Equitable announces new leadership appointments

Industry veteran, Jim Kais, named Head of Group Retirement; succeeds Jessica Baehr, who was appointed President of Equitable Investment Management
BusinessWireMarch 29, 20246 min

Equitable, a leading financial services organization and principal franchise of Equitable Holdings, Inc., announced the appointment of Jim Kais as the Head of its Group Retirement business, effective April 1, 2024. Kais will report to Nick Lane, President of Equitable, and join the company’s Operating Committee. Kais succeeds Jessica Baehr, who was recently named President of Equitable Investment Management.1

“With nearly three decades of experience, Jim is a proven and respected leader in the retirement industry with a strong track record of transforming and growing businesses,” said Nick Lane, President of Equitable. “He deeply understands what plan sponsors need to help their employees build secure financial futures, whether they are public school administrators or small business owners. Jim is the right leader to help us build upon our privileged legacy of serving educators and help us grow our position in the small business retirement plan market.”

In this role, Kais will be responsible for the strategy, product portfolio, client experience and financial results for Equitable’s Group Retirement business, including its tax exempt 403(b) and 457 businesses and the small business 401(k) market. Equitable is the leading 403(b) retirement plan provider in the K-12 educators market, with 1,100 dedicated financial professionals serving more than 800,000 educators across the country.2 The company is also a top provider of 457 plans for local governments and municipalities, and 401(k) solutions for small- and medium-sized businesses.

Prior to joining Equitable, Kais served as Head of Retirement Plans at Ameritas. During his tenure, he notably transformed the company’s retirement plan distribution system, successfully growing the business. He also has proven experience working with plan sponsors in the 403(b), 457 and 401(k) plan markets, having established the multiple employer plan (MEP) business at Ameritas. Kais also worked at Transamerica for more than a decade, where he held several leadership positions, including Senior Vice President for the company’s Retirement practice. Prior to Transamerica, he held various roles at ADP TotalSource, Prudential and Merrill Lynch.

Kais was recognized on the 401(k) Wire‘s “2022’s 100 Most Influential People” list and has testified before Congress on three separate occasions as a policy and subject matter expert on pooled retirement plans (PEPs), fiduciary regulations and state-run retirement plans. He serves on the advisory board for the SPARK Institute and on the Retirement Plans Committee of the American Council of Life Insurers. Kais earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Business Administration from Ursinus College and holds the FINRA Series 6, 63 and 26 securities registrations.

Company veteran Jessica Baehr, who served as the Head of Group Retirement since 2021, has assumed a new leadership position as the President of Equitable Investment Management. Baehr will continue to serve on Equitable’s Operating Committee and report to Chief Investment Officer Steven Joenk.

Equitable Investment Management is the registered investment adviser for the 126 portfolios that underlie Equitable’s variable insurance products, retail mutual funds and suite of model portfolios. Its mission is to create unique investment solutions, offering clients choice through access to a competitive, well-diversified portfolio of fund solutions. With approximately $116 billion in assets under management,3 Equitable Investment Management places among the top 12% of U.S. mutual fund companies4 and is a meaningful contributor to Equitable Holdings’ financial results.

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