Though remaining largely silent on the details of a pending felony case, Springfield financial adviser Nadia Cavner said she is optimistic about the future of her firm.

Cavner, who pleaded guilty last month to a felony charge of interstate stalking, split from BancorpSouth in late April and just days after, announced she was starting her own firm under The Nadia Cavner Group name. The office opened May 6 at 2659 E. Normandy St., Ste. 108, immediately southeast of the 2620 E. Sunshine St. BancorpSouth branch where she had practiced for eight years.

The financial consultant known for managing roughly $490 million in assets for some 1,100 households sat down this morning at Hilton Garden Inn for a live interview with Springfield Business Journal Editor Eric Olson as part of SBJ's monthly 12 People You Need to Know editorial series.

It is unclear whether Cavner will retain her license to sell securities following her recent required disclosure of the felony plea to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. According to securities regulations, a felony would statutorily disqualify Cavner from selling securities in the U.S. for 10 years. FINRA's written rules state Cavner would have to participate in eligibility proceedings in order to retain her securities licenses. Cavner's profile on lists her criminal charge as "pending." Cavner holds series 7, 63 and 24 licenses, according to FINRA. The sentencing hearing for her felony charge is scheduled Aug. 1.

"I'm very confident I'll get to maintain my license. I wouldn't be opening my own firm if I didn't have a license," she said, noting the April 12 guilty plea - which acknowledged intentions to injure, harass or intimidate her college-age daughter’s ex-boyfriend - was personal, not financial, in nature. "All I can say about the case is I just cannot make any comments until after August."

Cavner said The Nadia Cavner Group - which includes previous BancorpSouth advisers Rod Stafford and Khulan Denny, who both were present at this morning's breakfast event - sent out a flier to clients to inform them of the disassociation with BancorpSouth and the move to a nearby office off of Sunshine Street.

"Clients have the choice to stay with us - it's freedom of choice with any product or any service. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Most of these people, we've had more than a quarter of a century relationship," Cavner said. "They are more like family to me. They have continued to show their support and loyalty by staying with us."

She declined to estimate how many clients would stay with her, noting it's too soon to predict.

Still, Cavner said there are no restrictions placed on The Nadia Cavner Group for solicitation of former clients. After Cavner left U.S. Bancorp, she was sued by the company, which alleged that in summer 2005 she directed interns to photocopy confidential client lists. The case ultimately was dismissed in late 2007, according to SBJ archives.

"What I learned from that is people do business with people, not with the sign outside the door," Cavner said this morning.

Born in Iran with Assyrian ancestry, Cavner has faced an uphill climb since her teenage years. After a bomb went off in the back of her church - Cavner said she and her family were minority Christians - her parents sent 16-year-old Cavner to live with her 18-year-old sister in the U.S. Though she had a mind for numbers and a passion for market economies, she didn't speak English at the time, and she and her sister lived alone. She didn't see her parents again until a decade later.

"I think it makes you be tough, makes you know to stand on your own feet," Cavner said.