The Gradient Financial Group family of companies maintains a holistic and comprehensive product platform that ensures you have the ability to present your clients with the best possible fit for their situation.

Gradient Insurance Brokerage

Gradient Insurance Brokerage (GIB) is an independent insurance marketing organization offering fixed annuities and life insurance. GIB maintains a distinct separation of life and annuity product lines to ensure expertise and specialized attention. Our product lines offer your clients the opportunity to design the future they desire by helping provide them with financial protection, preservation and prosperity in retirement.

About Us


As a financial services professional, you have an obligation to educate and assist your clients so they can make wise financial decisions. We are committed to providing you with a virtual home office, unparalleled business-building support, specialized expertise, proven marketing systems, and comprehensive value-added professional and educational services that meet the needs of today’s senior population.

Our Commitment to You


It is our holistic approach to providing proprietary resources owned within our Gradient Financial Group family of companies that truly separates us from the competition. Our offerings include: fixed annuities; life insurance; securities; proprietary managed portfolios; compliant KonnexME technology platform; unbiased client recommendations and case support through Case Central; tax strategy; creative design and media services; and a compliance consulting entity to assist with regulatory oversight – based on your desired business model. This powerful approach ensures you are prepared to meet any opportunity head-on and dominate your marketplace by satisfying the needs of your clients and prospects in a distinguished and professional manner.

Our Core Value-Adds


We understand your practice has distinct strengths and weaknesses. Taking advantage of our platform affords you more than just the traditional services you expect from a marketing organization, such as comprehensive case design and new business and transfer processing. Our comprehensive approach provides you with a robust and diverse array of both product and service-based solutions.

Supportive Services


The benefit of our platform starts with our comprehensive suite of supportive services. An important aspect of providing the highest quality service to your clients is ensuring all transactions are executed accurately and efficiently. Each application is reviewed independently by two different team members on our dedicated new business team to ensure all paperwork is complete and accurate. Our team is experienced with a wide variety of carriers, which ensures that neither you nor your client hit any unexpected delays.

For life insurance cases, our dedicated life insurance new business team is augmented by our in-house head underwriter. For clients with challenging health situations, we work with the underwriting teams at the insurance company to pre-screen your client and find the best product for them. When your business is processed by the life insurance or annuity new business teams, you can focus more of your time on interfacing with your clients and understanding their needs, and less time on managing the administrative aspects of your practice.

Business Coaching


When it comes to serving your clients and growing your business, you need to have more than just the right tools – you also need to know the right way to use them. We take great pride in providing you with personalized and dedicated business coaching to ensure you have the support you need to provide your clients with the highest level of care. Our depth of knowledge and services is unmatched in the industry, and our expertise will not only help you understand the latest industry trends – but we’ll give you the processes and technology you need to be ready to meet them.

Gradient Securities

Gradient Securities, LLC is an independent broker-dealer and SEC registered investment advisor that offers an innovative approach to the sale of securities products and advisory services. The spirit of our approach is to inspire you to build your business with a vision for the future.

About Us


Today, you have to provide the best available financial solutions to your clients, and you need a partner that will help you reach for new heights and explore new possibilities in the securities world. It is invaluable to have a partner who is willing to invest in your growth by using both sales tools and vital resources that support your prospecting and planning processes.

We’re outside business activity friendly and understand you may not be selling only securities products. You have access to equities, debt securities, mutual funds, variable annuities, variable life insurance, non-traded and publicly-traded REITs, managed accounts, personal and business banking solutions, and 529 plans. Our clearing firm partner, RBC Correspondent Services, is the fourth-largest clearing firm for independent broker-dealers and one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies.

Our Commitment to You


You will have access to a diverse portfolio of financial products and services through our relationship with the Gradient Financial Group family of companies – including insurance, investment advisory services, asset management, our compliant KonnexME technology platform, unbiased case support through Case Central, and a creative and design firm. Access to this diversified financial platform allows us to provide you and your clients with financial expertise and extensive support.

At Gradient Securities, it is our role to provide you with the tools you need to grow your practice and to spend less time on administrative tasks. Our dedicated business consultants provide a broad range of support services to serve you and your clients.

If you are ready to forge a new path for your practice, we have prepared a map that will lead you to your goals.

Our Core Value-Adds


Many producers are frustrated with the lack of support that they receive from their broker-dealer or RIA firm. Oftentimes, firms are more focused on telling you what you can’t do rather than partnering with you to find compliant solutions that will help you to grow your practice. What are the biggest benefits that our producers enjoy?

We help you to build your brand, not ours, by providing you with access to a suite of pre-approved, turnkey prospecting and marketing systems. Regardless of your chosen method of marketing, we have pre-approved tools you can use to generate more prospects.

  • Pre-approved seminars - we’ll provide you with the presentations, workbooks and concrete calls-to-action that will help you make your seminars a success.
  • Multimedia – our compliance team works hand-in-hand with our affiliate Gradient Positioning Systems to provide you with cutting-edge prospecting and branding tools that use the latest technology.
  • Business and marketing plan coaching – our VPs of Marketing can help you design a business and marketing plan for your practice.
  • Direct mail partnerships – we’ve partnered with the industry’s leading direct mail companies. Contact us to learn more about our exclusive discounts.

Running several appointments a week can create a lot of additional work that has to be done to close the sale and help your clients. At Gradient Securities, we can help remove the majority of these tasks and give you back the time you need to grow your practice. Here’s how we can help:

  • Portfolio Analysis Review Service (PAR) – a written analysis of your prospect’s entire investment portfolio within a simple, easy-to-read report.
  • Hands-on case design and recommendations – our investment team will analyze your prospect’s portfolio and provide recommendations to improve their financial situation and close the sale.
  • Illustrations and hypotheticals – our sales support team will contact product providers and money managers to obtain client-specific reports and sales materials for you.
  • We know the products – our VPs of Marketing are well versed in the variety of product providers on our platform. We can guide you to the right solution for every case.
  • Coordination – based on your affiliation with the other Gradient Financial Group company members, we will coordinate to provide the ideal solution for your client including insurance, investments and advisory solutions.

Our back-office team is second to none. We understand that the service we provide not only impacts you but also your staff and clients.

  • New Business Team that will pre-scrub your applications.
  • All of our forms are available online through our gDrive, LaserApp and proprietary partnership with KonnexME, LLC.
  • Our online Dashboard gives you fingertip access to all of your business. You can view pending and paid business, look up client information, and pre-populate forms either through our system or via direct integration with LaserApp.

As part of a family of financial services companies, we understand a diverse range of outside business activities.

  • We have invested extensive resources in pre-approving numerous sales systems that can be branded for your practice.
  • You have access to our entire compliance team including our Chief Compliance Officer. We want you to feel comfortable to call us with questions.

Gradient Securities researched every clearing firm in the industry to find the right fit for you and your clients. We selected RBC Correspondent Services (RBC CS), a division of RBC Capital Markets, LLC, member NYSE/FINRA/SIPC, as our clearing partner not only because of their safety, technology platform and robust value-adds, but because they best matched the Midwest work ethic and relationship philosophy that we believe in.

For registered representative use only. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Gradient Securities, LLC (Arden Hills, MN 866-991-1539). Member FINRA/SIPC. Gradient Securities, LLC (a SEC Registered Investment Advisor) offers investment advisory services under the d.b.a. of Gradient Wealth Management. Gradient Securities, LLC and its advisors do not render tax, legal, or accounting advice.

Gradient Advisors

Gradient Advisors, LLC is an SEC registered investment advisor. Founded on the principle of fiduciary responsibility, Gradient Advisors provides tailored investment solutions based on your clients’ unique objectives, putting their interests above all else. These principles and standards are the cornerstone of our commitment to you and your clients.

About Us


We offer a diverse platform of investment options to address your clients’ financial goals, and provide them with sound investment advice and the best possible financial solutions.

We provide various investment product expertise and complete financial planning services. Our comprehensive understanding of the industry allows us to identify professional money managers who can build a portfolio that best suits your clients’ individual needs.

Through our relationship with the Gradient Financial Group family of companies, we also offer a comprehensive selection of financial products and services – including insurance, investment advisory services, securities, asset management, tax strategy, our compliant KonnexME technology platform, unbiased case support through Case Central, and a creative and design firm. It is our role to provide you with the tools necessary, allowing you to spend less time on administrative tasks and more time focusing on you and your business.

If you are ready to forge a new path for your practice, we have prepared a map that will lead you to your goals.

Our Commitment to You


The purpose of our business is to help you grow your business – and that is the measure of our success. We will invest in you when you are ready and provide you with the tools you need. That’s how we design our success, and it is our commitment to you.

We are passionate about providing the best possible support. You have access to a suite of proprietary tools and advanced technology solutions to assist in assessing your clients’ unique financial goals, evaluating their tolerance to risk, defining their asset allocation, and creating an individualized and comprehensive financial plan.

We offer valuable services that can help your clients:

  • Develop a personalized and comprehensive financial plan based on their needs
  • Assess their financial goals and investment time horizons
  • Evaluate their tolerance to risk and allocate their assets according to their customized plan
  • Analyze the risks of their current portfolio and offer them solutions
  • Understand their income planning goals and illustrate potential sources of newfound income
  • Plan their legacy and create generational wealth

Let us help your clients safely reach their desired destination, whether that is retirement, funding a worthwhile charitable endeavor, seeing their grandchildren off to college without accumulating significant student loans, or creating generational wealth.

Our Core Value-Adds


As a fiduciary, it is our goal and legal responsibility to put your clients’ interests first by helping them realize and accomplish their financial goals.

Our business philosophy is based on doing what is right for our investors. You will be provided with a clear set of guidelines for conducting business so your clients can be assured your business practices are compliant with the law and designed to serve their interests.

No two investors are alike. In order to help meet your clients’ financial needs, we use a personalized approach to investing. Our investment strategies are tailored to your clients' investment goals, desired return objectives, risk tolerance, time horizon and income needs.

Whether your clients’ financial goals are preserving principal, maximizing income, or accumulating capital, our third-party money managers have carefully designed a strategy to help them achieve their long-term financial goals.

At Gradient Advisors, it is our goal to ensure you spend less time on administrative tasks and more time focusing on your clients. Our dedicated business consultants provide you with a broad range of support services:

  • Managed Portfolio Selection
  • Adhere to Fiduciary and Suitability Standards
  • Case Design and Recommendations
  • Research
  • Industry and Regulatory Developments
  • Technology Solutions
  • Emerging Trends
  • Reports and Presentations

By providing the highest quality of care and support, we help you focus on your clients and make their financial goals a reality.

Our approach is to seek industry-leading and innovative professional money managers who have a proven track record for meeting the needs of investors. Our suite of managers gives you access to dozens of investment portfolios that span the full risk spectrum.

You are not tied to a single investment manager; rather, you have access to a comprehensive selection of portfolios. We offer the portfolios designed using the following investment vehicles:

  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)
  • Mutual Funds
  • Covered Calls

We engage with various money managers to help ensure we are providing the best resources available. Ask for more information about the additional money managers we engage.

For investment advisor representative use only. Investment advisory services offered through Gradient Advisors, LLC (Arden Hills, MN 877-885-0508), a SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Gradient Advisors, LLC and its advisors do not render tax, legal or accounting advice. Insurance products and services are offered through advisors as independent agent.

Gradient Investments

Gradient Investments, LLC is an independent, privately-owned, fee-based SEC registered investment advisor, providing professional money management services. We serve individuals, employer-sponsored pension plans, foundations, endowments, and corporations primarily through exchange traded funds (ETFs), options, and separately managed accounts.

About Us


We actively manage accounts through our proprietary Wright Investment Strategy, which is based on the principles of flight. The Wright brothers conquered this challenge by developing a scientific 3-Axis Control System that is still used today on fixed-wing aircrafts. We address investment challenges through a parallel 3-Axis Control System.

Active risk management is the foundation of our investment process. Risk exposure is defined as the potential deviation from an expected outcome. Standard deviation is used to measure the volatility of an investment. Higher standard deviation of an investment results in greater relative risk (and possible reward) due to uncertainty in the amount of return within the portfolio.

Our approach to risk exposure minimizes standard deviation, and our risk management strategy helps to ensure assets are actively monitored and balanced based on investors’ desired risk profiles.

Investment strategy is defined as a set of rules, behaviors or procedures that guide investors to select appropriate investment portfolios. Our tailored investment strategy is designed around personal risk tolerances, and our investment selection process within our proprietary model portfolios is client-focused. Unlike other investment managers who offer the same portfolio to every potential client, we take a different approach. We don’t force investors into arbitrary categories; we build portfolios tailored to individual objectives, risk tolerances and time horizons.

Investment performance is defined as the rate of return on an investment portfolio (given investors’ unique risk profiles). We measure investment performance against their goals and objectives. Our disciplined investment approach is shaped by a long-term investment focus, thorough due diligence, and a belief that broad diversification across and within asset classes is essential for long-term success. Our portfolios are designed to yield higher annual returns and less volatility relative to their respective benchmarks.

Our Investment Performance Axis uses calculated charting, sophisticated performance reporting, and our proprietary investment tool, Portfolio Pilot. This invaluable tool provides the opportunity to visualize the relationship between risk (standard deviation) and reward (return).

Our Core Value-Adds


  • Ranked 12th out of 520 RIA firms* – Top 3 percent – for NET NEW ACCOUNTS, a measure of how many clients are opening new accounts with Gradient Investments
  • Ranked 34th out of 520 RIA firms* – Top 7 percent – for CHANGE IN TOTAL ASSETS UNDER MANAGEMENT, a measure of growth in total dollars managed by Gradient Investments
  • Team of CFAs with over 75 years combined institutional investment experience
  • Access to RIA Registrar for registration and compliance services
  • Total assets under management approximately $1 billion

For investment advisor representative use only. *The facts and data herein is calculated and reported by a third party, Orion Advisory Services, LLC, year-to-date through 8.31.2015. The data does not represent all RIA firms rather a subset of RIAs/money managers who use the services of Orion. Orion and Gradient Investments are not affiliated entities. This data should not be used as the sole basis for making any investment decision. Please consult your investment advisor and for more information on Gradient Investments, please request a copy of our ADV Part 2A.

Our Investment Professionals


Wayne Schmidt, CFA®

Chief Investment Officer | 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 Analyst® and a member of The Chartered Financial Analyst Institute and the Twin Cities Society of Security Analysts.

Michael Binger, CFA®

Senior Portfolio Manager | Gradient Investments, LLC

Mike brings over 28 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 investment experience in numerous market and economic cycles giving him a level and depth of experience that you don’t typically find 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 | Gradient Investments, LLC

Mariann has 25 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.

Our Portfolios


Asset Allocation
  • Fixed Income Series
  • ETF Endowment Series
Tactical
  • Gradient Tactical Rotation (GTR)
Strategic
  • Gradient 50 Dividend Portfolio
  • Gradient 33 Growth Portfolio
  • Absolute Yield Portfolio
  • Covered Call Income Portfolio
  • Controlled Volatility
  • Precious Metals Portfolio