Bill Kline out as head of Gallagher's $55 billion retirement-plan aggregator

Said new CEO wanted to put in his own team as part of a reorganization

May 9, 2018 @ 3:09 pm

By Greg Iacurci

Bill Kline, the head of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.'s retirement plan consulting unit — which has more than 60 advisers overseeing $55 billion in defined-contribution-plan assets — has left amid a reorganization of his group.

Mr. Kline, 53, who was national practice leader of retirement plan consulting at Gallagher, left at the end of April, InvestmentNews has learned. Dean Clune has replaced him as interim practice leader at Gallagher, an international insurance brokerage and employee-benefits consulting firm based in Rolling Meadows, Ill. Gallagher is also an active acquirer of 401(k) advisory practices.

"Gallagher brought in a new CEO, and he's reorganizing the division," Mr. Kline said. "In doing so, he's putting in place his own team — different team, new direction." Mr. Kline said he and the firm parted on friendly terms.

Gallagher is in the process of hiring a global financial services leader, said Mr. Clune in an email. That person would report to William Ziebell, who became CEO of employee benefits consulting and brokerage in 2017.

"[Gallagher] posted a global practice leader position. My experience and track record of success has been domestic," said Mr. Kline, who'd been at the firm since 2011 and served as practice leader since 2013. "I wish Gallagher only the best," he added.

(More: Asset managers shift 401(k) distribution toward RIA aggregator firms)

The new hire will assume responsibility for retirement plan consulting, institutional investments, actuarial, fiduciary services, executive benefits, and other investment-related services such as wealth management, said Mr. Clune, who serves as financial services sales manager in addition to interim practice leader.

Gallagher is among the largest of the so-called aggregators of 401(k) advisory practices. It has two different units for retirement advisers. Gallagher Benefit Services Inc., which had roughly 35 retirement plan advisers and $31 billion in defined contribution assets as of the first quarter, uses Kestra Financial Inc.'s broker-dealer and registered investment adviser. The second is Gallagher Fiduciary Advisors, an RIA that has $24 billion in DC assets and 29 advisers.

(More: New RIA aggregator enters 401(k) market)

Prior to working at Gallagher, Mr. Kline held various positions in the retirement industry. He was a managing director at CAPTRUST, the largest of the retirement-focused aggregators, and held sales roles at two record-keeping firms.

"I love the industry," Mr. Kline said. "This is a chance to size up the next opportunity."

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