Guest: Tim Gerend, Executive Vice President and Chief Distribution Officer for Northwestern Mutual.

In a Nutshell: You can’t turn a tanker around in the Panama Canal. Instead, insurance giant Northwestern Mutual is carving a new lane for itself by adding wealth management to the services its 20,000 advisors, leaders, and team members offer nationwide. With this unique combination of advice, products, services,  and technology, Northwestern believes it can compete on client experience while also attracting the next generation of independent advisors into the fold.

On today’s show, Tim Gerend and I discuss the five components of Northwestern Mutual’s client experience, how the firm recruits and trains advisors to hit the ground running, the importance of diversity, and how Tim thinks the financial advisor profession will evolve over the coming years.


.Tim Gerend and I discuss:

  • How Northwestern Mutual’s insurance advisors steered management towards offering financial advice as part of a comprehensive service model.
  • Balancing the “client-building” approach to training new advisors the Northwestern way with developing their independence as business owners.
  • How Northwestern uses “content and culture” to train its advisors–most of whom are brand new to the industry.
  • What the differences between law school and practicing law taught Tim Gerend about effectively training new financial advisors.
  • The characteristics that Tim and his team are looking for when hiring new advisors.
  • Keys to Northwestern retaining almost 100% of advisors who have been with them for more than five years.
  • The two big drivers of Northwestern’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.
  • How 167-year-old Northwestern Mutual is positioning itself to thrive in the decades ahead and why Tim is bullish on the future of the human advisor.

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