Lynnfield, Mass.-based Investors Capital, which now has more than 700 advisors in its independent network, has rolled out health-care plans to improve recruiting and retention.
The reception from existing brokers, new brokers and potential brokers has been "overwhelming," according to Tim Murphy, president of the BD. "We've hit the mark and are continuing to promote this program," he says.
The health plans, administered by Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO, are helping the company keep its competitive edge in recruiting, Murphy shares. But the health plans and related benefits do more than that, he continues. "They show advisors that we are offering them the total package of benefits."
This should help the BD continue to attract advisors with more than $225,000 a year in annual gross production, he expects. It can also boost morale with existing advisors, who generally have yearly commissions, fees and other sales of $130,000 and up.
"We hope we're the first, or at least, one of the first [non-affiliated broker-dealers] to do this," Murphy explains. "And judging from the success, we won't be alone for long."
The broker dealer has about 25 families signed up for the health-care plans, which are designed to save families about 15 percent to 20 percent on premiums. Another 15 or so families are expected to sign up soon.
Investors Capital, which also offers advisors life and disability insurance at lower rates, began exploring these new benefits about a year ago. Kasie Jacobs, a financial advisor working for the BD's administrative headquarters, is in charge of the benefit programs. She says that interest in the health-care plans, which are offered with low or high deductibles, is "big and growing."
"It's amazing how many advisors, who've just joined us, are calling about it," Jacobs says.
And Murphy says he got plenty of questions on the health-care plans during the Financial Services Institute conference, held recently in Orlando for independent broker-dealers. "People keep asking me how we did it and how they can do it," he explains.
To further capitalize on its new benefit offerings, Investors Capital recently hired four individuals (Philip May, Marc Effron, Doug Wallace and Bart Liro) to join its recruitment division with a focus on both the Northeast and Southeast.
The BD was fined $500,000 by the State of Massachusetts in December 2006 year for sales of equity-indexed annuities to seniors between Jan. 1, 2004, and Dec. 31, 2005.