Retirement Industry People Moves

Gramercy Funds hires global head of business development; Ascensus acquires retirement and benefits solution adviser; Private equity director joins Hirtle Callaghan; and more. 

Art by Subin Yang

Gramercy Funds Hires Global Head of Business Development

Jeffrey D. Sharon, CFP, CIMA has joined Gramercy Funds Management as global head of business development. Sharon will be responsible for the firm’s marketing, distribution and investor relations efforts and will also serve as a member of Gramercy’s Management Team.

Sharon brings 25 years of expertise in the asset management industry, as a business development professional and leader of institutional sales and client service teams. Prior to joining Gramercy, he spent nine years at OFI Global Asset Management, an OppenheimerFunds Company. He was most recently the head of North America Institutional. Sharon was also a member of the distribution senior leadership team, where he provided strategic direction and contributed to the broader global and multi-channel distribution effort.

Prior to OppenheimerFunds, Sharon was at Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML), where he spent over seven years as director of Institutional Sales. Prior to BAML, he was vice president, business development officer at Trusco Capital Management where he spent three years in institutional business development. He began his career in 1994 at Putnam Investments, where he held various client management and sales positions for his six-year tenure.

Sharon earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Florida Atlantic University, and he has obtained professional certifications from the University of Central Florida and The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a certified financial planner professional, certified investment management analyst, a member of the Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA), a member of the Association of Investment Management Sales Executives (AIMSE), and is involved in nonprofit volunteerism by serving on the Board of Directors of the Children’s Home Society of Florida Foundation and as chairman of the Board of The Faine House.

Ascensus Acquires Retirement and Benefits Solution Adviser

Ascensus has acquired Beneco from Alpine Investors. The firm, which offers a full suite of recordkeeping, third-party administration (TPA), and benefit plan consulting services, will immediately become part of the FuturePlan by Ascensus line of business.

“At FuturePlan, we understand that contractors face unique challenges when it comes to creating and managing an employee benefits plan while keeping the cost of their bids down,” states Jerry Bramlett, head of FuturePlan. “Beneco is one of the largest prevailing wage specialists in the country—adding their significant scale and unrivaled expertise to the FuturePlan team will allow us to help prevailing wage businesses to build a better future for their employees while giving them the ability to be more competitive with their contract bids.”

“For more than 30 years, Beneco has partnered with prevailing wage businesses all over the country to help them provide their employees with comprehensive benefits and valuable retirement plans,” states Kristy Bryson, Beneco’s chief executive officer. “We have invested time and resources to successfully position our business for the future and are excited to execute on new growth opportunities as part of FuturePlan.”

AndCo Names New Senior Consultant

AndCo has hired Gwelda Swilley as a senior consultant. Swilley joins the firm with over 25 years of investment consulting and leadership experience. 

Swilley viously served as a senior vice president and senior consultant with Callan Associates.  Prior to joining Callan, she served as a managing consultant with Gray & Co. and held early career development consulting positions at both LCG and Watson Wyatt. Swilley will be based in Atlanta and will work to expand the company’s presence across the country. She will service all plan types within the institutional space.

Swilley received her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in international relations and affairs from Florida State University.

Private Equity Director Joins Hirtle Callaghan

Hirtle Callaghan announced that Stephen Vaccaro has joined the firm as director of Private Equity. Vaccaro is an investment professional with more than 15 years of experience in endowment management and consulting, including the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and BCG.

Vaccaro is working closely with Hirtle Callaghan’s investment team to oversee private equity investment efforts on behalf of the firm’s family, endowment, foundation, health care and pension clients. He reports to Dan McCollum, deputy chief investment officer, who leads the firm’s manager selection and is himself an endowment veteran, having joined Hirtle Callaghan from Brown University. Vaccaro also serves as a member of Hirtle Callaghan’s Investment Policy Committee and Investment Strategy Committee.

“We are excited to welcome a professional of Stephen’s caliber to the investment team at a time when private equity is an increasingly important component of our clients’ portfolios,” says McCollum. “Stephen brings an impressive track record leading private equity investments and a robust relationship network of talented fund managers. We are certain that his extensive experience at two of the world’s most prestigious university endowments will further enhance our ability to identify and access top performing private equity managers.” 

Vaccaro joins Hirtle Callaghan from the University of Pennsylvania’s Office of Investments. As a senior team member, he played an active role in investment committee discussions across public equity, private equity, real assets and absolute return strategies.

Prior to joining the University of Pennsylvania, Vaccaro was a senior team member at Princeton University’s $26 billion endowment, where he worked in private investments across buyouts, venture capital, natural resources and real estate. Before Princeton, he served as a principal in BCG’s New York and Moscow offices, where he led numerous projects for private equity firms, investment banks, global corporations, and start-up ventures. Vaccaro holds a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and a master’s degree from Yale University. He is also a CFA charterholder. 

Empower Retirement Selects Chief Product Officer

Empower Retirement appointed Tina Wilson as senior vice president chief product officer, where she will lead the product strategy and delivery of retirement plan and retail products.

The appointment will be effective on September 9, and she will report to Empower President and CEO Edmund Murphy.

In her role, Wilson will lead a team of 35 professionals responsible for product development while collaborating with teams across the organization, including technology, marketing and client experience.

“Tina will drive product vision, lead and collaborate with teams across our organization to ensure that we are a leader in providing our customers the best experience,” says Murphy. “We are in an exciting time in our company and in our industry. Our customers’ expectations are evolving and changing rapidly and we continue to innovate, bringing them a personalized customer experience.”

Wilson joins Empower Retirement from MassMutual Financial Group having led both retirement and investment product teams at MassMutual. 

She has more than 25 years of industry experience in numerous leadership roles. She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut, has a CFA credential and is an accredited investment fiduciary.