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VOL. 130 | NO. 88 | Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Pair of Employee Benefits Firms Merge

By Andy Meek

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Two Memphis-based employee benefits firms have merged, effective May 1, and they’re attributing the union in part to the daunting task some firms have of coming to grips with the Affordable Care Act.

The merger of McManus Reilly Benefits with Group Benefits LLC – an independent employee benefits consulting firm with national resources and scope – was announced along with a nod to the increased difficulty facing smaller insurance agencies that juggle servicing health benefit clients with the complexities of the health care law.


Group Benefits president and founder Timothy Finnell said the move was a strategic decision based on a growing demand for credentialed benefits specialists as companies try to navigate the terrain of health care reform.

As a result of a recently signed lease, Finnell’s firm will almost double its office space at 855 Ridge Lake Blvd., where it will occupy about 4,500 square feet. That allows room for additional new staff and a recently hired compliance director, Pat Jameson, who’s been tasked with business growth and client assistance for benefits compliance.

“This partnership will allow our existing firm to provide a full spectrum of additional capabilities in the areas of compliance, HR resources and benefit communications,” said Michael McManus, of McManus Reilly Benefits.

He and Mike Reilly founded the business in 2004 after previously working side-by-side for Executive Financial Services. As partners with a handful of employees, the boutique firm grew to eventually manage millions in assets, and it’s worked closely with corporate clients from fields like medicine, legal, retail and manufacturing.

Smaller firms like McManus Reilly, though, are finding themselves in need of a bigger staff and back office support to manage the load that comes with increased demand for helping group insurance clients make choices related to the Affordable Care Act. That’s one of the things McManus said made the merger an attractive option – it also means, among other things, additional support for serving existing clients.

Under the terms of the agreement, McManus Reilly group benefits manager Carolyn Wilson will shift out of the McManus Reilly Benefits office and relocate to the Group Benefits headquarters where she’ll continue to serve existing clients. McManus himself will keep his current office in the Crescent Center, and he’ll continue to service existing clients, establish new relationships and maintain his wealth management and estate planning practice aside from the new partnership.

Group Benefits, meanwhile, has been on a tear of late when it comes to growth. The firm has more than doubled its staff and client base since 2009.

The firm’s benefits specialists work to provide solutions through a multi-disciplinary team that’s part of a field where employee benefits are among the fastest rising expenses most companies face today.

At the same time, health care has grown considerably in complexity with employers struggling to find the right mix between balancing benefits they’d like to offer with their firm’s economic realities.

The Group Benefits firm offers complete employee benefits programs and enrollment support for employers of all sizes in the Memphis area.

PROPERTY SALES 103 137 4,008
MORTGAGES 84 131 4,521
BUILDING PERMITS 178 368 9,636
BANKRUPTCIES 50 110 2,995