News and Updates

Pension Consultants Hosts Annual Pension Focus Conference

Last Updated: June 04, 2018

Every year Pension Consultants, Inc. proudly sponsors Pension Focus Conference, hosted at the Chateau on the Lake in Branson, Missouri. Pension Focus Conference has a long-standing reputation for successfully providing fiduciary and plan sponsor audience members an outstanding educational experience that they can apply in their everyday roles. This year was no exception!

This year’s conference offered attendees an in-depth look at retirement plan performance and how they, as fiduciaries, can provide a top-performing retirement plan to their employees. Attendees gained full-scope perspective into how the retirement planning industry is shifting from a relationship-driven style to performance-driven outcomes.

This year’s speaker line up represented a significant breadth and depth of industry knowledge:

Mr. Chris Thixton, representing Pension Consultants, opened the first day and set the tone of the conference. Mr. Thixton walked audience members through a comprehensive look at the retirement planning industry’s history. He reviewed some major events that impacted the industry, and how that has caused the shift to where we are today: Performance.

Keynote speaker, Global Editor-in-Chief of PLANADVISER and PLANSPONSOR, Alison Cooke-Mintzer, took a big picture look at the retirement planning industry, focusing on overall employee retirement readiness and how to make the retirement plan perform for employees. Her session included a quantitative analysis of current retirement plan outcomes and features, and audience members saw some staggering statistics indicating a disconnect between how much employees should be saving and how much they are actually saving.

Dr. Rui Yao (University of Missouri) discussed the mass transition from defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans, and how that has changed fiduciary liabilities when it comes to investment plan performance. Dr. Yao reviewed what retirement plan investment performance looks like and the factors that contribute to performance.

Dr. Raife Giovinazzo, with Fuller and Thaler Asset Management, Inc., presented a psychological approach to investing. Dr. Giovinazzo provided an engaging presentation on behavioral finance, discussing when investors are likely to make mistakes, what mistakes they are likely to make, how investors tend to react to certain situations, and how to apply those behavioral lessons when investing for retirement plans.

Conference regular, and expert in employee benefits law, Mr. Brandon Long (McAfee & Taft) provided a candid lesson on understanding retirement plan fee performance. He explained how choosing and monitoring vendors, and managing plan fee performance is crucial to fulfilling fiduciary duties.

The conference also offered two interactive workshop sessions. Mr. Keith Peters (Cline Williams Wright Johnson & Oldfather) led one workshop focusing on fiduciary responsibility. He provided several fact patterns that helped the audience understand what it means to be a fiduciary and how to cope with the liabilities it brings. Our second workshop was led by Mr. John Utz, partner at Utz & Lattan, who reviewed best practices and common errors when it comes to plan administration. He led an open discussion with the audience and walked them through strategies on how to handle many day-to-day administration scenarios.

In addition to the stellar speaker line up, Pension Focus added a new interactive element. For the first time, the conference was hosted by a Master of Ceremonies! Mr. Jeff Houghton, host of The Mystery Hour, brought energy and entertainment, engaging attendees in improve games and bringing a comedic breath of fresh air to the conference.

Pension Focus 2018 was an overwhelming success, providing fiduciaries with the opportunity to grow their knowledge of retirement plan performance. We look forward to continuing the dialogue on performance next year.

Mark your calendars for May 9-10th, 2019. You won’t want to miss it!

If you have any questions about Retirement Plan Performance or Pension Focus Conference, contact us at 800.234.9584 or!


PCI’s archived blog entries are dated, the rules and statutes referenced may have changed. The analysis or guidance within these blog entries may have become stale, dated, or no longer accurate. PCI will not update or change these entries to reflect the latest analysis or development.


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