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  • Rob Houghton

Hang in There

We hope all is well in these challenging financial times.


Due to the large volume of calls being received from hiring authorities inquiring about the status of the employment market, pricing activity, flow, compensation movement, and candidate supply/demand, I decided to make my bullet point response available equally to all clients. Hopefully, you will find these useful:


1. Employee Benefits vs. there has been a very significant shift from hiring on the side to the Employee Benefit side. Our practice has gone from a 70/30 split (EB) to 80/20 (EB) during just the past six months with an almost frantic demand for hunter-type producers on the EB side of the house.


2. Pricing: Based on what we are hearing, the downward pricing spiral for appears to be flattening out, but no real signs of a hard market yet although most expect this to develop by year-end. If your top line revenues on the side are not down by more than 30% year over year, you’re doing better than most, while EB seems to be holding its own.


3. Activity: There is, in fact, a significant amount of activity occurring in the small to midsize agency sector right now. This includes everything from large books of business being purchased outright to agencies combining to achieve scale and efficiency. We are currently involved in 4x as many transactions since third quarter 2008 compared with the same prior year period. Of course, our role is more of matchmaking and not on the deal structuring side. If you have a specific profile you are searching for between the Philly and North Carolina area, just let us know as we are coming across these on a more regular basis now.


4. Compensation Movement: We are also seeing compensation levels returning to pre-2008 levels for account managers and support staff whereas compensation packages for A+ producers are continuing to rise. Year over year, base salaries being offered for commercial account managers on both the EB and side are down an average of 7.4% which is unprecedented.


5. Candidate Supply/Demand: Recently, I have seen some of the best senior commercial and employee benefit account managers/executives to surface in the past five years. Recent downsizing and organizational restructurings mostly account for this sudden breakthrough. And producers with books of business continue to be in high demand.


Hang in there!

We look forward to your continued business and valuable feedback.

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