By focusing on creating value for plan sponsors and participants, Hunter Benefits Consulting Group, Inc. (HBCG), formed in October 1999, has grown quickly to a firm that administers over 500 employee benefits plans out of our offices in the Chicago, Denver, and Seattle-Tacoma Suburbs. HBCG offers technical guidance to plan sponsors related to qualified plan design and administration while offering plan sponsors accurate and timely reporting for reasonable and transparent fees.
Founder and CEO
Christopher Tipper says he’s never met a senior business leader who would love to devote more time to thinking about retirement benefits.
“Without a doubt, they want a strong plan that helps them attract and retain good people,” he says. “But most don’t have the time or in-house expertise to structure the right plan and make sure it complies with IRS and Department of Labor rules.”
Christopher founded Hunter Benefits in 1999 to help business and non-profit organizations deal with the complexities of building and maintaining sound retirement programs. As CEO, he now guides the work of 13 staff members in Illinois, Colorado and Washington.
“Fortunately, we thrive on complexity,” Christopher explains. “We work creatively within the rules to design cost-effective plans, handling all the administrative details so our clients don’t have to.”
Before starting Hunter Benefits, Christopher gained wide experience in the administration of defined-benefit and cafeteria-style benefit plans. He began his career with Spectrum Pension Consultants in Tacoma, soon accepting a larger role with the retirement benefits team at IPC in Seattle. His move to Datair Employee Benefit Systems, Inc. gave him the opportunity to gain special expertise in cafeteria-style benefits programs.
Under Christopher’s leadership, Hunter Benefits has grown from a one-person shop into a multi-state enterprise using cloud-based data systems to provide fast, accurate, secure plan administration services for more than 450 client organizations.
He’s proud that the company has remained true to its founding principles.
“Many benefits companies only want to work with Fortune 100 employers,” he says, “but we feel all organizations, regardless of size, should offer great retirement programs. That means we welcome you whether you’re a corporation of one or a major employer with thousands on your team.”
Christopher serves as a board member for the local chapter of the National Institute of Pension Administrators (NIPA). A native of Hanover Park, Illinois and an alumnus of Knox College, he is also a trustee for the Palatine (Illinois) Village Police Pension Trust. He enjoys spending time with his children, Austin and Hannah. Along with his passionate interest in entrepreneurship, he also enjoys cars and travel.
President and CFO
Before Katherine Tipper became president and CFO of Hunter Benefits Consulting Group, she played a part in one of the world’s best-known success stories.
“I was a store manager for Starbucks in Seattle when there were only 14 locations,” she explains. “I ran several of our busiest outlets, and along the way I discovered that I loved the daily challenges of running a service organization.”
After 10 years with the java giant – and the thrill of watching sales and profits grow exponentially – Katherine founded her own daycare business, Comfort Lane Day School.
“I was solving a problem for myself as a mother,” she says, “and I succeeded because many other parents needed exactly the same service.” She focused on providing stimulating, enriching activities for the kids such as outings to nature centers and museums.
In 2004, Katherine joined Hunter Benefits and discovered that she truly enjoyed working with financial data – probably for the same reason she relished her work at Starbucks and Comfort Lane. “At Hunter, I have the opportunity to continue doing what I love: solving problems, serving people and seeing the positive results,” she says.
Retirement plans reflect an organization’s level of success, Katherine notes. “A good plan rewards employees and challenges the organization to reach a point of profitability that will fund the future of its people.
“Companies know they need good plans to attract the best employees, but they may not have the time or experience to administer one. We bridge that gap for them, forming a one-on-one relationship they can rely on to address their unique needs.”
Along with her duties as president and CFO, Katherine fulfills a role CEO Christopher Tipper refers to as “chief tonal officer.”
“Our job is to make sure our clients follow all regulations that govern their retirement plans, but we don’t want to be the old prairie schoolmarm scolding them about the rules. We prefer to be a friendly resource, and Katherine makes sure our clients feel respected and supported.”
An alumna of Knox College, Katherine is an active member of the National Association of Women in Business (NAWBO) and West Suburban Women Entrepreneurs (WSWE). She is a 20-plus-year member of her local book club who also enjoys gardening and travel.
Carol has been in the qualified plan compliance field since 1986. She has done administration and compliance in many of the different service settings, including Putnam Investments, New England Life and Laventhol & Horwath as well as Third Party Administrators in Boston and in Illinois.
She has experience in teaching staff to conduct compliance and administration processes for both small employer and large regional, national and multinational corporate clients.
Carol serves HBCG as the Operation Manager and the Compliance Manager. She will review a plan’s more complex issues to find resolutions.
Enrolled Actuary, Emeritus
David has recently retired from the pension business after dedicating over 30 years of quality service.
David founded Benefits Group Northwest more than 20 years ago and focused his career on forging deep relationships with his many long term clients. His insight into what a small employer needs has fit in nicely with Hunter Benefits’ customer service philosophy which made incorporating his clientele into ours a very smooth transition.
David’s decision to join forces with Hunter Benefits enabled him to retire feeling encouraged by the great depth of support available to his clients.
Plan Limits for 2017 Calendar Year
401(k) Deferral if under age 50 - $18,000
401(k) Deferral if over age 50 - $24,000
Allocation amount for all contribution types if under age 50 - $54,000
Allocation amount for all contribution types if over age 50 - $59,000