Originating from the acquisition of four separate operations by its parent company HUB International, HUB Financial has grown over the last 12 years to become one of Canada’s largest and leading Managing General Agencies (MGA). The initial challenge HUB Financial faced during its infancy was the integration of four separate MGA operations, each with its own leadership, distinct culture, and unique market, to become one cohesive and well-oiled machine, with its own identity, brand and value proposition.
As an integrated unit, HUB Financial established its own objectives, goals, mission and, perhaps most important, its own identity. Today, the company has emerged as one of Canada’s most recognized, industry-leading MGAs.
John Lutrin, Chief Marketing Officer with HUB Financial, was passionate about the company when describing the enormous growth achieved by HUB Financial since the company came together in 1999. He explains the parallel approach of two key growth strategies—organic growth, and growth by acquisition—both key elements of HUB Financial’s growth strategy.
Organic growth drives new business from the existing broker base of HUB Financial. Existing brokers, who are the direct clients of HUB Financial, are served in ways that enhances their productivity, thus boosting organic growth. This is achieved by providing brokers a robust offering of resources, tools and expertise that enables brokers to conduct their business at maximum efficiency. It also provides brokers a full-service back-office platform allowing brokers to maintain their focus on serving clients rather than being caught up in administration and processing.
Growth through acquisition, coincidentally how the company originally began, has continued, and HUB Financial has aggressively pursued opportunities for further growth through finding entities that are well suited for acquisition.
“We look for entities that we believe would be the right fit for our corporate culture and for our production and business objectives,” Lutrin said. “This has been our strategy and will continue to be so.”
The goal is to continue providing a valuable offering, so as to satisfy existing brokers as HUB Financial continues to enhance their productivity, as well as attracting new customers to HUB Financial by making its value proposition known in the industry. Lutrin summarized, “That is the vision and that’s how we seek out our growth.”
Steady in volatile markets
HUB Financial is well positioned through its business streams, but perhaps one area that has been volatile to economic conditions in recent years has been the investment side of the business. While HUB Financial is primarily an MGA, it also serves as a Mutual Fund dealership through HUB Capital. The investment focus of HUB Financial however is tied to segregated funds, “the life insurance industry equivalent of mutual funds”. HUB Financial is noted for its focus on the protection aspects of segregated fund offerings, where it educates brokers on the product selection process for clients based on suitability and client profile. Built-in protections and guarantees make the appetite for segregated funds more appealing in uncertain economic times.
“In some ways, a more volatile market is really an opportunity for us to highlight the value of segregated funds, which is such a key component of the investment products that we offer,” Lutrin explained. “The more uncertain and volatile the economic climate is, the more aware of capital protection advisors become, making segregated funds an attractive alternative to investors seeking greater protection.”
Ensuring that brokers and customers recognize the value proposition offered by HUB Financial is key to organic growth for the company moving forward.
Customer satisfaction is of high importance to HUB Financial, and the company works to ensure that it adds value and efficiency wherever possible. As an MGA, HUB Financial works between the advisor and the life insurance company, often adding value with leading-edge technology. Lutrin joked that HUB Financial is in fact on the “bleeding edge” because, as pioneers to the managing general agency industry, HUB Financial has cut its teeth and has taken the knocks of trial and error. He summarized, “We believe it is really important for us to be at that leading edge, rather than being a follower.” HUB Financial is always seeking out new and innovative ways to improve efficiency and increase value to brokers. “Sometimes it hurts us in the short run, but we stay focused on our strategic vision,” Lutrin said.
Along with broad product access in the Life, Living Benefits and investment arenas, HUB Financial offers guidance and expertise to brokers so that the correct and most suitable options are selected by the broker. This is done on a case by case basis, where HUB Financial’s team of specialists is on hand for their brokers to guide and advise. Lutrin summarized, “We maintain consistency. The HUB Financial brand now contains an identity that stands for consistency in support, so the brokers have an expectation of what they can expect from HUB Financial.”
Becoming a single brand as HUB Financial, the leverage is noticeable. Now, rather than being five fragmented companies as it was 12 years ago at the outset, HUB Financial continues to build and increase its efficiencies and its offerings, ultimately attracting more advisors and more business, building momentum for the company to keep moving forward.
Lutrin concluded, “The industry is kind of at a threshold in terms of where it is headed. We want to maintain a competitive edge by being the MGA that has the strength and the resources available to not only survive in a new era, but thrive.”