News from Voya, Unum,Russell Investments, PlanSource, Prudential, NTSA, MEDSURETY,Medica, and more. (Photo: Shutterstock)

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Awardwinning advisors, new partnerships, insurance promotions,and more — these people and organizations in the employee benefitsindustry have been busy indeed. Here's what's happening:

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VoyaFinancial announced that its Retirement business has beenselected as the new recordkeeper and service provider for theAtos 401(k)retirement savings plan. As of Dec. 31, 2018, the 401(k) plan,which transitioned to Voya on Jan. 7, 2019, represented more than$626 million in assets under administration and approximately 8,700participating members.

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Unum announcedit is offering a new benefit to help its employees tackle studentdebt. Starting in 2020, U.S. employees can transfer carry-over paidtime off (PTO) into a payment against student debt through theStudent Debt Relief Program, managed by financial services providerFidelityInvestments.

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Russell Investments has announced PeterGunning will remain as Global Chief Investment Officer, arole he assumed on an interim-basis with the departure of JeffHussey in October 2018. Gunning, who joined Russell Investments'Sydney office in 1996, served as Global Chief Investment Officer inthe firm's U.S. headquarters from 2008 to 2013 and as CEO forAsia-Pacific since 2013.

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PlanSourceannounced Prudential Insurance Company of America, has joinedthe PlanSource Advantage program, a strategic partnership programthat provides insurance carriers with a  way to distributeproducts and services through the PlanSource online benefitsplatform.  Prudential will offer a range of employer-paidand voluntary benefits through the program, including Accident,Critical Illness, Hospital Indemnity, Short and Long TermDisability, Life and Accidental Death and Dismemberment.

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The NationalTax-Deferred Savings Association announced the winners of its2019 Elite Advisor Award, which recognizes the contributions ofadvisors who have advanced best practice standards in the 403(b)and/or 457(b) retirement industry:

  • Gary Immink, Williams & Co. Financial Solutions,Grandville, MI; Broker-Dealer, PlanMember Securities
  • Walter “Wat” Keys, CFP, CRPS, CAPTRUST, Raleigh, NC;Broker-Dealer, CAPFINANCIAL SECURITIES, LLC
  • Randal Lupi, RPS, AXA Advisors, Novelty, OH; Broker-Dealer, AXAAdvisors
  • Robert Young, One2One Wealth Strategies, Glendale, AZ;Broker-Dealer, PlanMember Securities

Myloannounced that it has raised $28 million in a Series A fundinground led by Guggenheim Partners. Mylo was launched by LocktonCompanies as a digital broker. Waller Helms Advisors acted asexclusive financial advisor to Mylo and Lockton in thetransaction.

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MEDSURETY andMedicaannounced a new partnership – MEDSURETY will be handlingMedica's Individual and Family HSA administration. Thepartnership gives all Medica individual and family members accessto a new, streamlined HSA functionality that allows them to pay,save, invest and scan for eligible products on-line or from theirmobile app.

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Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. (MassMutual)has appointed three new managing directors for benefits to supportsales of voluntary benefits in the workplace by benefits brokersand financial advisors: Jennifer Haley supportssales in California andNevada; ·       Jason Rathbone supports sales in New England andUpstate New York; and Eric Yeagersupports sales in Virginia and the District of Columbia.

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MagnoliaMedical Technologies announced a $20 million Series C financinground to scale the company's infrastructure and market initiativesto meet the rapidly growing demand for its Steripath Gen2 InitialSpecimen Diversion Device. The financing round was led by RTW Investmentswith participation from existing institutional investorsHealthQuest Capital, SightLine Partners and Canepa Healthcare.

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Humana announcedtwo key strategic leadership appointments in anticipation ofupcoming transitions –  JosephVentura as General Counsel andDouglas Stoss as interim lead for Humana's Officeof Corporate Affairs. Both will report to Humana President and CEOBruce Broussard.

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DNotesGlobal announced the launch of HERo – the nextevolution of CryptoMoms, which was founded in 2014 to encouragewomen's participation in the nascent cryptocurrency space.CryptoMoms now has more than 70,000 registered members. HERo'sstrategy includes partnering with industry peers, showcasingsuccessful female-centric and women-owned businesses, and providingtools and resources that women can use to achieve theirentrepreneurial dreams. DNotes Global's venture capital andbusiness consulting arm, NextGen VC will offer pro bono and paidservices to entrepreneurs.

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Kravitz, an Ascensus company, announced theappointment of a new director, John Benton, tolead sales development for the South and Southeast markets. He willenable sales throughout the Kravitz network, which includes morethan 1,900 retirement plan professionals who have completed theKravitz Cash Balance Coach Certification program. He will be basedin Atlanta.

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Jeremy Miller, CEO and founder of FSAstore.com andHSAstore.com,announced the launch of a parent company, Health-ECommerce, to consolidate the online health and wellnessmarketplace for pre-tax health accounts, wellness benefits,advocacy, product authenticity, and consumer education. TheHealth-E Commerce family of brands will initially includeFSAstore.com and HSAstore.com, along with Caring Mill – thecompany's private-label line of health products introduced in 2017– which provides a donation with each purchase to Children's HealthFund, and a new brand, WellDeserved, a hub for redeeming corporatewellness rewards. He also announced the formation of the Health-ECommittee, an advisory council of industry leaders includingfounding members Brownmed, KT Tape, Tender Corporation, MDSolarSciences Corp., and Compass Health Brands.

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CUNA Mutual Retirement Solutions recently hired twokey people in its Intermediary Sales Division: ShannonHayes will be the regional vice president for the Georgiaand Alabama territory. She will report to Christina Gregory, vicepresident, Eastern Division. Steve Mandel will bethe regional vice president covering the upper Midwest territory,which includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and North and SouthDakota. He will be based out of St. Paul, Minnesota and report toJoe Eleccion, vice president, Western Division.

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The Center for Financial Services Innovation(CFSI), along with founding partner JPMorgan Chase & Co.,announced the fifth cohort of Financial Solutions Lab winners,focused on improving financial health at the workplace forunderserved workers:

  • Brightside (San Francisco, CA) is a personalized financialhealth platform providing employees one place to go for all theirfinancial needs.
  • HoneyBee (San Francisco, CA) helps employees, regardless ofcredit history, access an extra week's pay anytime to help manageunplanned expenses and build credit.
  • Manifest (Chicago, IL) makes 401(k) transfers seamless asemployees switch positions by standardizing the process and linkingproviders to dramatically reduce administrative costs, complianceliabilities, and time.
  • MedPut (New York, NY) is an employee benefit option thatprovides 0% financing and bill negotiation services forout-of-pocket medical bills, with no impact to an employee's creditscore.
  • Onward (Kansas City, MO) is an employer-based mobile savingsand credit app that enables workers to save effortlessly, buildfinancial knowledge, and access responsible credit when emergenciesstrike.

BPAS hasnamed Kenneth G.Y. (Ken) Grant Executive VicePresident of Institutional Sales. He will be responsible forfurther developing the distribution of Collective Investment Fundsfor Hand Benefits & Trust (HB&T), a BPAS company.He will also join the HB&T Board of Directors. He will reportto BPAS CEO Barry Kublin.

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Athene HoldingLtd. announced the close of an $800 million pension risktransfer transaction with Lockheed Martin, in December 2018. This buy-intransaction will hedge the financial risk associated withapproximately 9,000 retirees covered under one of Lockheed Martin'spension plans. Athene's wholly-owned Iowa-domiciled life insurancesubsidiary, Athene Annuity and Life Company, has committed toissuing a group annuity contract covering the aggregate obligationsunder the plan, while Lockheed Martin will maintain responsibilityfor overall plan administration.

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C.J. Marwitz

C.J. Marwitz is a writer and editor.