Robert L. Reynolds, president and CEO of Great-West Financial and Putnam Investments, will add best-selling author to his credentials when he returns to his alma mater later this month. Reynolds is author of the USA Today Bestseller From Here to Security: How Workplace Savings Can Keep America’s Promise returns to West Virginia University on Jan. 19 to talk about the future of investments and retirement in the United States as part of the 2018 B&E Distinguished Speaker Series.
The event, hosted by the WVU College of Business and Economics, will be held at 12:30 p.m. in Ming Hsieh Hall on the WVU downtown campus. Additionally, a book signing event will be held at 3 p.m. that afternoon at the Charles C. Wise Library Atrium, also located on the downtown campus.
Reynolds, a native of Clarksburg, and a 1974 B&E finance graduate, has more than 30 years of investment and financial services experience. He has been a driving force for innovation in retirement services and policy for decades and played a central role in the rise of the 401(k) industry during his years at Fidelity investments where he served as vice chairman and chief operating officer.
In From Here to Security, Reynolds argues for building on the two pillars of our current system – Social Security and workplace savings plan – by making wise policy decisions to enhance their effectiveness. During the Friday interview-style presentation, Naomi Boyd, Fred T. Tattersall Chair in Finance and associate professor, and Reynolds will discuss his philosophies and his action agenda to improve our retirement systems.
“Bob is a recognized multinational business leader and has been a trailblazer in the retirement and financial services industries,” said Javier Reyes, B&E Milan Puskar Dean. “He has also demonstrated leadership at West Virginia University, where his academic support and philanthropy have opened many doors of opportunity. We are honored to have him back on campus, especially in his new capacity as a successful author.”
Reynolds is a board member of the WVU Foundation, a co-chair of the State of Minds Campaign and a member of the WVU Academy of Distinguished Alumni. He was the recipient of an honorary doctorate in business administration in 2007, and was inducted into the West Virginia Business Hall of Fame in 2010 and the B&E Roll of Distinguished Alumni in 2016.
He and his wife Laura were honored for their charitable work in 2013 by the WVU Foundation and presented the Outstanding Philanthropists Award. They are both members of WVU Foundation Woodburn Circle Society. In February 2017, the Reynolds made a transformational gift of $10 million to name the main building at the future WVU business school complex on Morgantown’s waterfront.
Their financial support of WVU has ranged from B&E to enthusiastic philanthropy for WVU Athletics. For example, Reynolds provided leadership for B&E’s Founder’s Club, a group of 10 investors who each donated to establish a Student Managed Investment Fund. This effort not only helped start the fund that is managed by finance students, but also helps groups of students attend key experiential learning events. In 2016 and again in 2017, students visited New York City’s Financial District as a result of that generosity. During those trips, students experienced life-changing visits to the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ.
“Whenever I have the chance to come to West Virginia, I am thrilled,” Reynolds said. “This is my home, my roots, my family. I am so proud of being a Mountaineer, and I believe young people from West Virginia University can offer great leadership here at home, across America and around the world.”
The B&E Distinguished Speaker Series is presented in part by Wells Fargo. The event and the book signing are free and open to the public. Books will be available on site at the signing event and limited parking has been reserved in the Mountainlair garage on Prospect Street.
Dowler, WVU College of Business and Economics