The increasingly competitive defined contribution plan market is spawning a side industry: management consultants who advise vendors about market matters.
The most recent entrant to this growing market niche is Information Strategies Inc., New York, formed by three colleagues who formerly worked for American Management Systems Inc., Fairfax, N.J.
Robert C. MacFarlane is ISI's managing director, Meme Stokes and Sheila Colucci, are principals. While at American Management Systems, all three worked closely with insurance companies to refine defined contribution plan products, said Mr. MacFarlane. They have carried that experience over to serve other kinds of DC service providers.
Mr. MacFarlane said much of ISI's work concerns consulting on the integration of technology and people to increase vendor efficiencies in providing defined contribution services, such as asset management, and plan record keeping, trust and administrative services. ISI advises vendors in the redesign of sales and customer service functions, defines the obligation of the vendor in the customer relationship, and works with companies to ensure they can deliver the services promised.
ISI also works with companies seeking to improve asset retention from participants leaving a DC plan and for providers of variable annuity retirement programs.