Once you have received all your requests for proposal (RFPs), the hard work truly begins.

1. Narrow your search to a short list of providers.

Once you have determined the number of finalists for consideration, your committee should agree on the key points of differentiation that are critical to meet your goals and then schedule the presentations.

2. Identify key individuals to attend the presentations.

It is often difficult to ensure consistent attendance of all individuals over multiple days, so scheduling the finals all on the same day is optimal. However, if you mandate a particular date without provider feedback, it can limit the resources available for the presentation.

3. Develop a presentation format and stick to it.

After you go through a few finals presentations, you will become more educated on the topics, but it is important to give all providers the same opportunity to communicate their unique solution. The format should include mandatory parameters for each provider to follow, such as allowable presentation time and content.

4. Hold an immediate wrap-up after the last presentation.

Beware of internal biases and political issues.

Don't wait to make a decision or set next steps. Providers are anxious to hear feedback, so follow up with each on status. You'll also want to ask any clarifying questions shortly after the presentations. A site visit might be necessary if there is an extremely close decision or concerns about infrastructure.

5. Develop a scoring method.

Once all providers have had an equal opportunity to present their solution, it is time to start comparing. Develop a quantitative scoring method for your review with qualitative commentary. Beware of internal biases and political issues.

Key review areas for all searches are fees and performance. Keep these points in mind when comparing providers:

  • Fees: Review all fees, making "apples-to-apples" comparisons. Some areas where you might see differences include active vs. passive management, bundled vs. unbundled, and alternatives vs. traditional asset classes.
  • Performance: Ensure the firm's track-record is tied to a real and representative client track-record, not based on managers who have been singled out because of their performance for a particular time.

Legal Note

Information provided by SEI Investments Management Corporation (SIMC), a registered investment adviser and wholly owned subsidiary of SEI Investments Company.