TEFFI funds come in aimed at Hesston grocery store

It appears a financial law passed last legislative session will bear local fruit, maybe even a produce aisle, a year later.

Hesston native Brad Heppner’s financial company, Beneficient (Ben), announced that it contributed $15 million in funds to the Kansas Department of Commerce and charities located in Kansas Economic Growth Zones. That includes the Beneficient Heartland Foundation in Hesston, Kan.

“The foundation’s first objective is to support the community’s long-time goal of rebuilding by opening a new hometown grocery store and market in Hesston,” the release stated.

The foundation has a 14-member board established by Beneficient, including company representatives and local members.

The contribution results from the Technology Enabled Fiduciary Financial Institutions Act, which enjoyed bipartisan support when the Kansas Legislature made it into law last year. The law allowed Beneficient a charter to create a financial institution in Kansas that provides liquidity (cash) to the wealthy with non-liquid investments.

How it works is that a person or company with a non-liquid asset puts that asset into a Kansas trust overseen by a company such as Beneficient.

The company holds those assets in the trust and then provides financing or liquidity to that trust, which the trustee can then use.

That exchange, under the TEFFI law, requires a 2.5 percent fee meant to spur economic growth in rural Kansas communities.

The law was passed for Heppner with the help of Hesston Rep. Stephen Owens, and Hesston was listed as a pilot community of the program, making it first in line as a beneficiary.

“I look forward to future contributions in addition to seeing contributions of other organizations as the TEFFI Act is more widely adopted by the alternative asset investment industry, which faces a new and emerging market demand for financing and services provided by fiduciaries such as TEFFIs chartered by state bank regulators,” Heppner said in the release.

Owens stated that the law helped keep Kansas a top state in economic segments by meeting an emerging demand, much as South Dakota did when establishing credit card banking or Utah did when it met the need for industrial loan banking.

“Our efforts working with Ben [Beneficient] to expand the Kansas banking industry are already coming to fruition through this tremendous $15 million community reinvestment coming much more quickly than forecasted,” he said.

When legislators passed the law, it was estimated it would generate a contribution of $9 million in 12 to 24 months.

We reached out to Heppner for an interview and more information about the local impact of the news. We hope to have a more in-depth piece published in next Thursday’s paper.

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