“Engaging with clients and advisors is what I love the most. I enjoy collaborating with others to discuss how we can find a better solution.”
At its heart, Palladium Group’s purpose is to serve people. It’s our personal mission to provide registered investment advisors, like you, with superior consultative, outcome-based insurance solutions. We’re able to both meet our mission and fuel our spirits when we get to be ourselves — a tight-knit and deeply passionate team of individuals who want to support our partners and their clients. While your financial health and peace of mind are important to us, we believe in looking at the whole picture, caring for the whole person, and solving for every problem.
As we continue to shine a light on our Palladium Group team members, we recently sat down with Jeff Hess. He speaks to the origins of Palladium Group, and along the way, you’ll learn how he spends his time outside the office, the one word he would use to describe his team, and how he defines success.
Jeff Hess: I was approached by a fee-only advisor in Indianapolis, and the advisor shared with me that their process for incorporating insurance into their financial planning was broken. They had anywhere from six to 12 relationships outside their firm to handle insurance. The challenge was that each relationship handled insurance differently — the deliverables, the process, the approach in working with clients, and their communication style. When the advisor came to me, he was looking for a process that mirrored their fiduciary duty and would become a true partnership.
JH: The biggest challenge early on was understanding how fee-only RIAs think and operate. There are significant differences between fee-only RIAs and traditional insurance professionals, or those who sell products to receive a commission. It was (and still is) critical to fully recognize how these advisors think and operate so that we could build our platform to mirror theirs. Every detail of how we engage with these advisors had to be reviewed and modified to make sure their clients felt like they were working with a member of the RIA’s team. We wanted to raise the bar in the industry so that reviewing and implementing life insurance was enjoyable, not just a daunting task.
JH: There are so many things I could say about our culture. Companies talk about culture all of the time and how it is so important to them, but I can honestly say we live it. While we would have loved to get out and meet with advisors and clients in person this past year, we looked at COVID as an opportunity for us to grow closer together. Early into the pandemic, we implemented two weekly virtual meetings as a team. One meeting was business-focused, while the other focused on how each of us was doing personally. This meant a lot and helped us grow closer as a team. Someone recently asked me what one word describes our team. My answer was “unselfish.” Everything we’re doing goes back to how we can help each other, and the team as a whole, improve so Palladium Group becomes the trusted insurance advisory firm in the RIA space.
JH: One of the things I love about what I do is that there isn’t really a typical day. Some things are more common than others, but each day truly brings something different to the table. Some days are busy with meetings and calls, while other days consist of many internal planning discussions and insurance design work. Each of these conversations will vary, often challenging me to do more research to better understand certain planning recommendations.
Engaging with clients and advisors is what I love the most. While I enjoy growing my knowledge and digging into sophisticated planning, I’m more of a big-picture thinker. I enjoy collaborating with others to discuss how we can find a better solution. How can we help a client transfer wealth more efficiently? How can a client improve their overall insurance plan so it not only addresses any unwanted risk but also helps them tackle other financial planning challenges they’re currently facing?
JH: Family, running, and my faith. My wife and I have five children ranging from 7 to 14, so we’re very busy with all of their activities. I wouldn’t have it any other way, though. Much like my work at Palladium Group, every day is different and brings a unique set of challenges, joys, and celebrations. Some days are smooth sailing and comical — other days seem like all we’re doing is breaking up fights and cleaning up messes.
Having five kids, it’s hard to find some personal time, but running provides an outlet for me. Because my days are constantly filled with noise, I take advantage of the quiet time and don’t take music with me. Instead, I use it as my opportunity to get away and just let my mind wander. I’ve completed nine marathons and one Half Ironman, along with countless shorter races. My dream to become a professional athlete never had a chance, so I use this as a way to fulfill my competitive drive.
At the core of all of this is my faith. My family and I are very active in our church and, as our family has grown, we’ve come to realize how important this is to the development of our children. With all of the craziness and divisiveness in the world, we strive to keep our faith as our anchor in everything we do.
JH: Great question. I think there are different levels of success, and none of this has anything to do with money or the “size” of a case. I think we are presented with a variety of opportunities throughout our day where we can either be successful or we can fail. Moment by moment, we can succeed if we’re truly focused on serving others so that they can move one step closer to achieving their goals. This could come in the form of reviewing and consulting on existing insurance already owned by a client or by working with an advisor and their client to advise and implement new insurance that will help complete the overall financial plan. If we’re focused on doing what’s in the client’s best interest every moment of every day, we’ll be successful.
My biggest success to date is that Palladium Group started with a question from an advisor nearly 10 years ago, and we’ve evolved into one of the premier insurance partners for fee-only RIAs across the country.
JH: While we would have loved to be out meeting with advisors and clients in person, we’ve looked at the circumstances this past year as an opportunity to enhance our overall platform, fine-tune some of the things we’re already doing, and grow closer together as a team. Had things continued, as usual, we wouldn’t have been able to make some of the enhancements we wanted to as quickly as we did. And we were able to accomplish all of this while we continued to grow.
JH: I hope to grow deeper with existing relationships. Obviously, I want to grow and I look forward to new opportunities, but it’s really important that I get to know my existing relationships on a deeper level so that I can better understand their practice and am able to serve them to the best of my ability.
Want to find out more about Jeff, our team, or how we do things at Palladium Group? Let’s talk!