MaryAnn Dahl is Director of Research and Reporting at Deschutes Investment Consulting (DIC), a leading retirement plan consulting and wealth management firm based in Portland, Oregon. Advisor Spotlight is a series that features select AdvisoryWorld clients and their practices. As told to AdvisoryWorld.
While many believe that analyzing and reporting on investments is solely a numbers game, I know that understanding clients’ goals is as equally important as firmly understanding the numbers. At Deschutes Investment Consulting, I produce the analytics included in all of our portfolio performance reports and help to coordinate the investment research process. We are a leading regional retirement plan consulting and wealth management firm that oversees more than 100 retirement plans and 240+ families across the Pacific NW region. We dedicate ourselves to bringing the same level of research and reporting quality to plan sponsors and individuals alike.
Because we were a retirement plan advisor first, our legacy clientele are plan sponsors who have high expectations in analysis and reporting. The businesses we advise are diverse and include professional services (law and accounting), national food services, auto-dealerships, and construction firms. The plans themselves range from hundreds of thousands to tens of millions of dollars. Regardless of the size of the plan, we spend the same amount of time and effort tailoring our advice to meet our clients’ needs.
Over the last 15 years of analyzing investments for financial services firms, I have learned not only the art of drilling down to the details but also the best means of communicating my findings, so that they are in-depth yet still digestible. AdvisoryWorld has been paramount in supporting our efforts to effectively present this information to our clients. We have leveraged the AdvisoryWorld technology to report on the risk-based asset allocation models that are used in the majority of the 401(k) plans we advise. We have integrated the hypothetical portfolio illustrations for every model in every plan, which is more than 250 model portfolios! Our advisors and plan sponsors have found AdvisoryWorld’s Fact Sheets to be a wonderful way to quickly and easily visualize the risk-return profile of each model and the underlying mutual funds within each model, and the Hypothetical Back-tested Performance chart clearly demonstrates the value we add as advisors in selecting investments that outperform the universe of comparable funds.
From an investment research prospective, I personally prefer AdvisoryWorld’s Fact Sheets to Morningstar reports, as they compare a mutual fund to a universe of peers. I receive several calls and emails from investment management firms every week: the AdvisoryWorld Fact Sheets provide me with a quick way to review a fund’s performance and attributes, which in turn helps me determine whether or not I should spend additional time investigating the firm and their investment process.
Our legal and accounting firms’ uncompromising standards set the tone for all of our clients. It is our commitment to replicating these standards across our entire book of business that drives me to routinely improve our processes, continuously vet our technology partners, and take part in continuing education and training. I encourage other analysts and advisors looking to improve their systems to consider AdvisoryWorld as a robust tool for both back-office analytical work and client presentations, and to participate in regular webinars for novel training opportunities.