Peter Preovolos, APA, RIA, AIFA, PPC
President and CEO
A founder of PenChecks, Inc., Peter Preovolos has enjoyed a long and very successful career in the employee benefits industry. It began in 1966 at Wells Fargo Bank, where he was soon promoted to head up the bank’s employee benefit trust administration and asset management services. In 1974 he joined Southern California First National Bank as Vice President in charge of statewide employee benefit services. In 1979, he left the banking industry and became CEO of Alpha & Omega Financial Management Consulting Inc, a third-party administration (TPA) and asset management firm. In 1994 he and 20 other TPAs joined forces in forming PenChecks, Inc. where he was elected President of the PenChecks family of companies.
An acknowledged leader in the pension benefits distribution field, Peter holds professional designations as a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) and an Accredited Pension Administrator (APA). He is one of approximately 300 people in the U.S. to earn the prestigious credential of Accredited Investment Fiduciary Analysts (AIFA).
For Peter Preovolos, working in the financial services industry has always been about doing the right thing. Before becoming a founder of PenChecks Trust, he always dreamed of running a business. But as he surveyed the financial landscape, he saw an industry that far too often put its own interests ahead of its fiduciary responsibility to clients. So when he took the helm at PenChecks Trust, he set about building a different kind of financial services company – one that puts the needs of its clients first while helping to reunite American workers with their hard-earned retirement money.
As President of PenChecks Trust, Peter’s commitment to doing the right thing manifests itself in many ways. It started with forming a top-notch board of directors that has played a key role in the company’s success over the years. Then he assembled a hard-working staff that shares his values and understands the importance of delivering superior customer service. Once he had the right team in place, Peter focused on developing a culture that values innovation and problem-solving – two attributes often in short supply in the financial services industry. This led to many new products and services that have kept PenChecks Trust at the forefront of retirement plan distributions for more than two decades.
Ongoing Innovation and Education
When PenChecks Trust introduced the missing participant IRA to help plan sponsors appropriately manage unclaimed retirement assets, the biggest issue was locating the missing participants. To help resolve this problem, Peter led the way in launching the National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits (NRURB). This nonprofit website enables employers to list missing plan participants and former employees to search for any left-behind retirement assets. PenChecks Trust operates this site at no cost to employers or plan participants because it’s the right thing to do.
When uncashed retirement plan checks grew into a billion-dollar problem, PenChecks Trust developed an innovative Missing Participant service to help locate missing participants and reunite them with their money. It also created an uncashed check service to help plan sponsors uphold their fiduciary responsibilities while ensuring the unclaimed assets are managed fairly and accurately.
A firm believer in the value of a well-educated retirement plan industry, Peter also led the way in developing thought leadership and other resources to help industry professionals enhance their skills and expertise. In addition to producing thought-provoking blogs, articles and white papers on a regular basis, PenChecks Trust also sponsors two annual industry scholarships designed to support the educational needs of pension professionals and the industry as a whole. The NIPA APA Designation Scholarship assists six individuals in completing the Accredited Pension Administrator (APA) designation program, while the ASPPA QKA Scholarship assist four individuals in obtaining certification for the Qualified 401(k) Administrator credential program.
Giving Back, Having Fun
For Peter, doing the right thing also includes getting involved with the San Diego community. He sat on the Sharp Grossmont Hospital foundation board for nearly 10 years, serving as its president for one term. He also served on the National Council of Christians and Jews for many years, including a one-year term as its senior chairman, and as past president of his local church community.
Peter probably made his most significant civic contribution to the city of San Diego when, at the request of the mayor and city council, he agreed to lead the city’s retirement system out of its financial and legal difficulties. After five tumultuous years of working pro bono, during which time he had to defend himself and the system against multiple lawsuits, Peter is generally credited with saving the city’s retirement system from financial ruin.
Ask Peter to identify his proudest personal achievement and he points to the Greek Folk Dance Festival he created in 1975. The annual event, which brings together people of all ages to compete in Greek Folk Dancing, started with five teams and 39 dancers. Now it regularly attracts an average of 100 teams and several thousand dancers from all over the world. The three-day show is operated by young adults ages 14 to 21, and serves as a valuable training ground to teach them business, marketing and budgeting skills.
When he’s not reuniting people with their retirement money, Peter works hard to stay in shape, an endeavor that includes six trips to the gym each week as well as separate personal trainers for weightlifting and Pilates. An occasional marathoner and regular 10K runner in his younger days, he still hits the road once or twice a week (when his aging knees permit) for a short 2.5-mile jog.
Peter enjoys traveling the globe, and has a real fondness for good restaurants. He regularly attends the theater and opera in San Diego, and like most Greeks he loves music and dancing. A dedicated family man, Peter has three grown children, one of whom works as Vice President of Business Development for PenChecks Trust.
Pushing the Boundaries
Perhaps his strongest asset as a company and industry leader is Peter’s refusal to settle for the status quo. Combined with his penchant for accepting big challenges and solving big problems, this attribute has driven PenChecks Trust to continually develop innovative products and services that redefine and reshape the retirement distribution industry. His answer to the question “What was the most valuable advice anyone ever gave you?” probably says it best:
- Don’t be a clock watcher.
- Never buy into the idea that something can’t be done.
- When you take on a job or assignment, work it to death. You’ll be amazed at the results you get!
Meet the Team:
> Peter Preovolos, APA, RIA, AIFA, PPC / President and CEO
> Spiro Preovolos / Vice President, Business Development
> James Hensel, CPA, CVA, CFA / Chief Financial Officer
> Mike McWherter, JD / Chief Compliance Officer
> Kevin D. Smallen / Chief Information Officer
> Bryan Pruden, MBA / Chief Operating Officer
> Wendy Henderson / Vice President / Director of Operations
> Scott Okrasinski / Vice President/National Sales Director
> Steve Wagoner / Vice President of Institutional Sales
> Tom Drosky / West Regional Vice President
> Mark Russell / Eastern Regional Director
> Chip Davis / Southern Regional Director
> Paul Kociuruba / Central Regional Director