Aston Asset Management of Chicago, announced it promoted Joe Hays to a national sales manager. Hays is a managing director of Aston, overseeing mutual fund and managed account sales. He will also lead its external sales team.

First Midwest Securities in Bloomington, Ill., announced it hired J. Eric Hagler as its president. Previously, Hagler was general counsel for Los Angeles-based Cromwell, Weedon & Co.

Great West Retirement Services of Greenwood Village, Col., hired Steve Shea to take on the newly created position of director of business development. Previously, he held sales leadership positions for Boston-based John Hancock Financial, in the Kentucky and Ohio markets.

Highland Capital Management in Dallas hired Clay Shumway as director of its business development group. Shumway was vice president of business development and investor relations for Newcastle Capital Management.

Moneta Group, which is based in Clayton, Mo., has hired Betsy Dow and Patrick Howley 3rd. Previously, they worked for Wells Fargo, and began their careers at A.G. Edwards.  

Neuberger Berman Group in New York City appointed Chris Biotti as head of its private wealth management business in Boston. Biotti, 42, held a similar position at the firm's San Francisco office.

Putnam Investments in Boston, named Scott Sipple head of strategic relationships, in which he will communicate with the asset management platforms of major wealth management firms.

Thornburg Investment Management in Santa Fe, N.M.,  promoted four of its employees to managing directors: Greg Dunn, Lon Erickson, Susan Nauman, and Cliff Remily. Dunn, Erickson and Remily are all associate portfolio managers, and Nauman is a senior equity trader.

Jackson National Life, a Lansing, Mich., unit of Prudental plc, promoted Mark Nerud to president and chief executive officer of Jackson National Asset Management. Susan Rhee was promoted to senior vice president and general counsel of Jackson Fund Services. Previously, Nerud was president of Jackson National Asset Management and Jackson Fund Services. Rhee was assistant vice president and associate general counsel for Jackson, and chief legal officer for JNAM.

Asset Dedication of Mill Valley, Calif., announced that it appointed Tony Parkin director of advisor solutions. He was a regional vice president of business consulting at San Jose, Calif.-based Bellatore.