Retirement planning is far more than a bulleted item in a list of fiduciary services. It’s a highly specialized area of financial expertise—one we’ve practiced with passion since 1945, right here in Western Massachusetts. Meet the specialists whose knowledge, experience, and client-focused commitment have made Pension & Benefits Associates the region’s premiere independent resource of its kind.
Mark F. Shea, CLU®, RPA, AIF®
Owner and President
Mark earned a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree in finance from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 1978, and completed postgraduate work at UCLA. He went on to pursue a sales management career at UNUM, supporting and supervising sales staff in California, Massachusetts, and Washington, DC. In 1983, Mark completed his Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®) certification at The American College.
In 1994, Mark became vice president of sales at Aetna Health Plans in the group insurance division. There, he led more than 500 sales and service personnel in the distribution and sales of managed disability products, long-term care, and a variety of group life insurance products. In 1996, Mark purchased an interest in Pension & Benefits Associates, Inc., before purchasing all of the company’s remaining shares in 2000. In 2003, Mark completed his Retirement Plans Associate (RPA) certification from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, and earned his Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) designation in 2005.
Gregory R. Sheehan, AIF®
Greg has been providing clients with comprehensive financial strategies for investing, retirement, and estate planning for many years. He holds a BS degree with honors from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, as well as FINRA Series 6, 7, 63, and 66 securities registrations (held through Commonwealth Financial Network®). Greg also has achieved his Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) designation.
Prior to joining Pension & Benefits, Greg served as assistant vice president of investments and insurance for Peoples Financial and Insurance Services at PeoplesBank in Holyoke. Throughout the years, he has worked closely with industry leaders such as MassMutual, Cigna, and Pruco Securities. In 2008, Greg partnered with Pension & Benefits Associates, Inc., to offer on-site wealth management coaching to clients and prospects.
Outside of the office, Greg serves on the Appropriations Committee in his hometown of South Hadley and has contributed his time to Big Brothers, Council on Aging, WestMass ElderCare Initiative, Habitat for Humanity, and other worthwhile local organizations. He serves on the board of directors for the Loomis Communities and is chairman of its investment committee. In addition, he is a member of the Shriners and the Mount Holyoke Masonic Lodge.
When not improving retirement outcomes or serving his community, Greg officiates football from Pop Warner through Division III college levels and enjoys golfing, traveling, and reading. He considers himself a lifelong learner. Greg lives with his wife, Heidi, and their dog, Maximus.
Jennifer A. Cooke, CRPS®, AIF®
Retirement Plan Consultant
Jennifer joined Pension & Benefits Associates, Inc. back in 2012, bringing with her over 15 years of experience in the retirement services industry. Jennifer’s prior roles include positions with MassMutual Financial Group, Benefits Consulting Group, LLC, and The Retirement Advantage, LLC. Jennifer currently holds FINRA Series 6, 63, and 65 securities registrations through Commonwealth Financial Network®. Jennifer has earned the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) and Chartered Retirement Plan Specialist® (CRPS®) designations. Jennifer demonstrates a thorough understanding of the design, implementation, and ongoing administration of qualified retirement plans, and employs those skillsets when assisting plan sponsors of all types and sizes.
Jennifer resides in Belchertown, MA with her family. While she devotes the majority of her free time to her grandson, Max, she is also an avid outdoor enthusiast. Gardening, boating, hiking, and riding ATVs are just a few of the activities that she enjoys with her friends and family.
Pension & Benefits Associates, Inc., welcomed its second Jennifer in the summer of 2015. Jennifer’s solid experience and exemplary skills in office management, customer service, and IT have proven invaluable to the firm’s daily operations and the overall satisfaction of our clients.
When she’s not turning the office into a well-oiled machine, Jennifer is busy putting the “outside” in “outside of work”: she’s an active environmental steward, nature enthusiast, and hiker, as well as a contributing member of both the Appalachian Mountain Club and the Sierra Club.