Retirement Industry People Moves

Ascensus and State Farm conclude pension and IRA transfer; Drinker Biddle welcomes employee benefits partner; Cafaro Greenleaf hires head of Boston office; and more.

Art by Subin Yang

Art by Subin Yang

Consulting Firm Founder Joins Alan Biller and Associates

Alan Biller and Associates has hired Russell Kamp, formerly of Kamp Consulting Solutions, as managing senior consultant, effective immediately. Kamp will be based in Midland Park, New Jersey, primarily covering the firm’s east coast clients and prospects. 

“Russell Kamp has demonstrated a commitment to preserving the promise of retirement” says Alan Biller, CEO. “His insights as a pension asset/liability specialist make him a natural fit with our organization’s focus.” The firm serves in both a traditional and discretionary consulting capacity for institutional plans. 

Kamp was formerly founder and managing partner of Kamp Consulting Solutions, a full-service asset/liability consulting firm. His approach to managing a defined benefit plan is enhanced through a greater understanding of each plan’s specific liability stream. The output from this analysis informs both investment structure and asset allocation strategies. 

Prior, he was director, asset nanagement at Two Sigma Investments as well as the Global CEO at Invesco’s IQS Group (Quantitative Strategies). He is a frequent speaker at industry events and has been quoted in numerous articles and industry periodicals. 

BPAS Announces Institutional Sales VP

BPAS has named Kenneth G.Y. Grant as executive vice president of Institutional Sales.

Grant will be responsible for further developing the distribution of collective investment funds for Hand Benefits & Trust (HB&T), a BPAS company. He will also join the HB&T Board of Directors.

“Reporting directly to me, and operating out of our Boston office, Ken will work closely with the HB&T team in Houston where his relationships in the industry will be of tremendous benefit in the channels where HB&T operates,” says Barry Kublin, BPAS CEO. “Ken will focus on the creation of new funds and the marketing of existing CIFs.”

Grant joined NRS/GTC, a BPAS company, in 2003, where he most recently held the position of executive vice president (EVP) of Corporate Development. He has also served the Advisors Charitable Gift Fund since 2005, most recently as EVP, and the Savings Banks Employees Retirement Association since 2003, most recently as EVP. 

“The BPAS family of trust companies is unique in the industry,” says Grant. “Our companies offer a full range of collective and common trust funds, and specialized fiduciary products. I’m eager to work with the HB&T team to share the firm’s outstanding lineup and superior ease of use with new clients. Delivering this level of excellence is exciting.”

Grant holds a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University, a master’s of theology from Boston University, and an master’s from Clark University.

Ascensus and State Farm Conclude Pension and IRA Transfer

Ascensus announced its completion of the transition of over 15,000 State Farm SEP (simplified employee pension) and SIMPLE IRA (savings incentive match plan for employees individual retirement accounts) plans to its platform. The transitioned plans contain more than 45,000 IRAs.  

State Farm agents will continue to sell SEP and SIMPLE IRA plans, with all new business going to the Ascensus platform.

“It goes without saying that transitioning more than 15,000 plans required tremendous effort from both State Farm and Ascensus,” says Scott Hintz, assistant vice president, investment planning services at State Farm. “The fact that all of the plans were in place and ready to be serviced as scheduled following the transition is a testament to the skill and dedication of the people who made it happen.”

Morrison & Foerster Brings In ERISA Partners

Morrison & Foerster has added two partners, Ann Becchina and Ron Aizen, to its Executive Compensation and Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) Group in New York. Both join from Davis Polk.

Becchina has more than 20 years of experience and focuses on federal tax and securities law aspects of executive compensation arrangements. She advises issuers, financial institutions, private funds and investment managers on a range of SEC-related issues, and counsels multinational clients on their cross-border executive compensation arrangements.

Aizen, who has 15 years of experience, advises clients involved in M&A, corporate restructurings and bankruptcies, and equity capital markets matters, such as IPOs. He often counsels clients on compensatory and benefit arrangements in connection with a particular corporate transaction, handling the negotiating and drafting of relevant plans and agreements.

“The current strategic expansion of the firm’s tax offerings, which includes executive compensation, makes this a particularly exciting time to come to MoFo,” he says.

PCIA Acquires Longer Investments

Prime Capital Investment Advisors (PCIA) has agreed to acquire the assets of Longer Investments Inc. (LII) of Fayetteville, Arkansas. The new company will be known as Longer Financial, an affiliate of Prime Capital Investment Advisors.

Longer Investments was founded by Elaine M. Longer in 1985. She will remain with the new firm, along with the other employees of LII.

PCIA’s portfolio manager, Eric Krause, has been actively involved in Northwest Arkansas for several years, working with individual clients and corporate retirement plans. Krause will lead PCIA’s operations in Fayetteville as part of the Longer Financial team, and will be responsible for integrating LII’s private wealth management business and continuing to grow the firm’s qualified plan presence.

“We’ve now built a presence in 14 markets and continue to grow,” says Glenn Spencer, CEO of PCIA. “Under Elaine and Eric’s leadership, Longer is already a premier financial services firm in Northwest Arkansas. Eric’s background and relationships in the area make him a great candidate to lead PCIA’s efforts in Fayetteville.”

Krause is a member of the firm’s Investment Advisory Committee, which is responsible for the management and oversight of the firm’s assets. With more than 10 years of wealth management experience, Krause will continue in this role, working with both individual investors and retirement plan sponsors.

“We work on behalf of our clients, with a personal approach to their portfolio – one that makes the most sense for their needs, both now and for their future,” says Krause. “I’ve been fortunate to have spent a great deal of time working with clients in Northwest Arkansas for the past several years. I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to partner with Elaine and her team as we continue to grow our firm together in this community.”

Seyfarth Shaw LLP Names Employee Benefits Chair

Diane V. Dygert has been appointed chair of the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation department at Seyfarth Shaw LLP.

A partner in the Chicago office and co-founder of the firm’s Health Care Reform Task Force, Dygert focuses much of her practice on health and welfare plans compliance, such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). She regularly counsels and trains clients extensively on HIPAA privacy compliance and helps implement compliance plans. In addition, Dygert frequently provides counsel to clients on voluntary and involuntary severance and reductions in force.

“Diane is a natural leader with tremendous knowledge in all aspects of employee benefits, especially the current intricacies involving health care plans,” says Pete Miller, Seyfarth’s chair and managing partner. “As a former chair of the department, I know Diane is a perfect fit for this position. She is well-respected by colleagues and clients alike and will thrive in her new role.”

Dygert also has experience helping establish, implement and administer both qualified and nonqualified retirement plans, and she regularly defends clients in audits with government agencies, including the IRS and Department of Labor (DOL). Her practice also focuses on executive compensation matters, including deferred compensation plans, employment and severance agreements, stock options, restricted stock, and performance-based compensation.

Meketa and PCA Join Forces

Investment consulting and advisory firms Meketa Investment Group, Inc. (Meketa) and Pension Consulting Alliance, LLC (PCA) have agreed to merge, scheduled to occur in the first half of 2019. The combined firm will be called Meketa Investment Group, Inc.

Founded in 1978, Meketa serves a variety of public and private institutional investors, including defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) plans as well as nonprofits and corporations, in discretionary and non-discretionary capacities.

PCA, founded in 1988, serves U.S. tax-exempt and public pension fund clients and has non-discretionary consulting relationships representing more than $1.4 trillion in institutional investor assets.

Together, Meketa and PCA’s collective client assets will represent approximately $1.7 trillion, with the combined firm consulting on over $100 billion in private markets and real estate assets. As combined, it will continue to serve as an independent fiduciary and remain fully employee-owned.

“This is a true combination of two well respected and innovative institutional investment firms,” says Stephen McCourt, co-CEO, Meketa. “It is a pleasure to join forces with the team at PCA and with Allan, a pioneer in the pension consulting industry who will continue to provide valuable services to institutional clients under a larger umbrella. Furthermore, the combination significantly enhances our private markets resources, particularly in real estate, an area of the marketplace ripe for growth. We believe leveraging the best ideas and concepts learned by the respective firms will result in an even stronger combined organization for our clients and employees.”

The staffs of Meketa and PCA, whom are intended to remain at the combined company, number approximately 160 and 30, respectively. The combined firm will serve clients from six locations across the United States, as well as London. Co-CEOs McCourt and Peter Woolley, supported by their existing senior management team, will continue to lead the organization. Allan Emkin, founder and managing director of PCA, will serve on Meketa’s Board of Directors and will continue to work as a consultant for several clients. Christy Fields, managing director at PCA, will also join the Meketa Board of Directors. PCA Managing Directors Judy Chambers and Neil Rue will join Meketa’s Executive Committee. Other management committees will include representatives from both Meketa and PCA. All of PCA’s board members will become Meketa shareholders and equity will be offered to additional PCA employees as well.

Chard Snyder Brings In Operations VP

Chard Snyder, an Ascensus company, has appointed Ron Wetzel as vice president of operations.

As vice president of operations, Wetzel will provide oversight and leadership for the administration, implementation, data, and customer service departments.

Prior to joining Chard Snyder, Wetzel held a variety of positions in the customer service field. In previous roles at US Bank and RDI Corporation, he was responsible for establishing strategic vision and goals for customer service while leading day-to-day operations. 

Wetzel holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Bowling Green State University and has a certification in leadership from the Carnegie School. 

“We are excited for Ron to join the Chard Snyder team,” says Barb Yearout, president of Chard Snyder. “His deep operational experience paired with his passion for collaboration and focus on leadership development will be a great addition to our organization.” 

Drinker Biddle Welcomes Employee Benefits Partner

Drinker Biddle & Reath has added Jason S. Luter as a partner in the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Group. He is based in the Dallas office.

Luter advises clients on all aspects of employee benefits, Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and executive compensation matters, including plan design, tax qualification, administration, fiduciary responsibility, employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), and compliance with and litigation involving ERISA. He represents clients in disputes with the IRS and Department of Labor (DOL) and in defending audits of welfare and pension benefit plans. His work in executive compensation includes handling complex issues related to Code Sections 409A deferred compensation and 280G change in control or “golden parachute” arrangements.

Luter’s clients include Fortune 500 companies, privately held companies, governmental and quasi-governmental entities, and tax-exempt entities, as well as trustees, lenders, management groups and fiduciaries involved with employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs).

“Jason will be an important addition to the continuing expansion of our national employee benefits and executive compensation group,” says Andrew C. Kassner, chairman and CEO of Drinker Biddle. “His extensive benefits and transactional experience deepens Drinker Biddle’s bench of skilled attorneys in one of our important practice areas.”

Prior to joining the firm, Luter was a partner at Foley & Lardner LLP.

Hooker & Holcombe Promotes Consultant, Hires RIA

Hooker & Holcombe, provider of employer-based actuarial, investment advisory and retirement plan consulting, is expanding within its Investment Advisory Group. The firm has hired long-time portfolio strategist and consultant Pam Minish to the role of managing director, and Brenda Bachman as retirement plan education specialist. This growth better positions the group as a strong competitor within the investment advisory marketplace.

As managing director, Minish is responsible for managing client relationships, in addition to projects within the sales and management areas of the firm. A chartered financial analyst (CFA) charterholder and recipient of the chartered alternative investment analyst (CAIA) designation, her strategy and consulting background extends from Chicago to China and includes working with high net worth individuals, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations.

Prior to joining Hooker & Holcombe, Minish was with Key Bank as vice president and portfolio strategist, where she managed trust and nonprofit portfolios. Previous positions include strategic consultant for A.T. Kearney Ltd. in Hong Kong and vice president of loan syndications and trading with Bank of America. Minish is a board member of the CFA Society Hartford, a member of the Board of Governors at the Hartford Club and has been a conference panel speaker and student mentor at the UConn School of Business. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and her master’s from The Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State.

As a retirement education specialist, Bachman is responsible for developing a portfolio of retirement education and financial wellness programs for the firm’s institutional clients and their participants.

Most recently, Bachman was with CM Smith Financial, LLC, serving as a registered investment adviser for individual clients. Prior to that, she was with Cigna Corporation in various capacities, including roles in Healthcare National Accounts and team development in Integrated Care and Group Insurance. Bachman earned her degree from Central Connecticut State University, holds the FINRA Series 6, 63, and 66 licenses and is an accredited investment fiduciary (AIF).

“We are thrilled to welcome Pam and Brenda to our team. They are experts in their respective areas and having them will elevate the level of knowledge and service we can offer our valued clients,” says Rodger Metzger, president and chief investment officer, Investment Advisory Group.

Leadership Changes Occur at Marsh & McLennan Companies

Marsh & McLennan Companies has announced key leadership changes. Martine Ferland has been appointed to the role of president and chief executive officer of Mercer, effective March 1. In her new role, Ferland will report to Marsh & McLennan’s President and CEO, Dan Glaser, and join the company’s Executive Committee.

Glaser says, “Martine is a talented executive who possesses broad global experience and a proven record of success. Her deep understanding of our business and clients, and more than 30 years of experience across the health, wealth and career spectrum, has uniquely prepared her for the challenge.” Ferland joined Mercer in 2011 as Retirement Business Leader for Europe and Pacific Region. She then served as Europe and Pacific Region President and Co-President, Global Health, before being named Mercer Group President.

Julio A. Portalatin, who served with distinction as Mercer’s president and CEO for seven years, will become a vice chairman of Marsh & McLennan Companies. In this new role, he will continue to report to Glaser.

Cafaro Greenleaf Hires Head of Boston Office

Cafaro Greenleaf (CG) has added Jared J. Manville to its team of advisers and consultants, where he will be heading CG’s Boston office.

“We are absolutely thrilled that Jared is joining our firm. Cafaro Greenleaf is growing and to have a new partner of Jared’s caliber will only accelerate our momentum. His experience in helping plan sponsors to optimize their retirement programs is a tremendous asset and will support our mission to help American workers retire with dignity,” says Brian Clark, managing director of Operations at Cafaro Greenleaf.

Prior to joining the firm, Manville was the managing director of the retirement division at Marsh & McLennan, where he was responsible for strategic oversight and management of the firm’s more than 400 clients and over $5 billion in assets. He was also a retirement plan adviser at Alpha Pension/LPL where he specialized in fiduciary oversight, plan design, investment analysis, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), Department of Labor (DOL) policies and legislative changes. Manville is an accredited investment fiduciary (AIF), holds FINRA Series 6, 63 and has his 65 Investment Advisor Law license. He is also a member of the Retirement Advisor Council (RAC) and served as the chairperson for the Standards & Ethics Committee for the Council.

He graduated from Hartwick College with a bachelor’s degree in political science and business.