Serving fiduciaries


Your information stored on cloud providers like Dropbox, Google, and Microsoft might not be fully secure

When reading the Terms of Service (TOS) for cloud data providers like Google, Microsoft, or Dropbox, you might be forgiven if you think that your data is safe. Technically, your information is safe from outsider access. But there is another, very important issue to keep n mind – government access to your information without your […]

In 2018, the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) Restored Over $1.6B for Employee Benefit Plans – a wakeup call for board members and trustees.

There are 694,000 retirement plans, and 2.2 million health plans covering over 143 million workers in the US. As fiduciaries, we must remember that they depend on us to act in their best interest at all times. In a time when more workers are retiring, proper corporate governance is increasingly important. A recent article in […]

Demonstrating a proper prudent process reduces ERISA liability

In the article, “ERISA LITIGATION DEFENDANTS TAKE NOTE: BURDENS OF PROOF ARE BECOMING MORE WEIGHTY,” by Seyfarth ShawLLP, the authors make the point that trustees and fund sponsors need to be able to demonstrate that they follow a prudent process in the management of their ERISA assets: “Many parties to ERISA litigation and arbitration pay […]

A Black Swan may have tickets on the next train to Wall Street. How to Mitigate Fiduciary Risk in Overheated Global Markets

Monday, October 19th, 1987 is known as “Black Monday” with a downturn in the DJIA of – 22.6% or 508 points. If/when it happens in 2018/19, the equivalent loss in the DJIA would 5,875 points in one day! The near collapse of the global capital markets in 2007 was almost as severe. The length of […]

What the EU General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) Means for our Clients

There have been a number of articles about the impact of the EU’s  implementation of the GDPR on how US companies do business with the EU member countries. In this blog post we will focus on the issue of data protection. Scheduled to take effect in May 2018, the GDPR covers four areas: •Assessing and […]

Your Company’s Retirement Fund has been Hacked!

You receive a phone call from your company’s Corporate Secretary while traveling in Asia that your global pension fund has been hacked. It is quite likely that the Wall Street Journal or the Financial Times will publish articles about the incident within the next 24 hours. What preparations have you and your fellow trustees put […]

Trust and the Fiduciary: A Symbiotic Relationship between the Client and the Advisor.

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) defines the origin of “fiduciary” as “Late 16th century (in the sense ‘something inspiring trust; credentials’): from Latin fiduciarius, from fiducia trust, from fidere to trust.” Symbiosis is defined by the OED as “a relationship between two types of animal or plant in which each provides for the other the […]

Fiduciary Issues for Corporate Governance in 2017

I have shared a number of posts that focus on what it means to be a good fiduciary.  As the reader may recall, a Fiduciary is  “an individual in whom another has placed the utmost trust and confidence to manage and protect property or money. The relationship wherein one person has an obligation to act […]

Failure to Monitor Fiduciary Risk at the Portfolio Level can be Costly

It is true that over-all fiduciary risk is often thought of as the risk of not following proper fiduciary standards. As this blog has often noted, a proper fiduciary process means adhering to the 21 Practices and 82 Criteria in the Global Fiduciary Standard of Excellence (GFSE); see fi360 and the Centre for Fiduciary Excellence […]

Are You a Board Member or a Trustee? You are Liable for Any Breach of Cyber Security – Here’s How to Protect Yourself

The importance of information and internet security cannot be over emphasized. When most people think of cyber risk, they usually associate it with banks, insurance companies, medical facilities etc.  As larger institutions become more secure, the malicious hackers increasing look for the small to medium enterprises as a gateway into those larger organizations with which […]

Archimedes: retirement plans and cyber security

Archimedes (285-212 B.C.) set out to measure the circumference of a circle (or as he might have called it, the “enclosed boundary of a geometrical space”) by measuring the straight sides of an increasingly large number of smaller and smaller polygons, both inside and outside the circle. He soon realized that no matter how many […]

What My MIT Course on Cyber Security Taught Me About the New Arms Race

It has been a long time since I thought of Euclidean algebra and I will be the first to admit that much of the course material is well over my head. Having access to Dr. Ron Rivest, one of the developers of the now famous RSA encryption technology however, is a privilege and an eye […]

Private Equity Fees, Virtually Undisclosed, Cost $20 billion over 10 Years

Thanks to a recent research paper by the Social Science Network (SSRN) we now have a glimpse into the controversial, often self-serving, and mostly undisclosed fees, that private equity managers pay themselves.

Working with the Williams Mullen Law firm to offer services for US subsidiaries of non-US multinationals

We were asked by the Williams Mullen law firm in Richmond, Virginia to provide an article  for their most recent Foreign Direct Investment Newsletter (see page 9  of the PDF at the bottom of the Williams Mullen page for the published result ).

Poor Fiduciary Governance Can Mean Real Dollar Losses

Stewards, as fiduciaries, are rightly concerned about the investment performance of their portfolios. Until recently however, few fiduciaries have considered the return on fiduciary governance as an equally important measure.

Conflicts of Interests and Global Fiduciary Standards

Last year I was introduced to a member of the Investment Committee of one of the largest foundations in the mid-Atlantic area. With over $400 million in assets, the foundation’s Vice Chairman was interested in our conducting a fiduciary assessment. Early on in the  discussions we came across what was to be a very difficult […]

200 Year Old Orphanage Succumbs to a Ponzi Scheme: Another in Our Series of the Consequences of Poor Fiduciary Governance

The Hillcrest Children’s Center was founded in 1812 as a resource for the orphans of the War of 1812. Over the next 192 years, Hillcrest its operations and funding resources grew in excess of $8 million.

Fiduciary Governance and the Feast of St. Crispin

It might seem odd that there is a similarity between the speech by Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt and proper fiduciary governance.

Fiduciary Excellence, Financial Success, and Socially Responsible Investing

A company’s long-term survival depends on paying attention to both financial and social metrics. As fiduciaries, we need to keep in mind the importance of demonstrating not only WHAT we do, but WHY we do it.

Even Justice Scalia Supports a Prudent Fiduciary Process!

As stated in the prudent man rule, found in ERISA Section 404(a)(1)(B), fiduciaries must act: “with the care, skill, prudence and diligence under the circumstances then prevailing that a prudent man acting in a like capacity and familiar with such matters would use in the conduct of an enterprise of a like character and with […]

Managing Fiduciary Risk in a Volatile Market

The last few weeks have seen an increase in the volatility of the global markets. First, there was the scare of a China melt down and recently the concern around the balance sheet of Glencore, one of the World’s largest commodity traders. What is your fiduciary responsibility?

Who is a Fiduciary?

There are four general categories of fiduciaries in regards to managing an investment process: Those who are “named” in plan or trust documents Those whose function equates to providing comprehensive and continuous investment advice Those who have the discretion to buy and sell investable assets

Global Fiduciary Standard of Excellence adds new Criteria for Cyber-security

(From the fi360 Blog): fi360’s most recent update to their Fiduciary Practices was completed in 2013. That update introduced a new criterion related to safeguarding client and plan data.

Non Government Agencies (NGOs) Face Unusual Fiduciary Challenges

Working in a global environment with cross-border financial, political and social issues, the benefits of conforming to the ISO-based Global Fiduciary Standard of Excellence are clear.