Mercer Investment Consulting will discontinue its Global Investment Forum at year-end, said Daniel McCaw, a top Mercer executive. There is "absolutely no truth to the implication" that the forum was part of "pay to play," a practice in which money managers allegedly pay a consulting firm to be recommended by the consultant, said Mr. McCaw, president and CEO of Mercer Human Resource Consulting, which oversees Mercer Investment Consulting. Although Mr. McCaw said the forum was proper, he said Mercer decided to drop it because "some conflicts are easier to manage than others." Only one more forum is scheduled for later this year, he added.
"The Global Investment Forum … develops and disseminates investment research and related information on issues of importance to institutional investors (and) investment management organizations," according to Mercer Human Resource Consulting's website. It met five times a year. Managers paid to attend the forum, while plan sponsors did not, said Stephanie Poe, spokeswoman. The SEC is examining Mercer and other consultants for alleged "play to pay" practices.