Retirement Industry People Moves

John Hancock announces promotion in Taft-Hartley practice; The Segal Group acquires Touchstone Consulting; Ascensus adds DB consulting firm to roster of TPAs; and more.

John Hancock Announces Promotion in Taft-Hartley Practice

John Hancock Retirement Plan Services (JHRPS) promoted Mark Sheytanian to divisional vice president of Strategic Relationship Management within JHRPS’ Taft-Hartley practice.

In this role, he is responsible for the Taft-Hartley relationship management team, and reports to Scott Francolini, senior vice president, Strategic Relationship Management, JHRPS. The appointment is effective immediately. 

Sheytanian succeeds Nick McParland, who was recently promoted to national sales manager for Hancock’s Mid/Large/Taft-Hartley markets.

Sheytanian joined JHRPS in 1996 and most recently served as director and strategic relationship manager with the Taft-Hartley Practice, in which he was responsible for managing the overall relationships of Taft-Hartley plans, and ensuring a high level of customer satisfaction for the various fund offices, trustees, investment consultants, and other professionals who work with each plan’s board.

Sheytanian received a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Merrimack College and holds a certificate in Pension Administration and Employee Benefits from Bentley College. He also maintains FINRA Series 6 and 63 registrations and holds a Massachusetts Insurance Producer License.

John Hancock’s Taft-Hartley practice team manages more than 92 union plans, $17 billion in assets, and 376,000 participants.

Wagner Law Group Expands St. Louis Office

Marcia S. Wagner, the managing director of The Wagner Law Group, announced the expansion of the firm’s St. Louis office with the addition of Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) attorney Dannae L. Delano as partner; labor and employment attorney Ivan L. Schraeder as “of counsel”; and Margaret A. Fuhr as paralegal.

“Our St. Louis office has quickly established itself as a crucial part of the firm and we are delighted to have Dannae, Ivan, and Maggie join our growing practice,” says Wagner. The addition of these new members to The Wagner Law Group represents their reunion with the St Louis office’s managing partner, Thomas E. Clark Jr., who previously worked closely with them while at Lowenbaum Law (formerly The Lowenbaum Partnership).

Delano concentrates her practice in employee benefits, executive compensation, and tax matters. Focusing on comprehensive, practical, and innovative employee benefits solutions for all types of employers, she counsels clients regarding all aspects of employee benefits design, implementation, termination, and compliance for the full spectrum of benefits programs including: retirement plans, health and welfare plans and executive and incentive compensation arrangements. She also has considerable experience in integrating benefits in mergers and acquisitions and qualified retirement plan corrections. Delano was previously a partner at Lowenbaum Law and Husch Blackwell.

For 40 years, Schraeder has provided collective bargaining, employment law counsel, and litigation defense for dozens of local governments throughout Missouri and Illinois, and serves as general counsel for the Missouri Public Employers’ Labor Relations Association. He previously served as the Missouri director of Labor Relations, where he was responsible for all labor relations policies for the state’s executive branch. Schraeder also teaches labor and employment law for the Missouri Bar Association, the Missouri Municipal Attorneys’ Association, and the Missouri School Boards’ Association, in addition to a variety of legal organizations, universities, public-sector entities, public-employer associations, and police academies in Missouri and Illinois.

The Segal Group Acquires Touchstone Consulting

David Blumenstein, president and CEO of The Segal Group, announced that effective January 1, 2018, the firm has acquired The Touchstone Consulting Group, an employee benefits consulting firm based in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Touchstone Consulting provides retirement, health and welfare and related employee benefit consulting services. It has a deep experience working with global corporations and Fortune 500 companies. It is now part of Sibson Consulting, the division of The Segal Group that provides human resources and benefits consulting to corporations, higher education institutions and nonprofit organizations.

“Touchstone has a strong reputation for its focus on service, offering benefits consulting expertise and providing high-quality solutions,” says Blumenstein. “Our strengths are complementary and this transaction is an excellent opportunity to augment our talent and resources.”

“With this transaction, our clients are well-served by the strength of Segal’s capabilities,” adds David Peck, Touchstone’s president, who joins Sibson as vice president and retirement consultant. “The depth and breadth of The Segal Group’s resources, including access to tools and intellectual capital, will allow us to strengthen the services we offer to those organizations we have been serving.”

Former clients of Touchstone will now receive Sibson’s educational materials on compliance and benefits, as well as guidance to help them navigate the maze of federal, laws and regulations related to benefit plans.

Five employees from Touchstone have joined Sibson Consulting. They will continue to be based in Worcester.

Robert G. Wuelfing Joins Access Control Advantage

Access Control Advantage, a software company that serves the financial services market, announced that Robert G. Wuelfing has been appointed as president.

Wuelfing was the founder of Access Research, Inc. and The SPARK Institute. He has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential people in the retirement services industry.

Access Control Advantage, Inc. is a complete loan automation system for recordkeepers, plan sponsors, and participants, designed to reduce plan leakage and increase retirement savings.

Wuelfing will report to Bruce Bent II, president of Double Rock Corporation, a financial services and technology company that currently holds dozens of patents in the cash management and financial software space.

“The financial services market does not require more products, it requires more solutions. Access Control Advantage is a solution for a problem that has existed in the 401(k) market for over 30 years,” states Wuelfing. “Our solution allows participants to continue making payments to the plan after termination of employment, dramatically reducing loan defaults.”

DCREC Names Officers and Committee Co-Chairs

The Defined Contribution Real Estate Council (DCREC), an advocacy group promoting the inclusion of direct commercial real estate and real estate securities as a way to improve defined contribution (DC) retirement plan outcomes, has named three new officers and five new committee co-chairs for 2018.

The new appointments include:

Allan Swaringen, president and CEO of JLL Income Property Trust, will serve as co-president along with Jennifer Perkins;

Kurt Edwards, director at UBS Asset Management – Real Estate and Private Markets, has been named co-secretary, alongside Michael O’Connor;

Sara Shean, vice president at Cohen & Steers, has been named co-treasurer along with Tracey Luke;

Bradley Scafe, president at Benefit Trust Company, will serve as co-chair of the Membership Committee with Allan Swaringen;

Laurie Tillinghast, executive director at UBS Asset Management – Real Estate and Private Markets, will serve as co-chair of the Best Practices Committee with Lennine Occhino;

Kurt Walten, senior vice president at the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT), was named co-chair of the PR & Marketing Committee, along with David Skinner;

Eric Sabol, assistant vice president at PGIM Real Estate, will serve as co-chair of the Research & Content Committee, joining Greg Jenkins; and

Ian Matthew, senior director at TIAA, will co-chair the Strategic Alliance Committee, alongside Tracey Luke.

All appointments are for a period of two years and are effective January 1, 2018.

Lincoln Hires Sales Manager for Intermediate Retirement Plan Market Services

Lincoln Financial Group appointed Joe Mrozek national sales manager for the Intermediary Retirement Plan Services division of Lincoln Financial Distributors, Inc. (LFD), the company’s wholesaling distribution organization.

He reports to John Kennedy, senior vice president and head of Retirement Solutions Distribution. In his position, Mrozek will focus on the small market 401(k) segment, and is responsible for leading a wholesaling team focused on delivering retirement solutions that will drive positive outcomes for both employers and employees in plans with assets of less than $25 million.

He joins Lincoln from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where he spent the last 22 years of his career, and most recently as managing director/national sales manager for the Retirement and Personal Wealth Solutions division. Mrozek previously held positions at Coopers & Lybrand, Morgan Stanley, and Sedgwick Noble Lowndes.

He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Montclair State University.

Ascensus Adds DB Consulting Firm to Roster of TPAs

Ascensus has acquired Dedicated Defined Benefit Services.

The defined benefit (DB) plan design, administration, and consulting firm will immediately become part of Ascensus’ TPA Solutions line of business within the company’s retirement division. With the acquisition, Ascensus will be able to offer clients access to even more retirement plan experience and expertise while adding another location to its geographic footprint. 

Dedicated DB, which is based in Glendale, California, is a national company focused exclusively on providing DB plans for high-income professionals, small businesses, and individuals with self-employment income. According to Ascensus, the firm pioneered the turnkey DB plan, partnering with large financial firms to open streamlined, ready-to-use plans across the country.

“We recognized Dedicated DB as an excellent candidate to join Ascensus based on their commitment to helping clients keep more of their earnings by offering the most complete and tax-efficient retirement programs available,” states David Musto, Ascensus’ president. “In addition to benefiting from Dedicated DB’s strong RIA, adviser, and institutional relationships, we’re also delighted to further expand our national footprint and offer clients enhanced access to deep defined benefit expertise.”

“Dedicated DB adds some very compelling lead-sourcing technology to Ascensus’ toolkit,” says Raghav Nandagopal, Ascensus’ executive vice president of corporate development and M&A. “We continue to look for companies that will not only allow us to assist Americans in saving for retirement, college, and health care, but also help our company to grow and fuel our ongoing investment in service offerings and technology.” 

PlanMember Renews Affiliation With Security Benefit Life

PlanMember Services Corporation announced a renewed affiliation with Security Benefit Life for PlanMember’s insurance programs.

PlanMember has added Security Benefit’s Foundations Annuity and RateTrack Annuity to its platform. Foundations, a flexible-premium, fixed-index deferred annuity with a lifetime income rider, is available for the nonqualified, 403(b), IRA, Roth IRA and SEP IRA marketplace. RateTrack, a single deferred fixed floating interest rate annuity program, is available for the IRA, Roth IRA, 403(b) rollover and nonqualified marketplace.

Security Benefit’s Foundations and RateTrack annuity sales will be integrated into PlanMember’s platform, sales materials and kits. Access to account information will be available online or through the PlanMember Service Center.

Janney Announces Changes to Taxable Fixed Income Group

Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, a full-service wealth management, financial services, and investment banking firm headquartered in Philadelphia, announced that there were three promotions and four new employees hired in the firm’s Taxable Fixed Income Group in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Vivian Altman, a managing director, was promoted to head of Public Finance. In this role, she will be responsible for banking, strategic planning, coordinating execution with underwriting and sales, and expanding Janney’s Public Finance presence. Altman, who previously held the role of head of Origination and National Strategy, has been with Janney since 2009 and has over 30 years of experience in public finance. She earned an MA degree in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania and received a BA in Economics from Barnard College.

Brandon Holton has been promoted to head of CD/Structured Products Trading. Holton has been with Janney for five years, building the firm’s structured products business and overseeing the risk side of the CD/Structured business. He received his MS degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a BS from The University of Georgia.

James McCann joined Janney’s Fixed Income team as a director on the CD/Structured Note Sales team from PMC Treasury, where he was a derivatives adviser and risk management consultant. Prior to PMC, McCann worked at Thomson Reuters as a director in FX, Rates and Credit. He began his career at HSBC (Hong Kong and NYC), where he held a variety of positions in Debt Capital Markets, Fixed Income Strategy and Derivatives/Structured product sales. McCann holds a Master’s degree of Engineering (Mechanical & Manufacturing) from the Queen’s University of Belfast, Ireland.

Mark Plansky joined Janney’s Securitized Sales Group in Boston as managing director. He previously worked at Jefferies, where he worked in sales while managing their Boston sales desk. Prior to Jefferies, Plansky worked at Barclays and Lehman Brothers in their securitized sales units. He earned his degree in Electrical Engineering from Villanova University.

Karen Whitby joined Janney’s Fixed Income Sales team as a managing director on the Municipal Sales team in the New York City office. Whitby joins Janney from Citigroup, where she worked in Municipal Sales, was a member of the Diversity Committee, and received the firm’s Annual Citizenship Award. Before Citi, Whitby worked at Nuveen, where she underwrote and marketed Auction Rate Securities. She earned her degree from Temple University.

Michael Witten has been promoted to municipal operations coordinator in Janney’s Institutional Municipal Sales Group. He was previously a middle office associate in the Capital Markets Operations team. He is a graduate of Penn State and has a MBA from Syracuse University.

Thomas Wren joined Janney’s Fixed Income sales team in New York City as vice president. He formerly worked at First Southwest/Hilltop and is a graduate of University of Saint Thomas in Minnesota.

EPIC Collaborates With Qualified Plan Advisors to Expand Services

EPIC Insurance Brokers & Consultants, the retail property and casualty insurance brokerage and employee benefits consulting subsidiary of EPIC Holdings, announced a collaboration agreement between EPIC’s Houston-based Ascende Wealth Advisors, Inc. (AWAI) and Qualified Plan Advisors (QPA), a division of Prime Capital Investment Advisors.

QPA is a federally regulated investment adviser with more than 30 years of expertise in 401(k) planning advisory services and private wealth management advisory services. Prime Capital Investment Advisors recently announced Glenn A. Spencer joined the firm as chief executive officer and announced its expansion into Houston. The collaboration allows the firm to staff the office in Houston. Spencer’s career to date spans 30 years in financial and professional services space including 11 years with Lockton where he served as U.S. chief operating officer, global chief operating officer, and most recently as global chief executive officer.

Due to changing and ever evolving regulations, the provision of retirement planning and consulting services has become increasingly more complex and challenging. To respond to these challenges, EPIC investigated a number of options, and felt that aligning itself with a highly qualified specialty firm would best serve expanding client needs. The result is a collaboration agreement and partnership with QPA that expands the resources available to both current and future EPIC clients. Under this agreement the AWAI team will become employees of QPA, who will now be utilized as a third party investment advisory partner for EPIC clients requiring these services.

QPA manages a very large retirement practice with offices and resources around the country that will now be available to the retirement consulting team that has been serving Ascende/EPIC clients. Under the agreement QPA will assume existing AWAI investment advisory contracts, so that clients will have the same service team.