Southeastern Wisconsin financial service industry news
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Lammi Sports Management acquires Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame
December 16, 2014 10:39 AM
Milwaukee-based Lammi Sports Management announced today it has purchased all of the assets of the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame, which was established in 1951, includes sports greats Vince Lombardi, Hank Aaron, Oscar Robertson, Barry Alvarez, Al McGuire, Bud Selig, Junior Bridgeman, Willie Davis, Bart Starr and many others. In 2001, former owner Wisconsin Sports Development Corp. constructed the Wisconsin Athletic Walk of Fame outside the U.S. Cellular Arena (now UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena) in Milwaukee, which features more than 100 bronze plaques of Wisconsin sports icons on permanent display.

A newly created company, Wisconsin Hall of Fame LLC, will manage the assets. A board of advisors will include current and future Hall of Fame inductees, Wisconsin sports executives, sports media members and community leaders.

The Hall of Fame will host events throughout the year, including an induction ceremony at the Wisconsin Center, a nomination luncheon, speaker series breakfasts and potentially a touring gallery exhibit, beginning in 2016.

“Lammi Sports is honored and humbled to preserve and restore this historic Wisconsin sports property,” said Brian Lammi, founder and chief executive officer of Lammi Sports Management. “We want to thank the Wisconsin Center District and the Wisconsin Sports Development Corporation for their faith in Lammi Sports Management to oversee this iconic trust that salutes athletic excellence in Wisconsin. We also want to commend the Wisconsin Sports Legacy Group for their grass roots efforts to revitalize the Hall.”

“Wisconsin is home to some of the most iconic and historic players, coaches, and teams,” said Gov. Scott Walker.  “As a proud supporter of Wisconsin sports, I’m excited about this new chapter for the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame and look forward to many more years of celebrating our great sports teams.”

“I’ll forever remember the excitement of becoming a member of the Wisconsin Hall of Fame. It gives me great joy to hear that Lammi Sports is bringing it back.  Brian and his team do amazing work – I look forward to attending the next dinner,” said Olympic speed skater Bonnie Blair.

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Survey: Saving presents biggest obstacle to retirement
December 16, 2014 10:33 AM
The biggest obstacle facing employees as they prepare for retirement is not being able to save enough, according to a new survey from Brookfield-based Francis Investment Counsel LLC.

The survey, conducted from June 2013 to September 2014, encompassed 1,400 Wisconsin workers from a variety of industries including health care, manufacturing and professional/technical. The survey was distributed to the company’s retirement plan participants who attended one of its group education workshops.

About 40 percent of respondents said their biggest obstacle in retirement preparation was “not being able to save enough,” while another 29 percent listed “health care costs” as the biggest obstacle. About 13 percent said “losing money in the market” was the biggest obstacle, while 11 percent responded “social security disappearing” and 6 percent said “insecure future at my job.”

Despite new U.S. Department of Labor fee disclosure rules that went into effect in 2012, most participants still don’t understand the fees they pay on 401(k) accounts, according to Francis Investment Counsel. About 48 percent of respondents said they “have received information in the past but don’t really understand the fees.” And a quarter of those surveyed said they “haven’t got a clue” what the fees are. Another 21 percent said they “have a good grasp of what I pay to participate” and 6 percent said “it doesn’t really matter to me.”

Respondents overwhelmingly (66 percent) favored one-on-one advice sessions to receive retirement planning and investment help.  About 21 percent of those surveyed said they prefer educational seminars in the workplace, while 7 percent favored online tools, 3 percent liked asking family and friends and 3 percent use personal finance sources like magazines and television programs.

Among those surveyed, 81 percent preferred a financial advisor learn about their situation and help them decide what to do when making investment decisions for their retirement account. Another 11 percent preferred the advisor to do the investing for them, and 7 percent wanted to do it on their own.

As far as the advisor, 57 percent said they would pay more if it meant the advisor guaranteed objectivity, while 24 percent said an advisor that offers low cost services with potential conflicts of interest would be fine. And 19 percent said it didn’t matter to them.

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FCC approves Journal merger
December 16, 2014 10:43 AM
The Federal Communications Commission has approved the merger of The E.W. Scripps Co. and Journal Communications and authorized the transfer of control of Milwaukee-based Journal’s television and radio station licenses to Cincinnati-based Scripps.

The companies announced in July that they will merge their broadcast operations and spin off and then merge their newspapers, creating two focused and separately traded public companies.

The merged broadcast and digital media company, based in Cincinnati, will retain The E.W. Scripps Company name, and the Scripps family shareholders will continue to have voting control. The company will have approximately 4,000 employees across its television, radio and digital media operations and is expected to have annual revenue of more than $800 million.

The newspaper company will be called Journal Media Group and will combine Scripps' daily newspapers, community publications and related digital products in 13 markets with Journal Communications' Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin community publications and affiliated digital products. The company, with expected annual revenue of more than $500 million and approximately 3,600 employees, will be headquartered in Milwaukee.

The merger still needs to be approved by the companies’ shareholders, and is expected to close in the first half of 2015.

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Holt Dental Supply to be acquired by St. Paul distributor
December 16, 2014 10:55 AM
St. Paul, Minn.-based Patterson Companies Inc. has agreed to acquire Waukesha-based Holt Dental Supply Inc.

Holt provides dental supplies and equipment to dental practices in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Michigan and Indiana. It had $15 million in sales in 2013.

Patterson, a distributor to the dental, companion-pet veterinarian and rehabilitation supply markets, will expand its Midwest reach and influence through the acquisition.

"We are delighted to welcome Holt Dental to Patterson Companies,” said Paul Guggenheim, president of Patterson Dental. “Holt Dental has a longstanding and exceptional reputation in the markets it serves, and maintains a culture much like ours, focused on accountability, integrity and exceptional customer service.”

Holt’s 40 employees will join Patterson Dental. Paul Holt, co-owner and president of Holt Dental, will become a district manager at Patterson.

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Associated Bank to move its stock up to the Big Board
December 16, 2014 10:59 AM
Green Bay-based Associated Banc-Corp announced the pending transfer of the listing of its common stock from the NASDAQ Global Select Market to the New York Stock Exchange.

The parent company of Associated Bank expects to begin trading on the NYSE on Dec. 23 under the new ticker symbol "ASB." Until the transfer is complete, the company's common stock will continue to trade under the ticker symbol "ASBC" on the NASDAQ.

The company also expects its warrants, expiring Nov. 21, 2018, to begin trading on the NYSE MKT under the new ticker symbol "ASB WS" on Dec. 23, 2014. Until the transfer is complete, the company's warrants will continue to trade under the ticker symbol "ASBCW" on the NASDAQ.

"We are pleased to join many of the top U.S. banks which currently trade on the NYSE," said Associated president and chief executive officer Philip Flynn. "We look forward to the NYSE providing us support and visibility for our existing and prospective shareholders."

Scott Cutler, executive vice president and head of global listings at the NYSE, said, "We look forward to Associated joining the NYSE community. Here, Associated will benefit from the unique NYSE platform, which combines leading technology with the human participation of designated market makers."

Associated Banc-Corp has total assets of $26 billion and is one of the top 50 publicly traded, U.S. bank holding companies.

In celebration of the transfer, representatives from Associated will ring the NYSE Opening Bell on Feb. 24 at 8:30 a.m. CST.

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ARI Network Services reports strong quarter
December 16, 2014 11:04 AM
Milwaukee-based ARI Network Services Inc. reported fiscal 2015 first quarter net income of $104,000, or one cent per share, up from $25,000, or zero cents per share, in the first quarter of 2014.

Net revenue was $9.1 million, up from $8.2 million in the same period last year.

ARI provides software tools and marketing services designed to help dealers, equipment manufacturers and distributors increase sales, both online and in-store.

During the first quarter, ARI completed the acquisition of Tire Company Solutions LLC.

"With our first quarter results, we are off to a great start for our fiscal year,” said Roy Olivier, president and chief executive officer. “We closed the TCS Technologies acquisition on Sept. 30, 2014, and with the incremental revenue (it) contributed for the quarter, ARI revenue topped $9 million in quarterly revenue for the first time. In addition to the revenue growth, we were able to improve upon both our profit and EBITDA performance from the prior year."

"Our profit and EBITDA performance in the quarter was strong given we experienced more than $200,000 in charges related to the TCS Technologies acquisition in the quarter,” said William Nurthen, chief financial officer. “In addition, we posted our largest quarterly cash flow from operations performance ever at $1.6 million. We are pacing well ahead of last year as this result represents more cash flow than we generated in the first three quarters of fiscal 2014."

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Economic Trends Breakfast to offer 2015 outlook
December 16, 2014 11:09 AM
BizTimes Media LLC will host the annual Northern Trust Economic Trends Breakfast on Thursday, Jan. 29, at the Italian Community Center in Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward.

The 2015 conference will provide business leaders with a sneak peek of the year ahead in business. Panelists will provide insights about the emerging trends in manufacturing, business technology, logistics, biomedical advancements, the housing market and more.

The featured panelists will include:
  •  Michael Knetter, Ph.D., an economist and president of the University of Wisconsin Foundation. Knetter serves as a research associate for the National Bureau of Economic Research. He serves as a consultant to the International Monetary Fund. He previously served as an associate dean of the MBA program and professor of international economics in the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. He also served as a senior staff economist for the Council of Economic Advisors for former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Knetter will provide his annual macro-economic outlook for the year ahead.
  • Tina Chang, chief executive officer of SysLogic Inc., Brookfield. Chang will speak about the emerging trends in information technology for businesses.
  • Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. Still will provide an update about Wisconsin’s growing biomed economy and trends among start-up businesses in the state.
  • Keith Rozolis, president of ABC Supply Co. Inc., Beloit. Rozolis will speak about what lies ahead in the housing market and the latest trends in logistics.
  • Todd Teske, chief executive officer of Briggs & Stratton Corp., Wauwatosa. Teske will discuss the emerging trends in manufacturing, including automation and robotics, as well as some of the prevailing retail trends.
The 2015 Northern Trust Economic Trends Breakfast will be followed by breakout sessions for business leaders. To register to attend the 2015 Northern Trust Economic Trends Breakfast to be presented by BizTimes Media, visit

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New hires and promotions
December 16, 2014 10:46 AM

U.S. Bank Wealth Management has hired Gregory Block as a private banker in Milwaukee. Block has more than 12 years of banking experience, most recently as vice president of commercial banking and a credit analyst at Park Bank. In his new role, Block will provide specialized lending services and oversee day-to-day management of financial activities for high net worth clients. He holds a bachelor’s in business management from Luther College.

Craig Witz has been named vice president of retail banking for North Shore Bank. Witz, who has been at North Shore for nine years, previously served as assistant vice president and district manager. He will be responsible for managing and overseeing teams at North Shore’s 47 branches throughout eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

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Molly Dill This exclusive news bulletin is compiled by BizTimes Milwaukee reporter Molly Dill. This bulletin is published every Tuesday morning. Send financial services industry news and tips to or call her at (414) 336-7144.

Additional Resources

» Wisconsin Association of Accountants
» Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants
» Wisconsin Association for Financial Professionals

Financial Institutions

» Wisconsin Bankers Association
» The Wisconsin Credit Union League
» Community Bankers of Wisconsin
» Wisconsin Mortgage Bankers Association

Financial Planning

» Financial Planning Association of Southern Wisconsin
» National Association of Personal Financial Advisors


» Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin
» Wisconsin Association of Mutual Insurance Companies

Mergers & Acquisitions

» Midwest Business Brokers and Intermediaries
» Association for Corporate Growth - Wisconsin
» Turnaround Management Association - Chicago/Midwest

Other Resources

» Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions
» Wisconsin Government Finance Officers Association

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