Sunday, February 21, 2010

I'm a Fiduciary, What Are You?

It’s interesting to observe how trends affect one’s life from time to time. Ordinarily when one thinks of trends, they think of it in the context of the social side of life. For example, trends in music, fashion, television, etc. Every now and then trends start to appear in the professional world as well. One emerged trend of the last several years in the 401(k)/Pension business is the trend towards offering fiduciary services. Of course with this comes the inevitable misusage of the term fiduciary and a variety of marketing terms and sales gimmicks intended to take advantage of the trend without actually providing anything in return. Through the course of travel my coworkers and I often get many of the same questions surrounding ‘fiduciary’. Confusion in this area isn’t surprising as there is a lot of market noise, from the marketing terms like Co-Fiduciary or the sales tools like Fiduciary Warrantees to the newest trend, the selling of specific code sections as the different flavors of fiduciary.

We’ve all seen the various new categories of advisor; ERISA §3(38) Investment Manager, Full-Scope §3(21), Limited-Scope §3(21) and so on. On Linked-In there are lively discussions about it, articles are being published on it on and an unfortunate result is some general confusion from a lot of Advisors of ERISA plans on what all of this is and what they should or should not be calling themselves or doing, not to mention what they’re allowed to do or not allowed to do under their Broker/Dealer contract if they are a registered rep. For that reason, we have created a new piece as an attempt to simplify and consolidate the most recent array of terminology.

Select the following link to view the complete document – Fiduciary…A Different "F" Word.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

What Drives ERISA Plan Service Provider Changes Now

The article recently published in PlanSponsor Magazine, entitled, "After the Storm: A year after the market meltdown, a new provider landscape emerges" elaborates on those factors now contributing to plan service provider changes within the ERISA clientbase. Some of the factors are highlighted below:

-“Flight to Quality” -- dependable partner
-Institutional credibility
-Committed to the business and demonstrating organizational strength and stability
-Most employers focusing intensely on their core business = less RFPs
-Fee benchmarking currently motivates many sponsors to begin a review
-Reluctance to jump ship just because of bad investment performance
-Personalize service delivery to participants
-Ease of doing business for sponsors and participants
-Fiduciary support and risk management
-Ensuring adequate investment monitoring