Honorable Mention

Annuity distribution expert Scott Stolz joins SIMON; TIAA private equity affiliate raises $6.4 billion in new capital; MetLife unit in longevity reinsurance deals with Legal & General; Thrivent promotes two new senior managers; MRA Associates joins CAPTRUST; Financial illiteracy costs Americans $415 billion in 2020: NFEC; Lincoln partners with Morningstar on 401(k) managed accounts.

Annuity distribution expert Scott Stolz joins SIMON

Scott Stolz, CFP, RICP, has joined SIMON Annuities and Insurance Services LLC as Head of Insurance Solutions. The former president of Raymond James Insurance Group, will be responsible for expanding the reach of SIMON’s annuities platform across new channels and will play an integral role in the development and release of new analytics and design capabilities as the insurtech platform achieves new scale.

Stolz joins SIMON with more than 35 years of experience in the insurance industry, industry-wide recognition for his leadership, and an aligned vision for delivering a simplified pre- and post-sale experience for financial professionals. He most recently served as President of the Raymond James Insurance Group, Global Wealth Solutions, overseeing Annuities & Insurance.

Prior to his 15½-year tenure with Raymond James, he served as Senior Vice President of Jackson National Life, Vice President of North American Security Life, and Senior Vice President of SunAmerica. Stolz earned both a BSBA and MBA from Washington University in St. Louis, with a focus in Finance.

A frequent contributor to industry publications on insurance-related topics, Stolz has authored articles featured in Financial Advisor magazine, ThinkAdvisorResearch magazine, and Investment News. He is an active leader who appreciates the opportunity to volunteer his time for social and professional causes, dedicating time each year to SunCoast United Way, and formerly serving on the boards of the Insured Retirement Institute, LIMRA’s Retirement Institute, and as a Board Trustee for the American College of Financial Services.

TIAA private equity affiliate raises $6.4 billion in new capital

Churchill Asset Management, an investment-specialist affiliate of TIAA-owned asset manager Nuveen, raised more than $6.4 billion of new committed capital in 2020, more than doubling its 2019 fundraising figures, with an additional $2.2 billion expected to close in the first quarter of 2021, the private equity financing specialist announced this week.

The firm’s investment teams closed and/or committed more than $6 billion in new investments across 229 distinct transactions in 2020, despite the slow down in second quarter deal flow due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a release. The firm is focused on “private equity-backed businesses that maintain a defensible market position.”

Churchill specializes in middle market financing, including origination, structuring, underwriting, syndication, and deal monitoring and oversight. The firm has invested $36 billion in private capital across more than 960 transactions. With over $27 billion of committed capital, it provides first lien, unitranche, second lien and mezzanine financing, in addition to equity co-investments and private equity fund commitments.

MetLife unit in longevity reinsurance deals with Legal & General

Metropolitan Tower Life Insurance Company, a subsidiary of MetLife, Inc., announced this week that it completed four United Kingdom longevity reinsurance transactions with Legal & General Assurance Society Limited in 2020.

Under the agreements, Metropolitan Tower Life Insurance Company will provide reinsurance to Legal & General for longevity risk associated with a combined total of approximately $2 billion of pension liabilities.

Thrivent promotes two new senior managers

Nikki Sorum has been named senior vice president of Thrivent Advisors and Luke Winskowski has been promoted to senior vice president of Advice and Wealth Management, the financial services giant Thrivent announced. 

Thrivent recently launched a new brand and national advertising campaign, and is expanding its distribution capabilities, said Mary Jane Fortin, chief commercial officer at Thrivent, in a release.

Sorum will lead Thrivent’s career network of financial professionals as well as the remote channel. Her team also will focus on related business areas, including practice management and leader development. Sorum was previously senior vice president of membership at Thrivent.

Winskowski will lead the newly created Advice and Wealth Management organization. He will oversee advice delivery, product solution wholesaling and sales support, health protection solutions, and custody and brokerage services. He will continue to be vice president and head of the Thrivent Advisor Network, Thrivent’s platform for independent investment advisors.

MRA Associates joins CAPTRUST

CAPTRUST Financial Advisors has added Phoenix-based MRA Associates. The 59-person firm brings $3.29 billion in assets under management to CAPTRUST.

Founded in 1991, MRA provides investment advisory, wealth management, and tax consulting for private clients and institutions. The firm is led by Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer, Mark Feldman and the Executive Leadership Team comprised of Brad Lemon, Christina Burroughs, and Mike Hirte and includes 55 advisors and staff.

MRA also brings to CAPTRUST a new service offering: income and estate tax compliance and consulting services for individuals, families, trusts, and related closely held operating businesses and entities.

Since 2006, CAPTRUST has added 44 firms. Consistent with previous firms that have joined, MRA’s locations in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Wayzata, Minnesota will now take on CAPTRUST’s name and branding.

Financial illiteracy costs Americans $415 billion in 2020: NFEC

Among the 1,548 respondents divided into six different age groups, American adults each lost $1,634 on average in 2020 due to lack of money management knowledge, according to a 1,548 responses to an end-of-year survey by the National Financial Educators Council.

The NFEC survey posed a single question: “During the past year (2020), about how much money do you think you lost because you lacked knowledge about personal finances?” For the complete survey results conducted between December 30, 2020 and January 3, 2021, visit: https://www.financialeducatorscouncil.org/financial-illiteracy-costs/.

By extrapolating these results to represent the 254 million adults in the US, NFEC estimated that financial illiteracy cost the country’s citizens more than $415 billion in 2020.

The 2020 data ($1,634 per adult) was a significant increase from 2018 ($1,230) and 2019 ($1,279) surveys.  The total cost for the adult population in 2019 (240 million) was $309 billion.  The 2020 data accounted for a population increase of 14 million more adults.  If the 2019 population data were used today, it would show an increased cost of adult Americans $85 billion more than last year.

About one in five (21.6%) survey respondents said they had lost more than $2,500 in 2020 because of lacking personal finance knowledge. Just over 40% reported losing more than $500 due to this knowledge gap. This figure was calculated by averaging the total number of respondents selecting each category, using the lowest number in each range.

The NFEC has been conducting the survey for five years. In a 2016 NFEC survey, US adults indicated that they had lost an average of $9,725 across their lifetimes due to lack of financial knowledge; one in three respondents reported lifetime losses over $15,000. Nearly 25% of participants said they had lost more than $30,000 across their lives because of this knowledge lack, which underscores just how important teaching financial literacy can be.

Deficits in personal finance capability increase people’s risk of incurring bank fees, facing high interest rates on loans and credit cards, and losing money in investments. It should be noted that the survey results may represent an underestimate of actual losses, since people may lack financial knowledge but remain unaware of their lost opportunities.

Lincoln partners with Morningstar on 401(k) managed accounts

Lincoln Financial has added an Advisor Managed Accounts service, which enables a retirement plan’s registered investment advisor (RIA) to create plan-specific investment portfolios and leverage the proprietary portfolio assignment process from Morningstar Investment Management LLC, according to a release this week.

These personalized investment programs, offered through the Lincoln Alliance program, enable the RIA to use each plan participant’s age and plan balance, among other information, to create the portfolios used by the program.

“The Advisor Managed Accounts service complements and builds on our suite of custom asset allocation products, such as YourPath,” said Ralph Ferraro, senior vice president, Retirement Plan Products and Solutions, Lincoln Financial Group, in a release.

More than half of plan sponsors offer a managed account option in their plans, the release said, and this number is likely to increase. Morningstar Investment Management found that, even after accounting for age and income, more than 70% of off-track participants (participants with a less than 70% chance of achieving retirement income goal) studied increased their savings rates after using managed accounts.

Morningstar Investment Management provides the technology platform that allows the RIA to create plan-specific portfolios, then matches each participant with an unique asset allocation, and acts as fiduciary for the participant portfolio assignment process. Advisor Managed Accounts can be offered as the Qualified Default Investment Alternative (QDIA), with the plan sponsor designating it as the QDIA for all participants, or on an opt-in only basis, so each participant can actively choose the service.

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