Advising the very wealthy can prove quite rewarding personally and professionally. Being business partners with the very wealthy can translate into a substantial personal fortune-and it can be a lot of fun. Few professionals have the skills, disposition and mindset to work for and with the ultra-affluent. Pat Trammell, the founder of Omega Capital Enterprises in Birmingham, Ala., is one of those advisors.
Prince: What type of firm is Omega Capital Enterprises?
Trammell: Omega Capital Enterprises is our holding company. Presently, the firm encompasses two basic categories of businesses. The first is Omega Capital Advisors, a high-end wealth transfer and life insurance brokerage. The other is Omega Capital Equity Partners. This entity is more geared to our private equity-type initiatives.
We're not trying to be anyone we're not. The common theme of the companies is trying to identify and develop compelling ideas, provide innovative solutions and to have a focused plan of execution. What ties everything we do together is our relationships with the very wealthy that we've developed. Sometimes that might be in the form of capital, and in others it might be access. Quite often it's in the form of expertise. But at the end of the day, all roads lead to providing specialized services or ideas and connecting them to the very wealthy.
Omega Capital Advisors, for example, is a firm that provides proprietary and very specialized life insurance to the exceptionally wealthy. Insurance is often the solution to numerous issues or problems very successful people in the world face. In addition, because of our connection to these highly successful and motivated people, the firm provides its expertise to the institutional and employee benefit markets as well.
One of our primary strategies is cultivating and developing our relationships with the very wealthy through our event company. The Charitable Resource Group not only gives us the opportunity to put on events for our clients and important relationships, it's also the way we give back by putting on and assisting charities in their fund-raising efforts. We put on 23 events in some form or fashion in 2011. We recently hosted an event on Bourbon Street for the BCS Championship Game. Over 50 people with net worths in excess of $50 million attended the event, as did people from the world of sports and entertainment. These events are all about connectivity, access and, most of the time, just enjoying ourselves. Many of our ideas and best relationships have originated from these events.
Omega Capital Equity Partners is the entity where we are bringing together our ultra-affluent relationships to invest in very selected private equity-type opportunities. This is not a fund. To some degree these are club-type deals. They're our exclusive deals where we have invested our money and we're trying to build a business ourselves. Our first deals have been seeded with funds from some of our wealthy relationships.
In addition, we employ some innovative financing programs sponsored by the federal government that encourages foreign investment from other countries like China, Korea and certain South American countries. Because of the makeup of our deals, most have qualified for some form of tax incentive programs that are also sponsored by the federal government. As a result, we're seeing ourselves partnering with institutional investors as well as the very wealthy.
We firmly believe this part of our business is where Omega Capital Enterprises' real fortunes will be created and grown.
Prince: How did you end up building Omega Capital Enterprises?
Trammell: I wish I could tell you that I did some intense analytic assessment or it was part of some master plan. The reality is a lot simpler. I just listened to what many of my clients were telling me about their businesses and their interests. Over the years, I discovered I have an ability to see an idea, and then figure out how to bring together the right team of people to leverage the opportunity.
Prince: Could you walk through this concept in a little more detail?
Trammell: I started in the life insurance business almost 25 years ago. With Omega Capital Advisors, we're still very much in this business. In fact, in the last 60 days of 2011, we placed over $75 million of death benefits for three of our clients.
My goal in this business was to partner with the right people and build one of the best life insurance firms in the country. But that was the only focus of the firm. About 15 years ago, I heard Dan Sullivan talk about a concept called "unique abilities." He said that very few people are million-dollar marketers and also million-dollar technicians. And the key to creating a high level of success is to bring the two different parties together to leverage their respective talents.
That's what we did. My strength or unique ability was definitely not in devising sophisticated tax-mitigation strategies. The place I had an unfair advantage was and is in connecting and building rapport with some of the wealthiest people and families in the country.
Even today, as our firm evolves, develops and expands, I do the exact same thing. Across the board in every one of our business ventures, we build the finest technical team possible and partner with them to bring innovative ideas and solutions to our clients and business partners. Our goal is to have everyone involved with us focusing only on their unique ability or in an area where they have an unfair advantage.
Over the years I had the good fortune to develop this group of ultra-affluent clients and relationships. All we did was decide to look for a few other arrows in the quiver to bring to them for consideration. Our new endeavors, the deals we're currently working on, follow the exact same model as we've implemented for the past 25 years. My role is nothing more than to provide the vision and then identify and connect the right relationships-whether that's the technical expertise needed or the people who can provide whatever particular financial backing that's required. I rarely bring any technical value to the deal.
Prince: Can you give us an example of one of your larger, more involved deals?
Trammell: We developed a very compelling story in our life insurance business. We will only approach our very wealthy relationships in a way that resonates with them. We'll only go to them with a very viable and meaningful proposition. As we look to add opportunities to our business it's very important to me to find the right ideas-ideas that are not only unique, but also very compelling.
Finding the first idea and opportunity took almost three years. For the last 18 months, we've developed a business model where we're partnering with megachurches to build senior living facilities on their campuses. I connected with this opportunity immediately. For one, I got the affinity aspect of the model. My dad died when I was 6 years old. My mother was a schoolteacher and it didn't matter what the cost-she was going to send me to the high school associated with our church. Second, I had seen the model about two years beforehand on a trip with our pastor to a 40,000-person church in Palm Beach, Fla.