Jim Danaher is a Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Defined Contribution Solutions at Northern Trust in Chicago. His primary responsibilities include directing the structure, implementation and maintenance of investment products for defined contribution plans. This includes managing research to identify new investment products, enhancing existing offerings, including target retirement date investments, and developing new distribution strategies to the marketplace.
He serves as a conduit between investment teams that include portfolio management and investment strategy, and Northern Trust’s distribution groups. He is a member of the Northern Trust Defined Contribution Investment Policy Committee, which oversees the management of the Northern Trust Focus Funds, Northern Trust's flagship target retirement date series. He guides Northern Trust’s ongoing defined contribution research series, the Path Forward, and continually authors research on defined contribution plans for Northern Trust's Asset Management publication, Point of View.
Prior to joining Northern Trust in 2008, Jim was an investment advisor with Aon Investment Consulting. His primary responsibilities included the sales and support of investment policy development, fund evaluation and management searches, and investment education strategies for qualified retirement plans.
He has more than 20 years of experience in providing guidance to plan sponsors for their defined contribution programs. He has testified before the ERISA Advisory Council’s Working Group on Financial Literacy of Plan Participants and the Role of the Employer. He has worked with several large employers in the financial services, hospitality and telecommunications industries. His largest client engagement to-date involved a defined contribution program with more than 200,000 participants. Jim attended St. Louis University and has attained his Series FINRA 6 and 63 registrations. He is a member of the Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association.
Susan Czochara is a Senior Vice President and Senior Product Manager for Defined Contribution Solutions at Northern Trust in Chicago. She is responsible for the development and positioning of all investment solutions designed for defined contribution (DC) plans including target date and real asset strategies. She is a member of the Northern Trust Defined Contribution Investment Policy Committee, which oversees the management of the Northern Trust Focus Funds, Northern Trust’s flagship target retirement date series. Susan is also responsible for the coordination of DC research and thought leadership content developed by the Defined Contribution Solutions team.
Susan began her career at Northern Trust as a product manager in 2000, supporting quantitative management strategies and subsequently taxable fixed income investment solutions, prior to focusing on the DC channel in 2006. Her responsibilities included the coordination of marketing, reporting and compliance issues related to these products. Prior to becoming a product manager, Susan was an internal auditor at Northern Trust and National City, supervising audit teams of varying sizes in the execution of investment-related audits. Susan received a B.A. from Miami University and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. She is a certified public accountant and has attained her FINRA Series 7 and 63 registrations.
Sergio Rego is a product analyst for defined contribution solutions at Northern Trust Global Investments, the asset management arm of Northern Trust Company, Chicago. He is responsible for supporting the development and positioning of investment solutions designed for defined contribution plans including target retirement date investments.
Prior to his role on the defined contribution solutions team, Sergio rotated through Northern Trust Global Investment’s active equity, strategic development, and index management business units as a member of the Global Opportunities in Leadership Development (GOLD) Program.
Before joining Northern Trust, Sergio completed wealth management internships at UBS and Goldman Sachs. He also held a commodity trading internship at Cargill, and a private equity internship at Banyan Mezzanine Partners.
Lee Freitag is a Senior Vice President and Senior Product Manager for Defined Contribution Solutions at Northern Trust in Chicago. He is responsible for the development and positioning of investment solutions designed for defined contribution plans, including target retirement date investments. Previously, Lee was a senior product manager for liability driven investments and for taxable fixed income within Northern Trust Asset Management.
Prior to this assignment, he was an investment consultant in the Wealth Management Investment Consulting Services Division. In this position, Lee was responsible for consultative services such as asset allocation, and manager search and selection, for several wealth management relationships as well as the analysis and delivery of investment manager performance information.
Lee’s 21 years in the financial services industry include 20 years at Northern Trust, as well as prior experience at SEI Corp. Lee received his B.S. in finance and his MBA in management accounting from DePaul University. He has attained his FINRA Series 7 and 63 registrations.
Carolyn Bracks is a Senior Vice President and Director of Participant Communications for Defined Contribution Solutions at Northern Trust in Chicago. She is passionate about helping employees make the most of their employer-sponsored retirement plans. She partners with plan sponsors and employers to develop and deliver communication strategies that engage, educate and empower plan participants.
Before joining Northern Trust, Carolyn was a senior consultant in the Towers Watson communication and change management practice for more than a decade. Her expertise focused on research, strategy development and communication to:
As practice lead in Sydney, Australia, she created strategic communications for diverse audiences across the globe using a variety of channels, including videos, web portals and social media. Carolyn started her consulting career with Mercer.
Carolyn holds a Bachelor of Arts with honors from the University of Sydney, with majors in linguistics and education. She is a member of the International Association of Business Communicators and has won several awards for her work.
Tom Lauer is a member of the Corporate & Institutional Services Consulting group at Northern Trust in Chicago. His focus within the group includes new business consulting as well as working with product people worldwide to develop and deliver defined contribution solutions for large, complex clients and prospects of Northern Trust. Additionally, Tom works with Northern Trust’s DC Solutions team to provide defined contribution plan expertise that integrates with Northern Trust’s asset servicing capabilities. In addition, Tom consults with plan recordkeeping firms to develop and support the operational infrastructure necessary to provide seamless delivery of customized plan solutions.
Tom brings 27 years of experience in the defined contribution market place to his role at Northern Trust. Prior to his current role, Tom provided plan valuation consultation, particularly recordkeeping, plan structure and productivity improvements, for Northern Trust’s defined contribution plan clients. Tom’s experience at Northern Trust includes working in the recordkeeping unit as an account specialist. He also served as a team leader in the global custody accounting unit.
In addition to his work at Northern Trust, Tom has served as a savings plan administrator for a large industrial products distributor headquartered in the Chicago area. He also worked as a trust administrator in the recordkeeping unit of Harris Trust & Savings Company.
Northern Trust's professionals are active members in organizations dedicated
to advancing employee benefit programs and successful retirement outcomes for employees.