AALU & GAMA To Build New Organization Representing The Financial Security Profession

AALU and GAMA International have announced their intent-to-build a new organization representing the financial services profession. This first-of-its-kind organization will bring together GAMA's leadership and professional development strengths and AALU's best-in-class advocacy. 

"We intend for this to be the start of a unifying effort that will bring together the entire profession so that we can more effectively address its biggest challenges." - Marc Cadin

"With AALU's advocacy strengths empowering more people to get involved and GAMA's leadership programs, the opportunities will be endless." - Bonnie Godsman

Why are GAMA and AALU forming a new organization?

  • The status quo is unacceptable. 
  • The profession is under attack: the challenges are both more significant and diverse than ever before. 
  • There are too many organizations: the current trade association design asks too much and delivers too little. 
  • Too many mixed messages: competing organizations drive different messages sowing confusion. 
  • Not enough scale. No organization has the size and the scale to have the impact the profession needs.
  • Consumers need our help: too few are prepared…more financial and retirement security are desperately needed.  

The vote begins an historic movement for our profession. By joining forces, AALU and GAMA are establishing something that has never existed before, that will represent and unify the entire financial security profession. Together, we will grow our voice and increase our impact, and strengthen the work we do to help more people become financially secure.

Have the memberships had a chance to weigh in on the creation of the new organization?

All active AALU and GAMA members (as of Dec. 31, 2019) had the opportunity to vote to approve the creation of the new organization and its new Board of Directors. The measure, which closed on Feb. 14, 2020, was approved by both memberships with 98% approval by voters.

Now that the membership vote has passed, what happens next?

Over the next few months, AALU and GAMA will host LAMP and TRANSFORM, announce the new organization’s name, offer select joint benefits, and fully combine operations and memberships. 

What are the goals of the new organization?

We will significantly strengthen the advocacy efforts on behalf of the profession, we will be able to offer more impactful programs that help develop leaders and provide better training for those getting into the profession, all to elevate the profession and give the entire field a more impactful voice.

Why should I remain a member of this new organization? 

This new organization will build upon the best of both organizations to elevate and promote the profession, amplifying our past individual impacts through one common, unified mission and vision. The new organization will be built on the pillars of best-in-class advocacy, leadership and professional development, and elevating the financial security profession. 

Who is in “the profession”? 

The profession includes everyone who is involved in delivering financial and retirement security to the American people and abroad. This includes: field leaders such as managing partners, general agents, and brokerage general agents; and advisors from producer groups, broker dealers, and career and affiliated systems.

When will the new organization be officially created?

Provided the membership approves, the Board and the team will work to finalize all the transition details to launch the new organization. In the coming months, we will announce the new organization’s name, host LAMP and TRANSFORM, move offices, consolidate financials, work under the direction of the new Board of Directors, and put the pieces in place to fully merge the legacy organizations.

What is the new organization going to be called?

The organization will have a new name, neither GAMA or AALU, to reflect the nobility of our purpose. We are working through a thorough branding research study to determine the new organization’s name. It will be announced in the coming months.

What does this mean for AALU advocacy? 

AALU’s advocacy benefits the entire profession, and this will be a core function of the new organization. GAMA does not currently have an advocacy function, but with an increased membership and a stronger voice, AALU’s advocacy efforts have the potential to rise to new levels and achieve even greater wins, particularly going on offense rather than playing defense. We will continue to advocate for thoughtful policies and our current priorities that advance the profession’s ability to serve their clients.

What is GAMA’s international business and what role will it play in the new organization?

GAMA has a robust international business, in 22 countries and 9 chapters around the world. We are committed to running the international business as an integral part of the new organization led by Bonnie. This will also provide an opportunity to share best practices and learnings on policies facing our members overseas.

What will happen with the GAMA Foundation?

The GAMA Foundation will continue to operate as a 501(c)3, providing its critical nonprofit and research function to the new organization.

What does this mean for other life insurance distribution trade associations? 

As founding partners in the Industry Alignment Group (IAG), which brings together industry association partners representing distribution, AALU and GAMA both have long promoted collaboration, and now consolidation, to strengthen and better represent the profession. We are focused on making this new organization the best it can be in meeting that goal, and we will continue to welcome alignment conversations with all who are interested in our common purpose. 

Will I be a member of both organizations if the vote is successful?

Memberships and dues will stay the same for 2020. Throughout the course of this year, we will begin offering select crossover content and seeking feedback on our offerings. In January of 2021, there will be a unified plan for members, benefits, and dues. 

Will our annual meetings continue? 

Yes, both LAMP and TRANSFORM will take place as planned in 2020. LAMP will be on March 22, 2020, in Orlando, Florida, and TRANSFORM will be on April 26, 2020, in Washington, D.C. 

Who will sit as the new CEO?

Marc Cadin, current AALU president and CEO, will take the reigns as the new CEO, overseeing the Board, setting the vision, leading the staff, overseeing budgets, and setting new initiatives. Bonnie Godsman, current CEO of GAMA International, will be the president of the new organization, overseeing the international side of the operation, the Foundation, and the new leadership and professional development initiatives.

Who is slated to serve on the Executive Committee of the new organization? 

  • Kelly Kidwell of Pacific Advisors, an agency of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, will serve as the first Chair of the Board of Directors. Kelly is currently the president-elect of GAMA International and an active member of AALU.
  • Jeri Turley of Winged Keel, a member of M Financial Group, and current Chair-Elect of AALU, will serve as Chair-Elect of the new organization.
  • The remainder of the Executive Committee will be Ed Deutschlander, current Chair of the GAMA Foundation, Rick Van Benschoten, current Vice Chair of AALU, and Bob Baccigalupi, current Treasurer of GAMA, Ray Bening, current AALU Chair, and Frank Scalese, current GAMA International Chair.

As part of the vote on Jan. 19, the memberships will approve the transition governance system to lead the new organization, and the slate of the Board of Directors.

Additional Questions?

Read our complete FAQ document and the press release announcing the partnership.  For more information, please contact: Noreen Rich.