Retirement Industry People Moves

Aria Retirement Solutions Expands Leadership; Cetera Financial Group Appoints Board Member; and more.

Aria Retirement Solutions Expands Leadership  

Aria Retirement Solutions has hired Edward J. Mercier as president. Leading sales and service, he will be responsible for growing adviser adoption of the company’s RetireOne platform for retirement income and wealth transfer solutions. He has made additional hires that more than doubled the staff of the Concierge Desk.

Mercier brings more than 25 years of industry experience spanning investment and insurance products including sales, distribution, clearing, and general management. He has held multiple senior leadership positions at Charles Schwab & Co., most recently as head of Investment Management Distribution and Mutual Fund Clearing Services.

“Ed will be instrumental in expanding wealth managers’ awareness and adoption of our innovative RetireOne technology platform and guaranteed income solutions,” says Chief Strategy Officer Russell M. Parker. “With the commitments that we have from change-minded industry leaders, Ed brings the leadership that we need to increase our penetration in the multi-trillion-dollar fiduciary-advice marketplace.”

Aria’s RetireOne Concierge Desk and redesigned website are an integrated single source for fee-based advisers wanting to access annuities, guaranteed income and insurance solutions in their practice.

NEXT: Industry Veterans Join FinMason

Industry Veterans Join FinMason 

Three industry veterans have joined FinMason, a Boston-based financial technology and investment analytics firm. They will focus on data science, marketing and sales for the independent analytics platform in the wealth management industry.

“The financial technology landscape is quickly shifting for advisers and as a growing fintech firm, we wanted to select leaders that can grow and quickly adapt to that changing landscape,” says Kendrick Wakeman, CFA, CEO and founder of FinMason. “These three individuals have a track record of building innovative tools and solutions and have a proven ability to drive growth. They will be a tremendous resource for the team at FinMason, as well as the adviser and investors we work with.”

Mark Carroll joins FinMason as the director of data science. Carroll was previously the lead financial engineer for the risk and valuation product group at Eze Software. Prior to Eze, he was the director of research at Direxion.

Bob Leaper has been named head of marketing. He was formerly involved in helping financial technology firms with go-to-market strategy and sales execution for more than 20 years including roles as head of global sales and marketing at Eagle Investment Systems, interim CEO of start-up Data Agent, head of sales at start-up Verilytics, Inc. and head of global business development at Thomson PORTIA. He also spent several years as a bond arbitrage trader.

Rich Lenihan has been appointed the director of enterprise sales. Lenihan spent the first 13 years of his career at Oppenheimer, Cowen and Paine Webber before moving on to WealthTech, where he has been operating in a senior business development role for the last 17 years.

For more information about FinMason and their investment analytics platforms, go to

NEXT: Cetera Financial Group Appoints Board Member

Cetera Financial Group Appoints Board Member 

Maliz Beams has been appointed to the Board of Directors for Aretrc, the parent company of Cetera Financial Group. She will chair the audit committee and serve as member of the risk committee.

Beams has years of experience in the financial services industry having served as president, partner and CEO. Most recently, she served as the Chief Executive Officer of Voya Financial Retirement Solutions. She also served as the president and Chief Executive Officer of TIAA-CREF Individual and Institutional Services.

Robert J. Moore, CEO of Cetera, said, "I am delighted to announce the addition of Maliz Beams to the Aretec Board of Directors. Her vast and deep industry experience, extraordinary credibility as an effective leader and the immense respect she has for the work advisers do for their clients will serve us extremely well. As we continue to develop resources and platforms to deliver and support a truly advice-centric experience, it is very important for Cetera to have the support of a well-regarded and diverse Board. The addition of Maliz Beams elevates Cetera’s opportunity to benefit from the insight and vision of executives who have tackled tough challenges and driven strong results throughout their careers. I am also very pleased that she upholds the Board’s commitment to enhancing and promoting best practices in corporate governance in our industry.”

Bob Dineen, Non-Executive Chairman of Aretec, said, “Maliz Beams is an outstanding addition to the Aretec Board of Directors. She is an accomplished leader and an innovative strategist who is passionate about the industry, and brings a track record of relentlessly putting clients’ interests first. I am confident that her experience, insights and prudent counsel will prove invaluable as we continue our work to rewrite the ‘rules of engagement’ in how advisers guide their clients toward their financial goals.”

NEXT: AXA Adds to Retirement 360 Staff

AXA Adds to Retirement 360 Staff 

AXA, a provider of financial security and retirement products, has expanded its list of regional vice presidents for AXA Retirement 360 in Retirement Plan Services. The firm welcomes Tom Monnerat, Tim Susoev, Sean Duncan and Andy Rosselot.

“With these appointments, as part of the rollout of our new open architecture mutual fund program, AXA Retirement 360, AXA continues to strengthen its commitment to serve the retirement plan services market, through investing in people in order to provide valued support to plan advisers, says James O’Connor, head of 401(k) national sales and business development.

Monnerat comes in as regional vice president, 401(k) Plans, Eastern Region. His responsibilities comprise promotion and sales throughout the Eastern Region, as well as the development of key relationships with consultants and plan sponsors. He has more than 32 years of experience in the retirement plan, investment, and financial services space behind him.

Susoev, regional vice president, 401(k) Plans, Western Region is responsible for growing business in the Western Region, with a focus on understanding of plan design and fiduciary services for plan sponsors and advisers. He brings to his new role more than 16 years in the retirement services industry.

Duncan, regional vice president, Tax Exempt Plans, Western Region, offers an abundance of retirement plan experience from his 18 years in the retirement industry. He specializes in adviser and consultant relations, client management, and competitive positioning. He is responsible for sourcing new business within the 403(b) and 457 markets for the Western Region, with a focus on health care, higher education, K-12, not-for-profit, and governmental markets.

Rosselot, regional vice president, Tax Exempt Plans, Eastern Region is responsible for leading new business initiatives for the 403(b) and 457 markets in the Eastern Region with a focus on health care, higher education, K-12, not-for-profit, and governmental markets. He has more than 20 years of retirement services experience.

NEXT: John Hancock Appoints D.C.-Area Vice President

John Hancock Appoints D.C. Area Vice President  

Chad Stewart has been appointed as the regional vice president of John Hancock Retirement Plan Services’ Washington, D.C., region. He will be tasked with leading sales and relationship development with financial representatives and plan consultants in the area.

Stewart brings to his new role more than 10 years of experience in the financial services industry. He joined the firm in 2012 and has served numerous roles including relationship manager and business development director.

“In the last five years, Chad has consistently proven himself to be leader in all facets of the business, greatly contributing to our success in the D.C. area,” says Bob Carroll, national sales manager, John Hancock Retirement Plan Services. “In this role, his experience will bring value to both our clients and partners.”

Stewart holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from The University of Georgia.

NEXT: Segal Group Adds Senior Consultant

Segal Group Adds Senior Consultant 

Michael Rosenberg has joined the Segal Group as a senior vice president and senior consultant in the Corporate Retirement Practice.

He brings to his new role more than 30 years of experience as a retirement consultant and actuary. Most recently, he was a partner at Mercer, providing strategic advice to several Fortune 500 clients and other plan sponsors on all issues related to defined benefit and defined contribution retirement plans. Prior to joining Mercer, he worked in Metropolitan Life Insurance Company’s pension business.

A magna cum laude graduate of Binghamton University, Rosenberg holds bachelor’s degrees in economics and mathematics. He is also a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries, an Enrolled Actuary and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries.

NEXT: Amherst Capital Management Appoints Managing Director

Amherst Capital Management Appoints Managing Director 

Amherst Capital Management, a BNY Mellon investment boutique specializing in U.S. real estate, has expanded its private funds leadership team with the appointment of Damon Pitler as managing director – portfolio manager, private funds.

Pitler, a 15-year commercial real estate and institutional investing veteran, will manage Amherst Capital's U.S. Single Family Equity and Commercial Real Estate Lending portfolios.

"Damon is an exciting addition to our portfolio management team and we are pleased to welcome him to Amherst Capital," says Sean Dobson, CEO and CIO. "Damon's deep institutional investment background, paired with his diverse real estate experience, makes him the ideal person to manage our SFE and CRE portfolios and to enhance our partnerships with institutional investors."

Pitler was a senior investment manager for real assets at the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, where he was instrumental in managing relationships with general partners and developing investment strategies for principal investments across real estate and infrastructure asset classes.

Pitler previously served as director of real estate and infrastructure investments at OAS Investimentos S.A. in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He has also held investment and structuring roles with Brookfield Asset Management and Credit Suisse (via the Situs Companies). He began his career with Clifford Chance in the real estate capital markets and international M&A practices. He graduated from Emory University with a bachelor’s degree in political science and earned a J.D. from The George Washington University Law School.

NEXT: Unified Trust Announces Digital Advice Manager

Unified Trust Announces Digital Advice Manager 

Michael Samford has filled the newly created role of digital advice manager with Unified Trust Company, a fiduciary offering retirement plan investors with a mix of traditional and digital advice.

He will be tasked with guiding the strategy for delivering an innovative, memorable and high quality digital advice experience for clients.

“Over the past decade, Unified Trust Company has designed and offered digital advice for plan participants and individual investors, and we have seen a powerful impact on improved retirement outcomes from our holistic approach. In the coming years, we anticipate substantial growth in this area, and are pleased to have Michael Samford oversee our digital advice and fiduciary process, which will help even more people achieve successful retirement,” says Gregory Kasten, founder and CEO of Unified Trust Company.

Throughout his years at the firm, Samford has served in various capacities including operations, sales and marketing, client service consulting and advisory services. He is on the firm’s Trust Investment Committee and is a Qualified Plan Financial Consultant (QPFC) and Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF).

NEXT: Hueler Income Solutions Hires Managing Director

Hueler Income Solutions Hires Managing Director  

Elizabeth L. Heffernan has joined Hueler Income Solutions as managing director of business development responsible for growing overall business and creating new initiatives.

Heffernan brings to her new role more than 20 years of experience at Fidelity Investments, most recently as vice president of investment consulting. She also served in sales, marketing, employee education and product development. She is versed in both retirement income and fixed return/stable value products.

Prior to joining Fidelity, Heffernan worked in the employee benefits and compensation areas at Northwestern University and First Colonial Bankshares. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa, holds NASD Series 6, 7, 63, and 24 licenses and is a Certified Employee Benefits Specialist and a Certified Financial Planner.

“Elizabeth’s passion for building lifetime income alternatives for participants and wealth of experience across the defined contribution marketplace is a powerful combination and makes her a significant asset to our growing company,” says Kelli Hueler, founder and CEO, Hueler Companies. “We are thrilled to have Elizabeth on board.”