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Leveraging the market knowledge of Findley Davies' consultants resulted in an independent, unbiased, and objective approach to the retirement plan investment consulting selection process.

Background
A leading telecommunications company specializing in the manufacturing, engineering, and installation of fiber optic products and equipment for communications providers is focused on and committed to the well-being of its associates. The company actively pursues excellence in the benefits and programs offered to its employees across 34 locations throughout the U.S. It was important to work with a retirement plan provider that had resources to provide education and investment guidance to its 1,400 employees, a plan with total assets of over $36 million.

Challenge
The company was using the internal investment services of the plan's provider and concluded that there could be potential conflicts of interest with the fund selection process. They also felt they were not getting independent, objective advice on the investment offerings within their plan, or the fiduciary assistance they needed to keep the plan in compliance with ever-changing IRS/DOL regulations.

Solution
Findley Davies was engaged to draft and manage a Request for Proposal (RFP) process to find an independent investment advisor. With input from the investment committee, Findley Davies prepared and distributed the RFP, and managed all interaction with the candidates. This allowed the company to concentrate their time and efforts on its core business, while leveraging the market knowledge and expertise of the Findley Davies team. The candidates were selected to participate based on the specific needs of the plan sponsor and investment committee and the plan specifications.

The criteria used for the inclusion and evaluation of the respective firms included:

  • Independent, objective, fee-for-service advice, and fiduciary guidance
  • Experience with, and dedication to, the retirement plan industry
  • Ability to sign as co-fiduciary, as defined by ERISA §3(21)
  • Unbiased approach to investment selection
  • Drafting, maintenance, and adherence to the Investment Policy Statement
  • Quality and frequency of investment analysis and deliverables

Results
Eight firms met the criteria set forth by the investment committee with four invited to a formal interview with the committee and the Findley Davies' consultants. A scripted agenda was prepared in order to maintain a consistent and uniform presentation format, ensuring that a fair comparison could be achieved.

Although a comprehensive fee analysis concluded that the fees-for-services rendered by the current plan provider were reasonable, the company decided to replace them due to the lack of quality investment options that met the criteria of the investment advisor and moved to an open-architecture investment platform.

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