After nearly five years of providing research to benchmark credit union investment and insurance programs, Snyder Consulting Solutions’ studies has been acquired by management consulting firm Kehrer Saltzman & Associates.
The acquisition finalized on Jan. 14 for an undisclosed amount.
Based in Waxhaw, N.C., Kehrer Saltzman is a strategic management consulting firm that provides the financial advice industry with research and experience in managing the delivery of investment, insurance and wealth management services. It currently serves more than 100 bank clients.
Pete Snyder, who founded the investment and insurance consulting firm SCS in January 2006 and launched the benchmarking studies in 2007, is now vice president of financial services at the $8 billion The Golden 1 Credit Union in Sacramento, Calif. He started in his new role on Aug. 27, 2012.
Past studies have looked at a number of areas, including total program gross revenue or fee income received from the broker-dealer, number of face-to-face financial consultants, number of investment accounts and total value of invested dollars and compensation and operating expenses for the program.
Kehrer Saltzman and SCS said they have put in place an agreement that will significantly expand the scope of the retail investment services benchmarking and consulting services that will be available to all credit unions beginning with the launch of the Kehrer Saltzman 2012-2013 “Credit Union Retail Investment Services Productivity and Performance” study.
Credit union executives will also have access to regional workshops, webinars and additional consulting services to manage their business during a time of declining margins, the firm said.
Kenneth Kehrer, one of the principals of Kehrer Saltzman, has been studying the transformation of banks and credit unions to financial services stores since the early 1980s. His research has also helped to influence the metrics used by industry practitioners to assess their businesses and assimilate best industry practices.
Snyder and Kehrer said they have known each other for years and had ongoing conversations about working together over the past couple of years. Those talks were brought to a head with Snyder’s new position at The Golden 1.
“Pete was doing a fine job serving the credit union community. I think he found that there was a narrow bandwidth for what he wanted to accomplish,” Kehrer said. “By joining forces, there’s more strength.”
Snyder said he is no longer affiliated with SCS or the benchmarking studies.
“It became clear to me that my passion is in the business of managing one or more programs inside credit unions,” Snyder said. “As much as I enjoyed the benchmarking, my passion is in the business. I was looking for a way to get back into the business channel and the opportunity at the Golden 1 came up.”
Snyder said Kehrer is without question the original and founding pioneer in benchmarking for the financial institution investment brokerage and annuity channel.
“While his early work focused on the bank side of the business, Dr. Kehrer and the Kehrer Saltzman team recognizes the need that exists in the credit union channel to expand the menu of benchmarking tools and resources that are specific to the needs of credit unions,” Snyder said.
Although Kehrer has consulted with more than 100 banks to help them set up their investment and insurance programs, he acknowledged he has only worked with a handful of credit unions. Acquiring SCS’ benchmarking studies will open up the window wider to aid more in the industry, he noted. With more than 2,000 financial advisers providing members with investment guidance and advice in the branches of nearly 1,000 credit unions, Snyder said there’s ample room to grow.
“These are tough economic times for credit unions. They can really use the income from investment services,” Kehrer offered. “More importantly, members need a trusted adviser to turn to. They’re aware of a lot of sharks out there and credit unions can help navigate through those difficult waters.”
What Kehrer has discovered through a consumer study on credit union members is that American families trust them more than banks and brokerage firms by a wide margin.
“All people want to work with credit unions, but they’re doing investment business elsewhere. This leaves an opportunity on the table in terms of fee income,” Kehrer said.
To help make the additional income a potential reality, Kehrer Saltzman was scheduled to send out surveys to hundreds of credit unions at the end of January for the debut of the Kehrer Saltzman 2012-2013 “Credit Union Retail Investment Services Productivity and Performance” study. Kehrer said he hopes to get responses back in February and will unveil the study at NACUSO’s annual conference meeting, which will take place April 16-19 in Las Vegas.
“Pete has helped us understand the culture and nuances of credit unions and the challenges and opportunities of running investment program inside credit unions,” Kehrer said. “It’s a learning curve for us.”
Because the data collected for the benchmarking studies are always organic, Kehrer said there will continue to be an emphasis on listing to the survey population on their wants and needs. He doesn’t expect the data to be static, comparing it to the first banking survey he conducted in 1991. Back then, it was one page. Today, it is now over 20 pages.
Another way Kehrer Saltzman will be able to expand its knowledge of credit unions is through NACUSO’s investment services advisory board of which Snyder will continue to serve on. NACUSO President/CEO Jack Antonini said Snyder’s leadership on the board has helped to tap into issues that are top of mind from those credit unions offering investment and insurance programs.
“Pete has done a fantastic job over the years through his insights and being aware of what’s going on and also bringing leaders from the investment and insurance sides to talk about developments, topics and challenges,” Antonini said.
While Snyder will continue to serve on NACUSO’s investment services advisory board, he is no longer a member of the group’s board.
This is not Snyder’s first stint at The Golden 1. He said he worked at the credit union from 1989 through 1997 in a different capacity.
“In my new role, I very much look forward to taking advantage of the expanded menu of benchmarking and consulting services that the Kehrer Saltzman team will be able to bring to the table for credit unions,” Snyder said.