What agencies will last in this new age of business? As vice president of business development for United Benefit Advisors, an organization of more than 140 independent benefit firms that is looking to add to its ranks, Matt Kistler has traveled the country and learned what makes a brokerage successful, and which ones will be around many years from now. Kistler shares some of his predictions on which firms will be widely successful in the future:

1) Firms that are widely independent and not looking to sell. M&A is all the rage. If you read the magazines, the publications, the blogs, a lot of people are talking about merging. However, those firms that are set up to be independent and go after developing their business are doing the best.

2) Those that are thought leaders. Firms out there blazing a trail and willing to learn the industry. You need to be a student in the industry, to gain knowledge and to grow with your clients. Make it not about yourself but about servicing those that you work with and work for.

3) Those who have a succession plan, a perpetuation plan, in place will stay around. I come across principals all the time that say, "I'm 50 years old, I don't need a perpetuation plan." I just sit there and say, "Your perpetuation plan then is to sell."

That's an interesting place for people to be to realize at the end of the day, "I can't live forever and I can't run this organization forever." So I look at what do they have in place? Are they growing their producers? Are they giving them something to run after? Is there a carrot at the end of the road for those guys to go for?"

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