Retirement Industry People Moves

Financial Engines Offers Services to ADP Clients; Nuveen Expands DCIO Team with Promotions and New Hire; Lucas Takes the Helm at EBRI; and more.

Financial Engines announced a new strategic relationship to offer Financial Engines’ independent and comprehensive advisory services to employers of all sizes. Under the relationship agreement, ADP will make available to its Retirement Services clients the option to engage with Financial Engines and its full suite of investment advisory services.


The Financial Engines advisory service offering, on the ADP platform, will launch in the summer of 2018.  It will broaden ADP’s financial wellness capabilities that aim to help defined contribution (DC) plan participants better prepare for day-to-day expenses and for broader financial challenges.


The new relationship will bring Financial Engines’ full suite of advisory services to ADP retirement plan clients for the first time.  Financial Engines’ direct advisory services for participants include:


  • Online Advice – personalized online savings and investment advice and retirement income services for employees who want to manage their retirement themselves


  • Professional Management – a discretionary personalized management service for participants who want to partner with and delegate the management of their retirement accounts to a professional


  • Income planning and Social Security claiming guidance – advice provided through Financial Engines’ nationally recognized Social Security Planner


  • Personal Adviser – personalized professional management for all participant accounts (401(k), IRA and taxable accounts), comprehensive financial planning, and a dedicated adviser


In addition, participants will have access to Financial Engines’ non-commission based Investment Advisor Representatives, as well as to independent online investment advice, and to ongoing financial wellness programs and education.


Nuveen Expands DCIO Team with Promotions and New Hire

Nuveen has appointed several key executives to positions supporting its expanding Defined Contribution Investment Only (DCIO) enterprise. The move builds on the firm’s second consecutive year of growth since re-positioning its DCIO business in 2015.


“Demand for our retirement plan investment solutions has been robust with our active and index target date strategies seeing particularly high levels of inflows as a result of their competitive performance, strong showing in industry rankings and relatively low costs. Our DCIO business grew nearly 40% in 2017 which is a testament to the competitive offering we have for plan sponsors, consultants and advisers,” says Erin Donnelly, executive vice president and head of Nuveen’s DCIO business. “Our success in this business segment has certainly been an advantage in attracting top talent to support our plans to continue growing in this business in the year ahead.”


Additions to Nuveen’s DCIO team include:


  • Peter Whitman joined the firm as managing director responsible for DCIO Strategic Accounts reporting directly to Donnelly. He will oversee the firm’s retirement presence across recordkeeping, retirement intermediary and other third-party retirement platforms and relationships. Whitman will also focus on building Nuveen’s retirement sub-advisory business. 
  • Greg Koleno joined the DCIO sales team reporting to Brendan McCarthy, DCIO National Sales Director, and is based in Portland, Oregon. Koleno is responsible for DCIO sales in the Northwest. Previously, Koleno was vice president for DCIO sales covering the Pacific Northwest for American Century Investments. 
  • James Polito joined the DCIO sales team, also reporting to McCarthy, and is based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Polito is responsible for DCIO sales in the Southeast. Most recently, Polito was vice president and retirement consultant for DCIO sales with BNY Mellon covering the southeastern United States.  

Complementing the new DCIO team hires, Nuveen hired Jeff Eng as managing director responsible for retirement solutions reporting to Martin Kremenstein, senior managing director and head of Nuveen’s retirement and ETF solutions business. In this role, Eng supports the firm’s retirement businesses by leading new product initiatives. Eng joins the firm from AB, where he was head of their custom defined contribution (DC) solutions business.


TRA Acquries APA


The Retirement Advantage (TRA) announced the acquisition of Applied Plan Administrators (APA), an independently owned 401(k) consulting and administrative services firm headquartered in Bingham Farms, Michigan. 


“We are very excited to welcome the APA team to the TRA family,” says Matt Schoneman, president of TRA. “APA brings a wealth of MEP/PEO expertise in the retirement plan industry and we’re delighted about our partnership and their capabilities. This acquisition strategically increases our footprint in Michigan and continues to expand our presence in the upper Midwest.”  


With the acquisition of APA on January 5, TRA now has retirement plan professionals in 30 states to support its financial adviser and recordkeeping partners with customized retirement plan design and solutions.


“We look forward to integrating our workforce, culture, and competencies right away,” says Lori Markert, director of operations and compliance manger from APA. “This transaction will connect our employees and customers with a wealth of resources and offerings from TRA. Further, it will strengthen and reinforce our local customized services for both existing clients and prospects. We couldn’t be happier.” 


FSR CEO Resigns During Sixth Year in Position

Financial Services Roundtable (FSR) CEO Tim Pawlenty will be resigning his position from FSR. Pawlenty is in his sixth year as FSR’s CEO. He previously served as Minnesota’s governor.


“FSR is now poised to provide even more focused and effective service for our members going forward. Over the past 5 years, I have enjoyed leading FSR’s efforts to improve cybersecurity, retirement savings, consumer-friendly financial service technology, and financial literacy,” says Pawlenty. 


FSR Chairman and Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan says, “Tim will be really missed, but we are thankful for his effective and collegial leadership on behalf of the financial services industry which helps finance America’s economy and provide the financial infrastructure that every consumer uses every day.” 


Pawlenty will conclude his time as FSR’s CEO in March.


Lucas Takes the Helm at EBRI


The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), a source of data and research on retirement, savings and health programs for workers, announced the appointment of Lori Lucas as president and CEO, effective immediately.


Lucas tells PLANADVISER there is a new vision for EBRI’s future as it marks its 40th anniversary in 2018. For one, EBRI is planning to roll out a new website.


“The key to the new vision is making research more relatable,” she says. “My background has been doing various types of research in various roles—the Callan DC Index, different research at Hewitt—and we want to make complex concepts accessible to those not necessarily in the industry.” Part of EBRI’s role is to be a presence in Washington and make information available to those making policy decisions, she adds.


Another goal of the new vision for EBRI is to expand the notion of what employee benefits really are, according to Lucas. “Historically, EBRI’s focus has been on retirement plans and health care benefits, but now, many employees are coming out of college with student loans they want to pay off before saving for retirement, and many of all generations do not have emergency savings. So what does employee benefits mean now?” she queries.


EBRI wants to strengthen its voice and presence by doing more testimony at conferences, making more partnerships and improving its visibility so its voice is stronger, Lucas adds.


Lucas replaces Harry Conaway, who was president and CEO for two years, following the retirement of Dallas Salisbury, the founding president and CEO.


Most recently, Lucas worked as an executive vice president at Callan Associates, where she was responsible for setting the direction and profitability of Callan’s defined contribution (DC) business, managing the Defined Contribution Consulting Team, launching and delivering retirement research, and directly working with plan sponsors and other clients. Prior to that she was director of Retirement Research at Hewitt Associates.


Even at her short time at EBRI, Lucas says there are a number of issue briefs already underway. One is the examination of automatic enrollment’s impact on participant debt. “We are using our participant database to find out what impact we see. Are people going to be burdened by debt what does empirical evidence show about auto enrollment’s effect on debt levels?”


With the recent market volatility, Lucas says EBRI will be looking closely at the section on its website that shows changes in participant account balance on a monthly basis. “It’s been positive for a while. We’ll be looking at it more closely to get empirical data about what’s happening with balances and why,” she says.


One can tell by her experience and her enthusiasm about the new position that research is Lucas’ thing. “This is my dream job!” she exclaims.


Ascensus Increases Institutional Relationship Team with VP Additions


Ascensus announced the appointment of Kathleen Roche and Derek Vito as vice presidents on the firm’s institutional relationship management team. In these roles, they will leverage their expertise in key adviser channels to guide business development strategy and create deeper home office relationships.


As vice president of channel management strategy, Roche will be responsible for building and executing on Ascensus’ overarching business plan to develop and fortify relationships through the broker-dealer and adviser channels. She brings nearly 30 years of experience and has become a prominent thought leader in the retirement industry, serving as president of the Women in Pensions Network and an active member of NAPA.


Prior to joining Ascensus, Roche served as vice president for Commonwealth Financial Network where she developed an industry-leading retirement plan consulting platform that served independent financial advisers. This home office experience will help the channel management team to conceptualize and implement financial advisor practice management and education initiatives. She earned her B.S. in Business from Stonehill College.


Vito will serve as vice president of channel management, focusing on sales strategy and brand expansion in key broker-dealer channels. He will also act as a resource to Ascensus’ sales team, and drive strategies that assist advisers in building their retirement plan business as they transition to new fee-based service models.


Vito most recently served as executive director, defined contribution (DC) program manager for Morgan Stanley where he designed product enhancements for the firm’s fee-based retirement specialist advisers and helped advisers develop unique value propositions. He was also responsible for onboarding new retirement plan specialists at the firm. Vito represented Morgan Stanley as a member of the Envestnet Broker-Dealer Advisory Council, shaping their adviser digital strategy and toolset enhancements. He earned his B.S. in Accounting and Finance from the University of Delaware.


“Kathleen and Derek bring extensive experience partnering with financial advisers, RIAs, and broker-dealers, who we recognize are critically important to our business, and many of our institutional partners,” says Kathleen Connelly, Ascensus’ executive vice president of client experience and relationship management. “We’re committed to providing leading support and consultation to these strategic clients—our success is measured by theirs.”

Ladenburg Creates Position to Accelerate Growth of Fee-Based Advisory Service


Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. announced the appointment of fee-based advisory platforms industry veteran John Blood to the role of senior vice president, Advisory Services and Solutions, effective immediately. 


Blood will report directly to Adam Malamed, Ladenburg’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, and will provide strategic leadership, positioning and guidance for Ladenburg’s advisory and RIA offerings to existing fee-based advisory teams across Ladenburg and at the company’s independent advisory and brokerage (IAB) subsidiary firms: Securities America, Triad Advisors, Investacorp, KMS Financial Services and Securities Service Network.


In his newly-created position, Blood will provide guidance and analysis on the RIA space, leadership for enterprise-wide advisory platforms, and strategy for advisory products and services in order to accelerate the growth of fee-based advisory client service among the financial advisers supported by Ladenburg’s subsidiaries. As part of this mission, he will also help internal teams across the organization to deliver enhanced fee-based advisory solutions through each Ladenburg subsidiary under its own advisory service model.


Prior to joining Ladenburg, Blood served as CEO and chief investment officer of JJCC Financial, Inc., a strategic consultancy offering expertise in investment research, portfolio theory, executive management and sales. Previously, he was the CEO and CIO of Disciplined Wealth Strategies, Inc., a firm he founded to provide outsourced asset management services for financial advisers and institutions, and that he subsequently merged with Efficient Advisors, LLC. Earlier in his career, Blood served as chief market strategist and director of research for Commonwealth Financial Network for nearly a decade.