Retirement Industry People Moves

External Wholesaler Joins BPAS; Lincoln Employs Sales Directors to Retirement Distribution Team; Mid Atlantic Partners with Parthenon and Waterfall; and more. 

Aon has appointed Bill Gourlay as global head of Investment Product Development.


In this new role, Gourlay will be responsible for leading the firm’s work in assessing the viability of new investment solutions, as well as developing and launching them and monitoring their progress when in use by clients.


He was previously the chief executive officer of Idea Group, a fintech provider of business process improvement solutions to the pensions and alternative investments sectors. He also has extensive product management experience having created a global product division at Royal Bank of Canada, invented an automated product management system, and worked in consulting roles with several firms in a variety of business sectors on best practice product strategy. Prior to this, he held senior global client facing roles at SWIFT, Deutsche Bank, State Street and Bankers Trust. He has also had extensive involvement in advisory roles on several financial industry boards.


“This is a great opportunity to join a leading organization with the keenest focus on improving all that it develops and delivers for its clients,” says Gourlay. “With its Global Investment Solution Development Review process, Aon has specifically created a means of developing, evolving and improving solutions. Much of my career has been centered on this aspect of the financial industry, so I am looking forward to harnessing Aon’s global resources to the maximum effect.”


Hub Acquires Spectra


Hub International Limited (Hub) has acquired the assets of Spectra Management, LLC (Spectra). Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.


Headquartered in Sandy, Utah, with an office in St. George, Spectra specializes in helping companies create an engaging employee benefits package that achieves the delicate balance between financial goals and company culture. Its specialists develop simple, secure solutions tailor-made to strengthen employee security and wellbeing. Through its retirement division, Spectra provides 401(k) retirement services, fiduciary risk management services, investment due diligence, plan and compliance review, provider services and benchmarking, and wealth management.


“It’s always been our priority to find the best technology and resources to serve our clients,” says Brent Bennett, president and CEO of Spectra. “Our decision to partner with Hub is simply a natural progression of our client-centric business model.”


Spectra will join Hub International Insurance Services Inc. and Bennett will continue to lead Spectra operations.


External Wholesaler Joins BPAS


Joe Long has joined BPAS as an external wholesaler located in the South-Central region.


“After an extensive search process, we are pleased to introduce Joe Long as our new external wholesaler in the South-Central region,” says Paul Neveu, president of BPAS Plan Administration & Recordkeeping Services. “His background, expertise, and knowledge of the industry will make him a great asset to our financial partners, helping them build their businesses across all plan types and plan sizes. Continuity and stability of relationships are things we pride ourselves on at BPAS.”


Continuing the work of Kay McManus, who will be retiring from the firm, Long will market BPAS retirement plan services in partnership with advisers, corporate trustees, and other financial intermediaries across the South-Central U.S. He brings to BPAS more than 25 years of industry experience in sales relationship management. He is a certified pension consultant (CPC), certified employee benefit specialist (CEBS), qualified pension administrator (QPA), qualified pension financial consultant (QPFC), and an accredited investment fiduciary (AFP).


With continuous growth in the South-Central U.S.—Texas in particular–BPAS recognized a real opportunity to bring new solutions to advisers and corporate trustees in this region who focus on qualified plans.   


According to Brian Douglas who manages BPAS external wholesalers, “In the $1 to $50 million plan space, many employers are still using legacy platforms or solutions that can be improved upon. With our story of true open architecture, HR outsourcing, fee normalization and a vertically integrated model, we think there is a big opportunity to bring better solutions to plan sponsors in this space. We’re looking forward to Joe’s talents in building partnerships and sharing the BPAS story.”


Penbridge Renamed After BCG Acquisition


BCG Pension Risk Consultants, Inc. (BCG) announced it has acquired Penbridge Advisors, LLC (Penbridge), a specialist pension information and advisory services firm and thought leadership provider to the U.S. retirement industry. 


As a division of BCG, Penbridge has been renamed BCG Penbridge and will continue to offer proprietary data, business intelligence and advisory services to defined benefit (DB) plan sponsors, helping them to meet their plan sponsor and plan fiduciary objectives. 


Steve Keating, who founded Penbridge and is now managing director of BCG, adds, “BCG’s acquisition of Penbridge brings together complementary expertise and services with a singular focus to bring plan sponsors and advisers actionable analysis for ongoing plan management, de-risking and pension risk transfer.” 


Both BCG and Penbridge have worked in collaboration with law firms, consulting actuaries, independent fiduciaries, investment consultants, asset managers and financial advisers and have established working relationships with all of the insurers that participate in the U.S. pension risk transfer (PRT) industry and will continue to do so moving forward. 


Lincoln Employs Sales Directors to Retirement Distribution Team


Lincoln Financial Group announced that two industry veterans are joining the Retirement Plan Services (RPS) Institutional Retirement Distribution team. Kasi Boyles and Jaron Havens, both sales directors, report to Jayson West, vice president, Institutional Retirement Distribution, RPS


Boyles joins Lincoln from Voya Financial, where she most recently held the position of vice president of Institutional Clients. Earlier in her career, she held executive and sales positions with ING Financial Partners and Wachovia Securities. Boyles earned a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from the University of South Florida and holds series 7, 24, 63 and 66 FINRA registrations. In her new role at Lincoln, Boyles will serve the Southeast region


Havens is a ten-year Lincoln Financial veteran who most recently served as assistant vice president of Implementation for RPS. He first joined Lincoln in 2006 and has held numerous roles within RPS, including: director of Operations Support Services, internal sales manager and director of Lincoln’s Retirement Specialist team. In his new role, Havens will serve the Midwest region. Havens earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Indiana Wesleyan University and holds series 6, 26 and 63 FINRA registrations. 


Merit Merges with Botsford and FDS  


Merit Financial Group (Merit), an independent registered investment advisory (RIA) firm, announced its strategic combination with two independent financial advisory businesses, Botsford Financial Group (Botsford) and Financial Development Systems (FDS). The move marks Merit’s commencement of the next phase of its growth plan, providing the firm with expanded national scale and capabilities, encompassing a total employee base of 60 professionals, as well as total client assets of approximately $2.6 billion, of which $1.3 billion are in Regulatory Assets Under Management and $1.28 billion are in Brokerage Assets Serviced.


Founded in 1995, Merit provides independent financial advice for individuals and families, delivered through employee advisers; turnkey financial wellness options for company retirement plan sponsors, retirement plan advisers and third party benefits consultants; and comprehensive Super Office of Supervisory Jurisdiction (OSJ) services for retirement plan-focused independent financial advisers affiliated with LPL Financial.


Merit’s Super Office of Supervisory Jurisdiction platform delivers compliance supervision, administrative services, marketing solutions, business coaching and investment research, along with diversified investment management strategies through its in-house model portfolios. The firm also provides succession planning offerings, including the option to purchase advisers’ practices. 


Jody Owenby, senior partner at Merit, says, “Having conducted business through Merit’s RIA platform for years, we knew from the beginning that we shared a common vision for growth with Rick Kent and his team. Equally important, Merit’s professionalism, ethics and commitment to exceptional client service match FDS’ own. We look forward to leveraging the combined strength of our organizations to create a new industry leader in objective financial advice, and to making sure that all of our clients are well cared for.”


Kestra Financial Expands Firm with Potomac Financial Consultants


Kestra Financial, Inc. (Kestra Financial), an independent adviser platform, has added Potomac Financial Consultants, a boutique, independent financial services firm with a history spanning over three decades.


Located in the metropolitan D.C. area, Potomac Financial Consultants is led by President Michelle Bender, a 20-year veteran of the financial and asset management industry.


“In order to grow my firm, I need a partner with the resources and scale to support my goals. Kestra Financial’s top-notch business consulting, next-generation technology and practice enrichment are exactly what my firm needs to support our goals,” says Bender. “As client needs continue to rapidly evolve, I feel confident our partnership with Kestra Financial will help me to continue to deliver personalized, best-in-breed service while expanding my business.”


Potomac’s personnel provide specialized advisory services, including portfolio management, retirement planning and insurance consulting. In addition, they help small business owners design and manage their company’s defined contribution (DC) plans.


“Potomac Financial Consultants was looking for a partner who understands the ever-changing advisory industry and the dynamic nature of technology,” says James Poer, CEO of Kestra Financial. “We are proud to empower Michelle and her sophisticated team by offering them a boutique experience, on-call business consultants and the resources needed to provide excellent client service while simultaneously growing.” 


Before joining Kestra Financial, Potomac was associated with INVEST Financial Corporation.



Mid Atlantic Partners with Parthenon and Waterfall


Subject to regulatory approvals, Mid Atlantic Capital Group (Mid Atlantic), has entered into an agreement that contemplates a strategic transaction with Parthenon Capital Partners (Parthenon), a growth-oriented private equity firm, and Waterfall Asset Management (Waterfall), an alternative asset manager.


The transaction, which will not be consummated until applicable regulatory approvals (including an approval from South Dakota Division of Banking) are obtained, will provide Mid Atlantic with an opportunity to leverage the investors’ experience and resources to accelerate the development of and investment in client-centric technology, products, services and people. The transaction will also position Mid Atlantic to grow through organic initiatives and opportunistic strategic acquisitions. Also investing in the transaction with Parthenon and Waterfall is long-term industry veteran John Moody.


Mid Atlantic’s existing management team, led by Executive Chairman Charles Warden, CEO Paul Schneider, and Group CEO Tim Friday, will remain significant shareholders in the company and continue to lead the firm’s day-to-day operations.


“For more than 25 years, Mid Atlantic has supported investment professionals and financial organizations with tools to help attract, grow, and retain assets,” says Warden. “We are excited to partner with firms like Parthenon and Waterfall that share our vision of providing first class service to our clientele, and that will support and enhance our ongoing investment in tools and technology to continually raise the bar in that respect.” 


“Over the past twelve months, we have worked with John Moody and Waterfall to identify a retirement centric, technology enabled provider of services to financial advisers and their clients, and we believe Mid Atlantic is the ideal partner,” says Andrew Dodson, a managing partner of Parthenon. “Mid Atlantic has an impressive history of growth and leadership in its market, and we are excited to partner with Chuck, Paul, and Tim. We believe that Mid Atlantic’s client-first approach to technology and service has truly differentiated the company in the marketplace.”


Ryan Labs Adds Leveraged Finance Group


Ryan Labs Asset Management Inc., a Sun Life Investment Management company, added a five-person Leveraged Finance Group to the firm.


This new division brings expertise in managing senior loan portfolios and third-party managed collateralized loan obligation (CLO) investments.


Led by Mark Pelletier, who assumes the role of senior managing director & head, Ryan Labs Leveraged Finance, the group provides Ryan Labs Asset Management with a non-investment grade, floating rate capability that complements the firm’s existing fixed-rate, investment grade strategies, broadening the scope of solutions to meet the needs of institutional investors throughout the market cycle. Pelletier will report directly to Richard Familetti, president & CIO, Ryan Labs Asset Management.


Michael Cerullo, Christian Toro, Dana Dratch and Juan Miguel Estela join as managing directors and report to Pelletier. The Group, which formerly made up the senior members of American Capital Leveraged Finance Management LLC, where they worked together since 2005, will be based out of Ryan Labs Asset Management’s office in Manhattan.


“We are pleased to welcome Mark, Michael, Christian, Dana and Juan Miguel,” says Familetti. “The Leveraged Finance Group both complements and supports our Asset Management Team, whose agile, team-based approach and depth of experience investing in both investment grade and high yield bond sectors has led to 16 consecutive years of outperformance of their benchmark. By adding this entire highly specialized group intact, we’re able to utilize an effective, high-functioning group that can quickly add to the success of our firm.”


Ryan Labs Asset Management recently added to its Client Relationship team with the appointments of John Linder, managing director, Marketing and Client Strategy and Robert Shrekgast, director, Marketing and Client Strategy, as well as the promotion of Melissa Spadafora to the role of director, Relationship Management to better serve the U.S. institutional market.


OneAmerica Hires Regional Sales Director


OneAmerica has added a 20-year retirement plan professional to its east coast sales team handling the institutional market (over $25 million), mainly in the southeast.


John Kibbe, AIF, began with OneAmerica as a regional sales director in late February.


“John has a keen sense of the issues that large retirement plans face. He has dealt with those challenges as a provider and as a consultant,” says aid Todd Smiser, Eastern Region vice president, OneAmerica. “This perspective will serve him well in his new role at OneAmerica.”


Kibbe will be based in Atlanta. He holds a B.S. degree in economics from Rollins College and is also an Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF).