Vendor and Plan Management

Assisting clients in developing and maintaining
high-quality plans for participants.

At Multnomah Group, our focus is you, the plan sponsor. Our mission is to help clients develop and maintain successful retirement savings programs by providing thorough, practical solutions that meet their objectives. Our role is to impartially assist our clients in developing and monitoring a high-quality plan for their participants. We believe that successful retirement plans are the result of thoughtful plan sponsors making informed and prudent decisions about their plan.

We help our clients prudently monitor all aspects of their plan, including investment managers, recordkeepers, and participant education service providers. We develop objective processes to help clients select recordkeepers and measure the work they provide to the plan and its participants.

Vendor Search

Conducting a vendor search can be a detailed, time-intensive process. If the vendor search warrants the selection of a new vendor, the conversion process requires significant planning time and may have a dramatic impact on the participant-user experience. A properly guided vendor search and implementation may result in:

  • Improved service at the plan sponsor and participant levels
  • Enhanced educational strategies and tools
  • Better investment options
  • Increased participation
  • Decreased overall costs
  • Increased overall participant satisfaction with the plan

Fee Benchmarking

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) requires retirement plan fiduciaries to ensure that all fees paid out of the retirement plan are reasonable in light of the services rendered. Plan sponsors are not required to purchase services from the lowest bidder, but they must be able to demonstrate a deliberative process by which the reasonableness of applicable fees is regularly considered. The topic of fee reasonableness has become a critical Department of Labor focal point since the late 2000s, making it important for plan sponsors to be able to articulate the process by which fiduciaries conclude that all plan fees are reasonable considering relevant facts and circumstances.

Multnomah Group provides plan specific fee benchmarking analysis to assist our clients in meeting the fee reasonableness standard. We use proprietary market pricing data to estimate the fee range specified in our analysis report.

Our goals in providing the annual fee benchmarking analysis to our clients are as follows:

  • Assist ERISA covered clients in meeting ERISA’s fee reasonableness standard
  • Assist ERISA exempt clients in maintaining a fee reasonableness best practice by providing a meaningful comparison
  • Assist clients in understanding applicable plan services fees by discussing the current fee structure
  • Provide a discussion springboard for related topics such as the duty to prudently monitor the plan’s vendors
  • Recommend potential next steps (e.g., renegotiate service provider fees and/or service levels, launch a formal request for proposal process) depending upon where current fees fall in or out of the benchmarked range

Plan Design

The most crucial element of any retirement benefit plan is how successfully and efficiently it drives benefits to its participants. Multnomah Group’s consultants and subject matter specialists have a wealth of experience in designing all types of qualified and non-qualified retirement benefit and incentive programs. In our work with clients, we have found the design of the retirement plan to be the primary determinant of a plan’s effectiveness. Unfortunately, many employers choose to focus on the rate and methodology of the employer contribution, while neglecting other factors that have an equivalent impact. Features such as negative enrollment, automatic escalation, and plan leakage affect participant success as much as contribution rate and methodology. We assist plan sponsors in evaluating the design of their plan with a lens focused on all the aspects of design that impact their employee population.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Describe your vendor benchmark service and process.

A: Each year we provide a plan-specific fee benchmarking analysis to assist our clients in meeting the fee reasonableness standard. We use proprietary market pricing data to inform the fee range specified in our benchmarking report. Further, our analysis provides a summary of both investment management and plan service fees, which typically include recordkeeping, administration, employee education, communication, and compliance services.

Our goals in providing the annual fee benchmarking analysis to our clients include:

  • Assisting ERISA-covered clients in meeting ERISA’s fee reasonableness standard (or assistingexempt clients in maintaining a fee reasonableness best practice);
  • Assisting clients in understanding applicable plan service fees and how they are structured;
  • Providing a discussion springboard for related topics such as the duty to prudently monitor the plan’s vendors; and
  • Recommending potential next steps (e.g.,re-negotiate service provider fees and service levels, launch a formal vendor search, etc.) depending on whether the current analysis indicates an opportunity for improvement.

Our process for helping clients determine the reasonableness of fees promotes the likelihood of the best possible outcomes for plan participants.

Q: What is your process for searching and evaluating services providers such as recordkeepers?

A: Multnomah Group has developed a vendor search process designed to match the specific needs of our clients with vendors in the marketplace. Because our consultants have prior experience working for, or with, recordkeeping firms, we are able to better understandthe capabilities, deficiencies, and how to interpret responses compared to other consultants who lack this experience. Importantly, we are an independent firm, and we can assist the Committee in reviewing the entire spectrum of vendors. The process we have developed to reviewvendors focuses on multiple distinct areas of competence, including:

  • Development of a Request for Proposal (RFP)
    • interviews with the vendor selection Committee to articulate the desired retirement plan structure
    • drafting of a customized RFP document
    • release of RFP to pre-qualified vendors
  • Management of vendor inquiries
  • Comprehensive report on the vendor proposals submitted
    • vendor proposal summaries
    • vendor scorecard
    • 5-Year cost analysis projections
  • Assistance in the selection of finalists
  • Interviews with finalists
  • Recommendation of vendor(s) for the management of the plan
  • Implementation support

After a vendor is selected, we will provide guidance to the Committee related to vendor service agreement deliverables and assistance in the conversion process from vendor to vendor. In this role, we manage a distinct conversion process to help ensure that the transition and communication campaign aredelivered on time and consistent with the terms of the sales process.

Contact Us

David Williams

David Williams

Senior Consultant

Scott Cameron

Scott Cameron

Principal

Brian Montanez

Brian Montanez

Principal

Megan Hill

Megan Hill

Lead Benefit Analyst

A Guide to Retirement Plan
Fees and Expenses


For more information on the opaque area of retirement plan fees,
we discuss fees found in retirement plans in hopes of helping
retirement plan sponsors achieve a greater understanding of their plan’s fees.

To receive a copy of our white paper "A Guide to Retirement Plan Fees and Expenses"
via email, please fill out the form below.

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