Retirement Learning Center
President, Retirement Learning Center, LLC and
Executive Director - PLANSPONSOR Institute
John Carl is Founder and President of Retirement Learning Center, the nation’s preeminent thought leader on retirement issues, as well as founding lecturer for The Retirement Advisor University (TRAU) at UCLA Anderson School of Management Executive Education, and Executive Director of the PLANSPONSOR Institute, the education and training arm of PLANSPONSOR. The “advisor to the advisors,” Carl is a highly sought after industry insider who travels the country educating groups of financial professionals on the very latest in retirement legislation, forecasts, and developments affecting the industry. A 20-plus-year veteran of the retirement industry, Carl has been featured on CNBC, CNN, Forbes, ABC News, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CBS MoneyWatch.com, among others. For 2012, The 401kWire identified Carl was as one of the most influential individuals in the 401(k) industry for the sixth consecutive year. Carl released his first book in 2009, Retirement Resource Guide: Essential ERISA Education & Best Practices for Financial Advisors, which has received APEX Awards for publishing excellence in 2010 and 2012. It is now in its fourth edition.
Carl’s extensive industry experience includes having run Alliance Capital’s Defined Contribution initiative as well as creating and running the state of Rhode Island’s 529 savings plan, CollegeBoundFund®. Later, Carl directed Global Product Management for the firm. Carl has also operated as a successful branch and regional sales manager for Prudential Securities, as well as an independent financial advisor. Carl is a graduate of Lehigh University, and has completed Executive Continuing Education coursework at Columbia University. Carl is based in Manhattan, and maintains the firm’s consulting and content operations in Brainerd, MN.
W. Andrew Larson
Director of Retirement Education, Retirement Learning Center, LLC
With over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry, Andy is a respected authority, and a frequent lecturer and author on industry topics. Andy’s background includes extensive product design for plan sponsors and advanced sales support for intermediaries who work with plans. As a retirement industry executive, he ran the Consulting and Training group for Universal Pensions, Inc. (UPI), and headed the BISYS Corporate University. He has served as an adjunct professor for the Central Lakes College system in Minnesota, and provides expert witness services on numerous industry topics. Andy is co-author of RLC’s book, Retirement Resource Guide: Essential ERISA Education & Best Practices for Financial Advisors. He is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, and maintains a Certified Pension Consultant (CPC) designation from the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries.
Director of Educational Content, Retirement Learning Center, LLC
Jenny began her retirement services career with Universal Pensions, Inc. (UPI), in 1993 as an IRA and retirement plans technical consultant. At UPI she held the roles of Consulting Manager, Managing Editor, and—following BISYS’ acquisition of UPI—Manager of ERISA Content. In 2004, she left BISYS to join PLANSPONSOR Institute, and eventually Retirement Learning Center (RLC), in the role of Director of Educational Content. Jenny regularly contributes articles to various industry publications and newsletters, and has served on several advisory boards for professional certification programs related to the retirement services industry. She is co-author of RLC’s book, Retirement Resource Guide: Essential ERISA Education & Best Practices for Financial Advisors, winner of multiple APEX awards for communication excellence. She is in her second year of study in pursuit of her Juris Doctor, with an emphasis on ERISA law. She holds BA degrees in Communications and Anthropology from Luther College, and has completed graduate work in education at Bemidji State University in Minnesota. She maintains the PLANSPONSOR Retirement Professional designation from PLANSPONSOR Institute, and the Certified IRA Services Professional and Certified Retirement Services Professional designations from the Institute of Certified Bankers.
Sr. Consultant and Office Manager, Retirement Learning Center, LLC
Shelly McKinnon started her career in the retirement services industry at Universal Pensions, Inc. (UPI) in 1997 as a client service representative, and rapidly moved into management roles within UPI. She advanced to an ERISA consultant position where she was responsible for supporting institutional clients with IRA, SEP, SIMPLE and qualified plan issues. She was promoted to a supervisory position where she oversaw the ERISA helpdesk. Following UPI’s sale to BISYS, she managed the BISYS Corporate University where she was responsible for developing and deploying retirement education for BISYS employees and clients. Shelly earned a BS degree in International Business Administration from Moorhead State University, and maintains a Qualified 401(k) Plan Administrator (QKA) designation from the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries.
Senior Consultant, Retirement Learning Center, LLC
Julie Rydh began her career in the retirement services industry at Universal Pensions, Inc. (UPI) in 1992 as a full service recordkeeping professional in the balance forward arena. When UPI entered the 401(k) daily valuation market, Julie worked her way into preparing specialized contribution calculations and specialized testing. After mastering the complex contribution and testing calculations, she moved into supervising a team in the compliance testing department overseeing compliance testing and Form 5500 services for approximately 4,500 employer sponsored plans. Prior to UPI being acquired by BISYS, Julie took on the role of ERISA Consultant, where she prepared document reviews, responded to ERISA technical questions, assisted clients with plan compliance issues, conducted training on prototype and volume submitter plan documents and complex contribution formulas, and managed a project preparing customized volume submitter plan documents for employer sponsored plans. Julie earned a BA degree in Communications and Business from St. Cloud State University.
Sr. Consultant, Retirement Learning Center, LLC
Missy Barr began her career in the retirement services industry at Universal Pensions, Inc. (UPI) in 1992 as a full service recordkeeping professional in the balance forward arena, and quickly worked her way into supervising a full service recordkeeping team. When UPI entered the 401(k) daily valuation market, Missy supervised a team in the compliance testing department, and later was promoted to manager of the compliance testing department, overseeing several teams that were responsible for providing compliance testing and Form 5500 services for approximately 4,500 employers. When UPI was acquired by BISYS, Missy took on the role of ERISA Consultant, where she prepared document reviews, responded to ERISA technical questions, assisted clients with plan compliance issues, and oversaw a team that prepared complex employer compliance testing and contribution calculations. Missy earned a BA degree in Business Administration from San Jose State University, and maintains a Qualified Plan Administrator (QPA) designation from the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries.
Plan Document Specialist, Retirement Learning Center, LLC
Bonnie Jacobs began her retirement services career at Universal Pensions, Inc. (UPI) in 1989 in the Qualified Plans Department. She served as manager of the New Business Department for several years before moving to ERISA Consulting. Bonnie earned a Qualified Plan Administrator (QPA) designation from the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries.
Sr. Consultant, Retirement Learning Center, LLC
Joining the Retirement Learning Center in 2010, Cathy Bourassa has more than 10 years of experience in the retirement industry. She began her career at Universal Pensions, Inc. (UPI) in 1999 as a Compliance Specialist in the compliance testing department, preparing compliance testing and Form 5500 services for employer-sponsored plans. Cathy quickly moved into a Senior Compliance Specialist position in the department overseeing the training of new staff and the preparation of compliance testing, Forms 5500 and employer calculations. When BISYS bought UPI, Cathy took a position in the Information Service Group with a primary focus of explaining compliance testing and Form 5500 preparation to plan sponsors. In 2005, Cathy became an ERISA Consultant where she prepared document reviews, responded to ERISA technical questions, conducted training classes and assisted clients with plan qualification issues and corrective calculations. As an ERISA consultant at Ascensus (formerly BISYS), Cathy helped plan sponsors complete correction programs to bring their plans back into compliance with the IRS and DOL regulations. This included submitting plan corrections to the IRS under the Voluntary Correction Program (VCP) and preparing submissions to the DOL under the Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program (VFCP). Cathy maintains a Qualified 401(k) Administrator (QKA) designation from the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries.
DCIO Sr. Consultant, Retirement Learning Center, LLC
Heidi LeMieur, DCIO Senior Consultant, Retirement Learning Center
Heidi LeMieur has spent more than 10 years in the retirement services industry providing retirement plan compliance and business development support along with education to financial industry professionals. As a senior consultant with the Retirement Learning Center, she has been featured as a key note speaker at numerous regional and national conferences. She is also a member of the Columbia Management Learning Center's National Speakers Bureau. In addition, she works one-on-one with financial professionals to develop repeatable business practices to close new business and gather new assets. Prior to joining the Retirement Learning Center in 2010, she was an ERISA consultant with Ascensus (formerly BISYS Retirement Services). During her tenure with Ascensus, she was responsible for delivering live group presentations, providing technical consultations and support to financial advisors and retirement service professionals, conducting webinars and telephone seminars, and performing numerous compliance assessments for financial organizations regarding their retirement plan business. She has served as a faculty member for the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She also served as lead instructor for the IRA Online Institute, which is a 12- week, internet based course co-sponsored by Ascensus and the American Bankers Association (ABA) to provide in-depth training to retirement professionals working towards the Certified IRA Services Professional (CISP) and Certified IRA Professional (CIP) industry designations. She received the APEX Award for Publication Excellence for a co-authored article published in the ABA Trust & Investments Magazine. Heidi earned a Behavioral Arts and Sciences Degree in Management with a minor in Psychology from The College of St. Scholastica and holds the CISP designation from the Institute of Certified Bankers (ICB).
Robert J. Rafter, J.D
Director of Retirement Services, LLC
President of RJR Consulting
Prior to starting his own firm, Robert served as Senior Vice President and Director of Institutional Corporate Retirement Services for Smith Barney’s Corporate Client Group. Mr. Rafter is a frequent author and public speaker on retirement plans, ERISA’s fiduciary standards, participant investment advice and related subjects. He has chaired numerous industry conferences on the corporate retirement plan challenges faced by both employer sponsors and financial institutions. He was also a member of the Investment Company Institute's Pension Committee since 1985. Prior to joining Smith Barney, Mr. Rafter worked as a pension consultant for Peat Marwick Mitchell and as an ERISA lawyer for Equitable Life Assurance Corporation. A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and the Fordham University School of Law, Mr. Rafter is a member of the New York and Federal Bar.
Director of Investment Strategy for the Retirement Learning Center, LLC
Ron serves as Director of Investment Strategy for the Retirement Learning Center, and is the president of Santangelo Associates. Prior to joining the Retirement Learning Center, he served as Director of Investment Strategies and Research for Merrill Lynch, where he played an integral role in the development of the ML Consults and MFA products. Prior to that, Ron was the Director of Closed-End Fund Research for Merrill Lynch.