Our Bank Channel History

empowering financial institutions to help people PLAN the lives they want

history clarke partners

Steve Gates
CEO and Co-President

After college, I started my career at Newhard Cook and Company, a NYSE firm, as a stock broker, retailing securities and life insurance. It was the mid 80s, and the financial markets were being deregulated. I tried to convince my firm to take advantage of this opportunity and offer securities and insurance through banks, but they took a pass. However, SunLife (later SunAmerica) was as excited about this new distribution channel as I was, so I came aboard. By 1992, I had decided that it was time to make my own stamp on the industry, and Clarke was born.

I met Michael Denton because Clarke was profitably doing business for Alexander Hamilton, which Jefferson Pilot had acquired. Michael and I worked successfully together to build distribution that mutually benefited both Jefferson Pilot and Clarke. Based on that experience, it was an easy decision to team up with Michael when he left Jefferson Pilot. Michael brings amazing product development know-how to Clarke.

As CEO of Clarke, I love serving banks, broker-dealers, credit unions, and producer groups, and I strongly believe that our team makes a difference out in the field. Ultimately, we empower advisors to help people plan the lives they want.

Learn more about Steve Gates.

Michael Denton
COO and Co-President

In 1998, I relocated my family from Oregon to North Carolina to accept a position with Jefferson Pilot (now Lincoln National). As senior vice president, I developed the Financial Institution Marketing Division into a top 10 provider of fixed annuities in the bank marketplace. After a few years, I based in Oregon, developing West Coast business. At that time, banks in the region confused Jefferson Pilot with the rock band Jefferson Airplane.

I met Steve when Clarke was doing a lot of business with Jefferson Pilot. It was evident that Steve had the same sizzle for financial product marketing and consulting that I did. When he called me in 2004 with the partnership offer, I knew that we could experience a lot of synergy together. This experience with Clarke takes me back to my roots as a business owner. I had founded a multi-state financial planning firm in 1981, which I sold in ‘89 before joining Marketing One.

As COO at Clarke, I can really make a difference — and not just for our clients and the advisors who work for them. Ultimately our work reaches individuals who want to plan to live the life they want.

Learn more about Michael Denton.