Our Team

Our Team

Michael Roberts Associates has provided sound financial advice to clients in Central New York since 1990. Located in East Syracuse, we pride ourselves on offering personalized service to our clients. Not just in financial consulting but in all our support services, too. Your account is important to every single employee at Michael Roberts, and you will be treated professionally and courteously every time we meet. That’s our promise and our practice.

Neil J. Hoyt, CFP®

Partner, President


Neil joined Michael Roberts Associates in 1992 and is currently the firm's president. He is a recognized and experienced speaker on the subjects of estate and retirement planning—and has appeared on the PBS television program Financial Fitness. Neil earned his CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification in 1994. Prior to joining Michael Roberts, Neil worked at the Strauss Agency and the Prudential Financial Company, both located in New York City. He holds a B.S. in Economics from Cornell University. Neil is the chair of the Finance Committee for the Jewish Community Foundation in Syracuse. He is also on the board of the Nascentia Health Charitable Foundation. Neil lives with his wife in Manlius, New York.

Rachel B. Roney

Partner, Branch Manager


For more than 30 years, Rachel has made a career of helping people. As a partner and branch manager/registered principal at Michael Roberts Associates, Inc., she is often the first person to whom clients turn when tragedy strikes. Whether a client receives a life-changing health diagnosis or when a family member dies unexpectedly, Rachel is there to fix problems and to offer calm guidance and support.

Because of the relationships Rachel has built with her clients, “they think of us before they think of their attorney or their accountant,” she says. “Every case is unique, especially with the loss of a loved one. I console a lot of distraught people.”

An example of Rachel’s work involved a client who died suddenly while working for the state of New York*. His widow was unable to receive his pension because he hadn’t retired. “We had several calls with New York State because there were some complexities with the way the life insurance and benefits were paid out by the state. In the end, the process took a year and a half, but we finally got her retirement benefits and his pension flowing.” This example is for illustrative purposes only and may not be representative of your experience.

As a teenager growing up in Pennsylvania, Rachel had envisioned going into medicine. “I thought I would be a physical therapist. I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, lifting people on and off the chairs and wheeling them around. I knew I wanted to aid people.” While in college at Lehigh University, she considered going into the legal field and majored in government and prelaw.

During her senior year, however, she interviewed with Chase Manhattan Bank and was accepted into their management development program. “I learned a lot about finance while at Chase and discovered that I liked it.”

Eventually, Rachel became friends with Neil Hoyt, who offered her a role when he was expanding his financial planning practice. “That was February 1997, and I have been here ever since.”

Given her roundabout way of getting into the financial planning business, Rachel understands why many people hesitate in getting their finances in order. “I'm a big proponent of financial literacy, getting people educated about the whys and hows of investing, and taking the fear out of it,” she said. “We work hard at bringing the personal touch to something that is very anxiety provoking for most Americans.”

Currently, Rachel and her team advise assets of more than $507 million* for 1,175 households. Many clients refer Rachel to their family and friends. “We have not only multiple generations but also brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins,” she said. 

Outside of work, Rachel is active at Dewitt Community Church and enjoys volunteering at the Samaritan Center and Clearpath for Veterans. She’s also musical, playing the clarinet and recorder and singing in her church choir. And she’s a competitive athlete. “I did a triathlon in 2011 and I shot a 78 in golf in April 2020.” Rachel and her husband live in Syracuse and have two grown children, a dog, and two cats.

*As of October 24, 2023

Education and registrations

  • Lehigh University, 1987
  • FINRA Series 7, 24, 63, and 65

Work experience

  • Chase Manhattan Bank, Management Development Program, 1987–1989
    • Second Vice President, 1989–1992
  • Cadaret Grant
    • Trading Desk Manager, 1992–1994
    • Director of Continuing Education and Firm Element Training, 1994–1997

Community involvement

  • DCC (Board of Trustees 16 years, most recently as President – rotated off 2016)
    • Sunday school and youth group leader, Samaritan Center Serve Team, annual Thanksgiving boxes, Chancel Choir
  • Clearpath for Veterans
    • Arranged volunteer day for clients and MRA staff
  • CNY Community Foundation
  • Developed donor-advised fund to provide financial support for community


founders seal



Each year, Commonwealth, the Registered Investment Adviser–broker/dealer that helps us process investment transactions on your behalf, recognizes Founder's Club advisors by inviting them to an exclusive gathering of their peers, leading industry experts, and Commonwealth home office staff. Founder's Club advisors benefit from an intensive learning and networking experience designed to help them hone their expertise, share best practices, and provide ever-higher levels of service, education, and leadership.

Jeffrey E. Klein, CFP®



Jeff joined Michael Roberts Associates in 1991. In 1997, he earned the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification. He is a past member of the CNY Chapter of the Financial Planning Association and the board of directors for the CNY Estate Planning Council. As a guest, he has made special appearances on the WCNY's Financial Fitness program. He holds a BS in finance from Alfred University. Jeff lives with his wife and two children in Baldwinsville, New York. 

Sonnet L. Loftus, CFP®



CFP logo

Sonnet is a partner and a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional with Michael Roberts Associates. She has been working with individuals and business owners located all over the country since 2005, providing sound advice and service for all of their financial planning needs. She obtained her BA in economics from Bryn Mawr College, in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

Sonnet believes that life should be at the center of the financial planning process. Assisting her clients as they pass through each phase of life and helping them to work through and anticipate transitions is what she does best.  

As a CFP® professional, Sonnet has completed the extensive training and experience requirements and is held to rigorous ethical standards. 

In addition to being passionate about her practice, Sonnet is active in the community. She is consistently recognized for her financial experience as she is a frequent contributor to CNY 55 Plus, a magazine serving active adults in the Central New York area.  Sonnet is vice president the Financial Planning Association of Central New York and is also a member of the Central New York Community Foundation Professional Advisor Council.  Sonnet has served on the ARISE Foundation board of directors and is a past member of the University Neighborhood Preservation Association, having served as treasurer and as a member of the executive committee. Sonnet is a native of Cazenovia, New York.


Michelle Papa-Dines

Registered Financial Assistant


Michelle joined Michael Roberts Associates in January 2006 as a registered financial assistant. She works as a direct client service associate with Neil Hoyt and Rachel Roney to provide excellent customer service to clients, assisting them with account inquiries, prepping paperwork, and scheduling appointments.

Michelle graduated from Onondaga Community College with a degree in business administration and holds FINRA Series 7 and 63 securities registrations. Michelle is a life member of the Simon-Parise VFW Post 9596 Auxiliary. She is an avid gardener who keeps the Michael Roberts staff supplied with fresh vegetables at harvest time.  Besides being an avid gardener, she is also a big animal lover and, in fact, owns multiple chickens, turkeys, ducks, and pigs. Michelle and her husband, Dan, live in Bridgeport with their twins, Richard and Grace.

Shane Murphy, MBA, CMT

Wealth Management Associate

Shane joined Michael Roberts Associates, Inc., in 2020 as a wealth management assistant. As a member of Neil Hoyt and Rachel Roney's team, Shane’s focus will be on assisting advisors with portfolio construction and research, financial planning, and client service.  

Born and raised in Syracuse, New York, Shane attended high school at Christian Brothers Academy, where he was a three-sport athlete. Shane is a former Division 1 lacrosse player and graduated cum laude from Le Moyne College with a dual major in finance and business analytics. He holds his Masters of Business Administration with a specialization in business analytics from Le Moyne College. Shane holds his FINRA Series 7 and 66 securities registrations and has received the designation of Chartered Market Technician (CMT). Shane resides in downtown Syracuse, where he enjoys playing golf, staying active and spending time with his family.

Emily Gilmore

Client Service Associate

Emily is a Client Service Associate with Michael Roberts Associates and came on board in June of 2023. Emily has been in the financial industry since 2012 and has her FINRA Series 6 and Series 63 registrations. She works with Sonnet Loftus and Jeff Klein, to provide excellent customer service to clients, assisting them with account inquiries, prepping paperwork, and other office duties.

She grew up in Seneca Falls, New York. She attended both Tompkins Community College and Nazareth College. She attends Abundant Life Church and has done outreach work in Honduras. In her off time, Emily enjoys taking walks and being out in nature, finding new places to visit and go exploring. She loves to travel and hopes to do more of that in the future. She is an animal lover and currently helps care for an elderly dog, Rosie. She hopes to have more property in the future to provide care to more animals.

She currently resides in Liverpool.

Paul C. Ahrens, Retired

Financial Consultant, Retired

Paul was raised in Kenmore, New York. After graduation from college, he spent the next 32 years in education as a teacher and school administrator. Upon retirement from education in 2001, Paul embarked on a career as a financial consultant. He began his second career with a major wirehouse. Then in 2005, he joined Michael Roberts Associates and retired at the end of 2021. He resides in Baldwinsville, New York, with his wife and enjoys time with his children and grandchildren.

Robert J. Dugan, In Memoriam


Bob was one of the founding partners of Michael Roberts Associates, Inc. in 1989. He had a long and productive career in the investments business since the mid 1970’s. Over his long career, he became a recognized expert and speaker on the subjects of municipal bonds and tax-advantaged investing. He appeared numerous times on WCNY’s Financial Fitness program. Many of Bob’s clients highlighted how he made them comfortable and at ease, taking away the worry about investing and financial planning. Bob is survived by his wife, Rosaleen, children Maureen (George) and Therese (Bill), grandsons Neal and John and great-grand daughter, Daisy Grace. Bob is predeceased by his daughter, Eileen. Bob was involved over the course of decades in many ministries at his church, St. Lucy’s in Syracuse NY including the food pantry and prison ministry. Bob retired from Michael Roberts Associates in October 2014.