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Thursday, April 23, 2015

MMI Forges Ahead With a New Chief

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

The folks at the Money Management Institute have found the successor for the only president the 18-year-old trade group has ever known. The news broke yesterday at MMI's 2015 annual convention at the Westin in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Yesterday MMI's new chair, Bank of America Merrill Lynch managed solutions chief Lorna Sabbia, confirmed that on May 1 Craig Pfeiffer will take over as president of MMI, filling the shoes of founding president Chris Davis. Davis revealed his 2015 retirement plans back in November.

Pfeiffer is a wirehouse veteran, and now he's leading an advisor-training startup. An alumnus of Indiana University, he spent 29 years at what became Morgan Stanley Smith Barney (now Morgan Stanley), rising to vice chairman of MSSB. In 2012 he founded Advisors Ahead, which is meant to offer "a path for entry-level Financial Advisors and Financial Planners", training aspiring FAs through internships and resident programs. He is also president of Hohting Group (an executive strategy firm) and an executive coach at Lee Hecht Harrison. And he's co-chaired committees at broker-dealer trade group SIFMA.

In his "Spring Update from Advisors Ahead to our Industry Friends" email yesterday, Pfeiffer confirmed that Clay Skurdal, Advisors Ahead's executive vice president and director of candidate development, will rise to president of the startup's talent solutions group. And Pfeiffer, who has been CEO of Advisors Ahead, will also shift to being chairman of the startup as he takes on his role at MMI.

"[Skurdal] will take all day-to-day operations" at Advisors Ahead, Pfeiffer tells MFWire.

As for joining MMI, Pfeiffer says that he "knew the industry, knew the organization, and knew the people."

"[MMI] makes an impact," Pfeiffer says. "I look forward to furthering that."

Pfeiffer says he plans to start with a listening tour to "get a grasp on priorities" of MMI's "diverse membership." He also wants to step back and look at MMI's activities and structure. He hopes that his "fresh eyes and fresh legs bring a new sense of energy" to the trade group.

Sabbia lauds Pfeiffer's "industry experience and hard earned perspective," and states that she's confident that Pfeiffer "will take [MMI] to the next level." MMI chair emeritus Joe Schultz, who is also senior vice president and intermediary sales chief at American Century, adds that Pfeiffer "is an industry veteran with extensive relationships and throughout his career has pursued a passion for continuously elevating the professionalism of the investment advice industry."

Schulz headed MMI's search and selection committee, and Wilbanks Partners helped with the search. 

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