Independent Financial Concepts Group Ltd.
Independent Financial Concepts Group (IFCG) is changing the face of high quality insurance and financial products. Breaking from the traditional insurance industry, IFCG takes a soft-sell approach to retain lifelong customers, focusing on full-service and strong relationships with clients.
Clients who work with IFCG for their professional or personal insurance needs work with independent brokers who receive a level compensation structure for products in life or disability insurance, retirement planning, employee benefits or segregated fund. This means there is zero incentive for a broker to advise one product over another, ensuring that whichever product is recommended is done so because it is the right fit for the particular needs of an individual.
“Clients that work with an IFCG advisor knows that the advisor is working in their best interest, this sets an IFGG advisor apart from the rest,” says IFCG President and CEO Gary Mandel. “An IFCG advisor is always working in the best interest of the consumer because they are able to shop the marketplace and are not enticed by getting paid higher commissions for a specific carrier.”
This makes IFCG advisors truly independent, backed by one of the industry’s most rigorous and ongoing education training programs.
“The education market is one of our fortes,” says Eric Benchetrit, Director, Professional Development. “When it comes to education and training, we hold over 150 meetings a year on a variety of topics and on a per capita basis, it’s fair to say that our advisors are the most educated, informed and ethically compliant in the marketplace.”
IFCG recognizes that insurance products have evolved. The reality is that consumers have a need for more than insurance products, they also need service for banking, debt management, family security, tax planning, and a myriad of other needs, including client privacy.
“Our advisors are up to speed on the privacy act to make sure their clients’ information is secure,” says Mandel. “We encrypt computers to secure them and we provide our advisors with programs that can secure sensitive information such as tax returns, health information, social insurance numbers, etc., should a computer or laptop get stolen, that information will be completely secure.”
The end goal is not premium dollars. IFCG advisors take a personal, easy approach to insurance; there is no pressure for a client to buy. The client will buy an insurance product if they understand it and feel they need it. What could be perceived as a complicated matter is turned into a pleasant experience, with clients receiving direction tailored to a client’s specific need.
“There were very thorough in educating me by explaining every term and every condition that the policy met. Once I bought life insurance from them I felt comfortable giving them my entire business,” says Brian Roberts, a client of personal and professional IFCG products.
In terms of overall percentage, IFCG’s clients are equally divided between self-employed business owners, professionals and individual clients, dealing primarily with the affluent market, and high net worth clients, and with advisors that serve the middle market consumer as well. IFCG provides business owners with a succession strategy, and believes there are “huge” opportunities that many are not taking advantage of.
“We often collaborate with their other advisors such as accountants or lawyers to help clients obtain the most suitable products for their needs,” says Benchetrit.
David Pinkus is another IFCG client. “As my needs have changed, my broker has brought to the table changes to my policies both from an economic standpoint, finding me ways to save money…I have been open to all these suggestions as my professional and personal life has changed. I have enjoyed their assertive style. There are fabulous alternatives that made me both feel comfortable and ended up saving me money.”
The IFCG approach to customer service has created lifelong customers and significant organic growth for the company, and has attracted a high number of younger brokers to seek out IFCG to start their careers.
“The vision to build an agency on hard work, dedication, planning and putting strategies in place to align ourselves and partner with the best in the business has garnered us the opportunity to watch our company grow to hold a place among valued, successful professionals,” says Mandel.
“Our advisors work for themselves, not by themselves, and we believe our reputation and high referral rates are our best advertisers.”