July 31, 2020 – Executive search firm EFL Associates has been selected to find the next executive director for the City of Manchester (NH) Employees’ Contributory Retirement System (MECRS). Leading the assignment is Daniel J. Cummings, senior vice president and managing director.
The executive director, who serves as chief executive officer, is responsible for directing the comprehensive administration of all retirement system operations, said EFL Associates. The leader is responsible for the administration and oversight of an annual operating budget of about $775,000 and a staff of two, an executive assistant and an administrative assistant.
Essential duties and responsibilities of the executive director role include carrying out the goals and objectives of the board; drafting and promulgating statutory changes, by-laws and administrative rules needed to accomplish organizational goals; and designing administrative procedures required to achieve plan objectives. He or she also prepares and issues the comprehensive annual financial report in compliance with Governmental Accounting Standards Board reporting and disclosure standards.
The executive director performs all required activities associated with plan investment, said EFL Associates. The individual also participates in manager reviews, prepares all investment subscription agreements, issues trade tickets, organizes wire transfers and investment redemptions, and controls cash flow. Oversight of contracted services for the annual actuarial valuation of the plan and the dissemination of valuation results is included in the responsibilities of the role.
MECRS’ executive director further controls the design and operations of the organization’s website; determines content and keeps information up-to-date; uses analytic tools to determine the site’s level of utilization and effectiveness and makes adjustments in response. The leader also formulates administrative recommendations for ordinary and work-related disability applicants based on medical evaluations and compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements, among other duties.
A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with an advanced degree is preferred for this role, said EFL Associates. Significant experience (ideally five or more years) in a management capacity is also required. Experience with a public pension fund, insurance, benefits administration or other complex financial services organization with direct customer-interface is preferred. Prior experience working closely with a board of trustees and external stakeholders, to include legislative bodies, members, the media and the general public is also preferred.
It is desired that candidates have direct knowledge of the legal and regulatory requirements of administering a public retirement benefits organization. Working knowledge of financial accounting and industry reporting requirements is also needed. MECRS wants candidates to have a strong working knowledge of information technology platforms, applications and utilities; strong working knowledge of institutional investing and modern portfolio theory; working knowledge of actuarial concepts and their impact on defined benefit plan funding levels; and experience managing an operating budget in excess of $750,000 and staff leadership experience.
The ideal candidate will project confidence but with humility, and be a servant leader, said the search firm. He or she should be open and welcoming; approachable and visible to board, staff, and members; and empathetic, with strong emotional intelligence. The individual should also be a thoughtful decision-maker who values both people and process.
The City of Manchester Employees’ Contributory Retirement System is a defined benefit plan providing retirement, disability and survivor benefits to eligible employees of the City of Manchester, the Manchester School District, the Manchester Public Library and employees of MECRS, including elected and appointed officials. MECRS does not cover members of the fire and police department or teachers who are eligible to the state administered New Hampshire Retirement System. MECRS serves approximately 1,300 active or vested members and roughly 1,000 retired members. As of Dec. 31, 2018, MECRS held investment assets of about $213 million.
Founded in 1978, EFL Associates provides executive search services from offices in Kansas City, Denver, St. Louis and Raleigh, NC. The firm specializes in the following areas: finance and banking, higher education, non-profit, life sciences, energy, construction and engineering, consumer packaged goods, manufacturing, public pension organizations, chief financial officers and board services.
Mr. Cummings has over 30 years of diverse business experience. He directs all aspects of highly targeted search assignments for EFL Associates, from investigation of organizational talent needs through candidate identification, evaluation, selection and project completion. Before joining EFL, Mr. Cummings was with Uhlig LLC, where he led all operational aspects of the company’s largest division, Illustratus. Under his direction were sales, customer service, marketing, product development, production, art and editorial, and business development. As senior vice president of business development, Mr. Cummings spearheaded the company’s aggressive acquisition of seven competing companies.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media