For over 20 years, these three values have shaped every
client relationship and every service we provide.
Alpha’s independence from other lines of business makes us accountable to our clients alone, and frees us to see the market from a clear viewpoint. Our independence enables us to provide fair, multi-dimensional advice not available from firms beholden to their own, or other’s products and services.
Alpha is a data-driven firm that provides unbiased research and advice to assist clients in making appropriate investment decisions.
The experience of our consultants and research analysts gives us an advantage in applying the wide variety of available information to help our clients meet their investment goals and fiduciary obligations. With over 25 years of experience working with investment committees and investment funds through a number of different economic and market environments, our consultants have witnessed how the characteristics of investing have changed over time and have stayed abreast of emerging investment concepts, trends, and analysis.
We keep our knowledge fresh with a commitment to the continuing education of our whole team, whether through an investment conference or traveling abroad to examine emerging markets.
Using integrity, experience and knowledge as guiding principles, Alpha acts as a trusted partner in guiding clients through the investment process.
Alpha’s success depends on our integrity and the trust our clients place in our service. As a long-term partner, Alpha strives to help clients see past today and understand the ultimate outcomes of their decisions and actions.
Our service commitment goes beyond scheduled quarterly meetings and includes ongoing projects, meetings and phone conferences – your service team is always available to you. We are client centered and committed to our mission.
Alpha Investment Consulting Group is an SEC registered institutional investment consulting firm.
Robert Bukowski founded Alpha in 1989, driven by the desire to provide independent, unbiased investment advice and build long-term trusting client relationships.
Alpha has always been and continues to be privately held, allowing complete independence and ensuring the ability to always place our client’s interests first. We have no parent company, subsidiaries or affiliates because we believe consultants operate most effectively in an environment that is free of conflicts of interest. Investment consulting is our only business.
Over the years, Alpha has gained a diverse team of consulting analysts and a client base including some of the largest corporations, educational, philanthropic and healthcare organizations in Wisconsin. Alpha is now one of the largest independent investment consulting firms headquartered in Wisconsin.
Alpha Investment Consulting Group grew from the simple premise that effective financial consultants should be Independent, Objective, and Trusted. More than 25 years later, these same principles remain at the heart of every client relationship and every service we provide.
Alpha grew from the foundation of these ideas. It grew without brokerage or manager affiliations, without hidden fees or agendas, with open and honest counsel, and with a proactive commitment to grow client assets with innovative strategies. Our business model is structured to provide our clients with full transparency, and we are driven by the desire to share investment knowledge with those who need it.
Our commitment to these principles generates sound returns and steady growth, while providing peace of mind.
Performance is the end result of people, philosophy and process.
Alpha’s signature approach is providing implication-oriented analysis – information that gives our clients the ability to visualize outcomes of their various options and choices. This is a powerful tool that puts our clients in charge of the future of their assets.
Alpha’s strategy is building long-term stability, taking careful consideration of eventual outcomes for each individual client. All of our clients have different needs, and we treat them accordingly. We do not try to fit client’s needs into a special program or product that is convenient.
Many professional investment consulting organizations have evolved into firms that also provide investment management, communications and/or administration services. As an independent investment advisor, we believe our role is to help you find the best solutions on the market, not direct you toward products we offer in order to gain additional revenue.
Our mission is to help clients make better investment decisions by providing independent & objective information and advice. We will accomplish this by being client-centered, informed, and acting with integrity.
Alpha considers investment consulting to be a “value-added” service. We believe so strongly in our mission and the service we provide, that we make the following commitment to all of our clients:Our fee is payable in arrears (payable only if you are satisfied that we have added value) and our contract can be canceled at any time. We believe this is the best service guarantee available. If you are not satisfied that Alpha has added value, you are not obligated to pay us.
Alpha's services are customized to the needs of each particular client.
Below is a sample list of services Alpha provides to clients:
administrative & support
DEFINED CONTRIBUTION PLANS
Alpha partners with our Defined Contribution clients to control business risks and ensure our clients meet their fiduciary obligations, in order to deliver needed benefits to plan participants. We assist Defined Contribution clients with initiatives such as investment lineup analysis, investment policy development, manager searches, and ongoing performance reporting and evaluation.
DEFINED BENEFIT PLANS
As the administration of defined benefit plans becomes increasingly complex, Alpha has the background and knowledge to help navigate all options and build a highly customized plan. We know what companies and employees need from defined benefit plans, and we can provide the certainty and security expected by our clients. From traditional pension plans to hybrid plans and other post-employment benefit programs, Alpha’s experienced consultants provide a full range of services for companies and their employees, including expertise in emerging options, programs and technologies.
Endowments / Foundations
Foundations and endowments need to balance long-term growth with performance volatility to avoid compromising short-term needs. Alpha understands these unique needs and we apply this knowledge to our work with foundations and endowments.
Alpha helps investment committees and trustees assess their assets/portfolios, cash flows, and spending needs. We balance current assets and performance against what the client hopes to accomplish - in both the near future and over time - and each client’s tolerance for risk. We then develop a detailed process to help each foundation or endowment meet their fiduciary responsibilities. When preparing this process, we evaluate key inputs, including an organization’s spending policy, asset allocation and investment manager structure.
Alpha helps hospitals and health systems manage and set working guidelines for short- and long-term capital and insurance pools, deploying our expertise in capital forecasting. We have been working with hospitals and health systems since the early 1990’s. Our comprehensive understanding allows us to speak directly to the concerns that hospital administrators, investment committees, and board members must face on a daily basis.
Religious Organizations face unique challenges in the management of their financial assets. Alpha has experience working with numerous faith-based organizations and understands the challenges these particular clients face when attempting to invest in a manner consistent with their values and beliefs.
Alpha provides a comprehensive range of advisory services specific to the missions of religious institutions and their investment programs. Our investment advisory services assist clients to fund social, charitable and humanitarian efforts. In addition, we serve clients concerned with the ways their investments reflect their social and religious beliefs by developing and implementing socially responsible investment programs.
No two Private Wealth clients are the same, and this necessitates a flexible and dynamic investment management program. After we have worked together to determine a client’s individual goals and needs, Alpha applies our institutional investment process to craft and implement a plan for the management of Private Wealth assets.
Alpha will interact with your tax, estate, and other professional advisors to ensure each decision is made with all relevant factors in mind.
PRINCIPAL, Senior Consultant
J.D., AIF®, Senior Consultant
cfa, Research Analyst
Director of Sales and Marketing
BOB BUKOWSKI PRINCIPAL, Senior Consultant
Bob founded Alpha in 1989 and has worked with clients ranging from $1 million to over $1 billion in assets. He has worked in the financial services industry for over 30 years.
Bob regularly conducts on-site due diligence at money management and hedge funds. Additionally, he has conducted on-site due diligence on Frontier Market companies in Africa (Ghana, Kenya and Ivory Coast), Eastern Europe (Georgia, Bulgaria, Romania and the Ukraine), Asia (Bangladesh, Laos and Vietnam), and met staff at the Nepal stock exchange in Kathmandu.
Bob graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration from UW Madison. He is a member of the CFA Society of Milwaukee, GMEBC, and WRPPL, and currently serves on several boards, including the Milwaukee County Council Boy Scouts of America Endowment Fund and the UWM Foundation. He is also heavily involved with Make a Difference – Wisconsin, a non-profit organization that provides financial literacy education to high school seniors throughout Wisconsin. He currently serves on the Board and is a former President.
John Michael “Mickey” Maier J.D., AIF®, Senior Consultant
J. Michael “Mickey” Maier, joined Alpha as a Senior Consultant in 2007. He has over 30 years’ experience in the retirement planning, trust banking, investment advising and financial services businesses. Mickey has served as a technical expert, business owner and fiduciary, and is an Accredited Investment Corporate Counsel Fiduciary.
As the former President of EMJAY (and the Wells Fargo division it became) he was responsible for accounts of $1 million to over $1 billion. Mickey co-authored the “401k Answer Book and is a member of Wisconsin Retirement Plan Professionals and the National Center for Employee Ownership. In 2008, he was appointed to the Milwaukee County Pension Board. He has a Bachelor of Science from UW-Madison and graduated from the UW School of Law.
MATTHEW ROSE Consultant
Matt joined Alpha as an Analyst in 2007, gaining experience in client performance reporting and manager due diligence, before transitioning into consulting. Matt previously worked for Robert W. Baird and Co., in the Baird Investment Management Group.
Matt advises clients on investment policy statements, asset allocation, manager selection and portfolio structure. Additionally, he remains engaged in the due diligence process, conducting manager interviews and collaborating with other research staff members.
Matt holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Marquette University. He currently serves on the Board of the Friends of the Haggerty Art Museum, as well as the Admissions Committee for Marquette University’s AIM Program, participates as a classroom volunteer for Make a Difference – Wisconsin, and regularly guest lectures at the Marquette University College of Business Administration.
TONY JONES cfa, Director of Research
Tony joined Alpha in April of 2006, and oversees Alpha’s research and investment manager due diligence process as Director of Research.
Tony conducts research on diverse investment management firms in order to connect our clients to the very best investment managers. He is responsible for all facets of our investment due diligence process, including regular meetings with portfolio managers, leading our internal discussions about those managers, and performing a variety of data analysis tasks. Tony also creates search books and discussion pieces on various investment topics as a way to bring new ideas to clients and interpret current economic events.
Tony graduated Magna Cum Laude from Marquette University with a degree in Finance. Tony holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.
ERIC NOHELTY cfa, Research Analyst
Eric joined Alpha in 2011 and has proven himself to be a multi-faceted Analyst. Eric is responsible for client performance reporting in addition to research analysis.
Eric values the opportunity to help Alpha’s clients by providing data and explanations of complicated investment topics in a clear and easily understood fashion. He also enjoys his responsibilities related to investment manager sourcing and ongoing due diligence.
Eric graduated Magna Cum Laude from UW Eau Claire with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2011. Eric holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.
DAN STRASSER Performance Analyst
Dan Strasser is a Performance Analyst and is responsible for client performance reporting and client service, reporting to Alpha’s larger client relationships. Prior to joining Alpha in 2004, Dan was a Record Keeping Manager for US Bank where he managed a team of 21 accountants.
Dan provides a broad range of expertise to Alpha’s clients and staff - processing data, providing performance information, auditing reports, and problem solving.
Dan is a graduate of UW Milwaukee with a degree in Accounting.
PATRICK PIERCE CONTROLLER
Pat is Alpha’s Controller and has been with the firm since 1999. Prior to joining Alpha, Pat was a Trust Accountant and Performance Analyst for US Bank.
In addition to managing Alpha’s finances and helping to run Alpha’s compliance program, Pat is also responsible for client performance reporting. Pat has over 20 years’ experience in client performance reporting, and takes pride in providing timely quarterly reporting as well as being responsive to any requests or issues that arise between reporting periods.
Pat is a graduate of UW Milwaukee with a degree in Accounting.
Pat is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
LAURA LOOS DIRECTOR OF SALES AND MARKETING
Laura joined Alpha in 2007, and serves as Director of Sales and Marketing.
Her responsibilities include managing Alpha’s sales and marketing initiatives, handling Requests for Proposal from prospective clients, updating marketing materials, presentations and search books, as well as handling a variety of operational issues.
Laura values attention to detail and strives to improve Alpha’s policies and procedures to ensure we provide the utmost value to our clients. She also participates as a member of Alpha’s Compliance Committee.
Laura graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from St. Norbert College in 2003.
SARAH MORAN Administrative Assistant
Sarah joined Alpha early in 2013. She has acquired extensive experience in the customer service industry, which has honed her ability to multi-task and problem solve. Sarah takes her role as Alpha’s first point of contact very seriously, and strives to offer the highest level of professionalism and customer service.
Sarah handles many aspects of daily office operations, including scheduling quarterly meetings, overseeing completion and timely delivery of reports, and communicating regularly with clients to ensure all needs are being met.
Sarah graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from UW Eau Claire in 2010.
Investment Policy Development
The only way to deal with dynamic change is to give it shape. ~ Zbigniew Brzezinski
Investment Policy Development is the formalization and documentation of an investment plan. Think of it as the design for successful investing. Investment Policy Development creates plans that are unique and for each client, ensuring an investment policy that meets the specific needs of each client.
An Investment Policy Development will document an organization’s goals and guidelines, including:
The foundation for the prudent management of investment funds
The basis for future performance evaluations
Return objectives and risk tolerance levels
Appropriate asset allocation policy
What is expected of the investment manager(s)
Definitions of prohibited transactions
Asset Allocation Studies
…a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it. ~ Herbert Simon
Asset Allocation is the process of distributing resources across different asset classes. The cornerstone of asset allocation is diversification, an essential goal for every responsible investor.
Asset Allocation starts with an analysis of the client’s current allocation. Once a baseline is established, alternative asset allocation scenarios are built, along with the implications of each major change. Implications include a review of the risk and return expectations along with expectation of loss. This discussion also includes future value modeling to give the client a look at the downside value of any of the changes versus their current allocation.
Manager Selection and Monitoring
The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice. ~ George Eliot
A fund is often as successful as the person who manages it, and choosing a good manager must be a systematic and comprehensive process.
Alpha has a unique, systematic method to research, assess and choose the most appropriate managers for each placement. The fund manager selection process is created based on criteria established by an organization’s Investment Policy Statement. But it’s not just about the numbers, a manager's style and risk tolerance is as important as the level of return.
To ensure that a client’s best interests are always represented, Alpha believes that fiduciaries must exercise due diligence in the final selection process. In addition, to be truly objective in selecting the right manager, it must be a completely impartial process. Alpha is completely independent and objective – we accept no fees from managers.
Master Trustee / Custodian Searches & Fee Negotiation
To help companies choose a master trustee/custodian, Alpha applies the same systematic, comprehensive care we use when evaluating the investment manager community. Ongoing research and constant evaluation of the master trustees/custodians means we have the most current, relevant information available for our clients.
When conducting a master trustee/custodian search, we will request proposals, evaluate responses and present a report detailing the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate.
We can also help clients prepare for finalist presentations, coordinate on-site visits or interviews (as necessary), negotiate or provide insight on fees, and serve as a resource during the transition period.
Performance Monitoring & Analytics
Proper measurements and evaluations serve as a tool for making informed, objective decisions. Alpha provides accurate, specific, continuous performance monitoring, reporting and analytics for every client.
This type of performance monitoring provides clients with standard evaluation on a consistent basis, and an impartial method of determining the need for an investment manager change. This monitoring compares investment managers' performance with your investment objectives and benchmarks, and other managers.
Continuous performance monitoring means clients can monitor the risk characteristics of their funds, as well as the risk-adjusted returns, and ensure that funds are meeting the guidelines established in their Investment Policy.
INDEPENDENT Fiduciary Services
Outsourcing of Investment Committee Activities
Alpha can act as an independent fiduciary in situations where existing fiduciaries may have potential conflicts of interest and be unable to act in the best interests of the plan. For some clients, the investment committee function is either a non-core responsibility or simply takes too much time to develop and maintain the skill set required to carry out the committee’s fiduciary responsibility. Alpha will accept fiduciary responsibility for executing the committee’s activities on an outsourced basis and thus exercise investment discretion in selecting and monitoring investment funds and managers.
Fiduciary Audits & Operational Reviews
Alpha can review existing fiduciary processes regarding investments and decision-making, conduct due diligence and make recommendations for improvement. We can then assist in implementing the recommendations and will monitor results. We will also review plans for operational and structural compliance with ERISA 404(c).
Client & Fiduciary Education
Alpha can help clients better understand the roles and responsibilities of fiduciaries and help educate clients on the importance of independent fiduciary services and fiduciary audits and reviews.
Board / Committee Governance
Alpha's experienced professionals provide strong leadership to board and committee governance, and provide counsel regarding board governance rules and regulations.
PLEASE CONTACT US TO LEARN MORE ABOUT ALPHA
111 E. Kilbourn Avenue, Suite 1600, Milwaukee, WI 53202
PHONE: 414.319.4100 FAX: 414.319.4110
Alpha Investment Consulting Group, LLC
111 E. Kilbourn Avenue, Suite 1600, Milwaukee, WI 53202
© 2014 Alpha Investment Consulting Group, LLC