Smith Barney Reorganizes Retirement Group

Citigroup Global Wealth Management combined its retirement units into one group, which its Managing Director Anne Greenwood said will be more focused on holistic planning and collaboration among advisers.

Citigroup merged its retirement operations—including Smith Barney and Citi Private Bank—into one Retirement Solutions Group headed by Greenwood, who took the helm in September. Greenwood has been working with Citi for 25 years, first as an adviser and then a branch manager of the Boston office.

The new group weaves together several areas of the firm, and will comprise three areas: business development; personal retirement solutions; and business retirement solutions, headed by Rochelle Silverstrom. Silverstrom has headed the 401(k) business since 2005, and has been with Citi for 28 years.

Greenwood told the reorganization is still in the works, and Citigroup will be unveiling more changes and announcements in the future—some of which might never have been expected years ago. She mentioned health care and Social Security as issues advisers must now examine that don’t fall into the normal scope of asset allocation. “There’s so much more to making sure that you are able to have the retirement you would like,’ she said.

Greenwood said the new structure will allow for more collaboration among advisers of different specialties. She mentioned the opportunity to better connect retirement plan participants with advisers, such as with rollover opportunties. She noted that the retirement plan practice touches every adviser’s book of business at Smith Barney, with each of the 13,000 advisers having at least one plan.

Smith Barney will also be concentrating on a comprehensive approach—capturing emerging affluent investors to the ultra-high-net-worth—whereas other firms might be more narrowly focused, Greenwood said. “No one falls out of our range,’ she said. As wirehouses shift their retirement practices to compete with the ever-growing registered investment advisory sphere, Greenwood affirmed what the wirehouse has to offer. She cited the “global footprint’ of Citigroup, which can provide service on an international scale, as something affluent investors prefer over boutique firms. Smith Barney is not the only wirehouse or broker/dealer to regroup its retirement practice this year (see “Merrill Reshuffles Retirement Group,”Harrington’s In For Retirement at LPL).

On the retirement plan side, Silverstrom echoed a goal of more comprehensive service: She noted that the industry is shifting to be less focused on a rate of return and more focused on the overall well-being of participants. Earlier this year, Smith Barney rolled out a Web-based service called myFi (short for “My Financial Life’) to offer financial advice to participants not in the high-net-worth tier. “That’s always been our missing link,’ Silverstrom said. “Now we’re really able to address the needs of all the participants in the plan—not just the high net worth.’ She added: “I think moving toward this more holistic model allows us to focus more on the type of needs for our business clients regardless of the type of plan they have, and focus on participants regardless of the type of plan they are in.’