As if this damn pandemic hasn’t given us enough sad news, it is my somber duty to relay the passing of my friend Dave Wickersham, founder and CEO of The Leaders Group. Sad news indeed, particularly for those many, many advisors and BGAs who got to know him while working in the variable life space. Per Dave’s son and TLG President Sean Wickersham, Dave passed away recently due to complications from a cardiac event.
Dave Wickersham earned a bachelor’s degree in Zoology, with minors in Chemistry and Business, from the University of Northern Colorado where he also both played and coached football. He married his best friend, Berny, in 1976 and had one son, Sean, in whose capable hands The Leaders Group will continue to thrive despite this tremendous loss. In his spare time Dave enjoyed reading a great novel, mountain biking, wine tasting, shooting handguns, and fly-fishing.
Dave began his financial services career in 1979 as an underwriter for State Farm, then moved to E.F. Hutton where he worked as a financial advisor, life specialist and manager. He subsequently had the opportunity to help create an independent broker/dealer in Denver and worked steadfastly and diligently to bring life insurance and securities distribution closer together.
An avid supporter of life insurance, in 1994 Dave founded The Leaders Group with the focus of helping to distribute variable life through BGAs, a model that has thrived. In the 26 years that the firm has been in business it has grown from working with just a few agencies to now being recognized as the largest distributor broker/dealer in the world for variable life insurance and the premier broker/dealer for BGAs with more than 160 agencies calling it home. Dave also established a very robust retail arm that helps financial advisors thrive in the independent marketplace. The Leaders Group also hosts an annual Private Placement Insurance Forum in Las Vegas, attracting dozens of the industry’s top experts serving the affluent market. The annual forum features speakers and breakout sessions facilitated by experts in product development, investment options, and sales positioning and offers product solutions that provide tax efficiency and increased accumulation opportunities.
In addition to The Leaders Group, Dave was a founder of The Life Insurance Center, a Colorado based application fulfillment center built for BGAs, and started and served as the CEO of TLG Advisors, Inc., an SEC Registered Investment Adviser that provides investment management and financial planning services for individuals, corporations, and retirement plans.
Dave Wickersham’s driving motto was “Doing the right thing is always the right thing.” I first met Dave at a LifeMark Partners (now merged with BRAMCO Financial Partners to form LIBRA Insurance Partners) meeting and he and his associates quickly became my go-to source for variable life articles. I grew to know him as a wonderfully gregarious and welcoming friend with a limitless wealth of knowledge of our industry and its workings as well as the incalculable patience to try to explain any number of its intricacies to one—me—not nearly as intellectually gifted as himself. I’ll miss most his broad smile, his deep, boisterous laugh and his marvelous quick wit. Rest in Peace my friend.[SPH]
(In lieu of flowers or other gifts of condolence, the Wickersham family prefers donations to be made in Dave’s honor to Samaritan’s Purse.)