Retirement Industry People Moves

OneAmerica adds regional sales director for Michigan clients; Dimensional Fund Advisors names capital markets head; Findley to join USI; and more.

Art by Subin Yang

OneAmerica Adds Regional Sales Director for Michigan Clients

OneAmerica has welcomed Richard Eriksen Jr. as a new regional sales director for clients in Michigan, with an emphasis on serving core retirement plans up to $50 million.

Eriksen is based in the Detroit suburb of Birmingham. He will work alongside Jim Neubauer, who will continue servicing institutional retirement clients.

“The state of Michigan is certainly a key territory for OneAmerica, as we continue to intentionally grow our market presence and grow our annual revenue,” says Pete Schroedle, national distribution lead for retirement services at OneAmerica. “In Rick, we’ve brought in the right person at the right time, with the right mix of experience, family, legacy, but most importantly a ‘can-do’ approach that advisers are looking for.”

Eriksen started his career on the internal sales desk at Transamerica and transitioned to an external sales role.

He reports to Greg Poplarski, vice president, central division, OneAmerica. Eriksen began his role with OneAmerica in September.

Dimensional Fund Advisors Names Capital Markets Head

Dimensional Fund Advisors has hired exchange-traded fund (ETF) industry veteran Nicole Hunter as head of capital markets, effective October 26.

In this role, Hunter will work with stakeholders across the firm to launch and grow Dimensional’s suite of ETFs and to monitor primary markets activity, as well as provide client support and lead Dimensional’s engagement with authorized participants. She will report to Jed Fogdall, global head of portfolio management.

“Nicole is a highly accomplished financial services leader and we are thrilled to welcome her to Dimensional, where she will be a key contributor to our ETF initiative,” says Fogdall.

Hunter has two decades of experience managing ETFs and mutual funds across multiple global asset classes while promoting performance through tax efficiency and effective trading by broker/dealers (B/Ds). She has led many facets of BlackRock’s iShares business, including while serving as head of U.S. iShares Broker and Exchange Business Development. Hunter has also held senior roles at BlackRock in ETF product development, ETF product management and ETF broker/dealer relationship management.

Hunter has more recently been independently advising asset managers, service providers and institutional investors on capital market strategies, product development, risk oversight, manager due diligence and trading.

“Dimensional stands out because of its steadfast client-first culture, 40-year track record and robust offering of broadly diversified, low cost systematic investment solutions,” says Hunter. “In my consulting work with Dimensional, the team has been knowledgeable and thoughtful with big ambitions for the ETF marketplace.”

Findley to Join USI

USI Insurance Services (USI) has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Nashville, Tennessee-based Findley, Inc. Subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals, the transaction is expected to close in November 2020.

Founded in 1969, Findley is a leading independent human resources and employee benefits consulting firm, providing actuarial, benefits and administrative consulting services to private and publicly held companies, the public sector and non-profit organizations. Findley employs more than 250 associates, serving clients across the country from seven office locations in the Midwest and Southeast. Upon the completion of the transaction, Findley’s actuarial and retirement practices will be joined together with the resources of USI Consulting Group, a provider of defined contribution (DC) and defined benefit (DB) plan consulting and administration services.

Betsy Hammond, managing principal and CEO, Findley, states, “Over the last 50 years, Findley has earned a strong reputation for helping organizations succeed by aligning people and benefit strategies to achieve business goals. By joining forces with USI, we look forward to expanding our service offerings to our valued clients through USI’s premier network of national resources and expertise.”

USI Chairman & CEO, Michael J. Sicard, adds, “We look forward to welcoming Betsy and the talented professionals from Findley to the USI family. By joining as ONE, we are excited to build on Findley’s strong reputation for delivering comprehensive human resource and benefit consulting services and solutions to clients by leveraging the USI ONE Advantage®, an interactive platform that integrates proprietary and innovative client solutions, networked local resources and enterprise-wide collaboration to deliver customized results with positive, bottom line financial impact.”

Groom Law Group Selects Litigators for ERISA Practice

Groom Law Group, Chartered, has added two members to its ERISA [Employee Retirement Income Security Act] litigation and plan sponsor practices—Will Delany, principal, and Patrick DiCarlo, of counsel. 

“We very much appreciate the trust that our clients place in us to represent them in ERISA class actions and in single participant benefit claims, both during the administrative stage and in court,” says Michael Prame, Groom’s executive principal. “Will and Pat bring deep substantive, yet complementary expertise that will help meet the needs of a growing client base of work. They each have decades of litigation experience in the areas of benefits, health and retirement litigation. We see their addition to the Groom team as one that brings tremendous value to our clients who rely on us to defend their complex and often high-profile litigation matters.”

Delaney has experience defending clients against ERISA class actions, including claims challenging the fees and investment performance of 401(k) and 403(b) plans and employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) and stock drop litigation, as well as fiduciary duty issues that arise from retiree medical and other employee benefit plan modification and/or termination. He also counsels employee benefit plan administrators and trustees on ERISA and breach of fiduciary claims.

“As we continue to see a significant uptick in new ERISA fee cases, the demand for substantive experience and knowledge of the legal issues involved in these matters has never been greater. Enhancing our capabilities in the ERISA fee litigation space, and in the ERISA litigation area more generally, reflects our desire to assemble an even more robust litigation practice to build on the depth of existing litigation talent within our firm,” says Lars Golumbic, chair of Groom’s ERISA Litigation practice.

DiCarlo offers clients knowledge on claim and appeal issues and litigation of ERISA disputes, having counseled and represented some of the nation’s largest plan sponsors and fiduciaries over the years. His practice focuses on counseling plan sponsors and administrators regarding fiduciary compliance, administrative claims and appeals.

“We recognize that our clients often confront complicated benefit claims matters or single plaintiff claims with respect to their plans and may need to not only defend the claim, but best position the claim decision for potential downstream litigation,” says Seth Perretta, co-chair of the firm’s employer-focused practice. “We are very excited to have Pat joining the Groom team as he brings 20+ years of experience in claims defense work, which will help us continue to provide the best-in-class counsel our clients have come to expect from Groom.”

Robeco Appoints Insurance Analytics Head

Robeco has expanded its insurance team by appointing Clara Yan as head of insurance analytics. Yan reports to Ed Collinge, Robeco’s global head of insurance strategy. 

In this newly created role, Yan will further develop, enhance and coordinate Robeco’s insurance analytics capabilities and serve the needs of existing insurance clients as well as prospects. In addition, she will advise insurers on areas such as asset allocation and capital management while managing accounting, regulatory, rating agency and asset and liability management (ALM) considerations. 

Yan joins Robeco from Schroders, where she served as insurance asset liability management director, responsible for balance sheet advisory, investment strategy and portfolio advisory work for insurers across the world. Prior to that, she worked at UBS and Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM). She holds a bachelor’s of commerce in actuarial studies from Macquarie University in Sydney and a master of science in financial mathematics from Cass Business School in London.

“I am excited to be joining Robeco. Our market leading position in ESG [environmental, social and governance investing] alongside the strength of our quantitative approach means that we are exceptionally well placed to provide customized insurance analytics that not only bring capital optimized solutions for insurers, but importantly also allow insurers to achieve their broader sustainability goals,” says Yan. “Whether that is looking to improve the ESG profile of their portfolios, or increasingly assessing the impact of climate risks on their investment portfolios, our analytical tooling allows us to meet insurers’ rapidly evolving needs.”

“The hiring of Clara and expansion of our insurance team underlines our commitment to provide the insurance companies in the U.S. and Canada with customized and targeted insurance analytics,” says Maureen Beshar, head of U.S. and Canada. “Climate change poses a unique threat to both sides of insurer’s balance sheets, assets as well as their liabilities, and with this addition to our already deep and experienced insurance solutions team, we are well positioned to meet the needs of this specific client segment.”

Financial Fitness for Life Announces New SVP

Financial Fitness for Life announced that Eric Butler has joined the firm as senior vice president. Butler will be responsible for the distribution and servicing of Financial Fitness for Life’s suite of services in the Midwest and West regions.  

“Eric’s background and experience in the managed account space will be particularly helpful in us continuing to innovate,” says Christian Mango, president of Financial Fitness for Life. “The reality is that most retirement plans need more customized investment solutions for a large number of participants.”

Since launching the business in 2018, Financial Fitness for Life has grown significantly, serving retirement plan participants in all 50 states and expanding its assets by more than $1.5 billion.  

The firm said Butler’s addition to the company demonstrates its commitment to attracting the most talented people in the retirement and investment industry. 

“In addition to distribution, we’ll be looking for Eric to help us in building out our broader service offerings, branding strategies, education efforts, marketing plans and workforce over time,” Mango says.

Butler has 16 years of investment industry experience. He was previously a retirement adviser consultant with Stadion Money Management, and he has held senior sales roles at Hatteras Funds, Advisors Asset Management, Transamerica Capital and REPTECH. He holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Metro State University. He holds the FINRA Series 7 and 66 licenses.

CIEBA Announces New BoD Chairman and Members

The Committee on Investment of Employee Benefit Assets (CIEBA) has announced that Paul Cavazos, senior vice president and chief investment officer (CIO) of American Beacon, has been elected the new chairman of CIEBA’s Board of Directors.

Cavazos has served as vice chair for the past two years and will succeed Douglas Brown, senior vice president and chief investment officer of Exelon, who will remain on the board to provide stability and continuity for CIEBA.

“We are looking forward to having Paul take the reins during a period of very strong membership growth and changes for CIEBA, as we continue to provide practical resources and direction for our CIO members,” Brown says.

“CIEBA provides a truly unique networking and advocacy forum for plan sponsor retirement investment leaders, and I’m very excited to help lead such an engaged and experienced group of industry experts,” Cavazos says.

In addition to Cavazos and Brown, the newly elected CIEBA Board of Directors includes the following CIOs: Robert Sparling from Dow Inc., Angela Buk from DTE Energy, Ernie Caballero from United Parcel Service, Robin Diamonte from Raytheon, Alayne Gatti from Comcast NBCUniversal, Robert Hunkeler and Carol Tusch from International Paper, Susan Ridlen from Lilly, Elaine Stallworth-Washington from Eastman Chemical, Andy Ward from Boeing, and Jay Vivian, retired CIO from IBM.