Troy Hammond, CEO of PensionMark Financial Group, will move the company from its current split of 80% retirement plan advisors and 20% wealth managers to a 50/50 mix by July plans to do so, the company’s founder told PLANADVISER in an interview on Thursday.
“We’re moving in the direction of a more balanced organization,” Hammond said from the company’s headquarters in Santa Barbara, Calif., of the newly hired head of M&A, Neel Ray. I sat him across the table and spoke. “We are also adding more services, more features. …We are looking to acquire many organizations and companies that bring their own subject matter and expertise to us.”
For Pension Mark, being an M&A player is relatively new. In its 30+ year history, the company has prided itself on growing organically by hiring affiliate advisors. Nearly a year after being acquired by World Insurance, Pensionmark is diving headlong into the robust wealth management advisory market. The potential for growth, both geographically and professionally, is even greater than he had planned for Hammond after signing the contract with World Insurance.
“We have ten times [ahead of] It’s the place we thought it would be,” he says. “The strength of our platform, the strength of our world, our flexibility and the way we work with our advisors resonate very well with our sellers.”
With that growth trajectory, Hammond realized that the M&A team that previously reported to him needed a new leader. On April 4, Pensionmark announced that he had hired Ray from his role as head of M&A at Envestnet. Ray has experience with TD Ameritrade, TIAA and Bank of America’s Merrill.
Ray notes that despite market volatility and rising interest rates, the trading space remains active, even if the trades are sometimes “creative.”
“There is no shortage of opportunities,” says Ray. “The problem is finding that sweet spot in terms of pricing and hoping to get that arbitrage growth when combined. [firms] Together they lead to higher multiples. That is the challenge and the opportunity that lies ahead of us. “
Hammond said the company is focused on creating a streamlined process for evaluating and moving advisories. The firm also sees it as suitable for “young advisors who are growing rapidly and want to stay in business.” “It’s a really good fit for us and a cultural fit.”
yes, it’s about synergy
Pensionmark has so far hired only three advisors since May 2022, but Hammond says the pace is getting faster. The company is currently considering about 30 companies representing more than 200 financial his advisors. Going forward, the company plans to book approximately 15-20 deals per year.
Hammond, like many retirement and insurance benefits aggregators, sees wealth management as a key service for its clients to serve the full range of services. Pensionmark became dominated by institutional retirement services, Hammond says, but didn’t make the transition intentionally. In fact, the company spun off his wealth management division in 2008, which had until then accounted for about 50% of the business.
About three years ago, Pensionmark made a strategic decision to place more wealth managers where it could build on the company’s existing retirement offerings, according to Hammond.
“There are so many synergies between having a retirement advisor and a wealth advisor co-located, being able to introduce businesses to each other, and being able to offer a holistic service to our clients,” he says. “We knew that was the field and the direction we wanted to go. numbers can change much faster.”
Focus on advisors
Pensionmark has also invested in advisory services and platforms, Hammond said. In his one year of this, through recruitment or acquisition he gained his members of staff of nearly 40 to build the company’s technical support.
“We love what we have now … but looking out the window into five years, it’s like, ‘Where will we be in five years? Where will our advisors be in five years? What kind of capabilities do we want to have?” We have to start building it today,” says Hammond.
Meanwhile, the company will look for the right fit to expand its wealth and retirement services in the 300 locations where Pension Mark and World currently reside.New recruits like Ray and other leaders join the team. This made the company’s founders feel the job was more manageable.
“They are seasoned professionals with 20, 30 years of experience that help build our business,” says Hammond. “it was fun [bringing them on], and we will continue to do so. “