Unbeatable Combination

By merging a venerable insurer, a thriving asset manager, and a revitalized investment bank, Atlanta Life Financial Group has become the industry's latest powerhouse

has structured the company in such a way that he says will allow the company to thrive regardless of business condition. “What you want to do is put a foundation in place that allows you to build whatever you need to build on top of it based on whatever the next 100 years brings,” he says, “and that’s something I felt I could do and I feel like we are doing. We aren’t there yet, but we’ve certainly made some pretty significant progress.”

Melissa Gannon, vice president of insurance and bank ratings at TheStreet.com Ratings, an independent provider of ratings and analysis of financial services companies, says Atlanta Life is currently stable — which is good given the financial environment. “If sales start to decline, then you may see more deterioration with capital,” Gannon says, but adds that she doesn’t see any reason why Atlanta Life won’t remain stable. “I expect them to remain fairly sound in the future.”

Going forward, expect more growth from Atlanta Life Financial Group, be it organic or through other strategic acquisitions. Jackson Securities is placing renewed focus on its wealth management business for high net worth African Americans. Atlanta Life is also considering getting into private equity having provided the $20 million growth capital to PRWT (No. 57 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list with $76 million in revenues) and helped with the transaction services firm’s acquisition of a chemical manufacturing plant from Merck & Co. Inc. in 2007.

Brown says the future of Atlanta Life is in its asset management and investment banking businesses. Now with a solid foundation in place, Atlanta Life has transitioned itself out of the faltering business of retail insurance to become a full-fledged financial services firm — one deal at a time.
— Additional reporting by Aisha I. Jefferson

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