Blog

Mid Atlantic Hosts Its 2017 National Conference in Phoenix, Arizona

 

Recently, Mid Atlantic held its 2017 National Partner Conference at the beautiful and elegant Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix, Arizona.  In the process, attendees were taken on a trip back in time with a 1930s art deco theme!  The three day event provided something for everyone, including Bruce Johnstone, Fidelity Investments Managing Director, treating audiences once again to his unique and entertaining perspective on present day economic and market conditions.

Also, Dr. Ben Sorenson of T. Rowe Price delivered a riveting session on how to gather information about clients and prospects through “tells” and develop the skills for response.  Meanwhile, David Levine and George Sepsakos of the Groom Law Group tackled the current in-flux state of affairs regarding the DOL fiduciary rule.  Additionally, attendees were able to participate in one-on-one training sessions and demonstrations of some of the industry’s top technology platforms by leading third party providers.

As always, many thanks go out to all our terrific speakers, sponsors, and business partners for their involvement in helping us make this year’s annual conference so successful and well-received!

In the Spotlight: Canterbury Investment Management

Mid Atlantic recently welcomed to its roster of valued business partners Canterbury Investment Management in Zionsville, Indiana.

Canterbury specializes in providing financial advisers with systematic, rules-based investment solutions.  Its mission is to provide strategies that produce the stability needed to achieve long-term risk adjusted growth through compounded returns.

Recently, Mid Atlantic caught up with the Canterbury team for a more in-depth perspective about the firm:

How would you describe the underlying philosophy, principles, and/or strategies you implement when working with your clients?

Canterbury’s philosophy was built on the fact that financial markets and securities are variable, meaning they have both bull and bear markets.  The Portfolio Thermostat is constructed to adapt to changes in the market environment similar to how a home thermostat adapts to changes in weather.  Instead of measuring temperature, the Portfolio Thermostat is evaluating risk in real-time and making the proper adjustments to remove the portfolio from high risk securities while increasing exposure to lower risk securities. 

How is Canterbury Investment Management currently developing and building its brand?

Canterbury’s focus has always been on advisor education and what that means to us is portfolio implementation.  We want to be known not only as a company that offers quality strategies but one that can also clearly position ourselves within a portfolio.  The ability to effectively position our strategy starts with understanding each advisor’s unique business and their approach to building model portfolios.  A brand is built by relationships and we look forward to starting that journey with Mid Atlantic.

What led to your decision to partner with Mid Atlantic on its ModelxChange platform?

Partnering with Mid Atlantic was an easy decision for us.  In our initial discussions with Kyle Smith and his team, it was obvious the passion they have for what they do.  We have had a great experience working through the due diligence process and hearing about the ideas and thoughts that the team has for the future of the ModelxChange platform.  We want to partner with groups that are passionate about what they do because we are passionate about what we do.

Mid Atlantic Welcomes BlueStar and Vantage

Mid Atlantic is happy to bring on board its newest business partners:

BlueStar Retirement Services has a singular focus of making retirement plans simple and effective for employers and advisers.  The company services a variety of retirement plan types and is a national specialist in Multiple Employer Plans.  By utilizing an open architecture platform, BlueStar provides plan access to a nearly limitless menu of investment options.  And as an integrated recordkeeper and Third Party Administrator (TPA), BlueStar delivers the most efficient and effective model for servicing them.  BlueStar was founded in 1997 and is based in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

Vantage Benefits Administrators is a full-service employee benefits consultant, TPA, and professional fiduciary based in Dallas, Texas.  The firm specializes in comprehensive, cutting-edge corporate benefit program administration, offering fiduciary services as needed.  Independent of all carriers and investment product providers, Vantage is unbiased in its pursuit of its clients’ best interests.  The company emphasizes transparency, integrity, responsiveness, and cost efficiency.

Mid Atlantic Hosts Its Second Annual Non-Perishable Food Drive

Last month, Mid Atlantic, in conjunction with loyal business partner Derek Fiorenza and his non-profit organization Fiorenza’s Food For Friends (F4), hosted its 2nd Annual non-perishable food drive to help alleviate hunger in the nearby community.  Over the course of seven business days, the Pittsburgh office was organized into three separate teams as staff enthusiastically came together in the spirit of service, teamwork, and competitive fun to donate items such as canned tuna, canned fruit, beans, grains, pasta, and personal hygiene products.

We are thrilled to report that employees raised over 2,800 items overall, which more than doubled last year’s tally!  These donations were promptly picked up by the Oakland CHS Food Pantry for distribution to local area residents in need.  We are truly grateful to everyone involved for making the Mid Atlantic Pittsburgh Office’s 2nd Annual Food Drive its most successful yet!

Mid Atlantic Welcomes Model Managers Glovista, GeaSphere, and Epic Trust

Mid Atlantic is pleased to welcome the following ModelxChange™ managers to its 401(k) ModelxChange™ platform:

Glovista Investments is an advisory firm formed by seasoned finance professionals with decades of market experience spanning many geographic regions and products.  The firm seeks to provide investment management services to both institutional and high net worth clients, including state and municipal pension funds, endowments, RIAs, family offices, and high net worth individuals.  Glovista’s core values are integrity, independence, innovation, and intellectual commitment and is committed to creating value for its customers, employees, and shareholders.

GeaSphere Advisors in Cranston and Warwick, Rhode Island, is an independent advisory firm that recognizes the importance of its fiduciary responsibility to provide clients with prudent investment management and unbiased advice.  The GeaSphere proprietary research study and technical methodology is the first step to its portfolio construction and management of its model portfolios.  The firm’s portfolio construction begins with its 60 year empirical research study and investing philosophy rooted in the relationship of free cash flow to the stock price.  GeaSphere’s rules-based diversification method alongside the proprietary stock valuation philosophy gives its investors uncompromising value for true piece of mind investing.

Epic Trust Advisors is an independent financial services firm serving clients throughout Washington state.  It primarily helps individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of investment and insurance products customized to their personal needs and objectives.  The firm has developed its business by reaching out, nurturing, and maintaining close, trusting relationships with each client.  Epic’s mission is to simplify the finances of its clients and help them to enjoy the people and causes in their lives that matter more to them than their money.

Recordkeeper Spotlight: Vertical Management Systems

Mid Atlantic wants to welcome to its roster of valued business partners Vertical Management Systems (VMS) in Pasadena, California.

Vertical Management Systems (VMS) is a technology innovation firm bringing best-in-class solutions to a financial services industry in need of change.  The firm prides itself on providing easy-to-implement, integrated solutions that solve for today’s key issues like fiduciary risk, fee transparency, and revenue reconciliation.  VMS has worked with top-tier financial services firms for over 20 years, and processes over $600 billion in assets.

Recently, Mid Atlantic caught up with the VMS team to get a more in-depth perspective of their underlying business principles and philosophy:

What do you believe your clients find most unique (or surprising) about working with your firm?

We are a cost-effective, feature-rich retirement solution that is easy to use.  Our cutting-edge technology allows our recordkeeping platform to be fully automated, enabling greater efficiencies and important features such as 100% fee transparency, true open architecture, and customized model portfolios.

What led to your decision to partner with Mid Atlantic on their Custodial platform?

VMS consistently strives to provide its clients with the highest-quality services available.  As one of the nation’s premier providers of trust and custody services and trading, settlement, and payer services, Mid Atlantic was a natural choice as a partner.  They share our dedication to providing the best financial products, services, and technology.  They provide a wide array of trust, brokerage, and advisory services all available on a single platform.  Lastly, the people at MATC are innovative as well as solution- and customer-driven.

How would you describe the underlying philosophy, principles, and/or strategies you implement when working with your clients?

At VMS, we are dedicated to helping Advisors and TPAs implement best-in-class solutions for the plan sponsors, and ultimately the individual participants, they serve.  We are masters in developing cutting edge technology that solves for deficiencies often found in legacy systems.  We offer easy to implement, integrated solutions that solve today’s key issues:

  • Fiduciary Risk
  • Revenue Reconciliation
  • Fee transparency

What are some of the greatest challenges you face in serving the 401(k) space?

One of the biggest challenges in serving the 401(k) community is that the requirements and demands of the space are continually evolving.  For this reason, Retirement Revolution was built from the ground up to provide greater operating flexibility to allow us and our clients the ability to adapt to a changing environment.

Of late, we have seen much press about lawsuits being filed against plan fiduciaries and their providers.  What are some of your top suggestions in making sure an employer stays out of these headlines?

We recommend that employers manage their fiduciary liability associated with recent DOL regulations by switching to a platform that provides 100% fee transparency and open investment architecture.  The ability to clearly communicate what the plan and participants are paying, and having unrestricted investment options to choose from are two critical elements in upholding fiduciary responsibility.

Unlike many legacy recordkeeping solutions, Retirement Revolution accrues and allocates revenue at the participant level which enables 100% fee transparency.

For more information about Vertical Management Systems, you may visit the firm’s website at: www.vmsholdings.com.

* Please note that the views expressed by our business partners do not necessary constitute the views of MATC.

Recordkeeper Spotlight: Certified Benefits Corp

Chris Staton
Certified Benefits Corp

Mid Atlantic is pleased to take this opportunity to spotlight valued business partner Certified Benefits Corp (CBC) in Altamonte Springs, Florida.

CBC was founded in 1996 as a member of Certified Financial Group (CFG), with the express purpose of creating a lower cost, customized retirement plan solution for its personal wealth management clients. As an independent recordkeeper and plan administration service provider, CBC’s primary objective is to offer an open-fund lineup not commonly offered by insurance companies and mutual fund providers. The firm partners with major custodians, independent investment advisors, and other third party administrators (TPAs) to provide unbundled, investment-independent retirement plans.

After several years working for another service provider, Christopher Staton, Vice President of CBC, joined the firm in 2003. In addition to performing a variety of roles with CBC and experiencing the many levels of services provided to clients and participants, Chris has been overseeing firm operations since 2007. Mid Atlantic recently spoke with Chris to get a more in-depth perspective of the CBC’s business philosophy:

What do you believe your clients find most unique about working with Certified Benefits? What, if anything, are clients most surprised to learn about your firm?

The most unique feature about Certified Benefits is our willingness to tailor our service to meet the client’s needs. We understand that our clients span different industries, different locations, and each has its own unique company culture. We tailor our service to the client and what they need.

What led to your decision to become a recordkeeper on Mid Atlantic’s custodial platform?

The Mid Atlantic platform has additional features that we will be able to bring to our clients.

How would you describe the underlying principles behind Certified Benefit’s most successful strategies?

Our service comes first… This allows us to create a long-lasting partnership with our clients. This is the main reason that a majority of our clients have been with us for 10+ years.

What are some of the greatest challenges you face in serving the 401(k) space?

Our greatest challenge is to provide efficient services without sacrificing the 5-star service we’ve become known for.

For more information about Certified Benefits Corp, you may visit the firm’s website at: www.certifieddifference.com.

* Please note that the views expressed by our business partners do not necessary constitute the views of MATC.

Mid Atlantic Welcomes Gebhardt Financial Group

We are pleased to welcome Gebhardt Financial Group to the Mid Atlantic family.  Gebhardt is a wealth management firm based out of Sugarcreek, Ohio.  The rep group consists of Phil Gebhardt and junior advisor Brooks Numbers, both of whom are affiliated with Mid Atlantic Capital Corporation and Mid Atlantic Financial Management.  Phil was formerly with LPL for 15 years as a financial advisor and an OSJ Branch Manager/Registered Principal.

Gebhardt will be managing its assets through Mid Atlantic via direct business, brokerage, and fee-based accounts.  The firm will also be creating models through ModelxChange for its accounts, in addition to conducting general wealth management for individuals and overseeing qualified plans.

Mid Atlantic Welcomes Kerns Capital Management

Mid Atlantic would like to welcome Kerns Capital Management to our family.

Kerns Capital Management is headquartered in Houston, Texas and was founded in 1996 to provide fiduciary investment services to 401(k) retirement plan sponsors, including oversight, and investment management.  The firm’s attention to prudence and its appreciation for the wealth devastation of bear markets has guided its evolution in the development of product designed to help investors grow and protect wealth.  Today, KCM provides investment management and advisory services to mutual funds, hedge funds, high-net worth individuals and corporate retirement plans.  KCM utilizes “intelligent” Smart Glide retirement target date strategies that are adjusted periodically and managed “To Retirement,” which is a glide path targeting the retirement date as the point where the portfolio risk is at its lowest at the end of a plan participant’s Wealth Accumulation Stage where participants are entering the Distribution Stage.

Mid Atlantic Welcomes GeaSphere Advisors

We are happy to welcome GeaSphere Advisors to the Mid Atlantic family.

Based in Cranston, Rhode Island, GeaSphere Advisors is an independent and privately owned registered investment advisory firm providing comprehensive investment research and analysis, professional money management for financial advisors and individuals, and long term financial and income planning to individuals and corporations.  GeaSphere builds investment portfolios using its proprietary research philosophy called the GeaSphere Analysis System.  This is a three-part system in which the first two parts are based in the research of a company’s free cash flow (current and historical) and the third part is based on a company’s price action as a gauge of investor sentiment.  The GeaSphere system’s main goal is to buy securities priced at a discount to the historical relationship of the company’s Price to Free Cash Flow, which allows for determining the current buy price and future sell price based on the same relationship.  All of the firm’s model portfolios use its own exclusive methods and historical data base as the basis for portfolio construction and management.