For the first time, Greenwich Associates is publicly recognizing the best in U.S. institutional investment consulting by naming Greenwich Quality Leaders℠ in the industry.
The 2015 Greenwich Quality Leaders in U.S. Investment Consulting for large consultants are Aon Hewitt Investment Consulting, Mercer and Summit Strategies Group. CAPTRUST Financial Advisors, Marquette Associates and Pavilion Advisory Group claim the title of 2015 Quality Leaders for mid-sized firms.
In 2015, Greenwich Associates interviewed 1,341 senior professionals at corporate and union funds, public funds, endowments and foundations, insurance general accounts, and healthcare organizations with either pension or investment pool assets greater than $150 million. Study participants were asked to provide quantitative and qualitative evaluations of their investment consultants.
Based on those responses, Greenwich Associates calculates a score on the Greenwich Quality Index℠ for each consultant named. Consultants with scores that top those awarded to competitors by a statistically significant margin are named Greenwich Quality Leaders.
In investment consulting, GQI scores are driven by client ratings in four main areas:
1. Investment Counseling: Ideas, advice and guidance on best practices. Because the advice provided by consultants now ranges from both specific investment products and asset classes to asset allocation, liability related issues and other portfolio-wide strategies, this counsel must be based on a deep understanding of the client’s goals and objectives. In addition, it must be delivered by a capable consultant and deemed credible by the investment committee or board of trustees.
2. Manager Selection: Greenwich Associates assesses both consultants’ knowledge of the universe of investment managers and client satisfaction with the consultants’ recommendations.
3. Client Service: Are clients satisfied with coverage and service? Does the consultant have the right resources allocated to the account? How useful are personal meetings with the consultant? Are the consultant’s written investment performance reviews and other materials timely and valuable? How responsive is the consultant to client requests?
4. Commercial Arrangement: Client perceptions of the value they receive for the fees they pay.
The firms recognized as Greenwich Quality Leaders have excelled in all four of these areas and, as a result, have formed the deep advisory relationships desired by plan sponsors in today’s complex market. “These firms demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the client’s needs, they have the expertise to recommend the right solutions, and they identify the most effective managers to implement and execute these strategies,” says Greenwich Associates consultant Andrew McCollum.
The Greenwich Quality Leaders share another important trait: High-quality field consultants. Effective field consultants are the lynchpin to any consulting relationship, but top-quality professionals are in limited supply. “Large consultants have in the past struggled to find and retain the number of quality field consultants needed to cover their client portfolios,” says Greenwich Associates consultant Davis Walmsley. “The performance of Aon, Mercer and Summit shows these firms are bucking this trend and deploying teams of top-quality field consultants.”Methodology
Between July and October 2015, Greenwich Associates conducted 1,341 interviews with senior professionals at corporate and union funds, public funds, endowments and foundations, insurance general accounts, and healthcare organizations with either pension or investment pool assets greater than $150 million. Study participants were asked to provide quantitative and qualitative evaluations of their investment consultants.