Retirement Industry People Moves

Impax Expands North America Team; Two Executives join Allianz Life; Northern Trust Asset Management Expands Leadership; and more.
Impax Expands North America Team

Leah Fuhlbrugge has joined Impax Asset Management as the firm’s associate director of marketing and client service.

Since 2014, Leah had worked for Russell Investments as a portfolio analyst in the multi-asset solutions team. She was also a key member of Russell’s Global Sustainability Committee, working on strategies to develop and build new sustainable and responsible investment offerings. Between 2008 and 2011, she worked for Renaissance Capital as an equity research analyst.

“We welcome Leah to the growing Impax team,” says David Richardson, global head of marketing and client service. “She brings over a decade of analytical experience in global listed equity markets, and a passion for sustainability and the expanding investment opportunities within the environmental markets in which Impax invests.”

Leah holds bachelor’s degree in mathematics and finance from Sacred Heart University. She currently is completing her master’s degree in sustainability management at Columbia University. She is also a Chartered Financial Analyst.

NEXT: Two Executives join Allianz Life

Two Executives join Allianz Life

Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America has hired two new leaders onto the executive team of Allianz Investment Management (AIM). Stephanie Thomes will join as vice president and head of Alternative Investments. Johan Grahn will serve in the role of assistant vice president of portfolio management.

Thomes and Grahn will assist with management of more than $100 billion of insurance assets for Allianz Life, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty, and San Francisco Reinsurance. 

“We’re excited to bring this level of experience into an already strong investment management team,” says Rosanne Kropp, vice president of investment strategy for AIM. “I’m confident that Stephanie and Johan will provide the global perspective and asset management expertise that will support our ability to deliver on our long-term promises.”

In her role as head of alternative investments, Thomes will be responsible for leading AIM’s efforts in growing their alternative assets portfolio. Thomes will direct activities in sourcing, analyzing and purchasing alternative assets, as well as expanding those alternatives, and overseeing the portfolio management of all complex assets. She will also lead a team of analysts and investment managers.

Prior to joining AIM, Thomes served as director of private-equity risk management for Black River Asset Management. She was also a senior analyst at Carval Investors, LLC.

Thomes received her master’s degree from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Business, and her bachelor’s degree in business administration from St. Cloud State University.

Prior to Allianz Life, Grahn was AVP and portfolio manager at MetLife, where he managed a team of analysts overseeing more than $30 billion of dynamically managed multi-asset portfolios. He also served as a portfolio manager on several fund of funds portfolios with assets totaling approximately $50 billion. Prior to MetLife, Grahn was an investment analyst with Prime Buchholz & Associates, an institutional investment consulting firm.

Grahn has a master’s degree from Bryant University and a bachelor’s degree in international business from Johnson & Wales University, both located in Rhode Island.

NEXT: Northern Trust Asset Management Expands Leadership

Northern Trust Asset Management Expands Leadership

Northern Trust Asset Management has hired Emily Lawrence as its new environmental, social and governance (ESG) senior product specialist. Joining her is Julia Kochetygova, who joined the firm in July and leads ESG research from the London office. Avantika Saisekar, a product specialist focused on institutional clients, is also part of the team.

In her new role, Lawrence will support the development of Northern Trust’s ESG platform with a primary focus on growth opportunities in the wealth management and global family office channels.

“We see growing interest from investors in North America and globally for strategies that contribute to social goals while supporting financial objectives,” says Mamadou-Abou Sarr, global head of ESG investing at Northern Trust Asset Management. “Emily’s experience in research and development of ESG investment products will be valuable to our clients as we continue to innovate across an array of asset class capabilities, working closely with other research teams and investment strategists at Northern Trust.”

NEXT: NFP Acquires SST Benefits

NFP Acquires SST Benefits

Benefits consultant and insurance broker NFP has acquired SST Benefits. This independent, fee-based registered investment advisory and retirement-plan consulting firm specializes in defined contribution (DC) plans for public sector employers.

The firm’s principal, William (Bill) Tugaw, will assume the role of director of retirement plan consulting in the retirement division at NFP. He will be reporting to Nick Della Vedova, president of the retirement division at NFP.

“We’re always on the lookout for top talent and strategic opportunities to arm our sales team with the best-in-breed offerings,” says Vedova. “The acquisition of SST strengthens our existing defined contribution services for public sector clients and deepens our industry expertise with the addition of Bill Tugaw and his team. We’re pleased to welcome SST to the NFP family.”

NEXT: PlanPilot Welcomes Senior Consultant 

PlanPilot Welcomes Senior Consultant

Independent retirement consulting firm PlanPilot has hired Linda Coffey as its new senior consultant. Coffey has spent more than 20 years in the industry which included founding DiMeo Schneider & Associates—a firm she has been managing for two decades.

Coffey is tasked with serving on the investment committee, building client relationships, and expanding the firm. Her expertise includes retirement plans, endowment foundations, and trustee-directed corporate assets.

“Linda’s unique skillset is in client relationships, as most of her clients have been with her for 20 years,” says PlanPilot Managing Director Mark Olsen. “We know that her dedication to a high level of service will benefit our clients and their businesses.”

Based in Chicago, PlanPilot offers retirement plan advisery services to 401(k) and 403(b) plan sponsors. Their specialties include plan governance, investment searches, and investment monitoring and plan oversight.

NEXT: Retirement Playbook Hires New VP
Retirement Playbook Hires New VP

Retirement Playbook has hired Al Lazaro as its new vice president of national sales. Lazaro brings more than 22 years of experience in the defined contribution space. He will be responsible for business development and marketing the firm’s services to plan sponsors.

“We are pleased to have Al joining us,” says CEO Trisha Brambley. “He brings a wealth of experience and insights to the firm based on his long-standing relationships with plan sponsors, 401(k) advisers, and third party administrators (TPAs) and platform wholesalers. We are confident Al will be an invaluable asset to our team and our clients as we continue to grow to meet their evolving needs.”

Prior to joining Retirement Playbook, Lazaro was National Sales Manager at 401k Benna. He was tasked with providing plan sponsors with reasonable adviser fee analysis. Prior to that, he was in DCIO sales with New York Life/Mainstay Investments. Earlier, he held positions at Van Kampen Investments and Everen Securities. Lazaro holds Series 6 and 63 licenses, and a bachelor’s degree from Bradley University.

Retirement Playbook offers conflict-free due diligence for employers seeking an objective way to review and select a top-quality plan adviser or to review the value proposition of the incumbent adviser against others providing similar services.

New President Joins Benefit Equity

New President Joins Benefit Equity

Benefit Equity, a local retirement administration firm, has appointed Michael Gorelick as its new president. Gorelick has 20 years of experience in the industry and he will be tasked with overseeing the company’s operations and overall strategic direction.

“For me, having the opportunity to be BEI’s president is a real game-changer,” says Gorelick. “I’ve had an amazing career here as a pension consultant, building relationships and designing innovative retirement plan solutions for small businesses for more than 20 years, and I look forward to leading this great company into an even brighter future.”

In addition to his new role, Gorelick will still be involved with consulting and assisting financial advisers with their qualified-plan needs. Past president Robert Gorelick will remain on the executive management team as chairman and CEO. Susan Russell will continue as CFO and Mark Russell will continue as COO.