Deals and People

Retirement Industry People Moves

Morgan Lewis extends employee benefits services with three new partners; AXA head of Retirement expands role; Alston & Bird names partner in ERISA litigation group; and more.

By Javier Simon editors@plansponsor.com | January 06, 2017

Lincoln Investment Capital Holdings Purchases Legend Group Holdings

Cetera Financial Group, a network of independent broker-dealer firms, has announced the sale of Legend Group Holdings to Lincoln Investment Capital Holdings. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The Legend Group includes an independent broker-dealer and registered investment adviser (RIA) focused on supporting the delivery of professional guidance by financial advisers to 403(b) retirement savings plans. It is owned by Cetera affiliate First Allied Holdings.

"We're very excited to complete this transaction, which reinforces Lincoln Investment's leadership position in the market for retirement plan advice,” says Ed Forst, president and CEO of Lincoln Investment. “We welcome The Legend Group's financial advisers to the Lincoln Investment community, and we look forward to supporting them in growing their businesses by effectively providing the professional advice their mass affluent and high net worth clients need."

NEXT: Morgan Lewis Extends Employee Benefits Services with Three New Partners

Morgan Lewis Extends Employee Benefits Services with Three New Partners

Morgan Lewis is expanding its employee benefits and executive compensation services with the addition of three new hires: Rosina Barker, Jonathan Zimmerman, and Steven Witmer.

The three will assist clients with their qualified and nonqualified retirement plans as well as with health and welfare plans, fiduciary and investment matters, and employment tax and worker classification issues. They also will advise on complex executive compensation matters and on the benefits and compensation issues arising in mergers and acquisitions, dispositions, and other business transactions.

“I am delighted to welcome our new partners, who offer our clients remarkable depth encompassing a wide range of areas affecting employee benefits,” says Firm Chair Jami McKeon. “Rosina, Jonathan, and Steve will work closely with our strong employee benefits team across the United States to provide our clients with the advice they need in this continually evolving arena.”

Barker provides counseling on the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), taxes, and securities law aspects of executive compensation and employee benefit plans. She is versed in defined benefit (DB) pension plan issues, fiduciary counseling, and complex executive compensation matters. In the last 12 months, Barker has advised clients on the executive compensation and employee benefit plan issues arising from corporate transactions totaling more than $13 billion. She has also served on the tax staff of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee, where she had primary staff responsibility for all pension and employee benefit legislation. Barker is a fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel.

Zimmerman has a broad-based practice with a concentration on executive compensation, qualified retirement plans, and health and welfare plans. He also advises clients on payroll, withholding, and fringe benefits matters.

Witmer advises companies on qualified and nonqualified retirement plans, health and welfare plans, and other ERISA and tax matters. He has an extensive benefits outsourcing practice, and has negotiated close to 1,000 contracts with payroll and benefits vendors on behalf of plan sponsors. He frequently advises clients on the transfer of plan assets and liabilities, and on other benefit issues arising from dispositions, spinoffs, initial public offerings, and other business transactions up to the multibillion dollar range.

NEXT: AllianzGI Acquires Sound Harbor Partners

AllianzGI Acquires Sound Harbor Partners

Active investment manager Allianz Global Investors (AllianzGI) has announced that U.S. private credit manager Sound Harbor Partners has agreed to join its private debt platform. Under the terms of the transaction, AllianzGI will acquire Sound Harbor’s assets for an undisclosed sum and the Sound Harbor team will join AllianzGI. Following the acquisition, expected to close within the first quarter of 2017, AllianzGI’s clients will be able to access U.S. private credit investment funds.

“Over the last five years, AllianzGI has invested steadily in the quality and breadth of its active investment offering,” says AllianzGI CEO Andreas Utermann. “Within our fast-growing alternatives segment, private debt stands out as a particularly exciting area, where we’ve clearly signaled our intent to expand our capabilities to address our clients’ evolving investment needs. The addition of the team from Sound Harbor is a significant step in that process, strengthening and complementing our existing capabilities in this important space.”

Sound Harbor is a New York-based private credit manager focused on alternative investments in corporate loans, direct lending, distressed debt and opportunistic credit. Led by Michael Zupon and Dean Criares, the firm manages these investments on behalf of its clients in private limited partnerships, collateralized loan obligations, and separately managed accounts. Zupon is a former partner at The Carlyle Group where he founded and led the leveraged finance business. Criares is a former partner of The Blackstone Group, where he founded and led the loan management business.

NEXT: Deutsche Asset Management Appoints New CIO

Deutsche Asset Management Appoints New CIO

Petra Pflaum has been named Deutsche Asset Management's (Deutsche AM)’s new chief investment officer for Responsible Investments.

Pflaum will be tasked with managing the firm’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) team while also growing its client offerings across the firm’s Active, Alternatives and Passive businesses. The existing ESG thematic research and governance teams will report to her.

Pflaum will continue in her role as EMEA Head of Equities for Deutsche AM, and will be joined by Britta Weidenbach who will become EMEA Co-Head of Equities effective immediately. Pflaum will also become a member of the Management Board of Deutsche Asset Management Investment GmbH representing Deutsche AM’s Equity and Equity Trading businesses.

‎Pflaum joined Deutsche AM in 1999. Beforehand, she served as the company’s co-head of Global Research and global head of Small & Mid Cap Equities. Weidenbach is currently head of European Equities and has also been with Deutsche AM since 1999. She has managed European equity funds since 2001.

“Deutsche AM has recognized the importance of ESG within its investment approach for many years,” says Nicolas Moreau, head of Deutsche Asset Management. “We are proud to have been amongst the early signatories to the UN supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) in 2008.  It is important we build on this heritage, and use our expertise to help clients who want support in this important investment area."

NEXT: Lockton Opens Office in Philadelphia

Lockton Opens Office in Philadelphia

Center City Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the home for the newest office of privately-held insurance broker Lockton. Its professionals will serve property and casualty, employee benefits, and retirement clients out of the new location.

"Lockton entered the Philadelphia market five years ago by opening an office in Blue Bell,” explains Tim Ryan, chief operating officer for Lockton. “Now we are excited about adding a downtown office as a key part of the company's continued expansion in the Northeast.”

Lockton's northeast region now consists of seven offices spanning from Boston to Washington, D.C.

"This move downtown brings us closer to our clients, markets and potential employees in the greater Philadelphia area," says Chris Keith, president of Lockton Philadelphia. "We plan to significantly expand our operations within the greater Philadelphia metro area and the addition of the Center City office is just the first step."

The Center City office address is 1800 John F Kennedy Blvd, Suite 1110, Philadelphia, PA 19103.

More than 6,000 professionals at Lockton provide 50,000 clients around the world with risk management, insurance, employee benefits consulting, and retirement services.

NEXT: Ascensus Names New VP of Corporate Development and M&A

Ascensus Names New VP of Corporate Development and M&A

Christian Fulmino has been appointed as the new vice president of corporate development and M&A of Ascensus, a national independently-owned retirement plan and college savings services provider.

Although the position won’t specifically focus on plan sponsors or advisers, he is tasked with playing a major role in prioritizing M&A opportunities, evaluating the landscape of potential acquisitions, valuing and structuring deals, and conducting due diligence.

Fulmino has more than 15 years of experience in corporate development, strategy, and M&A. Before joining Ascensus, he served as senior director of strategy and corporate development at Broadridge Financial Solutions. He also played key roles in closing strategic platform and technology acquisitions, lift-out strategies, and market expansion opportunities. Fulmino also worked on a number of Broadridge corporate initiatives including industry utilities, block chain, and strategic investments in private companies.

Prior to Broadridge, Fulmino spent eight years at News Corporation, leading their inorganic growth strategy into Central and Eastern Europe. Fulmino earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Rider University and is master’s degree from Cornell University.

"Christian brings a strong background in deal sourcing, structuring, and integrating acquisition transactions—including complex lift-and-shift deals—and has a demonstrated track record of working with business units in driving strategic deals," says Raghav Nandagopal, Ascensus' executive vice president of corporate development and M&A. "He is a great addition to our team and I look forward to his leadership and contributions in helping Ascensus accelerate our growth ambitions."

Nandagopal joined the firm in August 2016 to help it build upon its success in acquisitions. In 2016, Ascensus completed the acquisitions of Retirement Educators, National Retirement Services, and Matthews Benefit Group.

NEXT: AXA Head of Retirement Expands Role

AXA Head of Retirement Expands Role

Kevin Molloy, head of Retirement Plan Services for financial protection firm AXA, will now oversee the 403(b), 401(k), 457, and associations retirement businesses.

“He is highly regarded within AXA and the industry at large, and we are pleased to have him expand his responsibilities to head all of our Retirement Plan Services businesses,” says Brian Winikoff, senior executive vice president and head of U.S. Life, Retirement and Wealth Management for AXA US.

Previously, Molloy was senior vice president of AXA’s Business Support and Development area and shareholder representative for a number of AXA Group entities including AXA in the US, AXA Life Japan, AXA Investment Managers, AllianceBernstein, and AXA Life Invest at the Paris-headquartered AXA Group. Prior to that role, Molloy also served as chief financial officer of AXA Global Life.

Molloy joined the firm in 1999 as director of corporate finance for the U.S., and was named to roles of increasing responsibility in investor relations and distribution finance. He began his career as an economist and corporate profits analyst with the United States Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.

He holds a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in agricultural and resource economics from the University of Connecticut.

NEXT: Deutsche Asset Management names Chief Investment Strategist for the Americas

Deutsche Asset Management names Chief Investment Strategist for the Americas
 
David Bianco has been named the new chief investment strategist for the Americas and head of equities in the U.S., by Deutsche Asset Management (Deutsche AM).

Bianco will be responsible for assisting clients with portfolio construction utilizing all of Deutsche AM’s investment vehicles and asset classes, while leading a team of experienced investors responsible for managing active equity assets in the Americas.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome David to our organization,” says Bob Kendall, head of Deutsche Asset Management in the Americas. “David is a well-respected and familiar face within our industry and will be a key public figure for us in presenting to our clients Deutsche Asset Management’s global views on markets, economies and policies.”

Bianco brings more than 20 years of investment research expertise and a decade of experience as an equity strategist to his new role. He has served as the firm’s US Equity strategist since 2012.

Prior to joining Deutsche Bank, Bianco was head of US Equity strategies for Bank of America Merrill Lynch Investment Research and Global Wealth Management. He also spent seven years with UBS and five years at the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council.

Based in New York, he will report globally to Stefan Kreuzkamp, head of Active Asset Management, and regionally to Kendall.

NEXT: Alston & Bird Names Partner in ERISA Litigation Group

Alston & Bird Names Partner in ERISA Litigation Group

Emily Seymour Costin has been named a partner in the Compensation, Benefits & ERISA Litigation Group of Alston & Bird. She will represent employee benefit plan sponsors, insurers, and fiduciaries in a wide range of Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) class actions, single-plaintiff matters, and government investigations and litigations involving 401(k)/employer stock programs, employee stock ownership plans, benefit terminations, investment/fee matters, and individual benefit claims.

Seymour joins 19 other new partners.

“Our new partners have demonstrated their leadership in serving our clients and our firm with distinction,” says Alston & Bird Managing Partner Richard Hays. “This is an extraordinary group of attorneys, representing the very best of Alston & Bird and the kind of leaders our clients and our teams want to work with.

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