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New Hire Roundup: Focus Financial Adds Five

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New Hires logoThis week in new hires, Focus Financial announced five new hires; JHS Capital welcomed Mark Palsson; and Eric Falkeis became president and COO of Direxion.

Also, Michael Wright went to HSBC Global Asset Management, Penn Mutual Life Insurance named two managing partners, and Brett Pearce joined U.S. Bancorp Investments.

Focus Financial Partners Adds Five

Focus Financial Partners announced five hires Monday, including Mark Hovanic and Matt Sonnen, who have joined the firm to support Focus Connections. Under the Focus Connections offering, wirehouse teams receive a capital investment and work with an interim chief operating officer leading a team that provides guidance on a range of startup issues, ranging from administration and small business infrastructure to best practices for running an independent RIA.

Hovanic joins as a managing director and will be responsible for recruiting and advising wirehouse breakaway teams as part of the business development and acquisitions group. Sonnen joins the company as vice president of strategic operations and will help breakaway teams and recently formed RIAs develop strategic initiatives to benefit from best practices and scale, streamline operations, and improve efficiency.

Hovanic comes with years of experience as a senior vice president, complex and branch manager at several wirehouses, including Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, UBS and Paine Webber.

Prior to joining, Sonnen was the COO of Luminous Capital, where he was instrumental in navigating its exit out of Merrill Lynch in 2008. Luminous recently sold itself to a bank. Previously, he worked at Merrill Lynch and Los Angeles-based Pacific West Capital Group.

Other strategic hires include Frank Balducci, senior vice president, accounting and reporting; Jason Carver, business development associate; and Antonia Savaria, vice president, compliance and risk management.

JHS Capital Advisors Welcomes Mark Palsson

JHS Capital Advisors has added Mark Palsson as a vice president of investments and financial advisor at the firm’s office in Bellevue, Wash.

Prior to joining, Palsson spent more than five years as a financial advisor at Smith Barney, now part of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. Prior to this, he worked at Weyerhaeuser Co. in a variety of accounting, finance and managerial positions for more than 25 years. His most recent role at Weyerhaeuser was as the Tokyo-based director of finance and planning for Asian operations.

Palsson is the second financial advisor to join a JHS branch in the Pacific Northwest during the past month. Allison Hanna recently started as a financial advisor at the JHS office in Portland, Ore. Direxion Appoints Eric Falkeis President and COO

Direxion announced that Eric Falkeis has been appointed president and COO of Rafferty Asset Management, the advisor to Direxion Funds and Direxion Shares. At Direxion, he will report to Dan O’Neill, chief executive officer of Rafferty. Falkeis is Rafferty’s first COO, and will work alongside O’Neill to oversee day-to-day business operations and lead strategic planning and business development efforts, including organic growth in Direxion’s leveraged and inverse ETF platform. He will also focus on growing the firm’s nonleveraged, strategic index-based ETFs and its alternative strategy mutual fund lineup, in addition to exploring other expansion opportunities.

Falkeis spent more than 15 years at U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, where he was most recently chief financial officer and director of ETF operations and worked closely with Direxion for more than a decade.

HSBC Global Asset Management Appoints Michael Wright

HSBC Global Asset Management (USA) recently announced that Michael Wright has joined as head of institutional sales for North America. Based in New York, Wright will lead the development of the company’s institutional business in the region with a primary focus on presenting emerging-market, international investment and liquidity capabilities to public and corporate pension plans, endowments and foundations, and corporate treasuries. He will report to Christian Deseglise, head of sales for the Americas.

Wright brings more than 25 years of financial services experience, and joins from AXA Investment Managers, where he directed the firm’s business development strategy for the institutional segment. Previously, he was an executive director at Morgan Stanley, where he was responsible for business development and relationship management for U.S. and Canadian pension plans. He has also worked at General Electric Investment Management, where he coordinated nationwide marketing initiatives for institutional investment products to public pension funds. The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co. Names Two Managing Partners

The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co. announced that Charles Parks has been appointed managing partner of 21st Century Financial, the firm’s career agency in Tampa, Fla., and Michael Sarver has been named sole managing partner of 21st Century Financial in Akron, Ohio. In addition to his role in Tampa, Parks will also manage the 21st Century Financial office in Atlanta, Ga.; he was previously co-managing partner of the 21st Century Financial Akron office with Sarver.

Parks is a 35-year veteran of the life insurance industry. Prior to joining Penn Mutual in 1999, he was life-marketing director of another insurance company and held a variety of positions including agency manager, sales manager, associate general agent and general agent.

Sarver joined Penn Mutual in 1999 as a sales manager and was promoted to managing director in 2004. He was named co-managing partner in 2012. Earlier, he was a registered representative and sales manager for two major financial services companies.Brett Pearce Joins U.S. Bancorp Investments

U.S. Bancorp Investments, an affiliate of U.S. Bank, recently announced that Brett Pearce has joined as a financial advisor.

Before joining, Pearce spent three years working in the Galena market for another firm.


Check out the April 4 New Hire Roundup at AdvisorOne.


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