PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 40

managing provider relationships / Q&A
Kathleen Kelly
On Marsh McLennan acquiring Compass Financial Partners
UNDERSCORING the rapid pace of retirement
plan industry merger and acquisition (M&A)
activity, several more transactions have taken
place so far this year. For one, Compass Financial
Partners, in Greensboro, North Carolina,
was acquired by Marsh McLennan Agency
(MMA), a subsidiary of global firm Marsh
McLennan. Kathleen Kelly, managing partner
in Compass Financial Partners, shared insights
with Managing Editor Judy Faust Hartnett
about the team's acquisition experience.
PLANADVISER: What were your goals for
Compass when you were evaluating whether
to pursue an acquisition?
Kathleen Kelly: We identified three distinct
goals that needed to be met in order to commit
to an acquisition; however, I would preface
my remarks by saying we're unique, in that
my husband, George Hoyle, and I were sole
owners of the company, and we launched
Compass prior to even being engaged, so this
decision was like selling our baby!
Our first goal to be met was regarding
our clients. There needed to be a clear and
tangible benefit to them if we were acquired.
Secondly, we have always viewed Compass
as the " Compass family, " so it needed to be
the right move for all of our team members.
We wanted them to have an opportunity for
professional growth.
Finally, for George and me, we've made
decisions over the past 20 years by first considering
how the decision would affect us, our
family's future and our professional growth,
and then by following our gut. For an acquisition
to happen, it had to be the right culture
with the right people.
PA: Nine months in, has the reality met the
expectation?
Kelly: It has exceeded our expectation, especially
given that we've lived our entire experience
affiliated with Marsh during COVID-19.
There's extensive collaboration with other
MMA retirement advisers around the country,
and we come together as a " volunteer army "
to identify and execute on opportunities to
improve. It's been refreshing because the
MMA model lets us maintain our entrepreneurial
spirit, yet benefit from the size, scale
and strength of a global powerhouse.
PA: How has joining MMA enabled your advisory
team to broaden and enhance the
resources that it can offer plan sponsor clients?
Participants?
Kelly: As an industry, we've all realized that
financial wellness and overall well-being,
from not only a financial but also a health
and wellness standpoint, has the ability to
strengthen organizations and positively influence
employee performance.
One advantage of being aligned with the
largest insurance broker on the globe is having
access to tremendous resources, for instance
the MMA Cyber Center of Excellence. Besides
[all that we've gained within MMA thanks
to] employee benefits and business insurance
colleagues, the other benefit for us is
that Mercer is a business of Marsh McLennan.
Mercer has tremendous capabilities that
we've been able to access at the request of our
clients, ranging from global governance best
practices, to consulting on IPO [initial public
offering] planning, compensation and executive
benefits, to OCIO [outsourced chief investment
officer] work for sizable pension plans.
Many of our clients are very large, they're
publicly traded, they're globally domiciled,
and, over time, they've come to us with needs
we couldn't fill directly because we lacked the
resources. Now we have those, which was a
huge differentiator relative to other potential
acquirers we considered.
PA: How has the acquisition changed the
services and support for your advisory team
members?
Kelly: We've maintained our management
structure. Team members who were accustomed
to reporting up to another team member
haven't seen a change. I'm one of five who
serve on the MMA national strategy team, and
almost everyone on our team is involved on
a committee, working on national initiatives
with peers, which they have enjoyed doing.
" Better Together " is one of MMA's mottos.
That aligns very well with our culture at
Compass. We've always been focused on
getting better, and aligning with MMA lets us
get better faster.
One
advantage
of being
aligned with
the largest
insurance
broker on
the globe
is having
access to
tremendous
resources ...
40 | planadviser.com September-October 2021
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PLANADVISER - September/October 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PLANADVISER - September/October 2021

Masterminds of the Plan
"PLANADVISER’s 2021 Top 100 Retirement Plan Advisers"
How to Optimize Connections
Defining Roles
Building Strategic Partnerships
Different Strokes
Cybersecurity Considerations
Provider Recommendations
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - Cover1
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - Cover2
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 1
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 2
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 3
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 4
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 5
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 6
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 7
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 8
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 9
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 10
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 11
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 12
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 13
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 14
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 15
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 16
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 17
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - Masterminds of the Plan
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 19
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 20
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 21
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - "PLANADVISER’s 2021 Top 100 Retirement Plan Advisers"
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 23
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 24
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 25
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 26
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 27
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - How to Optimize Connections
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 29
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 30
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 31
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - Defining Roles
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 33
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - Building Strategic Partnerships
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 35
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - Different Strokes
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 37
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - Cybersecurity Considerations
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - Provider Recommendations
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 40
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - Cover3
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - Cover4
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https://www.planadviserdigital.com/planadviser/july_august_2018
https://www.planadviserdigital.com/planadviser/may_june_2018
https://www.planadviserdigital.com/planadviser/march_april_2018
https://www.planadviserdigital.com/planadviser/january_february_2018
https://www.planadviserdigital.com/planadviser/november_december_2017
https://www.planadviserdigital.com/planadviser/september_october_2017
https://www.planadviserdigital.com/planadviser/july_august_2017
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