Strategic Partner Spotlight: Ketul Thaker, ING
Planning for retirement doesn’t have to be confusing or
intimidating. Ketul Thaker, national director of the education market
for ING Retirement Services, explains that while ING is a worldwide
leader in banking, investments, life insurance, and retirement services,
the company’s objective is to make the process easier for its
customers, helping them better understand how to reach every step of
their financial goals.
In 1967, ING began to focus specifically on helping educators plan for retirement — the same year the IRS introduced 403(b) plans. “ING is extremely committed to education,” Ketul says, adding that the company sponsors a variety of initiatives that support the education community. Each year for more than a decade, the ING Unsung Heroes® grant program has awarded 100 educators $2,000 each to help fund innovative class projects. The top three annual winners earn an additional $5,000, $10,000, and $25,000. In an effort to ward off childhood obesity, the ING Run For Something Better® program funds school-based running fitness programs to help kids understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
Ketul notes that ING also sees school business officials (SBOs) as key figures in education. “We have a real appreciation for ASBO members and the work they do. SBOs and their teams are so vital to the functioning of school districts, and we want to make their job easier in any way we can,” he says. Not only does ING sponsor ASBO’s Meritorious Budget Award program, the company also seeks out resources and solutions to help SBOs tackle their daily challenges, including online tools to guide them with recent changes to 403(b) regulations.
According to Ketul, the decision to work for the retirement services division of ING is directly connected to his own education and experience, which includes an undergraduate degree in international management, an MBA in finance, and prior roles in the financial services industry. The enthusiasm he brings to his work at ING and the many relationships he builds are clearly evident. “I’ve always been an avid saver and wanted to help others, especially young people, understand the importance of saving early,” Ketul says. “Working at ING offers a truly unique opportunity to follow this passion while at the same time serving America’s educators.”
Like SBOs, Ketul’s role is multifaceted. In addition to being ASBO’s primary relationship manager, he leads a team that is introducing ING Educator’s Direct, a national online retirement program for K-12 educators. Outside of his important role at ING, Ketul enjoys traveling and spending time with his wife, Niki, and their young daughter, Serena.