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With Questar-Woodbury Deal, What's Next for Insurance-Owned BDs?

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As Allianz Life Insurance moves to get out of the advisory business, it has struck a deal with Advisor Group-owned independent broker-dealer Woodbury Financial Services, which will get “preferred” treatment in recruiting 640 registered reps with Questar Capital.

Woodbury has about 1,200 advisors and is based in Oakdale, Minnesota. The other Advisor Group IBDs are FSC Securities Corp., Royal Alliance Associates and SagePoint Financial.

News of the Woodbury deal came as no surprise to some industry insiders.

“We had been talking … about a likely sale of Questar for several months now since we discovered that this past spring, management at Questar had instructed divisional vice presidents to no longer focus on recruiting but rather organic growth,” according to independent-advisor recruiter Jon Henschen.

A similar situation took place some six months before Jackson National moved to sell its broker-dealers six months ago, the head of Henschen & Associates says.

“With the exit of Questar Capital, we are now down to four insurance-owned independent broker dealers: Lincoln Financial, Pro Equities, Ohio National Equity and Equity Services — with [Ohio National] the next logical broker-dealer sale with recent variable annuity buyback attempts and the cutting off of [variable annuity] trails and data feeds,” Henschen explained.

This summer, Royal Alliance said it was acquiring Signator Investors from John Hancock — a transaction that could double its size to as many as 3,600 financial advisors and other professionals.

And a year ago this month, LPL Financial announcing its acquisition of four broker-dealers owned by Jackson National Life affiliate National Planning Holdings: National Planning Corp., Invest Financial, Investment Centers of America and SII Investments.

Both Questar and Woodbury advisors clear through Pershing, eliminating the need for any clients’ accounts to be “repapered,” according to Woodbury.

“We are honored that Allianz Life and Questar have selected Woodbury as their preferred affiliation partner for Questar’s advisors,” said Rick Fergesen, president and CEO of Woodbury, in a statement.