Template Request For Proposal For Higher Education Retirement Plan Advisor Search

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The Retirement Advisor Council is making public and freely available a template Request for Proposal (RFP) questionnaire for use by Higher Education Institutions looking to select an Advisor for their Retirement Plans.

James D. Robison Principal and co-founder of White Oak Advisors, Retirement Advisor Council Board member and Chair of the Advisor Search RFP Committee of the Council

Higher education institutions face unique challenges when it comes to selecting an advisor for their retirement plans. Institutions need an Advisor who can navigate the diverse needs of faculty, staff, and administration.

Today, the Retirement Advisor Council made public and freely available a template Request for Proposal (RFP) questionnaire for use by Higher Education Institutions looking to select an Advisor for their Retirement Plans. The document covers all the elements of service typically available from Professional Retirement Plan Advisors, including investment services, participant services, provider services, fiduciary support, and compliance support. This customizable document includes 77 questions on six pages. You can obtain the template RFP questionnaire in Microsoft Word document form on the Web site of the Council at http://www.retirementadvisor.us/advisor-top/template-advisor-search-rfp-request. The template is provided for use without copyright restrictions.

This new version of the popular RFP template questionnaire available from the Council since 2012 was designed specifically for use by institutions of Higher Education. The questionnaire helps plan sponsors gauge advisor experience with institutions like theirs, experience with providers focused on the Higher Education market such as TIAA-CREF, and perspective on implementation and transition. Strong interest from higher education institutions led the Council to develop a specific model RFP for the sector. A model protocol for conducting an advisor search is also posted on the Web site of the Council. The protocol outlines a suggested process for plan sponsors seeking to select a professional retirement plan advisor, or to perform due diligence on a current advisor.

“Higher education institutions face unique challenges when it comes to selecting an advisor for their retirement plans. Institutions need an Advisor who can navigate the diverse needs of faculty, staff, and administration. They need someone who understands the legacy of non-ERISA 403(b) arrangements with multiple providers and hundreds of investment options. It is our belief that all will benefit from utilizing an Advisor who understands and appreciates the complexity of retirement programs in the College and University market segment; many of which make use of multiple plan and contract types. All need an advisor who can help them act as plan fiduciaries regardless the size and composition of the plan committee today.” said James D. Robison Principal and co-founder of White Oak Advisors, Retirement Advisor Council Board member and Chair of the Advisor Search RFP Committee of the Council.

“Retirement plan sponsors and investment committees at higher education institutions realize they need the support of a knowledgeable Advisor to act as a co-fiduciary partner and prudent expert given the recent evolution of their fiduciary responsibility and the service offerings and products available to them. Services appeal to private and public university systems alike. However, plan sponsors and committees don’t necessarily know what questions to ask or where to begin, to discern solid candidates from the fray when attempting to establish a more formal approach and process for the management of their retirement plans and programs ” adds Greg Middleton, Director of the Advisor Support Group of CAPTRUST Financial Advisors in Raleigh, NC. “The Higher Education Advisor RFP template provided by the Council offers a model that any institution can customize to meet its unique culture and also address the fundamental issues associated with the selection of an Advisor and effective management of their retirement offerings.”

The Retirement Advisor Council is a national organization that advocates for successful qualified plan and participant retirement outcomes through the collaborative efforts of experienced, qualified retirement plan Advisors, investment managers and defined contribution plan service providers. To advance its mission, the Council undertakes initiatives in the areas of research, public relations and promotion, general public education, regulatory positions and practice management. The Council accomplishes this mission by:

  •     Identifying duties, responsibilities, and attributes of the Professional Retirement Plan Advisor.
  •     Sharing professional standards with plan sponsors who are responsible for the success of their plans.
  •     Providing collective thought capital to decision makers, product providers, legislators and the public.
  •     Giving voice to the retirement plan advisor community
  •     Offering tools to evaluate advisors to ensure the quality of services provided.

Learn more about the Retirement Advisor Council at http://www.retirementadvisor.us

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