Speaker Bios

A woman wearing a suit.

Leading from the Front Lines

Wednesday, April 3

Matt Ahmann

MODERATOR

Senior Director, State Government & Policy Affairs, Transamerica, and Vice Chair, IRI State Affairs Committee

Matt Ahmann is the Senior Director, State Government and Policy Affairs for Transamerica, part of the Aegon Group of companies. Aegon is one of the world’s largest financial services companies serving more than 20 million customers.

With more than 20 years of experience in the insurance and retirement industries, Matt advocates for Transamerica’s legislative and regulatory interests to state legislators and insurance departments nationwide.

Matt joined Transamerica from Principal Financial Group, where he led a team responsible for covering state legislative and regulatory developments across the U.S. as Assistant Vice President for State Government Relations. He earned his bachelor’s degree in social sciences from Mount Marty University and his Juris Doctor degree from William & Mary Law School. He resides in Tucson, Arizona.

Josh Linkner

The Music of Business

Tuesday, April 2

Donne Atis

Senior Vice President, Business Relationship Management, Broker Dealer, Global Atlantic Financial Group

Donnie Atis leads Global Atlantic’s Partner Experience team for the BD and Bank channels. His organization is focused on building strong relationships with internal and external partners across all distribution channels to enhance the service experience for Global Atlantic’s Life and Annuity partners.

He joined the company in March 2017. In his prior role, Donnie spent 14 years in various leadership roles within Morgan Stanley’s Annuity and Insurance operations management team. Donnie’s first-hand experience and in-depth industry insight into the challenges faced by distributors brings enhanced value to our distribution partners. Donnie has led many industry working groups and initiatives, serving as the Operations Manager Roundtable (OMR) distributor chair in 2014, making him an ideal internal advocate for our distribution partners. He is a member of the Insured Retirement Institute’s Ops & Tech Senior Steering Committee, served as the 2022 Chair and currently serves as Co-Chair for the Experience Subcommittee. Donnie is also a member of Global Atlantic’s Benefits Committee. Donnie has a bachelor’s in business management from Bloomfield College and a Series 99 FINRA registration.

Outside of work, Donnie enjoys time with his wife Lovely and their 3 kids. He is also an accomplished pianist and collector of vintage keyboard instruments.

Jason Berkowitz

Be-Labor-ing the Point

Wednesday, April 3

Decision 2024

Wednesday, April 3

Opening Remarks

Thursday, April 4

Jason Berkowitz

MODERATOR

Chief Legal & Regulatory Affairs Officer, Insured Retirement Institute

As Chief Legal & Regulatory Affairs Officer at the Insured Retirement Institute, Jason Berkowitz provides leadership and support for IRI member company priorities before federal and state policymakers, including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Department of Labor (DOL), the state insurance and securities departments, and state legislatures.

Berkowitz leads industry efforts on major regulatory initiatives applicable to the lifetime income industry and is the primary author of IRI’s comment letters regarding various regulatory proposals. He led IRI’s engagement with respect to the DOL fiduciary rule, and he remains at the forefront of IRI’s engagement on standard of conduct activities at the SEC, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), and across the states.

Berkowitz joined IRI in October 2012, serving as the association’s Vice President & Counsel for Regulatory Affairs until March 2019, when he was promoted into his current role. Berkowitz started his career as a corporate attorney at two prominent national law firms before transitioning into government affairs for the Hartford Life Insurance Company.

A woman wearing a suit.

Leading from the Front Lines

Wednesday, April 3

Sara Bodnar

Assistant Director Annuity Compliance, Principal

Sara Bodnar is the Assistant Director of Annuity Compliance for Principal Financial Group. Principal Financial Group is A FORTUNE 500® Company known for innovative ideas and real-life solutions that help customers make financial progress, no matter their income or portfolio size.

In this role, Sara is responsible for oversight of the regulatory compliance for Principal Life Insurance Company’s (PLIC) individual annuity offerings. Sara partners closely with the operations and product development departments at Principal to provide regulatory input while bringing new products to market. She also oversees the supervision and oversite programs designed to identify deficiencies in annuity related policies and procedures. This includes internal and third-party distribution partner programs.

Sara previously served as an Operation Manager for Securian Financial Group’s Broker Dealer. There she was responsible for the suitability review program, ensuring all new business was processed in accordance with SEC and FINRA broker dealer rules and Best Interest regulations. Sara also chaired the Best Execution Committee, Co-chaired Reg-BI implementation, served on the Sales Practice and Regulatory Risk Governance Committee, and was selected as a Cultural Champion, a committee to provide feedback to Executive Leadership to create a culture that attracts and retains top talent.

Sara has also served as a Senior Compliance Analyst at Wealth Enhancement Group and a Financial Advisor at Wells Fargo Advisors, FINET. In addition to her broad experience in the investment industry, Sara enjoys getting involved in supporting her colleagues by taking on positions in various Employee Resource Groups to represent service members and their families as well as women’s initiatives. She enjoys supporting her community through participation in her local chapter of General Federation of Women’s Clubs where she’s served as Secretary and will serve as President in the next selection cycle.

Dr. Wendy Borlabi

KEYNOTE SPEAKER

High-Performance Expert, Director of Performance and Mental Health, Chicago Bulls

Widely respected as an innovator in unlocking high performance in teams and individuals, Dr. Wendy Borlabi possesses expert-level understanding of the mental aspects of peak performance and works alongside the world’s top athletes to help them reframe their mindsets to reach their full potential. She is the director of performance and mental health for the Chicago Bulls where her mindset-centered philosophy to mastering your field is embedded in the team’s success and prevalent at all levels of the organization and its culture.

Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau, Dr. Borlabi leads a compelling exploration of the parallels of high performance in sports and business and shares adaptable strategies organizations and individuals can implement to execute at a championship level. She breaks down what separates elite performers from super elite performers, empowers audiences to move away from a psyche in which mood is a deciding factor in achievement, and shares mindset-shifting tools and behaviors anyone can apply to address anxiety and mental barriers, make progress toward their goals, and create an environment suited to optimal productivity and innovation on the path to success.

A leading sports psychologists and performance coach plying her trade to maximum impact with the Chicago Bulls, Dr. Borlabi is also an independent consultant with the NBA and is the founder of performance psychology firm Borlabi Consulting, through which she advises organizations in any industry on teamwork, elevating mental toughness, and inspiring unwavering confidence in their teams. Previously, she served as senior sports psychologist for the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), preparing the country’s top athletes for dominant performances at two Winter Olympics and one Summer Olympics. Prior to her work with the USOC, Dr. Borlabi was a senior athletic consultant at James Madison University (JMU) and spearheaded the development of the sports psychology department as a division of JMU’s athletic department.

Dr. Borlabi regularly shares her insights on mindset and high performance in leading media outlets, including ESPN, CBS Sports, CNN, and Chicago Sun-Times. In addition to serving on Under Armour’s Human Performance Council and as an advisory board member for Class Acceleration Corp, she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in sports psychology and sports management at the University of Arizona Global Campus’ Forbes Business School. Dr. Borlabi earned her B.S. in psychology from Southwestern Oklahoma State University, followed by an M.S. in kinesiology from Georgia Southern University, and a doctorate in clinical psychology from Argosy University.

Scott Bowers

Chief Strategy & Distribution Officer, FIDX

As the Chief Strategy and Distribution Officer, Scott leads the strategic approach to client and prospect relationships. Scott is responsible for building FIDx’s partnerships with insurance carriers, OIDs and leading distribution firms.

Prior to joining FIDx, Scott was the head of BlackRocks dedicated Retirement Insurance (RI) Sales Team. He also worked with the Strategic Alliance Group working with Life Insurance and Defined Contribution clients. Before that, Scott was a variable annuity specialist at ING working with Financial Professionals as well as managing relationships with sub-advisors for INGs internal sales department.

Scott received a BA and an MBA with a concentration in Finance from the Goldey-Beacom College School of Business.

Christina Brady

Opening Remarks

Wednesday, April 3

Christina Brady

Chief Operating Officer, Insured Retirement Institute

Christina is Chief Operating Officer of the Insured Retirement Institute. With more than 15 years of experience managing membership-driven businesses, she is passionate about bringing strategy to life, delivering outsized value to customers, and building unparalleled workplace culture. At IRI, Christina oversees the organization’s strategy, finance, operations, IT, HR, communications, and research functions.

Prior to joining IRI in 2020, Christina served as chief of staff to the CEO and managing director of operations for the Advisory Board Company, a 500-person research organization within Optum and under the banner of UnitedHealth Group (UHG). In this role, she led operations for a business focused on research, market trends, and best practice sharing in the health care industry. An expert in operational outcomes and strategy setting, the organization achieved record profit margins, launched several new product lines, and laid the groundwork for a multi-phase strategy pivot under Christina’s leadership.

Prior to her years in operations and strategy, Christina worked in research roles, exploring how U.S. hospitals and health systems can implement best practices to advance their organizational goals. During this time, Christina worked in and led several custom research teams in addition to facilitating research on health system strategic planning.

At IRI, Christina has continued to build on these skills and experiences. Her passion for aligning organizational strategy to maximize member value and her laser-focus on the organization’s mission ensures IRI pivots where members most need support, while her background in research has been instrumental in expanding IRI’s content partnerships.

Wayne Chopus

Innovating for Annuities

Wednesday, April 3

Phillip Brzenk, CFA

Managing Director, Global Head of Multi-Assets Indices, S&P Dow Jones Indices

Phillip Brzenk is Global Head of Multi-Asset Indices at S&P Dow Jones Indices (S&P DJI). His team is responsible for the product management of multi-asset, volatility and options indices, which cover a variety of outcome-oriented index solutions including managed volatility, asset allocation, retirement-focused, options strategies and liquid alternatives.

Prior to his current role, Phillip was a Senior Director in the Strategy Indices team, where he was responsible for product coverage of alternate beta strategies, including factor-based indices, dividends and volatility, as well as quantitative, thematic and asset-allocation strategies. Phillip has held various roles in other departments at S&P DJI including research and design, strategy index management, custom and development.

Phillip is a CFA charterholder and a member of the CFA Society New York. He has a bachelor’s from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Man standing against a glass wall in a dark suit with blue shirt and red tie.

Annuity Innovations

Wednesday, April 3

Stefan Buchanan

Technical Director Annuity Product, Nationwide Financial

Stefan is currently the Product Strategy and Business Development Leader for Nationwide’s Traditional Variable Annuity product line. His responsibilities involve appropriately managing the P&L of the product line, while ensuring Nationwide’s lineup of VA solutions remain competitive in the marketplace, including the evaluation of where, when, and how to accelerate Sales results.

Prior to his current role, Stefan also held the same position for Nationwide, but with a focus on developing and growing the Carrier’s Advisory Product Strategy post its 2017 acquisition of Jefferson National.

Before joining Nationwide in January 2015, Stefan served as a Financial Planner for a Private Wealth Management firm, where he served high and ultra-high net worth individuals and institutions.

Stefan, who currently resides in the greater Columbus, Ohio area, earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree, double majoring in Accounting and Finance at Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio, before going on to complete his Masters at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.

Wayne Chopus

Lost in the Maze?

Wednesday, April 3

Joe Caruso

Assistant Vice President, Government Relations and Public Policy, Jackson, and Vice Chair, IRI Securities Committee

Joe is the Director of Government Relations and Regulatory Policy at Jackson. In his role, he leads federal and state policy initiatives while working collaboratively to advance Jackson’s business interests and monitor and implement regulatory and legislative changes that impact the business. Prior to Jackson, Joe worked at several trade groups representing various aspects of the financial services industry including investment advisers, retirement plan service providers, and investors into private equity (i.e., LPs).

Joe graduated from Allegheny College with a bachelor’s degree in political science and earned a master’s degree in public policy and management (M.S.P.P.M.) from Carnegie Mellon University. He also received a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Last May, he graduated with distinction from Georgetown University Law Center’s Securities and Financial Regulation Master of Laws (LL.M.) program. Joe is a member of the Exchequer Club of Washington D.C. and serves as Vice Chair of the Insured Retirement Institute’s (IRI) securities committee.

Wayne Chopus

Welcoming Remarks

Tuesday, April 2

A View from the Top

Tuesday, April 2

Leadership in Action

Thursday, April 4

Closing Remarks

Thursday, April 4

Wayne Chopus

MODERATOR

President & CEO, Insured Retirement Institute

Wayne Chopus is President and CEO of the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI), the leading association for the entire supply chain of insured retirement strategies. The association champions retirement security for all through leadership in advocacy, awareness, research, the advancement of digital solutions, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within a collaborative industry community.

Upon joining IRI in 2019, Chopus initiated a reorganization to amplify the association’s longstanding strengths and position it to take on new challenges. Under his leadership, IRI has advanced several critical advocacy objectives, including two major retirement security laws and a significant consumer protection regulation for financial advice professionals.

Under his leadership, IRI also added a new strategic pillar for DEI and a unique initiative to advance digital solutions across the annuity transaction process. Chopus revised IRI’s conference and events strategy to improve member engagement and focused IRI’s research and media communications efforts to extend the association’s reach and thought leadership.

Since Chopus joined IRI, professional organizations have recognized the association’s advocacy and marketing efforts, and Chopus was named a “Top Lobbyist” by The Hill, a notable and respected Washington, D.C. periodical.

Chopus is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Committee of 100 and a board member of Capital Area Asset Builders, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping low- and moderate-income individuals build financial security, savings, and wealth for the future.

Before IRI, Chopus rose to be a respected retirement income industry executive over nearly three decades with Prudential Financial and The Hartford, two of the nation’s major life insurance companies. He held executive leadership positions in sales, strategy, and business intelligence. He employed this experience to lead teams using data and technology to drive new business opportunities. He is widely recognized for his expertise in annuity product distribution and broker-dealer engagement.

Chopus lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, Caroline, and daughters, Lily and Hannah.

Wayne Chopus

Exploring AI

Wednesday, April 3

Megan Claypool

Senior Vice President & Chief Compliance Officer, Athene

Megan Claypool is the Senior Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer at Athene. Athene is a leading retirement services company that specializes in helping its customers retire with confidence and is a solutions provider to institutions.

Megan has spent over 20 years in the insurance and retirement services industry, both in legal and compliance roles. In her current role, she oversees compliance for Athene’s business domestically, including the United States life insurance business, and internationally. This includes compliance oversight of financial institutions, suitability, product filing, complaint handling, agent business practices, market conduct, financial crime, sanctions, third-party oversight, record retention and training.

Prior to joining Athene’s predecessor companies, Megan was in private legal practice. She earned both her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Iowa.

Megan is Chair-Elect of the Board of Directors for The Compliance & Ethics Forum for Life Insurers (“CEFLI”). CEFLI provides a forum to serve the needs of the life insurance industry’s compliance and ethics professionals.

Katherine Dease

MODERATOR

Chief Technology & Innovation Officer, Insured Retirement Institute

Katherine Dease is the Chief Innovation and Technology Officer for Insured Retirement Institute. She is responsible for setting the vision and strategy to drive the industry forward alongside CEO, the board, and the member firms. She oversees all aspects of the operations and technology innovation initiatives and works cross-functionally with all divisions of IRI and the member firms to collaboratively ensure the execution of goals and priorities.

Katherine holds more than 23 years of product development, product management, and business development experience within the financial services industry. Katherine has published many papers to advance the industry, posts regularly on LinkedIn, and has spoken as a thought leader at IRI, NAILBA, ACORD, and many other industry conferences.

Before joining IRI, Katherine held leadership positions at Insurance Technologies, including Chief Product Officer; positions as Chief Compliance Officer, VP of Product Management & Integrations at Communications Intelligence Corp; and Senior Director of Product Development at Ebix.

Cheri DeBoer-Stinson

MODERATOR

Director of Business Development, Cooperative Technologies

As a Replacement Automation Evangelist, Cheri has helped dozens of industry partners with replacement automation initiative adoption strategies. Since 2005 she has been actively engaged in numerous industry workgroups and initiatives, with a focus on replacement automation. For Six years Cheri chaired or co-chaired the IRI Replacement Automation Working Group, which vetted and delivered industry initiatives that automate and streamline replacements. Additionally, Cheri has authored several articles, continues to contribute in IRI automation working groups, is a speaker and discussion leader on insurance industry replacement processing.

Cheri oversees business development, client relationship management, and product operations for Cooperative Technologies (CT). CT is the premier provider of exchange / replacement solutions, including the 1035YellowPages Ceding Carrier Database.

Red haired man in a dark suit and tie.

A View from the Top

Tuesday, April 2

Bruce Donaldson

President & Chief Executive Officer, Simplicity Group

Mr. Donaldson serves as Simplicity’s President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Donaldson is responsible for defining the Group’s strategic direction and managing its various operating businesses.

Adam Ducorsky

Product Manager, iPipeline

Adam Ducorsky is Senior Director of Product Management at iPipeline, a leading global provider of comprehensive and integrated digital solutions for the life insurance and financial services industries in North America, and life insurance and pensions industries in the UK. In this role, he oversees the AFFIRM®, Laser App, and IFS Wealth Products within the company’s portfolio, and plays a pivotal role in driving the success of these products, with a focus on product strategy, innovation, roadmap development, and fostering customer adoption. After listening to crucial customer feedback, Adam became the driver of creating OneView™, a breakthrough solution that empowers agents/advisors with a unified and real-time view of their carrier’s order statuses, all in one convenient location.

Adam joined iPipeline from Morgan Stanley, where he spent more than 16 years in various leadership roles of increasing responsibility in project management and operations. He has a BS in business/management information systems from the University of Buffalo and resides in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area.

When he’s not working, Adam enjoys spending time with his family, watching football, and doing woodworking. One of his proudest projects was building a home office.

Wayne Chopus

The SEC Regulatory Landscape

Wednesday, April 3

Lost in the Maze?

Wednesday, April 3

Harry Eisenstein

Attorney at Law, Carlton Fields, P.A.

Harry Eisenstein is a regulatory lawyer with more than two decades of experience in insured investment products, including serving as senior special counsel in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Investment Management.

In his 25-plus-year career with the SEC, Harry has been at the forefront of both traditional and innovative investment products and is regarded as a subject matter expert on filings for, and interpretive questions related to, registered index-linked annuities. As the point person for these products since their introduction in 2010, Harry has been deeply involved in the development and implementation of new filing review procedures, effectively shaping the way in which the SEC and industry approach such products. His notable contributions include spearheading the development of standardized disclosure comments for non-variable insurance products generally, training SEC staff on the mechanics of and legal issues arising from these products, and serving as the primary drafter of what are now standardized SEC letters allowing insurers to use statutory accounting principles in place of generally accepted accounting principles in preparing financials statements filed in registration statements for these products. He imparts the insight gained from this experience to clients, providing guidance to drive their proposals expeditiously and foster a proactive approach to regulatory challenges.

In addition, Harry has a wealth of professional experience, including serving with the Chief Counsel’s Office, in legal issues arising under the Investment Company Act with respect to variable insurance products and investment companies generally.

Wayne Chopus

Exploring AI

Wednesday, April 3

Kaitlin Elliott

Head of the Wealth Management Generative AI Solutions Team, Morgan Stanley

Kaitlin is an Executive Director in the Wealth Management Analytics, Data & Innovation Division based in New York City. She leads the Wealth Management Generative AI Solutions Team, which focuses on implementing cutting-edge Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) models. In this capacity, she is accountable for establishing rigorous protocols to assess generative AI model outputs and ensure alignment with organizational goals. Kaitlin collaborates closely with cross-functional teams and stakeholders to customize and optimize generative AI model performance, and serves as a key relationship manager, maintaining strategic partnerships with AI industry leaders to keep the Morgan Stanley Wealth Management organization at the forefront of generative AI developments.

Kaitlin graduated from Providence College with a Bachelor of Arts in History and has been with Morgan Stanley since 2015. Kaitlin was named to the Morgan Stanley MAKERS Class of 2024 which is awarded to women who are advocates, mentors, trailblazers and champions for women inside and outside the Firm.

Ryan Kagy

Innovations in Annuities

Wednesday, April 3

Michael Eustic

Head of US Insurance & Subadvisory, Invesco and IRI Board of Directors

Michael Eustic is the National Sales Director of Insurance Intermediaries for the Third Party Sales Division at Invesco. In this role, he leads the firm’s product innovation and distribution strategies for insurance and annuity investment solutions. Mr. Eustic has been involved in the diversification of solutions offered by Invesco to include indexes for RILA and FIA products. He has also focused on the development of VI funds for use in traditional variable annuity products. Most recently, this included the launch of a series of buffered VITs. As Head of Third Party Distribution, Mr. Eustic manages a dedicated team of full-time insurance sales professionals. His team works with executives, senior leaders, analysts, field sales, and key home office personnel, sharing insights, research, strategies, and tools built to help clients meet their investment and distribution goals.

Mr. Eustic joined Invesco when the firm combined with OppenheimerFunds in 2019. His role at OppenheimerFunds included being head of insurance/sub-advisory sales and national accounts. Prior to joining OppenheimerFunds, he was director of sub-advisory and retirement for Lord Abbett. Before that, he spent 13 years with AllianceBernstein as director of sub-advisory business development. Earlier in his career, Mr. Eustic was a financial professional for UBS (PaineWebber) in New York City. Since joining the industry in 1995, Mr. Eustic has had experience as a financial professional, wholesaler, relationship manager, national sales manager, and head of insurance. Through this broad experience, he aims to offer his clients a unique perspective and range of knowledge.

Mr. Eustic earned a BS degree in business administration with a major in finance from the University of Rhode Island. He holds the Series 7, 24, 51, and 63 registrations.

Andrew Farrell

MODERATOR

Senior Vice President, Retirement Sales, Distribution, & Marketing, Retirement Division, Symetra Financial

Drew Farrell is the Senior Vice President of Retirement Sales, Distribution, and Marketing for the Retirement Division at Symetra Financial. With over thirty of broad financial services experience, he oversees the national wholesaling and distribution for Symetra’s Retirement Division. In addition, he is the President of Symetra’s institutional broker dealer, Symetra Securities Inc.

Farrell joined Symetra in 2010; he previously served as Director of Sales for the retirement division at Mass Mutual Financial Group, and has held related VP and executive level positions in the insurance and financial services industry.

Farrell attended the University of Minnesota and Regis University where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts and Irish Studies. He went on to receive his MSJ, Master of Jurisprudence, with a specialization in Financial Services Law from Seton Hall Law School. He has served on the Board of Directors as Treasurer for the Washington and Alaska chapters of the Make-a-Wish Foundation and on the Board of Directors as President for LifeWire, a nonprofit dedicated to victims of domestic violence. He currently serves as a Board Member for Junior Achievement of Washington, a nonprofit that prepares young people for success in their career and in life, and as Treasurer for the Coalition for Equity in Wholesaling (CEW), a nonprofit dedicated to building a diverse wholesaler workforce and providing pathways to long-term career success.

Susan Fiengo

Managing Director, Head of Customer Experience & Analytics, Global Atlantic Financial Group

Susan Fiengo is the Managing Director, Head of Individual Markets Marketing at Global Atlantic. In her role, Susan is responsible for defining, enabling, and
improving the digital experiences our customers have along their journey with Global Atlantic. This includes the enablement of digital service channel alternatives
and the development of a unified digital experience across insurance product lines.

Susan has an extensive operational background having had responsibility for annuity end-to-end operations. She joined the company in January 2014 with the
acquisition of Forethought Financial Group, after having been part of The Hartford’s domestic annuity business acquired by Forethought in 2013.
Susan has 20 years of extensive financial services experience in mutual funds and annuities. At The Hartford, she was Chief of Staff for the domestic annuity business,
prior to which she held a wide range of leadership positions.

Susan holds a bachelor’s degree in Management and an MBA, both from the University of Connecticut, as well as Series 6 and 26 FINRA registrations.

Daniel Gutman

MODERATOR

Vice President, Platform Strategy, Prudential Financial

Dan Gutman is a leader on Prudential’s Future Growth Initiatives team within Retirement Strategies. This team is focused on delivering retirement income in brand new ways to expand access to retirement security across the U.S. Dan’s focus is on retail wealth management opportunities which include RIA distribution, fintech platform partnerships, and new product innovation. Prior to this role, Dan has held a multitude of leadership roles across Prudential at the intersection of distribution and technology, from leading teams of relationship managers and financial advisors, to managing key account relationships and developing tech-forward capabilities. Dan has a passion for innovation and helping financial advisors utilize technology and financial planning to help their clients retire with dignity.

Throughout his 14 years at Prudential, Dan has been a tech evangelist and distribution leader, most recently serving as VP of Platform Strategy where he developed many of Prudential’s external platform relationships while managing the RIA distribution team. Previously he held the role of vice president of strategic relationship management, where he managed Prudential’s key account relationships in the advisor channel. Prior to this, Dan held the role of director of sales technology for Prudential where he provided value-added programs and in-market technology training to financial professionals and their customers. In this capacity, Dan would typically deliver 300 – 350 field meetings with over 10,000 attendees annually at conferences, educational forums, and industry events throughout the country. Prior to this role, he served in various capacities within sales, digital marketing, and business intelligence for Prudential Annuities.

Dan holds a Digital Media Marketing Certificate from NYU and a certification in salesforce.com administration. Dan earned his bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University, with a double major in economics and business. He currently resides in the greater NYC area where he has a passion for playing piano and pursuing philanthropic endeavors for Huntington’s Disease and other charities.

Man standing against a glass wall in a dark suit with blue shirt and red tie.

Annuity Innovations

Wednesday, April 3

Tom Haines

Executive Vice President, Capital Markets & Index Solutions, Annexus

Tom leads the index diligence and selection process for Annexus and coordinates the firms relationships with asset managers, academic experts and investment banks in conjunction with Annexus’ carrier partners. Tom is also one of the lead architects of the Lifetime Income Builder TDFs at Annexus Retirement Solutions (ARS). In his role within ARS, Tom works closely with the insurers and asset managers that partner with ARS on implementing the Lifetime Income Builder within portfolios and funds. Prior to joining Annexus, Tom led Equities Solutions Structuring at UBS Investment Bank. He began his career in index and statistical arbitrage trading within BNP Paribas’ Cooper Neff Division (Paris office) before serving as vice president in the Exchange Traded Products (ETPs) Group at NYSE Group and head of ETPs and Derivative Product Solutions at RBS. Tom’s research on index products has been published in top financial journals. He formerly served as a member of FINRA’s Investment Management Committee. Tom holds a bachelor’s degree in Quantitative Finance from James Madison University in Virginia.

Michael Herron

Vice President, Sales Operations, Lincoln Financial Distributors

Michael Herron is Vice President of Sales Operations for Lincoln Financial Distributors (LFD), the wholesale distribution and marketing franchise for Lincoln Financial Group. In this role, Michael is responsible for overseeing strategic and transformative initiatives to increase distribution effectiveness, expand distribution reach and drive sales growth across product lines. He also leads end-to-end digital integrations for LFD, including onboarding new partner relationships and developing and implementing processes and digital solutions to support LFD’s sales team and external distribution partners.

Michael has more than 29 years of experience in the financial services industry, with expertise in leveraging technology and digital resources to maximize results and achieve strategic objectives. He joined Lincoln in 1994 and has held numerous leadership roles across the Lincoln enterprise.

He currently serves as vice chair of the Securities Industry Institute Executive Education Program, offered in partnership with the Wharton Executive Education and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA). He completed the Securities Industry Institute Executive Education Program from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He graduated from North Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science degree.

Keren Herzberg

Senior Vice President, Strategic Solutions, Symetra Life Insurance Company

Keren Herzberg is the Senior Vice President of Strategic Solutions for Symetra Life Insurance Company. She joined Symetra 16 years ago, leading teams in annuity operations where she learned about value annuities provided to customers, the important role distribution partner relationships play in the journey, and the pain points that are felt across the value stream. Over time, technology and operations teams became aligned and her current responsibilities include Retirement Division ecosystem transformation, Enterprise CRM implementations across all divisions and the Partner Experience journey for the enterprise. By keeping the customer and partner experiences in the center with a digital first lens, her business and technical teams are charged with leading top enterprise initiatives for Symetra to achieve strategic outcomes.

A woman wearing a suit.

Leading from the Front Lines

Wednesday, April 3

Courtney Hess

Associate General Counsel, Corebridge Financial

Courtney Hess is Associate General Counsel, Regulatory Affairs, for Corebridge Financial. Corebridge Financial is one of the largest and most established providers of retirement solutions and insurance products in the United States.

In her role, Courtney is responsible for the company’s management of state insurance market conduct examinations, inquiries, and regulatory reporting. Courtney also leads regulatory monitoring and change management efforts for the company’s legal department. Courtney collaborates closely with internal stakeholders across business and functional areas, government affairs, and compliance to promote positive outcomes in advocacy of company positions and implementation of regulatory changes.

Prior to joining Corebridge Financial, Courtney held legal, compliance, and legislative affairs positions with the State of Tennessee Department of Treasury, supporting and advising the State’s defined benefit and deferred compensation plans, risk management program, and unclaimed property division.

Courtney received her Juris Doctorate degree and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Economics and Public Policy from Vanderbilt University, where she is actively engaged through the Reunion Committee. Courtney also serves on the Board of Directors of High Hopes Development Center, a Nashville-area nonprofit pediatric therapy clinic and preschool serving children with special needs.

A woman wearing a suit.

Leading from the Front Lines

Wednesday, April 3

Jesse Hill

Principal, Policy, Regulatory and Government Relations, Edward Jones, and Chair, IRI Advocacy Steering Committee

Jesse Hill is a principal in the Legal division who leads Government and Regulatory Relations. In this role, he is responsible for developing and implementing the firm’s public policy initiatives and interactions with key regulatory and elected officials. He also leads the Grassroots Task Force, a group of financial advisors and branch office administrators from all 50 states who are dedicated to making the voice of the individual investor heard in our nation’s capital. He has held both roles since 2013.

Jesse began his Edward Jones career in 1996 as an attorney in the firm’s Compliance Service department, where he worked to ensure branch compliance with industry and government regulations. In 1998, Jesse moved to the division’s Regulatory department and shifted his focus to reviewing pending state legislative and regulatory initiatives and worked with state securities regulators to communicate the firm’s views.

Jesse was named director of regulatory relations in 2002 and an Edward Jones principal in 2004. As director of regulatory relations, Jesse led the firm’s efforts to develop and maintain relationships with the firm’s regulators, monitor and communicate new regulatory and legislative initiatives, respond to regulatory inquiries and manage the firm’s regulatory examinations.

Jesse grew up on a family farm in Danvers, Ill., and graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor’s degree in finance. He attended law school at the University of Missouri-Columbia and is a member of the Missouri Bar Association.

He is a long-suffering supporter of the University of Illinois athletic program and enjoys getting outdoors with his wife, Karen, and their children, Reid, Parker and Avery.

Jesse is a member of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) Government Representatives Committee. He also serves on the board of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry and on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness Leadership Board.

Sean Hurd

Vice President, Merrill Annuity and Insurance Operations, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch

Sean joined Merrill Lynch in 2005 and has held various leadership positions since joining the firm. Current responsibilities include overseeing Annuity and Life Insurance operations, and he has prior experience with leading various groups within the Mutual Fund and Alternative Investment product segments. Sean represents Merrill in multiple industry settings including the DTCC Senior Advisory Board, IRI Operations and Technology Senior & Distributor Advisory Steering Committees, ACORD Product Advisory Council and the Operations Managers’ Roundtable (OMR). Prior to joining Merrill, Sean worked at Prudential Financial in various leadership capacities across multiple product lines for twelve years. Sean is FINRA Series 7, 63, and 24 registered, serves as an officer for Merrill Lynch Life Agency and works out of the Jacksonville, Florida home office.

Jordan Jackson

Head of Institutional Annuity Distribution, Raymond James/PCN

Jordan Jackson has been part of the Raymond James team since 2014, beginning as an external annuity consultant. In 2019, he was promoted to divisional manager and, in 2020, he took over responsibility for managing Insurance Solutions’ team of external annuity consultants nationally. More recently, Jordan was promoted to Head of Annuity Distribution, with responsibilities encompassing annuity education, strategy and distribution efforts at Raymond James and elsewhere in the institutional channel.

Prior to joining Raymond James, Jordan was an attorney practicing civil defense litigation in Chicago, representing businesses, banks, and other large corporations. He holds a B.B.A in finance from Grand Valley State University and a J.D. from Michigan State University College of Law.

Greg Jaeck

Senior Product Leader Annuities, Edward Jones

Gregory Jaeck joined Edward Jones in 2017 as the Senior Product Leader of annuities. In this role, he oversees annuity product management for all Edward Jones’ annuity distribution. This accounts for over $82 billion in assets under management and over $8.5 billion in annual sales.

Prior to joining Edward Jones, Greg was the head of Annuity Product Development for Northwestern Mutual. There, he was responsible for annuity product strategy and product positioning for Northwestern Mutual’s entire manufactured annuity solutions.

At Northwestern, Greg created and led the vision of creating innovative income products to help clients achieve financial security in retirement. Greg led the development of the first participating income products (SPIA, DIA, and QLAC) in the industry, allowing annuity clients to benefit from participation in the company’s mutual dividend structure.

Greg graduated from the University of Wisconsin Madison with a BS in Economics/Mathematics and received his MBA from Marquette University. Greg is also a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).

Woman wearing glasses and a dark shirt.

A View from the Top

Tuesday, April 2

Jasmine Jirele

President & CEO
, Allianz Life Insurance Company

Jasmine Jirele became President and CEO of Allianz Life in 2021. Her leadership experience spans strategy, product innovation, marketing, operations, and digital and experience management. From 2018 to 2021, Jirele served as Allianz Life’s chief growth officer, where she was responsible for defining the company’s growth strategy, including its expansion into new markets, and leading product innovation, marketing, communications, Allianz Ventures and enterprise agile. She has held various leadership roles in marketing, product innovation and operations at Allianz Life, and has also served in executive roles at Wells Fargo Bank’s Consumer Bank and Wealth and Investment Management divisions.

Jirele serves on the boards of the American Council of Life Insurers, the Minnesota Business Partnership, YMCA of the North, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, LIMRA LOMA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. She holds a B.A. in business and journalism from the University of St. Thomas and an MBA from Hamline University.

Ryan Kagy

Innovations in Annuities

Wednesday, April 3

Ryan Kagy

Senior Strategic Account Manager, Invesco

Ryan Kagy is a Senior Director for Strategic Accounts at Invesco. In this role, he is responsible for the development of new business and client relationship management with institutional platforms offering retirement, insurance and wealth management products.

Mr. Kagy joined Invesco in 2018. Prior to joining the firm, he worked at PIMCO for over 15 years, most recently as a senior vice president and account manager responsible for
relationship management with insurance and retirement clients.

Mr. Kagy earned a BA degree in economics from the University of California, Davis and an MBA from the University of California, Irvine, Paul Merage School of Business. He holds the Series 3, 7 and 66 registrations.

Man standing against a glass wall in a dark suit with blue shirt and red tie.

Speaking Their Language

Wednesday, April 3

Michael Lee

Financial Advisor, Prudential

Michael has been in financial services for 19 years and began his career with Prudential Advisors in 2005. He has held a variety of positions within the company, including Manager, Financial Services. He is passionate about collaborating with clients and serving as a trusted resource to help them navigate their financial challenges such as: retirement planning, social security planning, minimizing taxes, college education planning, estate planning, insurance reviews and business and corporate planning for executives/owners.

Michael holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Ohio Dominican University and is also a graduate of Oak Hills High School in 2001. He has been a part of Prudential’s Presidents Conference and the Million Dollar Round Table (Top of the Table) as well as volunteering his time at the Ronald McDonald House, The Matt Haverkamp Foundation, Payton’s Lemonade Stand, The First Tee and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Michael and his wife, Andrea, live in Cincinnati, Ohio with their daughters Brooklyn and Maddie. He enjoys spending time with their friends and family at their summer lake house in Williamstown, KY.

Josh Linkner

The Music of Business

Tuesday, April 2

Josh Linkner

KEYNOTE SPEAKER

Serial Entrepreneur, New York Times Bestselling Author, and Venture Capital Investor

Josh Linkner — a New York Times bestselling author — is a rare blend of business, art, and science.

On the business front, he’s been the founder and CEO of five tech companies, which created over 10,000 jobs and sold for a combined value of over $200 million. He’s the co-founder and Managing Partner of Muditā (moo-DEE-tah) Venture Partners — an early-stage venture capital firm investing in groundbreaking technologies. Over the last 30 years, he’s helped over 100 startups launch and scale, creating over $1 billion in investor returns. He’s twice been named the EY Entrepreneur of The Year and is the recipient of the United States Presidential Champion of Change Award.

While proud of his business success, his roots are in the dangerous world of jazz music. He’s been playing guitar in smoky jazz clubs for 40 years, studied at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, and has performed over 1,000 concerts around the world.

His experiences in both business and music led him to become one of the world’s foremost experts on innovation. Josh is the co-founder and Chairman of Platypus Labs, a global research, training, and consulting firm. Today, he’s on a mission to help leaders Find A Way™ through creative problem-solving, inventive thinking, and ingenuity.

Wayne Chopus

Lost in the Maze?

Wednesday, April 3

Keith Mancini

MODERATOR

Vice President, Government Affairs, Empower

Keith Mancini is Vice President of Government Affairs for Empower. In his role, he monitors state and federal legislation and regulation that is relevant to internal and external stakeholders of Empower. He also represents the organization in advocacy groups.

Keith joined the firm in 2004. He has experience with all retirement plan types and previously worked in the Empower legal department, where he provided legal and compliance support for the development of group annuity, lifetime income, and stable value investment products.

Keith holds a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and a Juris Doctor degree from Stetson University College of Law. He is licensed to practice law in Colorado. Keith is also a board member of the Colorado Life & Health Insurance Protection Association.

Wayne Chopus

Lost in the Maze?

Wednesday, April 3

Ben Marzouk

Partner, Eversheds Sutherland

Ben is an investment services partner who counsels broker-dealers, investment advisers, investment funds, and insurance companies on securities regulations.

Ben’s expertise in securities regulation includes Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) laws, rules, and regulations, as well as state securities and insurance laws. He represents securities issuers and intermediaries in raising capital and navigating the complex rules for both public and private securities offerings.

With a deep knowledge of emerging trends in the financial services and asset management industries, Ben’s regulatory experience extends to digital assets, financial technology (FinTech) developments, cryptocurrency regulation, and the impact of blockchain technology on securities markets.

Ben routinely advises financial institutions on compliance with anti-money laundering (AML) laws and regulations, corporate mergers and acquisitions, rules surrounding changes in ownership, written supervisory procedures, and compliance programs. Ben also has more than 10 years’ experience counseling financial institutions on the distribution of a wide variety of investments, such as equities, bonds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, private funds, fixed and variable insurance contracts, business development companies, cannabis-related investments, and other alternative investments.

Before joining Eversheds Sutherland (US) as an associate, Ben participated in the firm’s Summer Associate program in 2010, where he assisted with financial services matters. He previously worked as an analyst for a global consulting firm where he conducted an analysis as part of a large-scale restructuring of the United States Army’s financial branch.

Beth Maziad

Senior Vice President, Operations & Administration, Raymond James

Beth Maziad is Senior Vice President, Insurance Solutions within the Raymond James Global Wealth Solutions division. Insurance Solutions encompasses insurance and annuities for both Raymond James owned insurance agencies— Producers Choice Network and Raymond James Insurance Group. In her role, Beth oversees operations for the two divisions to ensure our advisors, agents and clients receive world class support. Her responsibilities also include collaborating with Raymond James technology and our carrier partners to maintain our industry leading efforts in the insurance and annuity space which have included many firsts—annuity confirms, DTCC file transmissions, annuity order entry and e-signature. Raymond James Insurance Group provides the back-office support for insurance and annuity products for over 8,700 financial advisors affiliated with Raymond James & Associates, Inc. and Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Producers Choice Network is a wholesaler for fixed and index annuities and life insurance products both within Raymond James and also for our outside broker/dealer, bank, RIA and independent agent relationships.

Beth’s 40 years in the industry have all been with Raymond James. Beth is insurance licensed in the state of Florida and holds FINRA Series 7 and 26 registrations. She is a LOMA Fellow, Life Management Institute (FLMI), Associate in Insurance Agency Administration (AIAA), Insurance Regulatory Compliance (AIRC) and Customer Service (ACS). In addition, she is an active participant in various insurance industry groups including IRI’s Operations & Technology Committee and its Senior Steering Committee, DTCC’s Senior Advisory Board and Data Strategy Advisory Council, and the Life Operations Managers Roundtable. Her mission is to get us to a fully automated process where we are transmitting the data needed to issue annuity and insurance policies efficiently, quickly and without forms.

Wayne Chopus

Decision 2024

Wednesday, April 3

Rick Murphy

Partner, Forbes Tate Partners

Rick Murphy is a Partner at Forbes Tate Partners. Rick started his political career in 1992 working for then-New Hampshire Governor Judd Gregg’s (R-NH). Rick served as the chief field operative, where he led efforts to organize each county in the state and advanced the Governor ahead of each of his campaign stops. After working for former Senator Gregg through his first term, Rick left the Senate to start his own lobbying firm, R. B. Murphy & Associates, LLC, which he ran for 15 years. Rick returned to the Senate in 2014 as Chief of Staff to former Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH). He oversaw a staff of forty people to ensure that the Senator’s constituent services and legislative operations were carried out effectively to benefit New Hampshirites.

Paula Nelson

Leadership in Action

Thursday, April 4

Paula Nelson

Treasurer & Secretary, Managing Director & Head of Strategic Growth, Global Atlantic Financial Group and Treasurer & Secretary, IRI Board of Directors

Paula Nelson, Head of Strategic Growth of Individual Markets, is responsible for exploring new markets, distribution, and products to identify the right opportunities for Global Atlantic to advance and grow. She joined Global Atlantic in 2010 to lead the organization’s annuity distribution organization. She later assumed the role of President of Retirement for Global Atlantic, responsible for the organization’s overall annuity business.

Paula has more than 35 years of experience in the financial services industry. She is on the Executive Board for the Insured Retirement Institute and the CEO Steering Committee on Consumer Issues for the ACLI, two of the industry’s leading trade organizations.

Paula joined Global Atlantic from Forethought. Previously, she had served as Chief Executive Officer and President of Transamerica Capital, Inc. and Managing Director for AEGON Financial Services Group, Inc., where she was responsible for business development with AEGON’s top institutional business partners in the United States.

Paula is a graduate of the University of Minnesota. She is Series 6, 26 and 63 FINRA registered and holds a life and health insurance license in Minnesota.

Frank O'Connor

Annuity Innovations

Wednesday, April 3

Frank O’Connor

MODERATOR

Vice President, Research, Insured Retirement Institute

Frank is Vice President of Research at IRI. Prior to joining IRI, Frank was a product manager for Asset Manager Annuity Solutions at Morningstar, Inc., and held various positions at Morningstar since joining the firm with Morningstar’s 2005 acquisition of VARDS, including leading development of the Variable Annuity Database and the Morningstar Annuity Research Center/Annuity Analyzer tool suite, and product management roles in Morningstar’s Licensed Data and Data Redistributor business lines.

Prior to joining VARDS and Morningstar, Frank worked in insurance based executive benefits consulting from 1997 to 2001.

Frank holds an MBA with Finance Concentration from The John H. Sykes College of Business at the University of Tampa and a BA in International Relations from the University of South Florida. Frank resides in Roswell, GA with this wife Allison and children Ryan and Sarah and is an avid runner and Peloton addict.

Tom Roberts

Be-Labor-ing the Point

Wednesday, April 3

Jamie Ohl

President, Individual Solutions, Transamerica and IRI Board Member

Jamie is President of Transamerica’s Individual Solutions division. She leads all aspects of Transamerica’s individual life and annuity business lines. In addition, she leads the growth and expansion of Transamerica’s wholesale and retail distribution for life insurance, annuities, and mutual funds, along with the affiliated networks of World Financial Group (WFG), Transamerica Agency Network (TAN), and Transamerica Financial Advisors (TFA). She was appointed to this role in March 2022.

Jamie is a proven leader with over 30 years of industry experience. She has an outstanding reputation for managing complex transformations and successfully growing businesses. She personifies focus, determination, and a winning spirit that is inspiring in a leader.

Before joining Transamerica, Jamie held several senior leadership positions, including Executive Vice President of Lincoln Financial Group, President of Workplace Solutions, and Head of Operations and Brand. She was principal at Edward Jones, president of Tax-Exempt Markets at VOYA Financial, Inc., and president of Wilshire Funds Management at Wilshire Associates Incorporated. She also served in leadership roles at The Hartford and AIG VALIC.

Earning a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Nebraska and a Bachelor of Science degree in business management from LeTourneau University, Jamie and her husband now live in Cody, Wyoming. Jamie and her husband enjoy spending time with their dog, Petra and fly fishing.

Phil Pellegrino

Leadership in Action

Thursday, April 4

Phil Pellegrino

Managing Director, Head of Wealth Planning & Insured Solutions, UBS Financial Services, Inc., and Chair, IRI Board of Directors

Phil joined UBS in December 2001. He is responsible for the firm’s financial planning offering, insurance and annuities platform, third party trust solutions platform, IRA, 529 and Donor Advised Funds platforms. Phil’s team of product managers, sales specialists and wealth planners support financial advisors in delivering comprehensive planning services and advice-based solutions to help clients build, protect and transfer wealth.

Before joining UBS, Phil worked for Salomon Smith Barney, a unit of Citigroup’s Global Corporate and Investment Bank, where he held home office positions supporting financial consultants and institutional money managers. Phil began his career as a financial advisor with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in New York.

Phil has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in finance from the College of New Jersey. He holds several FINRA securities licenses. Phil serves as the Board Chair of the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI).

Phil resides in Hoboken, New Jersey, with his wife and two children.

Paul Richman

Decision 2024

Wednesday, April 3

Paul Richman

Chief Government & Political Affairs Officer, Insured Retirement Institute

Paul has many years of extensive experience working in government and the private sector, where he has directed federal and state government affairs programs. Paul is the Chief Government and Political Affairs Officer at the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI). He leads the association’s legislative and political strategy for all efforts before Congress and the Administration. In this position at IRI, Paul played a pivotal role in enacting two of the most comprehensive retirement security laws in over a decade, the SECURE Act of 2019 and the SECURE 2.0 Act of 2022.

Paul was recognized in 2022 and 2023 by Washingtonian Magazine as one of the “Most Influential People Shaping Policy” in the area of business and labor. Paul also has been recognized by Association Trends as a leading lobbyist and innovator who has helped further the mission of IRI and by The Hill as one of the top lobbyists for associations on Capitol Hill. He also was chosen as one of the “Top 20 in 20” advocates by the Advocacy Association for his leadership and innovation to help advance the profession through thought leadership and mentoring the advocacy community.

IRI also recognized Paul’s advocacy leadership in 2023, where he was the first recipient of the newly created IRI’s Chairman Award in recognition of his efforts to advance IRI’s mission. His work for IRI was also acknowledged by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) when IRI received a “Power of A” Gold Award for Advocacy in 2020 and 2023 and its “Power of A” Silver Award for Advocacy in 2021.

Before joining IRI, Paul served as the Vice President of Government Affairs at the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations; the Director of Federal Affairs for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs at NSI, Inc. a national government affairs firm representing fortune 500 clients; and Vice President of State Government Affairs at the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Paul also has had a distinguished career in public service. He served in senior policy-making positions during the Clinton Administration at the White House in the Office of the Vice President and the U.S. Department of Labor in the Secretary’s office. Before coming to Washington, DC, Paul served as the Special Counsel for Economic Development to former New York governor Mario M. Cuomo.

He is a lawyer admitted to practice in New York. He received his Juris Doctor degree from Cardozo School of Law and his Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude from Brooklyn College, City University of New York.

Man standing against a glass wall in a dark suit with blue shirt and red tie.

Speaking Their Language

Wednesday, April 3

Innovations in Annuities

Wednesday, April 3

Adam Rivituso, CIMA®, CFP®

National Director, Sales & Business Development, Invesco U.S.

Adam Rivituso is National Director, Sales and Business Development for Invesco’s U.S. Insurance and Sub-advisory division at Invesco. In this role, he leads a team of field consultants located around the US, focused on leveraging Invesco’s investment and practice management message across institutional and retail sub-advisory clients. His team works with executives, senior leaders, analysts, field sales, and key home office personnel to share insights, research, strategies, and tools to help clients meet their investment and distribution needs. He is also responsible for business development opportunities within the U.S. Insurance and sub-advisory marketplace.

Adam joined Invesco in 2017. Prior to his current role, he served as vice president and Market Leader for the Northeast. Before joining the firm, he served as a vice president at Scout Investments, regional sales director at Columbia Threadneedle Investments, and regional vice president at The Phoenix Companies. Adam has been in the industry since 2006. Adam earned a BS degree in international business from the University of Rhode Island. He is a Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA) and Certified Financial Planner® (CFP) professional. Adam holds the Series 6, 7, 24, 63, and 66 registrations.

Tom Roberts

Be-Labor-ing the Point

Wednesday, April 3

Tom Roberts

Principal, Groom Law Group

Thomas Roberts is a Principal with the Groom Law Group in Washington, D.C. where he is a member of the Retirement Services practice group. Tom concentrates his practice in ERISA fiduciary matters and has more than 25 years of experience in advising retirement plans as well as insurance and annuity providers, banks, and other financial institutions on ERISA fiduciary and related legal matters.

Tom has a broad and deep background in the retirement services industry, having spent much of his career prior to joining Groom as in-house counsel to a major annuity and record keeping services provider.

Tom has played a key role in helping to shape the regulatory landscape through written comments and testimony and has held leadership positions in a number of industry trade associations.

He is a frequent speaker on the ERISA-related developments and other regulatory changes that affect retirement services providers.

Steve Scanlon

MODERATOR

Managing Director, Head of Individual Retirement, Equitable and IRI Board of Directors

Steve Scanlon is Head of Individual Retirement at Equitable and a member of Equitable’s Operating Committee. In this role, he is responsible for driving strategy of the Individual Retirement business across distribution, product, inforce portfolio, M&A, capital, and strategic relationships.

Prior to his current position, Steve was Head of Group Retirement at Equitable, responsible for strategy, implementation and financial results for the defined contribution business, supporting the education, government and corporate markets. His key accomplishments include pioneering new ways to reach and support educators amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, enhancing Equitable Financial’s portfolio and forging innovative partnerships.

Prior to joining Equitable, Steve was the co-founder of GuardVest, a fintech startup. He also held several leadership roles with AllianceBernstein, serving as Managing Director of Bernstein Global Wealth Management, Head of Global Sales AB Defined Contribution, and Senior Vice President and Head of AB Insurance Subadvisory Services after starting his career at Wood Logan.

Steve graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia and currently resides in Kansas City, MO with his three children.

Man in a dark suit with grey tie.

A View from the Top

Tuesday, April 2

Andrew Schlossberg

President & CEO, Invesco Ltd. (USA)

Andrew Schlossberg is President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Invesco and a member
of the Invesco Ltd. Board of Directors.

Mr. Schlossberg has been in the asset management industry since 1996 and has been with Invesco Ltd. since 2001. He has served in multiple leadership roles across the company’s businesses and locations. Prior to becoming President and CEO, Mr. Schlossberg served as Senior Managing Director and Head of Invesco’s Americas region. Prior to that role, he was based in Invesco’s UK office as Senior Managing Director, Head of EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) and Chair of the Board of Invesco UK Limited. Before the UK, he served as Head of US Retail Distribution and Global ETFs and was US Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Global Corporate Development. He has also held leadership roles in strategy and product development in the company’s North American Institutional and Retirement divisions. Prior to joining Invesco, Mr. Schlossberg worked with Citigroup Asset Management and its predecessors from 1996 to 2000. He currently serves on the Board of Governors and the Executive Committee of the Investment Company Institute.

Mr. Schlossberg earned a BS degree in finance and international business from the University of Delaware and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Wayne Chopus

Decision 2024

Wednesday, April 3

Rachel Stanley Nguyen

MODERATOR

Assistant Vice President, Federal Government Relations, Principal, and Vice Chair, IRI Government Affairs Committee

Rachel seeks to advance the company’s advocacy efforts before members of Congress and the executive branch. Relying on her extensive expertise, she provides support for the company’s tax and retirement savings initiatives and issues.

Prior to joining the company in 2015, Rachel served as a legislative director and tax counsel for Congressman Ron Kind. For several years she had a broad tax practice at Bond, Schoeneck, and King, in Syracuse, New York and then at Bloomberg BNA, in Washington, DC.

Rachel earned a bachelor’s degree in English and German from Whitman College, a Juris Doctor (J.D.) cum laude from Syracuse University, and a Master of Law (LL.M) in taxation from New York University. She is a member of several industry organizations including the American Benefits Council, the American Council of Life Insurance, Business Roundtable, Financial Services Roundtable, Investment Company Institute, Securities Industry and Financial Markets association.

Wayne Chopus

Innovating for Annuities

Wednesday, April 3

Kelsey Stokes

Sales Head, Insurance, S&P Dow Jones Indices

Kelsey Stokes is Director, Multi-Asset Index Sales at S&P Dow Jones Indices (S&P DJI), responsible for collaborating with institutions and internal stakeholders to develop S&P DJI’s multi-asset index business. In this role, she works closely with banks and insurance carriers to identify the multi-asset indices best suited for their needs and objectives. Previously, Kelsey led institutional marketing at S&P DJI and was tasked with furthering the conversation around index-linked investing, trading and institutional benchmarking.

Prior to joining S&P DJI, Kelsey oversaw equity and alternative index derivatives marketing globally for CME Group.

Kelsey graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and she is currently pursuing an MBA at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Scott Stolz, CFP, RICP

Managing Director, Annuities Solutions, iCapital

Managing Director of Annuities Solutions at iCapital, Scott is helping to create the annuity industry’s first one-stop platform for every aspect of an advisor’s annuity business. Prior to joining iCapital, Scott served as the President of Raymond James Insurance Group for 15 years. In that capacity, he was responsible for Insurance and Annuity Sales, Marketing, Operations and Due Diligence for Raymond James, a company with 9000+ financial advisors. Before joining the distribution side of the business, Scott spent over 20 years in various sales, marketing and operations capacities at Jackson National Life, AIG/SunAmerica and North American Security Life.

A frequent speaker and panelist on any topic related to annuities, Scott has served on the Executive Committee of IRI, been a board member of LIMRA’s Secured Retirement Institute and served as a Trustee for the American College of Financial Services. Scott is the author of “Unlocking the Annuity Mystery: Practical Advice for Every Advisor,” available on Amazon. He received both his MBA and BSBA in Finance from Washington University in St. Louis.

Kelly A. Tate, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®

Financial Advisor, Edward Jones

I joined Edward Jones in 2008 and spent 12 years in the St. Louis HQ in various roles: leading Annuity Products, Individual Retirement (IRA) products, and Experienced Advisor Recruiting for the Central U.S. I realized I can best serve others by directly helping them as a financial advisor. When I was asked to relocate to Overland Park, KS in 2019 to fill an urgent need, my family and I immediately accepted the opportunity.

In my experience, I can say Edward Jones always puts the client first and makes decisions with the client’s interests in mind. We’ve taken that approach since long before it was an industry requirement!

In my practice, we specialize in working with women investors and couples where the woman wants to take an active role in the family’s financial strategy. My clients are business owners and professionals who value trusted relationships with their life team, on which I serve as quarterback.

Wayne Chopus

Be-Labor-ing the Point

Wednesday, April 3

Joseph Toledano

Managing Director, Head of Insured Solutions Group, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and IRI Board Member

Joseph Toledano is currently a Managing Director, Head of Insured Solutions for MS Wealth Management & E-Trade Platform’s. This includes managing business development activities across Annuities, Life & Health and Property & Casualty insurance product lines. His team’s focus on developing carrier relationships, consummating due diligence on a carrier & product level and leading education efforts within the sales distribution team. Joseph currently participates as a board or advisory committee member to numerous lobbying & trade organizations including LIMRA, IRI, MMI & DTCC.

Joseph has over 20 years of experience at Morgan Stanley & Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in business line management, financial reporting and business development. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Joseph was employed at Bankers Trust Company.

 

Joseph is a Finance and Investment graduate of Bernard M. Baruch College where he also received his M.B.A. He is a Series 7, 24, 63 and is a Property, Casualty, Life and Health Licensed Representative.

Joseph lives in New Rochelle, NY with his wife and two young children. In his spare time, Joseph dedicates his time working with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Westchester Day School.

Corey Walther

Leadership in Action

Thursday, April 4

Corey Walther

President, Allianz Life Financial Services, LLC, and Vice Chair, IRI Board of Directors

As president of Allianz Life Financial Services, Walther is responsible for the business results, strategic direction, sales execution and distribution for several Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life®) product lines including annuities and ETFs into multiple channels. In this role, he leads a team of Retirement Consultants dedicated to helping advisors grow their practice by helping individuals and families achieve asset growth, sustainable retirement income, and long-term financial independence.

While at Allianz Life, Walther has held several senior leadership roles in distribution and marketing, including Chief Operating Officer for Allianz Life Financial Services. Prior to joining Allianz Life in 1998, Walther was an investment executive at RBC, where he built a successful financial planning practice focused on small-business owners and high-net-worth individuals.

Walther holds an MBA from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management, as well as a BS from Minnesota State University Moorhead. He serves on the Board of the Carlson Consulting Enterprise, a unique management consultancy and academic program that brings the brightest student minds to bear on significant business challenges for premier companies. Walther serves as a board member at the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) and is the co-leader for the Money Management Institute (MMI) Annuity & Insurance Solutions Community. Walther also serves as a Board Member of Invest in Others, a charitable foundation that amplifies the philanthropic work of financial advisors and their firms to make a difference in communities across the United States and around the world. As an advocate for diversity, inclusion and financial literacy, he actively serves on various Allianz Life committees focused on furthering these efforts. Walther enjoys spending time with his wife, Janeen, and three children, and he is an avid runner.

Be-Labor-ing the Point

Wednesday, April 3

Brian Williams

Co-Chief Executive Officer, Financial Independence Group

Brian received his MBA from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina. He also holds a Bachelor of Technology in Business Technology as well as an AAS in Aviation. He began his career in the public sector where he implemented and led a nationally recognized economic development initiative that was born out of the State of North Carolina legislature. After a decade of public service, Brian entered the private sector by joining FIG in 2007 as the Chief Operating Officer. Two years later he was named partner of Financial Independence Group. In November of 2019, Brian was named Co-Chief Executive Officer.

In his role, Brian works with his partners to drive the vision and strategy of FIG and the affiliate companies. He works with his colleagues on the executive team to provide direction for FIG with a goal of providing opportunities for financial professionals while progressively integrating internal efficiencies for greater effectiveness. With a strong background in technology, regulation, and compliance, he brings an essential viewpoint to the table as it influences the direction of the organization.

In addition to Brian’s role as Co-CEO, he is the managing partner of AlphaStar Capital Management, a SEC Registered Investment Advisor firm. He is responsible for the overall performance, growth, and operations of the RIA. AlphaStar is a unique RIA providing in-house money management that integrates a unique sales approach.

Brian is also a partner in Barnabas Capital, a wholesale broker dealer focused on RILA’s and Structured Notes, is a partner in Life Innovators, a product development company, and is a partner in IPCG, a property and casualty wholesaling firm.

Brian has served on various industry committees and advisory boards such as the Board of Directors for the National Association for Fixed Annuities.

Wayne Chopus

Decision 2024

Wednesday, April 3

Kelley Williams

Partner, Forbes Tate Partners

Kelley Williams is a Senior Vice President of Government Relations at Forbes Tate Partners where she focuses on Democrats primarily in the financial services and banking sphere. She also lobbies on telecom, fintech, energy, and transportation issues for the firm’s clients.

Prior to joining Forbes Tate Partners, Williams was an Associate Vice President of Legislative Affairs at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). In this position, she served as the lead Democratic lobbyist for the House of Representatives. While at MBA, she lobbied on real estate investment trust issues, GSE reform legislation, flood insurance, High Volatility Commercial Real Estate loans, regulatory relief, transitional licensing, LO comp, and other issues important to the real estate finance industry.

Before her position at MBA, Williams was the Director of Government Affairs at The Hartford where she lobbied on insurance issues for the company. Prior to that, she was the Manager of Government Affairs at the American Land Title Association, where she split her duties between direct lobbying on association issues and managing the operations of the association’s political action committee. She was also a government affairs associate at KPMG LLP.

Wayne Chopus

Exploring AI

Wednesday, April 3

Aaron Witt

Vice President, Chief Digital & Data Officer, Sammons Financial Group

Aaron Witt currently serves as the Chief Digital and Data Officer with Sammons Financial Group. Sammons Financial Group offers a range of financial products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement planning, and asset management.

Aaron is tasked with steering the company’s digital transformation and data strategy, closely collaborating with business units to ensure initiatives align with corporate objectives. This role involves crafting and implementing a comprehensive plan to harness digital and data technologies, enhancing digital experiences, driving innovation and growth, and boosting operational efficiency. Key responsibilities include developing digital and data strategies, managing data governance, enhancing customer and advisor experiences through digital solutions, fostering technology partnerships, and leading digital transformation efforts while ensuring project management and governance.

Aaron’s prior roles include leading teams dedicated to crafting innovative business solutions that enhance organizational processes by integrating advanced technology strategies and fostering a collaborative environment with executive leadership. Notable results include marked facilitation of revenue growth, heightened adoption of new technologies, successful deployment of diverse software systems, and effective data management practices.

Dan Zielinski

Closing Remarks

Tuesday, April 2

Dan Zielinski

Chief Strategic Communications Officer, Insured Retirement Institute

Dan Zielinski is IRI’s Chief Strategic Communications Officer and responsible for media relations, executive communications, social media, and digital communications.

Dan joined IRI in 2018 and initiated a strategic plan to boost IRI’s visibility, credibility, and reliability with media outlets. He works closely with all IRI departments to identify opportunities to demonstrate IRI capabilities, strengths, and programs. IRI media efforts deliver frequent positive attention in mainstream and trade press outlets.

Before IRI, Dan served as Senior Vice President, Public Affairs for the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association. In that role, he directed media outreach and government relations activities. He led the association’s external communications efforts through multiple crises, managed a national consumer education program, and worked to successfully enact federal and state legislation while defeating numerous onerous legislative initiatives. He represented the industry in hundreds of print, radio, and local and national television interviews.

Dan began his career in Washington, DC, serving as press secretary to two New York U.S. House of Representatives members. Following his Capitol Hill tenure, he was Director of Communications for the American Insurance Association. He then worked at APCO Worldwide, a renowned global public affairs firm, where he assisted clients in public affairs positioning and media relations.

Dan lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and two sons.

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