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Investing in Education

December, 2022- Insight Financial Partners, LLC is proud to partner with Barron’s in their Nationwide Investing in Education program. We are grateful for the opportunity to sponsor North Central College and the Center for Financial Literacy led by Dr. Ryan Decker.

Insight Financial Partners, LLC

Insight Financial Partners, LLC and LPL Financial are not affiliated with any other referenced entity. 


PITTSBURGH, October 5, 2022 – CEFEX, the Centre for Fiduciary Excellence, LLC, has renewed the certification of Insight Financial Partners, LLC of Crystal Lake, Illinois, to the international standard, ISO 19011: Guideline for quality and environmental system auditing, and is adjusted to align with the needs of the investment industry, “Prudent Practices for Investment Advisors”. Insight Financial Partners, LLC remains part of an elite group of investment advisory firms which are certified in this global program. 

 The standard describes how an Investment Advisor assumes the responsibility for managing a client’s overall investment management process, which includes the selection, monitoring and de-selection of investment managers, as well as developing processes to implement investment strategies and fiduciary practices on an ongoing basis.  According to the Managing Director of the Centre for Fiduciary Excellence, Carlos Panksep, “Maintaining certification requires a continued adherence to the industry’s best practices. This is verified through our annual renewal assessment.”

 Insight Financial Partners, LLC is certified as an investment advisory firm to employer sponsored qualified retirement plans. Insight Financial Partners, LLC is registered at, where the firm’s certificate can also be viewed.

 “We are very dedicated to the confirmation of our commitment to the fiduciary standards of excellence,” said Michael Smith, Founder and Managing Partner of the firm. “We greatly appreciate the Centre for Fiduciary Excellence’s annual assessment of our practice and service model. We are committed to the optimization of our client’s plan health and participant outcomes, and we are proud to be recognized as a member of this elite community of firms that are certified in this global program for the fifth consecutive year.” 

The standard is substantiated by legislation, case law and regulatory opinion letters from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the Investment Advisor’s Act of 1940, Uniform Prudent Investor Act (UPIA), Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (UPMIFA) and the Uniform Management of Public Employee Retirement Systems Act (MPERS) in the U.S. 


A full copy of the standard can be downloaded from CEFEX at and a summary can be viewed by clicking on Insight Financial Partners, LLC’s on-line CEFEX certificate. 

Puzzle Wealth Solutions Celebrates One Year Anniversary with Expected Growth to $2 Billion in Assets Under Management by Year End

Independent Wealth Management Firm’s Success Credited to Internal Team, Strategic Partnerships, and Fiduciary Business Model


SCHAUMBURG, IL [06/21/2022] -  Puzzle Wealth Solutions (Puzzle), an independently owned and operated wealth management company headquartered in Schaumburg, celebrates their one year anniversary on June 11, 2022. By partnering with powerhouse companies Gladstone Wealth Partners (Gladstone),  AZELLA Advisor (Azella), and Insight Financial Partners (Insight), Puzzle is set to surpass their 2022 expectations.

The 11-person team reached approximately $1 billion in client assets under management (AUM) in the first six months of operations, bringing about 90% of their clients to the new company after core team members left a national financial services firm to establish their own privately-held wealth management firm. Puzzle is expected to surpass $2 billion AUM in 2022 and is actively seeking additional financial professionals to join the Puzzle team through their Puzzle Wealth Partners solution, which offers pre-transition, transition, and post-transition support for fellow financial advisors seeking a more efficient, client-first business model.

“Every advisor is different. That’s why every partnership we form is so unique,” said  Karoline O’Connor, Business Development at Puzzle. “Come as you are. We’ll find your fit. We’ll help you figure out how to put the pieces of your business together, even explore options you didn’t even know you had. We remain custodian independent as we find the right fit for you. You might be just wanting to start your own practice, or maybe you are looking for ways to capitalize on your business as an asset. Either way we’re here to help.”



Communities, teams, and puzzles all have one thing in common: when they come together, they are greater than the sum of their parts.

Gladstone, a financial services firm and SEC Registered Investment Advisor that supports financial advisors nationwide, announced the partnership in June of 2021 as their latest recruiting victory. Kristopher Bonocore, President of Gladstone, said, “Partnerships and independence are what the relationship has offered. Growing stronger together has allowed us to expand our support and services to other advisors.”

Azella, a digital marketing platform and service solution for financial services firms and investment advisors, has been working with Puzzle and Gladstone to build out the Puzzle brand and establish a strong online presence. Gladstone and Azella have been working together on internal and external marketing initiatives since Azella's founding in 2020. "Azella helps independent financial advisors quickly – and powerfully – brand and market their firms with innovative, effective design and hyper-relevant content so that they can easily connect with clients who need professional financial planning and investment management services," said Azella CEO and Founder David Roberson.

The pairing with Insight, an advisory firm that specializes in the fiduciary support services of employer sponsored retirement plans, happened during Q1 2022. Insight’s Michael Smith, who leads the institutional consulting services for the wealth management firm, said, "Our relentless focus on the mitigation of fiduciary risk, combined with our uncompromising commitment to advise in the best interests of our plan participants and their beneficiaries are the cornerstones of what defines us as a partner,” said Michael K. Smith, Managing Partner.



Puzzle prides itself on finding solutions for their clients and advisors alike. They work diligently to be thought of as more than investment advisors. Clients can discuss a broad array of financial needs such as estate planning, business sales, refinancing homes, alternative investments, multi-generational dynamics and more. Puzzle will work to find a solution as they serve their high-net-worth clients and care for their most valuable assets.

The advisors who partner with Puzzle are an important part of solving client issues. The Puzzle team thinks unconventionally to create new solutions and clients are educated on every level. Puzzle’s philosophy is that each person’s financial needs are unique, therefore the solutions should be too.

“Puzzle advisors help solve pressing issues for clients. If you come in the door as a client, you know that we're agnostic, we're going to strive to find the best solution for you,” said Puzzle founder and CEO John Klaas Jr. “We see complex challenges as opportunities and it shows both in our name and in those we work with. From executive to practitioner, our expertise catering to those with specific and complex needs makes us particularly experienced to help you work toward reaching your goals. You hand us the puzzle and we’ll hand you a solution.”

Klaas and Puzzle President David Millington recently spoke with Mindy Diamond of Diamond Consultants. In this industry-specific podcast, Klaas stated, “Puzzle is not here to be small. Puzzle is here to grow and help the other financial advisors in our industry. Gladstone’s doing the same thing. They’re trying to allow people to become independent and pool together and create efficiencies with scale. We want to be a solutions group on top of the Gladstone network.”

Millington ended the podcast by stating that Puzzle has its sights set on $5 billion. “We want Puzzle to someday have more of a national footprint,” sharing that the company is exploring other states such as Florida, Texas, and Colorado.

Listen to the podcast in its entirety here:


Founded in 2021, Puzzle Wealth Solutions’ financial professionals offer advisory services through Gladstone Institutional Advisory, a registered investment advisor. Puzzle is a well-seasoned independent wealth management team working with executives, business owners, and practitioners to solve complex puzzles and create honest, efficient financial solutions. Puzzle CEO John Klaas started in 1988 as a solo practitioner, and the firm has grown into a 12-person team. Now based in Schaumburg, Ill., the Puzzle team focuses on financial planning, estate planning and portfolio management, with an understanding that this important work makes a significant impact in their clients’ lives. “We want our clients to trust us like their doctor, attorney or respected family member,” Klaas said. “We value what’s important to our clients and understand that money is just a tool so they can truly do what’s meaningful in their lives.” Learn more about Puzzle at



Founded in 2013, Gladstone Wealth Partners was created by advisors, for advisors in order to help them reach their maximum potential when going independent. Gladstone provides the necessary tools for advisors to have a complete independent business to include transition assistance, full-time compliance support, marketing assistance, human resources support, administrative assistance to name a few. Based in Chester, NJ, Gladstone Wealth Partners is a rapidly growing Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) with advisors nationwide. Gladstone helps advisors transition from running a practice to building a business, and ultimately receiving enterprise valuations. Securities are offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice is offered through Gladstone Institutional Advisory, LLC, a registered investment advisor. Gladstone Institutional Advisory, LLC and Puzzle Wealth Partners are separate entities from LPL Financial. Learn more at Learn more about Gladstone at



Insight Financial Partners, an advisory firm specializing in the fiduciary support services of employer sponsored retirement plans, collaborates with employer plan sponsors in an independent and objective manner, and is passionately dedicated to serving working Americans who we fundamentally believe they deserve to achieve financial independence and retire with dignity on their own terms. Learn more about



Founded in 2020, AZELLA Advisors (Azella) uses modern marketing communication strategies to empower established or transitioning independent advisors with the tools they need to succeed. Harnessing over 10 years of experience in marketing, branding, and development in the financial advisory industry, the Azella team has perfected a proven process for driving awareness and growth. The Azella Advisor Method enables advisors to quickly establish credibility and grow their businesses utilizing today’s innovative technology solutions coupled with Azella’s professional business development insights and marketing advice. Azella’s full-service SaaS marketing platform includes automated branding, dynamic website building, AI marketing and matchmaking for financial advisors. Learn more about Azella at


Puzzle Wealth Solutions, Gladstone, Insight Financial Partners, Azella Advisors and LPL Financial are separate entities.

Insight Financial Partners, LLC Earns Better Business Bureau Accreditation

Crystal Lake, IL–February, 2022 - Becoming an Accredited Business with the Better Business Bureau is an honor not accorded to all businesses; because not all businesses meet eligibility standards. Insight Financial Partners, LLC is pleased to announce today that it has met all BBB standards and is still an Accredited Business.

“Accreditation in the BBB is by invitation only” says Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “And only those businesses that meet our high standards and pass the review process are approved by our Board of Directors.”

As with all businesses that are Accredited by the BBB, Insight Financial Partners, LLC has committed to the BBB Code of Business Practices.  The Code is a comprehensive set of policies, procedures and best practices on how businesses treat consumers. These standards call for building trust, embodying integrity, advertising honestly and being truthful. Bernas adds “To maintain their Accreditation a business must be transparent, honor their promises, be responsive to their customers, and safeguard their privacy.”


“We are proud to be a BBB Accredited Business,” said Michael Smith, Managing Partner of Insight Financial Partners, LLC. “In today’s world it is imperative that our customers know how seriously we take our commitment to excellence and great customer service. Our achieving BBB Accreditation exemplifies that goal.”

Insight Financial Partners, LLC is an independent, Registered Investment Advisory firm that specializes in delivering retirement plan consulting, investment advisory and fiduciary support services to employer sponsored plan strategies (401(k), 403(b), Defined Benefit, College 529 Savings Plans, Student Loan Repayment Plans, Non-Qualified Plans and Foundations). “Our desire is to stay focused on what we do best; optimize employer sponsored plan health and participant outcomes through unsurpassed customer service,” said Smith.


For more information contact: Morgan Burkle at or (312) 897-3650.


About the Better Business Bureau: As a private, non-profit organization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureau is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by means of conciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising claims, online business practices and charitable organizations. BBBs develop and issue reports on businesses and nonprofit organizations and encourage people to check out a company or charity before making a purchase or donation.

NAPA Names Insight Financial Partners, LLC one of the Nation’s Top DC Advisor Teams for third consecutive year!

ARLINGTON, VA — The National Association of Plan Advisors has published its list of the nation’s top defined contribution (DC) Advisor Teams.  Insight Financial Partners, LLC, based in Crystal Lake, Illinois, has been named to this prestigious list for the third consecutive year.

Unlike other lists, this focuses on individual firms, or what may, in a wirehouse environment, be referred to as a team, or office, and the assets under advisement related to their defined contribution (DC) practice specifically. 

“We again appreciate the National Association of Plan Advisors’ recognition of Insight Financial Partners as one of the nation’s Top Defined Contribution Advisor firms for the third consecutive year”, said Michael Smith, Managing Partner, “We are committed to helping working Americans successfully prepare for their financial futures as they leverage their employer sponsored retirement plans to do so, and we are passionate about ensuring their financial wellness along the journey.”

“Since their inception, NAPA’s various industry lists have been a valuable Who’s Who of who matters in the world of retirement plans and retirement plan advisors,” noted Nevin Adams, Chief Content Officer of the American Retirement Association, and Editor-in-Chief of NAPA-Net, the nation’s leading online resource for retirement plan advisors.  “This latest chapter – the NAPA Top DC Advisor Teams, ranked by self-reported DC assets under advisement – presents a compelling case for the positive impact on the nation’s private retirement system”.

This year’s list, which focuses on teams with at least $100 million in AUA, represents more than $1.3 trillion in DC assets under advisement.  Significantly, those teams include more than 1500 advisors – and many more support personnel – working to help Americans prepare for a financially satisfying retirement in 40 states and Puerto Rico.  “As the nation’s leading voice for retirement plan advisors, we are pleased to highlight these contributions,” noted Adams. 

About the National Association of Plan Advisors

The National Association of Plan Advisors was created by and for retirement plan advisors. Membership is also open to other retirement industry professionals who support the interests of plan advisors. NAPA is the only advocacy group exclusively focused on the issues that matter to retirement plan advisors. NAPA is part of the American Retirement Association, based in the Washington, D.C. area. More information about NAPA is available at

Michael K. Smith named to 2020 Financial Times 401 Top Retirement Advisers

October 22, 2020 – Insight Financial Partners, LLC is pleased to announce that Michael K. Smith, Managing Partner, has been named to the 2020 edition of the Financial Times 401 Top Retirement Advisers. The list recognizes the top financial advisers who specialize in serving defined contribution (DC) retirement plans across the U.S.

This is the sixth annual FT 401 list, produced independently by Ignites Research, a division of Money-Media, Inc., on behalf of the Financial Times. Ignites Research provides business intelligence on investment management.

Financial advisers from across the U.S. applied for consideration, having met a set minimum of requirements. The applicants were then graded on six criteria: DC assets under advisement (AUA); DC AUA growth rate; specialization in DC plans; years of experience; advanced industry credentials; and compliance record. There are no fees or other considerations required of advisers who apply for the FT 401.

The final FT 401 represents an impressive cohort of elite advisers. The median DC plan assets administered by this year’s group is $800 million. These are true specialists as DC plans on average account for 86% of total client assets. The FT 401 advisers represent 41 states and Washington, D.C.

The FT 401 is one in a series of rankings of top advisers developed by the FT in partnership with Ignites Research, including the FT 300 (independent RIA firms) and the FT 400 (broker-dealer advisers).

Smith holds an extensive number of industry designations, including the Certified 401(k) Professional (C(k)P), Certified Plan Fiduciary Analyst (CPFA), Chartered Retirement Plan Specialist (CRPS), and the Accredited Investment Fiduciary Analyst (AIFA).

Insight Financial Partners is an independent, Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) that specializes in Retirement Plan Consulting, Investment Advisory and Fiduciary Support Services to the Employer Sponsored Plan market.

The firm is certified through CEFEX, the Centre for Fiduciary Excellence, to the international standard 19011: Guideline for quality and environmental system auditing, adjusted to align with the needs of the investment industry.  Learn more about CEFEX and Insight Financial Partners at

The National Association of Plan Advisors (NAPA), backed by the American Retirement Association, recognized Insight Financial Partners as one of the top Defined Contribution industry serving firms in the U.S. in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Learn more about Insight Financial Partners, LLC at