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"We help successful professionals convert their stellar earnings into durable wealth for themselves and their family by balancing personal and professional market risks."

Meet Michael


Michael J. Evans, The Cogent Advisor

Michael J. Evans founded The Cogent Advisor in 2010 to hold Cogent Conversations with fellow successful professionals seeking to convert their stellar earnings into durable wealth. Acting as their Personal Chief Financial Officer, Michael helps professionals connect with the critical money-management strategies, resources and understanding they need to:

  • Accrue, manage and enjoy their personal wealth
  • Adeptly balance their personal and professional market risks
  • Make cogent choices for themselves and their family

Leading Up to The Cogent Advisor

Michael's seasoned wealth management experience was honed by positioning his own family to capture the success of his 20-year career as a proprietary trader on and off the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (where he remains a proud member today). Founding MJ Trading in 1990, Michael specialized in developing and implementing proprietary trading strategies for trading fixed income products, with a focus on managing risk. Many years, he traded derivative contracts representing trillions of dollars in notional value.

A Chicagoan to the core, Michael serves on the DePaul University College of Commerce Finance Advisory Board and The Irish Fellowship Club of Chicago. He holds a B.S. from the DePaul University College of Commerce and completed the graduate certificate program in Financial Planning at DePaul.

Michael's Personal Side

Michael is first and foremost a family man; he belongs to his wife Colleen and their three children. He is further blessed with excess energy, which he channels to a variety of interests, including cycling, skiing, hiking, whitewater adventures and coaching teen sports. Coming from modest roots himself, Michael enjoys mentoring low-income, highly motivated community college students to succeed in school, work and in life; and he and Colleen are involved in several local social service agencies and educational initiatives such as One Million Degrees and the Step Up Women's Network.


Meet Kelly

Kelly Stanley

Kelly Stanley, CFP®, Wealth Advisor

Kelly joined The Cogent Advisor in 2015 to contribute her distinct skill sets and a shared passion for engaging individuals from all walks of life in Cogent Conversations®. She brings our clients her extensive financial planning know-how, as well as her specialized experience at helping women achieve financial independence, especially during difficult transitions such as divorce or widowhood. “I especially enjoy helping clients connect their money with their life and confidently apply their wealth to living out their values,” says Kelly.

Leading Up to The Cogent Advisor

Prior to joining the Cogent Advisor, Kelly gained more than 15 years of experience in personal and corporate finance, including seven years as a financial planner for a Chicago advisory firm. She is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, with an MBA from Saint Xavier University and a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She counts her parents as among her most important life mentors. Recalling how her father even used selling the family car as a teaching moment, she says, “Both my parents encouraged us to pursue education and become financially independent.”

Kelly's Personal Side

Kelly is an enthusiastic community leader and volunteer. She is co-founder and president of Chicago’s Southside Women’s Business Alliance; a financial literacy speaker for The Woman’s Team; and treasurer for A New Direction, a grassroots organization combatting domestic violence. In her free time, Kelly enjoys traveling and is an enthusiastic photographer, an interest she inherited from her mother. She and her husband also enjoy attending their son’s and daughter’s sporting activities. Last but not least, Kelly values a healthy lifestyle, reserving time daily for varied fitness activities.


Meet Allen

Allen Regan Headshots-Allen Regan Headshots-0004 2

Allen Regan, CFP®, Portfolio Advisor

Allen will primarily be working behind the scenes at Cogent, helping us build and maintain our clients’ custom-crafted, globally diversified investment portfolios. 

Leading Up to The Cogent Advisor

Allen brings us – and our clients – a wealth of prior experience as an evidence-based portfolio and wealth advisor for two of our fellow BAM ALLIANCE member firms, including BAM’s affiliated advisor firm, Buckingham Asset Management. He also is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner with a bachelor’s degree in Finance.

Allen’s Personal Side

As a family man with a beautiful baby daughter, Allen and his wife expand on The Cogent Advisor family in more ways than one. In his spare time, Allen enjoys spending time with friends and family, and considers any day on the water a day well spent.


Meet Samantha


Samantha Valenzia, Client Management Specialist

With her years of prior experience enhancing client care, and coordinating efficient technical and logistical office operations in business and hospitality industries, Samantha is our go-to contact for any questions, comments or requests you may have before or after your Cogent Conversation® with Michael. Do you have an idea on how we can help you Free Your Wealth for Something More®? Samantha or any of us on The Cogent Advisor team look forward to hearing from you.

Leading Up to The Cogent Advisor

Having served The Cogent Advisor as a third-party service provider in her previous positions at FFastFill and OfficeLinks, Samantha joined our team already familiar with and enthusiastic about our mission. Prior to joining OfficeLinks, she gained experience while serving as a Client Service Representative at a boutique luxury hotel in Napa Valley, California.

Samantha’s Personal Side

Even with Michael’s abundance of energy, he has met his match when it comes to Samantha and her own passion for personal training, playing soccer and tennis, reading and of course spending time with family and being active with her dog. And so you have at least one thing to look forward to every year on tax day, you can always wish Samantha a Happy Birthday every April 15.


Let's Have a Cogent Conversation® Today

Are you ready to Free Your Wealth for Something More®? Call us directly at 312.382.8388 or click below to schedule your Cogent Conversation®.

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Contact Info

233 South Wacker Drive, 84th Floor
Chicago, IL 60606

P: 312.382.8388
F: 312.268.7210

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