October 2, 2013

Advisor Group Taps Compliance Chief as CEO to Replace Roth

Erica McGinnis says she won't attempt to fill Larry Roth's shoes and is grateful for his leadership and legacy

Former Advisor Group CEO Larry Roth. Former Advisor Group CEO Larry Roth.

Advisor Group, the AIG-owned group of independent broker-dealers, said Wednesday that Erica McGinnis is the network’s new president and CEO.

McGinnis, who most recently was the group’s senior vice president and chief compliance officer, replaces interim Advisor Group head Peter Harbeck, who was tapped to lead the firm in early September after then-CEO and President Larry Roth left the firm to become CEO of Realty Capital Securities.

(RCS, the nontraded REIT broker-dealer and wholesaler arm of RCS Capital, which is led by Nicholas Schorsch, said Wednesday that it was buying Investors Capital, in independent broker-dealer.)

“I have enormous respect for Larry Roth,” said McGinnis in an interview with ThinkAdvisor. “He opened doors for me and encouraged me to walk through them, so I owe him a lot.”

McGinnis says that she will not try to “fill his shoes.”

“We have different skills, and I would love to put some of my focus on the Advisor Group staff of 800 across the firm,” she said. “The core of our business is about serving advisors and taking care of these employees, too, since they deliver the great services to our network.”

The Advisor Group begins its national conference, ConnectED, in Las Vegas on Saturday. The event ends next Thursday, “and then we return our core management focus to the growth strategies of 2014,” she says.

Advisor Group includes more than 6,000 independent reps, who are affiliated with FSC Securities Corp., Royal Alliance Associates, SagePoint Financial and the recently acquired Woodbury Financial.

“We are making the transition smooth for Woodbury,” McGinnis said. “As other [broker-dealer networks] have streamlined their operations, we have very much done so as well with our back office. That’s allowed us to really go into a growth mode.”

In her new role, McGinnis, 42, reports to Stephen Maginn, president and CEO of AIG Financial Distributors. In her earlier role, McGinnis oversaw Advisor Group’s supervisory activities and managed nearly 120 home office employees.

Career Transitions

McGinnis joined the network of IBDs in 2004 as director of branch exams and was based in Phoenix. She previously managed operations, training and compliance efforts for Charles Schwab (SCHW), Wells Fargo (WFC) and Ameriprise Financial (AMP).

“I am delighted that Erica will lead our growing broker-dealer network,” said Jay S. Wintrob, president and CEO of AIG Life and Retirement, in a press release. “Her strong knowledge of our broker-dealers and the needs and wants of our independent advisors, coupled with her skill and understanding of the changing landscape for the independent financial advice industry, makes her the ideal leader for Advisor Group.

McGinnis says her husband, Matt, 46, decided independently to retire from corporate life with American Express on the same day that Roth moved on from the Advisor Group. “He’s leaving that career for a better work-life balance and is delighted to do so,” said the newly tapped CEO and president.

The couple has two children under age 10 and often ended up traveling to New York at the same time. “It became a bit too much at times,” McGinnis said.

When asked if she brings any special quality to her new role as the first woman to head the Advisor Group, McGinnis acknowledges that such a question is “natural to ask” but says her biggest focus is on breaking down barriers in the business and bringing in the next generation of advisors for the network.

“Baby Boomers are retiring at a higher rate than we are recruiting new advisors,” she said. “It’s crucial to solve that equation in coming years.”

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Check out Billionaire Schorsch to Buy Investors Capital, Hatterus Funds on ThinkAdvisor.

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