Tony Ciocca, Greg Cimmino, Michael Kozemchak, Barry Stoey,
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
In 2003, Michael Kozemchak formed Institutional Investment
Consulting (IIC) to capitalize on and address the market needs surrounding
employer-sponsored retirement plans.
“We all grew up in the wirehouses,” he says of the team’s
industry background. “I realized early on that most Wall Street firms viewed
retirement plans only as a conduit to rollovers and cross-sell opportunities.
After a short time, I also recognized that these big Wall Street firms had very
limited knowledge of the complexities that surround defined contribution [DC],
defined benefit [DB] and nonqualified deferred compensation plans.” He adds,
“That observation was the catalyst for me to establish [IIC].”
IIC works with corporations, nonprofits and governmental
agencies on all types of retirement plans. The team offers plan design and
document support, oversight of plan communications, corporate governance
support, vendor management and investment analytics. Although the group’s
traditional focus has been retirement-related, Kozemchak notes that he has seen
an uptick in requests for the company to oversee health and welfare
recordkeeping searches, as well as searches for online total rewards service
IIC’s focus is mostly in the large market, generally with
publicly traded companies that have multiple plans. Kozemchak likens its model
to the Mercers and Callan-type shops, although the team also has a number of
small and mid-sized clients. The plans have between 2,500 and 200,000
participants and the plan assets range from $100 million to $10 billion.
The team works with 34 clients, which are served by the IIC
team of five managing directors. “Everyone does everything,” Kozemchak says.
“There is no concentration of responsibilities.”
First to come on board was Tony Ciocca, and, over the years,
Greg Cimmino, Barry Stoey and Paul Stephens followed. Kozemchak says he is
happy with the group’s size but expects to add at least one team member within
the next five years as the company’s client list grows.
“As a group, we share a common vision,” Kozemchak says. “We
have adopted the same methodology to accomplish key client objectives.
“It’s a great feeling
to be able to efficiently assess the complicated; to distill the circumstances
into an easy-to-understand fact pattern; to create an actionable plan with
detailed parameters around the likely outcome; [and] to execute and deliver
exactly as promised,” he says. IIC typically holds four meetings per year with
each plan sponsor client, plus makes intra-quarter calls. One or two of the
meetings are in person, and the others are virtual.
Plan design options IIC frequently uses to help reach those
outcomes outlined in the action plan include automatic enrollment and automatic
escalation, from which team members see positive results. “The retention rate,
or stick rate, [of automatic enrollment and automatic escalation] is very, very
high,” Kozemchak says, 95% or more.
He adds, “I think we’re very effective in connecting the
dots of the benefit of the plan [to] the participants.”
For most of IIC’s large-market DC plans, Kozemchak says
on-site participant meetings are impractical because of the large group of
employees and geographic diversity, so most communication is delivered using
As for the future of IIC, Kozemchak says he anticipates
further success as well as growth, which has been approximately 20% or more per
year. He says he wants IIC to continue to secure more Fortune 1000 clients and
help them update their programs to improve participant retirement readiness.
Kozemchak says the biggest reward is the growth of the
practice. “As we get bigger, we help more participants, and more individuals
are ready for retirement.”