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Helping clients manage financial and benefits complexity

by Feb 27, 2019Advisor perspectives

Helping clients manage financial and benefits complexity

by Feb 27, 2019Advisor perspectives

Rick Magill, LUTCF, ChFC, CASL, REBC • Fort Lauderdale, FL
Service Planning Corporation • Ameritas Investment Corp. (AIC)
Read full biography below

Proactive Advisor Magazine: Rick, talk about your background and how you developed your practice.

I think I inherited my entrepreneurial drive from both sides of my family. My mother’s family owned auto dealerships in Ohio, and my father’s family was in the retail business in Pennsylvania. My father worked in the auto business before he decided he wanted a career change, moved to Florida, and became a stockbroker for a large national firm. That was also an entrepreneurial position—his success depended on his own initiative and hard work.

I studied business administration at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Although I took many types of business and finance courses, I also had a strong interest in computer technology and management information systems. I worked during college for a third-party seller of IBM small-business computer systems and continued that full time after graduation. It was a random occurrence that one of my small-business clients owned an independent insurance agency and recruited me to join his firm. It looked like an excellent opportunity, and I was soon immersed in providing life and disability income insurance to individual clients.


That was a great position, but I decided I wanted to move back to the Fort Lauderdale area to be near my family. I found an opportunity to work as a benefits consultant providing services for group health, life, and disability insurance, as well as retirement plans to businesses. Given my background with the small-business segment, it was a very attractive next step, and I thought the owner of the firm would be a strong leader and mentor. I became licensed on the securities side to be able to handle the retirement-plan needs of companies. While we could work on any type of retirement plan that met a company’s objectives, the majority were qualified retirement plans with assets in 401(k) plans.

I had told the firm’s owner early on that I probably would like to start my own company in a few years, and that is exactly what I did. I still have a good relationship with both of my former employers, and we often bounce ideas off one another. I founded Service Planning Corporation in Fort Lauderdale in 1990 and am proud of the growth and success of the organization. We serve both the business and individual markets, with a wide range of insurance, retirement, investment, and benefits products and services. I approach the commercial market as a business consultant, and I am driven to help clients formulate and implement strategies that will meet their company’s specific needs.

What are the value-added services of your firm’s business model?

We act as the quarterback of the client’s team and want to partner with the client on all of the benefits-related aspects of their company. Let’s talk about the retirement plan side of our business. As a business consultant, I have a definite process and clear idea of what needs to be done in a general sense, but we can only develop specific planning recommendations after gaining a full understanding of the company’s objectives, employee base, and specific needs. We may need to call upon the services of several different subcontractors who act as members of our team for a particular assignment, including third-party administrators for record keeping and administration, professional investment firms, ERISA attorneys, or companies providing other services.

We are very proactive as a firm. We invest heavily in technology and will send out information to our clients at least once a month on what’s going on in the industry and what new or changing government regulations are going to take effect. We want to make sure that our clients are aware of their fiduciary and legal responsibilities. If we cannot specifically advise them in any area, we can bring in the people that can. We also can manage their RFP process and guide clients through due-diligence efforts.



We will help clients develop an investment policy statement, if they do not already have one, or make suggestions to what they already have in place. We will also help make sure they are having regular investment committee meetings and holding comprehensive educational meetings for their employees. I am passionate about the education piece. We know that too many Americans are not putting enough money away for their retirement, nor do they have the knowledge and inclination to manage their investments in a prudent and efficient manner.

In a variety of ways, our role as the quarterback of the team means we are trying to make sure that clients have all of the bases covered and are offering their employees a professionally managed group retirement plan that meets or exceeds industry standards. This same comprehensive philosophy holds true for our efforts in other areas of group employee benefits, such as health, dental, vision, life insurance, and disability income insurance.

How do you approach the individual financial advisory market?

Many of the individual clients we have first approach our firm as a result of a business relationship. We often find that the management of a company is impressed with our thorough work on their company’s plans and ask if we can engage with them or people in their company for individual financial planning. Our efforts on behalf of individual clients can cover a full spectrum of financial and insurance products and services. We can offer retirement-planning services; life, health, disability, and other insurance planning; Social Security and Medicare planning; college-funding planning; and investment management.

I am a big believer in the use of technology, and we use sophisticated software to help develop a financial plan and evaluate various investment scenarios. However, nothing replaces having a thorough and personalized discovery process with the client and understanding their specific needs and objectives. I also want to understand their experiences with investing. People often have a bias for or against specific types of investments, and I want to help them make informed decisions. The final decisions are theirs, but they should come from an educated perspective.

We spend a lot of time talking about their attitudes around risk and develop a specific risk assessment. My philosophy is that there is one type of risk in being too conservative and another type of risk in being too aggressive with your investments. We are trying to find the appropriate balance between risk and reward for our clients and want to develop well-diversified, multi-asset-class portfolios that will work over the long term. Often this can include a blend of passive and active strategies and an overall focus on risk management. I think that actively managed strategies from third-party investment managers have demonstrated the ability to mitigate downside risk in difficult market environments while providing competitive returns during strong markets. Our goal is to serve as a client’s consultant to develop an overall investment strategy that fits their time frame, risk profile, and overall financial-plan objectives.

“We cannot make complexity disappear, but we can help clients manage it.”
Ideally, how would you like a current business client to describe your firm to a friend or associate? What attributes are most important?

We have several core principles that we seek to follow for every client engagement. I believe that current clients recognize these attributes of our firm, and I know that they contribute to our strong business retention. I am proud that our growth in the commercial market is driven by referrals from clients. That has also helped us grow our individual practice.

First, while we partner with many top-rated professionals in our industry, we are independent and always place the interests of our clients first. Acting with integrity and gaining the client’s trust is paramount in sustaining strong client relationships. Second, we apply our deep experience in the industry, knowledge base, and technology investment to help develop customized strategies that benefit our clients.

Finally, we are committed to delivering unparalleled service to our clients. We will stay committed to timelines and be readily available to answer questions or address specific needs. I also think that helping clients deal with complexity is a very important function of our firm. We cannot make complexity disappear, but we can help clients manage it. That is always our goal.

Delivering value-added benefits services to the business segment

Rick Magill is the founder of Service Planning Corporation (SPC), based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. SPC serves both the business and individual markets, providing a wide range of insurance, retirement, investment, and benefits products and services. Mr. Magill says he “approaches the commercial market as a business consultant” and helps clients formulate and implement benefits strategies that will meet their company’s specific needs. SPC offers several value-added services, including the following:

  1. Focusing on discovering and implementing cost-savings strategies for companies’ group insurance and retirement plans.
  2. Offering “best-in-class” service from plan implementation to effective annual renewals, assisting employers with employee education, billing, claims issues, and more.
  3. Investing in management information systems to provide clients with strong technology resources in HR support and compliance.
  4. Facilitating 24/7 access to a benefits web portal for plan sponsors and their employees.
  5. Providing wellness newsletters and other related services for clients, including negotiating wellness services from health-care providers and carriers.
  6. Consulting on the development of an employer “private exchange” benefits plan option for employees.
Recent Posts:

Rick Magill is the founder of Service Planning Corporation (SPC), located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. SPC was established in 1990 and is known for its capabilities as an employee-benefits and financial-services consulting firm serving employers and individuals throughout Florida and other areas.

Mr. Magill was born in Youngstown, Ohio, and moved with his family to Plantation, Florida, at an early age. He was one of three children and says he “always considered South Florida to be home.” His father was in the automotive business in Ohio but later became a stockbroker in Fort Lauderdale. His mother worked in administration for nonprofit organizations. Mr. Magill enjoyed sports growing up and has a lifelong love of music, which included being a band member in high school.

Mr. Magill graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the College of Business Administration at the University of South Florida, Tampa, majoring in business management and minoring in management information systems. He worked during and after college selling IBM computer systems to small businesses.

Mr. Magill entered the financial-services industry in 1986. He was recruited by one of his computer clients, an independent insurance agency specializing in life and disability coverages. He also worked as a benefits consultant for five years providing group health insurance, life, disability, and retirement plans to businesses before founding SPC. Mr. Magill has been awarded the professional designations of Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), Chartered Advisor for Senior Living (CASL), and Registered Employee Benefits Consultant (REBC). He earned recognition from the Financial Times in 2015 and 2016 for his work as a retirement-plan financial advisor.

When not helping his clients, Mr. Magill enjoys spending time with his wife, boating and fishing, travel (especially to blues festivals), and discovering new dining experiences. He is a member of several professional organizations and is a board member for Meals on Wheels South Florida.


Disclosure: Securities offered solely through Ameritas Investment Corp. (AIC). Member FINRA/SIPC. AIC and Service Planning Corporation (SPC) are not affiliated. Investment advisory services offered solely through 20/20 Capital Management Inc. AIC and SPC are not affiliated with 20/20 Financial Advisers LLC or 20/20 Capital Management Inc. Additional products and services may be available through 20/20 Financial Advisers or 20/20 Capital Management Inc. that are not offered through AIC. Representatives of AIC, 20/20 CMI, or 20/20 FA do not provide tax or legal advice. Please consult your tax advisor or attorney regarding your situation. Rick Magill, SPC, AIC, 20/20 CMI, & 20/20 FA are not affiliated with Proactive Advisor Magazine. 

Photography by Jennifer Jones

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