Industry veteran Rex Holsapple has hung out the shingle for his new investment consulting firm, Sandy River Investment Consulting LLC. Not that many people will see it: Mr. Holsapple's base of operations is in his home in rural Mount Vernon, Maine.
But as he pointed out, he is within an hour and 10 minutes of the airport in Portland — "about the distance many New Yorkers are from their airports" — giving him access to the rest of the country and smaller retirement and endowment plans that can use more personalized advice than they're getting from bigger consulting firms.
Mr. Holsapple said Sandy River Consulting provides a full range of customized consulting services to defined benefit plans, defined contribution plans and endowments.
Mr. Holsapple will draw on his experience as a plan executive. He was chief investment officer of the $9 billion Maine State Retirement System, Augusta, for four years, leaving in June 2005. Before that, was CIO for nine years of the $7.8 billion Nebraska State Investment Council, Lincoln. He also combined foreign exchange risk management with benefit plan management while at the former Phillips Petroleum Co., Bartlesville, Okla., earlier in his career.
"Smaller plans are not well-serviced by larger consulting firms. Either they won't accept small plans as clients or assign them to junior consultants who lack significant experience," Mr. Holsapple said, adding that most large consulting firms that do accept smaller clients consign them to "cookie cutter solutions that are designed for the average client. These turnkey solutions work for many plans, but not for everyone. And when your consultant is a junior, they may not have the experience to know what isn't working with these off-the-shelf solutions or have the internal clout within the firm to secure something better for their clients."