Retirement Industry People Moves

Milliman adds regional manager for benefits sales; American Century Investments adds hires for Avantis Investors; RiskFirst builds NYC software development office; and more.

Art by Subin Yang

Milliman Adds Regional Manager for Benefits Sales

Milliman announced that Jackie O’Connor, AIF will join the Employee Benefits Administration sales and marketing team as a regional sales manager for the Western territory.

In this role, she is responsible for sales of retirement plan administration and consulting services, and for building strategic relationships with consultants and advisers.

O’Connor has more than 20 years of experience with Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)-qualified and nonqualified retirement plans, most recently with Wells Fargo’s Institutional Retirement & Trust team.

“We’re thrilled that Milliman’s leading EB Administration business attracts top talent like Jackie. Her reputation for developing and maintaining trust with the adviser community supports the growth of our practice as we partner to deliver best-in-class services to both plan sponsors and participants,” says Janet McCune, principal and EB Administration sales and marketing leader.

American Century Investments Adds Hires for Avantis Investors

American Century Investments has announced two additional hires for Avantis Investors, a new venture by American Century led by Eduardo Repetto, chief investment officer, and Patrick Keating, chief operating officer.

Stephen Kurad and Jeff Cornell each have been named vice president, relationship director and investment specialist for Avantis Investors, which will offer a new suite of broadly diversified, tax-efficient and cost-effective equity and fixed income solutions based on the latest in academic and financial theory.

“Both Stephen and Jeff are seasoned professionals who understand the capabilities we plan to offer clients,” he says. “They have deep relationships, and we are delighted they will help shape how we bring Avantis Investors to the marketplace.”

Kurad served as a vice president and regional director with Dimensional Fund Advisors for 12 years, where he was responsible for managing relationships and developing business primarily with large registered investment advisers, family offices and various other financial intermediaries. Prior to that, he was vice president of institutional equity sales for UBS Financial Services, where he worked closely with hedge funds, mutual funds and asset managers as the primary relationship manager between investment research, capital markets and investment banking clients. Previously, he held similar roles with Credit Suisse and SG Cowen Securities. Kurad holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Duke University and a Juris Doctorate from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Cornell also served as a vice president and regional director at Dimensional Fund Advisors for over 16 years, working with wealth management firms and managing a team of regional directors focused on large strategic relationships. Before that, he was a senior consultant in the International Tax Group at Ernst & Young, where he assisted multinational corporations with the strategic planning and analysis of intercompany transfer pricing. Cornell holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Colgate University, where he graduated magna cum laude with honors distinction, and a master’s degree in business administration from UCLA Anderson School of Management.

RiskFirst Builds NYC Software Development Office

RiskFirst has appointed Torgeir Helgevold as principal technical architect as it extends its presence in the U.S. with the establishment of a New York City software development office. Helgevold will head up the team, which will focus on product innovation and supporting RiskFirst’s drive to bring the benefits of leading-edge technology to asset managers.

Having worked as a software engineer and consultant across numerous firms and sectors in the U.S., Helgevold is a seasoned technology developer, able to bring extensive, balanced insights into the needs of the industry. 

Matthew Seymour, CEO of RiskFirst, says, “We are committed to growing our capabilities and providing exceptional service to our valued clients in the U.S., delivering innovative solutions that meet their evolving needs. By hiring experienced, quality individuals such as Tor, we can build upon our existing offerings and continue to deliver real added-value to our clients.”

Nick Francis, chief technology officer, adds, “Our client base continues to expand in the U.S. By forming an engineering team with local market knowledge that is focused on innovation and building out functionality for our U.S. clients, we are reaffirming our dedication to addressing their needs and providing them with best-in-class support.”  

The Standard Adds Three Retirement Plan Consultants

The Standard has hired Jason Murray, Brian Anderson and Michael Schessler as retirement plan consultants.

Murray will work with advisers in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia, while Anderson will work with advisers in the eastern half of Wisconsin, Greater Chicago and the upper Illinois border. Schessler is expected to correspond with advisers in Greater Chicago and southern Illinois. 

Murray, a U.S. Army veteran, joins The Standard with more than 20 years of leadership and sales experience, including the last six years consulting with advisers and plan sponsors on qualified retirement plans. “I am extremely excited to have a strong leader and consultant join our team in the Mid-Atlantic,” says Derek Fuller, regional sales director. Murray holds Series 6 and 63 securities licenses and a degree from Community College of Baltimore County. 

Anderson has more than seven years of experience in the financial services industry and holds FINRA Series 6 and 63 licenses, and Schessler has 19 years of experience working with retirement plans and investments and has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey. He also holds FINRA Series 6 and 63 licenses.

TIAA Hires Chief Customer Officer

Sanjay Gupta has started at TIAA as chief customer officer of TIAA Financial Solutions. Gupta will report to Lori Dickerson Fouché, chief executive officer, TIAA Financial Solutions.

In this newly created position, Gupta will lead the strategic development, execution and measurement of a comprehensive approach to simplify the customer experience for TIAA’s 15,000 institutional and 5 million individual customers, including overseeing marketing and communications for the company.

“Sanjay’s deep expertise will accelerate our efforts to grow our business in service to our customers,” says Fouché. “His extensive experience launching and building brands and digital and mobile platforms, along with his focus on execution excellence will enable us to engage those we serve in a highly personalized, customized way to help them build confidence and meet their financial goals.”

Prior to joining TIAA, Gupta served as executive vice president of Marketing, Innovation and Corporate Relations at Allstate where he led advertising, public relations, e-commerce and drove product and service innovation. He also previously served as chief marketing officer of Ally Financial where he drove revenue growth by establishing a new brand, creating new products and promoting the company using innovative marketing. Previously, he held several roles at Bank of America.

Gupta holds a bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering from the University of Mumbai and a master’s in business administration from The University of Texas at Austin. He will be based at TIAA’s New York headquarters.

Northern Trust Announces COO for Global Foreign Exchange

Marisa Kurk has been named chief operating officer of Northern Trust’s Global Foreign Exchange (GFX) business.

Based in Chicago, Kurk will drive the day-to-day enablement of GFX business strategy and operations, capitalizing on strategic technology and product capabilities gained through acquisitions and partnerships. She brings more than 15 years of industry experience in FX operating and strategic risk management frameworks, including the management of legal and regulatory risks, as well as market best practices, controls and client servicing. Prior to joining Northern Trust, Kurk served as COO of Belvedere Trading, LLC and COO and senior managing director of Currency Management at Mesirow Financial.

“Marisa brings excellent industry experience to Northern Trust and will accelerate the execution of our FX strategy and delivery of innovative solutions to clients,” says John Turney, head of Global Foreign Exchange at Northern Trust. “Marisa is a key leader to help drive our investment in technology and continued focus on the client experience across our FX platform.”

The acquisition of BEx LLC in 2018 enhanced Northern Trust’s platform for algorithmic FX trading, global liquidity aggregation and transparency in execution and pricing to institutional clients worldwide. A partnership with Lumint Corporation, also announced in 2018, delivers currency management solutions with advanced portfolio, share class and look-through hedging services, complemented by transparency and analytical tools.

CapAcuity Merges with Executive Benefits Firm

CapAcuity, LLC and Westport Strategies, LLC (Westport) have signed a definitive agreement to merge their operations.

“We are very excited to have the Westport team join forces with us,” says CapAcuity CEO Peter Cahall. “They are one of the preeminent firms in the executive benefits marketplace, with over $2.5 billion in assets under management. Their staff, systems, technology, and client base will be important assets to our combined business.”

“Combining our companies is a significant event for the marketplace and for our clients,” says Westport Managing Director Don Harrington. “CapAcuity has become a leader in executive benefits by identifying and responding to the trends that are fundamentally changing our business—new tax laws, reduced investment product costs, and greater demand for transparency. And they are addressing these trends with cutting-edge solutions that materially benefit plan sponsors and their bottom lines.”

The two companies have complementary service offerings. Both companies work exclusively in the executive benefit marketplace, with expertise in funding and hedging, tax optimization, and asset management. “Importantly, CapAcuity and Westport share the same values of objectivity, transparency, and high-touch client service,” Cahall says.

CapAcuity Chief Operating Officer Bryant Kirk notes that “like CapAcuity, Westport’s professionals have decades of experience and expertise. They have built proprietary systems for evaluating and delivering cost-effective funding solutions and asset-liability management. Plan sponsors, consultants and advisers trust Westport, which is why they have built a large and loyal client base.” Kirk emphasized that Westport’s Albany and Boston-based teams will not change and will provide seamless continuity of services to their clients.

“By leveraging CapAcuity’s innovations and thought leadership, we’ll be able to offer our clients a broader suite of services, and drive efficiencies for even more companies,” says Westport Managing Director Scott Seibel.

Pryor Cashman Welcomes Seventh Lateral Partner  

Shane Stroud has joined law firm Pryor Cashman to co-lead its Executive Compensation, Employee Retirement Income Security Act and Employee Benefits Group. With nearly two decades of experience, Stroud joins as a partner, having previously been with Hughes Hubbard & Reed. He will be resident to the firm’s New York office.

Stroud is the seventh new lateral partner to join Pryor Cashman since February.

Specializing in all aspects of employee benefits and executive compensation (EBEC), Stroud represents both executives and employers—particularly in the media + entertainment, professional services and pharmaceutical industries—in negotiating and drafting executive employment and severance agreements, as well as advising on EBEC issues related to major mergers and acquisitions, spin-offs, IPOs, private equity and leveraged buyout transactions.

“With businesses merging and reorganizing at historic rates, our clients are looking to us for sophisticated guidance on complex executive employment, compensation and ERISA matters. As one of the foremost attorneys in this field, Shane will bolster our Group’s already recognized capabilities while serving as a strategic adviser both to employers and high-level talent,” said Ronald Shechtman, Pryor Cashman’s managing partner.

Stroud also regularly advises clients on the design and drafting of equity-based and incentive compensation plans and the implementation and design of qualified and non-qualified employee benefit plans (including health and welfare plans, 401(k) plans, employee stock ownership plans and supplemental executive retirement plans). 

Stroud received his J.D., magna cum laude, from Tulane Law School, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif, and his bachelor’s degree from the University of New Orleans.

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. Acquires DPI Benefits  

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. acquired Kansas-based Darrell Phillips, Inc., dba DPI Benefits.

Operating since 2008, DPI Benefits is an independent benefits broker and consultant offering qualified retirement plans and group benefits to hospitals and other businesses throughout the state of Kansas. Darrell Phillips and his associates will continue to operate from their current location under the direction of Jerry Roberts, head of Gallagher’s Heartland region employee benefits consulting and brokerage division, and Jeff Leonard, National Financial and Retirement Services practice leader.

“DPI Benefits is a highly specialized benefits consultant with solid client relationships that offers strong cross-selling opportunities with Gallagher’s other brokerage operations,” says J. Patrick Gallagher, Jr., Chairman, president and CEO. “I am very pleased to welcome Darrell and his associates to Gallagher.”

Sentinel Benefits Adds Adviser Services VP  

Sentinel Benefits & Financial Group has brought in Christopher Han as vice president of Advisor Channel Services. He will work with advisers to expand Sentinel’s service offerings in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland.

Prior to joining Sentinel, Han was a regional vice president, external wholesaler at Ascensus in Dresher, Pennsylvania.

Han brings over 10 years of experience in working with retirement plans, with previous roles at companies such as BlackRock and Morgan Stanley.

“We are excited to welcome Christopher to our team,” says Jerry Cicalese, senior vice president, Retirement Services. “His impressive scope of experience and proven ability to build and sustain meaningful relationships with investment advisers make him a great addition to our firm, and he will be a big part of our efforts as we continue to expand our presence supporting investment advisers with retirement plans.”