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Securian OSJ expands into new office as IBD seeks ‘middle’ ground

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A Securian Financial group is gunning for growth as its broker-dealer stakes out a middle ground between independence and the traditional insurance approach.

Two years after launching in a temporary office, Securian Advisors of New England opened its permanent home outside Boston in a May ribbon-cutting event. Brian Falconer’s family-run office of supervisory jurisdiction includes 12 advisors managing about $50 million in client assets. The Braintree, Massachusetts-based group could enlarge to as many as 50 advisors in the next five years, according to Falconer.

While other insurance firms have retreated from the sector in recent years, Securian’s IBD spans about 40 OSJs with more than 1,100 advisors. The Twin Cities-based insurance firm operates separately from the IBD under the same holding company.

Falconer expanded the No. 19 IBD’s footprint to the Boston area in April 2017 in the first stage of a multi-year strategy under support from the home office, according to Tony Martins, Securian’s vice president of career distribution. The OSJ's new space opened May 16.

Securian picked Falconer to lead its move into the area as it sought to provide substantial resources like a “strong foundation in risk management” while taking a different course from more captive BDs where the parent firm “really runs everything,” Martins says.

“We're right smack in the middle. We look like a career agency system in many respects,” Martins says. “We also have the characteristics and the capabilities of an independent broker-dealer.”

When selecting an advisor to scale up an office affiliate, Securian’s “biggest filter” is whether they’re able to build and run a business, Martins adds. The onetime managing director of a MassMutual agency, Falconer aligned with Securian after MassMutual acquired his former IBD from MetLife for $165 million in 2016.

His wife Merideth serves as the new team’s COO, and half of its advisors are people of color. The group also made a $1,000 donation at its opening to Junior Achievement, a financial literacy nonprofit where they often volunteer in local schools.

Falconer connects with students by discussing his blue-collar upbringing in New York as the son of a waitress and a Department of Sanitation employee. While he does aim for expansion, Falconer says he tries to assess whether he would trust a recruit to serve his family.

“It leads to professionalism in the office but also to the culture that I'm looking to grow here,” he says. “As long as we can continue to provide the same level of service, support and infrastructure, we'll continue to scale up.”

The reps who have already joined Securian Advisors of New England have largely come from other insurance-affiliated firms. Between 40% and 45% of Securian's hires each year are new entrants trained by the firm, Martins notes.

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