Advisor Group, the network of independent broker-dealers owned by American International Group Inc., on Wednesday tapped longtime compliance chief Erica McGinnis as its new chief executive.
Ms. McGinnis, 42, has worked for Advisor Group since 2005. Most recently, she was senior vice president and chief compliance officer for the network, which has four independent broker-dealers and more than 6,000 registered reps and financial advisers.
She replaces one of the top independent broker-dealer executives in the industry, Larry Roth, who left Advisor Group last month to become the chief of Realty Capital Securities LLC, the wholesaling broker-dealer for the variety of nontraded real estate investment trusts sponsored by American Realty Capital.
Ms. McGinnis stands out as a woman taking charge of a broker-dealer network in an industry that traditionally has been dominated by men. The financial services industry has long been criticized for lacking diversity in its leadership and among its employees.
“Perhaps the independent broker-dealers are leading the industry in recognizing the talents and skills of women as leaders,” said Rita Robbins, an adviser affiliated with Royal Alliance Associates Inc., one of the four Advisor Group broker-dealers.
Ms. McGinnis and Valerie Brown, CEO of Cetera Financial Group Inc. head two of the biggest broker-dealer networks in the country, said Ms. Robbins, who added she was a friend of Ms. McGinnis. “Certainly no major asset manager or wirehouse has a woman CEO,” Ms. Robbins said. “I am thrilled to be working with her.”
Her first order of business will be concentrating on this weekend's Advisor Group conference in Las Vegas, Ms. McGinnis said in an interview Wednesday. A priority will be focusing on enticing younger people to join the financial advice business.
“How do we bring more women into the business, particularly as we are concerned about baby boomer advisers” and their eventual retirement, she said. “Where is the next crop of financial advisers coming from?”