Retirement Industry People Moves

Voya expands workplace solutions team with Ritter, Bandani; new RIA Modern Wealth brings on two Goldman VPs; Drennan moves from parent Hightower to Fairpoint Wealth; and more. 

Voya Expands Workplace Solutions Teams With Ritter, Bandani 

Voya Financial announced this week two new positions to support the growth of its workplace solutions distribution team, which includes retirement plans and services. Kurt Ritter has been hired as vice president of consultant relations director, and Blake Bandani has joined Voya as a sales director for the emerging market team. 

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Ritter is responsible for helping drive the sale and retention of retirement clients across all of Voya’s workplace solutions businesses by establishing and nurturing key relationships with premier national and regional consultants. He joins Voya from MissionSquare Retirement, where he was a relationship manager in consultant relations. He will report to Lori Commerford, vice president and head of intermediary relations at Voya. 

“In addition to Voya’s culture aligning with what motivates me in my career, Voya provides ‘cutting edge’ wealth and health solutions for consultants and plan sponsors, and I look forward to being part of the team,” Ritter said in a statement. 

Bandani will be responsible for selling 401(k), 403(b), HSA nonqualified plans and emergency savings accounts to employers with less than $50 million in assets, according to Voya’s announcement.  

Bandani joins Voya from Hunnex & Shoemaker, where he provided support and guidance for financial advisers and plan sponsors on qualified retirement plans. Previously, he served as a retirement plan internal wholesaler at MassMutual, where he helped expand the market presence of MassMutual’s 401(k), 403(b) and 457 products with emerging market wholesalers, financial advisers and third-party administrators.  

“Having partnered with multiple recordkeeping vendors in my past role as a TPA sales representative, it was clear to me that Voya is a top-tier provider in the retirement plan space,” Bandani said in a statement. “With the recent acquisition of Benefitfocus, solidifying Voya’s dedication to group retirement plans and benefits, I knew this was the right move for my career.” 

Drennen Moves from Parent Co. Hightower to Fairpoint Wealth  

Fairport Wealth, a Cleveland, Ohio-based Hightower Advisors business, has hired Mike Drennen as its chief wealth officer, where he will be taking on the executive leadership responsibilities previously overseen by Matt Logar, who was named CEO in April. 

As chief wealth officer, Drennen will lead a team overseeing the advice, growth, marketing and training functions of the firm, including more than 30 direct reports across Fairport’s five offices. Drennen will also contribute to the strategic direction of the organization, according to the firm. 

“Mike brings tremendous experience in supporting advisers and empowering them with the counsel and resources needed to grow their practices while inspiring families,” Fairport Wealth CEO Logar said in a statement.

Drennen previously worked at Chicago-based Hightower Advisors as an executive director on the adviser engagement team, partnering with advisory firms across the country. Prior to joining Hightower, he was vice president of business consulting at Carson Group and spent eight years at Fidelity Investments. 

“I have worked with the entire Fairport team for the past few years and have gotten to see first-hand their level of experience, care and impact they all have on the lives of their clients, and I am honored to be able to join such a passionate group,” Drennan says.  

Since becoming a Hightower business in 2017, Fairport has made acquisitions to grow to five offices: Cleveland; Buffalo, New York; Chicago; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and Princeton, New Jersey. The firm has nearly doubled in size from 32 employees to more than 50 and increased the number of households under advisement from about 700 to almost 2,000, according to the announcement. 

Modern Wealth Names Former Goldman VPs to Investment, Growth Positions  

Registered investment advisory Modern Wealth Management has hired two Goldman Sachs Group vice presidents. 

Stephen Tuckwood will be director of investments for Modern Wealth, and Nicole Bittner will be head of growth operations, the Monterey, California-based RIA said in an announcement. The new hires will work toward building an investment platform and generating client growth through strategic lead generation and development, according to the wealth manager. 

Modern Wealth, which launched in April, is focused on acquiring RIAs in key locations across the U.S. with the goal of building a group of specialists who will assist advisers in providing comprehensive financial advice.  

“As Modern Wealth is quickly building out its national footprint, Stephen and Nicole will be pivotal in building key functions and teams necessary to maintain our 

rapid growth,” Gary Roth, co-CEO at Modern Wealth Management, said in a statement.  

Prior to joining Modern Wealth, Tuckwoodwas vice president of alternative investments and manager selection at Goldman Sachs, where he was part of a team responsible for sourcing, performing due diligence on and onboarding external investment solutions for the firm’s asset and wealth management division.  

Bittner joins Modern Wealth from Goldman Sachs, where she most recently held the role of vice president of strategic partnerships and commercial engagement. In the role, she facilitated lead generation, client conversion and pipeline management by overseeing ongoing partnerships for financial advisers. 

iPipeline Adds General Counsel, People Officer and R&D VP 

Life insurance and financial services firm iPipeline Inc. has added three new hires across its legal, human resources and research and development divisions. 

George McDonnell will be general counsel for the Exton, Pennsylvania-based iPipeline, overseeing legal operations including customer and vendor contracting, intellectual property, employment law, privacy and data security and providing advice on strategic corporate planning and decisions. McDonnell joins from PowerPlan Inc., where he was corporate counsel, and reports directly to Deane Price, iPipeline’s CEO. McDonnell previously worked for 10 years as a judge advocate in the U.S. Marine Corps.  

Diane Rowell has joined iPipeline as chief people officer, leading the firm’s talent and people strategy for attracting, developing, engaging and retaining employees. She joins from Allscripts, a global electronic health records software company, and will also report to CEO Price. 

“Diane brings extensive industry experience, a successful track record, and a passion for people and culture that will help us as we continue to grow into the best organization we can be,” CEO Price said in a statement. “George’s deep expertise and proven ability to strategically manage a variety of complex legal matters will help us to be well positioned to achieve our business goals.” 

iPipeline also announced the addition of Aaron Guidotti as vice president of research and development. Guidotti works with various teams within R&D to ensure projects and releases meet the needs of customers and are smoothly deployed, the firm announced. He joins from Equisoft, where he served as director of wealth technology innovation.