Retirement Industry People Moves

Global Client Group head joins AB; Alger hires SVP and institutional team co-head; The Standard hires retirement plan consultant for Northern California and Nevada; and more.

Art by Subin Yang

Global Client Group Head Joins AB

AllianceBernstein L.P. (AB) and AllianceBernstein Holding L.P. have announced that Onur Erzan, will join AB as head of Global Client Group, effective January 4. 

In this role Erzan will be responsible for all client services, sales and marketing, as well as product strategy, management and development worldwide. He will report to Seth Bernstein, president and CEO.

Erzan joins AB from McKinsey, where he is a senior partner and co-leader of the firm’s wealth management and asset management practice. In addition, he co-leads McKinsey’s Banking and Securities Solutions (a portfolio of data, analytics and digital assets and capabilities) globally. He has spent nearly two decades at McKinsey developing client relationships and overseeing a portfolio of clients, including asset managers, wealth managers, banks, private equity firms, hedge funds and insurance companies. Erzan holds a master’s in business from Columbia University Business School.

“We are confident that Onur will bring a valued perspective on strategy and growth, and his broad viewpoint will help AB plan for change in our industry,” Bernstein says.

Erzan will succeed Robert Keith, current head of Global Client Group, who will assume an adviser role in January and retire from AB on June 30. During that time, Keith will ensure a smooth transition of leadership in the Client Group, with limited disruption to clients.

“We’d like to recognize Bob for his leadership, dedication and innumerable contributions to the firm these last 24 years and for the tremendous success of AB’s retail and institutional businesses. We wish him all the best in the years to come,” Bernstein says.

Alger Adds SVP and Institutional Co-Head

Fred Alger & Co. LLC has announced that John Dashtara will join the firm as a senior vice president and co-head of the institutional team.

Dashtara will focus on establishing, developing and strengthening relationships with institutional asset owners and consultants.

Dashtara was most recently a member of the consultant relations team at Dimensional Fund Advisors. During his tenure, Dashtara led the West Coast region across more than 30 institutional investment consultant offices and outsourced chief investment officers (OCIOs). Prior to Dimensional Fund Advisors, he was a relationship manager for Blackrock’s Financial Institutions Group, where he managed and grew institutional relationships with senior investment members from banks, insurers and other taxable financial institutions. Dashtara earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California, Irvine. He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder and currently serves as the president of the CFA Society of Austin.

“Alger continues to see strong sales growth across our institutional, intermediary and offshore businesses. John’s addition to the institutional team will help us continue the momentum we’ve had with institutional investors and consultants,” says Jim Tambone, executive vice president and chief distribution officer at Alger. “I believe John will be a valuable resource to the organization, including supporting our existing clients and influencing our distribution strategy going forward.”

Dashtara joins Ted Doyle as co-head of the institutional team. Doyle, who has 18 years of experience, has worked on the institutional team at Alger for 12 years.

“John is a seasoned, dedicated and institutional-focused professional and we are excited to have him join our team,” Doyle says. “I believe he will help continue to position Alger as a leader in active growth equities with our institutional clients and consultants.”

The Standard Hires Retirement Plan Consultant for Northern California and Nevada

The Standard has announced the hiring of David Ravarino as a retirement plan consultant. He will work with advisers and third-party administrators (TPAs) in Northern California’s Central Valley and Nevada.

David has more than 19 years of experience in the retirement plan industry, including roles as a regional vice president of retirement plan sales.

“David brings deep experience and energy to our team,” says Kelly Amato, regional retirement plans sales director at The Standard. “He will offer solid solutions and expertise as he collaborates with advisers and TPAs in Northern California and Nevada.”

Ravarino has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Saint Mary’s College of California.

Vanguard Announces Senior Leadership Changes

Vanguard has announced several senior leadership changes. Chris McIsaac, currently head of Vanguard’s planning and development division, has been named head of Vanguard’s international business. And, after 33 years of service, Jim Norris, head of Vanguard’s international business, will retire at the end of the year.

As part of this long-planned transition, McIsaac has partnered with Norris over the past year on the firm’s international strategy, including sharpening the firm’s focus on individual investors and the intermediaries who serve them, and developing Vanguard’s global suite of mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and advisory services. McIsaac will relocate to Vanguard’s European headquarters in London during the month of December.  

“Jim is handing over the reins to another top-notch global leader. Chris is a 23-year Vanguard veteran and comes into the role with a strong perspective on the needs of our clients in the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe from his current role overseeing global product development, enterprise strategy and marketing. Chris ran Vanguard’s U.S. retirement business from 2012 to 2015 and has served as a member of Vanguard’s 12-person senior management team since 2012,” says Vanguard Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Tim Buckley.

Karin Risi, currently head of Vanguard’s U.S. retail investor group, will assume responsibility for Vanguard planning and development—leading Vanguard’s global investment product development and oversight, enterprise strategy, marketing, communications and community efforts. Matt Benchener, currently head of retail client services and operations, will join Vanguard’s senior staff as head of its U.S. retail investor group.

During her tenure in the retail investor group, Risi led development of Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, which provides Vanguard clients with ongoing asset management and investment advice.

McIsaac, Risi and Benchener will assume their new roles over the course of December as part of the firm’s long-term succession plan, approved by Vanguard’s board of directors. They will report to Buckley.

SageView Selects Lead Retirement Plan Consultant

Panfilo “Phil” Costantini has joined SageView Advisory Group as a lead retirement plan consultant in Northern California.

Costantini will work with the Woodside, California, office that is led by Robert Patton, and includes Ann Cheu, Luciano Costantini, Margarita Cross, Chris Krall, Scott Ondek, David Shnapek, Will Posch and Eric Weissman

Patton says, “This is great news for SageView, as Phil’s knowledge of the industry and specialized expertise will benefit plan sponsors in the Bay Area. We have seen incredible growth in the Silicon Valley market as companies realize that working with an advisory firm that is dedicated to retirement plan consulting as a primary business can lead to greater fiduciary oversight and potentially better participant outcomes. Phil, who has spent his entire career here, really adds more depth to our growing practice.” 

Most recently, Costantini was a 401(k) consultant with Sequoia Consulting Group, focused on designing and implementing 401(k) programs for venture-backed startups in the Bay Area. Before that, he worked at ADP, Union Bank and CNA Trust in a variety of retirement planning roles. 

Randy Long, SageView founder and managing principal, adds, “I’ve known Phil for a long time, and for him to approach us as a leader in the retirement plan space is really exciting. We greatly admire his tireless efforts to deliver best-in-class service and support for retirement plan sponsors. We look forward to working together for many years to come.”

Schroders Adds Institutional Director

Schroders has hired an institutional director, focused on enhancing its ability to meet client needs, institutional distribution efforts and access to a diversified product set across North America.

Walter L. Lindsay Jr. joins as an institutional director, bringing the institutional sales team total to seven directors, and will report into Schroders’ institutional director, head of west, Allan Duckett

Lindsay, who is based out of Georgia, brings more than 28 years of experience in managing clients and will be responsible for leading strategy, engagement and business development across the institutional product range. Most recently, he spent four years at Eaton Vance, where he was director of institutional sales, focused on coverage of public funds, corporations, foundations and endowments.

The firm says this addition further emphasizes its continued expansion across North America and ongoing growth strategy in that market.

BPAS CEO Announces Retirement

BPAS has announced that Barry Kublin will retire from his position as CEO, effective December 31. 

He will remain with the company as a member on the Board of Directors and in strategic consulting and industry advisory capacities. Paul Neveu will succeed Kublin as CEO of BPAS and Chris Hulse will succeed Kublin as CEO of NRS/BPAS trust services.

“It was a great run of 36 years,” says Mark Tryniski, CEO at Community Bank System Inc. (CBSI), the parent company of BPAS. “Barry is a rare individual who is adept at both strategy and execution. He is entrepreneurial and operational, and a serial opportunist—which is how he was able to grow a business from scratch to more than $100 million in annual revenues. We’ll continue to benefit from his vision, expertise and industry relationships in his new capacity.”

Kublin joined Community Bank in 1985 as vice president of human resources (HR), where he conceived and launched its initial employee benefits business. Kublin then led the acquisition of BPAS in 1996, which at that time had fewer than 10 employees and $1 million of revenue.

In becoming CEO of BPAS, Neveu will expand his current responsibility over BPAS Plan Administration and Recordkeeping to include responsibility of BPAS Actuarial & Pension Services, the business operations of Fiduciary Services and BPAS Trust Co. of Puerto Rico, marketing, communications, accounting and certain other key areas. Neveu joined BPAS in 2005 after nine years with Federated Investors and several years with Coopers & Lybrand (now PwC) in Boston. Neveu became president of BPAS Plan Administration & Recordkeeping Services in 2015, working under Kublin. He is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire with a dual degree in business administration and music performance. 

Hulse, who is CEO of Northeast Retirement Services (NRS) and its subsidiary Global Trust Co. (GTC), will assume the additional responsibilities for Hand Benefits & Trust, including its collective investment fund and common fund business, and the trust activities of BPAS Trust Co. of Puerto Rico. Hulse is responsible for the strategic direction of the firm’s trust business, including daily client servicing and operations. Prior to assuming the CEO position, he was the NRS/GTC chief operating officer for 15 years. 

QPA to Acquire FNBO’s Retirement Advisory Practice

Qualified Plan Advisors (QPA) is working with First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO) to acquire the bank’s retirement advisory practice. This transaction is expected to close December 31.

“QPA couldn’t be more enthusiastic about entering into this agreement and forming a strategic relationship with First National Bank of Omaha,” says Matthew Eickman, national retirement practice leader at QPA. “Its reputation as a leader in financial services in the Midwest is unquestioned, and we look forward to serving our mutual clients together.”

Following the transaction, Charles Smith, the current director of retirement plan advisory services for FNBO, will assume the role of retirement practice leader for the Nebraska market for QPA. Additional FNBO staff will also join QPA to ensure a seamless transition for clients.

“This partnership bolsters QPA’s strong Midwest footprint and demonstrates the firm’s continued commitment to being the best retirement plan adviser in America,” says Glenn Spencer, CEO of PCIA, QPA’s parent company. “QPA has been growing rapidly over the past two years, expanding to 10 new markets and adding over a dozen advisers, hundreds of clients and several billion in assets under management [AUM] to the firm.”

Alerus to Acquire Retirement Planning Services Inc.

Alerus Financial Corp. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Retirement Planning Services Inc. (RPS), which does business as RPS Plan Administrators and 24HourFlex. RPS is based in Littleton, Colorado.

The transaction is expected to be completed December 18 and will increase Alerus’ assets under administration/management to approximately $31.5 billion. Terms of the transaction will not be released.

“The acquisition of RPS and 24HourFlex is a strategic investment that allows us to add talent and increase market share in the desirable Rocky Mountain region, while further strengthening our growing retirement and benefits division,” says Alerus President and Chief Executive Officer Randy Newman. “Alerus is a scaled consolidator and this expansion is in line with our long-term One Alerus growth strategy to expand our national presence and provide diversified financial services to clients across the nation.”

“Alerus, RPS and 24HourFlex share complementary business models and core values that focus on client service, industry expertise and growth, making this a great partnership for both ownership groups,” says Brian Overby, president of Alerus Retirement and Benefits. “In addition to expanding our footprint, we’re also adding valuable products and talented professionals. We believe there are opportunities to expand products and services to the newly acquired clients in addition to current Alerus clients.”

Nathan Carlson, president of RPS, and Matt Poppe, principal of RPS, will join Alerus to ensure a seamless transition.

“Joining Alerus provides both our employees and clients incredible growth opportunities with a multi-billion-dollar, publicly traded, diversified financial services company,” Carlson says. “We are excited to combine our industry expertise and regional presence with Alerus to position our employees and clients for long-term success. We are stronger together and we look forward to what the future holds.”

Waddell & Reed Financial Merges with Macquarie Asset Management

Waddell & Reed Financial Inc. has entered into a merger agreement with Macquarie Asset Management, the asset management division of Macquarie Group.

The transaction represents a premium of approximately 48% to the closing price of Waddell & Reed common stock on December 1, the last trading day prior to the transaction announcement, and a premium of approximately 57% to Waddell & Reed’s volume-weighted average price for the last 90 trading days.

On completion of the transaction, Macquarie has agreed to sell Waddell & Reed Financial Inc.’s wealth management platform to LPL Financial Holdings Inc., a leading U.S. retail investment advisory firm, independent broker/dealer (B/D), and registered investment adviser (RIA) custodian, and also to enter into a long-term partnership with Macquarie, becoming one of LPL’s top tier strategic asset management partners.

As a result of the transaction, Macquarie Asset Management’s assets under management (AUM) are expected to increase to more than $465 billion.

Philip J. Sanders, chief executive officer of Waddell & Reed Financial Inc., says, “Over the past few years, we have been focused on leveraging our strong heritage as the foundation for transforming our firm into a more diversified and growth-oriented financial services enterprise. The long-term partnership between Macquarie and LPL as part of this transaction accelerates that transformation and ultimately will benefit our clients and independent financial advisers while delivering significant value to our stockholders.”

Martin Stanley, head of Macquarie Asset Management, says, “The addition of Waddell & Reed Financial Inc. and our enhanced partnership with LPL will significantly increase our ability to grow and invest in our combined business for the benefit of our clients. Ivy Investments’ complementary investment capabilities will provide diversification to Macquarie Asset Management’s capabilities and client base. The consideration offered reflects the quality of Waddell & Reed’s business and the future benefits of our partnership with LPL.”

The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of Waddell & Reed Financial Inc., Macquarie Group and LPL, and is expected to close in the middle of 2021, subject to regulatory approvals, Waddell & Reed Financial Inc. stockholder approval and other customary closing conditions.