No Barriers, Says Guardian's First Female Top Producer



Guardian Life has named financial advisor Michele Lee Fine as the company’s top producer in “total financial planning,” the first time a woman has won the honor in the company’s 153-year history.

“We are thrilled to announced Michele as the first women to achieve this milestone,” Deanna M. Mulligan, Guardian president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. Mulligan further praised Fine as the “epitome of hardworking professionalism,” and for inspiring other financial advisors in the field.

Fine, a member of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), is an advisor with Strategies for Wealth, a wealth management and planning agency with headquarters in Woodbury, N.Y., and offices in Rye Brook, N.Y., and New York City.

"It's a big honor and it clearly is a sign that I have been able to break through any glass ceiling," Fine said in an interview with InsuranceNewsNet. "I don't feel that I really have any barriers. There are still some old boys' networks within the committees but I think I'm even breaking the mold there."

Fine also said she has consistently been among the top producers for Guardian over the past few years, but in 2012 she broke through as the top producer.

Fine, who works with about 150 other Strategies for Wealth advisors and producers, also said one of the most satisfying aspects of her work is to have a “fulfilling career with purpose.” She has represented Strategies for Wealth, a Guardian agency, for the past 13 years and has recently opened her own firm, Cornerstone Wealth Advisory, she also said.

She specializes in estate planning, retirement planning, asset maximization, pension, insurance and succession plan design, group benefits and wealth management, and has about $500 million under management, she said.

U.S. Department of Labor statistics published in April list 206,800 personal financial advisors employed in the U.S. in 2010. Separate estimates calculate that roughly 30 percent of personal financial advisors in the U.S. are women.

“Being a financial representative has enabled me to build a fulfilling career with purpose, with which I can directly impact the lives of my clients,” Fine also said. “My results are a testament to the hard work I have put into my career, and the good that trusted professionals could do to help everyone achieve their financial goals.”

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Fine is a graduate of New York University. She is licensed to sell insurance in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Florida, California, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C.

is a writer based in Pennsylvania. He has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. He can be reached at [email protected].

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