This is the last of a four-part series highlighting some special “players” in our industry. Thus far, I have focused on some obvious choices, namely the “independent” financial advisor, the independent marketing organization and the product manufacturer. These three players (let’s call them “The Big Three”) form an incredible relationship that allows for the design, creation and distribution of some much needed financial and insurance products.

The Big Three need each other to survive. A great product would be a non-product without the proper education and distribution, and great distribution channels wouldn’t quite work without good products, etc.

The player that I highlight this month is one that the Big Three need as well to survive — in fact, I’ll go as far to say that the entire industry needs this fourth player to keep it moving and growing in the right direction.

The “players” that I am referring to are the thousands of administrative staff and back office personnel that allow the independent financial advisors, the independent marketing organizations and the product manufacturers to do what they do and do it well. I have been in the business long enough to know that the old saying, “It is tough to find good people” is true. Without the right staff and support, the Big Three would come to a virtual standstill.

The “staff” that I refer to comes from a variety of impressive backgrounds — some are CPAs and bookkeepers, others are HR executives and benefits specialists. And a small, yet potent group, are the actuaries who actually make the products work for all parties involved. Finally you have executive secretaries, graphic designers, marketing pros, customer service experts and other administrative positions that keep things clicking.

And when I say that, I don’t say it lightly … let’s face it, the Big Three collectively account for the sale of tens of billions of dollars of financial products and advice. The Big Three are entrusted to deliver financial, investment and retirement advice to millions of middle Americans who are often overlooked because they are not considered rich enough.

So, the Big Three fill a tremendous void that other parts of the industry have no interest in servicing and the Big Three depend on the collective efforts of their staff and personnel to allow them to remain viable and profitable.

More than ever, the Big Three players are inextricably linked to each other so that the success of one company is impacted by the success of another.

For example, the customer service specialist working for an IMO directly contributes to the success of that IMO but indirectly contributes to the success of the product manufacturers that IMO works with as well as the advisors they work with.

I hope you have a different appreciation for those employees industry-wide that you may have taken for granted in the past. Just think about the ripple effect that each employee helps create by doing his or her job right.

The aggregate impact is astounding and on that note I encourage all of the members of the Big Three to tell your staff how much you appreciate them and need them and respect them, and perhaps most importantly, a surprise summer bonus check would do the trick as well.