Mercer Boosts PRT Team with Annuity Experts

The consulting firm has placed a number of key players in its pension-risk transfer and annuity buyouts practice.

Mercer Investments has recruited four annuity specialists to build out its pension-risk transfer (PRT) business, eyeing plan sponsors’ rising demand for buyouts.

The consulting firm hired Buck Consultants’ former pension risk management CIO to take up Mercer’s PRT arm. Chad Hueffmeier began his new position as senior financial strategy consultant on June 15 at the Chicago office, Mercer said.

Prior to his work at Buck, Hueffmeier spent time at Morgan Stanley and Towers Watson.

Gina Hughes has also joined Mercer from Dietrich & Associates where she focused on PRT and group annuity placements for defined benefit (DB) terminations for more than 12 years.

As principal at Mercer—where she began in early June—Hughes acts as the annuity buyout specialist. According to her LinkedIn profile, she focuses on managing the RFP process with potential annuity providers, implementing efficient liability transition and contract issuance processes, and coordinating placement timelines relative to clients’ objectives.

The consulting firm also picked up a PRT expert from AIG. Melissa Latore-Moore joined the firm on June 15 as a principal and is leading and developing Mercer’s annuity placement. She also conducts due diligence for PRT opportunities, the firm said.

Latore-Moore has more than 10 years of experience in PRT, particularly with DB plan underwriting and pricing, as well as annuity placement strategies and operations. She is based in New York City.

Grace McAdam, formerly of Aon Hewitt, also joined Mercer earlier this month. As a principal and investment consultant, she has been tasked with advising clients on investment performance, risk, policy, and governance from the Toronto office, the firm said.

According to the Mercer’s most recent survey—conducted with CFO Research—more than one-third of DB plan sponsors said they were likely or very likely to purchase an annuity in either 2015 or 2016.

The firm also calculated that if these interested sponsors annuitized at least half of their liabilities, the total amount would reach between $400 billion and $500 billion.

Related: DB Plans Eye Annuity Buyouts Despite Pricing Fears; Pru Splits Latest Mega-Buyout Deal with Competitor; Ex-Brown CIO to Lead E&F Outsourcing at Mercer