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Northern Trust Hires Ex-Mercer Exec, Behavioral Finance Expert

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Northern Trust Asset Management said Thursday that it had hired two new executives to help build out its retirement solutions business: Sabrina Bailey was named global head of defined contribution, a newly created position, while Gaobo Pang, Ph.D., has taken the role of senior behavioral finance specialist in the Chicago-based firm’s Defined Contribution Solutions team.

Bailey, who most recently served as head of the U.S. defined contribution segment for Mercer Investment Consulting in Seattle, will help Northern Trust strengthen its retirement solutions business. Pang, a recognized conference speaker and academic practitioner, is also known for his work at consultant Towers Watson and the World Bank.

Stephen N. Potter, president of Northern Trust Asset Management, said in a statement that as Northern Trust develops new products and builds its assets under management, “Bailey will be a strong, experienced voice at the helm of our global DC business,” while Pang brings “expertise that will enhance our understanding of investor behavior and translate that knowledge into innovative solutions for DC plan sponsors.”

As of June 30, Northern Trust had approximately $290 billion in defined contribution assets under administration.

Prior to Mercer, Bailey held senior consulting, client service and management roles at Towers Watson and two other firms. She earned B.A. and M.B.A. degrees from George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon.

Pang’s work for Towers Watson and the World Bank includes macroeconomic and policy research; statistical and econometric analysis of workers’ labor behavior, savings adequacy and investment choices; and developing and evaluating optimal strategies, particularly about qualified default investment alternatives and retirement income solutions.

He has published extensively in periodicals including the Journal of Retirement, Journal of Pension Economics and Finance and Financial Analysts Journal. Pang earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Maryland, College Park; master’s degrees from Tsingua University in Beijing, China, and the University of Maryland; and a B.A. in international economics at Fudan University in Shanghai, China.

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