Name: Patrick Kelly
Title: CEO and Co-founder
Company: Signal Advisors
Web address:

Patrick Kelly is CEO and one of three co-founders of Detroit-based Signal Advisors, a fintech and independent marketing organization designed to make it easier for independent financial advisors and fiduciaries to offer insurance products to their clients.

How did you personally become involved in Fintech?
I started an electronic application business in 2012 called RepPro and sold to RetireUp in 2018, where I lead business development. In 2012, I found the need for an e-application business through my experience as a Financial Advisor at Northwestern Mutual as well as at small independent advisory firm. The new business status quo was submitting in the mail 40 to 60-page paper applications, I found that both amazing and frustrating, so I spent seven years working to fix it. RepPro grew to submit over 20,000 annuity applications and landed contracts with some of the largest carriers in the industry, including Allianz, Security Benefit, American Equity, and North American. These opportunities also allowed me to better understand the insurance distribution space, the space my current business, Signal Advisors, is disrupting.

What does your firm do/offer within the fintech sector?
Signal Advisors is a tech-enabled Independent Marketing Organization, or IMO. IMOs distribute annuities and life insurance through a large network of independent financial advisors. However, the world doesn't need another IMO. It needs something fundamentally different, and that's what we have built at Signal Advisors with three core pillars of differentiation:

  1. Get Paid in One Day. Signal Advisors pays annuity commissions within one day of application submission, at no cost. Traditionally, commission payments take more than 30 days, and even longer during COVID.
  2. No Marketers. "Marketers", who are paid to recruit advisors, are the single largest expense to an IMO. Signal Advisors is the first IMO without marketers and will reinvest the savings in real innovation.
  3. End-to-End Technology Platform. Signal Advisors is building industry-leading software to improve on each aspect of the IMO business— From licensing & contracting, new business submission,inforce policy management, case design, marketing analytics, commission management, and more.

The wealth management space has received so much attention because of market size; we feel there is a lot of room for innovation in the insurance space. At Signal, we’re working to bridge the gap between insurance and wealth management, building a seamless software experience between the two worlds.

What are the biggest problems facing the fintech industry in the future?
The biggest problem facing fintech and fintech companies is:

  • Not fee compression,
  • Not consumers changing their preferences, and
  • Not robo advisors beating human advisors.

It's variety/fragmentation. There are too many fintech firms, few will win, and many will lose. The industry is very fragmented, large custodian platforms are going to pick vendors and double down on integrations, putting 2nd and 3rd place Fintech vendors in a tough spot.

There are so many Fintech companies doing awesome things, with incredible tech and outstanding teams. However, generally speaking, fintech has a problem where companies are a cool feature and not a full-fledged business. These types of Fintech companies will be consolidated into other more robust platforms because advisors need solutions that work together with their existing tech stack.