National Plannning Team


Director of Financial Advisory Services

  • Prior experience as a portfolio manager responsible for managing customized investment portfolios totaling close to $400 million. Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from the University of Maryland.
  • Member of the Association of Investment Management and Research and the Baltimore Security Analysts Society. Published an article in the Encyclopedia of World Terrorism entitled,"The Impact of 9/11 on the Global Economy."



Robert E. Appel, J.D.*, LL.M., MBA

Second Vice President of National Design/Advanced Planning

  • Member of the American and Connecticut Bar Associations.
  • B.S. degree (Accounting and Finance) from Central Connecticut State University; J.D. degree from the University of Bridgeport School of Law; M.B.A. (Finance) degree from the University of Connecticut; and LL.M. (Taxation) degree from Boston University School of Law.



Rich E. Austin, J.D.*, LLM, CRPC

Director of Financial Advisory Services

  • Primary area of expertise: Advising high net worth clients, with an average net worth over $10 million dollars, on investment, estate, charitable, and business owner planning alternatives.
  • Has conducted seminars for financial professionals; served on advisory boards, created computer models to calculate tax implications, and authored articles on tax strategies.




Jeffrey Cohen, CFP®

Member of Registry of Financial Planning Practitioners, Prestige Planner

  • Quoted in many national publications and has been a guest lecturer for several national organizations.
  • Inducted into the 1999 edition of International Who's Who of Professionals.





Derek Ferriera, CFP®, LUTCF, AMTC, CLU®, REBC®, CFS

Prestige Planner

  • Area of expertise: Has worked on over a thousand cases and runs financial plans through multiple design sessions before the appropriate options are presented.
  • Graduated from Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo. Board Member of Society of Financial Service Professionals; Member of International Association for Financial Planning; Member of American Society of CLU/ChFC; and Board Member of The Resource Group within Lincoln Financial Advisors/Sagemark Consulting.



Joseph Flynn, J.D.*

Design Attorney

  • Primary area of expertise: Advising Lincoln financial planners and their clients on a wide variety of estate planning and business succession issues with a particular emphasis on the family owned business.
  • Graduate of Yale University and The University of Connecticut School of Law.




Ben T. Huddle, CFP®, MBA, CRPC®

Director of Financial Advisory Services

  • Areas of expertise: the development, training, and implementation of fee-based financial planning within the firm including the integration of the investment and comprehensive financial planning processes.
  • Masters in Business Administration for The University of Houston and a Bachelor's degree in Industrial Management from Purdue University. National speaker/trainer for Lincoln Financial Advisors.



Jane Johnson, CFP®

Director of Planning

  • Helps to create estate, retirement, investment, and business succession plans for clients.
  • Holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from The College of William and Mary. A member of the Northeast Florida Estate Planning Council.





Timothy S. Johnson, J.D.*, CRPC

Chief Investment Strategist

  • Areas of expertise include fixed-income, equity allocations, alternative investments and affluent wealth management.
  • BA in Political Science from Lipscomb University in 1981and graduated from Vanderbilt University School of Law. Holds a Series 7 registration.




Russell G. Jones

Executive Director Private Wealth Services

  • Primary area of expertise is developing key concepts and strategies for the high net worth market.
  • Main platform speaker at the annual conference of the International Association of Financial Planning, the Allied Jewish Federation's Annual Estate Planning Forum, GAMA International's LAMP meeting, and numerous technical and internal Lincoln business management sessions.



Henry G. Mautner, CLU®, ChFC®

Prestige Planner

  • Areas of expertise: Estate and business succession planning for highly affluent individuals.
  • Featured speaker on issues relating to multigenerational wealth transition.
  • Holds degrees from Miami University (Ohio) and Yale University.





Dianna Parker, CFP®

Director of Planning

  • Primary area of expertise: Broad knowledge of complex estate planning, business succession planning and retirement planning concepts. Frequently hosts a variety of nationally disseminated educational sessions focused on  tax reduction and financial planning strategies.
  • Summa cum laude, Master's degree graduate from Southern Methodist University.



Douglas B. Richmond

Director, Private Wealth Services

  • Primary area of expertise lies within the personal risk management area where he is able to deliver unique strategies and tactics supported by strong product selections.
  • Experienced in developing relationships with property and casualty, private banking and stock brokerage representatives, as well as catering to the needs of business owners and individuals who want to address their wealth preservation and estate planning needs.



Donna L. Rowan, J.D.*, LL.M., CLU®, CHFC®

Assistant Vice President of National Design

  • Expertise in the areas of personal and corporate income taxation, as well as estate, gift and trust taxation. Member of the Connecticut and American Bar Associations.
  • BA degree in English from State University of New York at Buffalo; J.D. from Western New England College School of Law; LL.M. (Taxation) from Boston University School of Law.




Randy P. Siller, CPA*, CIMA, CRPC, MST

Prestige Planner

  • Recognized for contributions to two widely acclaimed books, and has been quoted in many national publications.
  • Graduated with honors from University of Connecticut with a major in accounting and minor in finance; is a Certified Continuing Education Instructor for CPAs in New York and Connecticut.





Robert A. Studin, J.D.*, CPA*, CFP®, CLU®, CRPC, ChFC®

Executive Director, Financial Advisory Services

  • Responsible for the delivery of wealth management and financial planning services on a national basis.
  • Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Alabama, and J.D. from Cumberland School of Law.
  • Member of the Alabama Society of Financial Planning Association and the AIPA.



William D. Wright

Director, Sagemark Consulting Private Wealth Services

  • Specializes in comprehensive estate and business succession planning for clients. He served as Managing Principal for the entire Northern New York Regional Planning Office. He now works on developing advanced coaching and training concepts for financial planners in the high net worth marketplace.
  • Bachelors degree in Organizational Management from the State University of New York at Buffalo. As a Registered Securities Principal (RSP) Bill holds Series 6, 7, 63 and 24 security registrations.



Mary T. Young, ChFC®, CRPC, CFP®

Director of Financial Advisory Services

  • Areas of expertise: Helping to evolve Lincoln's financial planning process; helping to enhance the proprietary financial software as well as the national financial plan template and sales themes; and managing the third-party relationships as they relate to the national planning team.
  • Bachelor's degree from The University of Connecticut, with a major in Finance and a minor in Accounting.




First Financial Group of the South, Inc. (FFG) is a Birmingham-based financial planning firm founded in 1982 by Founder, Sanford B. Axelroth, CFP®, ChFC. The Firm has offices throughout the state of Alabama and Nashville, Tennessee offering a unique team practice - a blend of technical expertise and common sense financial direction.