Investment Advisory Services

Independent Advisory: As a fee only and fully independent investment advisory firm, Carroll Consultants Advisors, Ltd. is free to select from a myriad of investment options suitable for your retirement plan.  We have strong relationships with the best investment providers including TIAA-CREF, Charles Schwab, Vanguard, Fidelity, Great West, John Hancock and Principal.

We do not collect any commissions or 12b-1 fees and are not restricted to any company’s commission based products.

Investment Policy Statement: The purpose of the Investment Policy Statement is to provide policy direction and procedural guidelines that will allow for the selection and ongoing monitoring of investment options and service providers under your plan.  It must comply with the fiduciary responsibility standards imposed by ERISA and meet the plan’s overall objectives.

An Investment Policy Statement should address the following:

  • Defines the Plan’s investment objectives.
  • Defines the roles of those responsible for the Plan’s investments.
  • Describes the criteria and procedures for selecting the investment options.
  • Establishes investment procedures, measurement standards and monitoring procedures.
  • Describes corrective actions the committee can take should investment options and investment managers fail to satisfy established objectives.
  • Describes the types of educational materials to be provided to Plan participants and beneficiaries.
  • Describes ways to comply with fiduciary obligations and applicable laws and regulations.

We assist plan sponsors in drafting Investment Policy Statements in such a manner as to provide a clear road map for the plan fiduciary.

Fund Selection and Due Diligence Evaluation: Our fund selection and due diligence review uses a scorecard system methodology that incorporates both quantitative and qualitative factors in evaluating fund managers and their investment strategies.  These factors, when combined, measure the relative performance, characteristics, behavior and overall appropriateness of a fund for inclusion into your retirement plan as an investment option.  The evaluation incorporates quantitative modern portfolio theory statistics, quadratic optimization analysis, peer group rankings and qualitative analysis as follows:

  • Style Analysis
  • Style Drift
  • R-Squared
  • Risk/Return
  • Up/Down Capture Analysis
  • Information Ratio
  • Returns Peer Group Ranking
  • Information Ratio Peer Group Ranking
  • Fund Operating Expenses
  • Manager Tenure
  • Changes in fund’s investment strategy
  • Firm personnel or management issues

Our ongoing monitoring of investment options is a regular and disciplined process.  We confirm that the criteria remain satisfied and that an investment option continues to be appropriate.  This helps our plan sponsors in meeting their continuing fiduciary responsibilities.

Fiduciary Compliance: ERISA defines the term Fiduciary to include any person who:

  • Has discretionary authority or responsibility in the administration of the plan
  • Exercises any discretionary authority or control with respect to plan assets
  • Renders investment advice as to plan assets for a fee

For plans (such as church plans) that are exempt from ERISA, state law contains similar concepts.

As a Registered Investment Advisor we are a co-Fiduciary to your retirement plan as it relates to the ongoing monitoring and selection of investment fund options.  We assist plan sponsors in maintaining compliance with the IRS, DOL and other regulatory agencies.

Co-Fiduciary to Your Plan: We acknowledge in writing that we are a Fiduciary to your retirement plan.  We are held to the high standard of placing our client interests above all other interests including our own.

We stand beside our plan sponsors in helping them to make decisions that are “in the best interests of plan participants”.

Plan Sponsor Best Practices: Retirement plan sponsors need to make plan decisions in the “best interests of its plan participants” and in a fiscally responsible manner.  In this regard we help our retirement plan sponsors with best practices as follows:

Governance:

  • Board resolution to establish retirement plan committee
  • Plan committee in place
  • Defined roles/bylaws
  • Committee members
  • Scheduled meetings
  • Document meeting

Investment Policy:

  • Written policy in place
  • Content of policy
  • Goals/Objectives
  • Asset classes/benchmarks
  • Procedures for hiring/firing managers
  • Fund evaluation process/watch list

Fiduciary Process:

  • Annual review of investment policy statement (IPS)
  • Ongoing monitoring of investments
  • Fee benchmarking
  • Periodic request for proposals (RFP) process
  • Documentation/minutes

Investment Menu:

  • Adequate fund coverage
  • 404(c) compliance
  • Proper disclosures and notices
  • Target-date fund selection
  • QDIA selection and notices
  • Universal availability

Investment communication:

  • Fund fact sheets include investment management fees
  • Program documented annually
  • Ongoing participant feedback

Participant Education and Communication: We assist plan sponsors with communicating to their participants that they can direct their own investments and investment changes.  Our investment communication and education materials help our plan participants make educated and informed investment choices.  These services include:

  • Periodic enrollment and investment education meetings on-site or web conference
  • General information regarding investment risk, inflation, potential taxation impact, investment earnings and asset classes
  • Investment tools including investment risk profile questionnaire and retirement needs worksheet
  • Summary plan description
  • ERISA Section 404(c) disclosure

Fee Disclosure: We assist plan sponsors by providing plan sponsor and participant fee disclosure services such as:

  • Update plan sponsors regularly regarding fee disclosure regulations and deadlines
  • Compile master census data of all participants to receive participant disclosure statements
  • Create fee disclosure documents
  • Distribute participant fee disclosure documents, if requested