The Big Picture

What MassMutual’s growth means for clients and advisors
Elaine Sarsynski, Executive Vice President, MassMutual’s Retirement Services Division

In 2012, MassMutual made news when it announced it was purchasing the retirement plans business from The Hartford. The acquisition, which closed earlier this year, has diversified MassMutual’s business, allowing it to offer its tools and services to a broader array of clients. Alison Cooke Mintzer spoke with Elaine Sarsynski, Executive Vice President, MassMutual’s Retirement Services Division, about the changes the company has experienced and what the acquisition has meant for plan sponsor clients and advisors.

PS: After the acquisition of The Hartford’s Retirement Plans business in 2013, MassMutual moved up significantly in PLANSPONSOR’s annual Defined Contribution (DC) Recordkeeping Survey rankings based on its size. What does this new growth mean for MassMutual’s future success?

Sarsynski: We were very excited when The Hartford’s Retirement Plans business came on the market, and we were able to announce in early September of last year our intention to purchase it. The negotiations and the closing of the transaction were very quick, I think, because it was such a complementary acquisition.

With the acquisition, we were able to go from roughly $70 billion of assets under management (AUM) to about $130 billion of assets under management today. In terms of overall AUM, it moved us near the top 10 position in the industry, and we’re actually number one in terms of new sales in the under $500 million segment.

We were also able to widen our distribution capabilities, not only in terms of the number of wholesalers and employees who came on board, but also through groups of advisors and third-party administrators (TPAs) with whom we did not previously have relationships. This complementary model gives MassMutual the opportunity to serve virtually every plan size and every type of financial professional, from those who serve smaller businesses all the way up to the advisors who focus on very large plans.

We now have a tremendous footprint all over the country with roughly 80 to 90 wholesalers covering the market. We have an additional 1,200 employees that joined us at the beginning of the year, so today we have more than 2,400 employees and colleagues serving our clients and distribution partners. We have many smaller plan solutions now that create a great deal of flexibility for our plan sponsors and advisors, and we also have additional retirement income capabilities through the acquisition.

We wanted to expand our presence in the government market as well and this transaction has certainly enabled us to expand our government competency and capability as well.