Author Archives: James Ellis, CFA

About James Ellis, CFA

Senior Consultant

SECURE Act: The Coming of Multiple-Employer Plans

In April, the House Ways and Means Committee voted to move forward with the retirement legislation entitled the “Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE)” Act of 2019. Among other key features of the legislation that will help improve retirement saving and security for Americans, one of the main proposed benefits is the authorization of multiple-employer plan (MEP) arrangements. A MEP is a single retirement plan that is offered by two or more unrelated employers that share a required common nexus or interest. These types of plans are governed by Section 413(c) of the Internal Revenue Code and have been deployed successfully for many years by trade associations and professional organizations. It is only with the passage of the SECURE Act that the MEP concept will be available for all types of employers. Read more »

Pitfalls that Plague Investment Committees

Investment committees serve as a common structure for the decision-making responsibility in overseeing assets, based on the idea that decisions made by a group of people will be better than individual decisions, particularly when it comes to the complexities of investing. But research shows that it takes more than a collection of people to make wise decisions. Why do some committees generate better investment outcomes than others; is it because they are just better investors, or are there group dynamics at work that can systematically rob a committee of its ability to make strong decisions? Here we discuss some of the pitfalls committees fall prey to that can undermine their long-term outcomes. For more information, read Arnerich Massena’s white paper, Investment Committees: More than the sum of their parts. Read more »

Keeping College Affordable

Arnerich Massena recently released a white paper that outlines solutions to funding public university operating budgets in light of lower public funding sources at the state and local levels. Increasing tuition has provided relief to budget funding, but this solution comes at a high, undesirable cost to society. In order to solve this significant challenge, the paper identifies the following key solutions: Read more »

College endowments are performing poorly; why and what can they do about it?

A new study from Georgetown University and NYU’s Stern School of Business looks at major endowments’ portfolios between 2009 and 2016, and the news is not good. Using publicly available IRS filings, the study found that the median annual returns were 5.53 percentage points below a classic 60/40 mix of equity/Treasury bond investments. Coming in at only 3.75%, the median return was even 1.14% below the 10-year Treasury bond return. Read more »