Retirement Industry People Moves

USI adds practice leader for defined benefit actuarial services; Ascensus acquires two new TPAs; Voya hires VP for tax exempt markets business; and more.

USI Consulting Group has appointed Timothy Ryor to the position of senior vice president and practice leader, Defined Benefit – Actuarial Services. Ryor will be responsible for working with the firm’s actuaries and staff to provide professional advice, analysis, and administrative services for our clients’ retirement and post-retirement medical programs. 

With nearly 30 years of experience, Ryor has provided actuarial consulting and plan design advice to national and international corporations, not-for-profit organizations and governmental plan sponsors. He is a frequent speaker at professional conferences. He is a former member of the Actuarial Standards Board’s pension committee where he participated in drafting the actuarial standards of practice that apply to pension actuaries in the U.S. 

Ryor is a fellow of the Conference of Consulting Actuaries, a fellow of the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries, a member of the American Academy of Actuaries and is an enrolled actuary authorized to practice before the Internal Revenue Service. He graduated from the University of New Mexico with a bachelor of science degree in Mathematics. 


Ardian Appoints Industry Veteran as Managing Director


Ardian announced that Mark Voccola will join its New York office in August 2018 as managing director of Ardian Infrastructure.

As an industry veteran, Voccola has extensive energy-sector experience. He will co-lead Ardian’s U.S. infrastructure activities alongside Stefano Mion, managing director and co-head of Ardian U.S. Infrastructure, and he will be part of Ardian Infrastructure global team now composed of 30 investment professionals.

Voccola will play a leading role shaping Ardian Infrastructure’s vision and strategy in the American continent. When he begins his role in August, he will be responsible for evaluating potential investment opportunities and working alongside Ardian’s industrial long-term partners to identify high-quality American essential infrastructure assets.

Previously, Voccola was a partner in Ares EIF within the Ares Private Equity Group where he was responsible for appraising investment opportunities and monitoring portfolio companies. Prior to joining Ares in 2015, he was a partner at Energy Investors Funds (EIF). 

“Mark’s exceptional credentials and deep energy expertise position him well to lead Ardian Infrastructure’s expansion into the American mid-market alongside Stefano Mion, co-head of Ardian US Infrastructure”, says Mathias Burghardt, member of the executive committee of Ardian and global head of Ardian Infrastructure. “His appointment underscores our commitment to the American region, and he will play a critical role in growing our U.S. infrastructure team in the New York office. We welcome him to the team.”

Voccola’s appointment follows Ardian’s recent announcement that it partnered with Transatlantic Holdings (TPH) to create a renewables platform, Skyline Renewables and acquire Whirlwind, a 60MW windfarm in Texas. Ardian also previously announced its acquisition of LBC Tank Terminals, a global operator of bulk liquid storage facilities with a significant U.S. presence.


Ascensus Acquires Nashville-Based TPA Firm

Ascensus has entered into an agreement to acquire Avintus. The third-party administration (TPA) firm will immediately become part of Ascensus’ TPA Solutions division. 

Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Avintus provides retirement plan administration and 3(16) fiduciary services for defined contribution (DC) and cash balance plans to clients nationwide in the manufacturing, hospitality, construction, technology, non-profit and professional services industries. The firm, which was founded in 1976 and endeavors to ensure satisfaction via a Client Bill of Rights, works with financial advisers to design new plans or update existing plans that can help employers attract talent, build retirement savings, and meet business objectives. 

“When the M&A team evaluated Avintus, we saw a firm with a history of success that can continue along a path of accelerated growth as part of Ascensus,” says Raghav Nandagopal, Ascensus’ executive vice president of corporate development and M&A. “This, along with their attractive location and culture of client and associate satisfaction, made it easy for us to envision Avintus playing an important role in supporting our long-term growth strategy.” 

Voya Hires VP for Tax Exempt Market Business

Voya Retirement has recently hired Tony Agentowicz as the vice president of Institutional Clients for the company’s Tax Exempt Market business


Based in Pennsylvania, Agentowicz will be responsible for generating new 403(b), 457 and 401(a) business as well as building key distribution relationships in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey.

“I’m excited to pair my knowledge and experience in the retirement plan market with Voya’s fantastic reputation and commitment to providing solutions to plan sponsors and their employees,” says Agentowicz.

Most recently Agentowicz served as vice president, Institutional Sales for The Horace Mann Companies.

“I look forward to having Tony join the Voya team,” says Ned Freer, senior vice president of Institutional Clients for Voya Financial. “With more than 30 years of industry experience, specifically within his sales roles, we expect him to have an immediate impact across his territory and within the firm.” 

Agentowicz graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor of science in Quantitative Business Analysis.

New Portfolio Managers and SVPs Join Alger

Fred Alger Management, Inc. has added veteran international portfolio managers Gregory Jones, CFA, and Pragna Shere, CFA. They join the firm as senior vice presidents and will serve as the new portfolio managers on the Alger International Growth and Alger Global Growth strategies. These strategies will be run as focused portfolios with approximately 35 to 45 stocks, further expanding Alger’s suite of high-conviction, focus offerings.

“We are pleased to welcome Gregory and Pragna to Alger’s experienced investment team,” says Dan Chung, CEO and chief investment officer. “They both bring expertise and skill managing high conviction, ‘best ideas’ portfolios, further deepening our focused investment specialization, which remains a chief differentiator and core strength for Alger. Their combined experience and years of collaboration will enhance our strong team and underscore our commitment to non-U.S. investing and to the power of focus.”

Jones and Shere have worked together over the course of 20 years and bring a disciplined and differentiated approach to portfolio construction that is both focused and unconstrained. Their benchmark-agnostic process across multiple mandates and in a variety of environments reinforces Alger’s confidence in this talented and experienced team.

Jones has served as a portfolio manager for 33 years, specializing in international equities for large institutional clients, family offices, and high-net-worth individuals. Most recently serving as a portfolio manager at Redwood Investments, he also held senior investment positions at Ashfield Capital Partners, Omega Advisors, Clay Finlay, and Northern Trust. In addition, Jones founded Jadeite Capital in 2007, formed to manage APAC, emerging markets, and global long-short equity funds. He holds an M.B.A in Finance from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and a B.A. in Economics from Duke University.

Shere has 28 years of investment experience, most recently as a portfolio manager and analyst at Redwood Investments, Inc. where she served as a member of the international investment team focusing on four international strategies. Prior to Redwood Investments, he also held senior investment positions at Ashfield Capital, United Nations Joint Staff Pensions Fund, and Clay Finlay. Pragna holds a B.A. in Economics and Psychology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Bank of America Announces New Merrill Edge Centers

Bank of America announced that Merrill Edge will open 600 new investment centers within its expanding coast-to-coast financial center footprint, bringing its total to 2,800 by 2020. The effort is part of Bank of America’s previously mentioned plan to invest heavily in both its physical and digital presence across the United States, entering new markets and redesigning more than a third of its existing financial centers. Merrill Edge also expects to add 300 new Financial Solutions Advisers for a total of 4,000 representatives by year-end.

The 600 new Merrill Edge investment centers will be added to new and existing Bank of America financial center locations. Merrill Edge investment centers will be built within new financial centers opening in Cleveland; Cincinnati; Columbus; Indianapolis; Lexington, Kentucky; Pittsburgh; and Salt Lake City. Merrill Edge investment centers will also be added to existing financial center locations in Chicago; Houston; Kansas City, Kansas; Los Angeles; Miami; Minneapolis; New York; Philadelphia; San Francisco; and San Jose.

“Our goal is to serve our clients in ways most convenient to them, and we have both the brick and mortar and the digital presence to do just that,” says Aron Levine, head of Merrill Edge at Bank of America.

TPA Firm Will Transition to Ascensus’ Solutions Subset

Ascensus has entered into an agreement to acquire ASPERIA Retirement Plan Solutions (ASPERIA), formerly Group Health & Benefit Administrators, Inc. (GHBA). The third-party administration (TPA) firm, which designs, administers, and consults on defined contribution (DC) and defined benefit (DB) plans, will immediately become part of Ascensus’ TPA Solutions division. 

Based in Worcester, Massachusetts, ASPERIA has established a strong presence in the DC and DB markets. With a core competency in creative plan design, its team of experts has the professional expertise to offer flexible plan designs and services as well as the knowledge to keep retirement programs compliant with changing government regulations. 

“ASPERIA’s dedication to providing affordable, quality administration tailored to the unique needs of clients and their employees is in line with Ascensus’ mission of helping Americans save for retirement, education, and health needs,” says David Musto, Ascensus’ president of Ascensus. “We welcome their associates and the expertise they bring in terms of defined contribution and defined benefit plans, plan design, and plan document services.