JourneyGuide Selected by Ash Brokerage to Continue Annuity Sales Growth
JourneyGuide, an innovative retirement income planning software for advisors with mass affluent clients, has entered a new vendor relationship with Ash Brokerage, the largest privately held insurance brokerage general agency (BGA) in the United States.
Under the agreement, Ash Brokerage will promote and distribute JourneyGuide software as a key part of its retirement solutions platform, which is quickly approaching $2 billion in annuity deposits each year.
Ash Brokerage evaluated several market-leading financial planning tools to determine which would:
- Best improve retirement outcomes for clients
- Grow an advisor’s business
- Show how annuities fit into a retirement plan.
JourneyGuide, a tool created in-house at Ash Brokerage and now functioning as its own separate entity, was selected as the best tool for all three goals.
The evaluation compared common success factors among JourneyGuide’s customers to those using traditional financial planning software. Sales capacity, simplicity and speed were winning factors. Advisors using JourneyGuide saw an increase in their annuity proposals and closed sales – with some financial professionals doubling their annuity sales. Advisors found the interface easy to use and were able to develop an annuity-inclusive retirement plan, collaboratively with their clients, in under 15 minutes.
Tim Ash, CEO of Ash Brokerage, said both Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) and independent financial advisors need to pay attention.
“Owning an annuity can be an important part of a secure retirement,” he continued. “Across the industry, we see advisors struggling to show the value of additional income in retirement as a strategy to mitigate longevity concerns. They need a tool to use together with their clients, to illustrate how the annuity works in the clients’ best interest. I prefer completing a plan in real-time with the client, proposing more guaranteed income using annuities, and winning more business as a result.”
The addition of JourneyGuide to Ash Brokerage’s offering comes at a time when the insurance distribution model is beginning to change. Ash noted that efficient tools are what keep advisors coming back and are essential for firms like Ash Brokerage and other BGAs to remain relevant.
“We have a very clear vision for how annuities will be sold in the future,” Ash said. “It involves client-centric tools that make it easy for an advisor to explain the role of an annuity in a retirement plan – and even easier for a client to visualize how an annuity will impact their lifelong retirement income. Everything we do centers on helping advisors grow their business. The JourneyGuide team shares that vision. Together, we’ve started down the path of creating the largest dedicated retirement planning and brokerage marketplace for doing what’s in the best interest of the client – often that means purchasing an annuity.”
With acquisitions and strategic partnerships paving the way for online exchanges, there is growing concern that other tools on the market will bypass BGAs and independent marketing organizations (IMOs) altogether, going straight to the carrier and limiting customer options. JourneyGuide’s operating model is to involve agencies as a crucial part of the insurance and annuity purchasing process.
Scott Fergusson, CEO of JourneyGuide, added his commitment to the business model.
“At a corporate level, JourneyGuide allows BGAs and other agencies to remain relevant and focused on the future. BGAs and IMOs like Ash Brokerage continue to deliver exceptional value to advisors,” he said. “Our market strategy is to make available our ‘Buy It Now’ integrated product to other BGAs and IMOs so that they can continue to deliver their added value to advisors beyond a mere transaction.”
Financial details of the relationship will not be disclosed because both firms are privately held.
About JourneyGuide Headquartered in Fort Wayne, Ind., JourneyGuide helps advisors improve retirement outcomes for millions of people who rightfully worry about outliving their retirement assets. Designed with annuity sales in mind, the software provides an interactive retirement planning experience for advisors and clients to complete together. JourneyGuide improves advisor efficiency and increases client understanding and ownership of their retirement plan, leading to increased annuity sales. For more information, visit www.journeyguideplanning.com.