Ascensus Creates New Organizational Structure to Support Rapid Growth

Feb. 6, 2014 - PRLog -- Ascensus, the nation's largest independent retirement plan and college savings services provider, announced today that it has created a new organizational structure to support its rapid growth. The new structure segments the business into two divisions—retirement services and college savings—and implements a strategic realignment of the company’s leadership team.

“As an independent company, over the last year Ascensus has pursued a strategy of expanding our business into new markets. These include online 401(k)s, defined benefit and cash balance plans, and 529 college savings,” said Bob Guillocheau, president & CEO of Ascensus, Inc. “We believe our new organizational structure will help facilitate even more growth for Ascensus in the days and years ahead.”

Within the new framework, Shannon Kelly has been appointed president of Ascensus Retirement Services and Jeff Howkins will serve as president of Ascensus College Savings. Both will oversee day-to-day operations of their respective business segments and will report to Bob Guillocheau.

Prior to her role as president, Kelly was executive vice president of Client Operations at Ascensus and was selected to oversee ExpertPlan in early 2013 after Ascensus acquired the company. Aside from her background of 25+ years in the retirement plan industry, she has extensive experience with business analysis and information technology, in addition to overall service and operations. She joined Ascensus in 2001.

Jeff Howkins is the president of Upromise Investments, Inc. where he is responsible for the vision, strategy, leadership, and growth of the organization. Under Howkins’ leadership, Upromise went from $21B in assets to $57B and became the industry’s largest 529 plan administrator. He joined Upromise Investments in 2004.

As part of the leadership team’s restructuring, Neil Smith, executive vice president of Strategic Business Support Services will continue overseeing strategy, mergers and acquisitions, product, marketing, and training, but has taken on additional sales responsibilities. In this role, he will focus on the growth of Ascensus and continue to report to Bob Guillocheau.

About Ascensus

Ascensus is the largest independent retirement and college savings services provider in the United States, helping 6 million Americans save for the future. With more than 30 years of experience, the firm partners with financial institutions to offer tailored solutions that meet the needs of financial professionals, employers, and individuals. Ascensus specializes in recordkeeping, administrative, and program management services, supporting over 43,000 retirement plans and 2.8 million 529 college savings accounts. It also administers more than 1.5 million IRAs and health savings accounts. For more information, visit

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