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Symetra Investment Management (SIM) becomes registered investment adviser

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Symetra Financial Corporation’s investment subsidiary, Symetra Investment Management Company (SIM), is now a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) with the Securities and Exchange Commission

Launched in January 2020, SIM will expand its existing relationship with Symetra, continue to facilitate the ability of Symetra’s Japan-based parent, Sumitomo Life Insurance Company, to invest in US-based assets, and begin to pursue third-party institutional clients.

“SIM is a key supporter of the sustainability principle in Symetra’s Value, Transparency and Sustainability (VTS) guiding principles, managing USD40 billion of Symetra’s assets, which are there for our customers whenever they need to access their policy benefits. SIM’s RIA designation gives us the opportunity to further strengthen our sustainability promise by enhancing our strategic planning capabilities and investment management strategies,” says Margaret Meister, president and chief executive officer, Symetra Financial Corporation.

Mark E Hunt, president of SIM and executive vice president and chief investment officer of Symetra Financial Corporation and its insurance subsidiaries, directs the company’s investment policy and strategy, and oversees Symetra’s approximately USD40 billion investment portfolio.

“We see a bright, dynamic future for SIM,” says Hunt. “Becoming an RIA is an important step that expresses our commitment to excellence and demonstrates our long-term goal to grow the firm by allowing us to open our doors to third-party institutional investors. In the near term, we continue to focus on and expand the investment portfolios we manage for Symetra and Sumitomo Life. The entire team takes great pride in the trust Symetra and Sumitomo Life have placed in us.”

In addition to Hunt, the SIM team includes Colin Elder, senior managing director and head of commercial mortgage loans; Nicholas Mocciolo, senior managing director and head of structured bonds and derivatives; and Evan Moskovit, senior managing director and head of corporate fixed income. SIM’s fixed income team is based in Farmington, Connecticut, and its commercial mortgage loans operation is based in Bellevue, Washington.

Over the course of the last fourteen months, SIM’s investment and leadership team has grown to include:

Ken Yang, senior managing director and head of high yield, bank loans and structured products, oversees investments in below investment grade rated corporate credit and structured products. Prior to joining SIM in 2020, Yang was co-head of bank loans and a high yield portfolio manager for income builder and multi-asset funds at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, an asset management subsidiary of Goldman Sachs. At Goldman, he managed CLOs, bank loan separate accounts and mutual funds, US and European high yield bond portfolios. Previously, Yang was an investment banker at Salomon Smith Barney, a subsidiary of Citigroup, where he worked in the investment banking division covering financial institutions, including insurance and asset management companies.

Yvonne Guajardo, managing director and head of private placements, oversees Symetra’s approximately USD3 billion private placement portfolio. Guajardo joined Symetra in March 2020 from MetLife Investment Management’s Private Placement Group, where she was managing director and head of relationship management. Prior to joining MetLife, Guajardo spent 25 years with Prudential Private Capital most recently as senior vice president managing a team responsible for marketing, originating, structuring and underwriting private placement debt investments.

Kevin Sklar, senior managing director and chief financial officer, joined SIM in February 2021 and oversees the firm’s finances, investment operations and investment reporting. He has over 24 years of investment management industry experience and was most recently senior vice president and corporate controller at York Capital Management, an investment adviser to private investment partnerships and offshore investment funds. Prior to that, he was executive director and head of finance at an investment management subsidiary of Nomura and vice president of finance at a private bank subsidiary of Franklin Templeton. Earlier in his career, Sklar was a senior auditor at Ernst & Young. A Certified Public Accountant, he holds a Chartered Global Management Accountant designation. He earned an MBA with concentrations in finance and management from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

Richard Wirth, senior managing director and general counsel, has over 38 years of experience in the financial services sector practicing law in the areas of asset management, international fund formation, real estate, insurance, and variable products. Wirth has published numerous law review articles and served as a senior adjunct professor of law at Western New England School of Law, where he taught insurance law courses at both the JD and LL.M levels. Prior to joining SIM in 2020, he served as executive vice president, US Head of Legal, Regulatory Compliance & General Counsel for Aegon Asset Management, a subsidiary of Aegon NV. Wirth’s background includes division general counsel with Transamerica and roles of ever-increasing responsibilities at The Hartford and The Phoenix.

Robert Herlihy, chief compliance officer, joined SIM in January 2021. Since 2005, he has served as a chief compliance officer for GE Asset Management, State Street Global Advisors, and most recently, Hudson Structured Capital Management. Herlihy previously held several finance leadership roles, serving as treasurer for the GE Mutual Fund family and as an audit manager with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, McGladrey LLP, and Condon O’Meara McGinty & Donnelly LLP. Herlihy is a Certified Public Accountant.

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