20 years in, Owens MacFadyen Group shows no signs of slowing down
by Jeri Knopp
Saint John has changed a lot over the last 20 years. We’ve seen changes in leadership, businesses have had to overcome many challenges, and our community has become much more innovative in spirit. However, there have been things that have stood their ground among the changing landscape. One such business is Owens MacFadyen Group.
Owens MacFadyen Group offers two services: wealth management consulting for individuals and group benefits and retirement design for businesses. The group was started in 1995 by Bob Owens and Dave MacFadyen, with Todd Stephen coming in in 1996 to start the benefits consulting.
“Our goal was always to provide specialized expertise and services to the small and medium sized business market that was typically serviced by generalists,” Stephen says.
“I think we deliver a unique value proposition,” Jeff McCanna, senior benefits consultant, adds. “We're the largest independent benefit consulting and pension consulting organization in Atlantic Canada, and I think that's really what makes us unique in this marketplace is our sole focus on pension and benefit consulting.”
This is something that has remained constant while the world around them shifted and they were forced to adapt. They have been able to work collaboratively and leverage their connections with insurance companies and harness their collective expertise to deliver cost-effective plans for small and medium-sized businesses that they wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else.
“It’s an ongoing challenge to stay current, to be able to provide insights to our clients as to how to best manage those costs and still be that competitive employer when it comes to benefits and compensation packages,” Stephen says. “Our goal isn't to deliver a product, our goal is to deliver peace of mind.”
One of the things that has changed a lot over the company’s lifespan has been the shift from focusing on a health plan to more of a focus on wellness. This shift has seen more companies looking for a plan that includes preventative medicine: nutrition information and exercise incentives, among other things.
Owens MacFadyen Group has taken this shift in stride, and works with employers to figure out how to give them what their employees want without sacrificing their profits.
“Wellness has become a huge focus of a lot of organizations,” Stephen says. “As they say, there's got to be a better way than just waiting around for people to get unhealthy so they can take advantage of our program, right?”
Another constant has been their community involvement. Both the founders and the employees at Owens MacFadyen Group are seriously committed to bettering their community, both on a corporate level and an individual level.
Their community involvement ranges from participating in the United Way’s Day of Caring on an organization-wide level to various members sitting on volunteer boards and doing things that play to their strengths in their free time.
“One of our folks here is very good with Excel,” McCanna says, “and so he went into a women’s shelter and they were trying to redesign how they track everything, so he went in and helped them with all of their Excel files on his lunch hour.”
It’s stories like those that don’t get a lot of press, but are just part of an average day at Owens MacFadyen Group. When asked about how their community involvement has played a role in their business success, Stephen made it very clear that he was not using charity to develop good PR.
“We need to give back because it's the right thing to do and not because it makes good press,” Stephen says, “and so a lot of the community involvement that we've become involved with corporately has just been an extension of the people that we have.”
When asked about what they see as happening in the future, they are both hopeful. The organization currently has offices in Saint John, Moncton and Halifax, and rather than creating new brick and mortar locations, they are looking to develop what they already have.
“It's really just continuing to drive and grow the value that we provide to not only our current clients, but hopefully future clients as well,” McCanna says. “That's really what it's all about is just driving value.”
For more information about Owens MacFadyen Group, please visit http://omg.ca/