Retirement Industry People Moves

DWC ERISA Consultants rebrands; VALIC names VP of Business Development; Ascensus to acquire Benefits of Missouri; and more.

Empower Appoints Core Market Leader

Joseph Smolen of Empower Retirement has been tasked with leading the firm’s core market segment which consists of retirement plans with less than $50 million in assets. Since joining the firm in 1999, he has held several sales and service leadership roles including vice president for sales strategy.  

Most recently, Smolen was responsible for the creation and distribution of core market retirement solutions including multiemployer plans and investment trusts. Smolen joined Empower as a pension consultant and has served in a number of different capacities, including outside sales, manager of internal and external sales and executive sponsorship for national account relationships.

“Joe has the rare ability to combine a strategic vision with the delivery of outstanding results — and he’s proven it throughout his career,” says Empower President Edmund F. Murphy, III. “Under his leadership our core market team will continue to be of great service to the plan sponsors, advisers and consultants who rely on Empower to best serve the needs of retirement plan participants.”

“Empower is delivering a cutting edge, innovative offering with a highly experienced, expert team,” says Smolen. “But that’s only possible by placing advisers at the center of our value proposition. I’m looking forward to further exceeding plan sponsor and participant expectations through this adviser-centric model.”

In total, Empower’s core market business manages some $88 billion for more than 1.6 million participants in 24,000 plans, as of June 30, 2017.  

Smolen is a graduate of Kansas State University, where he earned a degree in management. He will continue to be based at Empower’s headquarters in metro Denver. Smolen works with the Children’s Diabetes Foundation and the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes.

NEXT: DWC Rebrands

DWC Rebrands

The DWC ERISA Consultants firm will now be known as DWC - The 401(k) Experts. This third-party administrator (TPA) provides compliance and consulting services for qualified retirement plans nationwide.

The company says its rebranding highlights its prominence within the industry as well as its dedication to working with investment advisers, plan sponsors and institutional clients. They are known for their Annual ERISA Compliance Review.

“With the emphasis on plan sponsor fiduciary responsibility, our services are more in demand than ever. The rebrand embodies what our firm is all about—providing our clients with leading edge knowledge and expertise in what we believe are the fastest turnaround times in the industry," says Keith Clark, one of DWC's partners.

The website's Knowledge Center provides a research resource for clients and investment advisers, and the new Question of the Week feature will highlight some of the common questions DWC has received throughout its 18-year history.

NEXT: Lockton Expands West Coast Retirement Practice

Lockton Expands West Coast Retirement Practice

Jeff Wallace has joined Lockton Retirement Services as a producer in San Diego. He will be consulting with clients about retirement plan management and strategic issues. Kathy Aicher will be a new unit manager, overseeing the on-going service of West Coast retirement clients from the Los Angeles office.

Wallace brings more than a decade of experience to his new role. He’s versed in administration, investment management and consulting across several businesses including qualified and non-qualified plans, as well as defined contribution and defined benefit plans. He’s also experienced in the health and welfare business. Before joining Lockton, he served as retirement plan sales director for OneAmerica.

Aicher has spent 25 years on the retirement industry including time spent overseeing various product development and service projects with Principal Financial Group. She’s also worked for Transamerica Retirement Services. Aicher is the recipient of the Certified 401(k) Professional (C(k)P) designation, currently held by less than 500 advisers in the country

“Jeff and Kathy are tremendous additions,” said Tim Noonan, president of Lockton’s Pacific Operations. “Our West Coast clients are diverse and have unique needs. We’re excited to offer them this kind of breadth and depth of talent.” 

NEXT: Nuveen Names CIO of Multi-Asset Products

Nuveen Names CIO of Multi-Asset Products

Global investment manager Nuveen has appointed Frank van Etten as chief investment officer for Multi-Asset Solutions. He will be responsible for delivering multi-asset solutions to clients through advice, packaged investment capabilities and custom mandates.

Van Etten will lead the development of Nuveen’s multi-asset platform. The current multi-asset solutions teams in retail and institutional client channels will spend the next few months creating a new, unified solutions organization while continuing to fulfill their current investment and client-serving roles. Van Etten will partner with investment and product, marketing and distribution colleagues across the firm to serve all client segments and identify opportunities for new cross-asset-class solutions.

Van Etten joins from UBS Asset Management, where he served as co-head of Portfolio Management Investment Solutions, leading a global investment team that was responsible for the performance of multi-asset strategies and solutions. Prior to joining UBS, he was deputy CIO for multi-asset strategies and solutions at Voya Investment Management. He began his career at ING Investment Management, where he held a variety of investment-related roles. 

NEXTPrudential Names Head of Full Service Solutions Group

Prudential Names Head of Full Service Solutions Group  

Prudential Retirement has named Harry Dalessiohead of its Full Service Solutions group.

Scott Gaul will replace Dalessio as head of sales and strategic relationships responsible for full service corporate, tax exempt, investment-only, pension risk transfer, nonqualified sales and channel management. Dalessio and Gaul will assume their new roles in the fourth quarter of 2017 as Jamie Kalamarides transitions to a new role as president of Group Insurance. Gaul’s successor has not been named.

“Jamie has been a terrific contributor to Prudential Retirement’s success, and we are delighted to see him assume leadership for the Group Insurance business,” says Phil Waldeck, president and CEO of Prudential Retirement. “Harry and Scott bring a breadth of experience to their roles, including deep knowledge of emerging trends and our clients’ needs and strategies. I am confident their leadership will continue our momentum in delivering workplace financial solutions through unique, customer-focused plan designs and services for our customers and adviser partners.”

NEXT: Franklin Templeton Names Head of U.S. Institutional

Franklin Templeton Names Head of U.S. Institutional

Tom Fisher has been named head of U.S. Institutional by Franklin Templeton Investments.

He will oversee and lead the firm’s institutional sales, consultant relations and client relations teams in the U.S.

Fisher has spent more than 20 years in the financial services industry including 15 of which he focused on the institutional market. He previously worked with J.P. Morgan Asset Management where he served as managing director and head of the firm’s consultant strategy team. He lead its consultant-intermediated sales and service across defined benefit, defined contribution, endowments, health care and insurance platform channels. Fisher holds a bachelor's degree from Georgetown University.

“Tom Fisher brings more than two decades of industry experience and wide-ranging expertise across sales, service, planning, product and talent management that will prove invaluable in leading our efforts to maximize the deep resources and tenured talent across our U.S. institutional distribution team,” says Tom Regner, head of US Advisory Services for Franklin Templeton Investments. “We are excited to tap his fresh perspective as we continuously strive to enhance our efforts in delivering the exemplary service on which our long-time and new institutional clients depend.”

NEXT: VALIC Names VP of Business Development

VALIC Names VP of Business Development

Mike Hall has been appointed vice president of business development by VALIC. He will work through advisers, consultants, and plan sponsors to secure new group relationships.

Hall recently served as national sales director for Lincoln Financial Group. He has also held leadership roles at Prudential and Northern Trust Company. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Finance from Northern Illinois University.

“VALIC consistently looks to bring in strong industry talent to complement our leading employee force and we are delighted to welcome Mike to our organization,” says Glenn Harris, executive vice president, VALIC. “We are keenly focused on bringing our leading retirement plan services and cutting-edge technology to new groups. Mike’s experience in the tax-exempt market will help us achieve our aggressive growth goals.”

NEXT: FS Investments Names New President

FS Investments Names New President

Alternative asset manager FS Investments has promoted chief investment officer Mike Kelly to the role of president. While serving in his new position, he will maintain his responsibilities as CIO. He will also continue to serve on the firm's executive committee, while overseeing product development. In addition, he will now direct FS's capital markets, due diligence, investment research and investor relations functions.

"Mike has been an important part of our growth and success since joining us, and we are excited to name him President as he expands his role," says Michael C. Forman, chairman and CEO of FS Investments. "We will benefit from Mike's broader oversight and his work on some of our most critical initiatives as we continue pursuing our mission to build a complete suite of investment options that help investors access alternative sources of income and growth."

Kelly has spent more than 25 years in the asset management field. Prior to joining FS Investments, he was CEO at ORIX USA Asset Management, and co-chief executive officer as well as CIO at FrontPoint Partners. Earlier in his career, he held various positions at Tiger Management, Omega Advisors and Salomon Brothers.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a master’s degree from Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, where he has served as a trustee on the GSB Trust.

"I'm proud of our mission and appreciate the opportunity to help lead this great organization," says Kelly. "We have assembled a group of incredibly dedicated colleagues and I look forward to continuing to work with them as we expand our offerings and our distribution."

NEXTAscensus to Aquire Benefits of Missouri

Ascensus to Aquire Benefits of Missouri

Tech solutions provider Ascensus announced the acquisition of independently-owned Benefits of Missouri(BMI). The firm will add to Ascensus' retirement division.   

BMI serves more than 800 plan sponsors in the defined contribution retirement plan market through plan design, administration, and consulting services. Because the firm does not promote specific investment products, it can work with all available investment platforms whether offered through a daily valuation, pooled account, or individual brokerage account environment.

"BMI has always prided itself on the quality of its personalized service and expertise in plan design," says Fabio Perla, president of BMI. "We are excited to join Ascensus and assist employers with the design, implementation, and ongoing administration of their retirement plans." 

NEXT: The Segal Group Names Senior VP

The Segal Group Names Senior VP

Jason Russell has joined The Segal Group as senior vice president and consulting actuary.

He comes to Segal with more than 17 years of actuarial and consulting experience working with multiemployer and single employer retirement plans. Based in the Washington, D.C. office, he will work with Segal’s senior staff to assist multiemployer pension plan clients that need help restructuring. He joins Segal from Horizon Actuarial Services, where he was a senior consulting actuary for more than nine years.

Russell is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and an Enrolled Actuary. He is the vice-chairperson of the Multiemployer Subcommittee of the American Academy of Actuaries. Russell graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematical sciences.

“Jason has significant expertise in guiding colleagues and clients alike through financially complicated situations,” says Segal Group President and CEO David Blumenstein. “His skills and experience will be valuable for Segal’s clients nationwide and we are excited to add him to our team of consulting actuaries.”