President, Executive Committee Member, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Sammons Financial Group
Esfand Dinshaw is president of Sammons Enterprises, Inc., and serves on the Sammons Enterprises, Inc. Board of Directors and Executive Committee. Esfand also serves as chairman and chief executive officer for Sammons Financial Group. He has 30 years of experience in the insurance industry. Esfand is past chairman of the board for LL Global, parent organization of LIMRA and LOMA. He currently serves on the ACLI Board of Directors, the insurance advocacy association. Esfand joined Sammons Financial Group in 1999, he is a graduate of Drake University.
President, Sammons Life Insurance Group
Jerry Blair is president of the Sammons Life Insurance Group. Jerry joined Sammons Financial Group in 2005 and was promoted to Chief Distribution Officer for the life group in January 2019. As a member of the life senior leadership team, he was instrumental in redefining the company’s go-to-market strategy for the Midland National and North American business lines. Jerry notes his immediate top priorities are an aggressive focus on product development, expanded distribution, and enhanced customer experience. This includes continued investment in technology modernization, capability mapping, and experience prototyping, as well as streamlining internal processes and expediting the end-to-end customer and client experience. Prior to joining Midland National, Jerry spent 13 years in various home office positions with Western Reserve Life and InterSecurities Inc. He has earned his ChFC, LUTCF, and LLIF designations, and is 6, 7, 24, and 63 licensed with the NASD.
President, Sammons Independent Annuity Group
Rob TeKolste, CLU, LLIF, is president of Sammons Independent Annuity Group, providing strategic direction for the annuity arm of Sammons Financial Group. Rob is ultimately responsible for annuity business results related to Midland National Life Insurance Company and North American Company for Life and Health Insurance. With more than 25 years of experience in the insurance industry, he has a diverse background including sales, marketing, and operations management, and has served in sales and marketing management roles for industry-leading insurance companies. Rob previously served as president of Sammons Financial Group's Shared Services division, and was responsible for the agency, new business, underwriting, policy administration, claims, and information technology business functions. Prior to that, he served at Sammons Annuity Group, joining the division in 1999 as vice president of marketing, and was later promoted to senior vice president and chief marketing officer.
President, Sammons Institutional Group
Bill Lowe is president of Sammons Institutional Group, a group that specializes in developing and distributing individual retirement products through broker/dealers. Bill joined Sammons Financial Group in 2011 with more than 29 years of financial services experience. He has served in a variety of leadership and executive roles in product distribution and business line management and has a history of success in the distribution of 401(k) plans, variable annuities, fixed annuities, life insurance, mutual fund products and managed accounts. He is a General Securities Principal, Investment Advisory Representative, Chartered Life Underwriter, Chartered Financial Consultant, and Fellow of the Life Management Institute. Bill has completed the General Management Program at the European Centre for Executive Development at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France. He is currently on the boards of the Insured Retirement Institute in Washington, D.C., Freedom for Youth and the Principal Charity Classic in Des Moines, Iowa.
President, Sammons Corporate Markets Group
With more than 30 years in the financial services industry, Ron Ottenbacher leads the Corporate Markets business unit of Midland National and North American life insurance companies. He is a Chartered Life Underwriter, Fellow, Life Management Institute, and a Chartered Financial Consultant. Ron joined Sammons in 2003, after serving as vice president at Clarica Life Insurance Company. Prior to his position at Clarica, Ron spent more than ten years with John Deere Insurance and AgCountry Financial Services in marketing and sales. He holds an undergraduate degree in business, and graduate degrees in law and business.
President, Shared Services
Teri Ross is president of the Shared Services division at Sammons Financial Group.
As president of this division, Teri is responsible for the operations of the agency, new business, underwriting, policy administration, and claims departments. She also oversees the information technology functions for the company. Shared Services is the largest division at Sammons Financial Group, with over 950 employees who provided service to more than 1.6 million in-force life and annuity policies in 2018.
Before joining Sammons Financial Group in 2001, Teri worked at Principal Financial Group where she held a variety of roles focusing largely on 401(k) administration. Since joining SFG, she has been in numerous leadership positions centered on business operations. Teri’s expertise is rooted in over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry.
Teri is a member of the LOMA Operations Leaders Roundtable Committee. She’s received numerous designations including Fellow, Life Management Institute (FLMI); LIMRA Leadership Institute Fellow (LLIF); Associate, Annuity Products and Administration (AAPA); and Associate, Customer Service (ACS). She previously served on the board for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa. Teri is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa where she received a B.A. in management.
President, Beacon Capital Management
Chris serves as president of Beacon Capital Management at Sammons Financial Group. He is a member of the company's senior leadership team.
In this role, Chris oversees the registered investment advisory (RIA) and turnkey asset management program (TAMP) channels of Sammons Financial Group. He leads the team furthering the company's business strategy by serving advisors and clients with comprehensive wealth management solutions.
Chris has years of experience in investment management. In 2000, he launched his own registered investment advisory firm, Beacon Capital Management, to provide next-generation investment strategies. He joined Sammons Financial Group in 2021 as part of the company's acquisition of Beacon.
He holds a variety of licenses from FINRA. Chris is the author of the bestselling book, "Slash Your Retirement Risk: How to Make Your Money Last with a Simple, Safe, and Secure Investment Plan." He is a graduate of Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor of Science in business administration and a concentration in finance.
Senior Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer, Sammons Financial Group
Anne Cooper, PhD, is senior vice president and chief human resources officer for Sammons Financial Group. She joined the company in 2013, bringing with her over 20 years of experience in human resources and organizational development,primarily focused in the life insurance, annuities, and retirement services industry. Prior to joining Sammons Financial Group, Anne served as head of Human Resources for a division of ING. During her time at ING, she partnered with businesses in the United States, The Netherlands and Korea. Anne completed her undergraduate degree at Western Washington University where she received a B.A. in Psychology. She later received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Iowa State University. Anne is a member of the American Psychological Association, Society of Industrial/Organizational Psychologists, serves on the Board of the Central Iowa Chapter of the American Red Cross, as well as a Governing Board Member of the Western Washington University Foundation Board.
Brian D. Hansen
Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary, Sammons Financial Group
Brian Hansen is the senior vice president, general counsel and secretary with responsibility for the management and operation of the legal functions of the Sammons Financial Group affiliated companies. He has held several prior roles in the legal and compliance areas since joining the company in 2008, and most recently served as vice president and chief compliance officer of Sammons Financial Group. Prior to joining the company in 2008, he was a partner in the Chicago office of Jenner & Block LLP. Brian obtained a J.D. and a B.A. in psychology from the University of Iowa.
Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Sammons Financial Group
Don Lyons is senior vice president and chief financial officer for Sammons Financial Group. He has been with the company since May, 2002. As CFO, Don has responsibility for the accounting, finance, internal audit, investment management, enterprise risk management, corporate development, and corporate actuarial functions within the company. Don is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and Member of the American Academy of Actuaries with 25 years of experience in the insurance industry, which includes product development, financial planning, valuation, and asset liability management. Prior to joining Sammons Financial Group, Don spent time at ING, AmerUs, and Equitable of Iowa.
Chief Investment Officer
John Melvin joined Sammons Financial Group as its chief investment officer in 2021. In that role, Melvin designs and directs the investment strategy for the company’s asset portfolio, overseeing financial performance and results.
As a member of the senior management team, Melvin is responsible to create and enhance the company’s investment vision, support its continued growth, and assure alignment with the company’s vision.
Melvin joined Sammons Financial Group from Hartford Investment Management Company (HIMCO) where he served as CIO and, previously, head of portfolio management. Prior to The Hartford, Melvin served as CIO of Goldman Sachs Insurance Asset Management, overseeing the firm’s global insurance assets and fixed income portfolio. He also served as managing director and head of insurance fixed income, Americas, for Deutsche Bank.
Melvin has a Master of Business Administration in finance from The Stern School of Business, New York University, and an undergraduate degree in business and economics from Lehigh University.
Sammons® Financial Group is comprised of North American Company for Life and Health Insurance®, Midland National® Life Insurance Company, including its divisions, Sammons Annuity GroupSM and Sammons® Corporate Markets Group, Sammons Retirement Solutions® Inc. and Sammons Financial Network® LLC, member FINRA.