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Advisor Group Unveils Initiative to Help Women Advisors Grow Their Practice

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The AIG-owned Advisor Group, one of the largest independent broker-dealer networks in the nation, is putting its power behind a new initiative designed to help women advisors grow their business and to bring more women into the industry.

Called “Generation I: Advisor Group’s Community for Independent Women,” the initiative was announced at the firm’s seventh annual Women’s Conference in Chicago, which gathered together more than 250 female financial advisors from FSC Securities Corp., Royal Alliance, SagePoint Financial and Woodbury Financial are in attendance. These four IBDs, with more than 6,000 independent financial advisors, are all wholly owned subsidiaries of Advisor Group.

Erica McGinnisGeneration I will actively recruit more female advisors to the broker-dealers, said Erica McGinnis (left), Advisor Group chief compliance officer and women’s initiative leader, who announced the news at the conference.

“The initiative is built on four pillars: leadership, mentorship, development and outreach—attributes that never go out of style,” McGinnis said. “A lot of thought and effort have gone into the new women’s initiative.”

AIG President and CEO Bob Benmosche, a featured speaker at the two-day conference’s kickoff session, admitted that the “too big to fail” insurance giant was an “icon of all that was wrong in America” during the 2008 financial crisis and the government bailout that followed it. But Benmosche added that AIG has since repaid that debt, with interest, to the tune of $200 billion, and part of its success in the past four years has been the Advisor Group’s contribution to AIG’s Life and Retirement unit.

“We struggle in this male-dominated industry” to be more inclusive of women, Benmosche said, noting that he met a woman at the conference who had worked for the firm for more than 30 years and watched AIG nearly go out of business because of poor decisions at the top.

Benmosche, who has been widely quoted in the business media, gave an overview of AIG’s financial landscape and said the firm was paying off its debts, had $30 billion in cash, was looking to stock buybacks and dividends in the future—and had no plans of breaking apart its P&C and Life and Retirement units.

As part of the women’s initiative, a Women’s Advisory Board composed of female financial advisors and women from the home office leadership team will provide direction for the program’s four pillars.

The mentorship pillar will connect the network’s seasoned female advisors with advisors who wish to grow or strengthen their practice. The development pillar includes an internship program to provide exposure to the financial services industry to female college students.

Outreach includes an annual Community Leadership Award to honor one female advisor who volunteers for a cause that promotes financial literacy. Judy Hagar, of SagePoint Financial, received the inaugural Community Leadership Award for charitable efforts with her local Financial Planning Association chapter.

“From serving on the board of the Financial Planning Association in San Diego to providing pro-bono financial advice to Military families, to hosting financial planning days for families, Judy’s passion for furthering financial literacy in her community is absolutely inspirational,” said Larry Roth, president and CEO of Advisor Group, in a statement.

Advisor Group will make a $1,000 donation to the FPA in Hagar’s honor.

Read Financial Industry, Advisors Fail Women: Allianz on AdvisorOne.