“Belonging” and “membership” are concepts that come naturally to the advisors at Primary Financial, a premier Penn Mutual agency in Edison, NJ, and the newest NAIFA 100% Agency. Collaboration and working together are ingrained in the firm’s culture and reflected by the value the agency places on mentorships and its support for NAIFA.
With approximately 40 insurance and financial professionals, Primary Financial is known for having many experienced advisors. As it brings on new advisors, it pairs them with the firm’s well-seasoned professionals.
Primary Financial Sales Director Diego Correa, a loyal NAIFA member since 2020, said of the newer advisors on the Primary Financial team, “They feel they are very lucky to come in and work with some of the super-producers in the industry.”
The advisors at Primary Financial provide their clients, including business owners and medium- and high-income families, comprehensive financial plans. The firm seeks out advisors who are eager to help clients succeed and “are willing to learn the full scope of financial solutions that are out there,” Correa said.
“We have balanced advisors, and it makes a big difference in the community,” he explained. “One of the issues right now with a lot of advisors is that they just do life insurance and they never think about the correlation with investments, or vice versa, so we want well-rounded advisors. We’re looking for advisors willing to learn and know the full financial process.”
Primary Financial expands its reach even further by working in professional advisor alliances with other financial services providers, like CPAs and property and casualty insurance agencies, to give clients a complete range of services and solutions.
A Natural Fit as a NAIFA 100% Agency
For a firm with a strong culture focused on collaboration, mentorship, and belonging, becoming a NAIFA 100% Agency was the logical next step. Correa found a strong interest in NAIFA among his colleagues, even though some of them had not yet joined. As advisors at a NAIFA 100% Agency, they all became NAIFA members and agreed to be actively engaged with the association and its programming.
“We always encourage newer advisors to get mentored and coached by experienced advisors, and as I became aware of NAIFA and what it does, I thought it would be a good idea for everyone to become part of it,” he said. “Seeing the senior advisors in the industry lead by supporting organizations like NAIFA, I feel like it’s important for us as the newer generation of advisors to get involved so we can stay up-to-date with what’s going on and have an impact on our future.”
At Primary Financial, support for NAIFA extends through the highest levels of leadership. Managing Partner Edward Barrett, ChFC, has been a loyal NAIFA member since 1996. Along with Correa, he participated in NAIFA’s Congressional Conference to advocate on behalf of his business, industry, and clients. Managing Director Keri Kutakoff, CIMA, has been a loyal NAIFA member since 2016. Financial Professional Daniel Kaplan, a loyal NAIFA member since 2006, has served in volunteer leadership positions with NAIFA-NJ and his local NAIFA chapter.
“Ed Barrett has been a NAIFA member for years, so he understands the value,” Correa said “So it comes from leadership, agents knowing that Ed was involved, I was involved. The best advisors are always willing to be part of the culture. When you have a strong culture, where everybody has the same beliefs and same ethical beliefs, then it’s easier to be a NAIFA 100% Agency.”
Correa serves as the current Membership Committee Chair for NAIFA-NJ. He believes NAIFA membership should be an expectation for new advisors entering the profession. He is always eager to speak with agency owners or leadership interested in NAIFA or the NAIFA 100% Agency program.
“I’m happy to spend time with them and share why we joined as a NAIFA 100% Agency,” he said. “I think it would help [agency leaders] to know they can contact Diego because they just did it, so let’s find out why they did it and why it makes sense.”
Helping Advisors Build Their Own Businesses
Promoting NAIFA membership and mentoring are just two ways Primary Financial helps advisors succeed. The firm provides strong marketing support so advisors can concentrate their efforts and resources on serving clients and developing their own practices.
“While you’re here you get a lot of support and marketing dollars behind you with the coaching and support,” Correa said. “We also offer some of the highest compensation in the industry.”
Another advantage, Correa said, is that unlike at many agencies, Primary Financial advisors own their books of business. Combined with the firm’s mentoring program this sometimes provides younger advisors opportunities to grow.
“Not only do they own their book of business, but we them put in a transition plan for them to be able to sell their book,” Correa said. “That’s why a lot of newer advisors are coming here, especially junior advisors, who want to be paired up with an experienced advisor to come in and learn the ropes, grow a practice, learn a system, and later on buy the [mentor’s] book of business.”
That’s a win-win for the mentors and mentees.
“At most companies, you work, you build up a book of business, you retire or you leave, and the company keeps the [book],” he said. “Here, you can sell it to somebody else. You are actually, truly building up a business.”
Through a combination of NAIFA membership, mentorship, strong agency support, and entrepreneurial opportunities, Primary Financial ensures its advisors have the best opportunity to succeed in their business and provide comprehensive solutions for their clients. The firm emphasizes collaboration and being a part of something bigger than the individual, while at the same time providing the tools for individual success. In short, Primary Financial has a winning culture that epitomizes the NAIFA 100% Agency program.