David I Gensler is the president of Madison Pension Services, Inc., an actuarial and employee benefits consulting firm, which specializes in custom designed plans for small and mid-sized companies. Established in 1978, Gensler was a founding principal of the firm and has over thirty years of consulting experience in qualified retirement plans.
Gensler is an Enrolled Actuary and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries, the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA) and the College of Pension Actuaries (COPA). Considered a leading expert in the field of qualified retirement plans, Gensler is a frequent lecturer and has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, the NY Times and Crain’s Business. Articles that he has written have been published in CFO magazine, the Westchester Business Journal and various other financial journals.
Gensler has previously served as the Co-Chair of the ASPPA Government Affairs Committee. This committee works with both the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Labor in shaping legislation that touches all aspects of qualified retirement plans. He is on the faculty of Business 21, an ”e-learning” organization which sponsors webinars on various topics of interest with regard to employee benefits to both chief financial officers and human resource managers. He was an invited to speak before the New York State Society of CPA’s on various topics related to qualified retirement plans. He has taught several courses for ASPPA on employee benefits and he recently served on the board of ASPPA’s New York Chapter of its Benefits Council.
If you were not working at Madison Pension Services, Inc. and could be in any field, what would you be doing?
If I were not working at Madison and money was not a consideration (I added that part), I would teach high school mathematics (algebra and/or geometry).
What is the best professional advice someone gave you that you still live by today?
My Dad, who was raised in and impacted by the Depression – When I was offered the opportunity to be a founding member of Madison, I went to him for advice, convinced that he would tell me what I wanted to hear – “You have a good job. Stay where you are.” I did not picture myself running a business (any business). Instead, he said the opposite – “You can always work for someone, this is a unique opportunity. You must do this.” I learned that what might be a problem for one person would be perceived by another person as an opportunity. And do not ask someone for advice if all you want to hear from them is merely to validate what you already think.
How did you come to work in this field?
I took a math test at a company called Pension Planners of Baltimore. They did the NFL’s pension plan (and were later acquired by either Mercer or Buck; they no longer exist). They said that since I had no experience, that they would not hire me. But they told me that I got the highest score on their math test of anyone that ever took it. So they said that I should follow that career path (the actuarial path). Before that, I did not even know what an actuary was or that the field of retirement plan consulting existed.
What is your favorite thing to do outside of work?
I love to read non-fiction. I love golf (not play it, I am too terrible for that). But the skill that it takes to master that sport and compete week in and week out just awes me. I have even been to the Masters (which I heard is the toughest ticket in sports).
What in life are you most passionate about?
The NY Football Giants (I bleed Giant blue) and helping associations like the ASPCA or the Humane Society. Abused or neglected animals have no voice.