Retirement Industry People Moves

People on the move at Cetera Financial Group, Neuberger Berman, FinMason, Putnam Investments and more. 

Ruben Ramirez has joined Cetera Financial Group as manager of the retirement practice consulting team. In addition to leading this team, his responsibilities include the continued development of the Guided Retirement Solutions tool. The retirement practice consulting team works with Cetera advisers to help them develop and execute strategic game plans for expanding their retirement plan businesses, and provides expertise on best practices and product information.

George Barker has joined Cetera as retirement plan partner relations manager. He also manages non-strategic retirement plan product relationships and retirement plan technology partner relationships. The retirement plan partners program helps bring best-in-class tools and products from across the industry directly to advisers.

NEXT: Neuberger Berman Trust Co. names chief investment officer.

Richard Gardiner has joined Neuberger Berman Trust Company as chief investment officer. He will also lead the firm’s investment strategy group and join the firm’s asset-allocation committee.

Gardiner will work with Neuberger Berman's wealth advisers and trust officers on high-net-worth individual, foundation and endowment clients. With oversight of asset allocation, manager selection, and portfolio construction, Gardiner and the investment strategy group will identify the most appropriate managers and investment strategies across multiple regions.

Previously, Gardiner was a consultant at the Reservoir Capital Group, and chief investment officer and co-founder of an independent wealth management firm. Earlier, he was head of arbitrage and credit at Man Investments, as well as a member of the firm’s investment committee. Before joining Man, he was responsible for convertible sales and trading at J.P. Morgan and at Goldman Sachs.

Erik Knutzen, chief investment officer of multi-asset class portfolios at Neuberger Berman, lauds Gardiner’s diverse background in wealth management and alternative investment strategies.

Gardiner calls diversification and asset allocation critically important to clients’ goals, and notes that global financial market volatility and changing economic conditions have caused dramatic shifts in the risk/reward characteristics of various asset classes. However, he says, “these obstacles can be overcome by pairing investment goals with the right set of portfolio managers who can execute on specific strategies utilizing a range of asset classes.”

Gardiner holds a bachelor’s degree, cum laude, from Yale University and a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School.

Neuberger Berman Trust Company is an affiliate of Neuberger Berman, a private, independent, employee-owned investment manager.

NEXT: FinMason hires former Riskalyze director as head of adviser solutions.

Mark Hollingsworth has joined FinMason as head of adviser solutions, a newly created role. He will spearhead FinMason’s expansion into the financial adviser space.

Previously, Hollingsworth was director of enterprise solutions at Riskalyze in Auburn, California. Before Riskalyze, he was co-founder, president and chief executive of NEXT Financial Group, a nationwide independent broker/dealer and investment adviser. Prior to NEXT, Hollingsworth held positions at Wheat First Securities (now part of Wells Fargo), Branch Cabell and Investors Security. He was also a guest host on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” and “Taking Stock” for five years, until the founding of NEXT.

Kendrick Wakeman, chief executive and founder of FinMason, cites Hollingsworth for his deep knowledge and extensive background in the investment and advisory space.

FinMason is a Boston financial technology firm focused on investor education.

NEXT: Putnam Investments names head of DCIO business.

Steven P. McKay has joined Putnam Investments as head of defined contribution investment only (DCIO), overseeing all aspects of DCIO business, including small- to large-sized plans.

Based in Boston, McKay previously held senior positions in Putnam’s 401(k) business. He reports directly to Jeffrey L. Gould, head of Putnam Global institutional management, who says McKay’s experience in the defined contribution and broader investment management sector will prove invaluable to the DCIO unit.

McKay’s career includes more than 20 years of senior leadership roles in defined contribution, including positions in the investment-only and full-service areas. Most recently, he served as vice president and sales manager of large-market DC for Empower Retirement, responsible for managing regional sales directors and intermediary relations team in the large-market segment.

Earlier, McKay served as national DC sales manager for Putnam, where he oversaw the firm’s regional 401(k) sales directors, national accounts team and internal 401(k) sales desk. He joined Putnam in 2012 as regional 401(k) director with responsibility for adviser/consultant-sold corporate 401(k) sales in upstate New York and New England.

Previously, McKay was senior divisional vice president for the Hartford Retirement Plans Group, a role he assumed when The Hartford acquired MFS Retirement Services. He began his financial services career at MFS, where he served for 14 years, rising to become senior divisional vice president with responsibility for the retirement plan wholesaling division.

McKay holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Salem State University.

DCIO includes investment options in DC plans overseen by asset managers that are not affiliated with the plan’s recordkeeper. Industry sources estimate that the DCIO market will increase from $3 trillion in 2015 to $4.1 trillion by 2020, according to Putnam.

NEXT: Creative Planning names industry pro to lead 401(k) unit.

Mike Rogers has joined Creative Planning to help lead its 401(k) division.

Rogers, who has 27 years’ experience in retirement planning, has served in a range of capacities: for a registered investment advisory, a third-party administrator and a recordkeeping firm specializing in retirement plans. Previously, he was partner and head of pension services at Burr Pilger Mayer. His expertise includes plan design, vendor optimization and solutions for addressing fiduciary liability concerns. He also has extensive experience in pension services, retirement plan consulting, 401(k) advisory work, investment committee activities, retirement plan committee charters, Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) audits and Internal Revenue Service/Department of Labor correction programs.

Peter Mallouk, president and chief investment officer of Creative Planning, cites Rogers for his extensive background in the 401(k) industry.

Rogers is an active member of the Western Pension Benefit Conference's Silicon Valley Committee and the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA), as well as an instructor for the ASPPA, San Jose State University and University of California Extension benefit classes.

Rogers holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics with a concentration in managerial economics from the University of California at Davis. He holds a number of designations, including Qualified Pension Administrator (QPA), Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF) and Tax Exempt and Governmental Plan Consultant (TGPC).

Creative Planning is a financial adviser headquartered in Leawood, Kansas.

NEXT: Haven Financial Group opens PlanMember Financial Center in Salem, Oregon.

Michael E. Martindale of Haven Financial Group in Salem, Oregon, has affiliated with PlanMember Securities Corporation as a PlanMember Financial Center, expanding retirement investment planning and financial education opportunities for educators and employees of nonprofits in Salem, Bend, Corvallis and Eugene.

Combined with its satellite office in Bend, Oregon, Haven Financial Group has more than $115 million of assets under management. Martindale began his financial services career in 1980 and has been a PlanMember representative since 2011.

Jon Ziehl, founder and chief executive of PlanMember, says the affiliation supports the firm’s expansion plans.

PlanMember, headquartered in Carpinteria, California, is a broker/dealer and investment adviser that provides retirement planning to the public education and non-profit sectors.

NEXT: MassMutual appoints eight sales reps.

MassMutual Retirement Services has named eight managing directors to support the emerging market, which targets retirement plans with up to $10 million in assets under management, and institutional plans, defined as plans with more than $10 million in assets.

Michael Baron supports sales of retirement plans in the emerging market in Eastern Tennessee and partners with Dan Caple, institutional markets managing director. He comes to MassMutual with more than 10 years of experience in the financial services industry and reports to Jason Roper, southern division sales manager. Previously, he was a financial adviser specializing in retirement plans, as well as regional vice president at Nationwide Financial. Baron holds designations as a Chartered Retirement Plan Specialist (CRPS) and an Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF).

Located in Scottsdale, Arizona, Jeff Beneteau supports the emerging market in Arizona, reports to Brian Robb, Southwest division sales manager, and partners with Scott Adams, institutional markets managing director. After spending three years at Merrill Lynch as a financial adviser, Beneteau joined MassMutual in 2011 as a business development consultant, and most recently served as relationship manager for fund partners. Beneteau holds the Chartered Retirement Plan Counselor (CRPC) designation.

Steve Carrera is based in Towson, Maryland, and supports emerging market sales for Maryland. He reports to Bill Hicks, Mid-Atlantic divisional sales manager, and partners with Garrett Carlough, institutional markets managing director. Prior to joining MassMutual, Carrera served as area sales manager for ADP Retirement Services. He has more than 17 years of experience in the retirement plans marketplace and holds the AIF designation.

Nate Charleson supports sales in the emerging market for Orange County, California, where he is based. He reports to Frank Bruno, western division sales manager and partners with Francesca Messano, institutional markets managing director. Charleson previously spent nine years with John Hancock as a retirement plan business development officer and internal sales consultant.

Based in Denver, Ryan Moore supports the emerging market in Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming. He partners with Adams and reports to Robb. With more than 11 years of experience in the industry, Moore was previously regional vice president with CUNA Mutual and holds the CRPS designation.

Based in the District of Columbia, Jim Morris supports emerging markets sales across the District, Montgomery County, Maryland, and Northern Virginia. Morris reports to Hicks and will partner with Carlough. Previously, Morris was regional vice president of retirement plan sales for the Guardian Life Insurance Company of America and a financial adviser at Merrill Lynch. He has 15 years of retirement plan experience.

Based in Cedar Rapids, Philip Saxon supports sales of retirement plans in the emerging market in Iowa. He partners with Brad Harrison, managing director of institutional markets and reports to Vince Rainforth, Central division sales manager. Saxon has 12 years of experience in retirement plan sales, most recently as director of internal sales for Transamerica.

Emma Tookey is based in Berkeley, California, and supports the Northern California/Pacific Northwest regions, focusing on the institutional market in Northern California, Washington and Oregon. She partners with Gavin England, Brent Chapman, Kevin Hutton and Dave Eliopulos, and each of their respective local teams. Tookey previously worked as a MassMutual specialist supporting the not-for-profit market. Prior to joining MassMutual, she was a sales director for Principal Financial Group, and has 10 years of experience in the retirement business.

Scott Buffington, vice president of sales for MassMutual Retirement Services, says the sales team made sales of $9.9 billion in 2015.

 NEXT: ERISApedia adds attorney author for qualified plan info.

Ilene H. Ferenczy will take over writing the Qualified Plan eSource published on

Ferenczy is the managing partner of Ferenczy Benefits Law Center LLP, an employee benefits law firm in Atlanta. The Qualified Plan eSource is a treatise for Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) professionals working with defined contribution (DC) plans.

Ferenczy advises clients on all types of employee benefit plan issues, with a particular focus on qualified retirement plans, benefits issues in mergers and acquisitions, and advising third-party administrators of employee benefit programs on technical and practice issues. Ferenczy is a frequent national presenter and has written two books, three textbooks, and more than 90 articles on various aspects of employee benefits. She is a member of ASPPA’s leadership council, a former co-chair of the organization’s government affairs committee, and the 2007 recipient of ASPPA’s Educator of the Year Award. Ferenczy is also a Fellow in the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, the highest honor awarded to ERISA lawyers.

Timothy McCutcheon, publisher of, says Ferenczy’s unique insight and practical examples will be valuable additions to the Qualified Plan eSource. provides retirement plan sponsors, administrators with easy access to compliance information and important retirement industry materials. 

NEXT: Mercer adds senior pension risk transfer consultant.

Lynn Esenwine will join Mercer as a senior pension risk transfer (PRT) consultant in the financial strategy group (FSG) in April.

Esenwine will focus on facilitating large buyout transactions, coordinated with broader risk management and investment strategies, and on driving Mercer’s continued innovation and solutions in this space.

As the firm says it expects substantial growth in this area, Mercer calls Esenwine a key addition at a pivotal time for the PRT market.

Esenwine has 15 years’ experience in retirement services and has provided strategic leadership in the PRT market. She joins Mercer from MassMutual, where she was vice president in pension buyout, leading a cross-functional team focused on the growth of MassMutual’s market presence. Previously, she was vice president in a market-facing role serving the institutional PRT space at Prudential Retirement.

Esenwine will report to Richard McEvoy, head of the division, who cites Esenwine’s knowledge and transaction experience. “Lynn has had industry-level impact in helping drive the PRT business forward in recent years with her focus, energy and creativity,” he says.