Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Getting those evil employees out of government-owned businesses

Back in March, I wrote the following regarding the U.S. Government's treatment of AIG employees:

Let's say that you're an employee of a firm in trouble, and the government steps in to try and help. Now one would think that when new ownership steps in, they'd want to make efforts to keep as many of the existing employees around as possible, in order to benefit from the employees' expertise - expertise that the new owners don't have. (How many financial investments have Barney Frank and Charles Grassley designed? And don't count Social Security - it's going broke.)

Yes, you'd think that the new owners would want to retain the existing expertise, but the government doesn't work that way.

A Congressperson's prime goal in life is not to make AIG financially viable. A Congressperon's goal in life is to get re-elected. And if the only way to get re-elected is to screw the employees of the firm you are managing, then so be it.

This was part of a piece that talked about then-AIG head Edward Liddy. Liddy was, at the time, the latest in a long line of people who had headed AIG since long-time head Maurice Greenberg was ousted in February 2005. Liddy himself announced his intention to resign, two months after I wrote that post. (Here's my follow-up.)

Then we had the recent brouhaha over limitations on executive compensation. I didn't blog about it, but I shared an item from Outside the Beltway that noted that nearly half of the executive staff at AIG and Bank of America were still around when Kenneth Feinberg, the U.S. Treasury Department's "pay czar," formally imposed pay limitations for firms receiving U.S. government money. The thought is that the other half would now flee.

Whether they would truly flee or not, there's certainly a theoretical argument that can be made that this is yet one more reason for employees at government-controlled firms to seek their fortunes elsewhere.

But are there firms who are truly salivating at the chance to get AIG employees? Presumably all of the really good employees are already gone.

The New York Times is reporting on one person who wants AIG employees - Maurice Greenberg:

Even as he has been lambasting the government for its handling of A.I.G. after its near collapse, Mr. Greenberg has been quietly building up a family of insurance companies that could compete with A.I.G. To fill the ranks of his venture, C.V. Starr & Company, he has been hiring some people he once employed.

Now, Mr. Greenberg may have received some unintended assistance from the United States Treasury. Just last week, the Treasury severely limited pay at A.I.G. and other companies that were bailed out by taxpayers. That may hasten the exodus of A.I.G.’s talent, sending more refugees into Mr. Greenberg’s arms, since C. V. Starr is free to pay whatever it wants.

Back to my March post, and my prediction that I made at the time:

Just wait - a few months from now, some piece of small print will be issued by someone in Congress as quietly as possible, and it will say something like this:

"At this point, one of the chief barriers to the recovery of AIG is the lack of accumulated financial expertise at the company. Because of the departures of key employees over the last few months, and the prospect of losing other key employees in the future, AIG's continued viability is not assured."

Should someone catch this piece of fine print, then the Franks, Grassleys, and Rangels of the world will then begin to harrass Edward Liddy, asking him why he didn't do anything to retain key employees.

Unless Liddy himself has departed too, to return to enjoying his well-deserved retirement. Heck, if I had been before that committee, I would have resigned from AIG then and there.

Well, Liddy left, and AIG is hiring. I found this position while searching through AIG's career listings:

Financial Advisor/ North Orange County, CA
Job ID #: FA-LMB-NOrangeCnty-FLEROB
Location: CA-Fullerton
Functional Area: Financial Services
Company Name: VALIC
Employment Type: Full Time - Regular
Education Preferred: High School
Experience Required: 1-2 years
Relocation Provided: No

Position Description
We now seek highly motivated individuals with NASD Series 7 or 6, 63 and State Life and Health licenses for the opening of:

Financial Advisor in North Orange County, California


- Selling to and servicing clients.
- Building client relationships to provide your clients with products such as annuities, mutual funds, life insurance and long term care insurance.


- Superb prospecting, advertising and sales promotion support including: colorful eye-catching sales literature, a comprehensive series of financial planning workshops, and customized direct marketing literature and letters.
- The power of computer-based programs and services to support your sales effort.
- State-of-the-art notebook computers and printers that will let you provide innovative retirement planning and asset allocation services for your clients, wherever they are.
- Benefits package including group medical and dental, life, healthcare and dependent care reimbursement accounts, free group life insurance, employee stock purchase plan, a generous 401(k) plan with company matching contributions, and more.

We are committed to creating opportunities for VALIC financial professionals, rewarding performance, and partnering with you to take stock in your future. Income sources can include training allowances, commissions, asset-based compensation or a combination of these components.


- Bachelor's degree or equivalent related work experience.
- One to three years industry experience
- Proven knowledge of the financial industry
- NASD Series 6 or Series 7
- NASD Series 63
- State Variable Life & Health License

To be successful in this position you must possess and effectively demonstrate the following skills:

- Ability to quickly learn and market a variety of financial products and services.
- Exceptional communication
- Effectively utilizing technology for sales presentations and account servicing.
- Building customer loyalty
- Initiating action
- Contributing to team success
- Time management
- Ability to work with very limited supervision


Financial Advisors typically set their own schedules and work 40 or more hours a week. The hours you work, which can be flexible, depend on the number of clients serviced, the amount of time spent servicing each client and the time involved in managing client investments. The flexibility to work some scheduled evening and weekend hours is essential in providing high-quality service for customers who prefer evening or weekend appointments.


Financial Advisors are ultimately commission-based. Training allowances are available for new FAs under appropriate circumstances. The compensation package for advisors and managers is very competitive, with no ceiling on earning potential.


The exact amount of travel depends on the assigned territory and client base. As we move forward, client-servicing tools are increasingly accessed through technology; however, face-to-face service is also an important part of servicing clients and is frequently required. Occasional travel for training, group enrollments, or regional meetings may also be required.

Position Requirements

About Us
Retirement Services serves more than five million customers with retirement savings products and services through its vast distribution network of registered representatives, independent broker-dealers, national and regional securities firms, banks and insurance agencies.

The six major businesses that comprise Retirement Services include:

Advisor Group, Inc., one of the largest independent broker-dealer networks in the United States and consists of FSC Securities Corporation, SagePoint Financial, Inc. and Royal Alliance.

SunAmerica Affordable Housing Partners, Inc. (SAAHP), one of the nation's leading investors in low-income housing tax credit transactions and the fifth largest apartment investor in the nation.

SunAmerica Asset Management Corp., a mutual fund and asset management business.

SunAmerica Retirement Markets, Inc., specializing in marketing and distributing retirement savings products through an extensive national network of registered representatives at independent broker-dealers, securities firms and banks.

VALIC, who, for more than half a century, has served as a leading plan provider for K-12 schools and school districts, as well as for higher education and healthcare institutions.

Western National Life Insurance Company, the largest issuer of fixed annuities in the United States and the leading provider of annuities sold through financial institutions.

That job listing was posted more than two months ago, on August 20. I suspect that executive-level positions take a little longer to fill.
blog comments powered by Disqus