Retirement Industry People Moves

LeafHouse and investGrade announce new marketing VP; AIG selects executive VP, global head of Operations; Loomis, Sayles & Company add leaders to ESG practice; and more.

Art by Subin Yang


LeafHouse and investGrade Announce New Marketing VP

LeafHouse Financial and its sister company, investGrade, have announced that Kassandra Hendrix, former vice president of marketing and communications for LeafHouse, has been promoted to chief marketing officer for both organizations.

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In this role, Hendrix will be central to creating and spearheading strategic plans across the brand portfolio and overseeing both LeafHouse’s and investGrade’s overall brand equity and architecture. Hendrix officially assumed the role in early March and reports to President and Co-Founder Todd Kading, while maintaining direct lines of communication between her department and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Chad Brown.

Hendrix has a long history with large financial institutions such as J.P. Morgan and UBS. She started her previous role as the vice president of marketing and communications for LeafHouse Financial in 2018, and she was directly responsible for all branding and public communications of LeafHouse Financial.

Commenting on the announcement, Kading says, “Kassandra has been an integral component to the amazing growth that LeafHouse has achieved over the last several years. With the help of her branding, we have grown assets under management [AUM] from $4 billion in 2018 to $12.9 billion as of December 2020. We are very pleased to have her accept the heightened responsibility for the LeafHouse family of companies.”

“I am grateful for the challenge and opportunity,” Hendrix says. “LeafHouse and investGrade are premier organizations with much to offer the retirement industry. With the support of our clients and partners, LeafHouse and investGrade will continue to deliver superior service and innovation to help people with retirement planning.”

AIG Selects Executive VP, Global Head of Operations

American International Group Inc. (AIG) has announced that Claude E. Wade will join the company in the second quarter of 2021 in the newly created role of executive vice president, global head of operations and chief digital officer. Based in New York, Wade will report to President and CEO Peter Zaffino.

“A key dimension of AIG’s ongoing transformation is centered on improving and simplifying our clients’ and distribution partners’ experience with the company, which will enhance client retention and drive client acquisition,” Zaffino says. “We are investing in technology and talent to develop industry-leading capabilities. Claude is a proven executive with operational, digital and insurance expertise, as well as a track record of delivering sustained profitability improvement.”

Wade joins AIG from BlackRock, where he most recently served as global head of client experience and head of the Atlanta Innovation Hub. As global head of client experience, Wade was responsible for reshaping the global distribution ecosystem and improving the digital experience, revenue retention and efficiency improvements for BlackRock clients.

As the Atlanta Innovation Hub leader and office head, he had overall executive responsibility for creating BlackRock’s newest office and digital innovation center. He also served as chief operating officer for BlackRock’s Institutional Client Business, where he oversaw day-to-day execution for BlackRock’s largest business with more $3 trillion in assets under management (AUM) and $3 billion in annual revenue.

Wade received his master’s degree in business administration from New York University’s Stern School of Business and his bachelor’s degree in administration in finance from Pace University. 

“I am thrilled to join AIG and to work with Peter Zaffino again as the company continues on its journey to achieve operational excellence and become a top-performing company,” Wade says. “With the investments AIG is making in digital capabilities, combined with Peter’s vision for AIG’s future, I am confident we will drive profitable growth and innovative client and distribution partner solutions that are transformative in the insurance industry.”

Loomis, Sayles & Company Adds Leaders to ESG Practice

Loomis, Sayles & Company, an affiliate of Natixis Investment Managers, has announced the addition of three new dedicated resources to the firm’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts.

“At Loomis Sayles, we take a strategic approach to ESG, ensuring that fundamental ESG research is integrated throughout the firm and embedded in each team’s unique investment process,” says Kathleen Bochman, director of ESG. “ESG has become a critical factor that global clients consider as they select asset managers. Holly Young, Justine Gearin and Justin Dutcher have all demonstrated a passion for and expertise in ESG. These new roles empower them to focus on further embedding ESG into the firm’s investment culture.”

Holly Young has been named ESG senior analyst. In this new role, Young will work closely with investment teams to ensure their individual data needs are being met, address client reporting needs and provide overall ESG data expertise. Previously, Young led the design effort for the internal Loomis Sayles ESG Center and developed a number of ESG primers to help educate employees on a variety of topics including carbon footprinting, vendor methodologies and climate scenario analysis.

Young joined Loomis Sayles in 2012 from Essex Investment Management Co., where she was an investment associate. She has previous experience at Independence Investments, Scudder Kemper Investments and Brown Brothers Harriman. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Gordon College. Young will report to Bochman.

Justine Gearin joins Loomis Sayles as ESG project associate. Gearin is a recent magna cum laude graduate of Bentley University and former intern in the Loomis Sayles Undergraduate Women’s Investment Network (UWIN). As a UWIN participant, she spent time as an ESG intern and as a member of the Loomis Sayles ESG Working Committee. She also completed rotations with the credit research and relative return teams. Gearin will report to Young.

Justin Dutcher has been named ESG marketing manager. In this new role, Dutcher will focus on the development and articulation of the firm’s ESG approach to the global marketplace including clients, consultants and prospects. He will collaborate with investment teams to communicate their unique ESG philosophies and expertise and will also support market positioning for Loomis Sayles’ ESG products.

Dutcher joined Loomis Sayles in 2015 from John Hancock Investments, where he was a senior marketing manager. He has previous experience at Wellington Management. Dutcher earned a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Maritime College and a master’s in business administration from Northeastern University. He will continue to report to Shephali Sardinha, director of strategic marketing.

The Standard Hires Retirement Plan Consultant  

The Standard has announced the hiring of Brian Stubbs as a retirement plan consultant. He will work with advisers and third-party administrators (TPAs) in New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware and New York.

Stubbs has almost 25 years of experience working with retirement plans, including sales and service roles as a regional vice president, business development consultant and client relationship manager. He holds both the FINRA Series 6 and 63 securities licenses.

“Brian brings years of diverse experience working with retirement plan advisers and their plan sponsors,” says Derek Fuller, regional sales director at The Standard. “He has a proactive, collaborative approach and brings deep expertise to the role. I’m confident Brian will be an asset to the advisers in his territory. We’re so pleased to add him to our sales team.”

Stubbs holds a bachelor’s degree from West Chester University of Pennsylvania.

TPA Services VP Joins Transamerica

Transamerica has announced that James Aherne has transitioned to the role of TPA [third-party administration] services vice president. His territory covers much the Midwest, as well as Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming.

Aherne has been in the financial industry for nearly a decade. In that time, he has proactively driven sales while building and expanding collaborative relationships with financial advisers and TPAs.

Aherne holds a bachelor’s degree from the Franklin P. Perdue School of Business. He will report to Joshua MacDonald, senior manager of TPA development at Transamerica.

“Transamerica aims to provide TPAs with the best support in the industry. We are thrilled that James Aherne is bringing his proven talents and expertise into the role of TPA services vice president,” says Darren Zino, senior managing director for U.S. retirement distribution at Transamerica. “I have no doubt that James will help Transamerica maintain our positive momentum well into the future.”

SageView Advisory Group Acquires Arnerich Massena

SageView Advisory Group has acquired the retirement plan services practice of Arnerich Massena. As part of this transition, Luka Arnerich will join the SageView team as a retirement plan consultant in Portland, Oregon. 

Arnerich spent eight years at Arnerich Massena, an independent investment firm based in Portland, Oregon, serving institutional clients with portfolio management, investment policy development, investment menu design, governance support and fiduciary education.

“This is exciting news for SageView and Arnerich Massena, allowing both firms to continue to focus on our core competencies,” says Randy Long, SageView founder and CEO. “SageView’s growth since inception has been driven by our dedication to the retirement industry and Luka will make an excellent addition to the team. Furthermore, Luka’s commitment to making an impact on his community aligns with our passion to help those in need through the SageView Foundation. We look forward to working together.”

SageView previously acquired a significant portion of the Arnerich Massena participant-driven retirement plan services practice when Howard Biggs, Jacob O’Shaughnessy and Stuart Payment joined the firm in 2016. 

“As Arnerich Massena shifts our focus exclusively toward private wealth management and endowments and foundations, we are confident that SageView is the right choice for transitioning our remaining retirement business,” says Bryan Shipley, Co-CEO and CIO of Arnerich Massena. “After transitioning much of our retirement plan business to SageView in 2016, we know our clients will continue to be in great hands. We are confident this decision is in the best interests of our clients and our firm and we look forward to supporting our clients through this transition as necessary.”