News, Events and Community Involvement

NAIFA Names 2017-2018 Officers, Trustees

Falls Church, VA (September 13, 2017) — The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors has announced its new officers and trustees slated to serve the association for the 2017-18 term.

NAIFA’s new president is Keith M. Gillies, CFP, CLU, ChFC, of Ameritas in La Place, La. Gillies becomes president after serving one-year terms as president-elect and secretary.

“This is an important and exciting year for NAIFA, as we focus on continuing to implement our NAIFA 20/20 strategic plan and look forward to gaining approval to launch its second phase, the NAIFA Quality Member Experience,” Gillies said. “I am honored to serve NAIFA at such a meaningful time in our association’s history and am encouraged by the fact that my colleagues joining me on the Executive Committee and Board of Trustees have the talent, dedication, and leadership to move NAIFA forward and provide the greatest possible benefit for our members.”

Joining Gillies on NAIFA’s Executive Committee are: President-elect Jill M. Judd, LUTCF, FSS, of State Farm Insurance Companies in Capitola, Calif.; Treasurer Matthew S. Tassey, CLU, ChFC, LUTCF, of Principal Financial Group in Portland, Maine; and Secretary Cammie K. Scott, LUTCF, REBC, RHU, of CK Harp & Associates in Springdale, Ark.

The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to convene a special meeting of the NAIFA National Council on May 22, 2018, in Washington, D.C., on the first day of NAIFA’s Congressional Conference. The Council will consider a revision of NAIFA’s bylaws to reflect the direction of the NAIFA 20/20 strategic plan in general and the recommendations of the Quality Member Experience Task Force in particular. The Council had been scheduled to meet and vote on the proposal at NAIFA’s 2017 Performance + Purpose conference in Orlando, Fla., which was cancelled due to Hurricane Irma.

After serving his one-year term as president, Paul R. Dougherty, LUTCF, FSS, HIA, of State Farm Insurance Companies in Hyattsville, Md., becomes immediate past president and will remain a member of NAIFA’s Executive Committee.

Elected to serve on the board for the first time are: Connie Golleher, CLTC, of The Golleher Group in McLean, Va.; Ryan J. Pinney, of The Pinney Insurance Center in Roseville, Calif.; and John Wheeler, Jr., CFP, CLU, ChFC, CRPC, LUTCF of Water Tower Financial Partners, LLC in Chicago.

Elected to serve on the board for a second term are: Todd G. Grantham, CFP, CLU, ChFC, MSFS, of the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network in Durham, N.C.; and Bryon A. Holz, CLU, ChFC, LUTCF, CASL, of Bryon Holz & Associates in Brandon, Fla.

Appointed to one-year terms on the Board of Trustees are: Lawrence J. Holzberg, LUTF, of Wealth Advisory Group LLC in New York; and Delvin L. Joyce, CLU, ChFC, of Prudential in Charlotte, N.C.

Remaining on the board as trustees are: David A. Beaty, CLU, ChFC, LUTCF of Heartland Financial Services in Cedar Falls, Iowa; Brock T. Jolly, CFP, CLU, ChFC, of Capitol Financial Partners in Vienna, Va.; Thomas O. Michel of Michel Financial Group in Los Angeles; Charles M. Olson, CLU, ChFC, of OCI Financial in Omaha, Neb.; and Gregory T. Toscano, LUTCF of Johnson Insurance Consultants in Duluth, Minn.

In addition to rescheduling the National Council vote, the Board of Trustees voted to extend the scope of the NAIFA Hurricane Relief Fund to provide assistance to insurance and financial advisors impacted by hurricanes in 2017. For more information or to donate to the fund, please visit the fund’s home page online (

Albany, NY - November 14, 2016

Albany, NY - October 13, 2016: NAIFA-NYS Letter to the Editor 

NAIFA-NYS today sent the following Letter to the Editor of USA Today,
in response to a financial advice column - "Deck is stacked against Millennial savers:  Here's how to succeed" - that encouraged purchase of life insurance.

To the Editor:  

Finally, a financial advice column in a mainstream newspaper that extols the virtues of life insurance as a solid investment for Millennials.  Thank you to Jeff Reeves for showing, in his October 13 “Deck is stacked against Millennial savers:  Here’s how to succeed” column, that life insurance is not only still relevant but also critical for Millennials to achieve their life dreams.  

There are many opportunities for Millennials, and members of all generations, to secure their financial futures with private-sector financial products. ‎Notwithstanding the current infatuation with state-run retirement plans, many of which do not avail themselves of the vibrant financial products marketplace, along with other significant reservations, we believe that the best answer to the question of economic security is still the private life insurance and financial products sector.  

Government policy can do much more for everyone if it promoted and protected private-sector solutions rather than competing with the expertise of the tax-paying‎, job-providing insurance and financial services industries with government-sponsored retirement plans. As if Social Security and Obamacare aren't enough to punctuate this point, the track record of financial advisors and insurance agents should drive home the point that the private sector, and not government, is still the best solution to many of our issues.  

Lawrence Holzberg, LUTCF
President, National Association of Insurance and Financial Professionals - NYS

Albany, NY - August 2, 2016: Wealth Advisory Group Albany Grand Opening

Amy Salo, Managing Partner of Wealth Advisory Group - Albany, cut the ceremonial ribbon at the opening of their brand new office. Congratulations to Amy and her whole team!

Albany, NY - May 17, 2016: NAIFA New York State Annual Conference 

NAIFA New York State President Larry Holzberg, Managing Director from WAG NYC, and Jason Lurie from WAG Albany, presented during the NAIFA-NYS Annual Conference from May 15 through May 17, 2016, in Albany, NY. The “Day on the Hill” provided an exciting opportunity for NAIFA members to come to Albany and learn from members of State government and their staff on what NAIFA-NYS is and why it is such an important part of this great state’s community of professionals. To learn more about the benefits of a membership with NAIFA, visit!

New York, NY - May, 2016: New York Firms Wealth Advisory Group and Sound Wealth Financial Group Merge Creating a Regional Powerhouse 

Wealth Advisory Group LLC®, a Manhattan-based Financial Services firm, and Sound Wealth Financial Group, a Long Island-based Financial Services firm, today announced the completion of their merger, creating a strong regional presence with six offices serving the Tri-state area and upstate New York. The merged company, operating under the Wealth Advisory Group name (, now serves more than 33,000 clients with over $14 billion in life insurance benefits in force, and over $2.4 billion in client policy and account values administered as of December 31, 2015.

“We’re growing from a position of strength by creating a major regional firm that supports mission-driven advisors by providing them with the best infrastructure and resources to build entrepreneurial businesses within The Guardian Network®,” said Howard Elias, managing partner at Wealth Advisory Group and past president of General Agents and Managers Association (GAMA) International.

“This merger brings together two organizations with shared values, highly skilled advisors with decades of experience who complement each other’s strengths and have a mutual commitment to helping meet the financial goals of our clients,” said Adam Kaufman, former managing partner of Sound Wealth Financial Group and current managing partner at Wealth Advisory Group. “It allows us to leverage the expertise and insight of the specialists and staffs from each business to better serve our clients through the creation of a new financial powerhouse in wealth protection and management.”

The joining of Wealth Advisory Group (offices in New York City and Rockland County) and Sound Wealth Financial Group (offices in Woodbury and Hauppauge) enables the combined firm to increase its pool of talent and expertise to better serve clients. Other offices are located in Princeton (New Jersey) and Albany, led by managing partner Amy Salo.

The merger is in line with the firm’s efforts to tap growth opportunities and build distribution. It opens the door to attracting the best professionals throughout the financial services community, and offers an exciting, new opportunity for those considering a career change.

“We know how important it is to build the next generation of leaders in the financial services industry,” Elias stated. “The key to Wealth Advisory Group’s mission is our people. They’re the biggest asset to this firm, and we’re committed to providing the education, support systems, and leadership to guarantee our advisors’ success.”

Kaufman added, “This alliance demonstrates our commitment to our clients. We’re now a firm comprised of well over 100 advisors all working to provide a full range of planning solutions, including insurance, retirement and investments, tailored specifically for the clients to help them reach their financial goals.”

Elias continued, “The union of Wealth Advisory Group and Sound Wealth Financial Group enables the firm to increase its talent and expertise to better serve the community. Together, we offer our clients knowledge in virtually every aspect of life insurance and income protection, retirement distribution planning, and wealth management.”

About Wealth Advisory Group, LLC

For more than 85 years, Wealth Advisory Group has been guiding individuals and businesses through every stage of the financial life cycle. The firm’s philosophy is rooted in common sense and a proven track record of intelligent financial planning. Its offerings range from life insurance, disability income insurance, annuities, and investments to estate planning, and 401(k) plans. For more information, visit Wealth Advisory Group’s website: and Facebook page:

Wealth Advisory Group is an agency of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® (Guardian), one of the largest mutual life insurers and a leading provider of protection products and employee benefits.

Securities products and advisory services offered through Park Avenue Securities LLC (PAS), member FINRA, SIPC. PAS is an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Guardian. This firm is not an affiliate or subsidiary of PAS. 2016-22972 Exp 5/17

Includes owners of in force life, disability income, long-term care policies as well as all securities accounts.

Represents in force cash values for life insurance and market values of all securities accounts as of 12/31/2015. Market values of securities accounts are subject to significant changes due to market conditions. The values provided should not be used in making a determination on the quality of services provided by representatives of this agency.

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