MADISON, Wis. (6/29/10)--CUNA Mutual Group has formed its Retirement Plan Services Investment Committee to provide enhanced due diligence support for plan sponsors offering its Choice 401(k) program.
The committee provides research, analytical studies and monitoring for due diligence reporting behind every investment option available in the Choice retirement program, said Tom Eckert, CUNA Mutual vice president of Retirement Plan Services. “We provide the reports and recommendations of the committee to our plan sponsors so they will have thorough information for their due diligence files.” The five-person committee will meet quarterly and be comprised of experienced CUNA Mutual investment professionals. Members include investment analysts, investment strategists and chartered financial analysts (CFAs) who understanding ERISA regulation of retirement plan investments and financial product development and management. They include:
* Scott Knapp, director of investment strategy and committee chairman; * Thomas J. Merfeld, senior vice president and chief investment risk officer; * Scott Powell, managing director for general account investments; * Christopher J. Copeland, vice president and corporate treasurer; and * Thomas M. Preusker, investment analyst for Retirement Plan Services.
The Choice 401(k) product uses a low-cost group annuity platform and offers more than 75 different sub-account choices from a variety of well-known investment managers, Eckert said. “We want our plan sponsors to know that every investment option available in their plan has been thoroughly screened and monitored.” In addition to traditional screens for investment quality and consistency, the committee has integrated unique behavioral screens into its analysis. “The goal of a behavioral screen is to identify funds that make it easy for participants to decide to save, save enough, and achieve adequate diversification,” said Knapp. “We're doing our best to encourage optimal decision making, which we believe is far more important than achieving eye-popping fund returns. This supports our outcome-based approach.” CUNA Mutual has engaged Mesirow Financial to provide an independent review and certification of its enhanced retirement platform due diligence process. "At the top of our priorities is helping our plan sponsors meet their obligations as fiduciaries. Our engagement with Mesirow Financial takes us a long way down that path,” Knapp said. Mesirow Financial will evaluate CUNA Mutual’s investment manager screening, evaluation, reporting and monitoring processes and provide an independent certification that CUNA Mutual’s processes meet or exceed industry standards. CUNA Mutual manages 4,000 credit union retirement plans representing $6 billion in assets under administration.