New York Life Insurance Co. hired Direxion Investments’ Brian Jacobs to lead retail distribution at its global asset manager, as the firm builds its business in exchange-traded funds.

Jacobs, 55, previously worked as president at Direxion, an ETF sponsor, where he helped build the firm’s asset base, New York Life said Wednesday in a statement. In his new role, he will lead U.S. retail sales for operations including the MainStay mutuals and IndexIQ, and report to Stephen Fisher, president of New York Life Investment Management and MainStay Investments.

Insurers including New York Life have been building up asset-management units, which tend to be less capital intensive and generate fee income. It bought IndexIQ this year to push into ETFs and promoted Jae Yoon to chief investment officer of New York Life Investment Management in September.

“Brian’s impressive track record for building successful businesses and sales teams within the mutual fund, ETF and alternative asset management spaces makes him the optimal choice as we continue to partner with our clients to help them attain the very best long-term solutions,” Fisher said in the statement.

James Doyle, a Direxion spokesman, confirmed Jacobs had left the firm and said the company has no current plans to fill his position.