AIG’s Advisor Group Wraps Up Woodbury Purchase

The combined IBD will have roughly 6,000 advisors with some $125 billion in assets

AIG Life and Retirement’s Advisor Group (AIG) said early Monday that it completed its purchase of Woodbury Financial Services from The Hartford. The companies had first agreed to the deal in late July.

Woodbury Financial adds about 1,400 advisors and $25 billion in assets under management to the Advisor Group’s network, which includes FSC Securities Corp., Royal Alliance Associates and SagePoint Financial.

With Woodbury, the Advisor Group says it now includes over 6,000 independent financial advisors, more than 800 home-office employees and over $125 billion in assets under management. (That represents average AUM per advisor of $21 million.)

“We are delighted to add Woodbury Financial to our organization and are confident that we will grow the firm by highlighting Woodbury’s unique value proposition to high quality advisors,” said Larry Roth (left), president and chief executive of Advisor Group, in a statement. “Each of our broker-dealers has recruited a number of advisors this year and we remain eager to bring more talent to Advisor Group.”

Woodbury is based in Oakdale, Minn., where it has about 200 staff members. Royal Alliance is based in New York, while FSC has its offices in Atlanta and SagePoint in Phoenix.

“Our advisors are very excited to be part of Advisor Group,” said Patrick McEvoy, president and CEO of Woodbury Financial, in a press release. “From the hands-on service to industry-leading technology to unique opportunities for growth, I’m confident our advisors will benefit greatly from our affiliation.”

Acquisitions continue to be critical to players in the independent broker-dealer (IBD) field, as is aggressive recruiting and sales growth.

In early November, First Allied Holdings said it planned to buy the Legend Group from Waddell & Reed (WDR). The transaction should close in January.

Joel Marks, chairman of First Allied Securities, says the combined entity will include about 1,500 independent advisors with some $30 billion in assets under administration. (First Allied now includes about 1,000 independent financial advisors, while Legend has roughly 450 reps, who focus on the 403(b) retirement marketplace.)

“We look to combine the best of both worlds,” Marks said in an interview with AdvisorOne after the deal was announced. “Margin compression in this business is getting bigger, so you have to grow. It is not an option … We can help our advisors and theirs grow their respective businesses and fuel same-store sales growth on both sides, too.”

According to McEvoy, the average level of production, or yearly fees and commissions, for its advisors was about $170,000 in 2011. Reps in the Advisor Group’s three IBDs have average production levels of about $170,000 to $180,000 a year, according to Roth.

Overall Advisor Group production breaks down as follows: 35% of sales come from fee-based activities and less than 5% is insurance based, Roth said earlier this year. About 12% of Woodbury advisors’ sales are fee based.

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