By Cyril Tuohy
Guardian Life, which ended the year with a strong push to recruit women financial advisors, announced it hired 892 new financial representatives in 2013.
It is the fourth consecutive year the company has exceeded its recruitment goal.
Women accounted for almost a quarter of recruits during the fourth quarter, the company said.
“As women are increasingly the primary financial decision makers for their families, Guardian’s focus on building gender diversity in our field force is a business imperative,” said Emily Viner, Guardian’s vice president, agency management and leadership development. “In order to best serve our clients we need to ensure our financial professionals represent the full range of who they are.”
Many senior insurance executives consider women ideally suited to the role of financial advisor because of the importance women place on relationships. The number of women in the ranks of financial advisors still lags compared to men, according to many statistical measures.
As advisors age, sell their businesses and move into retirement, the insurance industry is looking to replace them with newer, younger distribution talent. The industry isn’t just looking to recruit via traditional referral and job fair techniques, however.
Guardian said it launched a new community page on Facebook called “be meaningful,” focused on female career changers.
The page on the social media site is intended to “help professional women access the right tools and advice, find mentors (or mentees) working in the financial industry and connect with like-minded individuals,” Guardian said in a news release.
Several women financial advisors are featured there, and the page congratulates Janet Yellen, the new chairwoman of the Federal Reserve and the first woman to serve in that role.
With a shortage of new advisors to replace the ranks of retiring advisors, insurance companies are sensitive to implementing good employee retention programs and launching successful recruitment drives.
New York Life announced it will hire more than 3,600 financial representatives in 2014, with a focus on women advisors and advisors dedicated to serving minority markets, the company said in January.
Northwestern Mutual also said it would embark on its “most ambitious recruiting effort in the company’s 156-year history” by attracting 2,700 financial representatives and 3,700 “financial representative interns” in 2014.
Combined Insurance, a provider of individual supplemental accident, disability, health and life insurance products, announced it had hired a record 870 new military veterans in 2013, a gain of more than 60 percent over 2012.
Combined also said it was planning to hire more than 4,000 military veterans by the end of 2016 as part of its recruitment goal.
The average age of all financial advisors in the industry is 50.9 years, and 43 percent of advisors are older than 55 years old, according to a recent report by Cerulli Associates in Boston.
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 protected].
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