Retirement Industry People Moves

Easterly Asset Management hires VP of intermediary relationships; abrdn bolsters consultant relations team; Nationwide promotes pension risk transfer business leader; and more.

By DJ Shaw
Art by Subin Yang

Art by Subin Yang

Easterly Asset Management Hires VP of Intermediary Relationships

Easterly Asset Management, a multi-affiliate asset manager of boutique investment firms, has announced the hiring of Michael Burke as vice president of intermediary relationships.

Burke brings with him nearly 30 years of experience in the financial industry. Prior to joining Easterly, he was head of national accounts for Ivy Investments. Burke held similar roles at both Pioneer Investment and Deutsche Asset Management. He holds his Series 7, 24, 63 licenses and he is a certified investment management analyst.

In his role prior to joining Easterly, Burke managed Ivy Investments’ national account team that covered all responsibilities for wirehouses, independent firms, defined contribution investment only, turnkey asset management programs, and registered investment advisers across Ivy’s mutual fund, separately managed account  and retirement products lineup. He established and implemented sales and product strategy for the firm and maintained primary coverage responsibilities for Merrill, Morgan Stanley and UBS.

Prior to Ivy, Burke managed the largest distribution relationships for Pioneer Investments and increased the firm’s mutual fund, individual retirement plan, closed-end fund and separately managed account placements across all platforms. He also developed and implemented marketing and business development plans to highlight Pioneer’s products and capitalize on industry trends.

“We are excited to welcome Mike to the firm,” says Mike Collins, head of distribution at Easterly. “He brings with him a wealth of relationships and experience in the national account space. Combining his expertise with our exciting product line is bound to increase our placements and visibility across all platforms.”

Burke, who will work at Easterly’s Beverly, Massachusetts, headquarters, earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Fairfield University.

Halbert Hargrove Names New CEO

Halbert Hargrove, a fiduciary investment management and wealth advisory firm headquartered in Long Beach, California, has promoted the firm’s president and chief operating officer, JC Abusaid, to CEO. The firm also promoted Cecilia Williams to chief operating officer and Kelli Kiemle as managing director of growth and client experience.

Abusaid has been with the firm for 25 years and worked closely with Williams and Kiemle, who have each been with the firm for 15 years. Williams, who was previously the director of investment operations, was responsible for managing Halbert Hargrove’s institutional trading partner relationships. Formerly the director of marketing and client experience, Kiemle set the tone for client service relationships and oversaw the firm’s wide-ranging marketing and communications initiatives. Now, as managing director of growth and client experience, she will oversee the firm’s marketing and communications initiatives, as well its sales efforts.

Halbert Hargrove’s chairman and former CEO, Russ Hill, will stay on as chairman of the firm. Hill, who hired and trained Abusaid over the past 25 years, has led Halbert Hargrove for more than four decades.

“At Halbert Hargrove, we believe a well-lived life is about more than money, which is why we’ve worked hard to cultivate a company culture that employees want to be a part of every day and grow with us,” Hill says. “The future of our firm is in excellent hands, as JC has been leading us for quite some time. I have no doubt we will continue to grow our firm while cultivating an incredible culture.”

abrdn Bolsters Consultant Relations Team

abrdn has announced that Jacqueline Carr and Elizabeth Kaicher have joined the firm as senior directors, focused on consultant relations in North America. Carr and Kaicher are based in New York and report to Eric Roberts, head of institutions.

Before joining abrdn, Carr was a partner and led consultant relations in North America at Stone Harbor Investment Partners. Her previous roles include head of consultant relations at BNP Paribas Asset Management and at PineBridge Investments. She also held senior management roles at Commonfund and Morgan Stanley Investment Management. Carr earned her master’s in business administration in finance from Fordham University’s Graduate School of Business and a bachelor’s in economics from William Smith College.

Kaicher joins abrdn from BNP Paribas Asset Management, where she led the consultant relations effort for the firm in North America. Prior to her experience covering the consultant channel, she worked on the dedicated central bank and official institutions coverage team for FFTW, a BNP Paribas Investment Partner. She also held sales and relationship management roles at Deutsche Bank and Standard Chartered Bank. Kaicher earned her bachelor’s degree from Providence College.

Nationwide Promotes Pension Risk Transfer Business Leader

Nationwide has announced that Paula Cole has been promoted to vice president. Cole will continue to lead Nationwide’s pension risk transfer business.

With a career spanning more than 20 years, Cole’s leadership over the past two years at Nationwide has been instrumental to the company’s success re-entering the PRT market. She helped develop the strategic direction for Nationwide’s PRT business, which achieved more than double its annual sales goal for 2021. Her team’s size has doubled in the past year based on the rapid sales growth.

“Since re-entering the PRT market, we have elevated and accelerated our people, processes and tools. As we strive to become an industry leader, supporting plan sponsors and members, Paula’s promotion is indicative of our commitment to our strategy and aggressive plans for growth,” says J.J. Perez, president of Nationwide Corporate Solutions. “PRT is a business we’re committed to for the long term. Under Paula’s leadership, our team takes advantage of Nationwide’s core competencies with some of the top talent in the industry, delivering on our promises with extraordinary care.”

Nationwide’s PRT business leverages nearly 100 years of annuity, defined benefit and risk management experience, as well as the company’s financial strength, to serve a legacy book with more than 500 contracts and 20,0000 annuitants, as well as 10,000 annuitants added since Nationwide’s 2020 PRT market re-entry, with a focus on personalized service and transition simplicity. In 2022, the business will expand capabilities to customize for plan needs, including asset-in-kind, cash balance and separate account transactions. 

In addition to her professional accomplishments, Cole serves as vice president for Nationwide’s African American Women Associate Resource Group. She is also an active leader in supporting colleagues through performance management, mentorship, and diversity and inclusion efforts. She serves her local community as a member of the board of directors for Thurber House and as a district activist leader for the National MS Society.

J.P. Morgan Announces Insurance and Annuities Head

As the company continues to build out its insurance and annuity capabilities, J.P. Morgan has announced that Paul Hewitt has joined the firm as head of insurance and annuities for the U.S. private bank, reporting to Laura Pantaleo, head of insurance and retirement solutions.

In this new role, Hewitt will be responsible for growing U.S. private bank adviser and client adoption of annuity and insurance products. He will partner with J.P. Morgan’s product, business development and advice teams to design education and thought leadership as the company rolls out this new offering for the Private Bank. Hewitt will engage with advisers to deliver advice and promote solutions to help clients achieve the peace of mind associated with the location and protection of their assets.

Paul brings more than 25 years of experience focused on insurance-based solutions and estate planning for America’s wealthiest families. He spent eight years at UBS Private Wealth Management, including serving as head of insurance sales and distribution with responsibility for sales strategy, growth, delivery and execution. Prior to that, he was with Merrill Lynch for a decade, where he was responsible for insurance solutions for the Private Banking & Investment Group and U.S. Trust business.

Verity Asset Management Names Chief Governance Officer

Verity Asset Management, a registered investment adviser, has appointed Robert McLean as chief governance officer of its newly launched service offering, the plan governance platform Vynntana. Vynntana provides a suite of tools and services in support of 403(b) and 457(b) plan sponsors and the non-Employee Retirement Income Security Act retirement vehicles they provide for their eligible employees.

Having served since 2008 in the employer-sponsored retirement plans space, McLean joined Verity Asset Management in October. Former president and CEO of independent third party administrator U.S. OMNI, he brings a wealth of knowledge and senior-level executive experience acquired in roles ranging from chief counsel and C-suite executive to public sector retirement plan industry consultant. He earned his juris doctor from Villanova University School of Law and his bachelor of arts in political science from Boston College.

His responsibilities will include designing operational policies and procedures, service offerings, training systems, and customer experience systems underpinning Vynntana.

River and Mercantile Consulting Business Announces Rebrand

As part of the sale of River and Mercantile to AssetCo in the UK, its U.S. consulting business has announced a spin-off, creating an independent, privately owned investment, actuarial and risk management group. Led by the U.S. management team and rebranded as Agilis, the new entity will remain focused on serving institutional investor clients with the same team in place.

The spin-off will reinforce client focus for the organization and better position the team for future growth. Agilis’ core business will continue to focus on custom solutions delivered through outsourced chief investment officer, actuarial and investment consulting, derivatives management, and pension actuarial and administrative services, including annuity buyouts and plan terminations.

With approximately 40 professionals across the U.S., Agilis is headquartered in Boston, with other offices in New York City and Denver. The full U.S. consulting team will stay intact, including leadership of the U.S. organization.