(Bloomberg) — American International Group Inc. plans to add 600 advisors in a push to increase sales of retirement products as some rivals retreat from annuities.
The insurer will increase the number of career agents at its newly named AIG Financial Network to 2,000 by 2019 from about 1,400, John Deremo, chief distribution officer for AIG Financial Distributors, said in an interview. The New York-based company is rebranding its American General career agent force and adding annuities and other retirement products to the life insurance that the advisors have traditionally sold, according to a statement today.
“What we’re really doing is moving a bit upscale into a more mass-affluent space, incorporating retirement planning into the protection focus,” Deremo said. “While a lot of companies are pulling back or pulling out of markets, we are expanding.”
Chief Executive Officer Robert Benmosche, 69, is focusing on annuities as more Americans approach retirement and competitors, including MetLife Inc., limit sales. AIG has the capacity to grow because it sold fewer of the products than some rivals in prior years, when guarantees were more generous, Jay Wintrob, CEO of the life and retirement business, said in November.
“Bob Benmosche is quite bullish on our financial services business,” Deremo said. “He believes in this employee-driven affiliated distribution, and we plan to aggressively grow it.”
AIG Financial Network has 50 regional offices and about 100 satellite locations, Deremo said. The insurer has another career agency force, with 1,200 advisors, under the Valic brand and also sells life and retirement products via independent agents, banks, brokerage firms and its own broker-dealer network.
“We are capitalizing on the best of AIG to build an unparalleled financial network,” Benmosche said in the statement.
AIG gained 2 cents to $52.24 at 10:33 a.m. in New York. The stock has advanced 48 percent in the past year, beating the 25 percent rally of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.
AIG expanded its independent broker-dealer network with the acquisition of Woodbury Financial Services from Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. in 2012. Benmosche last year named Erica McGinnis as CEO of the network. That operation has more than 6,000 financial advisors who don’t get salaries from AIG and are able to sell insurance and retirement products offered by other companies.