Today’s retirement plan fiduciaries face constant legislative change. New and newly-amended requirements demand ongoing plan review to remain compliant and minimize fiduciary liability. Couple these concerns with a dizzying array of investment options and products, from individual securities to commingled pools and mutual funds of every conceivable type, and it’s not surprising that plan fiduciaries are turning to investment consultants who can assist them with meeting ERISA’s “prudent expert” rule. Ultimately, the decision to retain a consultant is all about trust.

Fiduciary Responsibility

PFE Advisors, Inc. is an investment adviser registered with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission). With 65 401(k), 403(b), 457, pension and non-qualified plan clients representing assets in excess of $7.8 billion, we are one of the nation’s largest independent providers of retirement plan investment consulting services. We provide retainer-based investment advice to retirement plan sponsors, and also provide advice in all areas of fiduciary oversight, including compliance with ERISA fiduciary standards, third party service provider monitoring, plan governance and documentation, and minimizing exposure to fiduciary liability.

We’ll help you assess and configure the responsibilities of individual committee and board members as well as third party service providers (recordkeeper, trustee/custodian, actuary, ERISA counsel, investment managers, etc.).

Investment Selection

We’ll do the work for you, including:

  • develop a Committee Charter and Investment Policy
  • develop the plan’s investment structure (number and types of funds, share class, cost implications, etc.)
  • negotiate vendor agreements and establish revenue recapture and ERISA budgets
  • create transition plans and exit strategies for transferring assets, plan records, etc.
  • conduct asset/liability reviews and model various financial and funding scenarios based upon investment allocation and actuarial analysis
  • recommend investment managers based upon predetermined criteria

Our ONLY compensation is from plan sponsors. We never have and never will accept compensation, in any form, from investment firms. This long-standing commitment has allowed us to maintain our objectivity when providing investment recommendations.

Ongoing Plan Monitoring

Each week or month (dependent upon source), we:

  • review and comment on fund/investment company announcements and capital market activity, report material changes in Plan funds and other facts of importance to fiduciaries
  • prepare and distribute Alert Memos regarding facts and circumstances requiring Committee attention, as well as observations and recommendations for Committee consideration
  • prepare and distribute Letters of Direction on retirement committee’s behalf for fund and/or plan design changes and monitor service provider’s progress through implementation
  • review and comment on recordkeeper’s developed communications (regular and ad hoc) with specific emphasis on document purpose, readability, target audience, content accuracy, and ability of communication to inspire behavioral change
  • offer salient changes

Quarterly Plan Reporting

Formal analysis of performance (plan and investment) and Committee presentation (90 minutes to two hours). Formal reporting is divided into five sections:

  • Current Events and Compliance Update – Review/update on prior Committee meeting decisions; commentary of DOL, IRS, SEC and Congressional actions or proposals that could impact the Plan or its design/features. Note: PFE will work with ERISA counsel to assess the impact of regulatory action upon the Plan. PFE cannot provide legal advice.
  • Plan Review – Review and commentary on Plan enrollment, participation, deferral rates, administration, compliance issues, investment preferences, fund utilization, loan use, ERISA budget (if applicable), etc., as well as comparisons to industry benchmarks.
  • Service Provider Performance – Monitor performance of plan recordkeeper, trustee, TPAs, actuaries, etc. involved in the plan’s operations.
  • Investment Review – Involves a number of fundamental and attribution analyses to confirm each investment manager’s abilities and strengths. PFE’s reporting follows ERISA, Department of Labor and investment industry guidelines and best practices and includes the types of information fiduciaries must consider on behalf of plan participants.
    • Capital Market Activity
    • Trust Activity
    • Plan Expense Analysys (current vs. mark-to-market)
    • ERISA or Recapture Accounts(s)
    • Asset Allcation Strategies (Life style/Life cycle)
    • Fund Level Investment Performance
  • PFE Observations and Recommendations