To increase its presence in the bank channel for adviser-sold business, Russell Investments has promoted John Harrell and Paul Izzo to the newly created positions of national account executive.

"We've positioned John and Paul to marshal their experience and insights in working with investment professionals who are focused on providing affluent individuals and business owners with solutions to the financial issues they face throughout their lifetimes," said Pamela Dawson, head of bank channel distribution at Russell.

"Both of these well-connected professionals bring the skills we need to build out the bank channel for Russell and, more importantly, to offer top-level, dedicated resources to our partners in the field," she continued.

Harrell, a 20-year veteran of financial services, has been with Russell since 2010 as a regional director. He was previously a managing director and Western division sales manager at Symetra Financial Corporation, where he was instrumental in the expansion and development of the financial institutional division, including the installation of Symetra's solutions at more than a dozen major bank programs.

Izzo joined Russell in 2009 as a regional director after having served as a regional vice president at AXA Equitable.

"There's a lot of well-tailed experience within our growing bank channel team, and we're organized now to more effectively focus on a tremendous opportunity for Russell," Dawson said.


HighTower Hires Morgan

Adviser Team in Virginia

Adviser-owned financial services company HighTower Advisors has hired a three-member Morgan Stanley Smith Barney financial adviser team in Vienna, Va.

The new team, which operates under the name VWG Wealth Management, includes John Verfurth, Richard Weeks and Jeff Grinspoon. They will each serve as managing directors and partners at HighTower.

Verfurth comes to HighTower after 16 years at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. Weeks joined Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in 2001, after having served at Legg Mason Wood Walker since 1994. Grinspoon also joined Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in 2001 from Legg Mason, which he first joined in 1998.

The new hires mark the latest addition for Chicago-based HighTower, which has about 24 teams nationally. The firm plans to expand nationally in cities including Atlanta, Boston, Washington, San Diego, Los Angeles and Scottsdale, Ariz., HighTower Managing Director of Business Development Mike Papedis has said that High-Tower typically targets the top two or three teams in an area with more than $300 million in assets under management.

In a wealth management hiring study released by financial services research firm Aite Group in June, roll-up strategies like HighTower's were met with a mixed reception by brokers looking to go independent. Of the wirehouse breakaways, 71% indicated a high level of interest in the roll-up model, which often comes with an ownership stake in the firm. Only 13% of non-wirehouse brokers looking to go independent expressed the same level of interest in that model.


Pery Joins Citi as Global

Head of OpenCollateral

Citigroup has hired Fergus Pery as global product head of OpenCollateral, its collateral management offering. This is a new position at Citi that the firm created in response to the growing focus on counterparty exposure and the changing regulatory environment.

Pery joins Citi from JPMorgan Chase and brings extensive industry and product expertise. In his new role, Pery is responsible for both technical sales and product management globally for OpenCollateral.

Based in London, Pery reports to Rajen Shah, global head of collateral management for Citi's securities and fund services. Shah is also head of securities finance for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

"We are very pleased that Fergus has joined our organization," said Neeraj Sahai, global head of securities and fund services within Citi's global transaction services. "His experience and knowledge of the collateral management industry will be an asset to our clients as we continue to build innovative solutions in this space."

Citi launched OpenCollateral in 2009 to augment its OTC derivatives service.


Berman Now Director

For Great-West Retirement

Great-West Retirement Services has appointed Mark Berman, a veteran sales executive with more than 20 years of experience, as regional sales director for its Great Lakes market, based in Chicago.

Berman will work with defined contribution plans with at least $50 million in assets in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. He replaces Dan Schatz, who moved to a similar position in Texas.

"We're please to have a person with Mark's skills and experience as part of our sales team," said Chris Cumming, senior vice president of defined contribution markets at Great-West, in charge of 401(k) business at the larger end of the market.

"He understands the adviser, consultant and plan sponsor communities and takes the initiative to both meet their needs and address their longer-term wishes," Cuming said.

Berman was previously with Marshall and Ilsley Trust Co., where he was a vice president and sales director. Previously, Berman held defined contribution and sales positions at Principal Financial and ABN Amro.

"We've experience strong sales growth in our national 401(k) and healthcare market retirement businesses," Cumming added. "With the addition of Mark and national sales hires scheduled for later this year, we're poised to enjoy additional growth in all parts of the country." MME

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