A basket of financial services
AXA Financial, Inc. is a leading provider of a variety of insurance and financial services. These include Financial Planning and Goal Setting, Asset Accumulation, Transfer/Protection of Assets, Income Distribution and Asset Preservation, and Capital Raising. The company's largest division is the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States ("The Equitable"), which was responsible for half of the $1.1 billion in profits reported for 1999. AXA Financial's second-largest subsidiary is Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, while Alliance Capital Management LP, a provider of mutual funds and other cash management services, is the third-largest. Other subsidiaries are AXA Advisors and Pershing.
History: Go into life insurance, dear child
Advised by a teacher (General John Johnston, the founder of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance) to try his hand at life insurance, Henry Hyde founded the Equitable Life Insurance Society at the tender age of 25. The company grew rapidly - by 1899 it was in possession of $1 billion worth of insurance. Growth continued into the 20th century; and in the 1970s, the firm's business expanded via diversification and the offering of marketing-friendly products known as guaranteed investment contracts (retirement plans guaranteeing high returns). With the acquisition of hard-charging investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette in the 1980s, The Equitable Companies' expansion hit a high point. Alas, the good times would not last. In 1990, burdened with debts in the billions, the company brought in Richard Jenrette to repair the situation. Jenrette cut costs and raised capital by shuffling assets and public offerings. The firm also benefited from an infusion of capital from French insurance giant AXA-UAP. In 1994 AXA Group increased its stake in The Equitable Cos. To 60 percent, and in 1999 the company name was changed to AXA Financial.
Practice Enhancement Program
In recent years, America's leading accounting firms have exploded their consulting and financial services businesses. Hoping to cash in, The Equitable launched its Practice Enhancement Program in 1997. Under the terms of the program, accounting firms that work with The Equitable agents may offer clients life insurance and financial planning packages and products. In September 1998, Independent Accountants International announced it would participate in the program, naming The Equitable as its "exclusive financial services sponsor."
All branches of AXA Financial are venturing into new areas, geographically and service-wise. DLJdirect, an online brokerage division of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, is expanding into e-commerce, and is launching a Japanese version of DLJdirect. Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and Alliance Capital are broadening their global services, with offices and increasing sales in Europe and Asia.
Most of the firm's 7,200 insurance agents are also licensed stockbrokers, underscoring the integration of the company's life insurance and financial services divisions. As such, agents must pass the required examination to receive their license. Applicants should consult the contact section of AXA Financial's web page, located at www.axa-financial.com/contact/index.html, where they may submit a form requesting further information on employment opportunities.
The firm's "conservative yet sophisticated" corporate culture encourages an "aggressive" and "entrepreneurial" climate. Insiders report that they regularly work "at least 50 hours each week" in an office with "strict" dress codes. The Equitable's (subsidiary's) sales agents generally receive a straight commission for their work. Therefore, they must "be able to handle the peaks and valleys" of the 'biz. However, the "earning potential is tremendous" for the adept few. Agents also warn that earning a stockbroker's license requires "serious" and "intense" study, usually through a comprehensive training program.
Annuities;Institutional investment mangement;Investment mangement;Life insurance policies;Mutual funds;Real estate mangement
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