Women Leaders

Jill T. McGruder, Western & Southern Financial Group

Jill T. McGruder

A Long-Term View

Editors’ Note

In addition to her current post, Jill McGruder also serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Integrity Life Insurance Company, National Life Insurance Company, IFS Financial Services, Inc., and Touchstone Investments, Western & Southern’s mutual fund subsidiary.

Company Brief

With a heritage dating to 1888, Western & Southern Financial Group (westernsouthern.com) is a Cincinnati-based Fortune 500 diversified family of financial services companies. Western & Southern maintains very strong financial strength ratings from independent rating agencies.

What is the history and heritage of IFS Financial Services and how has the organization evolved over the years?

IFS was formed in 1991 to distribute Western & Southern annuities through banks. The first year we generated $1 million in annuity sales. By 1999, we ranked 10th nationally for fixed annuity sales through banks, a position we maintain today. Last year, IFS sales of annuity and life products through banks exceeded $850 million.

In 1994, the IFS team developed and launched the Touchstone mutual funds, a diversified family of sub-advised funds sold through broker dealers, registered investment advisors, and institutions. As of December 2015, Touchstone had $19 billion in assets under management and generated $4.7 billion in gross sales. Touchstone’s organic growth has been supplemented with four acquisitions since inception – the Countrywide Funds in 1999, the Constellation Funds in 2006, the Old Mutual Funds in early 2012, and the Fifth Third Funds in the fall of 2012.

Another milestone in IFS’s history was Western & Southern’s acquisition of the Integrity companies in 2000. Integrity brought scale to our variable annuity business (a product line launched by IFS in 1995), expanded our broker dealer business, and added independent advisor distribution. In 2006, the Integrity companies were integrated into the Western & Southern Cincinnati campus from Louisville, Kentucky. Sales through Integrity distribution exceeded $845 million in 2015.

Today, the companies under the IFS umbrella are responsible for $35 billion of assets owned or managed by Western & Southern. IFS is a case study in taking a long-term view to execute organic and structural growth.

How critical is IFS Financial Services in driving growth for Western & Southern Financial Group?

In 2015, the businesses of IFS generated nearly $200 million in operating gain, 47 percent of Western & Southern’s total operating gain. In addition, the life insurance and annuity businesses of IFS generated $1.7 billion in premium, 56 percent of the company’s total premium, with the Touchstone mutual fund business generating another $4.7 billion in gross sales. The products and services offered by IFS businesses are expected to fuel continued growth as consumer demand for retirement savings and investment solutions continues to grow.

How has the role of the chief marketing officer evolved and what makes an effective CMO today?

Created in the first quarter of this year, the purpose of the office is to centralize and expedite delivery of capabilities that will fuel customer growth and retention for all enterprise businesses. The creation of a new Center of Excellence for Digital and Marketing will allow all business units to move more quickly and efficiently in rolling out successful digital strategies.