Ascensus, whose technology and expertise help millions of people save for retirement, education, and healthcare, announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement under which Newport Group (Newport), the Walnut Creek, California-based retirement services provider, will merge with Ascensus. The newly combined organization will offer a broader set of capabilities and products to benefit institutional partners, clients, advisors, and savers.
With industry-leading qualified and non-qualified retirement plan services, fiduciary consulting services, and corporate and bank-owned life insurance practices, Newport will expand the solutions and expertise Ascensus provides to its clients and advisor partners. Similarly, Newport’s clients will benefit from greater access to unique tax-advantaged savings solutions across retirement, education and health provided by Ascensus. In addition, the companies’ respective investments in technology, digital capabilities, and analytics will deliver enhanced value to clients, expand client relationships, and create better outcomes for savers.
David Musto, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Ascensus, will serve as CEO of the combined company.
Greg Tschider, who led Newport’s successful growth strategy, has stepped down as CEO of Newport. To ensure continuity of leadership, operations, and client service through closing, Laura Ramanis—who has served as Newport’s chief operating officer since 2014—has been named interim CEO. She will be supported by Kurt Laning, executive vice president, Non-Qualified and Insurance Solutions, along with Newport’s senior management team. Ramanis and Laning will join the Ascensus executive leadership team and remain with the unified company post-closing.
“Ascensus and Newport are both respected leaders in the marketplace—and well-known for service excellence, deep expertise, investment independence, and purpose-built technology,” said Musto. “We expect the service platform investment, product expansion, and enhanced capabilities our union will deliver to be well-received by our collective clients. As a combined company, we’ll be able to even further advance our mission of helping individuals save for what matters.”
Musto added, “I want to commend Greg Tschider and his team for their leadership and success in building a strong, highly respected, and winning company in our industry.”
“This is a tremendous opportunity for our two companies and our people,” said Ramanis. “Our union confirms the hard work of our dedicated employees and partners. Joining with Ascensus provides additional resources to continue the expansion of services, and I am excited to see the new ways that our combined associate teams will work together for our clients.”
Noting the significant opportunities to capitalize on the strengths of both companies, Musto said, “Ultimately, the talent and extensive experience of our organizations are the most valuable assets our companies bring to this combination. As one company, we’ll deliver so much more than the sum of our capabilities—and set a new performance standard for service excellence and client satisfaction in the markets we serve. We look forward to working with Laura Ramanis and her leadership team to unify our organizations in the months ahead and are eager to be operating as one team by next spring.”
Strategically Compelling Combination
- Combination represents a compelling strategic fit and creates a leader in tax-advantaged savings that is well-positioned to lead amid industry transformation
- Expanded tax-advantaged savings participant base of more than 15 million people across the U.S.
- Increase of Ascensus-administered assets under administration to more than $700 billion when combined with Newport’s business
- Diversified client base, including more than 150,000 retirement plans
- Management of an industry-leading $184 billion in government savings accounts (including 529 plans, ABLE savings accounts, and state-facilitated retirement programs), more than 700,000 health and flexible savings and COBRA accounts, nearly 300,000 COLI/BOLI policies, and more than 140,000 non-qualified retirement plan participant accounts
Client, Partner, and Saver Benefits
- Broader set of products and solutions delivering enhanced value to new and existing clients
- Increased investment in technology and digital solutions designed to enhance partner efficiency and drive saver outcomes
- Experienced leadership teams with outstanding track records across both organizations
- Continued commitment to service excellence and client satisfaction offers opportunity to build on world-class NPS scores to set a new performance standard in markets served
- Increased size and reach of sales and distribution channel relationships supporting partner growth
- Depth and breadth of our combined expertise, including retirement, compliance, actuarial, non-qualified, insurance, and fiduciary services, represents a significant value-add for our clients
- New and expanded career path opportunities for Ascensus and Newport associates resulting from the combination of two great companies focused on long-term growth
- Increased ability to attract, retain, and develop top talent
- Continued commitment to a diverse and inclusive work environment where every associate feels welcome, valued, and safe, and enjoys a sense of belonging
- A common heritage of integrity and independence, coupled with the resourcefulness and speed of a market innovator
The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022, subject to receipt of regulatory approvals, including review and non-objection by the South Dakota Division of Banking and review and approval by the New Hampshire Banking Department, and satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.
Evercore acted as exclusive financial advisor to Newport in connection with the transaction.
Committed financing for the transaction has been provided by Goldman Sachs Bank USA, SPC Financing Company LLC, and KKR Capital Markets LLC.
 As of June 30, 2021.
Ascensus helps millions of people save for what matters—retirement, education, and healthcare. Through co-branded, private-labeled, and other governmental partnerships, our technology, market insights, and business knowledge enhance the growth and success of our partners, their clients, and savers. Ascensus is a leading recordkeeping services provider, third-party administrator, and government savings facilitator in the United States. For more information, visit ascensus.com.
Headquartered in Walnut Creek, California, Newport is a leading retirement services provider that helps employers—and the advisors who serve them—prepare employees for a more financially secure retirement. The company has more than $150 billion in retirement assets under administration and more than $300 billion in corporate retirement and insurance assets. Newport maintains investment objectivity, fee transparency and a commitment to flexible, responsive service. Staffed by an exceptional team of nearly 1,500 retirement, insurance, and consulting professionals, the company provides retirement solutions tailored to the needs of employers of every size, from small businesses to the Fortune 1000.