Interview with Buddy Dike
AUTHOR: A. R. “Buddy” Dike
IdeaTransfer interviews Buddy Dike on the evolution of the insurance industry, client service in the future and moving forward with Texas Financial Partners.
Founder, Texas Financial Partners
Founder, The Dike Company
IT. Buddy, your perspective on the insurance industry covers nearly six decades of change. Describe the most important turning points for your business.
Buddy. My first clients were my contemporaries. We were eagerly developing our own businesses with all the excitement that comes start-ups. As we grew I wanted to be able to fill all their risk management and employee benefit needs, but big eastern mutual life insurance companies weren’t supportive the diversified firm I envisioned. I was forced into independence, and that was a great turning point.
It led to working with public companies and then being acquired by one of the largest international consulting firms. But I had no intention of retiring. I wanted to work with affluent families and the businesses they owned, helping them protect their wealth and preserve their businesses for future generations. And they appreciated the boutique approach and the commitment to a higher standard of personal service.
IT. Describe the industry concerns about how to sustain that client service in the future.
Buddy. Not enough concern to solve the problem until now. I was talking with a banker and longtime friend. Many of his clients have become my clients and vice versa. I told him I sometimes think about hanging it up in a few years, and he told me, No, you can’t! He knew what that could mean to our mutual clients.
My firm plays a critical role tracking our clients’ policies, so that the complex planning decisions they made remain secure. Very few agents could match our analysis resources and our experience. And while insurance companies send our clients reports, we interpret the data so they can make informed decisions. Accountants and trustees may be able to analyze the data, but the ability to identify, compare, and implement alternative strategies is outside their field. And who helps the next generation once they take over? Fortunately, we are confident we have solved that problem.
IT. I’m guessing this is the next turning point for you—founding Texas Financial Partners?
Buddy. That’s right. We call Texas Financial Partners a client continuity merger. The merger is designed to fill the gaps proactively for the continuity of our client relationships.
Our partners are all seasoned life insurance advisors in the state of Texas. We know each other well. We have the same kinds of clients. We are merging our knowledge and experience of sophisticated life insurance planning and our service capabilities to support them for the long term. Three different generations are represented in Texas Financial Partners, so the longevity of the firm will always surpass the longevity of the partners.
IT. Texas Financial Partners and client continuity merger are new concepts. How have clients and advisors reacted so far?
It’s not that new to us. We already have two emeritus partners in the firm, so the transfer of service responsibility has been tested with enthusiastic responses from clients and advisors. It comes down to a single goal that no one has effectively addressed.
The estate and business planning process can be complex and emotional, and when clients make their decisions they feel a sense of confidence about financial security and family harmony. However, the planning process doesn’t end. There will always be more decisions over time and among the generations.
All the advisors who contribute to the planning process know the value of their roles and are committed to ongoing service. But a “forever” commitment only works if all the contingencies are resolved. We believe Texas Financial Partners is a great answer to that concern.
IdeaTransfer is an independent firm with three decades of experience consulting with advisors, advisors groups, and financial institutions.
To contact Buddy: