Sigma Financial

Broker/Dealers: fewer than 1,000 Advisors (Thought Leadership)

With a caring staff empowered to deliver personal, innovative support, Sigma Financial Corporation partners with financial advisors committed to enhancing their clients ’ experience in an ethical, trustworthy manner. We provide comprehensive financial planning tools, solutions, and services supporting our representatives ’ efforts in guiding their clients toward financial success. Founded in 1983, we now partner with over 600 representatives over the US. We choose to maintain a manageable size to focus on personal, responsive service.

Initiative

Choose Your Charity

In an effort to gain company-wide support for charitable endeavors, Sigma Financial Corporation’s Team Building Committee created a new initiative to raise as much money and resources as possible for local charities. Each quarter, Sigma chooses a charity to support within the community. The “Choose Your Charity” initiative empowers staff to seek out area charities, conduct research, and submit the charity for consideration for that quarter’s charitable endeavors. Because staff members put effort into research, they become invested in the charity, which has led to higher donation amounts.

The criteria for charity submissions include:

  • 501(c)(3) Charitable Organization
  • No religious or political organizations
  • Local charities or local chapters of national charities

Charities chosen by staff have included Protect MiFamily Program, Huron Valley Humane Society, Relay 4 Life Ann Arbor, Flint Water Crisis, and the Ann Arbor Chapter of the Salvation Army. Employee initiatives resulted in each charity receiving hundreds of dollars in monetary contributions. In addition, employees donated 1155 pounds of food for the Salvation Army, and a large amount of food/supplies for Humane Society shelter animals (photos attached). Employees also donate their time, including serving food at the Salvation Army Soup Kitchen and setting up teams for the Relay 4 Life event.

Allowing employees to participate in the charity selection process with the “Choose Your Charity” initiative has resulted in doubling donation amounts, supplies, and time over previous years, and we expect further increases in years to come.

SuccessionPlus

Sigma Financial Corporation made a commitment to their representatives to not only help them plan for their clients’ futures, but also their own. With that, SuccessionPlus was born. SuccessionPlus is a program created to act as an interactive marketplace where our reps can easily find resources and in-depth information on succession planning through our proprietary website. Our dedication to delivering personal, responsive, and innovative service to our representatives has allowed us to successfully transition over 60 books since program inception. We have drawn upon many industry leaders to create this internal platform, which is designed to help representatives maneuver through the various steps of selling their practice, buying a practice, and in the event they are no longer able to service their clients, having a succession plan in place. Our system is easy. The user enters their information, which is then used to match buyers and sellers based on specific criteria including product mix and location. W e also provide resources on various financing options, valuation methods, and the importance of designating a beneficiary. Succession is a difficult topic to address with clients; however, starting those conversations early and introducing the buyer helps facilitate a warmer hand- off to the buyer, resulting in higher client retention. This ultimately yields a higher payout to the seller or beneficiary. Sigma’s forward thinking and continuous market analysis enable us to strategically position ourselves as a valuable cutting-edge resource for our representatives, minimizing the uncertainty of business succession.

DOL Task Force

The Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule has been a serious focus for the financial industry over the past few years. With uncertainties ahead, Sigma Financial Corporation believed preparing their representative s for a fiduciary future was imperative. Because of this, we created a DOL Taskforce to prepare the company and its representatives.

After reviewing a number of designations, Sigma’s DOL Taskforce decided fi360’s AIF® designation encompassed the important fiduciary education necessary for representatives. W e require all Qualified Plan advisors to acquire the designation. W e also require the designation for advisors with discretionary accounts (unless they currently hold one of the following: AAMS, APM A, CFA, CIMA, CFP, CPA, or ChFC). Sigma believes requiring additional education is a crucial step that will benefit our clients, our representatives, and the firm. According to fi360, our broker- dealer has the highest percentage of representative s educated through their program.

In addition to the AIF designation requirement, Sigma’s Taskforce holds multi-state informational meetings to discuss DOL implications in several formats: Roundtables of 12 – 14 representatives, Regional Meetings with 30 – 40 representatives, and the Annual Conference of 200-300 representatives. Live WebEx presentations are made to representatives nationwide, and Conference keynote presentations include leading industry professionals.

While the fate of the DOL Fiduciary Rule is still unknown, Sigma believes that with continued preparation, our firm and our reps will be “ahead of the curve” regardless of the final DOL Rule because of the innovative thought leadership by our DOL Taskforce to move our representatives’ fiduciary knowledge base forward.

Category Finalists

Broker/Dealers: fewer than 1,000 Advisors (Corporate Social Responsibility)

Broker/Dealers: fewer than 1,000 Advisors (Practice Management)

Broker/Dealers: fewer than 1,000 Advisors (Thought Leadership)

Key Business Leader

Jerry Rydell
President

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