Requests for Proposal (RFP) Best Practices

August 18, 2017

If you want to clearly compare the benefits and drawbacks of each provider on a level playing field, an RFP is the way to go.

Conducting a Request for Proposal (RFP) is a good way to see which providers best fit your overall goals. Receiving proposals from various providers allows you to clearly compare the benefits and drawbacks of each one on a level playing field.

Is an RFP necessary?

When conducted correctly, an RFP process can:

  • Clearly identify and communicate your needs
  • Reveal the quality of work a provider produces
  • Provide objective support for your final decision

The RFP process can be long and drawn out if not conducted properly. Consider whether you truly need an RFP and how you will use the responses to inform your decision.

Getting started

76 Pages The average length of a completed RFP*

To get the best results, you'll want to:

  • State exact requirements and expectations on formatting, due dates, length of responses, number of copies, and "as of" dates
  • Supply complete background and asset information to get responses specifically targeted to your organization
  • Offer a formal question period so providers have the opportunity to request additional information
  • Determine a scoring methodology so you can properly compare responses
  • Provide timely feedback and seek clarification
Knowledge Center One College's OCIO Evaluation Process Conducting a review to hire an OCIO? This college's search experience may help

RFP Resources

If the RFP process seems overwhelming, we can help you get started. 

Legal Note

* Based on completed institutional RFPs over a nine-month period at SEI.

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

Sample RFP Questions

We have 12 categories of questions -- from client service to investment manager research to risk management -- to help you craft your RFP.

Download Sample Questions

Build It Yourself

Hand-select questions on topics important to you, such as performance evaluation, asset allocation, or investment philosophy

Build my RFP