AIG Advisor Group CEO: ‘Comfortable With Parent Company’

The organization, a possible Schorsch target, is hosting its annual Women's Conference this week

Led by Erica McGinnis, the AIG Advisor Group is hosting its annual Women’s Conference in Miami this week.

According to McGinnis, former-Advisor Group CEO Larry Roth and his new boss at RCS Capital (RCAP), Nicholas Schorsch, aren’t expected to attend, though the rumors that Schorsch and RCS are eying Roth’s former employer for their next deal continue.

“We have enjoyed a long, rich history with AIG. We are comfortable with our parent company and just put AIG back into the Advisor Group name a few weeks ago,” McGinnis said in an interview before the event. “Employees recognize that we are part of AIG and are really proud of our parent company.”

The AIG Advisor Group includes close to 6,200 affilated reps. Some 1,250 are with FSC Securities, 1,900 with Royal Alliance, 1,830 with SagePoint Financial and 1,200 with Woodbury Financial.

“We are off to a great start in 2014,” said McGinnis. “One broker-dealer, FSC, is off the charts in about every metric and category, especially recruiting. Jerry Murphy [who is president and CEO] is doing a great job recruiting this year, and the other broker-dealers are chugging along, doing great and feeling positive about meeting their recruiting targets – which are for 9-10% year-over-year growth.”

Couch’s Role

Allison Couch, recently tapped as the AIG Advisor Group’s executive vice president of national sales, is attending this week’s event. (Couch was with Royal Alliance and FSC before moving to LPL Financial and later Cetera Financial Group.)

“She has an incredible background … and we’re glad she’s coming home,” McGinnis said.

Couch’s role as head of sales means that she’ll work with the group’s internal wholesalers. “We’ll put them [under] common leadership, and she will focus on cross-disciplinary work and organic growth, or same-store sales, of advisors.”

“One metric we are watching is average GDC [or fees and commissions] per rep, which we have seen go up by 7% this year, and that is without trying, in my opinion,” the AIG Advisor Group president and CEO explained. “We are excited to have Allison figure out who needs help and how to do more … to help people grow their bottom lines. If can succeed here, then our recruiting team will have a winning strategy.”

Kevin Beard was just named the group’s executive vice president of recruiting and acquisition strategy, a role he played previously for Royal Alliance.

“The aim is to get all the independent broker-dealer teams to do well and have the right support,” said McGinnis. Beard will support this effort by looking at teams that have about $5 million and up in yearly production and could be good acquisition targets.

“We want to move beyond just recruiting one advisor or team at a time, though that is critical. We also want to see what acquisitions make strategic sense,” she added. 

“Not everyone is looking at big broker-dealers like Nicholas Schorsch,” McGinnis joked. “The business is becoming harder in their regulatory environment, and there are great [smaller] deals out there.”

Event Focus

This week’s event includes female advisors affiliated with the group’s four broker-dealers – FSC Securities, Royal Alliance, SagePoint Financial and Woodbury Financial – as well as those with VALIC, the Variable Annuity Life Insurance Co., a unit of AIG focusing on tax-qualified retirement plans, and agents affiliated with AIG Financial Network.

This week’s gathering is the first time female financial-sales professionals from across AIG Life and Retirement have come together for such an event, the company says.

“About 100 female reps from VALIC will be joining us for the first time,” said McGinnis. “It’s really beneficial for the sister firms to all be together under one room.”

Attendance this week should hit 650, including both men and women with sponsoring organizations. “This is our eighth year and our biggest conference so far.”

The 2014 Women’s Conference features remarks from former-Merrill Lynch wealth head Sallie Krawcheck, along with AIG Life and Retirement President and CEO Jay Wintrob. The conference also will highlight Generation i, the AIG Advisor Group’s network that aims to bring more women into the advice industry.

The Generation i effort has invited 20 female high school students from Junior Achievement of Miami to the event, so they can learn more about financial service. Donations to Junior Achievement from the AIG Advisor Group, AIG Life and Retirement and sponsors, which will be shared this week, have reached close to $30,000.

“We are keenly focused on recruiting more women to the financial services industry,” McGinnis said. “Attracting more women and talented young adults to this profession is imperative to our success, not just as a company, but as an industry.”

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