Retirement Industry People Moves

MassMutual announces multiple hires and appointments; Charles Schwab names former TD Ameritrade president as SVP; Hamilton Capital selects retirement plans director; and more.

Art by Subin Yang

Art by Subin Yang

MassMutual Announces Multiple Hires and Appointments

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) has appointed two new divisional vice presidents as part of reorganizing its distribution to support retirement plans in the emerging, mid-size and institutional markets.

“We are making some changes and additions to further align our distribution management structure and teams for success and growth,” says Bob Carroll, head of workplace distribution.  “The enhanced distribution structure will enable MassMutual to capture more opportunities in the retirement plans and voluntary benefits marketplaces.”

The realignment means nine divisional vice presidents (DVPs) will now oversee a total distribution force of approximately 120, including a network of 66 managing directors who support financial advisers serving employers that provide retirement plans and voluntary benefits. MassMutual will now offer three separate market focuses for retirement plans: the emerging market covering start-ups up to plans with $25 million in retirement assets under management; the mid-market with plans between $25 million and $500 million in AUM; and the institutional market with plans having $500 million or more in AUM.  Previously, MassMutual divided its distribution between the emerging market with up to $15 million in AUM and the institutional market for plans with more than $15 million in AUM.

The divisional vice presidents report to Carroll, including two new hires from outside the organization.

Ryan Franken is the DVP for the Northeast region and is located in Jersey City, New Jersey. Franken comes to MassMutual from Franken Lord, Abbett & Co. LLC, where he was a defined contribution (DC) director. Franken is a graduate of Georgetown University and has a master’s from Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management.

Doug Grove is the DVP of the Central region. Grove, based in Chicago, joins MassMutual from Principal Group, where he led growth of retirement product distribution and ran a team of 350 retirement sales professionals and support staff. Grove is a graduate of Buena Vista College.

In addition to the new hires, MassMutual is realigning several existing Workplace Distribution leaders:

Mike Reilly is now DVP for mid-market sales, leading a team of 12 managing directors in the corporate institutional market.

Brian Sweeney has been named DVP of institutional, government and Taft Hartley sales. In addition to managing sales for the government and Taft Hartley markets nationally, Sweeney will lead MassMutual in the institutional marketplace for plans with $500 million in retirement assets under management and greater. Sweeney will partner with Gina Golson-Nunery, who heads client management in the institutional marketplace.

Doug Denigris is DVP of sales and retention solutions, reporting to Sweeney. Denigris will be responsible for establishing a sales and retention solutions team that will support sales and retention of retirement plans with retirement assets of $10 million to $1 billion.

Bill Hicks is DVP of East sales operations and reports to both Carroll and Shefali Desai, head of worksite. Hicks will have key account responsibilities for worksite, which distributes voluntary benefits. Hicks is working to develop enhanced field training and support, organizing and running adviser due diligence meetings for the Eastern U.S. region, and heading the field marketing committee.

Brian Robb is DVP of West sales operations and will report to Carroll. Hicks will work closely with workplace key account relationships and will head up adviser committees to be formed for all segments of the business, including organizing and running adviser due diligence meetings for the Western U.S. region and heading the field product committee.

In addition, Frank Bruno continues as DVP of the West division and Kevin Shamblin continues as DVP of the Southeast division. Lynn Roy remains workplace national TPA channel leader and Carlo Guerrera continues as head of strategic relationships.  In addition, Rosemary Fitzgerald has been appointed as national key account manager for national adviser and RIA firms, reporting to Guerrera.

Heather Stanley has been named sales consultant manager. Previously a strategic sales leader, Stanley has 11 years’ experience with MassMutual, including nine years on the account management team.  She has degrees from both Northwestern Michigan College and Central Arizona College.

Charles Schwab Names Former TD Ameritrade President as SVP

Charles Schwab has announced that Tom Bradley, who formerly served as president of TD Ameritrade’s retail and institutional businesses, will join its adviser services business as senior vice president, effective January 13, 2020.

In this role, Bradley, who left TD Ameritrade in September 2017, will oversee the core segment of Schwab’s adviser business. Upon the close of Schwab’s recently announced acquisition of TD Ameritrade, Bradley will also play a leadership role in helping integrate the two firms’ adviser services businesses.

“We’ve known Tom personally for years and have long admired his successful track record working across the investment services community,” says Schwab Executive Vice President Bernie Clark, head of Schwab Advisor Services. “Tom knows the independent adviser space in great detail, and we’re fortunate to be able to add his depth of experience and breadth of industry relationships to our Advisor Services leadership team.” 

“I’ve always held deep respect for Schwab’s client focus, values-based culture and long history of commitment to the independent investment adviser industry,” says Bradley, who will report to Clark and be located at the firm’s Westlake, Texas, campus. 

Bradley’s three decades at TD Ameritrade culminated in his serving as president of the firm’s retail distribution unit for more than five years. Prior to that role, he was president of TD Ameritrade’s institutional business for 12 years. He is a graduate of the University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business.

Hamilton Capital Selects Retirement Plans Director

Hamilton Capital has appointed Bill Meerman to director, retirement plans. A 30-year industry veteran, Meerman is tasked with leading and growing the organization’s retirement plan business. 

“Our goal is to create more secure retirements by relieving participants of the most impactful investment decisions and placing them in the hands of professionals,” says Matt Hamilton, chairman and CEO.  “We believe Bill is uniquely qualified to carry our message to retirement plan sponsors.”

“Compounding quality investment returns is critical to building secure retirements. Industry studies conclude that managing asset allocation has the greatest impact on investment returns.  This is difficult for participants to do by choosing from a line-up of mutual funds or model portfolios. Hamilton has taken an innovative approach by substituting a menu of managed strategies that dynamically adjusts portfolio asset allocations. At the same time, they still address the fiduciary issues that concern most plan sponsors,” Meerman says.  

Pacific Life Promotes Sales VP to Division Leader

Pacific Life has selected Brian Woolfolk as the leader of the company’s new institutional division, effective January 1, 2020. Woolfolk currently serves as senior vice president of sales and chief marketing officer in the retirement solutions division.

The institutional division will bring Pacific Life’s collection of products in the institutional space, including for pension risk transfer, stable value wrap and federal home loan bank businesses, under one leadership as it transitions out of the retirement solutions division.

Woolfolk joined Pacific Life in 2010 and has held roles throughout sales, marketing and product development. In his new role, Woolfolk will lead retail business functions through changes as he grows the new institutional division.

“Brian is a dedicated leader with deep experience in building and leading high-performing teams,” says Pacific Life Chairman, President and CEO Jim Morris. “His leadership role as the head of sales and marketing for the retirement solutions division, as well as previously leading the product development area, has given him broad exposure to strategic, operational and organizational challenges and established his reputation as a thought leader who brings structure, insight and a strong business sense to his role.”

DCREC Appoints 2020 Officers and Committee Co-Chairs

The Defined Contribution Real Estate Council (DCREC) has named its new officers and committee co-chairs for 2020.  

The new officer appointments include Sara Shean, executive director at PGIM Real Estate, who is co-president along with Michael O’Connor, managing director at Clarion Partners; Ian Matthew, senior director, TIAA, co-secretary along with Lennine Occhino, partner at Mayer Brown; and Jodi Fiser, senior vice president at LaSalle Investment Management, co-treasurer along with Anne-Marie Vandenberg, president and chief operating officer at RREEF Property Trust.

Rob Palmeri, executive director at UBS Asset Management, will co-chair the best practices committee along with Tim Bolla, vice president of portfolio management at BentallGreenOak.

Howard Margolis, managing director at Clarion Partners, will co-chair marketing and industry awareness with Kevin Ryan, managing director at Manulife/John Hancock.  

Jay Morgan, managing director of StepStone, and Brian Lambert, vice president at AEW Capital Management, will co-chair the research and content committee.  

Jennifer Perkins, senior director of DC real estate solutions at Principal Real Estate Investors will serve as co-chair of Strategic Alliance, alongside with Rob Collins, managing director at Partners Group.

In addition, DCREC announced the formation of two new committees and their leaders: Jim Gehring, partner, Seyfarth Shaw, will be the chairman of legal and regulatory; and Mackenzie Clouse, vice president at Situs RERC, and Amy White, senior director at Invesco, will co-chair the finance and valuation committee.

Officer appointments are for a period of two years and committee leadership appointments are for a period of one year. All will be effective as of January 1, 2020.

“I congratulate our new officers and co-chairs on their recent appointment to DCREC’s leadership team,” says O’Connor, the newly appointed co-president.  “In the past year, we continue to add new DCREC member firms, which I believe is in large part due to our culture of learning and collaboration, as well as the growth of interest in the defined contribution market. Looking ahead, we expect to see more real estate investment options being made available to DC plans and their participants.”   

Retirement Planning Education Provider Connects with PlanMember Securities Corp

Marina Armbruster, founder of School Benefit Services in Sacramento, will affiliate with PlanMember Securities Corporation. 

As a new PlanMember Financial Center, School Benefit Services will expand retirement and investment planning and financial education opportunities for educators in the Sacramento area, particularly in Yuba, Sutter and Placer counties. 

Marina Armbruster founded School Benefit Services in 2009 after two decades in the financial services industry. She provides retirement planning services— including insurance products, Section 125 plans and other employee benefits—to educators in 10 school districts in Yuba, Sutter and Placer counties. Her affiliation as a PlanMember Financial Center began on November 5. 

“I feel at home with PlanMember because they do what I do,” says Armbruster. “There aren’t many professionals in my area who focus on school systems, 403(b) and 457 plans. PlanMember specializes in that field so it’s a perfect fit for me. By joining PlanMember I feel I’m able to offer better products and services to my clients. Establishing my practice as a PlanMember Financial Center will also enable me to grow my business significantly.” 

“Our affiliation with Marina and School Benefit Services supports PlanMember’s plans for expanding its financial center business model in California and across the country,” says Jon Ziehl, founder and CEO of PlanMember, “and we’re looking forward to a successful long-term relationship.”

Fidelity Adds Rewards Practice to Workplace Consulting 

Fidelity Investments has expanded its workplace consulting business with the launch of a rewards consulting practice.

The rewards consulting practice is said to help organizations reframe traditional compensation and benefits packages as total rewards strategies, as well as ensure workplace benefits are closely aligned with an organization’s business goals.

As part of the launch, Fidelity has hired Andy Welt to lead the rewards consulting practice.

Welt joins Fidelity Investments from Marsh & McLennan Agency, where he managed the compensation consulting division. He also has led compensation strategies at Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Hasbro, Royal Bank of Scotland and CVS Health. He will be based in San Diego, California, and will report to Pearce Weaver, senior vice president of Fidelity workplace consulting. In addition to his new role, Welt will continue to serve as a faculty member for World-at-Work, a global association focused on the practice of total rewards, and as an adjunct professor at San Diego State University’s School of Management.

“In today’s ultra-competitive job market, organizations are constantly looking for any opportunity to gain an advantage in the war for talent,” says Shams Talib, head of Fidelity workplace consulting. “Using a total rewards approach can be an effective way to attract and retain top performing employees. Adding Andy to our team will help us build on our capabilities in this area and provide significant value to our clients.”

TRS CIO Announces Departure 

Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) Chief Investment Officer Jerry Albright announced he is stepping down from the pension fund’s lead investment management role at its December board of trustees’ meeting. Albright will continue to serve TRS for up to one year as senior managing director, global investment initiatives.

“It has been the honor of my lifetime to serve the members of TRS in many roles over the past 25 years. I end my tenure as CIO knowing that we have weathered some financial storms, but the fund and its strategy are on the right path for our members. Truly, we have built a great team to represent their interests moving forward,” says Albright, who was appointed CIO in mid-2017.

Albright joined TRS in 1994 and previously served as TRS’ deputy chief investment officer, chief operating officer, as well as the director of investment operations. He spearheaded the current “Building the Fleet” initiative to bring more investment management talent in-house as the trust’s growth continues. Other projects included the development early this year of a recruiting-centered partnership with Howard University’s School of Business. In 2015, Albright directed TRS’ opening of the system’s London office.

Albright first presented an executive leadership succession plan to the board in 2016. The actions of Albright moving to his new role and the appointment of Jase Auby as CIO are the culmination of that plan. 

“I am honored and privileged to take over as TRS’ chief investment officer and to continue leading such a diverse and talented team of investment professionals. Jerry’s experience and leadership in our industry are widely recognized and I thank him for his support as both a mentor and a friend,” says Auby, whom board members approved as CIO at the same public meeting. Auby, who joined TRS in 2009, pledged to maintain TRS’ current investment management approach. That mandate focuses on carrying out a fiduciary duty to the state’s more than 1.6 million active and retired educators.  

On Albright’s stepping down, board of trustees’ chairman Jarvis Hollingsworth, said, “Jerry has always represented the highest level of integrity and financial acumen as he carried out his duties for the trust. I believe he has left a legacy that others will be able to follow for many years.”

“Jerry’s enthusiasm for public service will leave a lasting mark on our agency,” said TRS Executive Director Brian Guthrie. “He has always emphasized the importance of serving our mission first. And I believe he has done that successfully. I look forward to working with Jase Auby as he transitions into his new role and I fully support Auby’s promotion to CIO.” 

Albright is on the advisory board of the finance department at Texas A&M University. He also serves on the governing board as co-chairman of the Toigo Foundation, an industry group whose mission is to foster the career advancement and increased leadership of underrepresented talent. He is also a member of the Board of the Council of Institutional Investors. Albright will transition from those roles over time.