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Barnum is a financial services and planning firm with 115 employees who support 300 career agents, with approximately 1,000 brokers also conducting business through Barnum.
This situation led to the selection, design, and implementation of their new student loan-related benefit.
Helping people succeed is a priority at Barnum. There is no question that the amount of loans some are carrying is a hardship. The student loan offering first gained momentum when CEO Paul Blanco came to Hite with a news clipping about SoFi. This program presented Barnum with an additional avenue to attract, help, engage, and retain their advisors.
While working on developing the program, Hite investigated the fees that would be involved, the ease of using the system, and the educational component. Barnum decided to partner with SoFi. In her view, the system is cost-effective and also provides advice to the advisors about paying down student loan debt—tips that advisors could potentially use when meeting with clients in similar positions. Hite also found designing and implementing the program easy despite the fact that the company operates in a heavily regulated industry.
One new financial services representative at Barnum, Matt Nelson, shared his excitement about this benefit in the article published by Employee Benefit News. He is a May 2019 graduate of Elon University in North Carolina, graduating with student loan debt.
“I hope to start a family one day and thinking about balancing paying off the loan with everything else can be pretty overwhelming,” Nelson said to the publication. “The sooner I can pay off the debt the better.” He added that he considers this benefit program “another incentive to generate production,” which can help a new advisor to become cash-flow positive more quickly.
Barnum’s talent acquisition team is already using some relief from student loans as a recruitment tool at on-campus career fairs when talking to potential advisors. “People are intrigued by it and see it as an additional benefit,” Hite said.