Retirement Industry People Moves

Risk Strategies Acquires TSG Financial; Sentinel Names New CEO; and more.

Risk Strategies Acquires TSG Financial

Risk Strategies, a privately-held national insurance brokerage and risk management firm, has announced the acquisition of TSG Financial. The move marks the firm’s first venture into offering wealth management and retirement plan services as part of its employee benefits practice.

TSG Financial is a full-service asset management and employee benefits firm. It develops traditional group benefits programs for everything from health and dental to long-and short-term disability insurance. The firm is led by its four partners: Michael Waters, Paul Essner, Ben Chafitz, and Bryan Pendrick.

“We believe that deep, real-world expertise makes even the most complex client challenges easy to solve,” says John Greenbaum, employee benefits national practice leader for Risk Strategies. “TSG Financial fits this model. Its employee benefits business is highly complementary to ours and brings to the table financial services capabilities, such as 401(k) plans, that are a logical extension of our business strategy.”

In the home health care industry, TSG Financial provides organizations with traditional group insurance programs and 401(k) plans for administrative employees, home health aides and nursing staff.

“It’s exciting to join forces with a national-scale firm noted for its technical ability and expert knowledge,” says Michael P. Waters, lead partner at TSG Financial. “Our client base will certainly benefit from access to new, meaningful resources, while our capabilities in wealth management will position Risk Strategies to expand its offerings.”

NEXT:  Sentinel Names New CEO

Sentinel Names New CEO

Sentinel Benefits & Financial Group, a provider of retirement planning and employee benefit solutions, has appointed Samuel Mitchell as its chief executive officer. Mitchell began his career at Sentinel more than 16 years ago, holding various roles within the organization. Most recently, he served as president of Sentinel Benefits Group, the organization’s largest business unit.

In his new role as CEO, Mitchell will be tasked with leading Sentinel’s four separate business units, with a strong focus on its short and long-term growth initiatives.

“We are thankful for Sam’s steady hand and disciplined approach,” says Jim Carnevale, president of Sentinel Pension Advisors. “We look forward to his leadership as we continue to meet our clients’ needs through our extensive resources and capabilities. My brother John Carnevale, our former CEO, provided us with a vision for the future of retirement planning and employee benefits and how legislation and technology will impact our business. We believe Sam shares many of these same visions and this further validates him as the right choice.”

Sentinel Benefits & Financial Group is a benefits and financial adviser to more than 3,000 businesses and individuals throughout the United States. The firm offers aviary of services including comprehensive retirement plans, group health insurance, reimbursement accounts, and financial planning.

NEXT: AXA Promotes New Divisional VP

AXA Promotes New Divisional VP

AXA, a financial protection company, has appointed Fred Makonnen to the role of divisional vice president. He will be tasked with broadening AXA’s national focus in the tax-exempt retirement plan market, while leading a national sales team responsible for expanding business development and sales opportunities.

Makonnen joined AXA’s Retirement Plan Services team in 2013 as regional vice president and led market growth in the central region comprising Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

“We’re looking forward to Fred expanding on his central region success across our nationwide footprint,” says Matt Drummond, head of tax-exempt sales and business development. “His success so far has translated to more Americans feeling that they’ve prepared adequately so that they might enjoy a dignified retirement.”

Prior to joining AXA, Makonnen spent 12 years in various senior sales management positions within ING/Voya, including vice president of institutional sales, where he was responsible for large group acquisitions in the health, education, and government space. Also while at ING/Voya, Makonnen headed African American Multicultural Sales & Marketing, where he was responsible for developing education and communication materials for various underserved markets.

Makonnen holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Connecticut. He also holds the Series 7, 66 and 24 securities industry registrations administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

NEXT: Crowell & Moring Hire Employee Benefits Attorney

Crowell & Moring Hire Employee Benefits Attorney

Crowell & Moring LLP announced David McFarlane will join the firm as a partner in the firm’s Corporate, Health, Care, Tax, and Labor & Employment groups based in its Los Angeles office.

With more than 20 years of experience, McFarlane has advised on pensions, employee benefits, executive compensation, national and international corporate transactions, and structured finance geared towards the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). He is a founder of Health Care Attorneys, P.C., a law firm dedicated to health care reform under the ACA, and has previously worked with Willis Towers Watson, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom.

Additionally, McFarlane has authored two books on employee benefits law.

“David’s extensive corporate experience in health care reform law, ERISA, ACA and employee benefits will be invaluable to the firm’s clients and prospective clients,” says James R. Stuart, co-chair of Crowell & Moring’s Corporate Group.

NEXT: Integrated Retirement Partners with Advaney Associates, LLC

Integrated Retirement Partners with Advaney Associates, LLC

Integrated Retirement, a provider of retirement plan content and training, has expanded its team by uniting with Advaney Associates, a firm specializing in investment and retirement communications. Owner Patricia Advaney holds more than 25 years of industry experience, with 15 of those years held at Transamerica Retirement Solutions.

At Transamerica, Advaney served several senior roles in Investments, Marketing and Participant Experience, lead participant-focused strategies and oversaw digital participant initiatives and tools made for sponsors to monitor their plans’ success.

The partnership will focus on presentation development and communications toward retirement plan participants.

“Given our traditional focus on adviser, sponsor, and internal call center and compliance staff audiences, the relationship with Advaney Associates is a great complement to our existing scope of services,” says Pam O’Rourke, senior vice president and managing principal of training and content services at integrated retirement. “So to all those clients who have in the past asked us for participant communications, we’re now able to say ‘Yes, we can!’ Pat understands the participant mindset and knows how to create content that is both meaningful and engaging.”

 NEXT: PSCA Announces New Directors

PSCA Announces New Directors

Two new leaders will join The Plan Sponsor Council of America (PSCA) Board of Directors, the organization announced. Following an approval by the PSCA’s general membership, Ted Moss and Tim Kohn have been appointed to fill two vacancies on the board.

Moss is president of Roscoe Moss Company, a Los Angeles water industry manufacturer. He is also a former board member who is returning for a new three-year term. He represents the viewpoints of business owners and the critical role they play in providing employee retirement plans.

Kohn is vice president of Dimensional Fund Advisors of Austin, an investment management firm. He leads the firm’s U.S. defined contribution (DC) practice. He is committed to the work-based approach to voluntary retirement savings, and has been an unwavering supporter of PSCA and its member organizations for many years, the PSCA says.

“We are pleased to add these outstanding business leaders to our board,” says Steve McCaffrey, PSCA’s board chairman. “We are so fortunate that they are willing to help us advance our strategic initiatives, and serve the interests of the nation’s retirement plan sponsors and participants.”

The PSCA is a community of employee-benefit plan sponsors, working together on behalf of more than six million employees to expand on the success of the employer-sponsored retirement system. The organization also serves as a resource to policymakers, the media and other stakeholders in the retirement industry.

NEXT: Morningstar to Acquire PitchBook Data

Morningstar to Acquire PitchBook Data


Morningstar has announced that it will acquire PitchBook, a firm providing data, research and technology covering private capital markets including venture capital, private equity, and mergers and acquisitions.

The company's PitchBook Platform and best-in-class user interface allow clients to access data, discover new connections, and conduct research on potential investment opportunities. PitchBook covers the full lifecycle of venture capital, private equity, and M&A; including the limited partners, investment funds, and service providers involved. With the acquisition of PitchBook, Morningstar will be able to apply its core data and software capabilities to a new client segment: private and institutional investors.

Morningstar President Kunal Kapoor, who has served on the board of directors for PitchBook since 2012 and will become chief executive officer of Morningstar effective January 1, 2017, says, "Both Morningstar and PitchBook share the goal of bringing transparency to the investment landscape, and PitchBook is in a great position to continue its strong growth trajectory as private markets and private companies are areas of rapidly growing investor interest. Data has always been Morningstar's sweet spot, and we look forward to working with PitchBook to help investors and advisers better understand and navigate this evolving area of the market. Over time, we plan to add some of Morningstar's proprietary research capabilities to this dataset, and we also see meaningful opportunities to expand the business globally."

PitchBook will maintain its brand and identity and will continue to be led by founder and CEO John Gabbert.

"I reached out to Morningstar as a potential investor seven years ago because I admired the company's entrepreneurial spirit and innovative products," says Gabbert. "Joining forces with Morningstar will help us enter into our next stage of growth, including developing the next-generation version of our award-winning data and software platform, investing in our world-class sales and customer support functions, and expanding our business in Europe and Asia. As investors increasingly broaden their horizons beyond traditional public markets and investments, the multi-asset capabilities Morningstar is building will become even more valuable."

Morningstar was an early investor in PitchBook and currently owns approximately 20% of the company. Morningstar expects to pay approximately $180 million (subject to working capital adjustments) for the remaining ownership interest in a transaction that values PitchBook at $225.0 million.

Subject to customary closing conditions, the two companies expect the transaction to close in the fourth quarter of 2016.