Mike Brandriet, a nine-year veteran of Allianz Life Financial Services, has been named president of the company and takes over from longtime leader Robert DeChellis, Allianz Life Insurance of North America announced.
DeChellis, who has led Allianz Life Financial Services for more than 10 years, will head a new business unit “based on a strategy of promoting the benefits of holistic planning,” the company said in a news release.
Allianz Life Financial Services is a subsidiary of Allianz Life Insurance of North America.
Allianz Life Insurance, the top seller of fixed indexed annuities in the U.S. last year, saw sales of the popular retirement product plummet more than 31 percent compared to 2014, according to Wink’s Sales & Market Report.
Indexed annuity market competitors American Equity and Great American Insurance Group, meanwhile, saw their sales rise by 68 percent and 19 percent respectively over the same period, Wink indicated.
In the fourth quarter 2015, Allianz Life was the No. 1 insurer of indexed annuities with a market share of 14.5 percent. In data released Thursday, Wink’s 3Q 2016 data pegs Allianz's FIA market share at 17.1percent.
A Fiduciary Angle to the Changes?
One FIA market expert suggested that the shuffle was a signal that the Minneapolis-based life insurance giant might be planning to offer more support for fiduciaries.
New Department of Labor regulations scheduled to take effect in April will push distributors toward a fiduciary approach to sales of financial products, including fixed indexed annuities, of which more than $53 billion were sold last year.
DeChellis’ new unit will give financial professionals “access to integrated accumulation, asset protection and guaranteed lifetime income solutions,” the company said.
DeChellis spent 2015-16 piloting the new initiative, Allianz added, but offered no other details.
“The combined risk management capabilities of Allianz Life and Allianz Global Investors allows for the creation of compelling solutions with the goal of enabling financial professionals to deliver what we believe will be even better client outcomes,” said Doug Eu, U.S. CEO of Allianz Global Investors, in a news release.
In a third-quarter conference call with analysts last month, Dieter Wemmer, chief financial officer of Allianz SE, the Munich-based parent of the company, said Allianz was preparing for the DOL rule.
But Wemmer also said the differing paths taken by financial services companies is an indication of the uncertainty about how to interpret the rule.
Some broker-dealers have eschewed commissions on products sold into retirement accounts, while other distributors will continue to allow it.
Advisors choosing to sell commission-based products under the DOL rule will have to do by meeting a higher standard than in the past.
The election of Donald J. Trump and Republicans maintaining control of Congress may lead to even more change to a rule that many people considered iron-clad and were preparing for, Wemmer said.
Brandriet and DeChellis will report to Allianz Life chief distribution officer and Allianz Life Financial Services CEO Tom Burns, the company said.
Brandriet, an alumnus of AXA, Jackson National, BankSouth Investments and PrimeVest Financial Services, will help grow Allianz Life Financial Services’ business through the creation of new products and programs to “meet the needs of financial professionals and their clients,” Burns said.
The personnel changes are effective Jan. 1.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Writer Cyril Tuohy has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at [email protected]
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