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24Feb

Benefits Industry Newsmakers: Equitable, Faegre Drinker, Paychex, Pentegra, Wellbeats

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People are on the move in the employee benefits and retirement industry, and company names are changing, deals and awards are being won, and more. Here’s the latest:

Applications are soon to close for the second annual 401(k) Champions  Award, honoring individuals who advocate for the importance of retirement saving and help others optimize their 401(k) plans. Sponsored by Jackson, Grant Investment Advisers, Inc. and its founder, Julie Jason, three $1,000 prizes will be awarded to 401(k) participants who complete an application and essay about their 401(k) experiences.

American Portfolios Financial Services announced that Tim O’Grady has officially assumed the role of president. O’Grady began his tenure at AP as a consultant. He initially refused payment for his services to prove that his method of recruiting new talent was the right direction in which the firm should move. He helped AP grow to more than $30 billion in AUM. His leadership has also contributed to one of the firm’s proudest recognitions—being named Broker-Dealer of the Year by Investment Advisor magazine for five consecutive years.

The financial services company formerly known as AXA Equitable Life, announced it will operate as Equitable. Founded in 1859 as The Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States, the company was a mutual firm serving individuals, families and businesses for more than a century. It was acquired by Paris-based AXA S.A. in 1992.

Elite Insurance Partners received an SB100 ranking (#54) at the 2nd Annual Best of Small Business Awards, presented by Small Business Expo. The Best of Small Business Awards recognizes the top visionary small to mid-sized business leaders in the United States. The SB100 distinguishes the top 100 small businesses that have proven success through risk-taking during the past year.

Benefitexpress, a provider of cloud-based technology software and services for fully-outsourced employee benefits administration, announced that Melanie Hallenbeck joins its leadership team as Chief Growth Officer. In her new role, Hallenbeck will lead all areas of benefitexpress’ sales organization including employer-direct, broker/reseller and consultant/advisor relationships. In addition, a new role has been established within her organization. Allen Niemynski is now Broker and Advisor Relationship Executive, reporting to Hallenbeck. Niemynski will champion the growth and expansion of new and existing benefits broker relationships and serve as firm’s steward for Sourcing Advisors.

LifeMark Partners and BRAMCO Financial Resources are officially operating as LIBRA Insurance Partners. Key business resources that LIBRA’s 62 partner agencies now have exclusive access to include Vive, a digital new business platform; The Advisor Value Program, and more. LIBRA’s inaugural annual meeting for agency principals and carriers will take place March 1-4 in Miami.

MetLife, Inc. announced that Toby Srihiran Brown will become executive vice president and Chief Auditor, effective March 1. Brown will have a direct and independent reporting relationship with the Audit Committee of the MetLife, Inc. Board of Directors and report to MetLife President and CEO Michel Khalaf on an administrative basis. Brown will lead the team responsible for providing assurance over MetLife’s risk management, control and governance processes across MetLife’s global business operations.

Figo Pet Insurance recently received a $5 million investment for a 4% equity stake from underwriting partner Independence American Insurance Company (IAIC), a member of the IHC Group, placing Figo’s valuation at $125 million. Figo is also named the Top InsurTech Leader by A.M. Best’s Review, leveraging advanced technology to reshape the pet insurance experience.

OneDigital acquired Resources Investment Advisors, LLC located in Overland Park, Kansas. The acquisition represents the largest assemblage of deals in the company’s history–13 in all. Founded in 1987, Resources Investment Advisors encompasses an independent hybrid registered investment adviser  firm registered with the SEC, as well as a Super-OSJ group, that specializes in supporting independent financial advisors across the country who are focused on the corporate retirement plan space. The initial collection of deals, in addition to Resources, includes Bukaty Companies Financial Services, 401k  AIM, Cafaro Greenleaf, Capstone Advisory Group, Chepenik Financial, SHA Retirement Group, Strategic Retirement Group and Teros Advisors. The deal also includes the San Diego, CA operation of Fulcrum Partners, and the Irvine, CA and two San Diego, CA operations of Retirement Benefits Group.

Roundstone, an insurance provider specializing in self-funded group captive solutions, reported a $2,200,000 distribution to participating business owners across the nation in unused stop-loss premium to close out 2019.

Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath (Faegre Drinker) launched global operations, effective Feb. 1, 2020. Faegre Drinker is the combination of Faegre Baker Daniels, an international law firm with roots in the Midwest, and Drinker Biddle & Reath, a full-service national law firm with East Coast origins. With more than 1,300 attorneys, consultants and professionals in 22 locations across the U.S., U.K. and China, Faegre Drinker is one of the nation’s 50 largest law firms based on both size and projected gross revenue of nearly $1 billion.

The Wagner Law Group announced that partner, Thomas E. Clark Jr., has been appointed as the firm’s Chief Operating Officer. One of our firm’s widely renowned ERISA and employee benefits attorneys, Clark has led the St. Louis office for the past five years. In his new role as the firm’s COO, Clark will work closely with Managing Director Marcia Wagner, as a senior leader of the firm.

Interim HealthCare, provider of homecare, senior care, hospice and healthcare staffing services, was ranked No. 1 in the Senior Care category of Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2020 Franchise 500. The Franchise 500 recognizes companies for outstanding performance in key areas that include unit growth, financial strength, stability and brand power.

 The Board of Directors of Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) welcomed Jack Brod, CFP as 2020 Chair. Brod has served on CFP Board’s Board of Directors since 2017. Retired from a senior executive role at Vanguard, he now teaches, consults, mentors, serves on the Board of Directors of Savant Capital Management and advises financial technology companies.

Don Cahalan has joined Paychex as the new vice president of insurance services. He will focus on maximizing client value through insurance services in both the Paychex Insurance Agency and the organization’s PEO. In his new role, Don reports to John Gibson, senior vice president of service.

Paychex announced that its enhanced Retirement Services Participant Portal was recognized as a winner in the 2020 BIG Innovation Awards presented by the Business Intelligence Group. Organizations from across the globe submitted their recent innovations for consideration in the BIG Innovation Awards. Nominations were then judged by a select group of business leaders and executives who volunteer their time and expertise to score submissions.

Pentegra announced three executive promotions: Peter Sprague has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Information Technology and Chief Technology Officer; Lars Ernst has been promoted to Vice President, Regulatory Compliance; and Kelly Casella has been promoted to Assistant Vice President, Plan Documents.

Wellbeats announced entrepreneur Kyle Rolfing will join the company’s Board of Directors effective immediately. Rolfing has an extensive history of innovation in health care, including co-founding Definity Health, RedBrick Health, and most recently, Bright Health.

Source: https://www.benefitspro.com/2020/02/12/benefits-industry-newsmakers-equitable-faegre-drinker-paychex-pentegra-wellbeats/?slreturn=20200124084124

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