BMJK – August 24, 2013
This poster hit the nail on the head. As a former employee I too left the firm right as the transformation started to take place on the VA sales desk in Denver. I won't bash their new product Elite Access even though I do not like it. I will say this though... Jackson Is turning into an insurance company that doesn't insure anything. They let go their entire sales desk in Denver that sold traditional life insurance last year, while tapering back the benefits on their VA contracts while simultaneously increasing GMWB / LB and DB fees. The direction management has made very clear is that they believe their product Elite Access, which has zero benefits will be the new norm in the VA world. I disagree.... Compensation for internals was cut over time when management initiated a phased out compensation schedule for the more senior employees simply because we were to expensive to keep on the books with our trail commissions. Also, in the interest of a more socialist system to accommodate a 200+ person sales desk, they uniformly changed bps (basis points) on pay to the detriment / benefit of many territories back in 2011 which hurt many of us. Furthermore we noticed a shocking trend: experienced people left and were replaced with fresh pimply faced kids right out of college willing to work for level 1 pay. The message was received loud and clear.... start updating your resume. The career development program, a fancy name for the "Nursery" as many of us joked, would recruit college grads, get them licensed, and give them a headset and a phone like a well oiled machine towards the end. Your starting pay will be capped at 50K until you progress to level 2. And believe me when I say it's not easy to get to level 2 anymore. Once you hit level 2 in a year you might be in the 65K range if your territory is firing on all cylinders. Job security is questionable. I still do not understand how they can support a 2 internal wholesalers / 1 external wholesaler per territory ratio....that blows my mind when I do the math. As far as culture is concerned, Jackson was a culture that was by far the most insecure culture I have ever seen in my 15 year career. The fear element was enough to affect many of our lives and environment went from one of "How can I get that next sale and do good for my client while making myself some serious money" to one of "How can I push a product I don't believe in and do enough just to keep my job." For those of you coming from the industry instead of fresh out of college, I would recommend first looking into the other firms in the Denver metro such as Oppenheimer, Fidelity, Transamerica, Janus, Great West, Schwabb, Dividend Capital, and TIAA-CREF first.