PLANADVISER: Tell us about your practice and how you and your team
members got into advising retirement plans.
Cammack Retirement Group: Charlie Cammack,
our firm’s founder, began working in the non-profit retirement space with the
establishment of the 403(b) regulations in the late 1950s, sowing the seeds to
allow Cammack Retirement Group to become one of the largest retirement plan
advisors to healthcare providers, educational and research institutions, social
service organizations, and cultural and religious institutions.
The members of our senior management team
have complementary skillsets and backgrounds that help shape our client service
culture. Managing Partner Jeff Levy has an actuarial background; Senior Partner
Mike Volo’s background is in retirement and investment services; Partner Earle
Allen has spent his entire career at the firm, focused on investment advisory
and consulting services; and Principal Mike Sanders worked with retirement plan
service providers early in his career.
PA: What is your mission statement?
CRG: At Cammack Retirement Group, we are solely
focused on serving retirement plan sponsors. Our goal is to help plan sponsors
successfully manage fiduciary risk and achieve their objectives in the most
efficient, cost-effective manner. We are dedicated to consistently providing
our clients with unmatched expertise, objectivity, and creativity in developing
pragmatic, customized solutions. We take the time to listen to their needs and
work with them in a direct and straightforward manner, so they can be assured
that they are making intelligent, fact-based decisions.
We believe in the importance of what we do,
and remain steadfast in our mission to ensure that our clients’ plans and their
participants obtain the best possible retirement outcomes.
PA: What do you need to be successful?
From your team? From your clients?
CRG: Simply put, being successful requires
teamwork and dedication.
In terms of our own employees, we have found
that a good team dynamic starts with dedicated, well-trained employees with
high integrity and strong ethics. While Cammack Retirement has evolved to serve
a variety of industries over the years, our company is rooted in non-profit,
mission-driven organizations. Our corporate DNA matches this concept; and we
employ dedicated and experienced individuals who always keep our clients’
interests top of mind.
From our clients, we need open communication
in order to fully understand their organizational needs and priorities to
develop a true partnership. By playing on the same team, we can work together
to overcome obstacles and achieve the best possible value for their retirement
PA: What do you consider the most
significant challenge facing retirement plan participants? Facing retirement
plan sponsors? Facing retirement plan advisers?
CRG: Participants are overwhelmed with
information and decisions, which makes it challenging to optimize their
financial wellness. In a vacuum, making retirement planning decisions is
difficult enough for participants. Add in decisions related to healthcare
spend, student loan debt, and other financial decisions and it’s not hard to
understand why many participants are not saving and investing properly for
With a bevy of fiduciary breach lawsuits
against plan sponsors, many plan sponsors are focused on fees and garnering the
most value for their plan participants. The challenge for plan sponsors is
understanding plan fees and the various fee methodologies so that they can make
prudent decisions in fulfilling their fiduciary responsibility.
For plan advisers, the challenge is providing
distinct value to plan sponsors in order to differentiate themselves, while
continually looking for opportunities to more efficiently deliver services.
PA: Describe any particularly
initiatives you have led with your customer base in the past 12 months
(investment or education or plan design or communication).
CRG: With fees at the nexus of many of the
fiduciary breach lawsuits Cammack Retirement Group has spent significant time
with retirement plan investment committees to ensure they have a strong
understanding of both investment expenses and recordkeeping and administrative
fees. This also includes understanding fee methodologies and benchmarking their
Our consultants have worked with many plan
sponsor committees to begin implementing a level fee structure for plan
administration and recordkeeping costs. Although the more typical model, where
plan recordkeeping costs are paid through revenue sharing in the plan
investment options with any excess going into a revenue credit account, enables
the plan to take advantage of any excess revenue generated by the revenue
sharing that exceeds the plan’s recordkeeping fee, the allocation of these
administrative fees is not necessarily equitable. Participants using
investments with high levels of revenue sharing available are shouldering more
of the recordkeeping expense than those using investment with less revenue
We have led discussions with our plan investment committees to explore and
implement mechanisms whereby each participant pays their equitable portion of
recordkeeping fees for the plan, and thus an equal proportionate share of the
PA: As a retirement plan adviser, what
do you take the most pride in?
CRG: Everything we do is focused on earning our
clients’ trust and exceeding their expectations; therefore we are most proud of
our industry-leading client satisfaction scores and retention rates. Annually,
we conduct a satisfaction and loyalty study to ensure we are delivering on the
commitment we make to our clients.
The survey helps us understand what our clients’ value most and identifies
opportunities for improvement. The item on which we focus most closely is our
clients’ willingness to recommend Cammack Retirement Group to a peer. This is a
leading indicator of customer loyalty, as well as growth, because strong
relationships and referenceable clients are the lifeblood of our business.
Beyond the work we do for our clients, we
understand the significance of our industry and the importance of successful
retirement planning. Cammack Retirement strives to serve as a resource for all
plan sponsors by providing timely and relevant thought leadership.
With the goal of helping plan sponsors manage fiduciary risk, maximize their
retirement plan benefit, and improve participants’ outcomes, our extensive
catalog of thought leadership tackles a broad range of topics, in a variety of
formats. In the past year, we take pride in the fact that we have helped
thousands of plan sponsors through our Staying Ahead of the Curve and Cammack
Retirement Brief video series, our Top of Mind blog and newsletter articles.
PA: How do you grow your business? What
changes to your practice or service model are you planning for 2017 and beyond?
CRG: With the opening our third office in
Lexington, Kentucky, in 2016 (in addition to our offices in New York and
Wellesley, Massachusetts), we are excited to continue to build our presence in
the Southeast and expand our national footprint.
While Cammack Retirement Group was originally
established to serve the non-profit marketplace, including the higher education
and healthcare segments, in the past several years, our firm has experienced
significant growth in the public sector and corporate retirement segments,
including working with several state programs and industry-leading companies.
We anticipate continued growth in both our well established markets, as well as
BUSINESS AT A GLANCE:
Plan assets under advisement: $64 billion
Median plan size (in assets): $92 million
Total plans under administration: 350
Total participants served: 900,000