asset protection wealth management

Strategic Alliances


Wayne Schmidt, CFA®
Chief Investment Officer of Gradient Investments, LLC

In 2008, Wayne brought 30 years of institutional investment experience to the private clients of Gradient Investments. During his tenure at AXA Investment Managers, Wayne served as senior portfolio manager for the U.S. Investment Grade Fixed Income Team. As the lead portfolio manager, he managed $9.5 billion of fixed income assets with a variety of mandates ranging from aggregate, corporate and government bond portfolios.
Wayne has been quoted on the subject of the global economy in numerous nationally and internationally recognized investment publications such as Bloomberg, Reuters and The Los Angeles Times. He is a Chartered Financial AnalystTM and a member of The Chartered Financial Analyst Institute and the Twin Cities Society of Security Analysts.


Michael Binger, CFA®
Senior Portfolio Manager of Gradient Investment, LLC

Mike brings over 24 years of institutional equity investment experience to Gradient Investments and its affiliated advisors and clients. He has extensive experience working directly with financial advisors designing and actively managing portfolios. Mike has successfully invested in numerous market and economic cycles giving him a level and depth of experience that is rare in this industry. He spent more than 20 years at Thrivent Financial where he managed numerous equity funds through various economic cycles. Mike’s media highlights include numerous appearances, providing market insight on CNBC, Bloomberg TV and Bloomberg Radio.
Mike has also been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Smart Money, Reuters, Business Week and numerous other local, national and global investment publications.


Mariann Montagne, CFA®
Senior Investment Analyst of Gradient Investment, LLC

Mariann has 20 plus years of working with both institutional and high net worth clients and has amassed a strong breadth of investment experience in her tenure. This experience includes company and industry sector analysis, risk monitoring and portfolio management in both the equity and fixed income markets. She is highly attuned to economic and market conditions, and has extensive experience selecting individual stocks, ETFs and mutual funds. In addition to being a CFA, she is a member of both the CFA Society of Minnesota and the CFA Institute. Mariann’s media highlights include quotes in Barron’s, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, NPR, Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on Bloomberg TV and Fox Business News.


Owner, president and chief tax strategist of Stovall and Associates, Ltd.

With over 20 years of experience, Nick brings decades of private industry accounting, public accounting, business taxation, IRA taxation, technical taxation, tax law and tax policy knowledge to the organization. With an in-depth knowledge of the financial services industry and understanding of the complex demands of diverse business settings, he provides an invaluable perspective on the intricate relationships between tax and business issues. Nick holds his series 27, 7, and 66, as well as his life and health license. Nick remains active in the accounting industry and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MnCPA) and the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). Nick is a member of Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisor Group.

Kris Boyd

Kris Boyd is a vibrant estate planning attorney whose practice concentrates on advising clients in preparing their assets for protection and distribution through wills, trusts, powers of attorney, living wills and guardianships. Kris has been featured in magazines such as Little Rock Family and AY and on radio shows like The Family Money Show and The David Lukas Show. Kris is also the author of the popular article “Heir-ors In Judgment” featured in legal websites and journals. Kris graduated from the Oklahoma City University School of Law with his Juris Doctorate after graduating from the University of Arkansas with a major in Communications and a minor in Political Science. Kris clerked for Douglas W. Coy in Little Rock, Arkansas, who specializes in the areas of estate planning and tax law. Kris also clerked for Jerry Kirksey & Associates in Edmond, Oklahoma. He was also an associate attorney for the firms of Zlotogura & Zlotogura and Looney, Nichols & Johnson in Oklahoma City, OK, where Kris gained extensive experience in the area of civil litigation. Kris is licensed to practice law in the States of Arkansas and Oklahoma. Kris serves on the Board of Directors for the Central Arkansas Hope Ambassadors for The American Cancer Society and the Wilbur D. Mills Treatment Center Fundraising Board. Additionally, Kris is a guest presenter for seminars on estate planning, designated beneficiaries and asset protection. [/bootstrap]

John F. Hughes (Fred)
Independent Health Insurance Advisor

Fred has worked in customer service all his life. He was in the grocery business for 26 years with his final position being Store Director for Albertsons in St. Augustine Florida. In 2005 his store was sold and he wanted to start a new career. He became a captive agent for an insurance company in Florida. After a trip back home to visit his parents in Arkansas in 2006, Fred and his wife decided to move back to Arkansas for him to continue his career as an independent insurance agent and to help take care of his and his wife’s parents.

A few of the Companies he has been appointed with as an independent agent is Blue Cross, Aetna, Humana and United Health. He is very familiar with the different plans that are offered by the companies in order to better serve his clients. He is now on Medicare himself which puts him in the unique position to understand the needs of his clients and help them through the confusing choices they need to make.

He also understands the needs of the family, because he is helping to raise his 3 grandchildren, a grandson and twin granddaughters. The new plans with the Affordable Care Act have changed the landscape of health insurance for family’s and individuals. Fred has been working with his clients on the Marketplace since its conception and has been staying up to date on new and developing issues.