Retirement Industry People Moves

Creative Planning acquires JBJ Invest; Vestmark names direct indexing senior vice president; HBL expands ERISA litigation capabilities; and more.

By DJ Shaw
Art by Subin Yang

Art by Subin Yang

Creative Planning Acquires JBJ Invest

JBJ Invest, managing more than $735 million in assets, has joined forces with registered investment adviser Creative Planning LLC, to create and expand a comprehensive dental office specialty practice.

JBJ Invest provides financial planning and portfolio management services to individuals, families, trusts and institutions, particularly within its specialty health care niche. JBJ’s focus is providing top-tier investment advisory expertise, as well as business, life-management and retirement plan consulting services.

While JBJ has a diverse client base, it was originally founded by pediatric dentist Dr. Jim Jackson, allowing it to serve the unique needs of the dental community. The firm plans to continue to guide health care professionals through an increasingly complex financial landscape.

DeVoe & Co. served as financial adviser to JBJ Invest on the transaction.


Vestmark Names Direct Indexing Senior Vice President

 Vestmark Inc., a provider of portfolio management tools and trading software, has named David Gordon as the company’s new senior vice president, direct indexing.

In this new role, Gordon will be responsible for expanding adoption of Vestmark’s direct indexing solutions, which enable client-driven customizations on tax management and personal preferences such as environmental, social and governance investing for wealth management firms and their clients. He will report to Ananya Balaram, Vestmark’s executive vice president of sales.

Prior to joining Vestmark, Gordon was director of the Eaton Vance Advisor Institute, responsible for supporting advisers who serve ultra-affluent clients with practice management education and tools for growth. Prior to that, he served as vice president in the Eaton Vance Wealth Strategies Group, representing the firm’s tax-managed index portfolios, structured alpha strategies, managed option programs and concentrated stock solutions. Earlier, he was vice president at AIM Private Asset Management, where he represented AIM and Invesco separately managed account strategies.

An Army veteran, Gordon completed his bachelor of science degree at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and his master’s degree in business administration at the University of Texas at Austin. He holds Chartered Financial Analyst and Certified Private Wealth Advisor certifications.

“In recent years, we have seen more investors demand lower-cost, more tax-efficient investments while seeking the ability to express their personal values—such as ESG preferences—in their portfolios. The challenge has been figuring out how to do this in a scalable way,” Gordon says. “Direct indexing provides an ideal solution, and Vestmark is uniquely positioned to enable advisers to offer distinctive, customized portfolios to hundreds or even thousands of clients. I’m excited to bring more direct indexing capabilities to wealth managers and advisers, helping them to improve productivity, reach new client segments and drive revenue.”

Last month, Vestmark named Agnes Hong as chief investment officer and head of advisory services for Vestmark Advisory Solutions, Vestmark’s registered investment adviser. Hong will partner with Gordon to lead the development and growth of new offerings related to direct indexing.


HBL Expands ERISA Litigation Capabilities

Serving employer plan sponsors and benefit service provider clients in 35 states, boutique Employee Retirement Income Security Act and employment law firm Hall Benefits Law is partnering with the attorneys of Pridgen Bassett Law in a mutual of counsel arrangement.

Nancy Pridgen and Leslie Bassett, Pridgen Bassett Law partners, spent many years at Alston & Bird and King & Spalding representing clients in complex ERISA litigation matters. Litigants have many questions before and during ERISA disputes, and HBL can now directly serve plan sponsors who find themselves involved in such disputes.

Pridgen has litigated scores of ERISA benefits claims and fiduciary cases throughout the country. She developed this expertise in ERISA litigation while at Alston & Bird, where she litigated numerous class actions and other complex litigation involving employee pension cases and welfare benefit claims.

For over 18 years, Bassett has provided personalized ERISA representation to clients on all sides of benefit matters. She has represented sponsors and fiduciaries of employee benefit plans in complex employee benefit and ERISA litigation matters in federal and state courts throughout the country, including litigation involving breaches of fiduciary duty and employer stock held in 401(k) plans.


Alerus Adds Senior Retirement Specialist

Alerus has announced the addition of Lodi Larson as a senior retirement specialist. In this role, she will work with advisers, third-party administrators and plan sponsors to deliver retirement plan service. She is responsible for maintaining and strengthening current and new business relationships.

Larson has more than 10 years of experience in the retirement and insurance industries, serving in roles including new business specialist and as a 3(16) administrator, where she was responsible for the day-to-day management of 250 401(k) plans. She is also the co-founder of Mackenzy’s Little Miracles, a nonprofit established to continue her daughter’s legacy of giving back and paying it forward. She is based in Des Moines, Iowa.


HSA Bank Acquires HSA Solutions Provider

HSA Bank has announced that its parent, Webster Financial Corp., has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Bend Financial Inc., a cloud-based health savings account solutions provider.

This investment seeks to further advance efforts to deliver differentiation to customers through a simplified and modern approach to HSA management and engagement.

“Leveraging Bend’s cloud native technology and user-centered design, HSA Bank will enhance our digital experience for clients in an engaging and intuitive way,” says HSA Bank President Chad Wilkins. “This will enable our customers to better understand the financial impact of their health care decisions to make smart choices for long-term savings.”

The Bend technology provides detailed guidance to help consumers fully understand and optimize their health savings account and the choices that affect short- and long-term financial goals.


Innocap to Acquire BNY Mellon’s HedgeMark Business

Innocap Investment Management Inc. has announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire BNY Mellon’s HedgeMark business to create a single technology-enabled alternative investment platform.

The consideration for the sale will be a combination of cash and Innocap shares, allowing BNY Mellon to own a minority equity stake in Innocap’s combined $50 billion global platform, which focuses on helping institutional allocators access their investments through managed account services providing customized investment solutions, meaningful control, increased transparency and operational alpha over their investment portfolios.

The firm says clients will benefit from the combined talent, scale, flexibility, technology, innovation and global presence. The transaction will combine Innocap’s global alternative investment business with BNY Mellon’s scalable HedgeMark, a hedge fund managed account platform and risk services business.

HedgeMark’s current management is expected to join the Innocap team in senior roles. Operating as an independent, focused and scalable business will advance Innocap and HedgeMark’s shared focus of offering institutional allocators a superior approach to structuring, accessing and monitoring their investments.

Innocap and BNY Mellon will continue to leverage each other’s capabilities to support the needs of clients using their respective core services, such as custody and administrative services. The transaction is subject to normal closing conditions and regulatory approval and is expected to close in the first half of 2022.