Securities America, the 1,900-representative independent broker/dealer, announced Monday, July 26 that it had named Jim Nagengast to succeed Steve McWhorter as CEO of the Omaha-based firm, a subsidiary of Ameriprise Financial, after a nationwide search. Nagengast is a 16-year veteran of Securities America, having joined as a VP of finance in 1994; he was named COO in 2004 and president of the broker/dealer in August 2008. McWhorter retired in January 2010 after 23 years with the company.
In an interview on July 26, Nagengast said that he was "proud of what we built" at Securities America, saying "we were a leader back in 1994 with our hybrid model," but that as part of his priorities now, "we'll focus even more on our fee-based platform." Moreover, he said that "if you want to be a leader in fee-based, you have to be a leader in retirement income distribution," as seen in the broker/dealer's NextPhase coaching program, which he said helped advisors take a financial planning approach to retirement planning for their clients. NextPhase gives advisors "a way to talk to clients about retirement," from proposal through portfolio construction through regular monitoring and reallocation of that portfolio.
Nagengast said that Securities America will "dedicate even more resources to help advisors grow their businesses," both through its existing Power Up and Next Level coaching programs and by making it easier for Securites America reps to acquire other firms through a new practice acquisition financing program called PAL.
Nagengast moved to quell any idea that Securities America was considering staying the same size, saying forthrightly, "We're going to keep growing this broker/dealer," in a "variety of ways," including "aggressively recruiting in the marketplace," but also by bringing into the Securities America fold "large groups and branches," and by acquiring small broker/dealers who find it increasingly difficult to compete profitably. "We have some expertise in that area," he said.
As for developments in Washington that could affect broker/dealers, Nagengast said "we'll just have to wait to see what the SEC finds" in its study on possibly imposing a fiduciary standard for brokers. He said he felt that "independents have a growing voice "in Washington," and that all broker/dealers were "concerned that we be given plenty of notice on any changes" that come from the regulators, that those changes "be clearly defined, and that we have a clear understanding of what the regulations are meant to accomplish."
Read more about Securities America's retirement planning program for advisors in this article from the archives of Research magazine.
Read about Securities America's overall strategy during the economic crisis in this article from the archives of Investment Advisor.