Retirement Industry People Moves

Ascensus Appoints Industry Veterans to Board of Directors; Brinker Capital Grows Sales Division with Four Appointees; Goodwin Adds Partner to ERISA Team; and more.

Ascensus has appointed Bob Entringer and James Lucania to the board of directors for Ascensus Trust.


Ascensus Trust provides trust and custodial services to employee benefits plans across the nation, offering integrated solutions that increase efficiency and make it simpler for business owners to manage their plans. It is overseen by a seven-member board of directors, four independent and three internal.


Entringer joins the board as an independent director, with over 35 years of experience to his role. Prior to joining the board of directors, he served as Commissioner of the North Dakota Department of Financial Institutions, where he was responsible for regulating financial institutions, protecting the public, and ensuring that federal regulation did not infringe on state chartered institutions’ abilities to effectively serve their clients. Entringer replaced Clifton “Buzz” Hudgins, who retired from the board after serving since 1992.


Continuing independent board members include:

  • Marilyn Foss, general counsel for the North Dakota’s Banker Association, a director since 1987;
  • Jim Hambrick, senior vice president of Cornerstone Bank, a director since 2016; and
  • Sandi Piatz, site leader of Fargo, ND Microsoft Campus, a director since 2017.


Lucania joins the board as an internal member and will serve as chairman, bringing extensive financial services industry experience to his role. He currently serves as Ascensus’ chief financial officer. Continuing internal board members include Rick Irace, chief operating officer of the firm’s retirement division, and Brad Kraft, president of trust services


“We’re excited for Bob and James to join the Ascensus Trust board of directors,” says Bob Guillocheau, Ascensus’ chairman and chief executive officer. “Their industry experience and leadership skills will go a long way toward helping us shape policies that enhance the client experience and help more Americans save for life’s most important milestones.”


Brinker Capital Grows Sales Division with Four Appointees


Brinker Capital has announced the expansion of its sales team with four key appointments reporting to Ed Kelly, AIF, executive vice president of National Sales.


Sterling Moore joins Brinker Capital as a regional director responsible for new business development and client service for the PacWest territory including, northern California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. Prior to joining the company, Moore was a vice president at MassMutual Pacific, regional vice president at Global Atlantic, and divisional sales director and regional vice president at Invesco/Van Kampen Investments.

Matt Mileski was promoted from business development consultant to regional director covering the newly-established territory of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Mileski has been with Brinker Capital for more than three years. 

In addition to his sales responsibilities as regional director in Florida and Puerto Rico, Tom Rieman has taken on a more active role in providing value-added sales support and training as a speaker for The Center for Outcomes, an educational program powered by Brinker Capital to help advisers employ the value of behavioral alpha across all aspects of their work.

Avery Cook, CIMA, is an internal replacement for the retirement plan services regional director role. Cook is a seasoned professional at Brinker Capital and brings a depth of experience from the product, performance and reconciliation, pricing, client service, and operations departments.


“The combined sales experience of Sterling, Matt, Tom, and Avery, as well as their extensive knowledge of the industry, will be paramount in our focus of providing better outcomes to our financial advisers and investors and the expansion of the Brinker Capital brand,” says Kelly. 


Goodwin Adds Partner to ERISA Team


Global 50 law firm Goodwin announced that Rachel Faye Smith has joined the firm’s Boston office as partner in the ERISA and Executive Compensation practice. 


“The demand for Goodwin’s employee benefits services remains strong across our key industries, including technology, life sciences and private equity,” says Scott Webster, chair of Goodwin’s ERISA and Executive Compensation practice. “This demand is driven in large part by the success of our portfolio company practice and the increasing complexity of retirement and health plans. Rachel’s range and depth of experience as a benefits lawyer enhances, complements, and ensures continued strength of our benefits offering. We are delighted that Rachel has chosen to join Goodwin.”


Smith represents a wide range of clients and business sectors, including both public and private companies, venture capital and private equity backed companies, and nonprofit, government, and religious organizations in the areas of employee benefits and executive compensation. She counsels on the establishment and operation of qualified plans, such as profit-sharing and 401(k) plans, 403(b) and 457(b) plans, as well as defined benefit (DB) pension plans and cash balance plans, and on the correction of compliance issues under the IRS Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System.


Smith regularly represents clients before the Department of Labor (DOL), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) in the context of plan audits, compliance, and terminations. She also advises clients on employee health and welfare benefit plans, including issues relating to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as well as on nonqualified deferred compensation (NQDC) arrangements. 


Smith received her Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Civil Law from McGill University, her M.A. from the International University of Japan and her B.A. from Wilfrid Laurier University. She is admitted to practice in Massachusetts.


AllianzGI Hires Head of Client Business for North America


Allianz Global Investors (AllianzGI), announced that Aiden Redmond has joined as the head of Institutional North America.


In this role, Redmond will lead the firm’s institutional client business in North America, with responsibility over developing AllianzGI’s overall marketing and business strategy, deepening existing relationships and building new business partnerships globally. He officially joined on April 17, reporting to Doug Eu, CEO US.


“AllianzGI has successfully created a cohesive institutional marketing and sales effort in the US, and I am pleased that Aiden has joined the team,” says Eu. “With more than two decades of experience in the institutional space, Aiden brings the necessary business acumen, people leadership and strategic mindset necessary to take AllianzGI’s efforts in this marketplace to the next level.”


Redmond most recently served as managing director and head of North American Institutional for Morgan Stanley Investment Management, where he oversaw North American sales and consultant relations and served as a member of the global institutional steering committee. Before assuming this role in 2014, Aiden spent three years at Delaware Investments/Macquarie Investments as a senior vice president and head of institutional, overseeing all aspects of the business, including sales, consultant relations and client service. Previously, Redmond was a managing director at Blackrock, overseeing several client channel businesses. Prior to Blackrock’s acquisition of Merrill Lynch Asset Management, he worked as a managing director within institutional sales. He began his career at Kidder Peabody in the retail funds group, and holds a bachelor’s degree from Boston College.


Global Services Professional Joins Fidelity


Fidelity Benefits Consulting appointed Iain Jones to the role of vice president, where he will serve as North America leader for its international benefits practice.


Jones has over twenty years of industry experience and joins Fidelity from Willis Towers Watson, where he led their Global Services & Solutions group for the western U.S. region. He has worked in multiple countries over his career, including the U.K. and South Africa, and will be based in Irvine, California. At Fidelity, Jones will report to Mark Sullivan, head of International Benefits Consulting.  


“Iain’s appointment is an important step in our strategy to further build out our U.S.-based international consulting team, and will strengthen Fidelity’s international benefit consulting offering,” says Sullivan. “It will ensure that our multi-national clients are fully supported in the creation and management of innovative international benefits programs that range from governance and strategy, driving financial and operational efficiency to supporting employee engagement through international financial wellness and wellbeing programs.”


Central to Jones’s role will be advising multinationals on development and deployment of global benefit strategies, while supporting risk mitigation and compliance assurance. His wealth of experience and expertise will enable Fidelity to extend and enhance these capabilities to better meet the needs of our multi-national clients.


“Our clients can be confident that, in the pursuit of the engagement and retention of talent, the international benefits solutions we work with them to create will ensure that we remain focused on their needs and those of their employees,” continues Sullivan. “I am delighted Iain has joined our growing team and look forward over the next few months to his support in adding other exceptional talent to our client-focused team.”


TRA Promotes Sales Team Member to Sales Consultant


The Retirement Advantage, Inc. (TRA) announced the promotion of Sara Stiles to regional sales consultant (RSC). Stiles will be responsible for partnering with financial advisers and wholesalers in Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nebraska, and Iowa and Kansas; to design and implement retirement plans for privately-held businesses. 

Stiles has over 15 years of experience in retirement and financial services, nine of which were spent as a financial adviser. Prior to her Internal Sales position at TRA, she was a field sales representative for Principal Financial Group, specializing in consulting on 401(k), tax-exempt, defined benefit (DB), nonqualified, and employee stock ownership plans (ESOP). 

Sara received her undergraduate degree in financial management from Park University and her graduate degree in personal financial planning from Kansas State University. She is a qualified candidate for the certified financial planner (CFP) designation and holds her Life, Health, and 7 and 66 NASD securities licenses.


Findley Davies | BPS&M Brand Renames Due to Merge


Findley Davies | BPS&M has renamed as Findley, citing a recent merger as the cause for change.

According to Findley, the 2016 merger between Findley Davies and BPS&M (Bryan, Pendleton, Swats & McAllister), positioned the firm “for continued growth as a regional and national player in a rapidly changing marketplace.” Through the merger, the firm expanded its geographic reach in the U.S. to all 50 states, and deepened industry expertise within the employee stock ownership plans (ESOP) market and the government sector.

“One of our overarching goals during the integration of our two firms was to create a brand that represents our forward thinking vision for the future while exemplifying our culture, dedication to client service and expertise in the marketplace,” says John Weber, managing principal of Findley. “We’re pleased to roll out the Findley name as we continue our evolution with greater geographies, resources and breadth of services.”


Ascensus Acquires TPA Firm


Ascensus has entered into an agreement to acquire Benefit Planning Consultants, Inc. (BPC). Headquartered in Champaign, Illinois, BPC is a diversified third-party administrator (TPA) that provides retirement and consumer-directed healthcare (CDH) solutions. The firm assists businesses with the design, implementation, and administration of retirement plan services (such as 401(k), 403(b), 457, money purchase, profit sharing and employee stock ownership plans [ESOPs]) and benefit plan services (such as flexible spending accounts [FSAs], health reimbursement arrangements [HRAs], health savings accounts [HSAs], and COBRA).


BPC, which was founded in 1979, serves clients across the nation by providing retirement and benefit administration solutions. Its business practices, culture, and community involvement have earned accolades from numerous industry and business organizations for service. Most notably, BPC was among the first TPAs in the country to earn certification from the Centre for Fiduciary Excellence, LLC (CEFEX) for Retirement Plan Administration Service.


“BPC is a great fit for Ascensus from both business and cultural standpoints,” states David Musto, Ascensus’ president. “Designing benefit and retirement plans that meet the needs of companies and their employees while treating clients with the utmost care and respect is very much in line with our mission of helping Americans save for the future—BPC’s talented group of associates will no doubt be an outstanding addition to the Ascensus team.”


“With BPC, we are excited by the prospect of adding a hybrid TPA that provides a combination of retirement and CDH/benefit continuation services along with a fantastic service delivery reputation,” says Raghav Nandagopal, Ascensus’ executive vice president of corporate development and M&A. “We are committed to aggressively growing our CDH and benefit continuation offerings; adding BPC right after our acquisition of Chard Snyder fits this strategy.”


Bolton Concludes Rebranding Strategy


Bolton Partners, Inc., has announced that as part of its evolution, it has completed re-branding the organization to Bolton. Along with the updated brand name, Bolton has launched a new website, and have completed an organizational realignment to clearly distinguish its three primary service lines: Bolton Health, Bolton Retirement, and Bolton Investment.


Speaking about the announcement, Christopher Bolton, COO of Bolton, says, “Today is an important step for us as we continue to build on the successes and progression of the company over the past 37 years. Through organic growth, acquisition, and strategic partnerships we’ve expanded our geographic presence, expertise, and service lines to offer a more comprehensive solution set for our public and private sector clients.”


Geoff Adams, chief growth officer at Bolton, adds “The name change provides a foundation for the growth we expect in the next decade. Bolton has always been known as a leader in providing data-driven risk advisory and strategic business solutions for our clients; how we fulfill that mission has simply grown based on our clients’ needs, and their continued trust in Bolton to serve them in new ways.”


Founder Robert Bolton will continue to serve as chairman and CEO of the organization; Tom Lowman serves as chief actuary and president of Bolton Retirement; Mark Lynne is the president of Bolton Health; and Clyde Randall is chief investment officer of Bolton Investment.


Schroders Adds Three Professionals to Leadership Roles


Schroders announced that Marc Brookman has been appointed to the newly created role of deputy CEO, North America, effective this July.  


Brookman will take on direct management of all distribution, client service, product management and marketing responsibilities. He will be based in New York and report to Karl Dasher, CEO, North America and co-head of fixed income


Brookman will join from Morgan Stanley where he has been leading Graystone Consulting for eight years and served as head of institutional wealth services at Morgan Stanley for five years, with oversight of more than $400 billion in assets advised. 


Additionally, Schroders announces that Rock Wilkinson and Tiffani Potesta have been  appointed to new leadership positions. Wilkinson takes on the role of head of U.S. Institutional Sales which will oversee  broad institutional sales effort in the U.S. He will also continue to manage sales and relationship management activities in the Taft-Hartley channel. Potesta, head of wealth management solutions, will add leadership of the North American Alternatives Sales unit to her area of responsibility. With this, Potesta will oversee the effort to grow Schroders’ alternative investment client base in North America.


Ascensus Hires Head of TPA Solutions Team


Ascensus hired Jerry Bramlett as head of TPA Solutions. He will report to David Musto, president of Ascensus.


Bramlett will oversee the strategic direction for Ascensus’ newly formed TPA Solutions division. He will be responsible for P&L management, sales, services, operations, relationship and practice management, and employee engagement and talent management.

Prior to joining Ascensus, Bramlett was managing director at Sage Advisory Services and managing partner at Redstar Advisors. He cofounded The 401(k) Company in 1983, evolving the firm from a TPA to a leading full-service platform that included TPA, recordkeeping, and advisory capabilities. Bramlett has also served as president and chief executive officer of BenefitStreet and NextStepDC, as a defined contribution strategist for Dimensional Fund Advisors, and as a thought leadership contributor to NAPA Net.