Securities America, a Nebraska-based broker-dealer with 1,900 independent financial advisors, has named its president, Jim Nagengast, as chief executive officer.

Nagengast, who was promoted to president in August 2008, will keep that title. As CEO, he follows Steve McWhorter, who announced his retirement in January after 23 years with the company. McWhorter announced his resignation shortly before the company was charged by the Massachusetts Securities Division with misleading investors when it sold millions in private placement securities for a company that purchased medical receivables. The company has vigorously denied the charges in the complaint.

Nagengast joined Securities America in 1994 as vice president of finance. He was promoted to chief financial officer of Securities America Financial Corp. in 1997. He took responsibility for Information Services in 2000 and became chief operating officer in 2004. Yesterday Nagengast said he will be giving up the titles of CFO and COO and expects to be making announcements shortly on who will be filling those positions.

Going forward, Nagengast says one area on which Securities America will focus is expanding its fee platforms, which are one of the fastest-growing segments of the company's business. He noted that fees coming through reps who are acting as portfolio managers or outsourcing portfolio management now generate about 40% of the company's business.

Securities America also will be renewing its focus on helping advisors work through retirement distribution issues with clients. "What we're seeing is that clients want more guaranteed income streams and they're more risk averse since the market downturn of 2008," he says.

Securities America, a subsidiary of Amerprise Financial that's headquartered outside Omaha in La Vista, also plans to add more coaching services for advisors and continue its emphasis on technology so that advisors can operate their offices efficiently, Nagengast says. Advisors who are part of Securities America supervise $53 billion in assets.

Nagengast adds Securities America will continue recruiting advisors who are working at other firms and hiring some who are new to the business, but its biggest gains may come from buying small broker-dealers. Some small b-ds are finding it hard to keep up with technology, compliance and other business pressures, resulting in their margins being squeezed very thin, he adds. "We think there's a good opportunity with broker-dealers that are looking to shut down or that may want to partner," Nagengast says. "We can provide a lot of value added."