Jim Nagengast, Securities America’s president since 2008, was officially named chief executive officer of the independent broker-dealer Monday in a long-awaited announcement.

Nagengast replaces Steve McWhorter, 67, who retired earlier this month after serving as CEO for 22 years. Nagengast, who has worked for Securities America for 15 years, has been the heir apparent since he was named president.

“Steve announced his retirement in January, and obviously I raised my hand,” he said in a phone interview on Monday. According to Nagengast, the extended search process spearheaded by Ameriprise, which owns Securities America, gave him the chance to develop some clear goals for the broker-dealer.

Now, Nagengast said, he has a clear mandate to pursue three overarching goals: Consolidating Securities America's leadership position in fee-based platforms and retirement income distribution, making further improvements to its technology, and helping affiliated advisors with their own business growth.

“A big part of that effort will be our Next Phase coaching program, which we’re just rolling out. You’re going to see a signature program there,” he said.

Next Phase teaches advisors how to talk with clients about retirement, including distribution techniques; it then trains them to use Securities America’s retirement income platform and other proprietary technology to implement a plan, monitor it, and then rebalance and reallocate investments.

Nagengast also hopes to raise the profile of the firm as a company for hybrid advisors, and to participate in helping the SEC shape regulatory reform. 

Securities America, which is based in Omaha, Neb., is the sixth-largest independent broker-dealer in the U.S., with more than 1,900 reps and $412 million in total revenues in 2009.