Corporate growth

Ascensus TPA Solutions Appoints Dan Kravitz as National Practice Leader for Cash Balance Plans

Strategic Drive to Expand Cash Balance Plan Offerings Aims to Improve American Retirement Outcomes

Dresher, PA  Ascensus TPA Solutions, the nation’s largest retirement TPA firm, is pleased to announce the appointment of Dan Kravitz as national practice leader for Cash Balance plans. In this role, Kravitz will expand the firm’s growing Cash Balance market share with innovative sales strategies, advisor outreach programs, and sales integration within the broader TPA Solutions network.

Also known as “hybrid” plans, Cash Balance plans combine the high contribution limits of traditional defined benefit plans with the flexibility and portability of a 401(k). Business owners enjoy greater tax deferral and can catch up on delayed retirement savings while enhancing contributions to their employees.

Ascensus acquired Kravitz, Inc., in 2017 as part of its strategy of buying and integrating best-in-class TPA firms across the country, including many local market leaders with unique specialty expertise. Following the 2018 acquisition of nine other TPA firms with substantial Cash Balance business, Ascensus TPA Solutions now serves more than 2,700 Cash Balance plans of all sizes across diverse industries.

“Cash Balance is the fastest growing sector of the retirement plan market and no one is better positioned to lead our expansion strategy than Dan Kravitz,” said Jerry Bramlett, head of TPA Solutions. “He has been a pioneer in the Cash Balance space for more than a decade and played a major role in increasing national awareness, contributing to 20% average annual growth in this marketplace.”

“We now have 20 actuaries with Cash Balance expertise supported by a deep bench of hundreds of advanced technical plan professionals,” continued Bramlett. “We’re unique in our ability to offer high-touch local service backed by national strength and security.”

In his prior role as owner and president of Kravitz, Inc., Kravitz developed a singular focus on Cash Balance plans and expanded the firm across the country, earning a nationwide reputation for cutting-edge plan design and unique strategic solutions. He introduced Cash Balance daily recordkeeping to the industry, founded Cash Balance Coach™, the first Cash Balance training and certification program for retirement plan advisors, and wrote the book, “Beyond the 401(k), How Financial Advisors Can Grow their Businesses with Cash Balance Plans.” Kravitz has over 25 years of experience in retirement plan consulting.

“I’m honored to take on this new national leadership role,” said Kravitz. “The Cash Balance market is fast-growing but underserved—there are thousands of small to mid-size businesses that could reduce their tax burden, catch up on delayed retirement savings, and improve retirement outcomes for staff by adding a Cash Balance plan.”

“Our goal is to make sure that all of these businesses have the opportunity to do so through our expanded program at TPA Solutions, which is a key part of the Ascenus mission to address America’s retirement savings crisis,” concluded Kravitz.

 

About TPA Solutions
TPA Solutions is the nation’s largest and foremost retirement TPA, combining high-touch local service with the strength and security of an industry leader. A business division of Ascenus, TPA Solutions’ dedicated team serves 33,000 retirement plan sponsors in 37 locations across the country. For more information, visit tpa.ascensus.com. View career opportunities at https://careers.ascensus.com/tpa.

 

About Ascensus
Ascensus is the largest independent recordkeeping services provider, third-party administrator, and government savings facilitator in the United States. The firm delivers technology and expertise to help millions of people save for what matters most—retirement, education, and healthcare. For more information about Ascensus, visit ascensus.com. View career opportunities at careers.ascensus.com.


Michele Haley of Ascensus Wins 2019 Service Star Award

PLANSPONSOR recently announced that Michele Haley, client relationship manager at Ascensus, is a 2019 Service Star​​ award winner. The PLANSPONSOR Service Star awards program recognizes the retirement plan account representatives and relationship managers who, in the words of their plan sponsor clients, have demonstrated exemplary service. A full profile of Michele and her exceptional service will be featured in the April/May print edition of PLANSPONSOR.


Kravitz Hires New Regional Sales Director to Serve Southeastern Market

(Atlanta, GA and Los Angeles, CA) – Kravitz, an Ascensus company, and the leading national provider of Cash Balance retirement plans, today announced the appointment of a new director to lead sales development for the South and Southeast markets.

“Over the past 10 years, Kravitz has rapidly expanded our client base across Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina. We opened an Atlanta office in 2016 and now we’re seeing even higher demand for Cash Balance plans throughout the Southeast region, so we chose a dedicated sales leader to oversee and facilitate growth,” said Dan Kravitz head of Kravitz.

Kravitz tapped Atlanta native and retirement plan sales expert John Benton to head the regional office.

“Having been both a financial advisor and TPA sales professional, I understand both perspectives of the sale and can address advisors’ and clients’ needs as they support and move along the complex Cash Balance sales path,” Benton noted. “I’m excited to help expose more professionals to the powerful benefits of a Cash Balance plan with an industry-leading brand such as Kravitz.”

John Benton brings more than 15 years of retirement industry experience to Kravitz, including a proven track record of sales success at The Retirement Advantage, John Hancock, and Signator Investors (now Royal Alliance). Most recently, he nearly doubled retirement plan revenue in two years, developed six state territories, and set a company sales record.

“I enjoy supporting retirement plan intermediaries and look forward to enabling sales throughout the Kravitz network,” Benton said. That powerful network includes more than 1,900 retirement plan professionals who have completed the Kravitz Cash Balance Coach™ Certification program.

Also known as “hybrid” plans, Cash Balance plans combine the high contribution limits of traditional defined benefit plans with the flexibility and portability of a 401(k). Business owners enjoy greater tax deferral while enhancing employee contributions, and helping to attract and retain top talent.

The Kravitz Atlanta office is located at 201 17th Street, Suite 300, Atlanta, GA. Regional Sales Director John Benton can be reached via email at John.Benton@Kravitzinc.com and 770-356-3018.

About Ascensus
Ascensus is the largest independent recordkeeping services provider, third-party administrator, and government savings facilitator in the United States. The firm delivers technology and expertise to help millions of people save for what matters most—retirement, education, and healthcare. For more information about Ascensus, visit ascensus.com. View career opportunities at careers.ascensus.com.

About Kravitz
Since 1977, Kravitz, an Ascensus company, has delivered the latest in design, administration, and management of corporate retirement plans. The company designed its first Cash Balance plan in 1989. Today Kravitz administers over 1,700 plans, including more than 950 Cash Balance plans, helping over 160,000 people retire successfully. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the company has offices in New York, Chicago and Atlanta, with satellite offices in 11 other states. Kravitz was acquired by Ascensus in 2017. Visit CashBalanceDesign.com.


Ascensus Appoints New Regional Vice President

Yen Nguyen Joins Sales Team to Support Financial Advisors and Their Clients in the South Texas Region

Dresher, PAAscensus—whose technology and expertise helps millions of people save for retirement, education, and healthcare—is pleased to announce the appointment of Yen Nguyen as regional vice president on the firm’s retirement plan sales team for the South Texas region.

In this role, Nguyen will work with financial advisors, third-party administrators, and financial institutions—including

institutional partners and DCIO (defined contribution investment only) sales representatives—to build and maintain Ascensus’ retirement plan distribution networks. She will report directly to Chad Brown, divisional vice president of the western region, retirement sales at Ascensus.

Nguyen brings over 12 years of retirement industry experience in sales and business development and has a proven track record in partnering with advisors to design retirement plan programs best suited to clients’ objectives. Prior to joining Ascensus, she served as a regional retirement director at Lincoln Financial and a senior retirement plan representative at Paychex. Nguyen earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Houston and holds her FINRA Series 6 and 63 designations.

“Yen has established herself as a retirement plan sales leader in South Texas who is viewed as a trusted expert by both financial advisors and business owners,” states Jason Crane, head of retirement sales at Ascensus. “By adding yet another talented regional vice president to our team, we’re pleased to demonstrate Ascensus’ continued commitment to helping Americans save for all of life’s most important events.”

About Ascensus
Ascensus is the largest independent recordkeeping services provider, third-party administrator, and government savings facilitator in the United States. The firm delivers technology and expertise to help millions of people save for what matters most—retirement, education, and healthcare. For more information about Ascensus, visit ascensus.com. View career opportunities at careers.ascensus.com.


Chard Snyder Appoints Ron Wetzel as Vice President of Operations

Seasoned Veteran Brings Substantial Operational Experience and a Value-Add Customer Experience Philosophy to Employee Benefit Solutions Firm

MASON, OH — Chard Snyder, a third-party administrator of employee benefit solutions and wholly owned subsidiary of technology-enabled retirement, education, and healthcare solutions provider Ascensus, is pleased to announce that Ron Wetzel has been appointed as vice president of operations. He brings over 15 years of experience to the Chard Snyder team and is well versed in customer operations, sales, client services, and leadership.

As vice president of operations, Wetzel will provide oversight and leadership for the administration, implementation, data, and customer service departments. Combining a hands-on approach with a value-add customer experience philosophy, he will lead teams in these departments to exceed expectations while creating exceptional experiences for their customers.

Prior to joining Chard Snyder, Wetzel held a variety of positions in the customer service field, building his skills as a strategic leader and honing his passion for performance management, leadership development, and employee engagement. In previous roles at US Bank and RDI Corporation, he was responsible for establishing strategic vision and goals for customer service while leading day-to-day operations.

Wetzel holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Bowling Green State University and has a certification in leadership from the Carnegie School.

“We are excited for Ron to join the Chard Snyder team,” said Barb Yearout, president of Chard Snyder. “His deep operational experience paired with his passion for collaboration and focus on leadership development will be a great addition to our organization.”

About Chard Snyder
Chard Snyder provides employee benefit solutions to nearly 1,500 employers in 40 states across the U.S. Chard Snyder administers savings and spending accounts (FSA, HSA, HRA, and commuter benefits), benefit continuation services (COBRA; retiree, direct, and other billing), and FMLA leave, and provides plan document services. Founded in 1988 by Ken Chard and Joy Snyder, the company employs 180 team members today. Chard Snyder is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ascensus and the anchor of its new Health division. Visit www.chard-snyder.com or call 800.982.7715 to learn more.

About Ascensus
Ascensus is the largest independent recordkeeping services provider, third-party administrator, and government savings facilitator in the United States. The firm delivers technology and expertise to help millions of people save for what matters most—retirement, education, and healthcare. For more information about Ascensus, visit ascensus.com.
View career opportunities at careers.ascensus.com and http://www.chard-snyder.com/about/careers/.


Ascensus TPA Solutions Expands Sales Organization to Offer Enhanced Regional Support and Enable Continued Growth

Clockwise from top left: Jim Houpt, Eric Sharp, Kasey Price, and Richard Tatum

Jim Houpt, Eric Sharp, Richard Tatum Named Divisional Vice Presidents; Kasey Price Named Head of Institutional Sales

Dresher, PA—Ascensus—whose technology and expertise helps millions of people save for retirement, education, and healthcare—is pleased to announce the appointments of Jim HouptEric Sharp, and Richard Tatum as divisional vice presidents and Kasey Price as head of institutional sales for the firm’s TPA Solutions business. Through this new structure, TPA Solutions will offer enhanced regional, consultative support to its retirement plan clients while expanding relationships with strategic recordkeeping and financial advisor partners.

In their new roles, the divisional vice presidents will be responsible for helping to create and implement strategies to improve the performance and reach of the TPA Solutions sales team. In addition, they will work closely with the sales team to consult with wholesalers and financial advisors whose prospective and existing small business clients could benefit from the support of a TPA in designing a retirement plan solution.

Jim Houpt, formerly of National Retirement Services, an Ascensus company, will be responsible for the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Central regions. Eric Sharp, formerly of PenSys, an Ascensus company, will lead the Northwest region. Richard Tatum, formerly of Avintus, an Ascensus company, will be responsible for the Southeast and Southwest regions. Collectively, these individuals bring over 75 years of retirement industry experience and extensive expertise in plan design, administration, actuarial services, and recordkeeping services.

“Jim, Eric, and Richard have each built extremely successful TPA practices prior to joining the Ascensus team,” states Jerry Bramlett, head of TPA Solutions. “We feel that they’re the ideal candidates to continue to move our business forward as we become the industry’s leading national TPA, backed by local expertise and personalized service.”

As head of institutional sales, Kasey Price, formerly of Retirement Strategies, Inc., an Ascensus company, will be responsible for managing, creating, and expanding relationships with financial advisors and the industry’s top-tier recordkeeping providers. She will also drive the development of comprehensive sales and marketing collateral to boost client and advisor awareness of TPA Solutions.

“Kasey has built an extraordinarily strong network within the industry and has a great sense of what key partners are looking for in a TPA alliance,” adds Bramlett. “As we continue to expand our footprint, these strategic alliances will become increasingly important to our continued success.”

“We’re looking forward to watching each of these well-established leaders step into their new roles and help us build a national sales force for TPA Solutions,” continues Bramlett. “By investing in new leadership to guide our talented sales consultants, we can help ensure that our business owner clients and key partners continue to receive the support they need to meet their objectives.”

 

About Ascensus
Ascensus is the largest independent recordkeeping services provider, third-party administrator, and government savings facilitator in the United States. The firm delivers technology and expertise to help millions of people save for what matters most—retirement, education, and healthcare. For more information about Ascensus, visit ascensus.com. View career opportunities at careers.ascensus.com/page/show/tpa and careers.ascensus.com.


Ascensus Expands Pacific Northwest Footprint with Agreement to Acquire Moran Knobel

Pending Transaction Also Includes Acquisition of San Diego-Based Means & Associates

Dresher, PA—Ascensus—whose technology and expertise helps millions of people save for retirement, education, and healthcare—has entered into an agreement to acquire Moran Knobel and its subsidiary Means & Associates. The third-party administration (TPA) firms will immediately become part of Ascensus’ TPA Solutions division.

Based in Bellevue, Washington, Moran Knobel provides retirement plan consulting and administration services for safe harbor 401(k), profit sharing, cash balance, defined benefit, 403(b), and all other ERISA-qualified plans. The firm also offers consulting and administration services for non-qualified and expatriate plans. Moran Knobel has administered plans for businesses that include medical groups, technology firms, and non-profit organizations for over 30 years. San Diego-based Means & Associates offers the same services as Moran Knobel, with additional expertise in Tribal government plans.

“Moran Knobel holds the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries (ASPPA) seal of excellence for third-party administrators, as certified by the Centre for Fiduciary Excellence, LLC (CEFEX),” states Jerry Bramlett, head of TPA Solutions. “This is the highest recognition in the industry; we’re proud to welcome the expertise and knowledge of Moran Knobel’s and Means & Associates’ experienced staff members to Ascensus.”

“At Moran Knobel, we’re proud of the fact that we can help clients with their retirement planning goals whether they’re looking to find a plan that best suits their needs or if they know exactly what kind of plan they want,” says Rich Sanidad, Moran Knobel’s president. “Along with Means & Associates, we’re looking forward to becoming part of Ascensus—a company that shares our dedication to providing personalized, caring client services that reflect the highest standard of quality.”

“We’re excited to grow our geographic footprint in the West and Pacific Northwest regions by bringing Moran Knobel and Means & Associates into the Ascensus family,” states Raghav Nandagopal, Ascensus’ executive vice president of corporate development and M&A. “Specifically, their track record of success and expertise in the tribal plan space—along with their defined contribution and defined benefit experience—will allow us to further strengthen and diversify our product offerings.”

“Their talented associates will be an excellent addition within our TPA Solutions division,” concludes Nandagopal.

About Ascensus

Ascensus is the largest independent recordkeeping services provider, third-party administrator, and government savings facilitator in the United States. The firm delivers technology and expertise to help millions of people save for what matters most—retirement, education, and healthcare. For more information about Ascensus, visit ascensus.com. View career opportunities at careers.ascensus.com/page/show/tpa and careers.ascensus.com.


Barb Van Zomeren Discusses OregonSaves Success

​In a recent arti​cle​​ published by BenefitsPro​​, SVP Barb Van Zomeren discusses the success of the OregonSaves program. “Participation rates have been better than expected, and the program has been received positively by employer groups,” said Van Zomeren. As of September 1, 2018, 1,160 employers have enrolled in the program, accounting for 39,284 employees, or 73 percent of workers eligible to participate. On average, monthly contributions to the IRAs is about $100, making for an average savings rate of 5.13 percent. Total assets in the program topped $6.7 million.


Ascensus Appoints New Regional Vice President

Todd Engman Joins Sales Team to Support Financial Advisors and Their Clients in the North Region

Dresher, PA—Ascensus—whose technology and expertise helps millions of people save for retirement, education, and healthcare—is pleased to announce the appointment of Todd Engman as regional vice president on the firm’s retirement plan sales team for the North region, covering Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

In this role, Engman will work with financial advisors, third-party administrators, and financial institutions—including institutional partners and DCIO (defined contribution investment only) sales representatives—to build and maintain Ascensus’ retirement plan distribution networks. He will report directly to Anthony Bologna, vice president of retirement sales at Ascensus.

Engman has more than 10 years of retirement industry experience in relationship management, business development, and sales. He most recently served as 401(k) regional sales director for Lincoln Financial Distributors and has also held positions at Ameriprise Financial and Baker Tilly Investment Advisors. Engman earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was recognized on NAPA’s Top 100 DC Industry Wholesalers list in 2017.

“Our financial advisors and their clients will benefit from Todd’s deep knowledge of retirement plans along with his strong strategy and communication skills,” said Jason Crane, head of retirement sales at Ascensus. “We’re fortunate to have him as part of our sales team in the North region.”

About Ascensus

Ascensus is the largest independent recordkeeping services provider, third-party administrator, and government savings facilitator in the United States. The firm delivers technology and expertise to help millions of people save for what matters most—retirement, education, and healthcare. For more information about Ascensus, visit ascensus.com. View career opportunities at careers.ascensus.com.


Ascensus Enters into Agreement to Acquire PenSys

Addition of Highly Respected TPA Increases Firm’s Scale and California Presence

Dresher, PA—Ascensus—whose technology and expertise helps millions of people save for retirement, education, and healthcare—has entered into an agreement to acquire PenSys. The third-party administration (TPA) firm will immediately become part of Ascensus’ TPA Solutions division.

Based in Roseville, California, PenSys is a nationally recognized TPA that specializes in the design, implementation, and administration of defined contribution, defined benefit, and cash balance retirement plans. The firm, which also offers 3(16) fiduciary services, has established a strong reputation for providing creative plan design and high quality service.

“PenSys is one of the most highly respected TPAs in the country due to their focus on designing plans to meet clients’ unique needs and their use of technology to enhance personal service,” says Jerry Bramlett, head of TPA Solutions. “Their addition to Ascensus TPA Solutions goes a long way toward helping us build a national TPA that offers a broad set of services and resources to financial professionals, employers, and employees.”

“Since 1995, we’ve worked hard to make PenSys a partner who understands what service really means to financial professionals, CPAs, and their current and prospective clients,” states Bryan Jacobson, PenSys’ chief executive officer. “We’ll continue to offer the best possible solutions for establishing and maintaining their retirement plans as part of Ascensus.”

“PenSys is a high integrity business with excellence in plan design, actuarial consulting, and 3(16) services complemented by their open-architecture business model,” says Raghav Nandagopal, Ascensus’ executive vice president of corporate development and M&A. “This acquisition not only expands our California footprint significantly, but also adds to our capabilities to service clients nationally. We are delighted to welcome their clients and associates to the Ascensus family.”

About Ascensus

Ascensus is the largest independent recordkeeping services provider, third-party administrator, and government savings facilitator in the United States. The firm delivers technology and expertise to help millions of people save for what matters most—retirement, education, and healthcare. For more information about Ascensus, visit ascensus.com. View career opportunities at careers.ascensus.com.