Financial industry veteran J. David Ballard has been hired by Cetera Financial Group and appointed as executive vice president and chief operating officer effective April 13, Cetera announced Monday.

Ballard, 47, will be based in Los Angeles and report directly to R. Lawrence Roth, Cetera Financial Group CEO.

Ballard has 28 years of experience in a series of senior operating and executive roles in the industry, most recently as executive vice president and chief operating officer of the independent broker-dealer network AIG Advisor Group.

At Cetera, a network of independent broker-dealer firms, Ballard will serve as a member of the executive leadership team helping to formulate overall strategy and operational plans, the company said. He will work with leaders at each of the network’s member firms.

The new position and Ballard’s hiring are part of Celera’s growth strategy, which has been marked by several acquisitions of large and mid-size broker-dealer firms over the past two years, said Roth. Cetera has $230 billion in client assets.

“David’s hiring is part of our growth play and his experience will be hugely important to us from an operational standpoint,” Roth added.

Before AIG, Ballard served in senior executive roles at SunAmerica and other AIG business units.

“There’s no question that bringing David to Cetera Financial Group as a recognized industry chief operating officer is an enormous win for our company, our broker-dealers and the over 9,500 financial advisors our member firms support,” said Roth. “Having worked closely for many years with David, I can say that he is one of the most experienced and talented COOs in the independent broker-dealer industry today”

“Cetera Financial Group is rapidly positioning itself as one of the top leaders within the industry, and I look forward to supporting the network in its strategy and operations as it embarks upon the next stages of its development and growth,” Ballard said.

Ballard said he feels he is best known for bringing technology together with operational resources, which he will do at Cetera.