Financial Advisor Magazine
Future Looks Bright For This Fast-Growing LPL Hybrid Firm
DECEMBER 29, 2016
In Wyomissing, Pa., about 60 miles northwest of Philadelphia, lies the headquarters of Good Life Advisors, a rising full-service affiliate of LPL’s broker-dealer network and one of its fastest growing hybrid firms.
Launched in 2012 by CEO Conor Delaney and President Courtnie Nein, then in their mid-20s, Good Life was designed to provide infrastructure, technology, training, investment advice and other support to independent financial advisors nationwide. In 2014, it became a registered investment advisor with independent advisor representatives. Then, in early 2016, it nearly doubled its headcount again when it started Good Life Insurance Associates, a full-service insurance agency.
Today it has more than 100 representatives nationwide, some 15,000 clients and more than $1 billion in assets under management.
What lies behind this rapid growth is a near-missionary zeal. Both Delaney and Nein earned their securities licenses while still in college. “I got into this business at 19,” says Delaney, now 31. “My father had passed away when I was 17 and my mother was wrestling with health and financial issues. I knew I had to figure things out on my own.”
Similarly, Nein was on an athletic scholarship when injury waylaid her. “While my team was traveling without me, I joined Waddell & Reed,” she recalls. That’s where she met Delaney, and they’ve been working together ever since.
Some would say it’s not the easiest time to break into insurance. Regulatory pressures have been increasing, and uncertainty around the impending changes in Washington, D.C., has had a chilling effect on many providers. But Delaney and Nein don’t see it that way.
“Actually, insurance is incredibly profitable for us,” Delaney insists. “The regulatory and underwriting hurdles make many people give up or overlook it, but we feel that addressing the risk side of financial planning is a critical part of the equation.”
The firm’s expertise in financial planning and RIA services gives it an edge, he contends. “Our insurance agency offers complete case management, all the way through the underwriting process,” says Delaney. “Insurance can be a hard sell,” he acknowledges. “But if we can piggyback the risk side of prudent planning off of cheerier discussions about ensuring a happy retirement, it puts the whole picture into perspective.”
A good example is its entrée into long-term care insurance, particularly striking at a time when many large carriers have exited the business. To Delaney and Nein, this just represents an opportunity. “We present it to clients as a way of preserving their retirement assets,” explains Nein. “We might say, ‘Would you rather utilize the insurance company’s dollars to pay a percentage of nursing-home expenses, or have them come 100% out of your assets?'”
The majority of LTC policies they sell are hybrid or linked benefits, so clients receive a benefit either way.
For the future, Delaney and Nein remain optimistic, anticipating a more efficient, thriving business climate with less red tape. Says Delaney: “By keeping our overhead low, and treating our advisors and clients well, we don’t know how we cannot make money.”