Retirement Industry People Moves

Schroders announces North American distribution hires; Senior consultant joins PEI; Wise Rhino Group hires managing director; and more. 

Art by Subin Yang

Art by Subin Yang

Schroders Announces North American Distribution Hires 

Schroders announced plans to expand its distribution capabilities in North America in order to advance its growth strategy. As part of the expansion, Schroders has hired Joel Schiffman as head of U.S. Defined Contribution (DC) and Insurance Sales. Based in New York, Schiffman will oversee Schroders’ existing sub-advisory and insurance businesses as well as build out the firm’s DC segment. He will report to Marc Brookman, deputy CEO North America.

 “The Defined Contribution segment is one where we see opportunities to continue growing and we are confident that with Joel’s depth of knowledge and deep relationships in the space, we will be well-positioned to better serve this market,” says Brookman. “His track record of growth of assets under management across Defined Contribution platforms, insurance companies and institutional clients, combined with an extensive network of industry relationships makes him well-suited for overseeing our team in his new role.”

Previously, Schiffman was at Janus Henderson Investors, Columbia Management and Lord Abbett & Co., LLC, and most recently, he served as vice president and director, Financial Institutions at Janus Henderson Investors.   

Additionally, Tiffani Potesta has been named head of Distribution Strategy, North America. In this new role, Potesta will continue to lead the Alternatives Sales and Wealth Management Solutions divisions, and will additionally oversee Product Development, led by Tom Darnowski, head of Product Development, Americas, and Marketing and RFP, led by Jennifer Manser O’Rourke, head of Marketing & Communications, Americas.

To further increase the North America distribution platform, the following changes have occurred across the various client channel teams:  Jon Mackay has been named head of sales, Wealth Management Solutions and has expanded the team to include Ralph Studley, who joined last year as wealth director from BNY Mellon. Mackay reports directly to Potesta. Brad Angle joined as an alternatives director focused on Private Assets, from Apollo Global Management, and James MacKendree as a sales director focused on Private Assets for Endowments and Foundations, joined from The Palisades Group.  Both Angle and MacKendree report directly to Potesta. Jean-Francois Pelletier joined as an institutional director, Canada from Sun Life Financial and Shawn Cohen, institutional director – Platforms and Sub-Advisory Sales, Canada from MFS Investment Management. Both report to Ross Servick, head of Canada.

Senior Consultant Joins PEI

Portfolio Evaluations, Inc. (PEI), an institutional investment and retirement plan consulting firm, has added senior consultant Duncan McNiff to the team.

“We are pleased to have Duncan join the team,” says Partner Richard Torbinski. “His extensive experience in defined contribution plan vendor relationship management will be a big asset to our firm and clients.”

Prior to joining the firm, Duncan was a relationship manager with the Vanguard Group, where he consulted with 25 plans representing over $2 billion in assets and more than 20,000 participants. He is a graduate of Princeton University with a bachelor’s degree in politics and is fluent in both French and Mandarin Chinese. 

“Portfolio Evaluations has a long track record of providing objective, smart advice to plan sponsors,” says Duncan. “For me, this is a great opportunity to focus on what I enjoy most: working with clients to solve their problems by providing the honest support they need. Over the past ten years, I’ve had the benefit of working in conjunction with PEI to assist mutual clients on countless occasions, and I feel very fortunate to now be joining their team.”

Wise Rhino Group Hires Managing Director

Tony Leonard has joined Wise Rhino Group as managing director.  He will be working out of the Charlotte, North Carolina, office.

Wise Rhino Group was formed to help retirement plan consulting firms capitalize on industry consolidation.

“With all of our growth, we needed someone who truly understands the issues and concerns of plan consultants and advisers,” says Dick Darian, CEO, Wise Rhino Group. “With more than 31 years of experience working with and impacting retirement plan consulting firms, Tony is a great fit for us and will be a tremendous value to our retirement consulting firm clients.”

“I am very excited to join the Wise Rhino Group team. We are on the cusp of a tremendous amount of opportunities in the retirement plan consulting and advisory business. I have witnessed both sides of an advisory firm transaction and understand the dynamics to make this a ‘win-win’ situation.  The team at Wise Rhino Group has the analytics, experience and relationships of working with the leaders in the retirement plan industry,” says Leonard.

Before joining Wise Rhino Group, Leonard was a senior retirement plan consultant with USI Consulting Group focusing on providing Plan Sponsors in the mid-to-large plan market with fiduciary governance and consulting services.  Prior to this, Leonard was a regional sales director for OneAmerica Retirement Services and New York Life Retirement Services.

Leonard received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Notre Dame.

The Standard Hires Directors and Consultants to Regional Teams

The Standard has announced three hires to its regional sales director and retirement consulting team. Derek Fuller and Todd Thompson have been added as regional sales directors for its Retirement Plans Division, and Na’im Mabry has been hired as a retirement plan consultant. Fuller will have responsibility for the Eastern U.S., while Thompson will oversee the Midwest, Texas, Louisiana, Arizona, Southern California and Las Vegas. Mabry will work with advisers in Kansas and Missouri.

Fuller comes to The Standard with more than 30 years of experience in pensions, retirement and financial services, including sales leadership and management. He has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He is based in Illinois.

Thompson has more than 25 years of experience in the retirement and investment industries, including a role as a national sales manager. He attended the University of Wisconsin and the Naval & Marine Corp Military Intelligence Training College. Thompson holds designations as an accredited investment fiduciary analyst, qualified plan financial consultant, chartered retirement plans specialist and accredited retirement plan consultant. He is based in Wisconsin.

Mabry has 12 years of financial services industry experience and has worked in sales management and as a financial adviser. He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Mercy College in New York and attended the MIT Sloan Executive Education program, receiving a CIMA certification in investment management theory and practice. He holds FINRA Series 7, 6 and 63 licenses.

First Mercantile Acquires American Trust Retirement

First Mercantile Trust Company (FMT) has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire American Trust Retirement (ATR) from American Trust & Savings Bank. FMT is a subsidiary of EdgeCo Holdings, Inc. (EdgeCo), a provider of technology-enabled retirement solutions for financial intermediaries and their clients. The transaction, which remains subject to customary consents and regulatory approvals, reflects a continued commitment by EdgeCo and its subsidiaries to provide best-in-class retirement solutions to the small and mid-sized retirement plan market. 

“In the crowded retirement plan marketplace, we are excited to deliver a differentiated and innovative value proposition built exclusively for retirement plan advisers and professionals,” says Micah DiSalvo, chief revenue officer of EdgeCo. “With the acquisition of ATR, we will become a leader in offering something fundamentally different in the small to mid-market that will help intermediaries and recordkeepers alike win and retain retirement plan business in a meaningful way.”

Upon closing of the transaction, ATR will become a division of FMT, which was acquired by EdgeCo in November 2018. ATR’s Dubuque, Iowa, operations, including the existing staff, will be retained and are anticipated to grow as the combined company expands its national reach and service offering.

Industry Consultant Moves to SageView

Brian Mahoney joined SageView Advisory Group as a retirement plan consultant in its Boston, Massachusetts office on January 14. 

Mahoney brings 20 years of retirement benefit experience, both in recordkeeping and as a plan sponsor, to the Boston team. He graduated from Saint Anselm College in 1999 and joined MFS as a retirement plan administrator. In 2011, he became the retirement plan administrator for Boston Children’s Hospital, overseeing its fund line-up consolidation among other projects, before returning to MassMutual as a consultant on its Regulatory Advisory Services team in 2015. 

“Helping plan sponsors achieve their goals while being a part of a strong team is what drew me to SageView. The resources and the way they support plan sponsors is similar to my own approach.” says Mahoney. 

Mahoney joins a team led by Stephen Popper and includes Mark Forkey, Erica Washburn, Mark Foster, Kerrie Casey and Linda Gallinaro. The Boston team supports 78 client relationships with more than $12 billion in assets under advisement in both 401(k) and 403(b) plans, defined benefit (DB) and nonqualified plans.

“Brian’s industry and regulatory knowledge is a staple of how we help our clients be more successful,” says SageView Founder and CEO Randy Long. “With HR and Benefits teams leaning on us for more consulting work, bringing on a former plan sponsor with a retirement industry background is a welcome addition. We are thrilled to have Brian on board.”

Strategic Insight Appoints Morningstar Veteran As Research Head

Strategic Insight (SI) has added 19-year veteran of Morningstar, Christopher Davis, as head of U.S Fund Research. In this new role, Davis will be responsible for shaping SI’s team of U.S. research analysts.

“Research has long been a significant pillar in the Strategic Insight ecosystem alongside our data and business intelligence operations, and I am beyond excited for the opportunity to further strengthen this pillar,” says Goshka Folda, global head of Research at Strategic Insight and president/CEO of Investor Economics. “Bringing Christopher onto the team opens many doors to better serve the unique needs of our clients and enhance our culture of curiosity, learning and service.”

Davis comes to Strategic Insight from Morningstar, where he evaluated equity, fixed income, and multi-asset investment strategies, primarily in the U.S., for nearly two decades as an analyst and research director. Over his tenure, he introduced qualitative ratings on target-risk and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and was an editor of Morningstar’s Fidelity Funds Newsletter. Davis also led Morningstar’s Canadian manager research team from 2012 to 2016.

SI Research delivers a combination of published research, online webcasts, in-person presentations, and on-demand consulting. Davis will lead the U.S. Research team alongside SI’s Canadian, Australian, and EMEA research teams.

NIRS Positions Third Executive Director

Dan Doonan has been selected to lead the National Institute on Retirement (NIRS), a non-profit, non-partisan retirement research organization located in Washington, D.C. Doonan will assume the role of executive director beginning March 11, and will serve as NIRS’ third executive director. He follows Diane Oakley, who will be retiring.

Doonan comes to NIRS after serving as a senior pension specialist with the National Education Association. He began his career at the Department of Labor (DOL), and then spent seven years performing actuarial analysis with Buck Consultants in its retirement practice. His experience also includes positions as a research director and labor economist.

“As evidenced by his diverse experience, Dan is an outstanding fit to lead NIRS’ research and education mission. He has a deep knowledge of pension and retirement issues, and he is passionate about ensuring all Americans are financially secure in retirement,” says Dick Ingram, NIRS board chair.

Former Kravitz Head Joins Ascensus

Ascensus TPA Solutions has appointed Dan Kravitz as national practice leader for cash balance plans. In this role, Kravitz will expand the firm’s growing cash balance market share with sales strategies, adviser outreach programs, and sales integration within the broader third-party administrator (TPA) Solutions network.

“Cash balance is the fastest growing sector of the retirement plan market and no one is better positioned to lead our expansion strategy than Dan Kravitz,” says Jerry Bramlett, head of TPA Solutions. “He has been a pioneer in the cash balance space for more than a decade and played a major role in increasing national awareness, contributing to 20% average annual growth in this marketplace.”

In his prior role as owner and president of Kravitz, Inc., Kravitz introduced cash balance daily recordkeeping to the industry, founded Cash Balance Coach, a cash balance training and certification program for retirement plan advisers, and wrote the book, “Beyond the 401(k), How Financial Advisors Can Grow their Businesses with Cash Balance Plans.” Kravitz has over 25 years of experience in retirement plan consulting.

“I’m honored to take on this new national leadership role,” says Kravitz. “The cash balance market is fast-growing but underserved—there are thousands of small to mid-size businesses that could reduce their tax burden, catch up on delayed retirement savings, and improve retirement outcomes for staff by adding a cash balance plan.”

TRA Acquires Pensions Administration Firm

The Retirement Advantage, Inc. (TRA) has acquired Quality Pension Services, Inc., a pension administration firm, headquartered in Chico, California.

With the completion of the acquisition on February 1, this transaction increases the assets under administration (AUA) of the retirement plans to over $8 billion.

“Adding Quality Pension Services retirement services business enhances our already strong position as a leader in the retirement services industry and complements our high-touch, relationship-based service model,” says TRA President Matt Schoneman. “We’re committed to growing our business. Tapping into Quality Pension Services network will allow us to exceed expectations and develop new relationships in the region.”