AXA Equitable’s growth plans call for boosting the number of advisors serving school districts, a company executive said Tuesday.
The company has about 1,000 advisors serving 8,700 school districts and the 403(b) market.
“We’ve seen a nice uptick in our Retirement Benefits Group advisors,” said CEO Mark Pearson in a conference call with analysts.
Improving the productivity of advisors already serving the group retirement market is also a priority. The company has started to work with direct and third-party distributors, Pearson said.
Sales trends have improved in the wake of “more clarity” around fiduciary standards, he said.
In March, an appeals court struck down the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, which was widely seen as hindering annuity sales.
AXA Equitable was spun off in May as a separate company by its Paris-based parent.
Executive Changes Announced
Pearson announced changes to AXA Equitable’s senior ranks, promoting a top executive with significant experience in managing advisors.
Nick Lane, CEO of AXA Japan, will assume the role of president of AXA Equitable Life beginning in the first quarter of 2019.
He will lead the company’s Individual Retirement, Group Retirement and Protection Solutions segments as well as heading the company’s affiliated and third-party distribution, Pearson said.
Lane spent two years in charge of AXA's business in Japan and served in previous roles at AXA Equitable Life leading the company’s Commercial Business Lines and affiliated adviser sales force, Pearson said.
Brian Winikoff, head of Life, Retirement and Wealth Management Organization, is leaving the company to spend more time with his family, but will remain until the end of the year to help with the transition, Pearson said.
Winikoff commuted from his home in Boston to offices in New York and had expressed a desire to be closer to family, he added.
“I would like to thank Brian for his many contributions to the business over the past several years,” Pearson said.
Newly appointed outside talent will strengthen AXA Equitable as a public company, Pearson said.
William Eckert, former corporate controller and principal accounting officer at Athene Holding, and Paul Hance, actuary head of Valuation Center of Excellence at Prudential, will be joining the company, Pearson said. Hance starts next month.
Second-quarter operating earnings rose 27 percent to $506 million over the year-ago period, the company reported.
Operating earnings were 90 cents per share, beating analysts’ estimates by 4 cents. Net income fell 74 percent to $158 million, the company reported, with execs attributing the loss to "one-time" items.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Writer Cyril Tuohy has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at [email protected]