Retirement Industry People Moves

MassMutual’s newest acquisition; Lockton Chicago expands retirement practice; Envestment to use VMS recordkeeping services.

MassMutual has acquired the assets of Viability Advisory Group as part of a strategy to help advisers quantify for employers’ bottom lines the value of employee retirement readiness and use of benefit plans.

Viability’s analysis program helps companies evaluate the financial costs that ensue from employees who are unprepared to retire as well as the loss of productivity attributable to workers’ financial insecurity. Calculations include the hard-dollar cost of inappropriate or under-utilization of retirement savings and other employee benefits programs. Viability was founded by Hugh O’Toole, who left MassMutual Retirement Services in 2014 and is rejoining MassMutual to run the Viability business as part of the acquisition.

The Viability suite of tools will be offered to MassMutual retirement plans and worksite insurance clients through financial advisers, according to Eric Wietsma, head of sales and distribution for MassMutual Retirement Services. The offering is designed to enhance retirement advisers’ practices and add to their value proposition. Employers need a financial adviser when making high-stakes benefits decisions, Wietsma points out, adding, “Viability helps advisers demonstrate the economic value of their insights and guidance to their customers.” 

Elaine Sarsynski, executive vice president of MassMutual Retirement Services and Worksite Insurance, says the addition of Viability and its analytics program are a complement to MassMutual’s workplace benefits and retirement readiness guidance tools.

O’Toole explains that he started Viability with a focus on optimizing benefits solutions that drive retirement readiness and financial security for employees. “By demonstrating the financial impact of retirement plans and employee wellness to the bottom line for the employer, advisers will be able to help employers make more informed benefits decisions with much better outcomes,” he says.

NEXT: Lockton Chicago expands its retirement practice. 

Fred Rutler has joined the Chicago retirement practice of Lockton as a vice president. He will be responsible for business development and delivering solutions for clients’ retirement plan challenges.

Rutler, who has 17 years’ experience in retirement ranging from plan design to market research, was previously a regional vice president with Transamerica. Prior roles include sales consultant at Great-West Retirement Services. Casey Warnecke, chief operating officer for Lockton’s Chicago operations, says Lockton has worked with Rutler for years and recruited him for his retirement expertise and understanding of the connections between different types of plans.

Rutler holds a bachelor’s degree from The University of Kansas as well as the Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF) designation. He holds life and health insurance licenses.

Lockton is a privately held independent insurance broker.

NEXT: Vertical Management Systems partners with Envestnet.

Vertical Management Systems and Envestnet Retirement Services have teamed to offer end-to-end recordkeeping services to advisers on Envestnet’s Integrated Retirement Model. The partnership connects VMS’s recordkeeping solution, Retirement Revolution, with that of Envestnet’s.

The Model includes all of ERS’s technology and fiduciary offerings, including: Advisor Practice and Model Management, Managed Plan Portfolios, 3(21) Advice and 3(38) Management, and Managed Accounts.

“We are very excited about our new partnership with VMS,” says Babu Sivadasan, group president of Envestnet. “Retirement Revolution’s streamlined, database-driven recordkeeping technology serves as the framework for flexible integration of all of our services. The platform’s comprehensive approach for fee accounting will help advisers with the Department of Labor’s regulatory and reporting initiative.”

Kevin Rafferty, president and chief executive of Vertical Management Systems, noted that Envestnet’s offerings “give advisers and their clients more choice and flexibility with how they manage their retirement accounts.”