Retirement Industry People Moves

The Hilb Group Acquires Actuarial Consulting Firm; Mercer Hires Past Actuarial Associate as Principal; ESOP Consultant Joins Ascensus TPA Solutions; and more.

Rob Petree has joined HUB International as vice president of the Employee Benefits practice. His primary role with HUB will be the design, placement and maintenance of competitive health care programs and human resource solutions for midmarket and large companies. 

Petree has over 20 years of experience in providing employers with creative strategic approaches and funding alternatives to their employee benefits packages. Chip Stuart, chief sales officer for HUB California says, “Rob’s clients value his passion to provide education and consultation for their insurance needs rather than limiting their choices.  When one local non-profit client was asked why she chose to work with Rob, her response was, ‘I have been an HR director and consultant for 25 years and I learned more from you about benefits and our situation than I have ever learned working with any broker.'” 

Petree is a graduate of California Polytechnic San Luis Obispo, with a bachelor’s degree in Agribusiness Marketing.

Bernstein Adds Industry Executive to Philadelphia Region

William Dugdale has joined Bernstein Private Wealth Management (Bernstein) as vice president and financial adviser , in the Philadelphia office. In this role, he will serve clients in Delaware and parts of Southern Pennsylvania, and advise on a wide range of financial planning and investment matters, including sustainable investment solutions (ESG), retirement plans, estate planning, business transition, philanthropy and next generation education.

Dugdale brings over two decades of experience in the financial services industry. Prior to joining Bernstein, he was a partner, portfolio manager and head of business development for the Delaware office at Brown Advisory, where he provided investment solutions and advice to families, foundations and endowments. Previously, he was a partner and portfolio specialist at Friess Associates, an institutional money manager, for 18 years. Dugdale earned a bachelor’s in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University.

T. Rowe Price Appoints CIO to Head of Investment Strategy

T. Rowe Price
has appointed David Giroux, currently chief investment officer of U.S. Equity and Multi-Asset and portfolio manager of T. Rowe Price Capital Appreciation Fund, to the additional position of head of Investment Strategy, a new role at the firm.

In this new capacity, Giroux will lead investment research projects aimed at providing insight to benefit T. Rowe Price’s security selection process across asset classes. Over the years, Giroux has led several research projects of this type; his appointment as head of Investment Strategy formalizes a functional role he had already assumed.

To facilitate T. Rowe Price’s characteristic collaboration among investment professionals, Giroux will join the firm’s Equity Research Advisory Committee as co-chair.  A focus of this group will be to uncover areas of controversy or opportunity that the larger market is mispricing or misunderstanding. 

This appointment involves no reporting changes, and Giroux will have no direct reports in this role, according to T. Rowe Price.

“As the investment landscape evolves, the goal of uncovering investment insight remains central to our success as an asset manager.  David’s appointment as head of Investment Strategy is designed to help maximize the ability of our research platform to generate excess returns for investors,” says Eric Veiel, head of U.S. Equity, co-head of Global Equity. “He has a proven track record of success, not only as an analyst and a portfolio manager, but also as a leader of research initiatives that have benefited our clients.  David epitomizes our culture of collaboration-driven investment excellence and dedication to our clients.  He is uniquely qualified for this additional role.”

The Hilb Group Acquires Actuarial Consulting Firm


The Hilb Group, LLC has acquired Massachusetts-based DBR Group, Inc. (DBR). The transaction became effective on October 1.

Founded in 2004, DBR is an employee benefit and actuarial consulting firm providing a full range of benefits consulting and brokerage services to organizations of all sizes, including corporations, nonprofits, Taft-Hartley funds, and public-sector employers. DBR will continue to operate out of their Framingham, Massachusetts location under the direction of the founding leadership: Paul Desrosiers, Chris Bean and Jim Roche.

“Joining THG’s team will allow our clients to access a wider range of products and services to address their emerging and evolving needs,” says Desrosiers.

“Paul, Chris, and Jim have an outstanding partnership and they bring significant expertise in large group benefits to our firm,” says Ricky Spiro, CEO of THG. “I am pleased to welcome them and DBR’s talented employee benefits professionals to our team.”

Mercer Hires Past Actuarial Associate as Principal


Mercer appointed Crystal Leben-Reyes as principal for Mercer’s Wealth Business in its New York Office. Her responsibilities include leading client relationships and developing innovative solutions to fit their needs. Leben-Reyes will report to Mary Gobes, Mercer’s national consulting team leader.

“We are thrilled to welcome Crystal back to Mercer,” says Christopher Keach, Mercer’s New York Wealth Business leader. “Her experience, knowledge and proven track record of success will help us further provide exceptional service and solutions to our clients while strategically growing our Wealth business.”

Prior to this role, Leben-Reyes was a senior actuarial consultant at Buck and before that she was a senior actuarial associate at Mercer. She has 12 years of experience providing extensive consulting services to clients of various sizes and industries on topics such as retirement plan design, retirement readiness, forecasting, risk transfer and other financial strategies. She earned her bachelor’s in actuarial science from Baruch College, and is an associate of the Society of Actuaries, a member of the American Academy of Actuaries and an enrolled actuary.

ESOP Consultant Joins Ascensus TPA Solutions

ESOP Economics, a firm providing consulting and software solutions related to employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) repurchase obligations, has joined Ascensus’ TPA Solutions division. 

The firm focuses on helping ESOP companies quantify their future repurchase obligations (i.e., their legal obligation to buy back stock distributed to ESOP participants) and develop strategies for managing and funding them.

“Because repurchase obligations are our sole focus at ESOP Economics, we’ve developed a depth of experience over time that’s unmatched in the industry,” says Judy Kornfeld, founder and chief executive officer of ESOP Economics. “As part of Ascensus, we’ll continue to provide the crucial forecasts and information that clients need to make educated ESOP decisions for the future.” 

“ESOP Economics is known not only for its software, but also for its staff’s expertise and the quality of the work it delivers to its clients,” says Jerry Bramlett, head of TPA Solutions. “Adding their reputation, skillset, and experience allows us to provide an even more robust ESOP offering to current and prospective clients.” 


Alan Biller and Associates Promotes Managing Senior Consultants

Alan Biller and Associates has promoted two of its members to senior management positions, effective immediately. Jennifer Newell, CFA, CAIA will assume the role of president, and Simon Lim, CFA, CAIA will assume the role of chief financial officer. They both will also continue their current client-facing responsibilities. 

“These promotions put in place the key elements of our management team,” says Alan Biller, CEO, “ensuring the firm’s continuing ability to remain an independent fiduciary adviser to its clients.”

The firm says institutional investors seek independent fiduciaries that apply objectivity to the investment decision-making process, reducing potential conflicts of interest that could bring loss or liability to plans and participants. The firm offers independent fiduciary consulting services to institutional investors, particularly Taft-Hartley pension and fringe benefit plans. 

Newell joined the firm in 2009 and serves as a managing senior consultant. She is a member of the team that advises the firm’s largest client. Previously, she held roles at Wells Capital Management and was president of her own firm, Newell Associates. Newell earned a bachelor’s in economics, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Wheaton College, attended the London School of Economics, and holds a master’s from the University of California, Berkeley.

Lim joined the firm in 2010 and serves as a managing senior consultant and more recently chief compliance officer. He is a member of the team that advises the firm’s largest client. Prior to joining the firm, he was a lead analyst at CalPERS. Lim earned a bachelor’s in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and holds a J.D. and master’s from the University of California, Davis and a master’s in Finance from the London Business School.

Pennsylvania-based Firm Merges with Cafaro Greenleaf

Carroll Consultants, Ltd., a provider of retirement and health care plan services in higher education and independent schools, has merged with Cafaro Greenleaf (CG).

According to the firms, the merger will be relatively seamless, with clients receiving the support of an expanded team of professionals.

Wayne Greenleaf, Cafaro Greenleaf’s managing principal, says, “The merger of Carroll Consultants, Ltd. and Cafaro Greenleaf gives us the unique ability to provide value-added and enhanced services to our clients in the areas of administration, recordkeeping and group benefits.” According to Greenleaf, clients of Carroll Consultants, Ltd. will receive additional investment advisory resources, enhanced services, participant support with monthly Financial Fitness webinars for participant education, plan design optimization studies, and innovative retirement plan solutions and tools.

“We are thrilled to have Cafaro Greenleaf as a partner, who shares the same values and principals we do, to consistently listen to our clients’ needs and apply innovative retirement plan solution strategies,” said Marcie Carroll, principal at Carroll Constultants, Ltd. “Jamie, Wayne, and the entire Cafaro Greenleaf team also share our passion for participant education, and this merger will allow us to continue to enhance our commitment to that.”

With the merger, Cafaro Greenleaf consults on approximately 300 retirement and group benefit plans, with assets under advisement exceeding $4.6 billion.