Retirement Industry People Moves

Allianz Hires Director for Marketing of Tools and Services; Colony Enacts Mergers with Bridgewater Wealth and BWA; Three Bell Capital Partners with BPM Advisors; and more. 

Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America has announced the hiring of Kelly LaVigne as senior director of Advanced Markets. LaVigne will be responsible for overseeing the content and marketing of advanced markets tools and services used by financial professionals. He will report to the Vice President of Distribution Marketing Doug Koenen.

“Kelly brings more than 25 years of experience in financial services to Allianz Life,” says Koenen. “He has an extensive track record of success in delivering new and innovative advanced markets solutions which will be beneficial to our financial professionals.”

Prior to joining Allianz Life, LaVigne was director of Advanced Markets and Industry and Regulatory Strategies for Transamerica Capital Management. In that role, he delivered advanced markets workshops for financial professionals and coordinated preparedness projects for the implementation of the Department of Labor (DOL) fiduciary rule. LaVigne was also vice president of Advanced Markets for AXA Equitable where he published a book on retirement income planning. Previously, he held leadership roles with ING/Aetna Financial Services and was an advanced markets attorney for Travelers Life and Annuity.

LaVigne earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications and Marketing from Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Connecticut, and holds a Juris Doctorate from Western New England College School of Law in West Springfield, Mass. He also holds FINRA Series 6 and 26 securities registrations and is a Certified National Instructor for Life Insurance Continuing Education.

Colony Enacts Mergers with Bridgewater Wealth and BWA

Focus Financial Partners has announced that The Colony Group (Colony), a registered investment advisory firm with clients across the country, completed mergers with Bridgewater Wealth & Financial Management (Bridgewater Wealth) and Blue Water Advisors (BWA).

Through these transactions, Colony has expanded its presence to encompass 10 offices employing approximately 140 professionals. Colony has completed seven strategic transactions since joining the Focus partnership in 2011, added eight offices, and more than doubled its number of employees.

“As partner firms of Focus, the Colony and Bridgewater Wealth teams have been sharing our ideas for years. We hold similar values and work diligently to provide high-quality client services,” says Ron Rubin, vice-chairman and managing director, Mid-Atlantic Region, of The Colony Group. “I now look forward to combining the talents of our successful and innovative firms as we strive to deliver what we believe is the best set of solutions and cultural experience for our clients.”

Three Bell Capital Partners with BPM Advisors

Three Bell Capital (Three Bell) and BPM LLP (BPM) have announced that they have entered a definitive agreement in which independent corporate retirement plan advisory firm Three Bell Capital will purchase retirement plan consulting business, BPM Advisors, Inc. 

“We are excited about this newly formed partnership with BPM, the expanded depth and breadth of our team and capabilities it brings, and the opportunity to provide truly differentiated services and advice to our clients,” says Three Bell CEO, Jon Porter

“Our decision to pursue this transition was centered on improving and strengthening our ability to deliver the best possible service to our clients,” says Nick Steiner, BPM’s Advisory Practice Group Leader. “This collaboration provides our 401(k) clients with a dedicated team of independent retirement plan advisers, while at the same time allowing Three Bell clients to leverage BPM’s full suite of services.” 

Voya Retirement Employs Regional VP of Sales for Small-Mid Corporate Market

Voya Retirement has recently hired Shane Hanson as the regional vice president of Sales for the company’s Small-Mid Corporate Market business. 

In this role, Hanson will be responsible for generating new business and building key distribution relationships in Oregon, Idaho and Montana. He will be working through all channels, including wire houses, banks and independents that serve employers with plans up to $75 million in assets.

“I am excited about the opportunity to join the great team at Voya,” says Hanson. “As I connect with the advisers in Oregon, Idaho and Montana, I also look forward to working together to make a positive impact on the community.”

Hanson comes to Voya with a tremendous amount of sales experience in the retirement plan space. Most recently, he held the position of sales director at Prudential Retirement where he covered large market sales for California and Hawaii.

Hanson graduated from Chaminade University of Honolulu with a degree in Business Communications. In addition, he founded the not-for-profit organization Progression Athletics International in 2011, a program centered on the vision to influence children positively around the world through athletics.

SS&C Purchases DST Systems

SS&C Technologies Holdings, Inc. (SS&C) and DST Systems, Inc. (DST) have announced that the companies have entered into a definitive agreement wherein SS&C will acquire DST. Under the terms of the agreement, SS&C will purchase DST in an all-cash transaction for $84 per share plus assumption of debt, equating to an enterprise value of approximately $5.4 billion.

The transaction significantly increases SS&C’s scale, with approximately $3.9 billion in combined pro forma revenue and 13,000 clients. Additionally, the transaction expands SS&C’s footprint into the U.S. retirement and wealth management markets and adds 110 million investor positions across DST’s client base. The combination leverages SS&C’s market leading software platform for institutional and alternative asset managers to drive increased automation and efficiency across wealth management account servicing.

“The rate of change, the technology required and the requirements of integrated solutions in the investment and wealth management space are unprecedented. The combination of SS&C and DST is an exciting opportunity and will continue to deliver solutions, globally. We will, together, continue to build on the relationship since we acquired DST Global Solutions in 2014. We are also excited to have the DST employees from around the world join the SS&C team and look forward to having a continued local presence in Kansas City. Further, we look forward to partnering with DST’s customers,” says Bill Stone, chairman and CEO of SS&C. “The combination will position us to capitalize on the demand for outsourcing in financial services and better enable our clients to address increasing competitive and regulatory pressures.” 

“We are pleased to enter into this agreement with SS&C, which benefits DST shareholders and supports the continued success of our clients,” says Steve Hooley, chairman, president and CEO of DST. “SS&C has a rich history of delivering best-in-class technology that complements DST’s existing solutions, and, as part of SS&C, we will be able to advance our extensive, multi-year strategic transformation. We thank all of our employees around the world for working hard to make this compelling combination possible.” 

Both SS&C’s and DST’s Board of Directors have approved the transaction, and it is expected to close by the third quarter of this year. The transaction is subject to DST’s stockholder approval, clearances by the relevant regulatory authorities and other customary closing conditions. 

Multnomah Group Hires Former Investment Consultant

Multnomah Group, an independent retirement plan consulting firm, has announced the hiring of David Williams.

Williams’ background includes nearly two decades of work in the retirement plan space. Most recently, he held the position of search consultant for Tejera & Associates, LLC.

Prior to Tejera & Associates, Williams served as a principal for Mercer, where he worked for more than 15 years providing investment consulting services to retirement plan sponsors, as well as endowments and foundation.

American Century Hires ETF Initiative Specialists  

American Century Investments has announced two new hires for its exchange-traded funds (ETF) initiative. Rene Casis has been named portfolio manager and Sean Walker an ETF specialist. American Century is scheduled to launch two ETF funds in the first quarter.

Casis and Walker bring substantial ETF experience from BlackRock. Most recently, Casis was a partner at 55 Institutional, where he was a member of the firm’s senior management team responsible for oversight of portfolio management and trading execution. Prior to that, he was a director for iShares at BlackRock, where he served as an investment strategist and senior portfolio manager. Casis worked at BlackRock for 19 years, including his tenure at Barclays Global Investors. Casis will be responsible for managing the index-based value equity ETF.

Walker worked at BlackRock as vice president and market leader, responsible for all active and passive product platforms for the West Coast of Florida. Prior to that, Walker managed Florida and southeast regional distribution for FlexShares ETF.  

“Rene and Sean will play a critical role as we establish American Century as an ETF destination, a company priority for 2018 and beyond,” says Peruvemba Satish, American Century’s senior vice president, portfolio manager and director of global analytics.

Casis graduated from the University of California with a bachelor’s degree in Economics. Walker graduated from Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and multi-national business operations and later received his master’s degree from University of Miami School of Business.

Touchstone Retirement Group Changes to TRG

Touchstone Retirement Group LLC is now TRG and is launching a new company website and introducing an updated corporate identity.

TRG offers innovative and flexible retirement solutions tailored to the needs of employers and their employees. The new name and website, are in effect as of January, 2018.

“The name change comes at a time when we’re growing, adding staff and creating a strategic roadmap with new services for our clients on the horizon. The updated identity fits with our longer-term vision for the company,” says Kenneth Neward, principal.

TRG works with employers, advisers and third-party administrators (TPAs) to create custom retirement plan solutions, including investment recordkeeping, annual administration and 3(16) fiduciary services.

“TRG is large enough to present an extremely competitive retirement plan offering but we’re not so large that we’ve lost sight of the importance of being able to provide highly personal and customizable service,” says Neward.

Pacific Life Appoints CEO Amid Rebranding its Asset Management Business  

Pacific Life has announced the re-branding of its asset management business as Pacific Global Asset Management, committed to investment results, transparency, and strategies that meet client needs.

Pacific Global Asset Management is a wholly owned subsidiary of Pacific Life and builds upon the strengths of Pacific Life’s asset management business.

Pacific Life has appointed Kevin Byrne as CEO of Pacific Global Asset Management. Byrne brings significant investment management experience to his new role. For the past five years, he was senior vice president of finance and risk management for Pacific Life’s Retirement Solutions Division. Prior to joining Pacific Life, he was executive vice president and chief investment officer for AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company.

“We are pleased Kevin will oversee the next phase of Pacific Life’s asset management business,” says Adrian Griggs, chief operating officer of Pacific Life. “Kevin’s ability to see the big picture and his investment management expertise make him ideally suited to create a dynamic asset management organization for Pacific Life and its clients.”

Northern Trust to Acquire Tech From Citadel

Northern Trust Corporation announced today that it has reached an agreement with Citadel to bring Omnium technology development in-house, including a team of development professionals as well as software development rights for its Omnium technology platform. 

As the firms lay out, the agreement gives Northern Trust greater control over technological enhancements moving forward. Additionally, the transaction “enables deeper collaboration between Northern Trust’s operations professionals and the team of developers to provide innovative solutions for alternative fund managers, asset managers, institutional investors and family offices worldwide.”

Northern Trust acquired Citadel’s hedge fund administration business in 2011 and licensed their middle and back office investment technology. That business is now known as Northern Trust Hedge Fund Services.

After the acquisition, Northern Trust will continue to provide middle office and fund administration services for Citadel’s funds. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2018, subject to customary closing conditions included in the definitive binding agreement executed by the parties.

Cammack Retirement Group Appoints Public and Government Clients Leader

Cammack Retirement Group announced that Emily Wrightson, director, will lead its national public and governmental practice.

According to the firm, Wrightson has been instrumental in establishing and developing Cammack’s public sector practice. Wrightson and her team provide a comprehensive offering of retirement plan services to public clients, including investment consulting, requests for proposals for third-party administrator services, implementation projects, strategic reviews, contract negotiation, and plan consolidation.

With more than a decade of experience at Cammack Retirement Group, Wrightson has spoken at conferences, served as a moderator for AssetTV’s Master Class, and contributed to Cammack Retirement’s Staying Ahead of the Curve thought leadership series. She also serves on the Participant Engagement Committee for the National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators (NAGDCA).