The other day I was having a conversation with a valued client with whom I have enjoyed a long-term relationship. I asked what really differentiates a good advisory firm from a great one. With many agencies out there to choose from, what are employer groups looking for in an adviser that makes a tangible difference in helping them achieve their strategic business goals?

In the end, we concurred that first and foremost, a client needs to know that their adviser always has their best interests at heart and that all recommendations from the adviser are based on that premise. In addition, besides building innovative strategies for managing benefits costs, today more than ever, a full complement of services is imperative to deliver best practices in compliance, HR, employee engagement, and technology for the management of human capital information.

Having said that, excellence in employee benefit advising ultimately comes when an adviser sets the stage to learn and fully understand a client's overall enterprise goals. Then and only then do you have the building blocks for formulating a human capital benefits strategy that delivers organizational synchronicity and establishes you as a great trusted adviser to that organization.

In one sentence, what are qualities that make a broker stand out?

MARK GAUNYA, Principal, Borislow Insurance

Put client needs ahead of your own.



Assisting a client in achieving their business goals.


ANDREW TORELLI, President, e3 Financial

Understanding your clients' needs.


RON LEOPOLD, Independent consultant



THOM MANGAN, CEO, United Benefit Advisors

An "A" Student in a "C" industry.


TINKER KELLY, CEO, Voluntary Employee Benefit Advisors

Professionalism is expected and required.


BEVERLY BEATTIE, CEO, Selden Beattie Benefit Advisors

Earnest concern for each client's betterment.

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