HFG dramatically reduces the complexity, liability and cost of managing an ERISA-qualified pension plan. We collaborate with the plan sponsor either as its named fiduciary or as an independent fiduciary. For corporate directors and officers of plan sponsors, failure to perform as a prudent expert can result in mediocre investment returns as well as potential personal liability. HFG is the prudent expert working on behalf of the plan.

As Named Fiduciary …

HFG serves as the Investment Named Fiduciary for the management of pension plan assets. We provide a single point of management for an otherwise disaggregated assemblage of vendors and consultants. HFG will hire and oversee all investment consultants, investment managers and investment options, providing the plans with the benefit of best industry practices at reasonable and competitive rates. In addition, HFG will review and monitor a plan’s contractual relationships with its trustee, administrator and recordkeeper.

At the outset, HFG works with a corporation’s legal advisor to implement a corporate governance structure that clearly allocates fiduciary activities and responsibilities with respect to a pension plan. This clear delegation and allocation of fiduciary responsibilities should be a critical component in enabling officers and directors to significantly mitigate their personal fiduciary liability. Furthermore, HFG will implement fiduciary policies and procedures consistent with ERISA.

On a regular basis, HFG will provide comprehensive professional reports to senior management and/or directors of the corporation.

As an Independent Fiduciary …

From time-to-time corporations find themselves in special circumstances where an extra level of fiduciary expertise and investment management skill are required — especially in combination. At these times, corporate directors and officers may also seek the benefits of HFG’s expertise and experience. Independent services may include:

  • Overseeing company stock accounts
  • Directing litigation involving the plan, including approving litigation settlement offers
  • Assessing and overseeing securities lending programs
  • Approving plan expenses for service providers
  • Assessing and monitoring asset pricing and valuation processes

In such situations, an independent, conflict-free fiduciary would act solely in the best interests of the plan participants. That’s HFG.

Pension Plan Perils

An industry of investment advisors, pension consultants, accountants, actuaries and attorneys stand ready to help corporations manage their pension plans. Many of these advisors sidestep fiduciary responsibility. In other words, even after paying substantial fees to a host of advisors the fiduciary risk is mostly yours. At the same time this layering of fees compounds, siphoning value from the pension investment portfolio.

On top of — and allocated among — these various services are a number of responsibilities and roles, such as named fiduciaries, trustees, investment managers, administrators, record keepers, and corporate staff. Often these service providers characterize their responsibilities and disclose their fees using conventions that are inconsistent with one another, thereby creating potential gaps, overlaps and conflicts.

It is up to the plan sponsor — with the risk of potential personal liability for senior management and the directors — to sort all this out — and to do so as a prudent expert while at the same time performing the “normal” tasks of running a business.