The Advisor Group, comprised of four independent broker-dealers, has a new CEO: Jamie Price, who most recently worked for a tech firm after spending nearly three decades in the wealth-management business.

Owned by Lightyear Capital and PSP Investments, Advisor Group includes FSC Securities, Royal Alliance Associates, SagePoint Financial and Woodbury Financial Services, which include close to 5,000 affiliated advisors with some $160 billion in client assets. Its prior CEO, Erica McGinnis, departed earlier this year during the firm’s transition from being part of publicly traded AIG to its private ownership.

“Jamie is the right person for job,” said Executive Chairman Valerie Brown, in an interview with ThinkAdvisor. “He brings a fresh perspective to the industry with proven business leadership … As a stand-alone company, we needed someone with an entrepreneurial [background] in the CEO role. He is bringing the cultural fit required for our future success.”

Price was executive vice president for 1800Doctors for the past six years, but he got started in the advisor world in 1982 as an advisor at E.F. Hutton. He later became a branch manager at Shearson Lehman Hutton before moving to Prudential Securities in 1992.

At Prudential, Price moved up the ranks and was named President and COO in 2000. He joined UBS (UBS) two years later and stayed for eight years. Among his various role, Price served as head of the Wealth Management Advisor Group in the Americas in 2009-2010.  

“I’ve always focused on growing business with advisors,” Price explained in an interview. “At the Advisor Group, I’m excited about [the new] role, because I have the opportunity to be nimble and entrepreneurial. Plus, the owners understand our industry very well. They can supply capital, of course, but advice and guidance as well.”

Group Shifts

According to Brown, Advisor Group told its reps last week that commission-based business in retirement and tax-qualified plans will continue to be offered as the DOL fiduciary standard is implemented, starting in 2017. “We believe in choice and will preserve the commission-based business …,” she explained.

Next year, the IBD group also plans to offer new products that employ institutional investing strategies but “at lower minimums,” according to Brown. “We also will be offering new training for staff and advisors and will introduce a new educational platform for virtual conferences.”

Advisor Group is working on a robo-advisor offering. It should release more details early next year and launch the offering in 2017.

At the firm’s national conference in September, Brown explains, she and other executives outlined its focus on digital interfaces to help advisors be more effective at investing. “We see it going beyond pure passive investments and [encompassing] the whole relationship with the clients.”

Price, of course, will be heavily involved in such efforts.

“There is a role to play in leveling the technology playing field in managed portfolios, for instance,” he said. “And we see this as a big opportunity for advisors … who are thirsty and want to leverage technology to let them do their jobs better.”

Meanwhile, Brown and Price are visiting the IBD headquarters in New York, Minneapolis, Atlanta and Phoenix to introduce the CEO to executives and advisors. “We’re doing lots of face-to-face meetings with plenty of phone calls in between,” Price said.

FSC Securities is located in Atlanta and is led by Jerry Murphy; Royal Alliance Associates of New York is headed by Dmitry Goldin; Phoenix-based SagePoint Financial is led by Jeff Ault; and Minneapolis-based Woodbury Financial is headed by Rick Fergesen.