An Independent Practice
How Do You Compare?
Below is a self-assessment for plan sponsors to use to quickly asses their understanding of, and compliance to, a fiduciary standard of care. It analyzes how well they currently meet the global Standard of Fiduciary Excellence as defined by the Center for Fiduciary Studies. An answer of “yes” indicates that particular fiduciary best practice is being completed. An answer of “no” or “I don't know” indicates a potential shortfall is occurring within the current process and should then elicit an inquiry into the situation to determine if action is required.
- Does the Investment Steward demonstrate an awareness of fiduciary duties and responsibilities?
- Are investments and investment services under the oversight of the Investment Steward consistent with applicable governing documents?
- Are the roles and responsibilities of all involved parties (fiduciaries and non-fiduciaries) defined and documented?
- Are periodic reviews conducted to ensure that investment-related fees, compensation, and expenses are fair and reasonable for the services provided?
- Is there a process to periodically review the Steward's effectiveness in meeting its fiduciary responsibilities?
- Does the Investment Steward identify conflicts of interest and address conflicts in a manner consistent with the duty of loyalty?
- Does the Investment Steward require agreements with service providers to be in writing and consistent with fiduciary standards of care?
- Are decisions regarding investment strategies and types of investments documented and made in accordance with fiduciary obligations of care?
- Is a reasonable due diligence process followed to select each service provider in a manner consistent with obligations of care?
- Are periodic reports used to compare investment performance against appropriate index, peer group, and investment policy statement objectives?
- Are periodic reviews made of qualitative and/or organizational changes of Investment Advisors, Investment Managers, and other service providers?
- Are portfolio assets protected from theft and embezzlement?
- Has an investment time horizon been identified for each investment objective of the portfolio?
- Has an appropriate risk level been identified for the portfolio?
- Has an expected return to meet each investment objective for the portfolio been identified?
- Are selected asset classes consistent with the portfolio's time horizon and risk and return objectives?
- Are selected asset classes consistent with implementation and monitoring constraints?
- Does the investment policy statement contain sufficient detail to define, implement, and monitor the portfolio's investment strategy?
- When socially responsible investment strategies are elected, are the strategies structured appropriately?
- When statutory or regulatory investment safe harbors are elected, is each investment strategy implemented in compliance with regulatory requirements, when elected?
- Are control procedures in place to periodically review policies for trading practices and proxy voting?