Retirement Industry People Moves

T. Rowe Price Names Senior DC Specialist; Vanguard Rotates Portfolio Managers; American Century Preps for Major ETF Business Launch; and more. 

GF Pension Corp will become a wholly owned subsidiary of The Paragon Alliance Group (Paragon).  All staff will be retained, including GF Pension’s President, Gerald Foran.  The merging of the two firms adds administration of over 150 employee benefits plans to Paragon’s group of more than 550 plans.

Since 1971, GF Pension Corp has provided retirement plan services for the northeastern U.S., and they will continue to do so.  The firm currently consults on all types of plans; spanning across 401(k), 457(b), cash balance, nonqualified, money purchase and more. The efficiency created by combining both firms will provide greater benefits to their current and future clients, including providing more resources to the advisers, recordkeepers, certified public accountants (CPAs), payroll providers and human resource (HR) consulting firms with which they align their services.

Gerald Foran, founder of GF Pension Corp, makes the following observation about the merger: “Succession and continuity planning are important for clients and employees.  By merging with a bigger company it creates greater opportunities and efficiencies for our clients, our employees and our key partners.   I wanted our group to stay independent, local, and ethical and I think we found the perfect match with Paragon.”

New Acquisition Between Hub and Summit 

Hub International Limited (Hub) announced that it has acquired the assets of Summit Financial Corporation and Summit Financial Insurance Agency, Inc. (Summit). Terms financial of the acquisition were not disclosed. 

Headquartered in Burlington, Massachusetts, Summit provides plan design, consulting, actuarial, administration and investment-related services for both qualified and nonqualified employer-sponsored retirement plans, as well as similar services for employee benefit plans.

“Joining Hub allows us to leverage the resources of one of the largest insurance brokers without compromising our boutique firm roots,” says Joe Bonasera, president of Summit. 

Summit’s leadership team and staff, including Bonasera, will join Hub and continue to operate out of Summit’s existing offices. They will report to Charles Brophy, president and CEO, regional president, Hub International US East.

Industry Veteran Joins Capital Group as Head of LDI Solutions

Capital Group has announced that Gary Veerman will be joining the firm as head of LDI [liability-driven investing] solutions

Veerman has 16 years of industry experience and was most recently a managing director at BlackRock, where he was the head of U.S. LDI solutions. Prior to joining BlackRock, he was head of LDI strategy at Legal & General Investment Management America. Veerman began his career at Rocaton Investment Advisors and became the director of asset allocation research. At Rocaton, he advised large institutional investors on LDI program design and implementation. 

“Liability driven investing has always been an important topic for large pension plans and will continue to grow in significance as funded status improves,” says Mike Gitlin, head of fixed income and a member of the Capital Group Management Committee. “We are excited to have a leader with Gary’s experience in LDI join our team, and our focus will be on serving our existing clients while also expanding our business by offering our investment expertise and services to others.” 

Veerman holds a master’s of science in global financial analysis from Bentley University and a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University. 

OneAmerica Grows Coverage in Selected Regions with Three Appointments

OneAmerica is reinforcing its presence in the Midwest with the appointments of David BenjaminDan Runser and Daniel Haber to the retirement sales central region. 

Benjamin, an 11-year veteran most recently with ADP, has been hired to service clients in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota from his office in Minneapolis. 

Runser, previously with AXA Equitable and Mutual of Omaha, will cover the Chicago area from an office in Oak Brook, Illinois. He will partner with Ben Christofis to support the retirement plan needs of financial professionals and third-party administrators (TPAs). 

Haber was promoted from the OneAmerica internal sales desk in Indianapolis. The Butler University graduate will cover western Pennsylvania and northern Ohio from Pittsburgh. 

All three began their new assignments in October and report to Pete Schroedle, regional vice president of retirement sales for the central region. 

“This gives OneAmerica concentrated coverage in geographic areas where we want significant growth,” said Schroedle. “Our greatest resource to clients is that we have strength as a national plan record keeper while focusing on what we’re known for, local service.” 

Benjamin, Runser and Haber are available to answer questions or provide assistance with a request for proposal (RFP) for 401(k), 403(b), 457, defined benefit (DB) or employee stock ownership plans (ESOP) plans. 

Former DC Manager Becomes Specialist at T. Rowe Price

T. Rowe Price announced that its North American Global Institutional Services (GIS) division has hired Tim Richman as a senior defined contribution (DC) plan specialist, further building out the team supporting its U.S. defined contribution investment only (DCIO) business. 

Richman will be based in Atlanta and support T. Rowe Price’s institutional DCIO business in the southeast region. He will report to Michael Davis, head of the defined contribution plan specialist team for GIS.

Richman comes to T. Rowe Price from BlackRock, where he was a defined contribution relationship manager in the firm’s Atlanta office. He had been with BlackRock since 2004, after starting as a consultant liaison in the San Francisco office. Mr. Richman began his career at Prager, Sealy and Co. in municipal bond sales and underwriting. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Trinity College and an MBA from the Walter A. Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. 

American Century Employs VP Amid Preparations for ETF Launch in 2018

American Century Investments announced that Matt Lewis has been named vice president and head of exchange-traded funds (ETF) implementation and capital markets. Lewis joins American Century after serving in a variety of ETF leadership roles with BlackRock. Lewis is the second senior executive position American Century has filled as it works toward an early 2018 launch of its suite of ETFs, pending regulatory approval. 

In his new role as head of ETF implementation and capital markets, Lewis is responsible for managing American Century’s relationships with the ETF liquidity providers and other external ETF participants. Working with the firm’s global product development team, Lewis also will help create and launch new ETFs and communicate the benefits to potential clients. 

Prior to joining American Century, Lewis was BlackRock’s head of iShares broker/dealer execution services for America. In this role, he led a cross-regional team from the United States, Canada and Latin America to establish partnerships with the various entities required to bring ETFs to market, including custodians, authorized participants, market makers, distributors and exchanges. Previously, as BlackRock’s director of product development for Latin America, Lewis led the firm’s product development effort to bring locally-listed iShares ETFs into Mexico, Brazil and Colombia. 

Lewis started his financial services career in 1996 at Barclays Global Investors (BGI), where he served in a series of positions of increasing responsibility, including roles in portfolio accounting, client order management, operations, client service and product management. BlackRock acquired BGI in 2009. 

Lewis graduated from Santa Clara University with a bachelor’s degree in commerce and later received a TRIUM Global Executive MBA, a joint degree program with New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business, HEC School of Management (Paris) and London School of Economics and Political Science. 

Vanguard Rotates Seven Portfolio Managers for its 23 ETFs

Vanguard has appointed seven investment management professionals as portfolio managers of 23 equity index funds, including some of the largest index funds in the world. Vanguard periodically rotates its portfolio management staff across the globe in order to strengthen the breadth and depth of the firm’s investment management capabilities.

The following portfolio management assignments have been announced:

  • Michelle Louie has been named co-portfolio manager of the Vanguard 500 Index Fund. She will also co-manage the following funds: Vanguard Employee Benefit Fund, Vanguard Financials Index Fund, Vanguard Health Care Index Fund, Vanguard Industrials Index Fund, Vanguard Institutional Index Fund, Vanguard Materials Index Fund, Vanguard S&P 500 Growth Index Fund, Vanguard S&P 500 Value Index Fund, and Vanguard Variable Insurance Fund – Equity Index Portfolio. 

  • Christine Franquin will be the co-portfolio manager of the billion Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund. 

  • Awais Khan will be the co-portfolio manager of the following funds: Vanguard Consumer Discretionary Index Fund, Vanguard Consumer Staples Index Fund, Vanguard Energy Index Fund, Vanguard S&P Mid-Cap 400 Growth Index Fund, Vanguard S&P Mid-Cap 400 Index Fund, Vanguard S&P Mid-Cap 400 Value Index Fund, Vanguard Telecommunication Services Index Fund, and Vanguard Utilities Index Fund.

  • William A. Coleman will co-manage the Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund.

  • Scott Geiger will rotate to Vanguard’s international desk and assume a co-portfolio manager role for the Vanguard Total World Stock Index Fund.

  • Michael A. Johnson will be the co-portfolio manager for the Vanguard Information Technology Index Fund.

  • Michael Perre will be the co-portfolio manager for the Vanguard Developed Markets Index Fund.

The Standard Employs Consultant to Enhance West Sales Region

The Standard announced the hiring of Brad Weber as a retirement plan consultant for its West sales region. He is based in The Standard’s Denver retirement plans sales and service office, covering Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

Weber has more than 11 years of experience in the financial industry, specializing in retirement plans. Prior to joining The Standard, he worked as a regional director, retirement plan services, for Brinker Capital, Inc., and as a district manager for ADP Retirement Services.

Weber graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s of science degree in marketing from the W.P. Carey School of Business. He holds an AIF designation along with Series 6, 7, 63 and 65 licenses.

Midwest Financial Partners with Commonwealth Advising Team

Commonwealth Financial Network has announced the addition of Midwest Financial Group of Madison, Horicon, and Platteville, Wisconsin, to its network of independent financial advisers. Formerly affiliated with SII Investments Inc., advisers Mark MieheMatt CuplinBrandon Masbruch, and Tony Pochowski—along with their team—bring with them more than $186 million in assets under management.

Midwest Financial Group is a full-service independent advisory firm that focuses on building relationships with individual and business clients to deliver customized investment management and retirement planning solutions. It provides services including portfolio management, strategic asset allocation, estate management, tax planning, family wealth and estate planning, retirement planning, and employer-sponsored benefit planning.

Cuplin, Midwest’s president, says, “Our focus was on finding a partner whose values and beliefs reflected ours, who could offer a high level of service to us and our clients and demonstrate a proven business model with long-term sustainability.” After performing extensive due diligence on several firms, Cuplin said Commonwealth was the clear favorite, pointing to its technology innovation and company culture as determining factors.

Perspective Partners Appoints Business Development VP


Fragmented wealth and health solutions block employers and employees from achieving their goals, asserts health benefits veteran David Creen. Earlier this year, he took on the role of vice president of Business Development at Perspective Partners, LLC, an innovator in integrated benefits decision support in Fairport, NY, that launched the NestUp Managed Deferrals benefits platform.  


“So many platforms out there educate employees on financial wellness and retirement benefits, but NestUp Managed Deferrals takes it much farther,” he says. “NestUp is the only tool that engages, educates and executes employee health and wealth decisions.”


Industry veteran Bart Ballinger joined in 2016 as vice president of Sales, and came from EMPOWER. Both Creen and Ballinger are committed to educating employers, brokers and advisers about the benefits of their unified platform.


Perspective Partners launched NestUp Managed Deferrals in 2013, where employers and employees can stretch their benefit dollars and save money on payroll taxes.


“Employees make better decisions about their benefits savings and spending when all of their information related to 401(k)s and HSAs is in one place,” Creen says. “NestUp Managed Deferrals accomplishes this with two clicks of the mouse.” 


Creen believes the trend towards health savings accounts (HSAs) will continue to accelerate as more employers and employees understand the power of HSAs to save for health expenses now and in retirement. NestUp Managed Deferrals illustrates how one can spend less on healthcare effectively and elegantly.


“Most employers and employees look at HSAs like a flexible spending account – they use it to pay for ongoing expenses not covered by their plan,” says Creen. “However, the power of HSAs is that you can save money for your current and future expenses. HSAs aren’t subject to required minimum distributions in retirement and can be used to pay Medicare Advantage premiums and long-term care insurance premiums.”