2020 Year in Review
Resilience

It was a year that changed how we work, but it never stopped us from stepping up for our clients. Our services became more essential. Our teams shifted online. Our Member Firms delivered essential expertise when clients and their key advisors needed them most. 

When we think about resilience, it’s about more than merely bouncing back, reclaiming a previous version of who we were. It’s about absorbing the lessons these global challenges have given us and forging a new path forward. That’s real resilience. And that’s M Financial Group.

Letter from the CEO

CEO and President Wes Thompson discusses M Financial’s strong performance in a year of continual change. Read how the significant progress we’ve made on our strategic plan is enabling Member Firms to work more efficiently and provide top-level service, and about M’s ongoing efforts to accelerate revenue growth and profitability by transforming the Member Firm and client experience.

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Leaders and Advocates   

M Financial is a community of leaders comprising the best and brightest minds in our industry. By combining the individual expertise and relationships of more than 140 Member Firms, M has become a powerful force in executive benefits, insurance solutions, and wealth planning. As a whole, M Financial is committed to advancing the interests of our industry, our communities, and our clients.

Philanthropy in the M Community

“Financial Designs has been a supporter of ACE Scholarships for over 20 years. We strongly believe in their mission to provide children of low-income families with scholarships to private schools in grades K-12 and to advocate for expanded school choice. ”
Dave Hunter, Financial Designs Ltd.
“Cornerstone Advisors' mission is to ensure privately owned businesses endure. Our commitment continued in 2020 through our ongoing partnership with ArtsQuest, participating in their matching gift campaign and sponsoring their fundraiser for Step Outdoors.”
Rachel Lower, Cornerstone Advisors
“In 2020, MBS had the opportunity to help others in need through a large donation to the FoodBank of Santa Barbara County. The FoodBank became one of our favorite charities because they are very efficient at providing the most basic of needs: food”
John Sanford, Mullin Barens Sanford Financial

2020 Achievements

Our lives shifted online in 2020, and M Financial was ready. Our digital transformation continued with innovative platforms and products that reinforce and extend the value of working with an M Member Firm.

Life Insurance
This core business line continued to grow in 2020. M saw $1.28B in total premiums paid in 2020, with more than 21,000 policies issued throughout the year and total claims paid to clients of $605M. Since 1978, we’ve delivered more than $200M to clients as a result of in-force repricing.

Total premium represents annualized new premiums on policies sold by Member Firms across life, disability, annuity, and 401(k) business lines.

M Benefits
M Benefit Solutions creates innovative nonqualified executive benefit plans to address the specific needs of financial institutions and corporations. This includes customized plan design, installation, financing, securitization, compliance, and administration. M Benefits has grown to serve 257 clients with 590 active plans covering 38,160 participants.
M Funds
M Fund includes four proprietary sub-account mutual funds, available only through M carrier platforms, with expanded client investment options that provide access to investment strategies of select institutional managers. M Fund grew in 2020, increasing assets by $70M and extending the diversity and expertise of the M Fund Board with a new outside director.
Magnastar
Magnastar is M Financial’s private placement variable life product platform, designed exclusively for distribution by M Member Firms to corporate clients and high net worth and ultra high net worth individuals. Policies issued in 2020 included face amounts totaling more than $1.8B. Total 2020 first-year premium for Magnastar was $109.5M, and renewal premiums totaled $272.1M. Year-end assets under administration reached $4.8B, an increase of $765M from 2019.


Magnet
Magnet is M’s industry-leading recruitment, training, and development program, designed to mentor the next generation of M financial professionals. Celebrating its first anniversary in June 2020, Magnet hired 32 Financial Professionals with 36% diversity hires. Magnet delivered $1.25M in commissionable premium to the 48 Member Firms participating in the program and $845,000 in salary subsidy, a direct investment to Member Firms thanks to our Partner Carriers.
Aperture
Aperture is M’s digital content marketing platform designed to support Member Firm growth. It provides high-value proprietary content and full digital distribution. The platform rolled out in 2020 with 23 Member Firms signing up in the first month and 36 digital marketing pieces covering a range of topics, from basic to advanced.
Swift
Swift is M’s proprietary account aggregation and reporting tool designed to address the long-standing challenge of accessing vital client data held in legacy carrier systems. The improved visibility that Swift delivers enables Member Firms to connect with clients on more meaningful touchpoints, identify areas of coverage concern, and become a more valuable ally for their clients. This enhanced client experience makes Swift a core element in our digital transformation.
Life Insurance
This core business line continued to grow in 2020. M saw $1.28B in total premiums paid in 2020, with more than 21,000 policies issued throughout the year and total claims paid to clients of $605M. Since 1978, we’ve delivered more than $200M to clients as a result of in-force repricing.

Total premium represents annualized new premiums on policies sold by Member Firms across life, disability, annuity, and 401(k) business lines

M Benefits
M Benefit Solutions creates innovative nonqualified executive benefit plans to address the specific needs of financial institutions and corporations. This includes customized plan design, installation, financing, securitization, compliance, and administration. M Benefits has grown to serve 257 clients with 590 active plans covering 38,160 participants.
M Funds
M Fund includes four proprietary sub-account mutual funds, available only through M carrier platforms, with expanded client investment options that provide access to investment strategies of select institutional managers. M Fund grew in 2020, increasing assets by $70M and extending the diversity and expertise of the M Fund Board with a new outside director.
Magnastar
Magnastar is M Financial’s private placement variable life product platform, designed exclusively for distribution by M Member Firms to corporate clients and high net worth and ultra high net worth individuals. Policies issued in 2020 included face amounts totaling more than $1.8B. Total 2020 first-year premium for Magnastar was $109.5M, and renewal premiums totaled $272.1M. Year-end assets under administration reached $4.8B, an increase of $765M from 2019.
Magnet
Magnet is M’s industry-leading recruitment, training, and development program, designed to mentor the next generation of M financial professionals. Celebrating its first anniversary in June 2020, Magnet hired 32 Financial Professionals with 36% diversity hires. Magnet delivered $1.25M in commissionable premium to the 48 Member Firms participating in the program and $845,000 in salary subsidy, a direct investment to Member Firms thanks to our Partner Carriers.
Aperture
Aperture is M’s digital content marketing platform designed to support Member Firm growth. It provides high-value proprietary content and full digital distribution. The platform rolled out in 2020 with 23 Member Firms signing up in the first month and 36 digital marketing pieces covering a range of topics, from basic to advanced.
Swift
Swift is M’s proprietary account aggregation and reporting tool designed to address the long-standing challenge of accessing vital client data held in legacy carrier systems. The improved visibility that Swift delivers enables Member Firms to connect with clients on more meaningful touchpoints, identify areas of coverage concern, and become a more valuable ally for their clients. This enhanced client experience makes Swift a core element in our digital transformation.

Board of Directors

M leadership includes an unmatched roster of industry experts and legends.

John M. Barry
Chairman Barry, Evans, Josephs & Snipes
Charlotte, NC

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James D. Kaplan
KB Financial
Princeton, NJ

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Eugene F. LoVasco
LoVasco Consulting Group, Inc.
Detroit, MI

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Timothy P. Malarkey
JKJ Financial Services
Newton, PA

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Peter W. Mullin
Mullin Barens Sanford Financial
Los Angeles, CA

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Lawton M. Nease III
Nease, Lagana, Eden & Culley, Inc.
Atlanta, GA

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Carl Peterson
Lindberg & Ripple
West Hartford, CT

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Gabriel L. Shaheen
GLS Capital Ventures
Fort Wayne, IN

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Westley V. Thompson
M Financial Group
Portland, OR

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Jeri L. Turley
Winged Keel Group
Richmond, VA

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Grace Vandecruze
Grace Global Capital LLC
New York, NY

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B. Joseph White
University of Illinois
Urbana, IL

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Download the 2020 Year in Review

Download the PDF for an extended version of the report, including financial overviews, community impact, Member Firm philanthropy, additional achievements, and more.

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