It's debatable if the fiduciary standard is 'higher' than suitability. But the better question might be, who's holding the bar?
By Cyril Tuohy
AIG Financial Distributors, the sales and distribution arm of American International Group’s life and retirement business, has announced the appointment of John D. Stout to head sales training and development.
Stout will “launch and lead” AIG Financial Distributors University to develop sales representatives and train future financial advisors and agents.
The appointment, announced July 8, is effective immediately.
AIG’s move underscores the seriousness with which a top carrier considers the coming talent shortage in the distribution of life insurance and retirement products, and the urgency with which the industry needs to develop a new generation of financial advisors.
The average age of all financial advisors working in the industry is 50.9 years, with 43 percent being older than 55, and nearly 33 percent between 55 and 64 years of age, according to a recent report by Cerulli Associates.
Stout will report to Steve Maginn, president and chief executive officer of AIG Financial Distributors, the company also said.
Maginn called Stout “an accomplished industry veteran, bringing nearly 30 years of experience in the life, annuity and health arena.”
Not only does the industry need new blood, but tens of millions of baby boomers are thinking about their retirement plans, or entering the retirement phase of their lives, and industry consultants and experts have characterized the environment as a talent war.
Boomers will provide a source of demand for life and retirement products for many years to come, particularly if they find themselves having to make their assets last longer than they planned due to longer life expectancies.
Life insurers regularly recruit for talent but recent moves by major carriers show how serious they are when it comes to hiring talent.
New York Life announced earlier this year it would hire more than 3,600 financial representatives this year with a focus on women and advisors dedicated to serving ethnic markets.
Northwestern Mutual also announced it would embark on an ambitious hiring spree by attracting 2,700 financial representatives and 3,700 “financial representative interns” this year, as well.
Maginn said Stout would bring to AIG Financial Distributors “a real competitive advantage” that will benefit AIG’s distribution network and customers.
Stout is a former executive with LIMRA, MetLife, Foresters and Futurity Insurance Group . He holds a master’s degree and a doctorate in industrial and organization psychology from the University of Houston.
Most recently, Stout headed his own consulting firm offering services to life and annuity companies.
Cyril Tuohy is a writer based in Pennsylvania. He has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at email@example.com.
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