Congratulations to Michael Allard on being named to Forbes magazine’s 2021 Best-In-State Wealth Advisors

The Financial Services Network (The Network) proudly announced today Network advisor Michael Allard has been named to Forbes magazine’s 2021 Best-In-State Wealth Advisors.

“Congratulations to Mike, and his extended team, on receiving this extraordinary acknowledgement and recognition,” said Christopher Mercado, Managing Partner, The Network. “We are proud to support Mike in his efforts to provide the highest level of service to help clients define and pursue their financial goals.”

Allard founded CalBay Investments over 30 years ago with the goal of delivering honest and comprehensive financial services tailored to the unique needs of clients. As an Executive Council member with broker/dealer LPL Financial, where his team was ranked #6 in 2019, Mike and his staff continue to grow as the firm recently passed the $1B AUM mark.

Allard says, “We are sincerely appreciative for this recognition. Our firm focuses on longstanding client relationships built on integrity, trust, and mutual respect. Given this incredibly difficult past year, I am honored to receive this distinction.”

Further, this award is a tribute to the reputation Mike has earned amongst his peers and in his community. Acquiring 8 practices throughout his career, Allard most recently added the book of Elfrena Foord to his firm. CalBay’s client-focused service model and well-honed planning has resulted in his selection by multiple independent financial advisors as a successor.

The Forbes Best-In-State Wealth Advisor ranking, developed by SHOOK Research, is based on in-person and telephone due diligence meetings and a ranking algorithm that includes: client retention, industry experience, review of compliance records, firm nominations; and quantitative criteria, including: assets under management and revenue generated for their firms. Portfolio performance is not a criterion due to varying client objectives and lack of audited data. Neither Forbes nor SHOOK Research receives a fee in exchange for rankings

The Financial Services Network (The Network) http://www.fsnweb.com, is a national enterprise office (OSJ) and multi-custodial hybrid RIA with over $ 21B under advisement across the organization including over $5B under advisement on the hybrid RIA, Strategic Wealth Advisors Group. Assets are custodied at their affiliated broker/dealer – LPL Financial, and/or their custodial partners, including LPL Financial, Schwab, Fidelity, and TD Ameritrade.

The consultants of The Financial Services Network are registered representatives with, and securities are offered through, LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC. The Financial Services Network and LPL Financial are separate entities.

Michael Allard is an independent advisor affiliated with LPL Financial, the nation’s largest independent broker-dealer* and a leader in the retail financial advice market, providing resources, tools and technology that support advisors in their work to enrich their clients’ financial lives.

Michael Allard is a registered representative with, and securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC.

*Based on prior business and represents assets that would have been custodied at LPL Financial, rather than third-party custodians. Reported assets and client numbers have not been independently and fully verified by LPL Financial.

Congratulations to Chris Giordano on being named to Forbes magazine’s 2021 Best-In-State Wealth Advisors

The Financial Services Network (The Network) proudly announced today Network advisor Chris Giordano has been named to Forbes magazine’s 2021 Best-In-State Wealth Advisors.

“Giordano Wealth Management Group (GWMG) is an outstanding example of an exceptional advisor that provides the highest level of service to help clients pursue their individual financial goals,” said Daxs Stadjuhar, Managing Partner, The Financial Services Network. “Congratulations to Chris, and his extended team, on receiving this remarkable recognition and acknowledgement.”

Giordano founded GWMG over 11 years ago with the goal of partnering with clients to provide a rewarding financial relationship. Serving over 300 families representing over 500 clients, the firm continues to grow thoughtfully. “It is truly fulfilling to be named a top advisor by Forbes. This year, especially, I can think of no greater honor than being recognized for the trust clients have placed in us as we focus on exceeding their expectations.”

Moreover, this recognition is a testament to the respect Chris has garnered from his peers. Chris’ refined service model and dedication to providing clients with an elevated client experience has resulted in his selection, as successor, by multiple independent financial advisors. Acquiring 2 practices to date, GWMG notably acquired one of these offices in the remarkably challenging second half of 2020.

The Forbes Best-In-State Wealth Advisor ranking, developed by SHOOK Research, is based on in-person and telephone due diligence meetings and a ranking algorithm that includes: client retention, industry experience, review of compliance records, firm nominations; and quantitative criteria, including: assets under management and revenue generated for their firms. Portfolio performance is not a criterion due to varying client objectives and lack of audited data. Neither Forbes nor SHOOK Research receives a fee in exchange for rankings

The Financial Services Network (The Network) http://www.fsnweb.com, is a national enterprise office (OSJ) and multi-custodial hybrid RIA with over $ 21B under advisement across the organization including over $5B under advisement on the hybrid RIA, Strategic Wealth Advisors Group. Assets are custodied at their affiliated broker/dealer – LPL Financial, and/or their custodial partners, including LPL Financial, Schwab, Fidelity, and TD Ameritrade.

The consultants of The Financial Services Network are registered representatives with, and securities are offered through, LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC. The Financial Services Network and LPL Financial are separate entities.

Christopher Giordano is based in Los Gatos, CA and provides a full range of financial services, including retirement and financial planning, individual money management, individual stocks and bonds, mutual funds, annuities and more.

Christopher Giordano is an independent advisor affiliated with LPL Financial, the nation’s largest independent broker-dealer* and a leader in the retail financial advice market, providing resources, tools and technology that support advisors in their work to enrich their clients’ financial lives.

Christopher Giordano is a registered representatives with, and securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Strategic Wealth Advisors Group LLC (SWAG), a registered investment advisor. SWAG LLC and Giordano Wealth Management Group are separate entities from LPL Financial.

*Based on prior business and represents assets that would have been custodied at LPL Financial, rather than third-party custodians. Reported assets and client numbers have not been independently and fully verified by LPL Financial.

Bridging the Virtual Gap

By Daxs Stadjuhar, Managing Partner and Chief Risk Officer

A topic we’ve been covering this year is how to create an exceptional client experience as we continue to work in a virtual or hybrid office/virtual environment. Last month, we talked about how your physical space plays an important role in the energy that you bring to your practice. This month, we’re highlighting how to make your clients feel like you’re bridging gaps rather than widening them, especially with your client’s extended family and centers of influence.

This time last year, there were a lot of things that were “nice to dos” that are now a MUST DO. For example, as a courtesy, a Network office sends client reviews via FedEx so the older, less tech-savvy family have time to review the report before meeting. Another sends  top clients GrubHub vouchers to make up for the lunch meetings they used to have in person. Our friends at Goldman Sachs are discovering that these “nice to dos” are now essential. If you want to maintain the closeness with your clients, personalized touches that close the gap in this new business environment are crucial.

What are the lessons learned?  Truth be told, we are still learning them as we go along.  Some clients are embracing this new environment while others are starving for engagement and interaction.  Equally important, how are you doing?  Is this new environment “feeding” your core needs to have meaningful and valuable conversations with your clients? Please continue to stay engaged with us as we navigate and share what we are learning so we can all serve our clients in this crisis.

Tools for Thriving in a Digital Environment

By Tom Croxton, VP Business Transitions

When the pandemic hit the US at the beginning of 2020, a record number of professionals found themselves working entirely remotely. Yet from what I have seen there has not been a lot of struggle despite the unexpected shift to a virtual environment. Many advisors say that a lot of clients even prefer it.

While advisors and clients are mostly enjoying this new digital atmosphere, what technological enhancements are still available that offices are not taking advantage of? As an example, our partners at LPL Financial report that only 25% of offices use DocuSign, an online tool which allows clients and advisors to review and process paperwork both virtually and securely. Recently, one of the offices we worked with conducted an entire merger with 100% remote signatures. They were able to send and track the signature status for hundreds of forms from one easy location—not to mention saving on all that paper and time spent back and forth at FedEx.

DocuSign is just an example of one online resource that can help streamline your daily tasks. Other advisors have taken advantage of ScheduleOnce, allowing clients to view availability synced straight from a calendar, then set up meetings with automated reminders that link to a video portal such as Zoom or GoToMeeting.

What other tools can you use to thrive in our new digital environment? Our Business Consulting team has lots of ideas for how you can improve the efficiencies in your office.

Is Your Home Office Environment Working for You?

By Daxs Stadjuhar, Managing Partner and Chief Risk Officer

When I first started using my webcam as the primary way I connected with advisors and prospects, I had just moved into my new house. My home office was barely set up; the comforts I had come to rely on like a standing desk, multiple monitors, and a large space where I could shut the door away from the world were gone. Instead, over my shoulder you could see the door leading to my living room and a bookcase crowded with family portraits. One day my wife and four kids paraded past on their way out the door while I was on a big team meeting. The next, I caught the way my face looked on a particularly important call—washed out and exhausted under my 1000-watt bulbs. Was this the way I wanted to represent my business?

While many of us are dealing with similar situations and a certain level of forgiveness can and should take place, I did not feel like I could bring my typical level of professionalism to my interactions, and it was affecting my energy and drive. The days of hopping on a plane to finalize a deal or walking into an office for an audit are on pause. The way we connect has changed for the foreseeable if not the permanent future, and so, too, has the way I engage with my virtual environment.

Last month, I invested in recessed lighting for my home office. I bought the standing desk, threw a fresh coat of paint on the walls, and organized my bookcase. I know to shut the door when I am on a video call. I kept a few of the family portraits up—some change is for the better.

It is important to adapt with the times and accept that while we might not love the virtual environment, there are ways to make it work for us. At The Network, let us work with you to discover how to harness your workspace and channel that energy into your engagements with clients, colleagues, and prospects. Just because we are at home does not mean we need to feel like anything less than our best professional self.