Retirement Industry People Moves

BlackRock Confirms Leadership Shift in Retirement Business; Regional Vice President Joins Transamerica; CAPTRUST Adds FiduciaryVest Members to Advisory Practice; and more.

Art by Subin Yang

Art by Subin Yang

BlackRock Confirms Leadership Shift in Retirement Business

BlackRock’s U.S defined contribution chief Anne Ackerley has taken on additional responsibilities and will lead all retirement-focused businesses in a newly created Retirement Solutions group.

As suggested in media reports and confirmed for PLANADVISER by BlackRock, Ackerley’s purview also includes retail-oriented clients within BlackRock’s Financial Institutions Group.

As part of the leadership shuffle, Zach Buchwald will now oversee the group serving all institutional clients in the United States and Canada.

The firm also confirmed that, in January of this year, Salim Ramji succeeded Mark Wiedman as global head of iShares. Wiedman, for his part, was promoted to head of international and of corporate strategy.

According to the most recent PLANADVISER DCIO Survey, BlackRock’s DCIO product portfolio covers more than 170 funds, including the LifePath TDF series. The firm works with nearly 70 recordkeepers and is the largest DCIO asset manager by client investment volume. According to the survey, the LifePath TDF series is the second largest in the industry, trailing only T. Rowe Price’s TDFs. The firm ranked seventh in terms of the largest increase in DCIO assets in 2017 versus 2016.

Regional Vice President Joins Transamerica

Transamerica announced Janet Oleary has joined the company as regional vice president, leading midsized retirement plan distribution efforts in southern New Jersey and Delaware. She will report to Tim Lastivka, divisional sales manager.

With more than 20 years specializing in retirement plans, Oleary focused on business development and relationship management, helping financial advisers and third-party administrators (TPAs) grow their businesses. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Bucknell University and is a chartered retirement plans specialist through the College of Financial Planning.

“Transamerica’s momentum and specialization in mid-market retirement plans continues to grow, and I have every confidence that Janet Oleary will help financial advisers and third-party administrators in the New Jersey area acquire new retirement plan business,” says Joe Boan, chief sales officer for Transamerica.

CAPTRUST Adds FiduciaryVest Members to Advisory Practice

CAPTRUST Financial Advisors has added three partners and supporting team members from Atlanta-based FiduciaryVest to its institutional retirement plan advisory practice. The FiduciaryVest team, led by Philly Jones, brings more than $13 billion in client assets under advisement to CAPTRUST and will assume the company’s brand as part of this merger. The remaining partner and his team will continue to operate independently under the FiduciaryVest name.

“Working in the Southeast, we have known CAPTRUST, its reputation, and depth of resources well for some time, but we were blown away when we visited them in Raleigh,” says FiduciaryVest Managing Partner and Co-Founder Philly Jones. “Everyone has been so welcoming, and we are excited to see how our clients respond to the new capabilities we will have, especially participant advice services, a deeper investment and vendor research bench, and defined benefit (DB) expertise.”  

“Our ability to grow depends on adding great advisers to the team, so we are constantly on the lookout for like-minded individuals who share our firm’s values and goals for growth,” said CAPTRUST CEO J. Fielding Miller. “Philly and his team are top-notch talent who will fit right in. They have already made us better, and I look forward to seeing what they will accomplish in the coming years.” 

Chicago-Based RIA Firm Moves to Cerity Partners

Cerity Partners has merged with Blue Prairie Group, a retirement and investment consulting firm. With this merger, Cerity Partners will now advise on more than $21 billion in client assets.

Headquartered in Chicago, Blue Prairie Group is a fee-only registered investment adviser serving retirement plan sponsors, foundations, endowments and private clients.

“Combining with Cerity Partners was a clear next step for our firm as we both look to expand and enhance our offerings,” says Matt Gnabasik, founder of Blue Prairie Group. “There is a growing trend of employers who want to provide comprehensive, objective financial advice services to their employees, and Cerity Partners is widely considered a pioneer in the field of financial coaching and executive financial counseling. We are excited to round out our service offering and proud to be part of the Cerity Partners family.”

As part of the merger, Ty Parrish, managing partner of the Blue Prairie Group, will assume the role of practice leader of the Retirement Plan Services Group. “The people at Cerity Partners are true professionals and do business the right way, which was apparent from our first meeting with them. The merger is very much strategic and positions Cerity Partners as one of the few firms in the country with the expertise and depth of resources to provide end-to-end solutions for employers and personalized advice for employees,” says Parrish. 

GRP Financial and SRP Announce Partnership

Global Retirement Partners, LLC (GRP Financial) and Strategic Retirement Partners (SRP) have announced a partnership to add 17 SRP offices with $11 billion AUM to GRP Financial, LPL’s largest retirement plan focused hybrid registered investment adviser (RIA).  The partnership will bring together two of the industry’s premier thought leaders and innovators. 

“As margins continue to compress, and increased complexity becomes the new normal in the plan space, we know advisers are looking for much more from their RIA. Most importantly, they are looking for the technology and support that will allow them to streamline their office operations so they can spend more of their time winning business. This strategic partnership supplies that and much more, says Geoff White, CEO of GRP Financial.

SRP officially registered with GRP on April 1, according to a release. Combined, the companies retain nearly $70 Billion in AUA, over 4,500 plan clients and nearly 6,000 wealth management clients totaling approximately $4 Billion in AUM.

Retirement Advisor Council Names Industry Leader as President

Michael Kane, founder and managing director of Plan Sponsor Consultants has been named president of the Retirement Advisor Council.

Kane brings over 35 years of experience in the financial services industry, mainly recognized as an expert in approaching qualified, non-qualified, and employee benefits programs.

“I am humbled to be named the inaugural President by the Board of the RAC, an organization of advisers who advocate for qualified plans and improving retirement plan participants financial outcomes.” Kane says. “I am proud to be associated with elite retirement plan advisers, who are thought leaders in the retirement plan industry.”

MMA Acquires Pennsylvania-Based Retirement Consulting Firm 

Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC (MMA) has acquired Centurion, the Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania-based retirement consulting, asset management, and benefit-plan advisory firm. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019. 

Established in 2006, Centurion provides institutional retirement plan consulting and fiduciary services to clients with combined plan assets in excess of $16 billion and more than 400,000 participants. Additionally, the company provides private wealth management, financial planning services, and institutional pension consulting as well as employee group benefit consulting.

Upon closing, Centurion will become part of Trion Group, a Marsh & McLennan agency. Jim Hageney, who has served as a managing partner of Centurion since its formation, will continue to lead the group.

“We are delighted to welcome Centurion’s talented and experienced retirement consulting services, investment and health professionals to MMA,” says Chris Veno, co-CEO of Trion. “The addition of Centurion will enhance our offerings and expand our expertise, especially in retirement planning, and enable us to provide even greater support to our clients.”

Northern Trust Announces GFS Americas Head

Northern Trust named Ryan Burns as head of Global Fund Services (GFS) Americas. In his new role, Burns will be responsible for overseeing client service and setting the strategic business direction for investment manager clients in the Americas region.

“Ryan has played a key role in guiding the success of GFS through his keen understanding of client needs and ability to create tailored solutions to help support their business strategy,” says Dan Houlihan, head of Asset Servicing, Americas at Northern Trust. “GFS has grown significantly during his tenure. Ryan’s experience and leadership skills will be instrumental in steering our business and our clients through future years of growth, complexity and opportunity.”

Burns has more than 20 years of experience in financial services technology and relationship management, including his most recent role as head of GFS Client Service in North America.

D.A. Davidson & Co. Add Capital Markets President

D.A. Davidson & Co. announced that Marc Dispense, an experienced capital markets leader, has joined the firm as its president of Fixed Income Capital Markets.

Dispense joins D.A. Davidson with experience in fixed income capital markets, most recently with George K. Baum & Co. in Denver, where he served as co-head of capital markets. During his 16 years in the fixed income securities industry, he has led underwriting, trading and sales teams and has provided market access for municipal bond issuers from a wide range of industries and regions. 

Dispense was hired to lead D.A. Davidson’s Fixed Income Capital Markets group with the retirement of longtime President Sam Doyle, who will remain with the firm during the leadership transition before stepping down later this year. Dispense will work from the firm’s Denver office and report directly to the CEO.

Buck Selects Wealth Practice Leader for Central Region

Buck, an integrated human resources (HR) and benefits consulting, administration, and technology services firm, announced that Arthur Noonan has been appointed wealth practice leader, Central Region. He will oversee the delivery of wealth services to Buck’s clients in the Central region.   

“Buck is known for its industry expertise and outstanding culture of client service,” says Noonan. “I view myself as a true extension of my clients’ internal team and take pride in developing a deep understanding of their business, priorities, strategy, and workforce so I can proactively bring opportunities that are relevant, timely, and results-oriented.”

“Arthur delivers timely and valuable advice to his clients, generating significant savings and improved outcomes for their workforce,” says Tonya Manning, U.S. wealth practice leader and chief actuary of Buck. “He’ll have an immediate impact on the clients he serves.”