New Year Brings New CEO to Leading Retirement Advocacy Firm, First Senior Financial Group

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But the mission of educating retirees about viable, validated, "Crash Proof" alternatives to the risk and anxiety of stocks, bonds and mutual funds remains the same.

'I take pride in being a financial lifesaver to anyone in crisis or transition,' says Joann Small.

First Senior Financial Group founder Phil Cannella announced today that as of January 1, 2012, former Executive Vice President Joann Small has succeeded him as CEO of First Senior Financial Group.

A noted Senior Advocate Advisor in her own right, Ms. Small for three decades has worked closely with those in retired years. "Retirement finance remains her sole practice area, and she indisputably ranks among the premier financial professionals working with retirees today,” says Mr. Cannella, who is also author of Crash Proof Retirement: The Planning Isn't Over.

With statistics showing that half of American women over age 65 are widowed or divorced, Ms. Small has emerged as a particular champion of women who are forced to face major challenges alone in their retirement years. But as she puts it, “I take pride in being a financial lifesaver to anyone in crisis or transition.” Ms. Small has considerable hands-on experience at corporate management and understands the importance of creating a vibrant, consumer-oriented business that delivers exemplary service to clients.

Mr. Cannella has worked with her intensively for three years to communicate his unique vision for the company, which educates retirees about safeguarding their irreplaceable nest eggs against the inherent risk of securities. Over that time, Ms. Small has made important refinements to the First Senior system, so Mr. Cannella has no doubts about a smooth management transition. “I began this crusade as an individual back in 1976 in order to give retirees more options for financial protection,” says Mr. Cannella, who is widely credited as a pioneer in the field of long-term care insurance. “So you could say that in many ways First Senior has been the culmination of my life’s work. It represents my fondest hopes for the American Retiree, and I would not hand over the reins of management if I didn’t have full faith in Ms. Small’s ability to take our good works to the next level.”

As part of the ongoing battle that she wages on behalf of American retirees, Ms. Small routinely attends comprehensive training that covers the most intricate details of IRAs and other retirement accounts. “I make a point of being up to date on all of the current IRA and IRS laws that affect people in retirement,” she says. “And I have made a lifetime commitment to continue this training. I owe nothing less to my clients."

At the core of First Senior Financial Group is the unique Navigator Retirement Protection System, a federally trademarked matrix of non-securities contractual agreements structured specifically for guaranteed long-term asset protection. Each Navigator is assembled by a salaried design team; the client's advisor plays no direct role in the selection of financial products. Mr. Cannella purposely set up the system this way to avoid the obvious conflict of interest at virtually all other financial firms, where the advisor himself picks out his clients' vehicles (and thus naturally gravitates to products that pay the highest commissions and fees for him).

But the beauty of the Crash Proof system is that clients don’t have to sacrifice growth in order to enjoy complete safety. In major studies conducted at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and elsewhere, the class of contractual agreements used in the Navigator matrix has beaten the S&P for growth every year since 1997 in rolling five-year averages.

Mr. Cannella emphasizes that “Joann Small has the character, commitment and specialized training to take retirees safely through the retirement phase. She also has the courage to assist me in my goal of holding the securities industry and its so-called regulators accountable for their misdeeds.” As a case in point, Mr. Cannella cites his ground-breaking, controversial interview with SEC Inspector General H. David Kotz this past summer, available for viewing on the corporate site (see below).

Ms. Small and Mr. Cannella will continue as co-hosts of the Crash Proof Retirement Show™, which airs weekends on the region’s top talk station, Talk Radio 1210AM. Mr. Cannella will now focus on building his new venture, Retirement Media, Inc., into a single, central source of accurate, reliable information for aging Americans. Retirement Media will produce The Crash Proof Retirement Show™ as well as First Senior's informative newsletter, “The Crash Proof Courier,” which is distributed at the firm's well-attended educational events throughout the Delaware Valley. Mr. Cannella also has ambitious plans to ensure that Retirement Media establishes a solid presence on TV and the Web.

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Steve Salerno

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