Investment Consulting

Comprehensive investment consulting services to plan sponsors

Contact-Us_advisor_v2Investment consulting is at the heart of our firm.  Multnomah Group utilizes a rigorous, multi-step process to select investment managers for our clients. Our services are based on fundamental research, evaluating the quantitative and qualitative factors that impact performance.

We advise on the construction of a retirement plan investment strategy, the selection of asset classes for inclusion within the strategy, and the selection and monitoring of the funds within the investment menu.

We believe that no single solution exists that meets the needs of every retirement plan participant. Within a single plan, the level of sophistication among participants can vary widely with some participants being new to investing and others being sophisticated managers of their retirement wealth. We work with our clients to implement strategies that meet the diverse needs of your unique population.

Our process includes:

  • Investment menu design. Plan participants rely on their plan sponsor to prudently manage the plan with their best interests at the heart of all decision-making. Using a vigilant process that carefully balances the objectives of our clients’ retirement plan with the overall needs of the participants, we advise our clients on a high-quality menu of investments and monitor that menu for continued success.
  • Target Date Fund and Qualified Default Investment Alternative selection. We work with our clients to find default solutions that are appropriate for their population and investment philosophy.  For many clients that means assistance with analyzing plan demographics to identify target date strategies that meets our investment standards, as well as the needs of their population and plan design.
  • Investment Manager selection. We evaluate active and index solutions for our clients.  For indexes we review cost, approach, and risk controls, while for our active managers we conduct investment manager due diligence that underly fund recommendations. We evaluate philosophy and process, portfolio construction and risk controls, and team structure.
  • Managed account review. Similar to investment profiles, we provide qualitative analysis of the vendor’s managed account solution to determine fit and value.

The fundamental philosophy upon which this process is built is Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT) and market efficiency/equilibrium. We know that risk and return are highly correlated. To achieve greater investment returns investors need to be willing to accept greater investment risk (typically defined as short-term volatility). We also know that different asset classes (i.e., bonds, large-cap stocks, real estate, etc.), have different risk profiles and therefore provide different risk premiums to investors willing to accept their inherent risk. Expected investment returns are based on an investor’s allocation to the various asset classes available in the marketplace. The primary determinant of a fund’s investment performance is going to be its asset class exposure.

Fiduciary Resources

In addition to the services we offer to help plan sponsors with their fiduciary duties to their plan, we create and share resources throughout the year that help navigate to the responsibilities facing plan sponsors as it relates to their retirement plan benefit programs. 

  • Investment Manager Due Diligence Outlines
    Manager selection is a critical step for any investment committee. Our philosophy and process focus on the qualitative components of a manager rather than through simple historical metrics. Understanding the people, their investment philosophy, and their decision-making process is more important than understanding their peer group rank.
    Download the resource.
  • Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Investments
    What is an ESG fund, are all ESG funds the same? These questions + more are answered in our ESG FAQ plan sponsor resource.
    Download the FAQ.

  • Fund Mapping: The Why and How of this Fiduciary Action
    At some point, all plan fiduciaries are going to make a change in their investment menu. It may be a simple replacement of a poor performing fund, or it could be a complete overhaul of the investment menu as they transition to a new recordkeeping provider. Each time a change is made, the plan fiduciaries are taking discretion of participant investments by moving participants' money from one investment option to another, and as a result, they should give careful consideration of their decision.
    Watch the recording.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is your firm's approach to defined contribution investment consulting?

A: We believe that no single solution exists that meets the needs of every defined contribution participant. Within a single plan, the level of sophistication among participants can vary widely with some participants being new to investing and others being sophisticated managers of their retirement wealth. We strive to assist the plan in implementing a single solution that meets the diverse needs of this population without favoring one group at the expense of another. As a result, we believe solutions that acknowledge these participants' differences are necessary to create a successful retirement program. This means that we need to create investment programs that provide simplified solutions for the majority of employees while still offering the breadth of choices that more sophisticated employees demand.

Q: Describe how you assist clients with the due diligence and selection process of the QDIA option.

A: The process for selecting a qualified default investment alternative (QDIA) for the plan is unique because of the visibility of the default option among the plan population and because of the nature of the types of investment alternatives that are chosen. The first step is to select the type of QDIA option to use within the plan. We have clients that utilize a single balanced option, a risk-based model portfolio, or target date fund series. Plans can also elect to utilize a managed account solution provided within the plan. There are pros and cons for each option, and the initial step in the QDIA selection process is to determine which option best fits the plan, its participants, and the investment objectives of the committee. In our experience, most clients select a target date fund series because of the simplicity of the option, its ability to provide an appropriate allocation for participants of differing ages, and the cost advantages compared to more "custom" solutions such as managed accounts.

Once the type of QDIA has been selected, the next step is to evaluate and select the specific product to be utilized as the default option. Assuming a target date fund series is the chosen option given its popularity in the market, the process begins with an evaluation of the plan design, plan demographics, participants' financial literacy, and the investment committee's investment philosophy. We lead the Committee through an education and data gathering presentation to solicit feedback from the committee and to identify the information that may factor into an appropriate target date fund series. Using the data collected, we score the universe of the target date fund series to identify the fund series that best match the plan demographics and investment objectives of the plan. Separate from the client-specific scoring process, our investment research team evaluates target date fund managers to identify those series that we would recommend to clients. They use a combination of quantitative and qualitative due diligence with an emphasis on in-person manager duediligence meetings. Similar to other investment strategies used by our clients, the investment analysts present their findings to Multnomah Group's Investment Committee, and the Committee decides whether a strategy is recommended for clients.  Using the client scoring and the list of target date fund series that have been vetted by Multnomah Group's Investment Committee, we prepare a recommendation presentation that compares two to four different fund series that meet Multnomah Group's standard for investment quality and most closely match the client's needs based on the evaluation of their plan demographics and investment philosophy. Based on this analysis, a recommendation is provided to the Committee for review and acceptance. A similar process is used for other QDIA types and adjusted based on the specific circumstances of each product type.

Q: Describe the firm’s manager search process.

A: The firm’s manager search process begins with our proprietary scoring model. We score the universe of investment options each quarter and assign a score and peer group percentile rank for each fund. Using the quantitative scoring as an initial screen, our investment team then conducts its qualitative due diligence. The emphasis of the qualitative due diligence is to understand the investment management firm, its people, their investment philosophy, and the portfolio construction process. Throughout the qualitative due diligence process, the investment analyst is looking to understand why a manager scored well in our model, whether the investment philosophy and portfolio construction process are consistent with the past performance, and whether we believe the philosophy and process are likely to result in positive future returns. Ultimately, the qualitative assessment is the primary factor in determining whether to recommend a manager to clients. Specific criteria that are emphasized during the qualitative assessment phase are the stability of the investment management organization, the experience and knowledge of the firm’s personnel, the structure of the investment research team, the clarity of their investment process, and the risk management controls they use to maintain the portfolio. 

Our Investment Committee combines quantitative analysis with qualitative analysis to come to a determination about a product and its suitability within our clients’ investment menus. The Committee conducts research internally using our staff and resources and is proprietary to the firm.

Scott Cameron_360px

Scott Cameron


Caryn Sanchez_360px

Caryn Sanchez

Senior Investment Analyst

Erik Daley_360px

Erik Daley

Managing Principal

David Williams_360px

David Williams

Principal and Director of Investment Services

To contact one of our committee members,
or to learn more about our investment consulting capabilities,
fill out the form below.


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