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Strengthening Product Innovation and Distribution with Jasmine Jirele – A Two-Part Episode

Part 1

In this episode, Jack talks with Jasmine Jirele, President and CEO of Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America.

As the head of one of the most successful insurance companies in the country, Jasmine brings a fresh take to the CEO role as she brings the company into its next phase. Jasmine committed much of her career to financial services and eventually landed her dream job as the Chief Growth Officer at Allianz where she was able to coordinate projects within operations, marketing, and product.

Jasmine talks with Jack about the process of incorporating product and distribution relationships with tech, and the impact of the pandemic and accelerated innovation on the industry’s future.

Part 2

In this episode, Jack continues his conversation with Jasmine Jirele, President and CEO of Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America.

A primary component of Jasmine’s approach to her newly appointed CEO role is her focus on building great teams. Having a cross-functional background, she’s seen the benefit of having the right people in the right roles to leverage opportunities appropriately. Jasmine has also pushed forward initiatives to ensure that the right technology is in place to support her teams and clients.

Jasmine talks with Jack about the hiring process, establishing strong relationships with distribution partners, and how to work with changing regulations and markets to differentiate from competitors.

Life insurance and annuity products are issued by Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America. Variable products are distributed by its affiliate, Allianz Life Financial Services, LLC, member FINRA, 5701 Golden Hills Drive, Minneapolis, MN 55416-1297. 800.542.5427

Allianz Investment Management U.S. LLC is a subsidiary of Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America and provides hedging services for the broader Allianz Group.

Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America is an investor in LifeYield, LLC.

What Jasmine has to say

“It’s important to have a very strong customer experience and to make sure that the digital tools and processes are there to enable our advisors to really serve their clients in ways that are user-friendly and meet their client’s needs.”

– Jasmine Jirele, President and CEO, Allianz Life

Read the full transcript

Part 1

Jack Sharry: Hello, everyone. Thank you for joining us on WealthTech on Deck. On our podcast we talked with industry leaders each week about the future of wealth management and with a particular focus on what I call the confluence of digital and human advice with each of our guests, we pay special attention for their firm’s strategy around product distribution and technology. And I’m especially looking forward to today’s conversation. Joining me on this on this podcast is the relatively new CEO of Allianz Life Jasmine Jirele. Jasmine has had broad leadership experience in consumer banking, investment and wealth management, and insurance. Today we are going to discuss her strategy at Allianz, one of the most successful insurance companies in America. So Allianz has made and continues to make its mark in the wholesale distribution of insurance and annuity products. We’re also going to discuss the investments Allianz has made in FinTech and the role FinTech plays in helping advisors develop a comprehensive approach that helps clients improve financial outcomes. So Jasmine, it’s a real pleasure to have you on our show, I’m really looking forward to our conversation.

Jasmine Jirele: Thanks for having me, Jack.

Jack Sharry: So let’s start with maybe giving a little background. I know, in reading your LinkedIn profile, you’ve worn a number of different hats over time. And now since I guess it’s March or so you’re the CEO of Allianz, give us a little bit of a background on what you’ve done over time, particularly interested in your most recent role, probably say that for the end of the day, high level view of what you’ve done over the course of your career, but I’m particularly interested in the role you played as the chief growth officer at Allianz, I know that that is critical for all companies, especially in the insurance industry, where that segment has not been growing as rapidly as some others. So you’ve clearly beaten the odds, and you’ve done a great job with that. So tell us about your background. And I’m particularly interested in the work you’ve done as the chief growth officer at all answer. Tell us about your career.

Jasmine Jirele: Sure, will do. So I’ve really spent the majority of my career in financial services. And that’s really kind of my passion and my love. I had a number of different experiences early in my career working at what was at the time called Minnesota mutual. Now Securian started out in market research, marketing and product I’ve been with Allianz in this is actually my second stint at the company. I love it so much I came back. But I started off as a chief of staff to one of our former CEOs, which gave me kind of a great bird’s eye view into running the company. From there, I went on to run product. After that I ran operations. And then I left for a period of time to go to Wells Fargo, where I ran the Trust Services Unit that serves all the trust fiduciary businesses of bank and subsequently one of the segments of consumer lending as an executive vice president, I was really lucky to get to come back to Allianz about three years ago as chief growth officer. I’ve told many people this is absolutely the dream job was able to run product, corporate strategy, new markets, digital marketing, communications, sponsorships, and agile. So really collaborative functions, it gets to work kind of across all the different parts of the company in the industry. And my job was really to help the company find ways that we could accelerate growth in our core markets, and really begin to execute exploration and eventually growth in new markets that we thought would be a good fit with our core. So I moved into the CEO role, actually September 1, taking over for Walter White. And it’s been lots of fun, my first few weeks on the job to be working on how we’re going to evolve our growth strategy into its next phase.

Jack Sharry: That’s great. I want to learn more about what’s next. But lets me go back a little bit if I cut on the the Chief Growth Officer role, because that’s a new title, I’m starting to hear around the industry and brings together a lot, I guess, people used to be called chief marketing officer and clearly with what you’ve done, and I see around other places around our industry, financial services industry that includes much more, which I think makes sense. So talk a little bit about that. How did that come together? How did you coordinate all those capabilities? It seems vital to coordinate all that, but talk a little bit about that and how you’ve clearly succeeded in putting all that together?

Jasmine Jirele: Yeah, I do think you’re right, Jack, it is a bit of a trend in the industry to start to migrate away from a traditional Chief Marketing Officer role to more of a Chief Growth Officer. Part of that is, you know, you mentioned at the beginning of the podcast that growth is a real imperative and has been a challenge for financial services companies. So putting more emphasis on all the business building aspects of driving growth, you know, it’s I think, a logical shift reflected in that role. But when I think about it, the most macro level of course, marketing’s a big piece of it. But my responsibilities as CTO also included, really looking after kind of all the front-end parts of how we build the business. So having deep knowledge and insight on our customers and our advisors really keeping a pulse on different trends happening in the market, and ways that our products and services could evolve to meet those trends, and then building that into a holistic strategy for the company to execute, then that, you know, takes the shape of lots of different things, it could be more pure product, it could be expansion of distribution, and a variety of other kinds of tools and techniques. Ultimately, the combination of those things, I think, is part of what’s brought Allianz much success in the last few years in terms of growth. So, you know, I kind of have described the role to people is a little bit of a glue across the executive team, making sure that once the strategy for the company’s been set, we’ve got all the right pieces and parts kind of coming together to execute that plan and make sure that we are really differentiating ourselves in the market.

Jack Sharry: Let me dig in a little bit deeper here. I’m fascinated by this whole topic. And we’ll talk about where you’re going what you’re doing next, which I’m sure is quite informed by what I’m about to ask you. So as you took on this role, I’m assuming that was a new role. So comment on that, if you’d also comment, how is this different than sales? Typically people think of as sales is somehow with some of the things you described. And I think that my observation and something we try to do at LifeYield is, how do we connect the dots? How do we make that glue that you just described? How do we bring all that together? So we tee up so the sales folks can be more successful, more effective. So if you’d comment on that, I’ll stop there, because I have many more questions around just what you did. And maybe one last point if you make if you can keep track of all this sorry, and that is life insurance industry. And the annuity industry largely has not grown yet you have so talk about that. Because it’s it’s one thing to grow when everybody else is but it’s a whole other thing to grow, and few others are. So talking about if you could connect all those dots that I just threw at you.

Jasmine Jirele: Okay, well, I’ll try. But if I missed something, you can go back and correct me.

Jack Sharry: Now that you got it.

Jasmine Jirele: Yeah. So, first of all, that you’re right, the Chief Growth Officer role was a new one, at the time that I stepped into it. All those different functions existed across the company in some way, shape, or form in the past. But I think what was really new, what were two things, one was just bringing them together under one umbrella. And having the kind of corporate strategy stood at the top, then informing the design and execution of all the strategies underneath. The second piece of that really had to do with I think, more of an emphasis on some of the new markets activities that we’ve taken on. And we did a fair bit of work, when I first started in that position to really look at the growth trajectory that we’d seen at the company in the past what we saw happening from an industry perspective, and in particular, the markets that we’ve historically had a strong presence in, and realized that we couldn’t really achieve the growth aspirations that our parent company has, for us as a big organic driver of growth for Allianz group, without doing something new and different. We also recognize that even just given all the change we’ve seen in the market and more continued economic uncertainty, we wanted a better balance of you know, how we are diversifying the risk and revenue profile of our business. It’s interesting, just to give you kind of one example, looking at the RYLA market, where you know, now we actually that will be our single largest product line this year in terms of revenue, it wasn’t too long ago that that business line, you know, for us was kind of a rounding error. And maybe that was, you know, five, six years ago, now, it’s grown to be a dominant product for us. And I think a lot of that has to do with what’s happening in the market. So those are a few pieces as it relates to sales. I would say this, you know, our distribution people at Allianz are, in my opinion, they are the best in the business. But they’re really good at a couple of things. I think one is managing relationships with our key distribution partners in strategic accounts. And that function, of course, is really core to what they do in their primary focus. And then, you know, making sure that we’re equipping all the advisors that we work with, with the right sets of products and tools and expertise to serve their clients. What I don’t think is distributions strengths sometimes is executing all the internal stuff that has to be done to make those things happen. It’s also really hard when you’re out on the street every day and building those relationships, working with advisors and distribution partners to be thinking about what’s new. So having the CTO role really focused on those things, really freed our distribution folks up to do what they do best, and help to make sure that we had enough eyes on kind of both sides of the ledger. So it’s really worked out well for us, and I think has allowed each of our functions to really deliver their best for the company.

Jack Sharry: So Jasmine, you mentioned RYLA, maybe for our audience that might not be familiar with that segment, if you could describe what that is.

Jasmine Jirele: Sure. That’s the registered index linked annuity market and that that markets really been is growing quickly as some assets had been moving away from traditional variable products. So it brings together kind of the best features, if you will of a variable annuity and a fixed annuity with caps and buffers or floors to help manage the downside risk.

Jack Sharry: And for those that may not be familiar with the buzzword of RYLA, it’s basically index annuities that everyone’s talking about these days for our audience that might know it as that we also Louella back talked about growth. And my observation is the life insurance industry has not been growing. Yet. Allianz has been growing in space, from what I can gather, maybe talk about what made all the difference I want to do with the chief growth officer.

Jasmine Jirele: But I’m just guessing there, well, don’t give me too much credit, Jack. But I will say a couple of things. First of all, if you look at the industry, in aggregate, you’re right, the growth has been fairly flat or not substantial over the last few years. But there are certain segments of the market that really have grown. And in the case of Allianz a couple of our core strengths that have played really well into the segments that have been experiencing the most growth and I you know, happy to say that I think some of the products that we’ve launched and some of the strategies that we’ve developed have helped also those segments of the industry grow. But in our case, I mentioned the registered index linked annuities that is one area that has been growing pretty rapidly as some assets have been shifting away from traditional variable products, another market that we have a strong presence in and have virtually doubled our kind of annual revenue is index linked annuities. So Allianz is a we take a lot of pride in being an indexing leader that’s powered by our in house dynamic hedging platform that we utilize to develop and manage all of our products. We’ve also introduced some features that have set us apart from other companies in particular, a feature called performance lock, that’s actually available across all of our annuities and our life products. And it allows the advisor or the contract holder to lock in caps or gains on their contract at any given point during the contract year. So that’s really helped customers maintain really strong performance despite very volatile markets. And it gives customers a lot more control over managing their contracts, which we found they really enjoy. Overall, looking at Allianz life results, I would also say just being very deliberate and focused on building all of the enabling capabilities to help us grow. It’s not just product or just distribution, it’s also really important to have a very strong customer experience and to make sure that the digital tools and processes are there to enable our advisors to really serve their clients in ways that are user friendly and meet their client’s needs. So we’ve really been thinking about kind of this three legged stool of strength of product innovation, depth of distribution relationship, and really having a technology enabled experience that can differentiate us and set us apart and, and we’re really proud of the results over the course of the past few years looking at, you’re in 2018, we had revenue at the end of that year at 12. Point 2 billion, and we’re on track to meet or potentially slightly exceed a $15 billion result in 2021. So we’re really proud of being able to grow substantially despite some of the challenges with the pandemic.

Jack Sharry: No surprise that the Chief Growth Officer and team I know you’re very, very much the team player. Clearly Allianz has pulled it all together. And I know your colleagues Well, Heather Kelly and Corey Walther who have done a fabulous job, but from a relationship standpoint over time, and from a distribution standpoint, over time, you’ve been quite strong there consistently for a long time. And I know the product innovation front has been strong as well. And the innovation that you’ve done around the index annuities has been industry leading, we’re going to talk about technology a minute, but maybe just a comment on that, because I just think you’ve done such a terrific job on those sort of the basic tenets, namely, product and distribution. So talk a little bit about that, because your team has really been outstanding, I think.

Jasmine Jirele: Yeah, I couldn’t be more proud of how our team really works together to bring those things to market in a cohesive way, you can’t just do one of them, well, you really have to have the right combination. So, you know, on the distribution side, I think you’ve mentioned Jack, just the, you know, the talent that we have, who’ve worked really hard over, you know, a number of years to build very strong, deep relationships where we can go in and you know, not just be a product provider, but really add value. And that happens both at the adviser level and the distributor level with, you know, tools and technology that we can bring to the table that makes the selling process more effective. And I think also really helps position our products effectively in the broader context of financial planning. So that’s been a big area of investment for us and you know, the folks that we have out in the field making that happen every day I think are a big part of the success on the product innovation side you know, we are you We focused on leveraging our strengths. And I think, you know, there’s so many different segments, if you will, of the annuity in the life market, but we know what we’re good at. And that’s, as I said, really leveraging indexing capabilities and leveraging our ability to generate increasing income. And with those as a couple points of differentiation in the product. And we’re always listening to customers listening to advisers about what can we do to take these products we have and make them stronger, I think just keeping a good ear to the ground. And really understanding how we can evolve the products to continue to better meet needs and investing in continually updating the product. We’re refreshing our products, in many cases multiple times over the course of a calendar year, that’s helped us keep our edge and really, you know, continue to be the best. So I think focusing on what you’re good at and leveraging your strengths. And then looking for adjacent spaces where you can take those core skills and bring them to new customer segments is ultimately a winning strategy.

Jack Sharry: I couldn’t agree with you more. And I want to just add a piece and dig in here a little bit around technology, because I know you were early to the party in terms of investing in technology, you have many technology relationships, including the relationship you have with life yield. So you’re early on that. And like we’ve all been trying to figure out how technology and the role it plays and how it works and so on. But you already had as a very solid and strong base in terms of distributed relationships, solid product line that ever evolving, and one of the most powerful distribution forces in our industry. But you also mentioned earlier that in the context of a more comprehensive kind of approach, financial planning kind of approach, being a player in the technology, end of things is critical. So maybe talk a little bit about that, because that’s something our audience in particular is struggling with how do you incorporate product and distribution relationship and Salesforce with technology? How does that all come together? I know it’s a work in progress at all firms. But talk a little bit about that, if you would about how you incorporate and leverage technology to achieve your goals.

Jasmine Jirele: Yeah, I think, you know, the industry has been slow in some respects to adopt all the capabilities of technology. And I guess in part, that’s just the nature of the type of business that we’re in. But I think the pandemic really kind of dramatically accelerated that pace of change and willingness and readiness to adapt technology. And I really do believe it’s here to stay. So we really do look at kind of a land air and sea approach to making sure that we’ve got the right technology capabilities that cross that customer lifecycle. Some of the largest investments that we’ve made, and probably the most critical, I think, have been in making sure that our products are integrated into the financial planning tools and platforms that are now kind of becoming really table stakes. And then the distribution partners that we work with also are leveraging, you know, new forms of technology to kind of manage their shelf, if you will, or their approved product lists, and making sure that we’re positioned to kind of be on both sides of that either, you know, making sure the products approved and key firms, but also making sure the products well integrated into the platforms that they’re leveraging. Simon is kind of one example that a lot of broker dealers are beginning to use more and more. And so you know, we’ve really wanted to make sure that our product is accurately reflected there, and that we’ve got all the right sales support tools to help advisors model our product within that platform. You know, the advisor, desktop, if you will, I think has fundamentally shifted to one of you know, being able to manage all aspects of financial plan end to end and just making sure we are there where advisors are and making their decisions. And then equipping our sales teams to really help support advisors in leveraging the technology to its full extent is critical. I would also say we’ve looked a lot at automation and the ability to enable processes that hadn’t necessarily been automated in the past. I mean, the kind of rise of electronic health data and sort of all the associated automated underwriting tools is one example that’s really transformed the life new business process. And we’re certainly looking at how we can make sure that the new business application process and then all the enforce servicing has the ability to be automated and digitally enabled for all those different customer touch points throughout the journey. So having the right technology in place to support that really is a differentiator for the advisor in the customer experience.

Jack Sharry: That’s the end of part one of our two part conversation with Jasmine Jirele. Join us next week for part two as we dig into how Jasmin has accomplished the daunting task of pulling all this together and keeping all the trains running on time, so to speak. These are complex problems to solve and we will dig into these solutions in our next episode. Thanks for listening. And if you’ve enjoyed this episode, please rate review and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts again. We’ll be back next week with part two of my conversation with Jasmine Jirele.

Part 2

Jack Sharry: Everyone, welcome back to WealthTech on Deck. On our podcast we talk with industry leaders each week about the future of wealth management with a particular focus on the confluence of human and digital advice. With each of our guests, we pay special attention to their firm’s strategies around product distribution and technology. If this is your first time joining us, this is part two of my conversation with Jasmine drill, CEO of Allianz life, if you haven’t listened to part one, be sure to go back and give it a listen. That conversation I found very enlightening. We talked with Jasmine about her background and experiences at Allianz and other firms and some of the problems she has focused on solving throughout her career. In this episode, we’re gonna dig into the how Jasmine has used technology and automation to sell some of the most complex problems we hope you enjoy. You know, one of the things that strikes me as you’re talking about this, and by the way, we’re still just talking about your background, we haven’t gotten to your new job, well, you’re doing a lot of this I know in your new job, but just the challenge the complexity when you think about all that you have to deal with. And something that’s often I think overlooked. And that is that it’s not just that the complexity of your product set, which is very, very sophisticated in terms of its approach. And it’s not just in terms of relationship development, lord knows that relationship development has its own complexities. And then you’ve got all this technology that’s sort of in motion, you know, changing oil flying the plane trying to figure out what’s next? And how do you incorporate it? And how do you work with firms that are still figuring it out on their own? It’s pretty daunting. How do you do that? How do you do all the above? I’m sort of curious, it sounds like you’re very organized in your thinking. But I guess that leads us to where you’re headed with your role as CEO, how do you pull all this together and, and really get all the trains heading in the same direction and running on time. And as things advance as that oil is being changed while flying the plane? How do you do it?

Jasmine Jirele: Yeah, I think a few things. One is we’ve invested as many firms have in bringing in folks who really are experts in this space, you mentioned Salesforce earlier as kind of a sales enablement tool and the ability to maximize the power of of Salesforce and integrate Salesforce into all the other different technologies that are out there right now. I mean, in some respects is kind of table stakes. But that’s its own really unique tool and unique discipline. So I think, really not being afraid to go out and procure the talent and the expertise, who really have mastered the various technologies has been certainly key to our success, we do have a culture. And I think we really placed a lot of value on continuous learning, and just really working hard with our distribution partners to make sure we have good line of sight into where they’re headed, what technologies are they considering so that we can research them and figure out how they could impact us and, and then, you know, working hard to bring solutions forward. So instead of waiting for a mandate about kind of a new tech platform, or new tech strategy that affirms going to be looking for, how can we partner with, say FinTech companies or others in the market to bring something that’s even better than the baseline that’s out there. And really add value for the advisor and the planning experience and the distributor and just kind of simplifying their life in terms of making risk management products available in a way that seamless for their advisors. So you know, I think having the right talent is absolutely critical. Making sure that you’re continuously out there learning and kind of pushing your team for how we can make best use of the technology and the platforms that are out there. And then be really agile and flexible to adapt and adjust. I mean, this is still a really evolving space. So some of the things we’ve tried, haven’t worked, or we’ve had to, you know, pivot and try something else. And I think just, you know, being willing to learn and to adjust and adapt and keeping your eye on the prize of really having a great value add you can bring to the advisor, you know, at the end of the day is is always going to win.

Jack Sharry: Yeah, just to put a little color on it for our audience that may be familiar with some of these names and concepts. And just again, I’m a student of Allianz and I really enjoyed watching what you all have been building as that plane is flying, and the oil is being changed. They saw you just did an announcement with Riskanalyze you work with our company life yield, you’ve got a Venture Capital Group, Chad virgin is a good friend and on the life yield board and a graded advisor and, and partner, you got people like Emily return who’s figuring out all the investments that you all have made in technology and how to incorporate and I’m sure she was part of that Riskalyze deal and perhaps you’re part of the Salesforce deal. And then you’ve got Heather Kelly, who came out of United capital now part of Goldman and built a significant platform there the financial life that Joe Duran and company had put together and of course, Cory Walther has been around for a long time and very strong relationships with so many firms and having come up through the ranks at Allianz, you’ve really got a great team. And but you’re also got your ear firmly to the ground as to what’s going on and where you should play. And also, I observed that you’re willing to take a shot, you’re willing to experiment. And it’s, frankly, I observed, they seem to be working out pretty well. But maybe comment on that, because the Venture Capital Group was also part of your growth purview. So maybe talk about how all that comes together. Because this thing I observe about the whole growth thing is it’s, it’s hard to connect all those dots, it’s hard to coordinate it all and have it translate into revenue growth.

Jasmine Jirele: Yeah, sometimes I think about the growth space is a little bit akin to more of an R&D type strategy where you might throw 50 things out and only a couple are really gonna stick. So I think it is fundamental to have a willingness and an appetite to experiment. And certainly to have some guiding principles around what your approaches are, strategically what’s most important to you. But that really kind of willingness to experiment and learn is critical. The Ventures Program that we have has been just fundamental, I would say to driving culture change in our company, and also really helping us think differently about how we can bring solutions to market. So working with companies like life field, as, as one example has given us access on a scale and speed that we could never have achieved building it on our own to new solutions that we can bring forward as part of our value proposition. And I would also say just kind of watching how FinTech companies really build their strategies and take risks in growing their business. And it’s on a different scale, and often in a different market has helped us think about how we can deploy those same strategies. As we look at some experimentation within our business, the depth of talent and expertise in FinTech is just unbelievable, you know, it’s not always been easy for insurance companies to attract the best in breed, you know, it talent or data analytics talent, to give you a couple of examples. And we just see, you know, tremendous talent in the likes of the FinTech companies that we work with and those more broadly in the ecosystem, and they’re challenging and pushing carriers like us to innovate and think differently and get better. So it’s a hugely valuable part, I would say, of our strategy portfolio. And I think companies that figure out a way to take advantage of it will really have an edge, I think the days are long gone, where insurance companies can build all of their capabilities on their own the markets just moving too quickly to do that. So having strong partnerships, and knowing kind of where and how you can leverage expertise in a specialized capacity from those who are building Best In Breed solutions is really, really critical to driving growth.

Jack Sharry: You know, I hadn’t thought about it till you were just coming in this Jasmine, but a company, one of our first, certainly one of our most important clients, Morgan Stanley. We’ve been working with them over the past six, seven years. And I’m another fan and student of James Gorman. And all that he’s put together, he made a statement, I think it was about six or seven years ago at a quarterly earnings call, that their strategy was not to build it themselves, but rather to work with the best of breed, we happen to be among that group. And they he made that announcement, or at least went forward with their strategy. And it sounds like you’re doing the same thing. And I happen to know it just because we’ve lived it and observed it is that if, however you partner however you connect, however you coordinate, there’s lots of good talent out there. And capability, certainly, and a lot of the challenge, frankly, is and how you coordinate those capabilities among capabilities, if you will. So I’m just more of a compliment. I think you’ve sounds to me, if you’d confirm that you’ve embarked on a similar strategy, which is how do you coordinate the best of breed out there to then deliver on what you talked about earlier, better product, better distribution, better relationships, and that technology? In my view, I think the future is all about how you coordinate it from the folks on the outside. Is that fair to say?

Jasmine Jirele: Yeah, I think that’s exactly right. And, you know, we’re always going to want to manufacture the things that are really core to management of risk, and our role as an insurance company. But all of the other adjacent capabilities that are really required to bring a solution out to market and to serve kind of that full lifecycle of what an advisor or customer experiences with us is only made better with partnerships with Best In Breed companies who can bring capabilities to the table that are that are better than what we have. And that’s exactly part of the role we can play in terms of adding value. We help advisors and customers by not having to go out and source all this stuff on their own. And, you know, light fields, a perfect example of, you know, one of the ways in which we’re doing that.

Jack Sharry: Sure. So the growth where you talked about, I think was a $15 billion revenue number on top of 12. You, I’m sure you know, the math straightaway. What’s that percentage growth?

Jasmine Jirele: Yeah, so we’re expecting, you know, obviously, we’re still not quite at the end of calendar year 2021 here, but we’re projecting that we’ll hit the $15 billion mark, and that’s up from 12.2 at year end in 2018. So what that 30%? I’ll have to get my X ray friends to check my math but ballpark 30% Not bad for a three-year period.

Jack Sharry: Yeah, well, I want to put this in context for my friends on the asset management side. And I say this with all due respect that if you take the market out, the asset management and wealth management world doesn’t look nearly as attractive as what the market has provided, shall we say? And you’re in a segment that’s flat, we’ll call flat the insurance annuity world, you’re in flat and yet you have a 30% year over year. projected growth rate. That’s pretty freakin’ awesome. Well, no, I was going 2018 to 2021.

Jasmine Jirele: So Oh, okay. Sorry. Yeah, no. Three, that would be that would probably raise some other questions. I think. We don’t need to go too crazy here. But yeah, we really look at our growth and like a kind of a three-year time horizon, we set three-year strategic plan.

Jack Sharry: So that’s kind of the framework that we use, but what’s still over three years 3% growth in an industry that’s flat.

Jasmine Jirele: That’s pretty good.

Jack Sharry: Yeah, I’d say that’s pretty good. And I share that with our listeners, who are, we know that our listeners are very interested in other people’s strategy. As they figure out their own, I’d pay close attention to Allianz and Jasmine and her team, they pretty incredible numbers pretty incredible results. Obviously, you’re only as good as your your last number. But still, you’ve done remarkably well. So talk a little bit, we’ve talked a lot about your role as the chief growth officer. And this is truly as bled over into what you’re doing presently. But when he talked a little bit about where you see it all going, what’s next, he sounds like he got you’re in a good rhythm, you’re in a good mode, good momentum and all that. So what do you do for your next act?

Jasmine Jirele: So yeah, I would say, you know, Jack, you’ve mentioned at the beginning of our conversation about growth really being at the top of our agenda, that that is absolutely the case. And I’m really proud of the success that we’ve had over the past several years, and kind of even how 2021 is shaping up. You know, I will say we’re not stopping and resting at any stretch of the imagination. I think, if anything, the pace of change in the industry is really been increasing. So one of the things we’re really keen on doing is making sure we’re keeping a really close eye on all the different external factors that are driving our business and being prepared for different scenarios that could exist. I think that was really critical in terms of our ability to successfully navigate the pandemic, we’d prepared what we had called kind of playbooks around what if we get to a 1% or 0% interest rate environment, so we had, you know, products and marketing materials and everything else that we needed kind of ready to go, not that I’d ever want to go back to that situation. But you know, we take a lot of pride in, you know, scenario planning and thinking through how we can really be best prepared for what could come our way. And I mean, that can certainly be in terms of challenges, but also opportunistically, as we’re seeing shifts in consumer or advisor trends that we think we can act on as a fast mover, to help give us a competitive advantage. I mentioned about three years ago, we embarked on a long-term growth strategy. And that really was focused on how do we really solidify the position we have in our core markets, make sure that we are number one or number two in every segment in which we operate, and that we’re continuing to invest in retaining that competitive position. And we look at sales. But we also take a look at other metrics that are, I think, equally important to the value we’re providing, for example, Net Promoter Score, or loyalty, our advisors and our customers satisfied with their experience with us. And you know, that’s another area that is just as important, I think, in measuring our success. At the same time, we set out to really build out a new markets capability and make some longer-term investments in some adjacent spaces that, you know, certainly played well with our core competencies, but also really represented are significant opportunities for growth. So I talked about, you know, some of the different results that we’ve achieved, I think now, as we can look at that, we have this great foundation that we can build off of, to kind of springboard into a broader presence in the US retirement market. So we’re going to continue this tradition of investing in product investing in distribution. But now we’re really kind of looking at expansion. How can we reach new advisors segments that haven’t typically been as receptive to risk management products, the independent financial advisor courses, registered advisors, one segment that comes to mind leveraging distribution FinTech, there’s a number of advisors that we just don’t reach today through our traditional distribution channels that we’re able to target and segment through some of the new technologies where we have a presence and then doubling down on some of the highest opportunity new markets. I think one example of something we’re really excited about is the ability now to offer annuity products in defined contribution plans. That wasn’t really possible in a meaningful way from a regulatory perspective until, you know, 1218 months ago, we’re working on really kind of innovative product design that we’ll be launching in first quarter next year that we think is going to be a real game changer. And help us reach a whole different segment of customers that we don’t reach through our traditional financial adviser channels today. So having a strong institutional channel, where we can really grow our presence alongside the retail business as a pretty exciting opportunity.

Jack Sharry: That’s great. This is so much fun hearing about your strategy and how it’s playing out, I know that you’ve made a number of announcements around defined contribution that seems given the change in the regulatory environment that seems like a natural for a place for Allianz to play. Clearly, again, back to our friend, Chad, Virgin and Emily Britam, when they work together on ventures, Emily is now doing some different things around technology, but get their pulse got their ear to the ground and from the investments you’ve made, and actually, we are now connected with another investment that you’ve made invest Well, we’re working with them at the behest of Allianz as an example. So there’s great opportunity that you’re both seeking out, but also connecting, it’s kind of interesting in terms of the opportunity. And for those in our audience that are figuring out your strategy, I’d pay close attention here, it’s having your ear to the ground, it’s developing products as the regulatory and marketplace environments changes. It’s about incorporating technology into the wherewithal to make this stuff work and connect and be more efficient and effective. And making sure that you’re paying close attention to your customer to make sure that they’re getting what they want need and or if they have ideas to act on them. So my capturing it in terms of where you’re headed, what you’re doing. I think I got it, but I might have missed something.

Jasmine Jirele: No, I think that’s right, Jack. And I think the word connector is so critical. At the end of the day, you know, the industry is only as powerful as the kind of collective sum of the parts. And I think we have really seen great power in making those connections across different companies who bring different capabilities to bear. And it’s really fundamentally changing the shape of our industry in a really positive way.

Jack Sharry: Yeah, exciting times for sure. So as we like to wrap up our conversation today, which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Jasmine, thank you. What are three key takeaways that you’d like to make sure our audience leaves from our conversation today?

Jasmine Jirele: So the first one we just talked about with respect to consumer trends. But I think that combination of demographics and the acceleration of technology, particularly in light of the pandemic, has made our industry more ripe than ever for growth and innovation. So I think it’s really given us an opportunity to think differently about the way that we’re delivering the business of risk management, and have solutions and experiences that are even more relevant and tailored for consumers needs today. Second, I would say just at Allianz, we could not be more bullish about growth, we are taking the strengths we have as a product innovator in investments in technology to really deliver a superior experience for advisors and consumers. And one of the critical ways we’re doing that is serving as a connector, looking at all the different ways we can bring capabilities to our experience with relationships with firms like LifeYield. And then finally, I would say FinTech partners, overall, are a key driver of the evolution of our business. And they really have the power to help carriers and advisors deliver better education, access to advice and a superior experience. So I would really kind of encourage everyone out there to think about what can you do to take these best of breed solutions, and help deliver even more value for our industry and for our customers?

Jack Sharry: That’s great. So my favorite question on these podcasts is about to come your way Oh, okay. As we do each week, trying to get to the more personal side of our business, and beyond technology and product and all the rest of the stuff we talked about. But what would be something that you do away from work that people might find interesting or surprising, something you’re particularly passionate about, that you do when you’re not in the office? Sure.

Jasmine Jirele: Well, I’m actually really extremely passionate about helping at risk kids get a successful start in life. So I’ve spent a number of years probably getting close to a decade working on the board with Washburn center for children. They’re the largest children’s mental health provider in the Midwest, and they just do a fantastic job of making sure that children with traumatic life experiences are able to overcome them and become resilient adults. I’m on the board of college possible which helps at risk kids enter college and successfully graduate also helping to give them a great start in the professional world. And then I work with the largest kind of private business school here in the Twin Cities through the University of St. Thomas, on their strategic board of advisors. So I get a lot of hands on opportunity to work with kids in the entrepreneurial school and in the insurance school and then influence the curriculum to make sure that College students are learning about the trends that are really going to be shaping our industry for years to come. So it’s an area I’m super passionate about. I think we all owe it to the next generation to help them have all the right tools to be equipped to be successful.

Jack Sharry: That’s great. That’s terrific. I’m not at all surprised. And heartened to hear that you have that particular passion. I share much of that. We’ll have a conversation another time on all that. So thank you for sharing that. Thank you. So for our audiences, we look to wrap up our discussion for today. If you’ve enjoyed our podcast, please rate review, subscribe and or share what we’re doing here at WealthTech On Deck. I think this episode is something I would tell your friends about for sure. So we’re available wherever you get your podcasts. Thank you again, Jasmine. It’s been a real pleasure. I can’t wait for our next conversation. Thanks so much.

Jasmine Jirele: Likewise. Thanks so much, Jack.