Case Studies

Helping a 403(b) Plan Meet Compliance Standards

Background In 2013, Blue Prairie Group (“BPG”) was retained by a Pennsylvania-based non-profit organization to serve as their 403(b) retirement plan advisor. At the time of the engagement, the CFO of the organization was concerned about meeting the DOL/IRS regulations post-2009 and asked BPG to conduct a full Compliance Review to uncover any and all qualified defects. At the time, the organization’s plan had roughly $25 million in plan assets and 150 participants. Process We reviewed the plan documents, vendor processes and internal HR processes and uncovered a number of problems with the plan: Form 5500 – the short form [ read more ]

Case Study

Case Study

Improving Financial Wellness Through Employee Education

Background In 2013, Blue Prairie Group (“BPG”) was asked by one of its retained clients – a large, Illinois-based insurance provider – to implement a financial wellness program for its plan participants. The company consists of a mostly white-collar workforce of 215 employees, geographically distributed between two Illinois locations. The goal of the financial wellness program was to engage employees and get them to save more for a secure retirement, using retirement planning software called Retiremap. Process The financial wellness program was implemented in three phases: Phase 1 – “Plan for Your Future” iPad Workshops In Phase 1, groups of [ read more ]

Restructuring a 401(k) Plan

Background In 2012, Blue Prairie Group (“BPG”) was retained by an Illinois-based hospital to deliver ongoing consulting services to its 401(k) retirement plan. BPG made several recommendations to overhaul the investment lineup, reduce the overall cost of the plan, establish an employee education program, and restructure fiduciary governance. At the time, the hospital’s plan had roughly $16 million in plan assets and 500 participants. Process Strategic Plan Redesign Moved to a safe harbor plan design and added auto enrollment features to increase participation and encourage greater long-term savings. Reconfigured the employer match to encourage higher levels of savings without increasing [ read more ]

Case Study

Case Study

Improving the Retirement Future of 7,000 Retail Employees

Background In 2007, Blue Prairie Group (“BPG”) was retained by a large, Wisconsin-based chain of convenience stores to provide ongoing strategic retirement and investment consulting services to the 401(k)/profit sharing plan. As part of its original scope, Blue Prairie Group designed and managed a series of custom target dates funds for the client, who had been recently selected as the new recordkeeper as part of a due diligent search process led by BPG. In 2011, based on a series of recommendations made by BPG, the client made the decision to move the custom target date funds to a stand-alone, custom [ read more ]

Dramatic Fee Savings for Multi-billion Dollar 401(k) Plan

Background One of the nation’s largest and publicly traded waste management providers asked Blue Prairie Group to assist in evaluating the cost structure of their 401(k) plan and help negotiate lower fees with the recordkeeper. At the time, the plan had over $1.7 billion in assets and over 34,000 participants. Results Blue Prairie Group secured significantly lower fees, which resulted in lower overall recordkeeping costs. As a result of careful negotiations, the recordkeeper reduced their annual fees from an effective asset-based fee of 24 bps to a better, flat $37 per participant fee, a 38% effective reduction in annual recordkeeping [ read more ]

Case Study

Custom Target Date Funds

Background: BPG created and maintained custom target date portfolios for the Client since 2007. The unitized separate accounts were record-kept by the 401(k) record-keeper and the 5 different “sleeves” showed good risk-adjusted performance based on Blue Prairie Group’s due diligence.  However, with advances in the technology there was an opportunity to move the custom target date funds to the Alliance Bernstein platform to allow for greater investment flexibility, lower institutional pricing, and an opportunity to reduce the overall fiduciary risk profile of the company. Result: BPG helped to create a more efficient investment portfolio using the core funds from the [ read more ]

Asset Liability Portfolio Design for Defined Benefit Plan

Challenge: A large Atlanta-based client hired Blue Prairie Group to create an investment portfolio for an underfunded DB plan that would minimize investment volatility yet still allow for investment growth. By doing so, the defined benefit pension plan would be able to avoid large swings in pension funding status and as a result, the client would avoid significant cash contributions to the DB plan. Results: BPG educated the Client on the Liability-Driven Investment (“LDI”) strategy. Working with the Plan’s actuary, Blue Prairie Group determined the “term structure” of the liabilities. Blue Prairie Group then selected investment managers that were appropriate [ read more ]

Multi-National Savings Plan Using Off-Shore Funds

Challenge: In 2008, a Texas-based, multi-national Client asked BPG to create an investment portfolio using off-shore funds for the company’s defined contribution retirement plan for its international employees. The Client also wanted to include a well-engineered, diversified target date fund solution in the core lineup. Creating this portfolio proved to be particularly challenging given that the universe of off-shore investment options was much smaller than those available to U.S. investors. Results: BPG created a core investment lineup based on a discrete set of investment options that were distinct from a historical risk and returned perspective. The original core lineup included: [ read more ]

EXCESS REVENUE: A New Paradigm for Driving Down Total Plan Costs

Challenge: A Chicago-based telecommunications company asked Blue Prairie Group to assist them in a due diligent search to select a new service provider. The client wanted to reduce total plan costs. Project Approach: Once the bundled, open investment architecture provider was selected, Blue Prairie Group also assisted the client in sifting through all available ERISA appropriate mutual fund options (approximately 12,000) to create a new investment portfolio. Strategy: Blue Prairie Group’s Institutional Retirement and Investment Consultants walked the client through a formal, due diligent investment selection process that was documented each step of the way. Blue Prairie Group came up [ read more ]