Edelman Financial Engines, the giant RIA that manages more than $213 billion for over 1.2 million clients, has chosen an internal executive to lead its retail business.
Jason Van de Loo, the company’s chief marketing officer, was promoted to head of the retail division, the company announced Thursday. He will oversee more than 320 financial advisors who work from 170 offices across the U.S. In aggregate, the division services 92,000 households and manages $40 billion.
The position is a new one at the company but not unfamiliar to the executive. For the last six months, in addition to his duties as chief marketing officer, Van de Loo was serving as the interim head of the company’s Retail Leadership Team.
Van de Loo will report to Edelman Financial Engines CEO Larry Raffone and will continue to oversee the company’s marketing.
The executive joined Financial Engines in 2014 and held various marketing roles. He continued to lead marketing after private equity firm Hellman & Friedman agreed to buy Financial Engines in 2018 for $3.02 billion and said it planned to merge it with Edelman Financial Services.
His promotion is the latest development to the company’s evolving leadership structure. In November, Kelly O’Donnell, a longtime employee of Financial Engines, was named the head of the new company’s workplace division, which services retirement plans and their participants. She was previously the chief administrative officer and chief risk officer of Edelman Financial Engines.
The retail and workplace divisions combine to manage more than $213 billion for over 1.2 million clients, the majority who are mass-affluent.
Ric Edelman founded Edelman Financial Services in 1986 and built one of the largest retail investor-focused RIAs with prominent radio ads, proclaiming a mission to help those who aren’t especially wealthy build retirement nest eggs.
Combined, the retail and retirement plan businesses can help their clients engage the other and grow assets faster than they might be able to on their own. Captrust, the Raleigh, NC-based RIA that manages $290 billion, much of it belonging to retirement plans and institutions, has been acquiring retail-focused advisory businesses with a similar strategy in mind. Other RIAs are attempting the same thing, although defined contribution plans are getting more complicated and causing advisors to wonder whether they should be in the business at all.
Investors stand to gain from working with an advisor on managing their retirement accounts, too. Many individuals between 35 and 65 are unaware they might have the option to leave money in a 401(k) with their company, according to a 2019 study last year by Edelman Financial Engines. Even worse, the same study showed 28% did not know certain retirement account distribution choices triggered tax liabilities and penalties.
More than half of respondents (51%) were unaware they might be able to move money from an IRA to an employer-sponsored 401(k).
“With Jason and Kelly leading our Retail and Workplace businesses, respectively, we have positioned the firm to be the top destination for consumers and plan sponsors alike seeking independent financial advice free of product conflicts. Going forward, we expect further collaboration between the two businesses as more employers begin to offer financial planning benefits to employees beyond workplace retirement accounts,” Raffone said in a statement Thursday.