Retirement Industry People Moves

New hires and promotions at BlackRock, The Retirement Advantage, ARA and more, and a new director takes the helm of the PBGC.

Sean Murray has been named national sales manager of the U.S. and Canada defined contribution (DC) group at BlackRock, a newly created role. Murray is responsible for the firm’s DC field force and sales desk, as well as the recordkeeper platform team.

Murray was previously executive vice president at PIMCO, where he headed adviser DC sales since 2011. Before PIMCO, he spent 10 years at Goldman Sachs as head of the retail defined contribution investment-only (DCIO) business. Murray will report to Ralph Haberli, head of distribution and business development for BlackRock’s U.S and Canada DC group. Murray holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

BlackRock is also creating a new role for Dick Darian, which will focus on the growing middle market segment of plan advisers. Darian was previously head of adviser-sold distribution for BlackRock’s U.S and Canada DC group.

Haberli cites Murray’s depth of sales experience combined with Dick Darian’s strong relationships across the DC landscape as critical to the firm’s DC initiative.

BlackRock reports that it had assets under management of $4.721 trillion as of June 30.

NEXT: The Retirement Advantage adds regional sales consultant.

Joshua Rapp has joined The Retirement Advantage Inc. (TRA) as a regional sales consultant in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Linking with Krista Arena, a regional sales consultant, Rapp will be tasked with partnering with financial advisers and wholesalers to design and implement optimal retirement plans for privately held businesses with 1 to 1,000 employees.

Rapp has more than 14 years’ experience in financial services and retirement plans. For the past several years he has held various roles at New York Life and most recently at Transamerica Retirement Solutions, where he was internal sales consultant/external sales associate and retirement plan associate/401(k) compliance testing associate.

Rapp reports to Craig Mazzini, national sales manager of TRA, who cites Rapp’s expertise in retirement plan sales strategy, adviser practice management, marketing and communications as key characteristics that will enhance TRA’s adviser service and support.

Rapp holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Mount Mercy College as well as his FINRA Series 6 and 63 licenses, and life and variable annuity insurance licenses.

The Retirement Advantage Inc. (TRA) is a third-party administrator (TPA) that specializes in administration, consultation and compliance of retirement plans for small, privately held businesses nationwide.

NEXT: American Retirement Association hires industry expert to focus on large clients.

Jacob Linney has joined The American Retirement Association (ARA) as director of key account sales. He will lead the promotion of a growing array of educational offerings, including the newly launched Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor (CPFA) certification, to the association’s key accounts.

Lisa Allen, chief of business development and retention, cites Linney’s deep subject matter expertise and knowledge of the retirement plan marketplace.

Linney, a frequent writer and speaker on a wide range of pension topics, has been an active member of the ARA and its member associations. He has previously served as a subject matter expert for the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries’ (ASPPA) Retirement Plan Academy, and sits on the National Association of Plan Advisors (NAPA) Government Affairs Committee as well as ASPPA’s Government Affairs Committee. He joins from Pentegra Retirement Services, where he was most recently regional director, qualified plan sales. 

Linney holds the Qualified Plan Administrator (QPA) and Qualified Plan Financial Consultant (QPFC) designations from ASPPA and is enrolled to practice before the IRS as an Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent (ERPA).

The American Retirement Association, a non-profit professional organization established to empower retirement plan professionals, comprises four retirement industry associations; the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA), the ASPPA College of Pension Actuaries (ACOPA), the National Association of Plan Advisors (NAPA), and the National Tax-deferred Savings Association (NTSA).

NEXT: Brinker Capital expands its sales and distribution teams.

Ed Kelly has been promoted from national sales manager to executive vice president of national sales at Brinker Capital, an investment management firm. He now has responsibility for the national sales team, internal sales desk, and retirement plan services group. Kelly will continue to serve on the Brinker Capital Distribution, Operating and Management Committees. Since joining Brinker Capital in 2012, Kelly has led the firm’s sales efforts and served the company’s financial adviser partners. Kelly holds a bachelor’s degree from Villanova University as well as his FINRA series 7, 63 and 66 licenses.

Michael McAleer has been named retirement plan services national sales manager at Brinker Capital. He brings a decade of sales and retirement experience, most recently as vice president and northeast sales manager of retirement business services at Charles Schwab. In his new role, he will lead the sales efforts of the Retirement Plan Services group through the development of long-term business strategies to increase sales, as well as work with the national accounts and product teams. He reports to Kelly. McAleer worked at Clark Capital Management Group, Avatar Associates and Lincoln Financial Group. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Penn State University as well as the Accredited Retirement Plan Consultant (ARPC) and Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF) designations 

Roddy Marino has been appointed executive vice president of national accounts and distribution at Brinker, where he will interface with all departments to ensure the firm’s proper positioning with strategic business partners to drive the success of the sales team. He joins Brinker with more than 20 years of sales experience and an extensive background of building successful distribution channels. Previously, he was the managing director, head of advisory sales, for Allianz Global Investors. He has held positions at Chartwell Investment Partners, Turner Investment Partners, and Rittenhouse Financial Services. Marino holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Virginia and attended the Harvard Business School Executive Education Sales Leadership program. He holds the Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) designation and has his FINRA Series 7, 24, 63 and 65 licenses.

Mike Cole, newly appointed regional director, joins Brinker with more than a dozen years of experience and leadership in sales. Cole will lead sales efforts in the southeast territory, which includes North and South Carolina, Tennessee and portions of Georgia. Previously, he was senior regional business consultant for North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia at Curian Capital, where he managed the top sales territory and built relationships with advisers in the RIA, independent and bank channels. He has also held roles at MetLife, Phoenix Life and Security Financial Life. He reports to Kelly. Cole holds a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Rochester, as well as his FINRA Series 7, 63 and 65 licenses. He holds the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Certified Fund Specialist (CFS) designations.

NEXT: Financial services law firm Dechert makes investment management practice hire.

K. Susan Grafton has joined Dechert, the global specialist law firm, as partner.

Grafton joins the broker/dealer and investment management practice of the firm’s Washington, D.C., office.

In addition to working at several international law firms, Grafton previously was an in-house counsel for Goldman Sachs and spent several years with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Division of Trading and Markets. 

Robert W. Helm, a leader of Dechert’s global Financial Services Practice, cites Grafton’s Wall Street experience as well as her substantial background at the SEC and in private practice.

Grafton holds a bachelor’s degree from McDaniel College, a juris doctor degree from Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law and a Master of Laws degree from Georgetown University Law Center. She is a member of the bars of New York and the District of Columbia.

NEXT: Reeder Takes Helm at PBGC

W. Thomas Reeder is taking his position as director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).

Reeder was nominated by President Obama in May and awaited a Senate confirmation. At the time he was health care counsel at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Reeder served as senior benefits counsel on the Senate Finance Committee from 2009 to 2013. He graduated with a law degree from the University of Texas.

Reeder is replacing former director Joshua Gotbaum, who tendered his resignation last July. Last September, Alice Maroni, who was serving as chief management officer for the PBGC, was named acting director.

In a statement, Reeder said, "It's an honor for me to become PBGC's next Director. I've spent most of my professional life helping employers start and maintain retirement plans. I appreciate the faith the Administration and the Senate have shown in nominating and confirming me and I'm looking forward to getting started."

NEXT: Enhanced Retirement Solutions Adopts VMS Platform

Enhanced Retirement Solutions, LLC. a third-party administrator (TPA) has integrated with Vertical Management Systems’ (VMS’) retirement plan recordkeeping and investment management platform—Retirement Revolution.

With solutions that address the specific needs of retirement advisers, plan sponsors and plan participants, VMS partners with TPAs to offer an automated cloud-based recordkeeping platform that cost effectively integrates the best features of brokerage, trust and custody accounting systems within a single product.  Additionally, the flexible technology allows external data to be easily integrated providing a complete end to end service solution.

“We are excited about integrating VMS’ Retirement Revolution platform as a core component of our service offering,” says Bob Judd, managing partner of Enhanced Retirement Solutions. “VMS has a truly revolutionary approach to recordkeeping that, when coupled with the current realignment that’s occurring in the plan adviser community, gives our clients a differentiated, flexible and transparent solution for plan sponsors and participants.”