|Founded||February 10, 1977|
|Headquarters||Duluth, Georgia, United States|
|Revenue||US$ 1.69 billion (2017)|
|US$ 408.01 million (2017)|
|US$ 350.26 million (2017)|
|Total assets||US$ 12.46 billion (2017)|
|Total equity||US$ 1.42 billion (2017)|
Number of employees
|Footnotes / references|
Primerica, Inc. is an insurance and financial services company that uses multi-level marketing to sell financial products and services. Headquartered in unincorporated Gwinnett County, Georgia, Primerica spun off from its former parent company Citigroup through an initial public offering on April 1, 2010.
Primerica reported having 120,000 independent representatives in 2017, through Primerica's securities broker-dealer affiliate PFS Investments, Inc. in the United States, and through PFSL Investments Canada Ltd. in Canada. The company primarily sells term life insurance, as well as mutual funds, annuities, segregated funds, managed accounts, long-term care insurance, pre-paid legal services, auto insurance, home insurance, credit monitoring and debt management plans. Primerica was listed by Forbes as one of "Americas 50 Most Trustworthy Financial Companies" in 2015.
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A.L. Williams & Associates (A.L. Williams), the progenitor of Primerica, was founded in 1977 by Arthur L. Williams Jr. The company employed a mass-marketing concept of "buy term and invest the difference", to illustrate how its mostly middle-income client base could purchase sufficient protection with term life insurance and systematically save and invest in separate investment vehicles, such as mutual fund Individual Retirement Accounts. A.L. Williams was established as a privately held general agency, at first selling term life insurance policies underwritten by Financial Assurance, Inc. (FAI).
In 1980, A.L. Williams entered into a contract with Boston-based Massachusetts Indemnity and Life Insurance Company (MILICO), a larger underwriter of life insurance and a subsidiary of Santa Monica-based PennCorp Financial Services. In 1981, the company established First American National Corporation (later renamed The A.L. Williams Corporation) as a holding company for First American Life Insurance (later renamed A.L. Williams Life Insurance Company) and First American National Securities (later renamed PFS Investments, Inc). In 1982, The A.L. Williams Corporation (ALWC) underwrote a public stock offering, listed in the Over the Counter (OTC) market under the symbol ALWC. In 1983, the company became listed on the NASDAQ exchange under the same symbol.
PennCorp finalized a merger agreement with American Can Company in 1983, and became its subsidiary along with MILICO. In 1986 Triangle Industries bought American Can's packaging division and the rights to the company's name, and in 1987 American Can announced that it would change its 86-year-old name to Primerica Corporation, giving birth to the name "Primerica."
Mergers and acquisitions
Acquisition by Commercial Credit
After encountering legal and cultural roadblocks to expanding outside the United States, ALWC began selling the insurance products of Pennsylvania Life Insurance Company, a Primerica subsidiary, in Canada in 1986. Primerica announced in May 1987 that it intended to purchase Wall Street brokerage firm Smith Barney for $750 million and move into the financial services sector. On November 30, 1988, ALWC acquired MILICO from Primerica Corporation through a stock merger acquisition for 44.58 million shares of ALWC stock, making Primerica Corporation the majority shareholder of ALWC. In December 1988, Sanford Weill's Commercial Credit acquired Primerica Corporation for $1.54 billion, retaining the Primerica name. At this time, the major businesses under Primerica Corporation were A.L. Williams, Smith Barney and Commercial Credit. On February 6, 1989, Primerica Corporation began trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Travelers and Citigroup era
In November 1989, Primerica purchased the remaining 30% of ALWC that it did not previously own and the privately held General Agent, A.L. Williams, Inc. In 1991, Primerica Corporation changed the name of A.L. Williams to Primerica Financial Services. The following year MILICO, Primerica's life insurance underwriter, changed its name to Primerica Life Insurance Company, and its broker-dealer FANS changed to PFS Investments, Inc. In December 1993, Primerica acquired the remaining 73% of Travelers Insurance Corporation and adopted the name Travelers Inc., which was changed to Travelers Group the following year. Travelers Group included Primerica Financial Services, Smith Barney, Travelers Life and Annuity, Travelers Property/Casualty, Commercial Credit and other financial businesses. Joe Plumeri was Chairman and CEO of Primerica Financial Services from 1995 to 1999. In 1998, Primerica had net income of $398 million on net sales of $1.65 billion, compared to a 1994 $209 million net income on net sales of $1.28 billion.
In December 1997, Primerica announced it was going to begin offering pre-paid legal through Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc., at the time both subsidiaries of Travelers Group, Inc. In 1998, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) censured and fined PFS Investments Inc., the securities arm for Primerica, for failure to properly supervise a group of registered representatives in Dearborn, Michigan. The SEC found that PFS Investments Inc. had failed to have in place effective policies and procedures to follow up adequately on three complaints received about the Dearborn registered representatives, "selling away" activities. Prior to the SEC's ruling, PFS Investments Inc. hired an independent consultant to review its supervisory and compliance policies and procedures to prevent and detect violations of the federal securities laws. By the date of the ruling, PFS Investments reported it had complied with the final recommendations made by the independent consultant.
In 1998, Travelers Group and banking giant Citicorp merged creating Citigroup (NYSE: C). Primerica and its affiliates continued to operate as subsidiaries of Citigroup, although the Travelers insurance business was spun off in 2002. Along with Primerica, other major brand names under Citigroup included Citibank, CitiFinancial, Citicorp Trust Bank, Smith Barney, and Banamex. John Addison and Rick Williams were hired as co-CEOs in 2000, and Glen J. Williams was promoted to President in 2005.
Separation from Citi
Citigroup attempted to sell Primerica in 2008, having received several bids from life insurance companies and private equity firms interested in buying. At the time the market value of the company was estimated to be $7 billion, roughly 15 times its annual earnings and Citi was trying to match various bidders in groups that could bid for the unit together. Initially, a sale to JC Flowers & Co. LLC and Protective Life Corp was underway until the deal was canceled last minute for publicly undisclosed reasons.
In May 2009 the Primerica executive team led by co-CEOs John Addison and Rick Williams approached private equity firm J.C. Flowers & Co. yet again, as well as Blackstone Group LP and TPG Inc  in a new attempt to sell the company, a plan which Citigroup did not endorse.
Initial public offering
On November 5, 2009 Citi announced that it intended to spin off Primerica through an initial public offering. The first trading occurred on April 1, 2010. The expected share price was in the $12 – $14 range, and ended up priced at $15 a share on March 31, 2010, resulting in Citi raising 27 percent or $30 million more than $290 million projected through the IPO by selling 3.36 million more shares than the anticipated 18 million. The first day of trading saw the stock surge 31 percent to close at $19.65 a share.
In a separate offering, private equity firm Warburg Pincus bought 17.2 million shares, resulting in a 23 percent stake in Primerica, and up to 33 percent if Warburg decides to exercise warrants to purchase an additional 4.3 million shares from Citi. Following the IPO, Citi's stake was between 32 percent and 46 percent and expected to divest its interest in Primerica "as soon as possible" to fulfill its original goal of raising cash by shedding assets to improve financial performance. On December 19, 2011, Citigroup sold its remaining equity stake in Primerica (approximately 8 million shares of Primerica's common stock), completing the separation from Citi.
In Primerica's eleven-tiered multilevel-marketing system, the company's sales representatives receive a commission for selling financial products, while a portion of the sale is also paid to the representative's recruiter, the recruiter's recruiter, and so on, up to eleven levels. Sales agents are tasked with selling the company's products to a "warm market” including their family and friends. As of 2010, Primerica required its sales representatives to pay a $25 monthly fee, and it is estimated that these fees netted the company revenue of $2.5 million per month from its own employees. In 2010, Primerica was reported to have over 100,000 representatives selling the company's financial products, with individual earnings averaging $5,156 per year. More than 190,000 new sales recruits paid a fee to sign up for Primerica in 2014, but the company only boosted its total licensed sales force by 3,700 that year, and each member of the sales team earned an average of $6,030. As of September 2017, the company reported having 124,436 independent representatives.
In October 2015, James Wilcox, a school district superintendent in Longview, Texas and other Primerica representatives were censured by the Longview school district for holding Primerica recruitment pitch meetings at a local high school. The meetings generated numerous complaints and violated the school district's employee policy manual . The district's school board banned Primerica from Longview ISD campuses and directed Wilcox to "not allow any meetings of this type on any LISD property in that future".
In 2017 a freshman student at Brooklyn College alleged that Primerica representatives tried to recruit him on Brooklyn's campus, in violation of the college's rules. A warning was issued to Brooklyn College Public Safety shortly after an inquiry on the matter. A representative from Primerica alleged that the discussion did not occur on Brooklyn's campus, but rather, occurred "on the corner near the elementary school—in the area around the high school and middle school", with the representative adding that "there might have been some new volunteers on the campus, but it was not me."
In 2017, registered investment adviser Mike Lundy, a representative of Primerica and manager of its Rapid City, SD office, was sentenced to 5 years in federal prison after pocketing $4.2 million in clients’ money. Lundy pleaded guilty to wire fraud and filing a false tax return. He admitted encouraging clients to put money into a fake investment company from the early 2000s to 2014, depositing the money in his bank account. Lundy was ordered by the court to pay back $1.3 million owed to the victims and to pay taxes owed to the Internal Revenue Service.
2012 Florida lawsuit and settlement
In 2012, Primerica was the target of multiple lawsuits alleging that the company's representatives sought to profit by earning commissions after convincing Florida firefighters, teachers and other public workers to divest from safe government-secured retirement investments to inappropriate high-risk retirement products offered by Primerica. In January 2014, the company set aside $15.4 million to settle allegations involving 238 cases.
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Primerica suggests three modifications to the RPBOR, to better assure that the regulatory language actually achieves the clear intent of the Revised Notice that the Rule exclude multi-level marketing opportunities like those offered by Primerica and by many members of the Direct Selling Association...This will exclude most or all multi-level marketing companies, since most of them (like Primerica) prohibit upline agents from imposing fees on their downlines
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