Creative Planning, a Leawood, Kan.-based RIA, is adding new leadership to its venerable 401(k) division.

Mike Rogers, formerly a partner and the head of pension services at Burr Pilger Mayer, a San Francisco accounting and consulting firm, will join the leadership within Creative Planning’s corporate retirement plan practice.

“Our growth philosophy has been to bring one client or one employee on at a time to create our own unique culture,” says Peter Mallouk, Creative Planning’s president. “Mike matches our culture and our investment philosophy: He’s a fiduciary, he’s knowledgeable and he’s experienced. If I could, I would hire 100 Mikes.”

Mallouk says that Creative Planning will use Rogers’ expertise to grow its 401(k) division and to expand its San Francisco Bay Area footprint.

Mallouk says that “401(k)s are a big part of what we do, and we’re looking to greatly expand that practice. [Rogers is] going to build a young and vibrant team around him, and I expect that some of his clients will follow him, which is unusual for Creative Planning. Up until now, we’ve hired people to take care of the clients that we already had.”

Rogers brings more than 25 years of experience to Creative Planning, with expertise that includes plan design, vendor optimization and solutions for addressing fiduciary liability concerns.

As federal regulators prepare to implement new rules that will force retirement plan advisors to adhere to a fiduciary standard, Mallouk says that the 401(k) space is already shifting toward RIAs.

“Employers are facing potential lawsuits over their fund lineups,” Mallouk says. “The more you see that, the more people are going to want a fiduciary to advise their retirement plans. We’re at the beginning of what’s going to be a big shift towards RIAs in the 401(k) space.”

Since Creative Planning was founded in 1982, its 401(k) practice has grown to manage more than $1 billion in client assets, while the firm as a whole has more than $18 billion in institutional and individual assets under management.

“We got into the 401(k) space because a lot of our clients were business owners, but now the division has become an entity unto itself,” Mallouk says. “A lot of people want to work with us for that service, so we try to bring them funds that will outperform and have low costs, and we act as a fiduciary for our clients at all times. Mike fits perfectly. I don’t need to spend a lot of time getting him on board with that.”