Vendor and Plan Management

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

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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.

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. Whether you are a small business or a large corporation, if you sponsor a retirement plan (401(k), 403(b), 457, the list goes on) it's important for you to understand the fees you are paying.

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

Read our case study focused on our fee benchmarking service for information on how this has helped our clients meet their fiduciary obligations.

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

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.

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. 

  • FREE Benchmarking Analysis
    Our fee analysis provides a summary of both investment management and plan service fees, which typically
    include recordkeeping, administration, employee education, communication, and compliance services.
    Learn more + request an analysis.
  • Identify, Manage, and Avoid Retirement Plan Vendor Conflicts
    Fiduciaries are required by ERISA to monitor the services providers to their plan. This includes monitoring any conflicts of interest. Our retirement plan vendor conflicts resources helps you identify, monitor, and avoid any conflicts with your plan's service providers + a worksheet to assist in asking the right questions about potential conflicts.
    Download the guide.

  • Recordkeeping RFP Toolkit
    We understand that RFPs are can feel complicated and overwhelming for plan sponsors. We've created a resource that walks plan sponsors through how to prepare, review and evaluate recordkeeping vendors.
    Download the toolkit.

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?

Multnomah Group has developed a customized request for proposal process designed to match the specific needs of our clients with vendors in the marketplace. Our tenured team has worked at a number of recordkeepers, giving us an in-depth look into their organizations. Multnomah Group maintains a proprietary database on recordkeeper general capabilities that gives us an edge on understanding their inner-workings, areas where they excel, and potential shortfalls. Multnomah Group’s director of vendor services has conducted a wide array of search projects for retirement plans and will lead all search projects. Importantly, we are an independent firm and can assist the committee in reviewing the entire spectrum of vendors.

 

The process we have developed when conducting a full-scope vendor RFP evaluation is as follows:

Our Vendor Services Committee monitors the services and capabilities of our recordkeeping vendor partners as well as providing support, training, and resources for the firm’s vendor search projects. 

Laura Renshaw_360px

Laura Renshaw

Director of Vendor Services

Hailey Fields_360px

Hailey Fields

Director of Client Services

Breion Rollins_360px

Breion Rollins

Consulant

Greg Johnson_360px

Greg Johnson

Senior Consultant and Director of Technical Services

To contact one of our committee members,
or to learn more about our vendor and plan management capabilities,
fill out the form below.

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