billion in assets.
Grazioli’s ventures in high finance are all but over.
As he sits in the Erie County Prison, accused of fatally shooting his wife of five months on March 8, Grazioli can no longer tend to his business, Grazioli Asset Management at 3614 W. 12th St., near Potomac Avenue in Millcreek Township.
A state agency is advising Grazioli’s clients to call a help line – 800-722-2657 – with concerns about their accounts.
The clients can call “if they have questions about what is going on,” said Ed Novak, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities, which licenses and regulates investment advisers, bankers and other financial professionals.
Novak said he could not comment on whether the department would take action against Grazioli’s business in response to the 44-year-old’s arrest for the killing of his wife, Amanda Grazioli, 31.
Any regulatory investigation would add to the unraveling of John Grazioli’s personal life and 20-year financial career – a collapse that appears to have started before he was arrested and held without bond on charges that he shot Amanda Grazioli in the head at their residence at 5843 Forest Crossing in the upscale Whispering Woods subdivision in Millcreek.
They had married in October, and she was his second wife. John Grazioli divorced his first wife in February 2016.
John Grazioli’s preliminary hearing is May 8. Among the evidence against him is a note that he left at his house, which Millcreek police said stated that he had killed his wife and intended to kill himself, as well statements he made to a priest at St. Peter Cathedral in downtown Erie, where Grazioli fled after the homicide. Grazioli told the priest he killed his wife, the priest said.
Police also are looking into financial documents, including bank account information and a cashed-in Individual Retirement Account, that suggested Grazioli was struggling financially, according to a search warrant police filed on March 23. The warrant also refers to evidence that Grazioli was soliciting extra-marital affairs and had talked of divorcing his wife.
A religious and financial background
The Department of Banking and Securities listed no enforcement actions against Grazioli Asset Management as of Friday. John Grazioli is still registered as an investment adviser with the department and the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, according to the department and SEC records. The records show no disciplinary actions.
Grazioli’s license as an investment adviser for his business was approved on April 21, about a month after he registered Grazioli Asset Management with the Pennsylvania Department of State, according to state and federal records.
Until he registered his new business in March 2017, Grazioli was registered as an investment adviser for PNC Financial Services, where he had worked since December 2009, according to the SEC records, and where he had been Erie managing director for PNC Institutional Asset Management.
Before he was with PNC, Grazioli worked as an investment adviser from September 2004 to December 2009 for F.N.B. Investment Advisors, affiliated with First National Bank, according to the records.
In 1999, Grazioli, who grew up in Kersey, Elk County, received a master’s degree in public administration, finance, from Gannon University, where he also graduated with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1997, according to information he posted on his LinkedIn page. In 1998, he started working for Mellon Bank, where he served as a bank manager.
In 1996, he entered St. Mark Seminary in Erie to study to be a priest, according to information the Catholic Diocese of Erie released in 1996. Grazioli left the seminary and graduated from Gannon.
Grazioli was qualified to be a financial professional after passing a series of exams related to securities and investment advising. The exams were in 2000, 2004 and April 17, according to the SEC records.
Grazioli touted his previous work on his website for his new business, Grazioli Asset Management.
“With 20 years of Investment and banking experience and overseeing a portfolio of 1.4 billion in assets,” according to the site, “John brings a diverse and highly experienced background to Wealth Management.”
No one answered the phone for Grazioli Asset Management on Friday, and the phone had no outgoing message. The firm has one other employee, according to the website. That person is listed as the creative director, Allison Schmitt, a sister of Amanda Grazioli, whose maiden name was Schmitt.
The sisters co-owned a clothing company called House of Gold, whose office was at Grazioli Asset Management and which was one of the firm’s clients, according to the firm’s website and information in the March 23 search warrant.
In addition to holding the jobs as an investment adviser, Grazioli over the years has been a member of a number of nonprofit and religious organizations.
In 2015, he was vice chairman of the board of trustees of the Erie Day School, where he was also chairman of the school’s $2 million fundraising campaign in 2015.
In 2010, he was president of the board of trustees of Gannondale, the now-defunct residential facility in Harborcreek Township for troubled girls, and he was chairman of the finance committee for St. Peter Cathedral and its now-defunct school.
In 2008, he was elected to a one-year term as president of Serra Club of Erie, which fosters vocations in the Catholic priesthood and religious life.
In 2007, he was secretary of the board of the Crime Victim Center of Erie County.
Advice for financial harmony’
Grazioli had something of a public profile as a financial investment adviser. On Feb. 13, 2015, for a story in advance of Valentine’s Day, he was the subject of an Erie Times-News article on how to achieve “financial harmony.” The article listed Grazioli’s advice.
One of his tips, on how to “talk it out,” was: “It is important for couples to be open and honest regarding major life goals, i.e., retirement and major purchases that affect your finances.”
His tip for “dream big” was: “We only live once, so it is important to dream big. But it is also important to plan realistically together to achieve the bigger dreams. Individual accounts or surprise splurges can derail a couple’s mutual objectives.”
And for advice on how to “plan for it,” Grazioli offered this tip: “Protect your dreams with planning: Life is full of the unexpected, and no financial plan can completely anticipate what the future may hold.”
Ed Palattella can be reached at 870-1813 or by email. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ETNpalattella.