Get to Know Charles Arnold

March, 2024
Get to know Charles Arnold

This month, our “get to know” series moves beyond the walls of IPL’s offices as we introduce you to one of our partners.  This month, we sit down and talk to Charles Arnold, Chief Marketing Officer at The Leaders Group.
Read on to learn more about Charles and The Leaders Group, how he came to his current position, what he wishes more people knew about PPLI and, of course, what he’s watching on TV these days.

The Leaders Group is a Broker Dealer.  What does that mean, exactly?

Yes, we are a broker-dealer and have been for 30 years. We work with securities licensed professionals and organizations to facilitate the sale of registered investment and insurance products to retail customers and institutions.
We have around 1300 registered professionals and our core functions as a broker-dealer would be rep oversight and transaction processing. This would include mutual funds, retirement plans, stocks and bonds, variable annuities, indexed annuities, registered indexed-linked annuities, variable life insurance, and private placement life and annuity products, among others.  We supervise our reps to make sure they are doing the right thing for customers, and we process the transactions they conduct, there is more to it than that, but this is a simplified explanation.
Long story short, when you work with a financial professional for securities products, they are registered with an organization like ours that provides them with access to solutions and makes sure they treat you right.

Many people don’t make connections, but PPLI is a form of variable life insurance.  How does The Leaders Group work with variable products generally and PPLI specifically?

The Leaders Group is among the largest broker-dealers in the world for variable universal life insurance and by default, we are a leading broker-dealer for PPLI.
You are correct, PPLI is a form of variable life insurance for accredited investors that has some unique flexibility in design. As a broker dealer, we have relationships with all the carriers, such as IPL, as well as trust companies, investment managers, and fund administrators so that our reps can plug into our model.
VUL is a fantastic solution, but it needs to be the right solution for the customer; however, the VUL landscape is evolving dramatically and is currently one of the most versatile products in the insurance market. As an example, there are fully guaranteed VUL products, products with indexed sub-account options, and products that offer long-term care riders. This certainly isn’t the VUL of the 1990s, things have come a very long way.

What do you find fascinating about PPLI?

The customization ability of PPLI is critical and the ability for it to be worked into an overall estate and legacy plan for affluent customers is the key. Having the ability to utilize specialized investment managers within the policy to professionally manage cash value is a major draw along with the tax benefits associated with life insurance. These are not off-the-shelf products, these are cost-efficient, custom configurations that allow for maximum benefit.

What do you wish more people knew about PPLI?

That it exists. Many financial professionals, particularly wealth managers, are not very familiar with life insurance or annuity solutions, or shy away from them due to complexities or misconceptions. If you aren’t talking about this concept to your high-net-worth customers, someone else will be.
On the flip side, customers need to be open to hearing about these solutions and I think it comes down to how they are presented by the advisors and reps. As with most insurance, it is a product that needs to be explained and sold correctly, meaning with the best intention and as transparent as possible.

Turning from Leaders Group to you personally, what was the career path that led you to your current position?

I had moved to Denver from Chicago and was looking for a change of pace. My background had always been in financial distribution, and The Leaders Group was a natural fit. I started off by recruiting brokerage general agents and wholesale groups to the broker-dealer. That turned into an overall role of CMO, which I oversee all recruiting and marketing activities for the firm.

Charles Arnold Photo Collage
And now we ask every interviewee a specific question.  What are the top 3 programs you are watching on TV right now?

I am watching The Gentlemen now on Netflix, but I just started it. I previously have enjoyed Billions and Succession. My all-time favorite would be Game of Thrones. My wife and I watch Suits, and we are only on the second season because we have a little baby at home so we only can watch it when either we are not too tired, or baby is asleep.

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