Because of Department of Labor Bulletin 95-1 and the court case of Bussian vs RJR Nabisco, defined benefit Plan Sponsors have an important fiduciary obligation to act in the best interest of their Participants when engaging in pension risk transfer. Combining the latest trend of outsourcing pension fund management with a Plan Sponsor’s need to satisfy this fiduciary obligation led us to offer our Fiduciary service that Plan Sponsor’s can use to eliminate their potential liability to plan Participants.
Brentwood has acted as a Fiduciary well over 150 times for $3B worth of group annuity contracts. Since 1984 we have placed approximately 1900 group annuity contracts and have worked on an estimated 2500.
The Brentwood Companies offer three fiduciary services:
1. Co-Fiduciary – Non-Discretionary where we provide advice and due diligence on the purchase of a group annuity contract as defined under ERISA Section 3(21).
2. Independent Fiduciary - Discretionary where the plan sponsor delegates the annuity purchase decision to us.
3. Non-Settlor Independent Fiduciary – where Brentwood does no settlor work but opines and provides due diligence as to whether the insurer chosen for a group annuity contract is a “safest available” insurer.
Our fiduciary analysis of insurance companies is centered on the six factors to consider in DoL Bulletin 95-1, along with the decision and comments in Bussian v RJR Nabisco. Those documents focus on investment portfolio, profitability and liquidity. We also look at an insurer’s mortality assumptions to ensure they meet industry standards. Administrative capability and disaster recovery is viewed as well as the insurer’s risk governance, liquidity and regulatory structure. For jumbo transactions we analyze the separate account including dividend policy as well as any syndication that may occur and an in-depth analysis of assets in kind.