NEPC, Pavilion Advisory Group and Segal Marco Advisors are the top-ranked large investment consultants in the U.S., according to a survey by Greenwich Associates that was released Tuesday.
The research firm analyzed investment counseling, client service, fees and manager selection, including how satisfied clients were with recommendations over time, determining the top firms from its survey of more than 1,000 pension funds, endowments, foundations, insurance companies and healthcare organizations between July and October 2016.
The best consultants are a constant source of new ideas to improve results, particularly given cost pressures that institutional investors are under, Andrew McCollum, Greenwich Associates managing director for the U.S. investment management market, said in the report of the firms findings.
In the mid-size consultant category, the top three firms are Rocaton Investment Advisors, Summit Strategies Group and Townsend Group, the report shows.
In addition, Greenwich Associates named the top three firms in U.S. institutional investment management services, with AJO, Baillie Gifford and NISA Investment Advisors earning the highest marks when it came to service quality. According to McCollum, institutional investors want consultative relationships that include advice in a certain asset class or broad ideas that encompass the whole portfolio.
Christopher Dunn, an associate consultant at Greenwich, said in an interview that institutional investors are increasingly leaning on both consultants and investment managers for advice.
Its an odd dynamic going on, but all the different parties are getting used to it, he said. Competitive lines are blurring. There is a progression toward firms that can do it all, meaning they can be consultative and provide the investment know-how.
Last year, Greenwich Associates found that Aon Hewitt Investment Consulting, Mercer and Summit Strategies Group were the top large consultants. CAPTRUST Financial Advisors, Marquette Associates and Pavilion Advisory Group were the three leaders among mid-size firms.