Advisor Group, the broker/dealer network with 5,000 advisors, recently got out from under the thumb of AIG when it was sold to private equity firm Lightyear Capital and Canadian pension fund manager PSP Investments. Along with the new owner, which allows the firm to operate as an independent company, the firm has also tapped a new chief executive, Jamie Price, who previously served as head of the wealth management advisor group Americas at UBS. Price replaces Erica McGinnis, who stepped down from the role in August but remains with the firm as executive vice president and head of transitions.
Price’s first order of business will be traveling to the firm’s different locations over the next 30 to 60 days, getting to know people and listening to advisors, employees and partners. He will also do a baseline assessment of the company, evaluating its products and services, product platforms, service levels, pricing and training and education. He’ll also do a competitive analysis to see how the firm stacks up against other firms.
Price said he’ll also bring his background in field management, technology and advisor growth to the table. At UBS, he was able to take the firm from third to first in terms of financial advisor growth, according to the benchmarking firm McLagan.
“Helping advisors grow while doing very good by their clients is a very critical aspect of leadership in this business,” said Valerie Brown, the board’s executive chair. “I think he can bring that experience by not only helping us build out deeper advisor education but also helping us think through innovative products and technologies we can bring to the advisors.”
Prior to joining UBS, Price served as president and chief operating officer at Prudential Securities, which had the highest national b/d client satisfaction ranking from J.D. Power at the time. He started his career in financial services as an advisor at E.F. Hutton, where he now serves on the board.
Price will be leading the firm through one of the most challenging regulatory environments, with the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule going into effect next April. While the election of Donald Trump called into question the implementation of the rule, Brown said the firm is moving forward with compliance. Last week, Advisor Group sent a notice to advisors, reaffirming that they will continue to offer commissions in IRAs and tax-qualified plans.
“We will be offering and launching a new advisory product and platform that will provide clients access to institutional strategists at lower minimums,” Brown said. “We are going to increase our investment in in-person training as well as launch a new educational platform that will allow advisors to attend virtual conferences, with live speakers, breakouts, peer-to-peer discussions—all with the goal of helping our advisors be ready to thrive in the new regulatory environment once DOL is implemented.”
“It’s clear to me in this challenging backdrop called the financial advisory business that there are going to be big winners and losers, and whenever that happens, the opportunity to win is even bigger,” Price said. “I think you’re going to have to have scale to be relevant. I think you’re going to have to have scale to make the investments necessary to continue to grow advisor productivity and assets under management and quite frankly to offer the capabilities that most advisors would want a firm like us to offer in order to fully leverage their client relationships to the best of their ability.”