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Financial Professionals

Our team of financial professionals

Sheila Markesteyn is founder and president of Security First Financial.  She is licensed and registered as a financial professional--with both securities and insurance licenses and serves clients as their Financial Advisor.  Sheila began her career working for a large financial corporation. Several years later, she made the decision to open her own business, allowing her the freedom to offer clients a vast array of financial products and services from financial corporations throughout the United States, as well as an integrated approach to financial, tax, and estate planning.  

Mrs. Markesteyn has worked exclusively with pre-retirees and retirees since 2001, allowing her to focus on their unique needs. Along with her years of training, she participates regularly in continuing education courses on retirement, tax, and estate planning, keeping up to date on solutions available in the marketplace today. By integrating financial, tax, and estate planning into her business model, clients have the potential to achieve the best outcomes possible. Sheila's clients include business owners, engineers, teachers, retirees, doctors and dentists, realtors, homemakers, police and firemen, and numerous other professions. 

Sheila is dedicated to personalized service based on honesty, integrity, loyalty, and assisting clients in achieving the goals and objectives that are most important to them and their families. In addition to her professional knowledge, she has many years of personal hands-on experience serving as trustee and power of attorney for her mother who developed Alzheimer's disease, and as trustee for a special needs sibling. She has first-hand experience when it comes to retirement income planning, estate preservation, and wealth transfer.

Security First Financial has a strategic alliance with, Gradient Investments, LLC.,  and Gradient Insurance Brokerage,  LLC. Our Team of financial professionals work together to serve clients' needs. 

Wayne Schmidt, CFA serves as Chief Investment Officer at Gradient Investments, LLC. With 26 years of investment experience, he brings decades of institutional experience and in-depth knowledge of the private client market to Gradient Investments, and offers a global investment management perspective. Wayne is a direct resource for affiliated investment advisors and their clients throughout the country--providing wisdom, knowledge, experience and tools to help investment advisors grow their practice, while also growing their clients' assets.

Prior to coming to Gradient Investments, LLC, Wayne worked for AXA Investment Managers, a subsidiary of the European insurance giant AXA Group. After a vast search for a qualified portfolio manager, Wayne was handpicked to build their U.S. investment grade fixed income capabilities. 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, to corporate and government bond portfolios. Wayne's love of Minnesota was Gradient Investments' great fortune, as he declined to relocate with AXA Investment Managers following their decision to move their high-yield operation from St. Paul Minnesota to Connecticut.

Before joining AXA Investment Managers, Wayne dedicated over 20 years to Minnesota life and its' $14 billion investment arm, Advantus Capital Management. As portfolio manager, he managed a variety of high-grade funds as part of Advantus' $1.8 billion Total Return product for institutional and retail clients. He also served as the lead portfolio manager of the Advantus Bond Fund and the co-portfolio manager of the Advantus Spectrum Fund.

Wayne earned his Master of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Minnesota and a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst and a member of The Chartered Financial Analyst Institute and the Twin Cities Society of Security Analysts.

Over the years, Wayne has been quoted on the global economy in numerous nationally and internationally recognized investment publications such as Bloomberg, Pension & Investments, Reuters, The Los Angeles Times, Financial Week (2008 Neal Award Winner), Asia Times, InvestorVillage, Safehaven, SFO, Credit Investment News and RGE Monitor (Nouriel Roubini's Global EconoMonitorinvestment). He has also provided market insights on Bloomberg radio and television.

Michael Binger, CFA serves as Senior Portfolio Manager at Gradient Investments, LLC. Binger brings over 24 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. Binger has successfully invested in numerous market and economic cycles giving him a level and depth of experience that is rare in this industry.

Binger started his investment career in Minneapolis, Minnesota with Lutheran Brotherhood in 1987 and gained experience managing assets in a variety of asset classes including convertible bonds, small cap equities, and large cap equities. When Lutheran Brotherhood and Aid Association for Lutherans merged in 2001 to become Thrivent Financial, Binger was selected to work as the senior portfolio manager on the Large Cap Growth Team and Large Cap Alpha Team managing over $3 billion in assets. As the senior portfolio manager, he developed and oversaw the tactical investment strategies utilized within mutual funds, variable annuities, pension funds, and insurance company products. These investment processes included proprietary portfolio construction strategies, security selection parameters, and volatility controlled umbrellas. 

Binger graduated from the University of Minnesota earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration-Finance. He graduated with honors and was the University of Minnesota's "Wall Street Journal Award Winner." Binger is a CFA and a member of The Chartered Financial Analyst Institute and the Twin Cities Society of Security Analysts.

Binger's media highlights include numerous appearances, providing market insight on CNBC, Bloomberg TV and Bloomberg Radio. He 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. 

Kalen Sigecan serves as an Annuity Specialist for Gradient Insurance Brokerage, LLC. He brings over a decade of experience in the insurance services industry to Gradient. It is Kalen's responsibility to stay abreast of the many different annuity products available with a wide variety of benefits and features--through the top rated insurance companies in the country. Kalen then provides back office support to financial advisors by assisting them in selecting the best annuity products available in the country for their clients' unique and specific situations.

During his tenure, Kalen worked in the tax accounting industry. He currently holds a life and health insurance license, which is the license necessary to market annuities. Kalen received his Bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of North Dakota.