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2014 Retirement Plan Adviser Multioffice Team of the Year Finalists

Cammack Retirement Group | New York, New York, and Wellesley, Massachusetts

FROM LEFT: Mike Volo, Emily Wrightson, Jeff Levy, Farhad Mirzada, Mike Sanders

PA: How is your team/process/structure unique?

Cammack Retirement Group: While the investment menu is a critical component of a retirement plan, we recognize that successful retirement plan management encompasses so much more, including fiduciary oversight, plan design, fees, vendor management, plan compliance and retirement-readiness strategies.

We have designed our client due-diligence reviews and our team-based service model to ensure we help clients with all aspects of their plan. Each client consulting team is composed of individuals with subject matter expertise in the various aspects of retirement plan management, working in a collaborative environment. We believe our team structure provides a model to address the unique situations of our clients and the depth of resources to successfully manage the complex issues they face. We then provide our teams with the leading tools, technology and training to help our clients navigate the dynamic retirement plan landscape.

PA: Describe any particularly noteworthy investment initiatives you have led with your customer base in the past 12 months.

CRG: We concluded that the design and implementation of a better methodology was needed to provide plan fiduciaries with a more meaningful way to analyze and monitor their plan’s target-date funds (TDFs). We focused on developing a unique proprietary TDF evaluation methodology to compare a plan’s TDFs with its peers’ in a manner that:

  • Identifies the most critical variables in the TDF;
  • Groups TDFs with true “peers” to enable more relevant benchmarking and comparisons; and
  • Provides a disciplined process for selecting and monitoring investments, and documenting compliance with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) standards for plan investment fiduciaries.

Our analysis led to the reclassification of the target-date universe into six peer groups, allowing plan sponsors to conduct a more meaningful analysis of the TDF they currently offer in their plan. In bypassing the “to” vs. “through” classifications, we can more accurately compare a TDF by using a comparable peer group.

PA: Please describe any special education or communication initiatives you’ve undertaken with plan sponsors or participants.

CRG: We believe that analyzing participant demographics and behavior can provide plan sponsors with the valuable information needed to improve their retirement plans. Data—such as participation levels, contribution rates and age-appropriate investing—segmented by categories including age, gender, salary and title/position help tell a story about a plan’s participants. There is significant plan sponsor interest in learning more about how participants utilize retirement plans.

In addition to participant data-mining, surveying employees or conducting focus groups can provide insight into how the retirement benefit is perceived, how to best engage participants and the challenges they face in successfully preparing for retirement.

After we work with our clients to analyze the data, they typically take action to improve plan design, implement best practices driven by behavioral finance principles and update their employee engagement strategy.

PA: As a retirement plan adviser, what do you take the most pride in?

CRG: 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 identify 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 clients who are willing to give references are the lifeblood of our business.


BUSINESS AT A GLANCE

Plan assets under advisement: $43 billion

Median plan size (in assets): $80 million

Total plans under advisement: 250

Total participants in plans served: 475,000