Denis Smirnov| CFP®
Gordian Advisors, LLC
- Fee-Only Financial Planning
- Financial Review
- Hourly Fee Consultations
- Retirement Planning
- Investment Management
- Tax Planning
- Estate Planning
- Insurance Services
- College Education Planning
- 401(k) and IRAs
- Business Planning
- Employee Benefits
Tucson, AZ 85718
Fee-Only & Fiduciary
The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) is the country's leading association of fee-only and fiduciary financial planners.
Denis Smirnov, CFP ® joined Gordian Advisors in 2013. He earned a BBA degree from the University of Michigan in 2002 and then lived in New York City for six years holding several Wall Street jobs in investment banking and equity research. His formative experience during this period was in the Equity Strategy group at the institutional research firm Sanford Bernstein, where he learned about the markets and advanced data analysis. Yet despite all the intelligence and hard work that went into them, it was hard to see the research reports as productive contribution to the real world.
After growing disillusioned with Wall Street and the hectic pace of life in New York, Denis returned to work with his college employer and mentor in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Here he spent four years as a financial advisor with an independent office of Raymond James and earned a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™ designation. Denis recognized the value of real financial planning and putting clients’ interests above all else. Still, though, there was the constant quest for "better" investment solutions helped along by mutual fund wholesalers and complicated investment products that rarely worked out well (private equity, non-traded REITs, structured notes, etc.).
Moving to Arizona for family reasons, Denis spent 18 months as a day trader (technically a proprietary trader with a professional firm). He devised a number of sophisticated trading strategies, such as pairs trading and regression-based long/short ETF baskets (there might have been some ill-advised chasing of wild momentum stocks too). It was a fun challenge and an excellent education about an entirely different side of the investment world, but at the end of the day it simply wasn't a good way to make a living. Also, seeing a simple target date fund in Denis’ IRA do laps around his hard-fought trading profits was quite an eye-opener.
When Denis returned to financial planning, he distilled all of his experiences in diverse corners of the industry into a straightforward investment philosophy - don't get fancy and focus on the things you can control (hint: the market is not one of them). Dave Hamra and Gordian Advisors turned out to be a perfect match for that realization. An avid student of the markets, Denis still enjoys applying his research skills to analyzing current investment trends, such as smart beta, tactical strategies and liquid alternatives. Most of the time, he fails to find any compelling reasons to use complicated strategies in client portfolios.
Denis grew up in Sochi, Russia (site of the 2014 Winter Olympics) and moved to the United States in 1997. He followed his wife Katie to her native Tucson in 2011 and plans to make it their long-term home. Outside of the financial markets, Denis’ interests include CrossFit, yoga, hiking and spending time with his young son Brady.
An Unexpected Depth of Experience
For a small, independent practice, we bring to bear unique and valuable backgrounds. Where else would you find a team that includes:
- a deputy to Jack Bogle (founder of Vanguard)
- a Wall Street analyst
- a compliance veteran of several SEC audits
- a professional day trader
- a leader of a $6 billion institutional investment firm
- a Harvard MBA
- a Russian immigrant turned fervent capitalist
In other words, we have a first-hand understanding of the inner workings of the financial services industry. Our diverse experiences have prepared us better than simply learning how to sell complicated products or present standardized plans.
We use our knowledge to educate clients and develop the best solutions for them. Just as important, we protect clients from the endless barrage of financial products and services that are not in their best interest and may be harmful to their financial health.