John Hancock has named Brandon Buckingham to be national manager of a new special markets planning group.

Buckingham is a Hancock vice president and an advanced planning lawyer, according to Hancock, Boston, a unit of Manulife Financial Corp., Toronto.

The group will set up a network of regional planning experts who will help financial planners and advisors with tax and estate planning issues.

In addition to Buckingham, group members include Jennifer Gugliotti and Dru Donatelli.

Hancock continues to operate a separate, 12-person special markets advisory group, which is based in Boston.

In other personnel news:

- Symetra Financial Corp., Bellevue, Wash., has hired Tim Duff to be a regional vice president in the Central region for the company’s advisor channel.

Duff, who will distribute variable annuities and Symetra’s life insurance asset management product, previously was a vice president of marketing at Sun Life Financial Inc., Toronto.

Duff has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Minnesota.

- Life Partner Holdings Inc., Waco, Texas, has hired David Martin to be chief financial officer.

Martin previously was CFO of Packless Industries Inc., Waco.

Martin is succeeding Nina Piper, who is out on extended medical leave.

- HealthFitness Inc./L.L.C., Minneapolis, an employee fitness management company, has hired John Griffin to be chief operations officer,

Griffin previously was a health care consultant.

- Foley Hoag L.L.P., Boston, a law firm, has hired Dr. Bruce Quinn to be a senior health policy specialist in its government strategies practice.

Quinn has been contractor medical director of the California Medicare Part B program since 2003.

Quinn has a medical degree, a master’s degree in business and doctorate in pathology.

- The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, Falls Church, Va., has hired Lorri Lee Ragan to be assistant vice president of communications.

Ragan previously was communications director at the American Land Title Association, Washington.