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Industry Spotlight > Women in Wealth

Top Women Take Spotlight

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“Women are better suited,” to excel in wealth management, “than a lot of men,” according to Larry Roth, president and CEO of SunAmerica’s Advisor Group. Why? “Because, they get the whole picture. The core discussion is not economics–it’s really more about how to make [the clients' goals] possible.” After opening the conference, Roth sat down to talk with Wealth Manager.

In its fourth year, the 2010 conference boasted the largest turnout so far, with 150 advisors, and 100 others including staff, vendors and journalists. Advisor Group, made up of FSC Securities Corp., Royal Alliance and SagePoint Financial, is part of the SunAmerica retirement and life insurance wing of AIG.

Along with challenges that include uncertainty on the regulatory front, “margins remain a challenge,” Roth notes, though perhaps less so for firms that have the kind of scale that Advisor Group has. Parent company AIG is a TARP beneficiary and at one point had the broker/dealers up for sale. Ultimately, no deal was consummated, but there was some loss of affiliated brokers, and Roth said in his opening remarks that he was happy to report attrition has, “stabilized–down to normal attrition rates.”

Among the bright spots, the Advisor Group is recruiting again, Roth notes, mentioning a firm that is coming aboard with “40 client-facing professionals,” from five different B/Ds that have joined together, in part, for the scale it will provide them. One attraction to the Advisor Group, says Roth, is the “open architecture” platforms the firm supports and choices of clearing partners and custodians including Pershing and Fidelity

In addition, clients are moving assets: “people need help,” Roth explains, a sentiment echoed by several of the women who spoke with Wealth Manager at the conference, some of whom said that this was the best time they’ve had in their career for gathering new clients and assets.

One advisor, Patti Brennan, founder and president of Key Financial, Inc., a registered investment advisor in Westchester, Pennsylvania, and who also is a B/D affiliate of Royal Alliance, says her firm took in $9 million in assets in January. Not a bad way to start 2010.

Comments? Please send them to [email protected]. Kate McBride is editor in chief of Wealth Manager and a member of The Committee for the Fiduciary Standard.