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Penn Mutual Aims to Ramp Up Advisor Support

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Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company is working to expand support for advisors.

Heather Scher, the company’s new vice president of field development, said in an interview that the Horsham, Pennsylvania-based life and annuity issuer is making more use of one-on-one support as well as group classes, and that it’s developing new support services aimed at advisors at every career stage.

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Penn Mutual is tapping the expertise of people who already work for or with Penn Mutual, and it will also hire more field support people, Scher said.

For older advisors, Penn Mutual may talk more about topics such as succession planning, and selling a practice.

In many cases, for older advisors, “their practices are one of their largest assets,” Scher said.

For those advisors, one goal is to help the advisors think like owners of businesses that can be transferred, she said.

But Scher said most of the older advisors she talks to have given the topic at least some thought. “They’re being forced to think about this,” she said. “Clients are asking about it.”

New advisors may need help with setting up their practices, and advisors with some experience may need help with getting themselves into a position to buy practices from older advisors, Scher said.

Scher joined Penn Mutual in March. Before that, she worked in advisor teaming and succession planning at MetLife and at MassMutual.

Executives at some other life insurers have talked about the difficulty of retaining independent agents or career agents for more than two years.

Scher said she believes that every career stage has its challenges, and that every advisor, and every practice, is different.

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