Gale was a vice president at MassMutual Insurance Co., a worldwide insurance provider with more than $200 billion in total assets, and managed 30 sales offices. But in 1996, he resigned and founded Gale Financial Group, an independent general agent of MassMutual. Today, Gale Financial is the fifth largest insurance and financial planning agency in the area, serving 43,000 clients.
Gale Financial's growth came from ferreting out the weaknesses of financial planning and removing them. At first, it wasn't much different from other companies, competing with stockbrokers to sell stock and with the Internet and other agents to sell insurance.
But fierce competition forced Gale to develop a competitive advantage, assessing a client's total picture, including every aspect of his or her financial situation. He brought together attorneys, mortgage bankers, accountants, investment advisers and estate planners, offering all of their services to clients.
Under this premise, Gale founded a subsidiary, Skylight Financial Services, and rolled out his unique approach to financial planning, in which experts in areas from law to investments work with clients.
"All of these areas affect one another, so it's imperative that they be addressed simultaneously, not individually," Gale says.
In less than two years, Gale and his staff have conducted more than 1,700 client meetings; since 2000, Skylight Financial has helped Gale Financial double in size and increase revenue by more than 400 percent.
Sixty Greater Cleveland companies bring Gale Financial's programs in-house for employees, and the diversified service provider program has been distributed to more than 4,600 agents nationwide.
And MassMutual has purchased the planning model for its own agents to use. How to reach: Gale Financial Group, (216) 621-5680