Judith W. Mares, seeking to share the expertise she acquired overseeing corporate pension funds, has started a firm specializing in consulting to money managers, advising them on how to be hired more and terminated less.
In starting Mares Financial Consulting, the former Ameritech Corp. and General Mills Inc. pension fund executive said she asked herself, "What is the unique perspective I can bring? There are a lot of consultants who focus on asset allocation, asset-liability studies, manager searches. But not a lot focus on the business of money management."
So far, Mares Financial has one client - Abacus Financial Group Inc., a Chicago-based fixed-income manager with $280 million under management.
"I can't think of a better person to work with in this regard," said Adela Cepeda, Abacus managing director. "I think this presents a unique opportunity to advise a small firm like ours that has ambitions of being larger."
Ms. Mares will advise Abacus on "how to put in place the structure to withstand the changes in the investment industry," Ms. Cepeda added.
"She will help in administrative areas, so our materials for clients and consultants are more consistent, and help us improve client services and client relationships and develop strategies for that.
"She will evaluate our investment strategy and philosophy to make sure we are applying our (investment) style consistently."
Ms. Mares, who quit Ameritech in December, said her Winnetka, Ill., firm will relocate to the Minneapolis area this summer when she moves for family reasons.
Ms. Mares said she intends to consult to all types of money management firms, large and small.
Judith W. Mares' new firm seeks to teach money managers how to be hired more and terminated less by pension funds.