The American Maritime Officers Pension, Money Purchase Benefit (MPB), Defined Contribution (DC), and 401(k) Plans are each required to periodically conduct a Request for Proposals (RFP) to ensure the best performance for the lowest fees from the Investment Advisor.
The Pension Plan, MPB, DC Plan, and 401(k) Plan completed their RFPs in late October. Prior to this, a Request for Information (RFI) was sent to 27 firms (nine declined) seeking information so that it could first be determined if each firm was acceptable to submit a formal RFP response. Nine firms were then requested to submit their proposals in the RFP. Upon the receipt of these proposals, the Trustees determined that four firms best met our objectives and were selected to be interviewed in person. The incumbent Investment Advisor, Morgan Stanley (Graystone Consulting), Merrill Lynch (Global Institutional Consulting), Meketa Investment Group, and Marquette Associates were selected to interview.
After extensive analysis and meetings of the Trustees, it has been determined that the 401(k) Plan, DC Plan, and MPB Plan (all defined contribution plans) will be awarded to Merrill Lynch. The Pension Plan will be awarded to Meketa Investment Group, as they specialize in defined benefit plans. Both the decision to change our Investment Advisor, as well as the selection of Merrill Lynch and Meketa as Investment Advisors, were unanimous decisions by the Boards of Trustees.
The transition teams for both firms have been working toward implementation by January 2019 and their efforts are underway, AMO Plans reported in December. As additional information arises, we will forward that information to all participants. Notices of any changes that affect you (if any) will be distributed to you over the course of the coming year and prior to any change taking effect.
As a participant, you will notice little or no change in selecting from the investment options available to you online. Newport will continue to be our record keeper for the defined contribution plans. As such, Newport will continue to serve as the primary method for you to select your investment options and Newport will continue to be the point of contact should you have any questions. In the event you have a question regarding investments that Newport cannot handle, they will transfer your call to Merrill Lynch where you can speak with a professional investment advisor over the phone or schedule an appointment to speak with a professional investment advisor in person. As before, there will continue to be no fee to consult with a professional investment advisor.