Retirement Industry People Moves

New hires at Towers Watson and Commonfund, and TRA signs on to VMS recordkeeping and investment platform.

Aongus O’Gorman has joined Towers Watson in Sydney and will cover a range of hedge fund and other diversifying strategies. He was previously managing director of Round Tower Solutions, a boutique consultancy focused on investment governance, process improvement and product management.

Abbas Alighanbari has joined the London office, where he will be involved in a range of hedge fund strategies, initially focusing on long/short equity. Previously, he was at International Asset Management, where he researched and conducted quantitative and qualitative analysis on a broad range of hedge fund strategies and assisted in managing client portfolios totaling $4.1 billion.

Victoria Vodolazschi will focus on long/short equity, macro and systematic strategies in the New York City office. She was previously a consulting strategy specialist at PivotalPath, where she evaluated hedge fund managers and helped build the firm’s investment and operational due diligence process.

Brad Morrow, Towers Watson’s Americas region head of manager research, cites the three managers for their substantial experience.

NEXT: Commonfund names new chief investment officer. 

Commonfund, an investment manager for endowments, foundations and the public sector, has appointed Mark Anson its new chief investment officer. He will start in January.

Anson is currently CIO of the Robert Bass Family Office. Previously, he has served as CIO of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the British Telecom Pension Scheme and as president of Nuveen Investments. 

Anson will serve on Commonfund’s operating committee and will chair the investment policy and asset-allocation committees. He will report to Catherine Keating, president and chief executive of Commonfund, who cites Anson’s track record and experience as an institutional investor. “He has been both a leader and innovator across asset classes, particularly in alternative investing,” she says.

Anson holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and economics from St. Olaf College, as well as master’s and doctoral degrees in finance from Columbia University, and a Juris Doctor from Northwestern. He holds designations as a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) and Certified Public Accountant (CPA). He has published numerous journal articles and financial textbooks and is the author of the “Handbook of Alternative Assets,” the textbook used for the CAIA certification program. He serves on the Board of the CAIA Association and has also served on the CFA Institute Board and the New York Stock Exchange’s Investor Advisory Board to the Chairman.

NEXT: TRA integrates with Vertical Management Systems’ platform.

The Retirement Advantage Inc. (TRA) is the most recent third-party administrator (TPA) to integrate with the recordkeeping and investment management platform of Vertical Management Systems Inc. (VMS).

With an automated cloud-based recordkeeping platform that integrates brokerage, trust and custody accounting systems, VMS provides solutions to address the needs of retirement advisers, plan sponsors and plan participants. TPAs can offer their services in an integrated fashion to the VMS community of advisers, plan sponsors and participants.

According to TRA President Matt Schoneman, the firm’s advisers have spoken favorably of Retirement Revolution’s ability to facilitate the provision of individually tailored investment guidance to participants while providing investment flexibility and full fee transparency to stay compliant with pending regulatory changes. Integrating with the VMS platform boosts TRA’s support of advisers and plan sponsors, Schoneman says.

Robert Ward, chief revenue officer of VMS, describes TRA as a forward-thinking TPA whose experience, insights and national influence will help to innovate the Retirement Revolution's next generation retirement solutions.

TRA services more than 4,500 plan sponsors, 300,000 plan participants, and has $4.5 billion of plan assets under administration.

VMS provides data, financial networking and account aggregation technology.


-Jill Cornfield and John Manganaro