BOSTON, Jan. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Client 1 st Financial, LLC, a financial services firm based in Fogelsville, PA, led by President & CEO Michael Fischer, CLU, ChFC, CASL, was named by John Hancock Financial Network (JHFN) as its Practice of the Year for excellence in several key areas of practice management and client service as judged by an independent panel of experts. "Two things come to mind when I hear Michael Fischer say that his firm's top priority is helping clients achieve the life, prosperity and legacy they desire – one is that he really means it, and the second is that they're really good at it," said Brian Heapps, president, JHFN. "I congratulate Michael and would say that it's not a surprise that Client 1 st Financial has captured the top spot in our independent review of practice management and client service." As part of the selection process for the award, sponsored by National Financial, the correspondent clearing business unit of Fidelity Investments, Client 1st Financial, an affiliate of Keystone Financial Management, underwent a rigorous assessment conducted by international management consulting firm Business Health, which reviewed client management, internal planning and structure, external relations, staffing and technology capabilities, and overall practice performance. "In what was an extremely tight competition the external judging panel has awarded the 2012 Practice Of The Year to Michael Fischer on behalf of Client 1 st Financial," said Rod Bertino, principal, Business Health Pty Ltd. "Michael was a finalist in 2011 and using the insights gained through the rigorous judging process last year has been able to take his business to the next level." Added Christopher Maryanopolis, president, Signator Investors Inc, JHFN's broker dealer, "While all of our Practice of the Year finalists have been able to grow their business in spite of the difficult external market conditions recently, the principals of these practices have remained committed to their client-centric business models and continued to invest heavily in developing both the people and the processes that underpin their operations. I commend Michael for leading our field and his firm's outstanding work." "National Financial is proud to be a sponsor of the John Hancock Financial Network Practice of the Year award," said Sanjiv Mirchandani, president of National Financial®. "A competition that rewards excellence in practice management and client service is recognizing the values that can help drive the future of the advice business. We should all pay attention to leaders in this area." To be considered for Practice of the Year, JHFN's financial professionals and advisors registered and completed Business Health's HealthCheck, a web-based business assessment tool that benchmarks a practice in several areas. Among all the HealthCheck submissions received, 5 semi-finalists were selected to receive a site visit from Business Health. Business Health and a panel of outside experts selected the winner.