The Wagner Law Group has announced the launch of a new adviser search consulting service.
As the firm points out, the fiduciary responsibility of Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)-governed retirement plan sponsors to select, monitor and terminate the investment choices available to plan participants is enormous, and has led plan sponsors to seek assistance from outside investment advisers.
“Retaining an investment adviser to choose plan investments, however, does not absolve retirement plan sponsors from the fiduciary duty related to plan investments, and, in and of itself, is an action that must meet ERISA’s stringent fiduciary standards,” observes Marcia Wagner, managing director of the Wagner Law Group.
Recognizing that litigation involving claims of breach of ERISA fiduciary duty continues to grow, the firm’s adviser search consulting service is tailored to assist retirement plan sponsors with the search for and selection of appropriate investment advisers in a manner designed to ensure compliance with ERISA fiduciary obligations.
Tom Clark, ERISA attorney and partner with the firm, explains that Wagner Law Group is already at work “building a pool of qualified advisers.”
“As you can imagine, many advisers have reached out so far,” he explains. “Anyone interested will be sent a short request for information document electronically that efficiently captures information.”
“As we watch ERISA lawsuits in this realm continue to mount, we feel it is our obligation to help our clients with the crucial process of selecting a proper plan investment adviser,” Wagner adds.
The Wagner Law Group’s adviser search consulting program consists of three stages. First is the analysis of plan needs, wherein plan officials are surveyed “to identify the necessary services to be provided and the desired adviser qualities.” The universe of advisers is narrowed, the firm explains, and a request for proposal (RFP) for possible candidates is developed. Candidates may include pre-screened advisers and/or those requested by the client, according to the firm.
Next is the RFP process. According to Wagner Law Group, candidates receive the RFP electronically and are asked to provide documents such as a sample investment monitoring report. Responses are analyzed and between two and four finalists are identified.
Finally comes the adviser selection step. As the firm explains, finalists all receive an additional RFP electronically and are asked for more in-depth information and additional documents such as copies of applicable insurance policies. Appropriate finalists are asked to make an in-person presentation to the client.
The Wagner Law Group acts as a fiduciary in recommending finalists and assists in the negotiation and execution of the service agreement. Those interested in the service are encouraged to reach out to the law firm directly.