Winnipeg-based Great-West Life Assurance Co. (GWL) is eliminating two key distribution channels — its Gold Key network of advisors and the Wealth and Estate Planning Group at Freedom 55 Financial — and launching a new “prestigious” distribution network that combines qualifying advisors from both channels, the company announced on Monday.

GWL sent a note to advisors revealing further changes to the Advisory Network, its newly established individual distribution organization. That network combines GWL’s distribution activities with those of its sister companies, Toronto-based Canada Life Assurance Co. and London, Ont.-based London Life Insurance Co.

Under the changes revealed on Monday, the Advisory Network will include three distinct individual advisor networks and a wholesaling organization. The three networks include: Freedom 55 Financial; affiliated partnerships, which includes managing general agencies (MGAs) and national accounts; and a new network called Wealth and Insurance Solutions Enterprise (WISE).

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Read: Great-West CEO mulls bringing firm’s three units under one brand

WISE will initially be comprised of “the most elite advisors” from the Wealth and Estate Planning Group and the Gold Key network, the company said. In time, WISE will expand to include qualifying advisors from Freedom 55 Financial and those who sell directly with Canada Life, according to Nick Pszeniczny, executive vice president, Advisory Network.

“We’ve looked at the similarities between the leading financial security advisors who choose to work directly with us, and I’m pleased to announce that we’re bringing these advisors together to form one prestigious advisor network called Wealth and Insurance Solutions Enterprise,” said Pszeniczny, who explained the changes in a series of videos.

Advisors who comprise the new network will continue to sell the same products they sell today, Pszeniczny said. However, he hinted that their product shelf may eventually change. “We do have plans to address this later,” he says in one of the videos.

Advisors in the new WISE network will have access to support tailored to their needs, including tax and estate planning support and business consulting services. They will also have access to a new concierge services to assist them with things such as business processing, Pszeniczny said.

Advisors who qualify for the WISE network will be invited to a launch event in Chicago in September, Pszeniczny said.

“We’ll phase out the Gold Key and Wealth and Estate Planning Group brands as we transition to Wealth and Insurance Solutions Enterprise this fall,” he said.

Leading the new network will be Mark Foris, vice president, WISE. Formerly vice president, sales, individual insurance, Foris has 24 years of experience in sales leadership roles at GWL.

Working closely with Foris will be Mike Rigato, vice president, elite advisor group. Rigato was previously vice president and chief distribution officer, Wealth and Estate Planning Group.

Meanwhile, GWL’s Freedom 55 Financial career distribution channel remains committed to recruiting, training and developing proficient and professional advisors, the company said. That channel will invest more heavily in advisor retention and will focus on creating a more customer-centric experience, including introducing more digital tools and support, according to Pszeniczny.

Abbie MacMillan has been appointed vice president of Freedom 55 Financial. MacMillan, previously vice president, sales, employee benefits at GWL, has 24 years of experience with the organization.

The company’s affiliated partnerships channel will remain largely unchanged, aside from a variety of management changes that will result in new relationships for advisors.

Leading the affiliated partnerships channel will be Jim Brownlee, vice president, affiliated partnerships, MGAs. He will be accountable for developing collaborative partnerships with MGAs. Brownlee was formerly vice president, Western Canada, Freedom 55 Financial and Wealth and Estate Planning Group.

Sanjeev Khosla, director, affiliated partnerships, national accounts, will continue in his role as national leader for national accounts.

GWL also announced that it’s combining its product sales and marketing centres with the Canada Life regional marketing centres into one new wholesale organization called Wholesaling and Product Solutions. The goal of that consolidation is to achieve more continuity in wholesaler development, processes, capabilities and product expertise for a consistent advisor experience, the company said.

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