Willis Towers Watson Promotes Team Heads
Willis Towers Watson announced that Luba Nikulina will take on a new leadership role as head of research, effective July 1. At the same time, Chris Redmond will be taking over from Nikulina as head of manager research.
In her expanded role, Nikulina will oversee Willis Towers Watson’s key internal investment research teams: manager research; operational due diligence (ODD); and asset research. She will work closely with Redmond, Josh Hall (head of ODD) and David Hoile (head of asset research) and will have a key role in high quality and consistent overall research proposition and deliver value around investment solutions which appeal to the needs of clients. Luba will continue to report to Craig Baker, chief investment officer.
“Luba’s promotion will have her overseeing and executing seamless interactions between the three research streams, while providing optimal value to our clients. Luba has been instrumental in evolving our research capabilities, in particular engaging with asset managers on topics of culture, diversity and sustainable investment and will further strengthen the importance of this work going forward,” says Baker.
Redmond will assume Nikulina’s role beginning July 1, and be responsible for the team of analysts conducting investment research on asset managers, coming up with recommendations and creating new investment solutions where none exists. He will work with the head of equity; credit; liquid diversifying; and real assets, and will be reporting to Nikulina.
“Since joining Willis Towers Watson in 2004, Chris has played a vital role in the manager research team,” says Baker. “He will continue driving our efforts in engaging with the asset management community and finding great, innovative investment ideas across our different research streams. We look forward to seeing the continued strong performance of our preferred strategies under Chris’s leadership.”
Custodia Appoints Brad Campbell to Strategic Advisory Council
Custodia Financial has appointed Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP Partner Bradford Campbell to its Strategic Advisory Council (SAC). Representing Drinker Biddle, as a part of the SAC, Campbell will provide legal, public policy, and regulatory guidance to Custodia.
Based in Washington, D.C., Campbell provides employee benefits advice to plan sponsors and financial service providers, particularly in relation to ERISA [Employee Retirement Income Security Act] Title I issues, including fiduciary conduct and prohibited transactions. He is the former assistant secretary of Labor for Employee Benefits and former head of the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA).
“I couldn’t be happier about how our Strategic Advisory Council is coming together,” says Tod Ruble, CEO of Custodia Financial. “Helping plan fiduciaries meet their obligations under ERISA is a key aspect of Retirement Loan Eraser. Brad is one of the best legal minds in the ERISA world, and having him on board the SAC will help to ensure strong alignment between ERISA regulations and our solution.”
“The Custodia team has been doing groundbreaking work to increase awareness of 401(k) loan defaults, which represent a significant fiduciary challenge in a changing regulatory environment,” says Campbell. “As a member of the SAC, representing Drinker Biddle, I look forward to supporting Custodia’s efforts to help plan sponsors meet their fiduciary obligations. A better understanding of the loan default problem across industry stakeholders, and adoption of solutions to address it, will only be good for the state of retirement in America.”
Campbell joins a group of industry leaders on Custodia’s SAC, including Dave Liebrock, former president of Workplace Investing at Fidelity Investments, and Mark Herman, formerly president and COO of CNA Insurance’s Specialty Lines business. Custodia’s objective for the SAC is to continue to add seasoned leaders in complementary disciplines critical to solving the 401(k) loan default problem. The SAC will advise Custodia on a range of strategic issues, including product development, distribution, insurance and regulatory matters. Custodia’s SAC will support its full-time team of retirement experts that includes former senior executives from Fidelity Investments, Financial Engines, SunGard, Voya Financial, and Wells Fargo.
CapAcuity New Hire to Consult on Executive Benefits
CapAcuity announced that David W. Stecher will join the firm as managing director. Stecher will consult with executive benefit plan sponsors to provide creative solutions to address the changing executive benefit landscape. His responsibilities will also include further expanding the firm’s distribution partnerships and strategic initiatives.
Most recently, Stecher led the consulting practice for executive benefits of both NFP Retirement and Retirement Plan Advisory Group. His focus was on best practices in contemporary plan design; plan funding, cost controls and value generation; and communication and education. Before joining NFP in 2010, he served as executive vice president for Retirement Capital Group; as a tax and auditing accountant for KPMG Peat Marwick; and as EVP of West Coast operations for AXA Advisors’ executive benefits group.
“I look forward to working with CapAcuity to help ensure that plan sponsors are aware of the impact of the latest tax, regulatory, and pricing developments affecting their plans,” Stecher says.
Stecher earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Delaware, and his master’s degree in taxation from Widener University in Philadelphia. He holds a wide range of certifications, including CPA, CFP, CLU, and ChFC, as well as Series 6, 7, 63, 65 and 24 registrations.
Deschutes Appoints President of Retirement Plan Services
Deschutes Investment Consulting has promoted Katrina Bell to partner and president of Deschutes Retirement Plan Services. Since joining the firm in 1998, she has played a role in the firm’s development by managing client relationships and overseeing marketing and client engagement programs.
“Katrina has worked with me at Deschutes and other financial companies for more than 25 years. During this time, she has become extremely capable and become a seasoned veteran. Her insights, experience and knowledge of the retirement plan industry give her great perspective,” says MacGregor Hall, founder and CEO, in making the announcement. “She represents the face of the future of the retirement plan consulting space and I’m confident that under her leadership, Deschutes will continue to innovate, grow and provide thoughtful counsel to our corporate clients and our team here at Deschutes.”
Although he is relinquishing the title of president and oversight of day-to-day operations, Hall will still be actively involved in strategic direction of the retirement plan consulting business as well as the firm’s wealth management business.
Along with Bell’s promotion, Mike Walters, a 20-year financial services veteran who has been with Deschutes since 2012, has been named partner, director of Business Development. In this role Walters will be spearheading the retirement plan services group’s organic growth initiatives.
Parametric Hires Head of Responsible Investing
Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC announced three new hires: Gwen Le Berre as head of Responsible Investing; Benjamin Davis, Ph.D., as managing director of Research, equity and factor strategies; and Benjamin Hood, Ph.D., as director of Research, liquid alternatives, options and futures strategies.
Le Berre will join Parametric on July 8 and be based in Seattle. She replaces Jennifer Sireklove, who has been promoted to managing director, Investment Strategy. Le Berre was formerly director of Investment Stewardship at Charles Schwab Investment Management, Inc. (CSIM), where she spearheaded proxy and corporate governance initiatives, and was previously vice president, Corporate Governance and Responsible Investment, for BlackRock. Le Berre earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and computer science from Duke University and is a member of the Council of Institutional Investors, where she served as chair of the Corporate Governance Advisory Council in 2018.
Based in Seattle, Davis joined Parametric on June 3 from AQR Capital Management (AQR), where he was managing director, Firm-Wide Risk Management. At AQR, he led the research team responsible for providing quantitative risk analysis across all strategies and asset classes. Prior to AQR, he was a Quantitative Researcher at Citadel, managing quantitative portfolio construction for global equities. Davis was previously a member of the factor model research team at MSCI Barra focusing on risk methodology and portfolio analytics. He holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Reed College.
Based in Minneapolis, Hood joined Parametric on April 29 from AQR, where he was lead researcher on risk parity portfolio risk models. Since 2016, he has been an adjunct lecturer in the Department of Finance at Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, focused on options and derivatives. He holds a Ph.D. and master’s degree in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a bachelor’s in economics and mathematics, respectively, from the University of Minnesota.
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