Consultants More Used, "Abused": Survey

October 7, 2002 ( - Investment consultants are being used by more institutional investors than ever before, according to a new report by Berkeley-based Cooper Consultants.

According to the 2002 Investment Consulting Industry Report, the numbers of plan sponsors using any one of the top 30 investment consultants has grown by 30% since 1998. The average number of plan clients per consulting firm is 111, according to the study – the largest firms have over 500 institutional retainer clients.

The study also shows that so-called ‘lead’ consultants (generally the individual that presents at a plan board meeting) are spread thin on the ground – the average lead consultant is serving 8.3 retainer clients, according to the survey. In addition, only 5 professionals per firm are dedicated full-time to analysis of the investment management community.

“Investment consultants are more in demand than ever before by institutional investors,” says Jennifer Cooper, principal of Cooper Consultants. “Perhaps the more worrying trend is that many investment consultants are facing shortages of exactly the type of professional expertise – both lead consultants and research staff – that plan sponsors say they need the most.”

The 2002 Investment Consulting Industry Report is the first iteration of a report that Cooper says her firm will generate annually.

Plan sponsors interested in learning more about the report should go to