Douglas Keith has been training for the last twelve years to become vice president of sales for Nvest Retirement Services of Boston, a position to which he was appointed in January. After graduating from Dartmouth College in 1987, he joined Aetna's Employee Benefits Division in sales and later served as vice president and regional director for Diversified Investment Advisors, an investment advisory firm focused on the retirement marketplace.
In his new position, Keith will market the firm's 11 affiliates to defined contribution providers, large plan sponsors, consultants and multi-manager platforms. Nvest is also active in the variable annuity, life insurance, and retirement plans.
"Working in the bundled 401(k) sales business for 12 years was a great experience," said Keith. "At Nvest, I now have an opportunity to apply what I have learned about the marketplace in a different manner. I think I have a unique perspective. For example, because I've been in a sales role where I sold full-service business to plan sponsors, I can strategize with our alliance partners and our affiliates, having a good understanding of what the salespeople face each day"
In its first year of operation, Nvest Retirement Services has placed its affiliates' products on half a dozen major retirement provider menus. Keith is confident of his ability to continue to expand Nvest's client list.
"Nvest's affiliates offer the best formula for defined contribution menus- a diverse product mix, solid long-term performance and consistent investment strategies," said Keith. "I look forward to interacting with all our affiliates to further expand distribution opportunities in the retirement plan market."
Keith's watchword in dealing with Nvest affiliates is collaboration.
"We do our job a little differently than the rest of the marketplace," said Keith. "We really focus on delivering that something extra when it comes to providing manager insight. In fact, Doug DuMond, the senior vice president and head of Nvest Retirement Service has come up with a company tag-line -- shedding new light.'"
One manner in which Nvest hopes to be shedding light' is through its development of holdings-based analytics and performance attribution reporting that will enable plan sponsors and providers of 401(k) plans to analyze investment managers the same way defined benefit plan sponsors do.
"For me, this is a unique opportunity to provide some straight-forward investment analytics to the defined-contribution market," says Keith. "These holdings-based analytics really peel the cover off the mutual fund. The reports enable decision makers to look not just at the fund's returns, but at the individual holdings themselves to see where the fund's performance and risk exposure is coming from. It's exciting that Nvest is the first to offer providers and sponsors a different way to evaluate a fund."
Keith says that he particularly likes working with a young, innovative company -- Nvest Retirement Services was founded just a year and a half ago.
"The core of what we bring to the marketplace is our ability to communicate about the different investment disciplines of our affiliates' managers," says Keith. "However, we also recognize the need to provide retirement plan providers the tools they need to evaluate and manage these outside managers. That really hasn't been done too much in the defined contribution marketplace."
Keith is also working with Nvest's affiliates to introduce new retirement plan products, including more institutionally-priced co-mingled trusts to be offered to the higher end of the defined-contribution marketplace.
In the dozen years he has been involved in the marketplace, Keith has noticed some changes in what plan providers are looking for.
"As providers are targeting multiple segments of the defined contribution marketplace, they are increasingly looking for greater manager flexibility," Keith said. "This, in turn, has generated an expansion in alliances. In addition, there is much more emphasis on the manager selection and monitoring process, mirroring how defined benefit plans have traditionally selected managers. Providers are looking for disciplined managers who stick to their knitting. Nvest offers providers this kind of flexibility with our multiple affiliate structure, disciplined investment focus and the ability to offer different share classes."
Nvest's affiliates collectively manage $135 billion and include: AEW Capital Management; Back Bay Advisors; Capital Growth Management; Graystone Partners; Harris Associates; Jurika & Voyles; Loomis, Sayles & Co.; New England Funds; Reich & Tang Management; Reich and Tang Funds; Synder Capital Management; Vaughan, Nelson, Scarborough & McCullough and Westpeak Investment Advisors.