Retirement Industry People Moves

The Standard Adds Retirement Specialist to Denver Office; New Regional SVP for TPA Services at Pentegra; Industry Veteran to Serve as SVP and Sales Director at USICG; and more.

The Standard has announced the hiring of Michael Cohen as national accounts relationship manager. He is based in The Standard’s Denver, Colorado, Retirement Plans Sales and Service office.

Cohen has 12 years of experience in the financial services industry, specializing in retirement plans and partnering with advisers, registered investment adviser (RIA) firms and plan providers. Prior to joining The Standard, he worked as a relationship manager for Charles Schwab & Co.

“Mike comes to us with a deep understanding of the financial services industry and a special focus on retirement plan products and services,” says Ken Waineo, director of Business Development for The Standard. “He brings expertise, collaboration and insights to our adviser and channel partners.”

Cohen received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado. He holds FINRA Series 7 and 63 licenses and is an Accredited Investment Fiduciary with fi360.

New Regional SVP for TPA Services at Pentegra

Lance Kesterson of Pentegra has been named regional senior vice president, TPA (third party administrator) Services.  Kesterson will spearhead Pentegra’s TPA operations, overseeing strategy, operational effectiveness, adviser and client experience, and business development efforts.

Pentegra’s TPA divisions in Blacklick, Ohio; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Greenville, South Carolina will report to Kesterson, who will be based in Blacklick.

Pentegra Senior Vice President and Chief Operations Officer Michael Palmiere said, “Lance is an accomplished and talented industry professional and we are delighted to welcome him to the Pentegra team. He brings a unique combination of expertise in retirement plan administration and service, client relations, sales and project management to Pentegra.”  

Prior to joining Pentegra, Kesterson served as senior vice president at United Retirement Plan Consultants, Inc., where he was responsible for directing and executing national sales and marketing strategies. Previously, he served in numerous roles at Nationwide Insurance, including vice president and segment chief financial officer, Retirement Plans. Kesterson holds an MBA and B.S. in Finance and Accounting from The Ohio State University.

BPAS Acquires HR Consultants’ Puerto Rico Division

Benefit Plans Administrative Services, Inc. (BPAS) has acquired the business of HR Consultants (SA), LLC, in Puerto Rico. Both Adrian Robles and Hector D. Gaitan, of HR Consultants, have already joined the staff of BPAS under an interim arrangement. 

A spin-off of the PricewaterhouseCoopers Global Human Resources Solutions division, BPAS staffs 30 credentialed actuaries and serves plans ranging from 1 to 20,000 employees. The company’s defined contribution group has been supporting plans in Puerto Rico since 2000. 

Hector Gaitan of HR Consultants, who will take on the role of SVP Caribbean Operations, BPAS Trust Company of Puerto Rico, says, “I am extremely excited to join BPAS. Their depth of staff, breadth of practice and demonstrated commitment to clients in Puerto Rico are all valued-added benefits to HR Consultants’ clients. We look forward to continuing our relationships with clients from our expanded office in Puerto Rico.” 

Industry Veteran to Serve as SVP and Sales Director at USICG

USI Consulting Group has added Bart Ballinger to the position of senior vice president and regional sales director, based in Los Angeles, California. Ballinger will be responsible for managing the western region of the sales force and providing creative solutions for USICG clients. He has 28 years of experience in plan design, investment, compliance, recordkeeping and participant communications.

Great-West Investments Adds Four Veteran Team Members

Great-West Investments announced the addition of four veteran team members to help deliver the company’s investment, income and advice solutions for the retirement market.

Thomas Nun joined Great-West Investments in a new role as Portfolio Strategist where he will be responsible for supporting the firm’s suite of investment products to advisers, consultants and plan sponsors. Nun joins the Great-West Investments team from Janus Henderson, where he helped develop corporate and product strategy and previously served as assistant portfolio manager on various Janus funds.

David Budka is the new Consultant Relations Director. He is a former investment portfolio strategist and has been in investment consultant relations for the past 13 years with MassMutual, BNY Mellon and most recently USAA. He started April 9 and will be based in Boston.

Blair Filuk is the new Core Segment Investment Sales Director for the West Region. Filuk comes to Great-West Investments from Voya, where for the past 17 years he worked in various defined contribution investment-only roles and most notably as a West Coast investment wholesaler. Filuk, who began his new role April 2, will be based in Portland, Oregon.

Matthew Rielley joins the Great-West Investments team as the new Core Segment Investment Sales Director for the Midwest Region. Rielley has been with Empower Retirement for the past 11 years as a regional sales director and is transitioning to investment product and solutions. He brings extensive defined contribution experience and knowledge of the Midwest region. Rielley will be based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He started his new role April 2.


Regional Sales VP Joins Voya’s Small-Mid Practice

Voya Retirement has recently hired Craig Pagano as regional vice president of sales for the company’s Small-Mid Corporate Market business. 

In this role, Pagano will be responsible for developing distribution relationships and increasing retirement plan sales in southern New Jersey and Delaware. He will focus on all distribution channels, including registered investment advisers (RIAs), wirehouse firms, independent and regional broker-dealers as well as banks, that serve employers with employee retirement income security act (ERISA) plans up to $75 million in assets.

“I look forward to joining a company that is not only leading the way in helping individuals become ready to retire better, but is committed to making the community a better place,” says Pagano.

Pagano recently held the position of regional vice president at Transamerica Retirement Solutions. He graduated from the University of South Carolina, Columbia, with a Bachelor of Arts. He also received his Master in Finance from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey-Newark.

Boston-Based John Hancock President Named as CEO

Patrick Murphy has been named chief executive officer, John Hancock Retirement Plan Services (JHRPS), part of John Hancock, the U.S. division of Toronto-based Manulife.

Murphy, who is based in Boston and is JHRPS’ president, will replace Peter Gordon, who will be retiring from the company later in the year.

In his new role, he will be responsible for leading all facets of John Hancock’s U.S. retirement recordkeeping business. His appointment is effective immediately.

“Patrick has been a critical member of the leadership team for our retirement business since coming on board in 2015,” says Gordon. “He has been instrumental in expanding our solutions across the retirement plan market to service more than 57,000 plans and help more than 2.7 million participants. I’m confident that Patrick’s experience, expertise and commitment will help serve our customers as we continue to grow.” 

Murphy joined Hancock when the company acquired New York Life’s RPS business where he had been chief executive officer. He was employed at New York Life for 11 years in a variety of roles, and has spent his career working in retirement plan services, including American Express Retirement Plan Services, Transamerica and Putnam Investments.

Murphy graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Organizational Behavior and Management.