The Canadian Source Of Employee Pension Fund Investment And Benefits Plan Management

Back Issues

June 2007

The Changing Consultant/Plan Sponsor Relationship

By: Joe Hornyak

Plan Sponsor Relationship
Plan Sponsor Relationship

Sarah Beech and Jacques Théorêt both agree, there has never been a better time to be an HR consultant.

With HR so focused on drawing a line between its efforts and business results in a competitive environment, HR consultants also have an opportunity to really demonstrate thought leadership and thus establish their own ROI, says Beech.

For Théorêt, itʼs both a challenging and an exciting time to be in this business. “Benefit and pension plans are in the headlines in a way we did not see a decade ago. With changes to accounting rules, recognition of costs on the balance sheet, and burgeoning plan costs, clients expect much more from consultants than technical expertise.”

In the following, Beech, a managing principal, consulting, Hewitt Associates Canada; Jacques Théorêt, leader, Mercer Human Resource Consulting, Canada; Chris French, a senior vice-president, Canadian sales and marketing, ACS and Buck Consultants, an ACS company; and Mario Galizia, a principal at Towers Perrin who leads its retirement practice in the Ontario market; share their views on the relationship between plan sponsors and their consultants.

All four agree that plan sponsors are making greater demands on their consultants.

French says todayʼs consultants are expected to be partners and advisors in the resolution of client issues, not just providers of technical expertise. “Plan sponsors are expecting proactive and timely advice – not only on todayʼs challenges, but also on the challenges faced by other similar organizations, today and in the future. They want a partner who truly cares about their business and understands the broad business issues that they are facing, rather than one who simply addresses basic technical issues as they arise.”

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