Retirement income veteran and Prudential Financial executive Wayne Chopus has been tapped to lead the Insured Retirement Institute starting Jan. 1, the organization announced Tuesday.
Chopus will succeed Cathy Weatherford, who has been at the helm of IRI for a decade.
At Prudential, Chopus is a senior vice president of strategic relationship management in the company’s individual solutions group. He also leads the sales operations at Prudential, as well as the sales and business intelligence teams..
While at Prudential, Chopus has also been responsible for implementation efforts related to the U.S. Department of Labor’s now-defunct fiduciary rule, as well as the company’s annuities business strategy.
IRI has been one of the players in efforts to shape the fiduciary rule, the best interest standard, and other sales standard projects.
Chopus will lead IRI as the Labor Department is preparing to issue a revised final fiduciary rule package. The revised package would replace the one vacated this spring by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.
Chopus has been a registered broker since 1995. He passed his latest exam, the new Securities Industry Essentials (SEI) Exam, as recently as Oct. 1, according to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck.
Chopus began his career at the Hartford Financial Services Group. He has about 25 years of industry experience.
IRI Board Chairman Ben Huneke said in a statement that Chopus, who is already member of IRI’s board, “has extensive knowledge of IRI and will truly be able to hit the ground running.”
Lee Covington, president of the Surety & Fidelity Association of America, and until recently, senior vice president and general counsel at IRI, told ThinkAdvisor that Chopus “is exactly the right person to be the new CEO of IRI.”
Covington said he is a huge fan and looks forward to “seeing what Wayne achieves for Americans who need and want retirement security.”
In a statement, Chorus expressed his “passion” for advocacy of the retirement industry, and hosted to build on Weatherford’s success to extend IRI’s position as a leader in it.
Chopus currently lives in Connecticut but will relocate to the Washington area to head IRI.
“IRI’s gain of Wayne’s leadership as incoming president and chief executive officer is both a win for Prudential and the broader industry,” a Prudential spokesperson said in a statement. “Over the years, Wayne has cultivated a relationship with IRI where he served as a distinguished board member. Prudential enjoys a longstanding relationship with IRI as a Premier Alliance Partner, working with the association on many advocacy and educational fronts. We look forward to maintaining our solid relationship with Wayne and evolving the already best-in-class partnership between Prudential and IRI.”
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