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An Interview with Brian Feldman

Recently appointed executive vice president, Brian Feldman addresses his new role at Spencer Re
An Interview with Brian Feldman

Meet Brian Feldman, the new executive vice president at Spencer Re, a subsidiary of Spencer Capital Holdings, ltd. With more than 20 years experience in the F&I space, Feldman has a broad knowledge of the industry. Hear in his own words about the career path he has traveled and what he is looking forward to in his new role at Spencer Re. 

1.Tell me a little bit about your company and its place in the industry?

Spencer Re is a Non-controlled foreign corporation (NCFC) domiciled in Puerto Rico. We were founded in 2005 and Spencer Capital Holdings acquired the company in 2011. Our offices and operations are based in Zurich, Switzerland and San Juan, Puerto Rico. We are unique in the F&I marketplace as we offer tax deferral and the ability to declare dividends that are qualified for tax purposes.

We are a Swiss tax resident which allows us to operate under the US-Swiss double taxation treaty. Under the treaty, the transaction is exempt from US Federal Excise Tax, which allows more premiums to be ceded. Spencer Re is the only NCFC that offers the ability to earn qualified dividends along with tax deferral. Dividends from other NCFC structures in the F&I marketplace are taxed as ordinary income to the shareholder.

Our investment manager, Spencer Capital Management (SCM), is an affiliated company; hence, we are a complete vertically integrated NCFC solution. SCM is a value-oriented investment firm and the investment strategy specific to Spencer Re incorporates earning patterns of the underlined F&I products. Our performance has been very good, which gives our shareholders a lot comfort.

2. Are there any recent or future developments within your company that you would like to tell us about?

Our parent company, Spencer Capital Holdings, ltd., continues to look for companies that are complementary with our existing portfolio of companies across the insurance and financial sectors. Recently, we acquired USA Risk Group, the largest independent captive manager in the world. With over $9B in assets under management, USA Risk Group is very well known and respected. This allows us to offer many different types of captive solutions to automotive dealerships customers which they may not have been exposed to in the past.

We also just announced the acquisition of SouthWest Dealer Services (SWDS). It is exciting to be able to now offer dealers that participate in SWDS offerings the ability to utilize Spencer Re as a reinsurance solution.

3. How did you (personally) get started? What caused you to choose this career path?

I was working at an auto dealer and happened to open up the newspaper and saw an ad for a claims adjustor. It intrigued me because of the way the ad claimed the position was with a Fortune 25 company. It turned out to be a claims adjuster position for the extended warranty division of General Motors/GMAC Insurance. I got the job and worked with the company for close to 15 years. I was lucky to have the opportunity to hold many different roles in the organization, which allowed me to work in virtually all areas of an F&I administrator and insurer, such as claims, operations, product development, regulatory, loss mitigation, reinsurance, and sales. Prior to leaving the company, I held the roles of vice president and chief compliance officer for GMAC Securities, which was a broker dealer used to facilitate offshore reinsurance offerings and reinsurance specialist, GMAC Insurance.

In 2009, I left GMAC and joined Allstate. Tony Wanderon was Allstate’s president and they were our GAP provider. At the time, Allstate was a single product provider. They were looking to diversify their portfolio and grow their business, so it looked like a great opportunity for me to start with another company from the ground up and build a program from scratch.

I ended up spending five years with Allstate. I started as a reinsurance marketing manager then took a short-term assignment leading a team that developed their ancillary products. Once the products were launched, I became national sales leader, with responsibility for all of Allstate’s large B2B relationships such as OEM’s and large dealer group relationships.

Spencer Re approached me since they were looking for someone to assist in growing their reinsurance business. I made the decision to join Spencer Re in September of 2014 and it has been great. So many of my past customers and companies have been very supportive. Many weren’t aware of Spencer Re and once they understand the value proposition and how we can benefit them and their customers, they have been sold. We are fortunate in that we have been able to be selective with who we do business, as there has been so much interest.

4. What are your outside interests? What do you like to do on your days off?

When I am not working, my children keep me busy. Just trying to keep up with all their activities is enough. I have two daughters, who are ages six and seven, and a 13 year old son. Spending time with my kids is very important to me. My family has been extremely supportive throughout my career. It has not been uncommon for me to put 70,000 miles on a car in a year – that is a lot of windshield time. I am especially appreciative of my wife who keeps everything straight at home when I am away. Aside from family time or in combination with family time, I also enjoy being outdoors.

5. What are the biggest issues you see facing the industry today and in the future?

From an industry perspective, just the cost of regulatory compliance, and pending regulatory items are the biggest issues I see. There has been a lot of chatter around 831(b) companies, which has been good for the NCFC. The past few years have been really good for the industry and I think most firms have done a good job of containing costs. It seems like every day there is something new in the way of potential regulatory requirements or implications.

6.What advice would you give to someone new to this industry?

I have been very lucky to have been surrounded by really good people throughout my career. I have had many opportunities to do different things within the business –working in virtually every department that there is. From an advice perspective, I would say to seek out new learning experiences. Ask questions and constantly try to learn new things. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. When I mentor individuals, I try to provide guidance and let them try to figure things out on their own. I find that they learn more doing things on their own, even if they make a mistake. By getting their hands dirty actually doing it, they not only learn more, but ultimately become more successful.

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One Response to “An Interview with Brian Feldman”

  1. Mike Curdy says:

    Nice article Brian but they left out one thing…you are one heck of a drummer!

    Congratulations.

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