Profiles of Four Under 40 winners appear in September/October 2014 issue of Advisor Today
Advisor Today magazine has recognized four financial advisors with the “Four Under Forty Award,” given annually to four outstanding advisors who achieve excellence in their profession by or before the age of 40. The advisors will be profiled in the September/October 2014 issue of Advisor Today, which will be distributed to attendees of NAIFA’s 2014 Career Conference and Annual Meeting in San Diego in September.
Advisor Today, published bimonthly by the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, solicits nominations of NAIFA members with successful careers and strong commitments to family and community.
“We are proud to recognize these rising stars in our industry,” says Ayo Mseka, Advisor Today’s editor-in-chief. “The 2014 recipients of this award are hard-working and dedicated NAIFA members, with an unwavering commitment to professional excellence.”
The 2014 Four Under Forty Award recipients are:
*Deanna Brown, CFP, CDFA
Ullman Financial, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
At age 15, life took a tragic turn for Deanna Brown and her family. Affluent and living in the Northeast, Brown’s father suffered a serious accident that left him unable to work for a year, and his wife in unstable health. With no disability income insurance, the family business closed. While living on welfare and food stamps, the family of five relocated to Jacksonville, Fla., where they eventually rebuilt their lives. Such life lessons instilled in Brown a passion to help others prepare for life’s unexpected occurrences with sound financial planning. At age 37, Brown owns her own business with $269 million in assets under management. Her company, Ullmann Financial Group, was named the “Premier Advisor” in Northeast Florida by Jacksonville Magazine’s 904 for the second year in a row.
*Daniel J. O’Connell, MBA
Benefit Resource Group, Dallas
Like many of today’s Four Under 40 recipients, Danny O’Connell joined the industry in a post 9/11 market that brought financial challenges to just about every area of financial services, especially the ability to create new accounts. But O’Connell seized the challenges and mastered the art of what often turns off new recruits: cold-calling. As he notes, “(cold calling) taught me work ethic. It taught me about the things you need to do to be successful in this industry, what I was good at, and my strengths and weaknesses. In September 2001, O’Connell was the financial advisor of the month, opening more accounts than anybody else at the Dallas-based money-management firm. At 36, O’Connell is a partner at Benefit Resources Group in Dallas. He sits on the board of NAIFA-Dallas and heads planning and development for the chapter. He has made MDRT for eight years in a row, with five Court of the Table qualifications.
Jason Peplinski MBA, FSS, LUTCF
Independent Financial Advisor, FP Wealth Management, Inc.
NAIFA-Cornhusker (Lincoln, NE)
A high school class in personal finance led Jason Peplinski on a professional path to a career in financial services. At age 36, Peplinski has built a financial practice with nearly $150 million of assets under management. According to his nominator, Peplinski faced a number of hurdles when starting out in the business in the early 2000s: from the tech bubble and the “do not call” regulations, to the recession of 2008-2009. “To help neutralize the recession threat, Jason worked tirelessly to communicate with all his clients to get them through the recession,” his nominator wrote. Today, Peplinski is an MDRT qualifier, a recipient of the NAIFA Quality Award, and he expects to obtain his CFP and ChFC designations later this year. Peplinski is active in NAIFA state and local associations, serving as a past state board member and past president of NAIFA-Cornhusker (Lincoln). He is also a LILI graduate, an LUTC moderator and a speaker at NAIFA state and local conferences.
Upon graduating from the University of Mississippi in 2007, Taylor Sledge joined the financial- services industry at age 22, but he wasn’t sure this was the career for him. However, just weeks into his new job, Sledge delivered his first life insurance death claim to a widow who wept as she accepted the checks. It was then that he realized the difference the industry made in people’s lives. “That’s when I realized that this business is not only a way to make a living, but an opportunity to really help people and do something positive for them, as well,” Sledge says. Seven years later, at age 29, Sledge has led the state of Mississippi in overall production for three years in a row. He is president-elect of NAIFA-Jackson. He also was the New York Life Rookie of the Year in 2007, its New Associate of the Year in 2008, a member of its Executive Council in 2008-10, its President’s Council in 2011, and its Chairman’s Council each year since 2012. In addition, he’s been an MDRT member each year since 2008 and is a qualifying member of the Court of the Table.
Look for the cover story of these outstanding advisors in the September/October 2014 issue of Advisor Today.