Retirement Industry People Moves

Wealth Management Solutions Firm Joins Kestra Financial; AXA Hires Executive for Life, Retirement and Wealth Management Business; T. Rowe Price Expands Retirement Plan Services Team with New Hires; and more.

Kestra Private Wealth Services, LLC, a registered investment adviser (RIA) subsidiary of Kestra Financial, Inc. has added True Alpha Wealth Management (True Alpha) to its platform.


Based in Sandusky, Ohio, True Alpha Wealth Management is operated by Brian Duttera, president; Elizabeth Skrinak, vice president; and Pat Glasgow, wealth management associate.


“We chose Kestra PWS because of its easily adaptable platform, cutting-edge technological capabilities, integrated CRM tools and most importantly—the team’s commitment to helping us serve our clients and grow our business,” says Duttera. “We’re thrilled, energized, and very happy with the support we received thus far.”


The advisers at True Alpha offer financial planning services and customized wealth management solutions to individuals, families, entrepreneurs, C-level executives, retirement plans, and foundations, with a focus on serving families with special needs as well as nontraditional families.


AXA Hires Executive for Life, Retirement and Wealth Management Business


AXA has announced that Aaron Sarfatti has been hired as managing director and head of strategy for its Life, Retirement and Wealth Management businesses. In this role, he will partner closely with the company’s business leaders to develop and execute key strategic initiatives, supporting growth and improvement efforts.


Sarfatti will report to Brian Winikoff, senior executive director and head of Life, Retirement and Wealth Management. 


“I’m thrilled to bring a proven leader of Aaron’s caliber onboard,” says Winikoff.  “His expertise in the insurance industry, particularly his thought leadership surrounding lifetime income, will help us continue to deliver innovative solutions on behalf of our customers.” 


Sarfatti most recently served as a partner with global management consulting firm, Oliver Wyman, in its North American Insurance Practice. This included a four-year role as head of the firm’s New York office.  


“It is an honor to join a leading firm and work alongside AXA’s experienced team,” says Sarfatti.  “I have long admired the company’s commitment to sound risk management and product innovation and look forward to helping chart its next chapter.”


Sarfatti has gained 15 years of experience working in financial services, life insurance, asset management and retail banking.  


Sarfatti received a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree in Computer Science from Princeton University, where he also received Certificates of Proficiency in Finance and Public and International Affairs. Sarfatti is a credentialed actuary.


T. Rowe Price Expands Retirement Plan Services Team with New Hires

T. Rowe Price Retirement Plan Services Inc., announced Mikey Gannon will join the Retirement Plan Services (RPS) territory sales team as senior retirement sales executive. In this role, Gannon will focus on small-market retirement plan sales in Los Angeles and surrounding counties. 


Gannon joins T. Rowe Price with more than 15 years of industry experience, most recently at Transamerica Retirement Solutions as national director of client services.


In addition, Emma Tookey has joined the RPS territory sales team as senior retirement sales executive, focusing on small-market retirement plan sales in northern California and Nevada.


Tookey also brings 15 years of industry experience to T. Rowe Price, most recently at Mass Mutual as managing director, covering northern California and the Pacific Northwest.


“Mikey and Emma bring a wealth of industry experience to our team and a passion for helping advisers grow their retirement plan business. The west coast is a base for many high-quality retirement plan advisers and we are thrilled to have Mikey and Emma on board to support their needs. We welcome them both and look forward to their contributions to our business,” says Mike Shamburger, head of territory sales at T. Rowe Price Retirement Plan Services, Inc.


Industry Expert Enters Securian as Regional Sales VP


Retirement plans sales veteran James Swartz has joined Securian Financial Group as a regional sales vice president working with advisers to bring Securian’s retirement plan solutions to small and mid-size employers.


Based in Los Angeles, Swartz is supporting retirement plan advisers located in Southern California, Southern Nevada and Arizona. Prior to joining Securian, he served as a regional vice president with Transamerica Retirement Services. Swartz holds FINRA Series 7 and 66 registrations and earned a Master of Business Administration degree from California State University, San Bernadino.

“James is an outstanding addition to our team,” says Steve Chappell, Securian’s national vice president of retirement plan sales. “We are continuing to add talent to our sales force due to the growing demand for our product in addition to the upcoming introduction of several new offerings, including a 3(16) service, a Multiple Employer Plans (MEP) option, a “ReadyPlan” for small employers and unitized model portfolios.”


PGIM Hires First Ever Chief Marketing Officer


PGIM has announced that Ken Poliziani joined the firm as its first chief marketing officer. In his new role, Poliziani will be responsible for building on the strength and reputation of the overall PGIM brand as the company continues its growth.


Poliziani, most recently chief marketing officer of the Institutional and Retirement businesses for the Americas at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, will have oversight for PGIM’s brand messaging and strategic marketing globally. Poliziani will report to Taimur Hyat, chief strategy officer for PGIM.


“We are excited to welcome a tenured colleague to our executive leadership team,” says Hyat. “Ken’s extensive experience in leading comprehensive brand and marketing efforts with an eye toward institutional audiences will serve to reinforce PGIM’s reputation as the manager of choice for sophisticated investors and support our robust international expansion.”


TIAA Adds Executive VP for Nuveen Operations


TIAA announced that Ajit Naidu has joined the company as executive vice president, head of Asset Management Services & Technology and Global Corporate Solutions Technology. Naidu will be responsible for Nuveen operations and technology as well as the full suite of TIAA’s enterprise systems and applications in Finance & Actuarial, Human Resources, Advocacy & Oversight, Marketing and Information Technology.


Naidu will be based in Iselin, New Jersey, reporting to Senior Executive Vice President, Head of Client Services and Technology, Rahul Merchant.


Naidu brings more than 25 years of experience developing technology and business strategies that drive operational excellence and growth, primarily in financial services, asset management and investment banking. Most recently he was the CEO of MDC Business Management Services, a shared services company for the Mubadala group. Prior to that he was chief information officer for the Mubadala group. Naidu also spent 12 years at Merrill Lynch where he was chief technology officer in Global Markets and Investment Banking. He holds a BE in Computer Science and Engineering from Mysore University in Mysore, India and a MS in Computer Science from Virginia Tech.


RMB Promotes Top Executive to Co-Chief Investment Officer


RMB Capital (RMB) has named Partner and Managing Director of Asset Management Christopher Graff, CFA, as the firm’s co-chief investment officer. 


Graff has worked side-by-side with Richard M. Burridge, Jr., RMB’s founding partner, CEO, and co-chief investment officer, for 16 years—predating the firm’s inception in 2005. 


“Bringing Chris into this role has been a long time coming, as he’s been my co-pilot through almost two full market cycles,” says Burridge. “I’ve never been more excited about the wide range of strategies we’re able to offer our clients. The growth of our investment platform has made the role of CIO a two-person job, especially since we have many more ideas to execute on behalf of our wide range of investors.” 


“I’m excited to officially step into this role alongside Dick,” says Graff. “We are doubling down on the vision we have shared since the beginning, which is to offer a distinct array of actively managed investment solutions that can capture untapped value for our clients.”

Graff will continue to serve as managing director of asset management concurrently with his new role. He holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Graff is also a member of the CFA Society of Chicago and a CFA charterholder.

Vestwell Partners With Namely for Retirement Experience

Vestwell is partnering with Namely, a human resource (HR) platform for mid-sized companies, to provide an all-in-one retirement experience for plan sponsors and their employees.


Vestwell’s retirement offering will now integrate into Namely’s platform. Through single sign on, users will gain access to key benefits and retirement information, all in one place. More importantly, the new offering provides payroll integration, thus removing the significant administrative burden from plan sponsors of providing ongoing payroll information and updated election deferrals. 


“At Vestwell, our key objective is to modernize how retirement plans are offered and administered, and our partnership with Namely does just that,” says Aaron Schumm, founder and CEO, Vestwell. “By coupling Vestwell’s turnkey retirement solution with Namely’s humanized and savvy HR system, we’re able to create a more harmonious experience for the plan sponsor and their participants.”


Namely clients interested in Vestwell’s services for their retirement offering will benefit from a simplified payroll integration, fast and easy onboarding, transparent pricing, and streamlined administration.  


“At Namely, we’re focused on providing midsized companies with best-in-class technology for all of their HR needs,” said Michael Manne, VP Sales, Namely. “We’re excited to partner with Vestwell to provide our clients with a like-minded, advanced technology solution that seamlessly integrates into our HR platform.”  


Sageview Promotes Past Consultant to CFO


SageView Advisory Group named Jonathan Clair, J.D. chief fiduciary officer. Clair will be responsible for ensuring that all SageView advisers and offices across the nation employ best fiduciary practices by formalizing internal processes. He will serve as a key resource to all 23 SageView offices and its partners.


Randy Long, founder and CEO of SageView, remarks, “Jonathan has a deep understanding of our fiduciary responsibilities. His breadth of legal knowledge coupled with his experience in retirement plan consulting has made him an invaluable asset to both SageView and his clients over the past six years.” 


Clair joined SageView in 2012 as a retirement plan consultant and registered representative in Atlanta, Georgia, as a member of the Southeast Team, and will continue to work closely with retirement plan clients in his new role. He is a member of SageView’s Internal Investment Committee and 3(38) subcommittee as well as a frequent contributor to industry publications.


After receiving his undergraduate degree in Finance and Business Administration from the University of Tennessee, Clair earned his J.D. from Georgia State University College of Law. He is a licensed attorney in both Tennessee and Georgia and holds multiple securities registrations.


Sales Expert Joins NYLIM as Head of U.S. Distribution


New York Life Investment Management (NYLIM) announced that Jac McLean will join the company in June as head of U.S. Distribution. In this newly created role, he will focus on building and leading a world-class distribution organization and strategy across all third-party retail and intermediary channels in the U.S, the firm says.

He will report to Yie-Hsin Hung, chief executive officer of NYLIM, and oversee Agency Relationship Management, Third Party Distribution, Relationship Management, Defined Contribution Investment Only (DCIO), and the Research Platform Group.


According to Hung, “The distribution landscape has evolved significantly in recent years, and having a leader in place who can think strategically across client segments is critical to achieving our growth aspirations. Jac has a proven track record in building strong distribution organizations and strengthening relationships with a diverse client base. We look forward to his leadership as head of U.S. Distribution at NYLIM, and welcome him to our executive team.”


McLean will bring more than 25 years of experience in sales leadership to NYLIM. He will join NYLIM from The Hartford where he served as head of distribution for The Hartford Funds, with responsibility for retail sales, institutional sales and strategic relationship management.  


McLean began his career with MFS Fund Distributors, Inc. and held positions of increasing responsibility during his 16 years with the firm. He then served as head of U.S. retail and offshore distribution at Eaton Vance prior to joining the Hartford Funds in 2013. He holds the FINRA Series 7 and 24 licenses. McLean attended Boston College where he received a bachelor’s degree.


Kestra Financial Hires Head of Retirement Plans


Kestra Financial, Inc. (Kestra Financial), an independent adviser platform, has hired Taylor Hammons, a former financial services professional with experience in retirement plan services, as its new vice president and head of Retirement Plans. 


Hammons’ experience in the retirement plan space ranges from sales and marketing, to product development and distribution, to rebuilding and launching 401(k)-related technology platforms. At Kestra Financial, he will be responsible for overseeing the company’s expanding retirement plan platform designed to provide the highest-quality support to financial advisers and clients in the independent space. 


“As our platform continues to grow, we have carved out a unique focus on retirement plans in an effort to support advisers within this specialization,” says Mark Schoenbeck, executive vice president and national sales director at Kestra Financial. “Bringing Taylor on board is one of the many steps we are taking to further enhance our retirement plan services. We’re confident that Taylor’s expertise and experience will help us empower the success of retirement plan specialists.”


Hammons will also be responsible for working with Kestra Financial’s Retirement Plan Advisor Council, which meets regularly to provide adviser-centric feedback and guidance.


Hammons holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Banking Finance and Managerial Finance from the University of Mississippi, as well as a Juris Doctorate from the University of Memphis School of Law and a Masters of Law from Washington University School of Law. Additionally, he is an accredited investment fiduciary (AIF). He has held executive positions in the retirement industry before joining Kestra Financial, most recently as the director of Retirement Plan Consulting Services at Advisor Group.