Retirement Industry People Moves

Empower Retirement announces newly created roles; Gramercy Funds hires El-Erian as part-time senior adviser; TRA adds regional sales consultant; and more. 

Art by Subin Yang

Empower Retirement Announces Newly Created Roles

Empower Retirement has appointed David McLeod as its chief business development officer and Claudia Step as its chief customer experience officer.

Both individuals are veteran Empower leaders who are taking on newly created roles. They will report to Edmund Murphy III, president & CEO of Empower Retirement.

The new senior appointments are part of an overarching strategy to further adapt Empower to rapidly changing markets for retirement services and to better serve customer needs.  

McLeod joined Great-West in 1985 and has served as senior product officer since 2012. In that role, he has led the product strategy, business development and management functions for all business lines of Great-West Financial and Empower. Previously, he served in leadership roles in investment and health care operations.

Step was previously part of McLeod’s product team where she led the development of the entire shelf of product offerings from Empower. She joined the organization from J.P. Morgan Asset Management and previously held positions with Fiserv and Prudential Financial.

McLeod will be located at Empower’s headquarters in Greenwood Village, Colorado, Step is located in New York City.

In addition, the company is announcing a national search for a chief product officer, commencing immediately. The role will lead the product strategy and delivery of Empower’s retirement plan and retail product capabilities and services. As a senior leader in the company, this position partners across the organization to develop new product and leads the ongoing development of existing products. As the company searches for the new hire, Step will assume the role of chief product officer on an interim basis.

Gramercy Funds Hires El-Erian as Part-Time Senior Adviser

Gramercy Funds Management LLC, has announced that Dr. Mohamed El-Erian will be involved with the firm on a part-time basis as a senior adviser.

El-Erian has previously held senior roles in investment management and international policymaking and was on Foreign Policy’s list of Top 100 Global Thinkers for four years in a row. In his new role at Gramercy, El-Erian will provide insight, commentary and guidance on a range of global economic, market and geopolitical topics. He will also advise on policy and investment trends, as well as other forces shaping this diverse asset class.

“I’m delighted and honored to have the opportunity to engage with Gramercy, a firm that I have admired for several years and whose approach to emerging markets, one of my passions, is thoughtful, imaginative and effective,” he says.

“We look forward to leveraging Mohamed’s development of top down themes that will be an important element to the performance of our portfolios and his assistance with PMs and analysts on decoding macro themes and their impact on our investments in EM,” says Robert Koenigsberger, founder and chief investment officer of Gramercy.

El-Erian was most recently CEO and co-chief investment officer of PIMCO, which he originally joined in 1999 to lead its emerging markets portfolio management business. He has served as chairman of the U.S. Government’s Global Development Council under President Barack Obama, spent 15 years at the International Monetary Fund, where he was a deputy director, and was CEO and president of the Harvard Management Company.

El-Erian received a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Cambridge University in economics, and a master’s in philosophy and doctorate from Oxford University.

TRA Adds Regional Sales Consultant  

The Retirement Advantage, Inc. (TRA) has hired Julie Costello as its latest regional sales consultant. Costello’s focus is educating advisers and clients on the best plan design for their retirement plan. She will be covering the Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Kentucky territory. Costello will report to Jeff Schreiber, TRA’s director of Sales.

“She is an excellent addition to our sales team,” says Schreiber. “Julie reinforces TRA’s commitment to providing our customer base with the highest quality technical solutions, services, and personnel to meet the ever-increasing challenges of retirement planning. She is a motivated, results oriented professional with all-encompassing experience in the retirement services industry, including business development, sales, client relationship management and departmental management.”

Costello was most recently a senior relationship manager with Trinity Pension Consultants in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. Prior to her time with Trinity, Julie spent the previous 11 years as a third-party administrator (TPA) relationship manager with both Empower and ING/Voya.

“I am very excited to begin using my extensive experience in sales, my passion for retirement plan administration and my entrepreneurial spirit to help TRA exceed its sales quotas,” says Costello. “The value in TRA’s superior products, expert consulting, training practices, and solid customer satisfaction are the core of the company. I look forward to taking the TRA name and expanding it throughout the region.”

Costello recently held her FINRA Series 6 and 63 license’s and currently holds her Qualified 401(k) Administrator (QKA) designation through ASPPA.

intellicents Hires Fiduciary Retirement Investment Adviser

The Dallas office of intellicents has added Jeff Belton as a fiduciary retirement investment adviser.

Belton has been involved in the retirement space for 19 years. Prior to joining intellicents, he was a retirement plan consultant assisting advisers and plan sponsors in putting together flexible contemporary plan design, participant education, fiduciary governance and recordkeeping solutions for The Standard in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. From 2005 to 2008, he was a retirement services district manager with ADP, and before that he was a retirement plan specialist with The American Funds for five years.  He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Redlands in California.

“We are excited to be entering the Texas market, and are thrilled to have Jeff join our growing stable of fiduciary retirement investment consultants,” says Grant Arends, co-founder and president of Retirement Plan Services for intellicents.  “His training and experience in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, combined with our tools and five-step process for a retirement plan that really works, will be invaluable for the growth of that office.  And we are actively in talks to expand into other Texas markets.”