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Our Firm

Our mission is to get to know each of our clients and understand their needs, wants and long-term goals. We then help them develop, implement and monitor financial strategies designed to address their unique financial situations.
At MAL Financial Group, we understand the challenges families face today. From managing debt to saving for college to preparing for retirement, these personal financial challenges can be overwhelming. Our commitment is to utilize all of our resources in order to help you pursue your financial goals.

We believe in thinking "out of the box" and are not afraid to challenge conventional wisdom in our approach to investing and preserving wealth. All of our energy, commitment and efforts are focused on you, the client, and your satisfaction.

Our primary areas of focus are retirement income planning, business succession planning and estate planning.

John McNeil, Partner

John McNeil is senior partner at MAL Financial Group, following in the footsteps of his father and his grandfather, who established the firm in 1922. He holds a degree in finance from the University of Alabama and joined the practice in 1979.

Focused on helping his clients retire with confidence, John has an emphasis on retirement income distribution and helping clients maximize income while minimizing taxes. He is also a Life Underwriting Training Council Fellow.

John is married to his high school sweetheart, Martha. Together they have three children, Mac, Robert and Virginia, as well as two grandchildren. An active member of his community, John has served on the board of directors of several organizations:

Ed Ahrens, Partner

Ed is the managing partner of MAL Financial Group and an Investment Advisor Representative. He is a graduate of Mississippi College and his practices focus on personal estate and retirement planning, with an emphasis on retirement income distribution planning.

Ed has been helping individual clients and businesses with their insurance and financial needs since 1971. Prior to that, he spent two years doing YMCA work in Texas and five years in the Marines as a phantom pilot. Ed is a chartered financial consultant and chartered life underwriter.

Ed was married to his late wife, Anne, for 51 years, and together they had two sons, Hunt and Will, and two grandsons. Since Anne's passing, Ed was fortunate enough to meet Wanda. Ed and Wanda have been married for 2 years. In addition to being very involved in his local church with Wanda, Ed continues to be active in numerous civic boards, including:

Ray Lambert, MBA, Partner

After receiving his MBA in 1974, Ray began his financial services career with Home Savings and Loan Association of Mobile. As Home Savings’ vice president and senior lending officer, Ray helped his customers achieve their goal of home ownership. Now, Ray’s practice is dedicated to helping individuals accumulate assets during their working years and developing financial strategies that seek to maximize their lifetime retirement income, while potentially minimizing income tax liabilities.

In September of 2010, Ray, his wife, Marla Gale, and their black lab, Traveler, moved to Monroe County, Alabama, just outside of Monroeville. In 2011, Ray opened McNeil, Ahrens & Lambert Financial Group’s first branch office in Monroeville. He currently divides his time between the Mobile office and this branch office.

Outside of work, Marla Gale, Traveler and Ray enjoy hunting, fishing and “busting dirt.” He also is an active member of community and conservation organizations, such as:

Virginia McNeil O'Brien, Junior Partner

Mobile native Virginia McNeil joined MAL Financial Group in May 2012, representing the fourth generation of her family to join the firm. Virginia attended the University of Alabama, where she graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Science degree in consumer sciences with a concentration in family financial planning and served as president of the Capstone Financial Planning Association.

Before joining the firm, Virginia spent a year at an insurance wholesaler in Birmingham, Alabama, in order to gain experience in multiple facets of the financial industry. Her product knowledge and well-rounded approach to financial planning have made her a valuable asset to the firm.

Virginia is not new to working at MAL Financial Group, having worked at the firm during her summer breaks throughout college. It was during those summers that she developed a passion for the industry. Seeing how her father, grandfather and the other advisors at the firm helped so many people in such a tremendous way drew Virginia to the profession.

Virginia and her husband, Grey, were married in April of 2016. Together they have two dogs, Bama, a black lab, and Lilly, a yellow lab.

In addition to providing successful financial strategies for her clients, Virginia is also a dedicated community volunteer. Since returning to her hometown, Virginia has been active with the Centre of Living Arts, helping to nurture Mobile’s growing artistic young professional population. She was also recently selected as a candidate for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s 2014 Man & Woman of the Year campaign, an honor celebrating those who have raised significant funds for the society.

Shane Cole, Administrative Assistant

Shane Cole has been a member of the MAL Financial Group team for the past five years, providing comprehensive in-force policy and account servicing to all clients.  With more than 20 years of office management experience, she assists with applications and account openings and is the primary contact in the firm for fund transfers, distributions and general account servicing. Shane lives in Mobile with her husband, Steve, and they have two grown children.




Grace Copeland,
Director of Marketing and Relationship Management

Grace plans client events and informational seminars, and she also helps with the office management duties that keep McNeil, Ahrens & Lambert running smoothly.

Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Grace graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Science degree in human environmental sciences. After moving to Milan, Italy, for a year, she launched her marketing and event-planning career back at home at a non-profit organization.

Grace loves traveling, being on the water and getting to know each client who comes through our door.


Bama, Office Mascot

Bama, the official mascot of McNeil, Ahrens & Lambert Financial Group, is the only 4 legged member of the firm.  Bama studied at the University of Alabama and majored in Family Financial Planning, along with Virginia, graduating in 2011.  She has been a vital part of the firm since May of 2012.  Bama is not only the official Mascot of the office, but also the official squirrel watcher. Not one squirrel darts by her window that she doesn’t keep a close eye on. Bama enjoys swimming, squirrel hunting, playing fetch, and getting belly rubs. Bama is proud to be the 5th Generation of McNeil’s to work with the firm.

To schedule a time to discuss your financial future and the possible role of insurance or investments in your financial strategy, contact us at or call us at 251.666.5000 today!


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We are an independent financial services firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of investment and insurance products to custom suit their needs and objectives.

Ed Ahrens and Virginia McNeil offer investment services through AE Wealth Management, LLC (AEWM). AEWM and McNeil, Ahrens & Lambert Financial Group, LLC are not affiliated companies. Ed Ahrens, Ray Lambert, John McNeil and Virginia McNeil are Insurance Professionals.  

Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values. None of the information contained on this website shall constitute an offer to sell or solicit any offer to buy a security or any insurance product.

*Any references to protection benefits or steady and reliable income streams on this website refer only to fixed insurance products. They do not refer, in any way, to securities or investment advisory products. Annuity guarantees are backed by the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company. Annuities are insurance products that may be subject to fees, surrender charges and holding periods which vary by insurance company. Annuities are not FDIC insured.

The information and opinions contained in any of the material requested from this website are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. They are given for informational purposes only and are not a solicitation to buy or sell any of the products mentioned. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual's situation.