Nelson joined Great-West Financial in 1983 and was appointed president of its Retirement Services division in 2008 after serving as the unit’s senior vice president since its inception. He continues as the senior officer responsible for all aspects of the firm’s defined contribution (DC) and defined benefit (DB) programs, overseeing the corporate, government, health care, nonprofit and institutional lines of business.
Under Nelson’s leadership, Great-West Financial has grown from the 38th largest recordkeeper in 1995 to a top-tier retirement plan provider that provides 401(k), 401(a), 403(b) and 457 retirement plan services to 30,000 plans, representing 4.9 million participant accounts and $219.9 billion in assets as of December 31, 2013.
Per PLANSPONSOR’s 2013 Recordkeeping Survey, Great-West Financial is now the fourth largest recordkeeper in terms of total recordkeeping participants; seventh largest by total recordkeeping assets; largest 457 plan provider; and ninth largest in terms of total 401(k) and 403(b) recordkeeping assets. Nelson’s responsibilities consist of general management of the business, which includes recordkeeping, administration, operations, sales, products, financial results and broker/dealer (B/D) services.
Outside of the recordkeeping platform, Nelson has also led the development of the company’s multimanager, open architecture, multi-glide-path target-date funds (TDFs) and its Retirement Income Control Panel offering.
He has logged many hours working with retirement plan industry organizations, having served as president of the board of directors of The SPARK Institute, and has been a member of the National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators (NAGDCA) since 1985.
Nelson is a graduate of Whitman College with a degree in chemistry and economics. He was appointed to the Whitman College Board of Overseers in 2008. He also is the chairman of the board for the American Heart Association’s Denver Affiliate and serves as a board member of its Southwest Affiliate.
“Charlie has grown the retirement plan group at Great-West into a retirement plan business leader, serving the spectrum of small to mega-size plans in the corporate, governmental and nonprofit segments, working with advisers, third-party administrators [TPAs] and plan sponsors. He has a vision for what a recordkeeper should offer to advisers, plan sponsors and participants, and has, with care and due diligence, built that recordkeeping platform,” said Alison Cooke Mintzer, editor-in-chief of PLANSPONSOR.
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