The Advisor Group of broker-dealers made a series of announcements last week during its annual ConnectED conference in Orlando, Florida. The news affects programs for the more than 5,000 advisors affiliated with FSC Securities Corp., Royal Alliance Associates, SagePoint Financial and Woodbury Financial Services, which collectively have $190 billion in assets, as well as the financial advice business in general.

First, Advisor Group says it has rolled out My Succession Plan, a program that supports succession planning-based M&A transactions across its four independent broker-dealers.

The platform provides both advisors with the affiliated IBDs and other non-affiliated financial advisors with a business valuation model and access to consultants to assist them with succession planning.

Advisors are not charged a closing fee for transactions. They are, however, required to pay a yearly membership fee of $300. Financing assistance is available through Live Oak Bank.

“We’re thrilled to launch My Succession Plan at a time when many advisors are feeling the need to start planning for a succession discussion,” said Advisor Group President and CEO Jamie Price, in a statement.

The firm says the platform will serve as “a one-stop resource for independent advisors looking to either buy or sell a practice, or just create a responsible continuity plan.”

Working with Truelytics, advisors can use an online valuation model and get a fair market estimate of the value of their business. They can also identify potential partners and sort and filter these candidates by factors such as total revenue and revenue characteristics, client assets under management, number of households, location, service offerings and so on.

The Advisor Group succession-and-acquisitions consulting team is led by Senior Vice President Todd Fulks.

“Buyers and sellers of independent advisor practices continue to site finding the right partner as the most difficult aspect of a deal,” Fulks explained in a statement. “Through this new offering, we’ve addressed this challenge leveraging our expertise in succession planning and created a platform that meets an increasingly important need in our industry.”

Communications Platform

The Advisor Group also plans to introduce MyCMO, a multichannel communications platform for advisors to use in building personalized marketing campaigns for clients and prospects, over the next few weeks.

“Studies over the years have consistently proven that the top reason clients fire their advisors is poor communication,” said CMO Susan Theder, in a statement.“That’s why we built MyCMO — to empower advisors to send the kinds of communications they have always wanted, but never had the time to do.”

MyCMO is supported by six marketing, technology and compliance specialists.

The platform lets advisors manage different marketing activities in one place, according to Advisor Group, including email newsletters, social media, client events and seminars, firm and client collateral, business stationery, cards, branding and webpage design.

It has more than 200 content options. “The full library of content was developed with an authentic tone in mind — rather than sounding canned or curated,” according to a press release.

Longevity Focus

Advisor Group also formed the Strategic Partners Longevity Council to help “accelerate and implement solutions that address the most pressing financial challenges created by longer average life expectancies for retail investors in the United States,” it said in a statement.

The council is set to include 16 representatives from the nation’s top insurance and wealth management companies, like Nationwide Insurance, AIG and other industry leaders.

The council is expected to work with Advisor Group to introduce “services and solutions that directly address the financial risks associated with longer lifespans — including outliving retirement savings, prolonged health care costs, and uncertainties surrounding Social Security,” the firm says.

Its activities will include doing market research, raising awareness of how insurance can have a positive role in financial planning and wealth management; educating advisors and investors to mitigate longevity risk; and providing thought leadership.

“Progress in medicine and health care has created longer average life expectancy rates than ever before. While there’s much to celebrate here, it also raises new challenges for the retail financial advice industry. The more our industry puts off addressing this looming ‘longevity challenge,’ the more we risk becoming a society of long-lived people with insufficient financial means to carry us through our senior years,” explained Price in a statement.

The Longevity Council will meet four times each year with Advisor Group leaders.

— Check out Advisor Group Selects Jemstep to Build Integrated Tech Platform on ThinkAdvisor.