This Spotlight originally appeared in the Spring 2024 edition of the 503. Magazine. Click here to read the entire edition online.

Northwestern Mutual Spotlight Blog

Matt Benjamin, Managing Director & Wealth Management Advisor at Northwestern Mutual

After being in business for nearly 170 years, Northwestern Mutual’s name and reputation come with the utmost credibility and trust within the financial services industry. But as a Fortune 500 company with more than five million clients nationwide, Northwestern Mutual can also be looked at as a true American business titan and a major player in our nation’s economy.

With nearly 7,000 financial advisors serving more than 360 field offices across the country, the company manages to be community-focused and relationship-driven, even at its corporate size. Coupling these attributes with the company’s consistently top-rated service makes Northwestern Mutual attractive and comfortable for current and prospective clients.

“We’ve been in Oregon since 1888, so Northwestern has been around a long time,” said Matt Benjamin, Managing Director & Wealth Management Advisor. “And the reason we have lasted is we are a company that puts our clients first, which is the most important thing to me.”

After earning his bachelor’s degree in business economics and his MBA with a focus on new business development from Willamette University in Salem, Benjamin has spent his entire 20-year financial advising career at Northwestern Mutual. After many years of no presence locally, he re-established the brand in 2006 here in Salem and launched the current Salem office (located at 465 Commercial St. N.E.) in 2011, quickly and exponentially growing his advisor team and client base in the years since.

Benjamin and his team have been able to provide expectational services to a variety of clients since he began with the company in 2004. His team has helped businesses and families with things like budgeting, debt management, benefits planning, insurance, and investments. However, with his educational background in business development, a desire to make an even more meaningful community impact, and as a business owner himself — managing the Salem, Eugene, and Bend regions — Benjamin’s primary focus has shifted over the years to leading the office and serving small businesses and their families exclusively.

“I realized that when I worked with businesses, it wasn’t just a one-to-one relationship, it was a one-to-many relationship,” Benjamin said. “We were able to rapidly expand our impact because we could provide more impact for the business owner, employees, and the variety of constituents within that business. It was really exciting for me to broaden my ability to serve others.”

Working closely with business clients in areas where they need it most — such as employee benefits, qualified plans, executive bonus plans, and business succession — Benjamin strives to marry the business owner’s personal financial plan to their business financial plan to create the most optimal outcomes. Whether it’s helping grow their business, managing it, or crafting a succession plan, Benjamin and his team approach each client with an understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing small business owners today.

“There’s a different mindset when you’re working with business owners,” Benjamin said. “I think the challenge becomes, we get so caught up with running our business and trying to grow that it’s hard to get into the weeds on things. It’s hard to think about things like, ‘How do we create employee retention strategies?’ That’s why I exist, no different than a contractor exists to help you through a construction project. So, I try to focus on those details so we can create the blueprint to your financial success.”

Helping Benjamin focus on those details on every client’s behalf is his incredible and ever-growing team of service and development professionals and advisors. While Benjamin’s territories have consistently added about 10 new advisors per year, he says this year’s goal is 20. Benjamin is more confident than ever in his business’ future growth following the recent addition of Katya Mendez (also a Salem Area Chamber of Commerce Board Member) as his new Director of Recruiting, as she will head up adding new talent to the Northwestern Mutual team following a successful career at Mountain West Investment Corporation.

Benjamin also credits his amazing team with the firm’s community efforts, which touch a variety of local organizations. These organizations include the Boys & Girls Club of Salem, Marion & Polk Counties; the United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley; and the Salem Chamber as an annual hole sponsor at the McLaran Golf Classic, as well as a regular Greeters, Executive Leadership Council, and Forum Speaker Series attendee.

“I appreciate the work our team does because that’s how we truly multiply ourselves to provide the level of impact. that we’re capable of in our communities,” Benjamin said. “The more of them, the more impact and the broader reach we have to support folks in their financial needs.”

With continued growth as a core strategy to serve even more clients in different locales, Benjamin officially partnered with Northwestern Mutual’s San Diego office this March, an ambitious move that furthers the Salem office’s stature and legacy on the national stage.

“At the end of the day, my vision is to create an enduring firm that can continue to make an impact in our community for years to come,” Benjamin said. “Our industry can be very individual at times, but collectively, it is more fun when we can all grow together and make a massive impact in the lives of those we serve. We want everyone around us to thrive.”

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