Retirement Industry People Moves

TIAA Hires New President; Mass Mutual Appoints Community Responsibility Director; Mercer Acquires Thomsons Online Benefits; and more.
TIAA Hires New President
Vijay Advani has joined TIAA Global Asset Management as the firm’s new president and chief operating officer. He officially assumes these roles on January 9, 2017. Advani will lead global distribution as well as drive technology and analytics initiatives for portfolio management and product development. 
Advani will also lead management committees charged with ensuring the firm continues offering a client experience that integrates distribution, solutions and marketing. 

He will report to Rob Leary, CEO of TIAA Global Asset Management. He will work closely with Leary and other senior leaders to design and drive strategy for the firm.

Advani joins from Franklin Templeton Investments, where he was co-president. In that role, he was responsible for long-term strategic initiatives, investment management and trading, as well as global retail and institutional distribution. With more than 20 years of experience in the industry, Advani has specialized in product development, client relationship and marketing roles in Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa. He also served as president of Templeton Asset Management, India. Prior to joining Franklin Templeton, he spent 11 years at the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank Group unit responsible for helping governments develop securities and financial markets.

NEXT: Mass Mutual Appoints Community Responsibility Director

Mass Mutual Appoints Community Responsibility Director

Dennis Duquette has returned to Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company as the firm’s new head of community responsibility and president of the Mass Mutual Foundation. Duquette launched his career with the company when he joined as a member of its community relations team.

In his new role, Duquette will lead MassMutual’s community engagement efforts including such initiatives as the FutureSmart program, which helps young people hone their financial-literacy skills; LifeBridge, which provides income-eligible families with free term life insurance that protects their children’s education; and Mutual Impact, the company’s employee giving program.

Duquette enters this new role with more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry under his belt. His expertise includes oversight of community relations and brand development. He will be based in the company’s Springfield headquarters and report to MassMutual Head of Brand and Advertising Jennifer Halloran.  

Prior to joining MassMutual, Duquette was with Fidelity Investments where he expanded Fidelity’s corporate presence and sponsorships across the United States, and managed FidelityCares, an employee volunteerism program that also provides philanthropic support to non-profit organizations.

Duquette earned his master’s degree in public policy and administration from Northwestern University and another in administrative studies from Boston College, where he also earned his bachelor’s degree in English and communications. 

NEXT: Mercer Acquires Thomsons Online Benefits

Mercer Acquires Thomsons Online Benefits

Global consulting firm Mercer has agreed to acquire Thomsons Online Benefits, a benefits software provider leveraging the Darwin platform. The two firms will aim to combine consulting and brokerage services with technology that changes the way benefits are designed, communicated and administered.

“The combination of Thomsons’ Darwin technology with Mercer aligns to the growing demand from multinational employers to offer a common yet locally tailored employee benefits platform that delivers the latest in creative engagement, modern design, analytic insights and administrative efficiency and support,” says Julio Portalatin, president and CEO of Mercer. “The acquisition also drives future growth in local markets across the world where Thomsons and Mercer are already well established by putting technology at the heart of addressing employer and employee needs.”

Thomsons CEO Michael Whitfield projects the acquisition will further allow his firm to “scale the development of Darwin faster globally, as well as locally. I am also delighted about the career and personal development opportunities that this move offers to Thomsons’ employees all over the world."

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

NEXT: Alger Expands DCIO Business 

Alger Expands DCIO Business

Fred Alger & Company has appointed Eric Seidman to the position of vice president and Jeff Vigilante as assistant vice president. Both will focus on Defined Contribution Investment Only (DCIO) platforms supporting financial advisers and intermediaries. They will aim to expand Alger’s service, support, and resources to investment professionals across the retirement landscape. 

“The retirement industry continues to be a priority for Alger, especially as a greater number of plan sponsors and participants rely on defined contribution plans as their primary retirement savings vehicle,” explains John Carbone, senior vice president, Institutional Sales and Service. “We recognize our recordkeeping partners and financial advisers need more support than ever before. By adding seasoned, dedicated and retirement-focused professionals to the team, Alger is better positioned to meet the needs of the retirement market.”

Seidman brings more than nine years of retirement industry experience to the team. Most recently, he served as account manager in Retirement Investment Solutions at Prudential Financial. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University as well as securities registrations for Series 6, 7, and 63.

Vigilante has more than six years of experience in the DCIO market, and recently served as a retirement specialist for the DCIO channel at Prudential Investments. He also spent time as senior internal wholesaler for Prudential and a financial adviser with Thrivent Financial. Vigilante earned a bachelor’s degree from Montclair State University. He holds securities registrations for Series 7 and 66.

NEXT: Pentegra Appoints Regional Director 

Pentegra Appoints Regional Director

Jason Miller has joined Pentegra Retirement Services as the firm’s new regional director. He will lead the company’s business efforts throughout Arizona, Hawaii, Kansas, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. Miller will report to Pete Swisher, Pentegra senior vice president of national sales.

Miller brings more than 10 years of financial-services experience to the company. His career has included a significant focus on retirement plans. He’s held leadership roles with Mutual of Omaha, Great West (Empower) and Transamerica Capital.

“I am very excited to be part of a growing organization and to work with advisers to effectively expand their business with Pentegra’s retirement plan solutions,” says Miller. “There couldn’t be a better time to share Pentegra’s multiple employer plan and fiduciary outsourcing solutions given what’s trending in the industry today.”

Miller maintains FINRA Series 6, 63 and State Life Variable Insurance Licensing.

Pentegra is a provider of retirement plan and fiduciary outsourcing solutions to organizations nationwide. Founded by the Federal Home Loan Bank System in 1943, Pentegra offers a broad array of qualified and non-qualified retirement plan solutions, TPA services and benefits financing solutions using BOLI. Its Pentegra Investors division serves institutional investors.

NEXT: T. Rowe Price Hires Retirement Sales Executive 

T. Rowe Price Hires Retirement Sales Executive

Scott Redfield has joined T. Rowe Price Retirement Plan Services as the firm’s new vice president and senior retirement sales executive for the Midwest. He will focus his efforts on large-market sales in the region. 

Redfield brings more than 15 years of experience in the defined contribution (DC) industry, which includes more than a decade of sales expertise at T. Rowe Price. Most recently, he served as vice president of Institutional Markets at Transamerica Retirement Solutions. In this role, he was tasked with selling and marketing Transamerica’s recordkeeping services to 401(k), 403(b), and nonqualified prospects throughout Colorado, Arizona, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado.

“Scott is a terrific addition to our growing sales team in the U.S.,” says Kevin Collins, head of sales at T. Rowe Price Retirement Plan Service. “His proven skills and deep expertise will help further efforts to grow our large-market retirement client base in the Midwest region.”

NEXT: Allianz Life Insurance Appoints Head of Relationship Management

Allianz Life Insurance Appoints Head of Relationship Management

Corey Walther has been appointed by the Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America as the firm’s new head of distribution relationship management. He officially assumes this position on January 1, 2017. He will be tasked with leading business development and sales growth for the firm’s broker/dealer distribution channels. He will report to Allianz Life Financial Services LLC CEO Tom Burns.

Walther has served several leadership roles with Allianz Life since joining in 1998 including senior vice president of strategic accounts and head of advisory distribution. He most recently served as chief operating officer and chief compliance officer for Allianz Life Financial Services. He will continue to serve as chief compliance officer until his replacement is named.

Walther holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Moorhead State University in Minnesota and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management. He also is a member of the Allianz Financial Literacy Committee which works closely with organizations such as Junior Achievement and BestPrep. He also serves as chairperson and board member for Twin Cities in Motion, a non-profit organization with a mission of promoting healthy lifestyles through community outreach and running events such as the Twin Cities Marathon.

NEXT: Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. Acquires the The MW Bagnall Company 

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. Acquires the The MW Bagnall Company 

Insurance brokerage firm Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. announced that it has acquired The MW Bagnall Company (MWB). Bagnall will immediately begin operating as a subsidiary of Gallagher Benefit Services (GBS), a division of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., and the name change will be effective as of July 1, 2017. The merger marks the first benefits branch for Arthur J. Gallagher in Arizona.  

MWB is an employee benefits broker and consulting firm that provides employee benefits, human resource consulting services, employee wellness programs, and insurance products to middle-and-larger market businesses throughout the Southwestern United States.

The company specializes in strategic planning and designing tailored benefit programs along with other HR and benefit solutions such as wellness plans, compliance support, and employee communications. MWB has extensive experience in the public education sector.    

CEO Mark Bagnall and MWB President Cynthia Walter will continue to operate from their current location under the direction of Norbert Chung, head of Gallagher’s Western employee benefit consulting and brokerage operations.  

“MWB’s team has the expertise, market relationships and quality service that we value in our acquisition partners,” says J. Patrick Gallagher, Jr., chairman, president and CEO.  “In addition, their southwestern U.S. presence and their team-based sales culture will be a terrific complement to our Western employee benefits consulting and brokerage operation. We are pleased to welcome Mark, Cynthia and their associates to our growing Gallagher family of professionals.”

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. is an international insurance brokerage and risk management services firm headquartered in Itasca, Illinois. It runs operations in 33 countries and offers client-service capabilities in more than 150 countries through a network of correspondent brokers and consultants.

NEXT: J. Bradley Departs FINRA 

J. Bradley Bennett Departs FINRA

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced today that Chief of Enforcement J. Bradley (Brad) Bennett will leave the organization early next year. For the last few years, he has overseen 300 members of an enforcement staff responsible for investigating potential violations of FINRA rules and securities laws throughout the United States.

Deputy Head of Enforcement Susan Schroeder has been named the acting head of enforcement. FINRA will consider internal and external candidates as it searches for a replacement, the organization announced. Bennett will return to private practice.   

“Brad has guided our Enforcement team in collaborating with other FINRA staff on a number of important investor protection initiatives, such as the high-risk broker program and the senior helpline,” says FINRA CEO and President Robert Cook. “I would like to thank Brad for his years of service to promote investor confidence in the securities markets, and I wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Under Bennett’s direction, FINRA brought a number of cases seeking restitution for harmed customers including ordering restitution for those who did not receive applicable discounts, and restitution for customers in connection to sales of complex products. Significant cases under Bennett’s leadership include those involving variable annuity violations, a multi-firm settlement regarding conflicts of interest related to the ToysRUs IPO, sanctions for supervisory failures related to the sales of Puerto Rican municipal bonds, as well as the significant sanctions for microcap fraud and anti-money laundering violations.

Bennett joined FINRA as executive vice president and Chief of Enforcement in 2011. Beforehand, he worked for Baker Bott, where he specialized in financial and securities law violations. He also was an attorney at Miller, Cassidy, Larocca & Lewin. He launched his career at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a senior attorney in the Division of Enforcement.

Retirement Benefits Group Adds Managing Director

Phil Matheson has joined the Retirement Benefits Group as managing director operating outside the firm’s office in Irvine, California. With more than 10 years of experience as a financial adviser, he oversaw the addition of more than 80 small- and mid-market plans as head of the retirement division at Centennial Group Benefits.

Matheson will seek to grow brand recognition with the support of the firm’s broker-dealer LPLFinancial. He’s also keeping his eyes on the upcoming implementation of the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule while devising strategies to enhance compliance.

“I see myself as an extension to my clients’ HR teams,” says Matheson . “I work with them to improve the performance of their plans through customized plan design ideas, fee benchmarking, industry benchmarking and creative education programs.”

Previously, Matheson was a financial adviser at Wells Fargo Advisors and Wachovia Securities. 

“In the new fiduciary environment, I expect that firms with the RBG business model, with its strong focus on retirement plans, will thrive,” says Matheson. “Now that I have joined RBG, I can say with confidence to HR directors and CFOs of companies large and small that I have a strong team of professionals working with me at RBG and LPL to assist their employees with their retirement planning needs. I am especially excited to bring LPL Worksite Financial Solutions to my plan participants, which allows them to access tools and resources designed to help simplify retirement planning.” 

Michael Castner, a principal at RBG, said, “We are very happy to have Phil onboard with us. He is a great asset to our team and we are excited to partner with someone of Phil’s caliber and experience.” 

Matheson holds the Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF) and Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC) certifications and has completed studies through the University of California, Irvine toward a Certified Financial Planning (CFP) designation. He is a member of the University of Arizona Alumni Association and the Sigma Chi Orange County Chapter.