Bolton Investment

Bolton Investment provides Plan Sponsors with fiduciary assistance to administer their retirement plans. With the recent wave of litigation against plans, we can help you proactively explore and navigate the complex issues and challenges that concern plan fiduciaries every day. Employers face the challenge of employees often being unprepared for retirement and the rising costs of an older workforce. Our experienced consultants provide investment and retirement plan advice geared towards saving participants and their beneficiaries their hard-earned money by helping Plan Sponsors introduce prudent industry-wide best practices to their plans. Our goal is to make these plans stronger from a fiduciary perspective and generate better financial outcomes.

Center for Fiduciary Excellence

Areas of Investment Expertise

Many plan sponsors are not aware of the fees in their retirement plan and how well their plan compares to best practices in the market place.  Often these fees can be up to 5 times higher than what is deemed reasonable in the market place.

How does this affect your plan? The Department of Labor estimates that a fee which is just 1% higher can cost a participant 30% of their account balance over a 30-year career.   We can assess these hard to find fees, compare them to the market place and let you know how they measure up. In some cases, we can negotiate lower fees with your current provider.

Some of our most recent benchmarking studies have resulted in reduction of plan fees by 80% and is expected to save participants over $750,000 over a 5-year period.

In addition to our fee analysis, we can provide a fiduciary “snap shot” of your how your plan stands today compared to the market place. This includes an overall review of the strength of your governance program. Our goal is to identify the competitiveness and diversification of your investment lineup and how fairly plan fees are allocated amongst your employees.

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The construction and ongoing monitoring of a prudent lineup of investment options are the keys to an effective plan. The beginning of the process hinges on the quality of the investment policy statement that your plan adopts to help guide the decision-making process.

The investment policy statement is designed to prevent untimely and capricious investment decisions. Our services help Sponsors build a “road map” to prudently select and monitor their investment options. For defined benefit plans, we will set the guidelines as to how often your plan should be rebalanced back to the target allocations. Committee discussion is crucial in building the investment philosophy which will serve as the outline for the investment policy statement. We will memorialize your Committee’s policies and objectives for plan administration and include categories such as manager selection, monitoring, termination guidelines, etc.

We will assist the development of the investment policy statement and ongoing maintenance of the document on an annual basis to ensure it is still meeting the plan’s objectives.

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Our experienced research team can evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your current lineup of investment managers. We offer an in-depth review of the asset classes offered to participants.

In cases where a manager is no longer complaint with the investment policy statement, we can identify other suitable candidates which may be more prudent for investing. We use several criteria in our proprietary scoring system to identify the most competitive managers.  Our internal investment committee reviews the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate before a recommendation is made to our clients.

For Plan Sponsors, the selection of the Qualified Default Investment Alternative (QDIA) is one of the more important but overlooked decisions. For most plan sponsors this would be a target date fund family.  Target date funds have become an extremely popular investment choice for participants. In fact, it is expected that 65-70% of all cash flow will be invested in target date funds.

Because there are approximately 40 different target date fund families, plan sponsors must establish a process to select the most prudent “glide path” for the QDIA. The evaluation can’t be based solely on performance but must include other plan demographics including the committee’s risk preference, employee behavior and potential options on your vendor’s platform. Once we have that data, we will thoughtfully identify alternatives for consideration and if needed, recommend a suitable candidate.

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One of the most important duties for plan sponsors is to review the performance of the investments compared to relevant peers and benchmarks identified in the investment policy statement. Our evaluation utilizes both quantitative and qualitative criteria to measure performance and consider the likelihood that a manager will be able to repeat their success in the future.

Our evaluation includes a review of investment personnel, investment process and investment style consistency. To memorialize our investment review process, we produce an easy-to-read document which includes a market and economic summary and highlights each fund in an illustrative and comprehensive two-page fund report.  Our investment team provides a recommendation and rating on each fund manager.

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We will assist Plan Sponsors in selecting the plan type that is most suitable for their organization. This includes conducting a provider search to identify the most appropriate firm to administer the plan. Throughout this process we will be implementing an effective plan governance program and provide fiduciary education.

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We assist plan sponsors as they re-bid their provider contracts through a competitive bid process. Our goal throughout this process is to identify the most suitable providers and negotiate the most favorable contractual terms given your objectives. The search process takes approximately three to four months.

We will perform all of the heavy lifting from start to finish. This includes gathering all plan data, writing the proposal, issuing the proposal to the providers, gathering responses and evaluating the results. The competitive bid process reviews several aspects of the plan including fee schedules, record keeping systems, proposed on-site communications, etc. Once the proposals have been received, we will compile the results into a comprehensive fiduciary report documenting the findings and identifying potential finalists. We will also develop an agenda for the finalist meetings, conduct the meetings at your work location and negotiate terms and services. We stay involved throughout the entire transition process to ensure a smooth rollout of the new program.

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We can provide an assessment of your plan’s current design to ensure your organization’s retirement plan practices and goals are aligned with the overall well-being and retirement readiness for your employees.  We can also review your current 401(k) policies and procedures and audit past plan data to ensure your plan complies with the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and industry best practices.

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Bolton provides guidance to help protect the fiduciaries overseeing your plan from potentially harmful plan litigation.  This includes the development of a committee charter, fiduciary acknowledgment letters and insurance reviews.

We will keep you updated on the latest fiduciary topics in the industry and, if needed, can also provide fiduciary training to help you understand your role as a fiduciary.

We have developed a fiduciary checklist of terms that Plan Sponsors should be addressing on a regular basis. This includes:

  • Review of the investment policy statement
  • Review of share classes
  • Review of investment options
  • Review fee structure
  • Review the target date fund series/ qualified default investment alternative
  • Conduct a request for proposal
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One of the recurring issues that Plan Sponsors face is whether they are using the most prudent strategic asset allocation strategies. Since plans and demographics change over time, this decision should be examined every three to five years.

We engage in a thoughtful process to identify the optimal mix of asset classes by taking the plan’s unique objectives and constraints into consideration. We use stochastic techniques to evaluate assets and liabilities under a wide range of economic models. We focus on strategic, long-term asset allocation with regularly scheduled re-balancing. Our goal is to give our clients a variety of asset allocation options featuring different risk-reward profiles and leading a discussion on which strategy would be most prudent for their plan.

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Investment Advice is offered by Bolton Partners Investment Consulting Group, Inc., an SEC Registered Investment Adviser under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (“Advisers Act”). Under the Advisers Act, Rule 204-3 requires Bolton Partners Investment Consulting Group, Inc., to provide clients with specific information about the advisory firm. Bolton Partners Investment Consulting Group, Inc., offers ADV, Part 2 to serve this important purpose. Investors can acquire information (ADV, Part 2) on the registration status of our investment advisory firm by calling Bolton Investment directly at (410)547-0500 or on the SEC’s website at Bolton Partners Investment Consulting Group, Inc., is an affiliate of Bolton .