Retirement Plan Counselor

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Organization

American Funds Distributors, Inc. (American Funds or AFD) is one of the nation’s largest mutual fund families, with more than $1.4 trillion in assets under management. Their funds are distributed through financial professionals because they believe all investors benefit from ongoing professional advice.

The company offers 35 funds, including stock, bond, money market, and balanced funds, which invest in securities from the United States and around the world. In addition, they offer the American Funds Target Date Retirement Series (available for IRAs and tax-deferred retirement plans), college savings plans, and a full line of retirement plan solutions. Regardless of investment objectives, all of their funds are managed with careful attention to risk. The company’s unique combination of strengths includes these three factors:

• Consistent approach. American Funds bases their decisions on a long-term perspective. Their portfolio counselors average 27 years of experience and 22 years at the company.
• Proven system. The AFD system combines individual accountability with teamwork. Their funds are divided into portions and managed independently by investment professionals with varied backgrounds, ages, and investment styles. An extensive global research effort is the backbone of AFD’s system.
• Superior long-term track record. AFD’s funds have beaten their Lipper peer indexes as follows: equity funds, 91% of 10-year periods and 96% of 20-year periods; fixed income funds, 54% of 10-year periods and 57% of 20-year periods. Their fund management fees have consistently been among the lowest in the industry.

The American Funds are managed by The Capital Group Companies, Inc., one of the oldest and most respected investment firms in the country. For over 84 years, they have followed a consistent philosophy to benefit their investors.

Location

Ideally, this individual will be based in Princeton, Cherry Hill, or Marlboro, New Jersey, or in the Philadelphia area and will cover a territory that comprises southern New Jersey, northeastern and central Pennsylvania, Delaware, and a portion of the Maryland shore.

Position Overview

The Retirement Plan Counselor (RPC) will lead RP sales initiatives in the southern New Jersey, northeastern and central Pennsylvania (not including Philadelphia), Delaware, and Maryland shore markets, identify client needs, and coordinate efforts to serve those needs. The RPC will be responsible for growing both proprietary and DCIO business in the territory. This sales leader will deliver presentations to prospective plan sponsors/Advisors and work in collaboration with two retail Wholesalers in the New Jersey/northeastern and central Pennsylvania area.

The successful RPC will grow sales in the under $10 million market for the American Funds solutions. This associate will also elevate sales, principally DCIO, through Regional Consultants and RP Specialist Advisors in the mid-market ($10 million to $250 million).

Specific Responsibilities

Business Planning Skills
• Develop and execute a business plan for the territory that connects to American Funds’ goals as well as to the goals and objectives of the Division.
• Partner with the members of the Division to ensure a collective and integrated approach to planning and running the business.
• Consistently evaluate the business plan against the success measures developed in partnership with the Division Manager.

Territory Management Skills
• Stay current on AFD’s business objectives and ensure management of the territory is aligned with those goals. Develop and manage a robust new business pipeline (AFD solutions and DCIO investment portfolios).
• Work closely with the site support to align internal sales support with the territory needs.
• Understand potential business risks in the territory and maintain proper controls.
• Identify and communicate any necessary trends or concerns developing in the territory.
• Work to identify the Advisor/TPA community, key Advisors, fee based RIAs and Investment Consultants, and partner Wholesalers from other firms, and work effectively with each.
• Consistently work to deepen existing relationships with AFD’s core customers.
• Actively partner with platform and insurance platform counterparts in and around the territory in order to elevate the firm’s visibility and access to new clients.
• Understand the nuances and multiple engagements with fee based RIAs and investment consultants in the DCIO sales process. Develop relationships to ensure positive ratings for AFD’s investment portfolios and then drive opportunities with key field consultants once they are achieved.
• Efficiently organize the territory and travel arrangements to effectively cover the territory.

Leadership Skills
• Inspire members of the Division to increase retirement plan knowledge and sales. Communicate clearly and frequently, delegate, and empower to ensure optimal division of labor and maximum leverage through the team.
• Nourish positive morale and attitudes to help create a team environment within the Division.

Sales/Presentation Skills
• Consistently demonstrate strong point of sale skills and focus on ongoing improvement of those skills.
• Continue to better sales skills (e.g., consultative and challenger selling) with financial intermediaries to achieve excellence in raising and retaining assets for The Capital Group Companies.
• Demonstrate mastery of American Funds’ services and platforms, and have the ability to identify and explain the key differentiating features.
• Maintain complete technical knowledge of AFD’s platforms, DCIO trends, and AFD’s investment portfolios and be able to translate that knowledge into succinct sales points.

Self Management Skills
• Demonstrate initiative and drive, organizational skills, and a strong work ethic. Must also possess keen judgment and prioritization skills to stay focused.
• Understand, embrace, and model Capital’s core values and AFD’s culture.
• Embrace responsibility as the principal spokesperson for American Funds relative to retirement plan sales in the territory.
• Consistently assess himself/herself against the expectations and priorities set by the Division Manager.
• Apply and implement an individual development plan, capitalizing on AFD’s training program.
• Keep current on all aspects of Capital Group compliance and company policies and ensure field sales associates are in compliance.

Relationship Building Skills
• Build relationships and work collaboratively with divisional peers, as well as with others in AFD and Capital to ensure necessary integration between the sales force and other areas of American Funds.
• Build and maintain relationships to be seen as a valuable resource in the territory.
• Consistently work to deepen relationships, e.g. conducts plan reviews with key Advisors, including fee based RIAs and investment consultants.
• Partner with DC Specialist and Investment Specialist resources to promote DCIO pipeline and sales.

Required Knowledge, Skills, and Success Attributes

The successful candidate will be an experienced professional who has a proven track record in third party distribution; a broad knowledge of the mutual fund business, retirement plan, and DCIO sales; and the demonstrated ability to build long-term relationships. This individual will ideally come from another investment management firm and have a solid understanding of the various channels of distribution.

Additionally, the Retirement Plan Counselor will wholly embrace the Capital Group’s philosophy around investing, which is based on successful, long-term fund management. He/she should share in the company’s commitment to increasing sales within this framework, embracing teamwork, and an unwavering commitment to the shareholder.

Expected qualifications include:

• A leadership style that is approachable, purposeful, and open. The American Funds culture encourages the utmost integrity as well as the highest standards of professional conduct.
• He/she will have had established success in building and leading high performing teams to achieve stated objectives, along with instituting measures to ensure the continuous improvement of the skills and capabilities of the organization.
• Social as well as emotional intelligence and proven effectiveness at building long-term partnerships with investment professionals in order to extend the reach of the firm’s market share.
• A focus on achievement, self-improvement, and a drive to take initiative while demonstrating sound judgment and patience.
• An appropriately competitive sales leader who possesses the highest standards of excellence while balancing the day-to-day needs of the organization.
• The ability to think long-term, assess changing business conditions and risks, and pivot as necessary.
• Highly energetic, forward thinking, and hands-on with a strong work ethic, as well as an enthusiastic and passionate approach to his/her work.
• Strong analytical and critical thinking skills with the ability to scrutinize problems and recommend alternative approaches.
• The ability to exercise tact in dealing with sensitive, nuanced, and confidential issues and situations.

Education

The successful candidate will hold a bachelor’s degree. It is also beneficial for members of the sales force to have one or more of any of the following designations: AIF, AIFA, PPC, CIMA, and CFA.

Contact

Shelli A. Herman, President
Shelli Herman and Associates, Inc.
11693 San Vicente Blvd., Suite #104
Los Angeles, California 90049
Office: (800) 396-0595 ext. 5
E-mail: shelli@shellihermansearch.com