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Cetera’s Advanced Planning Group, made up of highly credentialed legal and financial professionals, is one of our key resource partners. Their consultative approach provides technical and legal guidance to support our creation of your financial strategy in areas such as:
STANLEY R. SMILEY, ESQ. Senior Vice President, Advanced Planning Group
Utilizing more than 40 years of legal and estate planning experience, Stan and his team provide consultative services for select financial professionals, who are focused on tax planning for highly compensated individuals, and estate planning and wealth preservation strategies for high-net-worth clients and family wealth transfers.
A former partner of a Los Angeles-based law firm, Stan served as counsel for small and multibillion qualified pension and welfare benefit plans, private trusts and foundations. He also held positions within the Office of Chief Counsel of the Internal Revenue Service in New Jersey and California. He was a part-time instructor of business law at the University of Maryland and an adjunct professor for Golden Gate University’s Masters of Taxation Program. He also had the opportunity to serve as a judge advocate in the U.S. Air Force and has been a featured lecturer and commentator for various legal subjects on the Armed Forces Radio Network. Stan has been a platform speaker at several events in his areas of expertise.
He is a member of the Real Property, Probate and Trusts Section and the Taxation Section of the American Bar Association, and serves on its committee of Tax Standards and Exempt Organizations. He is licensed to practice law in New York and California and is admitted to the United States Tax Court. He also maintains memberships in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bar Associations. He currently serves on the CFP Board’s Business Model Council.
Stan earned a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and was a Dean’s List honoree and law review associate editor while earning a law degree from St. John’s University School of Law in New York. He maintains an insurance license and holds Series 7, 24 and 63 securities registrations.
ZARINA SULLIVAN Senior Advanced Planning Consultant
As an Advanced Planning Group consultant, Zarina is responsible for providing advice and support for financial advisors on numerous complex financial planning subjects. Her range of expertise includes areas such as retirement and education saving strategies, charitable giving planning issues, estate planning and wealth transfer, and tax issues, to name a few. In her spare time, Zarina provides financial education and counseling to U.S. military members and their families.
Previously, Zarina lived and worked in China for several years, and upon returning to the United States, she was employed by Fidelity in both advisory and consulting roles. She then became a financial planning analyst for an RIA in Pasadena.
Zarina is originally from Belarus. She relocated to the United States to pursue her MBA with a minor in finance at Tarleton State University, a subsidiary of the Texas A&M System. Prior to earning her MBA, she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English and English Literature from Minsk State Linguistic University in Belarus. She has held her CFP® since 2013. She also holds Series 7, 9, 63 and 66 securities registrations in addition to possessing an insurance license.
ROBERT H. POTHIER, ESQ. Attorney, Advanced Planning Group
Robert is responsible for providing specialized advice and support to financial professionals. His area of expertise include: retirement planning, estate planning, charitable planning, and federal income taxation.
Prior to joining Cetera, Robert was an advanced planning attorney with Pacific Life and John Hancock Financial. Robert is known for his industry expertise, communication skills and his ability to develop relationships with financial professionals and clients alike. He has traveled extensively with field wholesalers, delivered seminars and presentations for financial professionals and their clients.
Robert holds a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School, and a B.A. from Boston College majoring in political science, both located in Massachusetts. Robert is a CFP® and a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association.
JEFF BJORNSON Senior Advanced Planning Consultant
Jeff Bjornson is a senior Advanced Planning consultant in the Advanced Planning group for Cetera Financial Group, a leading network of independent broker-dealer firms. Cetera is the second largest independent financial advisor network in the nation by the number of advisors, as well as a leading provider of retail services to the investment programs of banks and credit unions.
Jeff is responsible for providing advice and support for financial professionals on numerous complex financial planning subjects. His range of expertise includes areas such as retirement and education saving strategies, charitable giving planning issues, estate planning and wealth transfer, and tax issues, to name a few.
Prior to joining Cetera, he led the Financial Planning and Alternative Investments team with HD Vest Financial Services and worked as the Vice President of Operations and Technology for an RIA in St. Louis, MO. Jeff has been in the financial industry for over 24 years.
Jeff Bjornson obtained his BBA in Banking and Finance from Mississippi State University and his MS in Data Analytics from Maryville University. He has been a CFP® professional since 2003 and holds the CLU® designation. He holds Series 7 and 66 securities registrations, as well as Missouri Insurance license.