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Aflac Awards Kirsch $3.4 Million for Investing Duty

Aflac Chief Investment Officer Eric Kirsch. Photographer: Stephen Yang/Bloomberg
Aflac Chief Investment Officer Eric Kirsch. Photographer: Stephen Yang/Bloomberg

Eric Kirsch, the chief investment officer hired by Aflac Inc. from Goldman Sachs Group Inc., was awarded compensation of $3.4 million in 2013, 62 percent more than a year earlier.

The package for Kirsch, 53, was disclosed for the first time in Columbus, Georgia-based Aflac’s proxy filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission today. The sum includes a $566,500 salary and a bonus of $1.4 million, as well as stock and options.

Kirsch has hired staff from firms including Deutsche Bank AG and BlackRock Inc. since joining from Goldman Sachs, where he ran insurance asset management. He has worked to reposition an investment portfolio of more than $100 billion, after the company was burned by losses on European securities. One of his goals last year was to make sure credit losses and impairments didn’t exceed $250 million. He posted $63 million of gains.

Kirsch “decreased concentrated exposures to Europe, financial sector and subordinated debt,” the insurer said in the filing.

Aflac, the largest seller of supplemental health coverage, advanced 24 percent in the last year, beating the 19 percent gain of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Kirsch replaced Joey Loudermilk, Aflac’s general counsel, in the list of five named executive officers whose compensation packages are disclosed. Loudermilk, who made $4.4 million in 2012, plans to retire this year after three decades at Aflac, the insurer said last month in a filing.

Aflac Chief Executive Officer Dan Amos, 62, remained the top-paid manager, with total compensation of $18.6 million, up from $13.8 million a year earlier. Chief Financial Officer Kriss Cloninger, 66, earned $6.5 million, while Amos’s son, Paul Amos II, 38, received $4.1 million as Aflac president.

Wall Street

Insurers have been turning to Wall Street talent to manage their portfolios amid pressure from low interest rates. Lincoln National Corp. in 2012 hired Ellen Cooper from Goldman Sachs as chief investment officer.

Kirsch’s pay was similar to the 2012 compensation of Steve Goulart, the chief investment officer at MetLife Inc., who was previously a banker at Bear Stearns. Goulart made $3.6 million that year, including a salary of about $539,000. New York-based MetLife hasn’t yet filed a proxy with 2013 data.

William Dooley, executive vice president for investments at American International Group Inc., earned $7.1 million in 2013.

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