Registered Rep.: With the b/d group up for sale for the past year, what was the most difficult hurdle the business faced?
Larry Roth: During the sales process, recruiting was hampered by the uncertainty of who our new owners might be. We now have clarity regarding our future which allows us to focus solely on our advisors. Now that our future is known — and I must say, the outcome was positive — we've seen recruiting improve significantly.
RR: Can you tell me more about this? How was recruiting affected, and how has it improved?
LR: At its lowest point, our recruiting slowed to about 50 percent of last year's pace, but since the announcement, it has rebounded quickly. At FSC alone we've had three large production groups join us in the last month. And just this week we were contacted by two former advisors who chose to leave our firm for another broker/dealer this last year due to the uncertainty of the sales process. The advisors told us that the new firm wasn't what they expected and that they “wanted to come home.”
RR: Now that AIG announced it will keep the b/ds, should advisors expect any changes?
LR: AIG's new president, Bob Benmosche, truly understands our business and appreciates its strategic importance and long-term potential. Our parent company supports investing in Advisor Group's technology, education programs and business development initiatives. We've always emphasized our individual broker-dealers — FSC, Royal Alliance and SagePoint Financial — and their individual cultures. And all three brands will become much more visible again. We will maintain a recruiting team for each of the broker-dealers. Our advisors should expect a re-energized commitment to their success and long-term growth.
Number of Broker/Dealers: 3 (FSC, Royal Alliance and SagePoint Financial)
Number of Advisors: 5,700
Revenue (last 12 months): $860 million