Prudent Fiduciary Services provides professional Independent ESOP Trustee, Independent Fiduciary, ERISA compliance consulting, and expert witness services related to employee benefit plans such as qualified retirement plans and health and welfare plans.
Miguel Paredes is President and Founder of Prudent Fiduciary Services. Mr. Paredes holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from California State University, San Marcos and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Isenberg School of Management. Mr. Paredes holds the Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor and Certified Internal Auditor designations.
Prior to establishing Prudent Fiduciary Services, Mr. Paredes had a distinguished 12 year career as an employee benefit plan investigator and supervisor with the U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). During his time with EBSA, Mr. Paredes conducted and supervised several hundred investigations of ERISA-covered retirement plans, health and welfare plans, and plan service providers, with a focus on Employee Stock Ownership Plans and other investigations involving complex financial issues.
One of the primary responsibilities Mr. Paredes held at the Department was managing the ESOP National project for EBSA’s regional office. In this role, Mr. Paredes managed over 200 ESOP investigations, which included a detailed review of privately-held employer stock transactions and a review of the ESOP’s plan administration functions.
Mr. Paredes made significant contributions to the DOL's ERISA enforcement program that directly resulted in improved ERISA compliance processes that not only affected particular employee benefit plans, but also had far-reaching effects within the employee benefits industry. Mr. Paredes was recognized as a 3-time recipient of the prestigious U.S. Department of Labor Secretary's Award for these efforts.
· 2015 – Mr. Paredes was a recipient of the U.S. Department of Labor Exceptional Achievement Award as Supervisor of an ESOP investigation that cited an Institutional Trust Company for fiduciary breaches of ERISA as Trustee of an ESOP. In conjunction with the DOL Office of the Solicitor, the enforcement action resulted in a $5.25 million recovery for the ESOP and a settlement agreement with the Institutional Trustee, in which the Trustee agreed to reform its policies and procedures for ESOP transactions that now serves as a model for other trustees and advisors in the ESOP community.
· 2014 – Received the U.S. Department of Labor Exceptional Achievement Award as part of a national instructor team that designed, developed, presented, and disseminated new and improved investigative skills and techniques training curriculum for new EBSA investigators.
· 2010 – Received the U.S. Department of Labor Worker Protection Award as Lead Investigator for helping to restore $9.5 million in benefits lost to a defined benefit plan due to a fiduciary breach, and for obtaining improvements to the employee benefit plan audit procedures of the “Big 4” accounting firm that served as the plan’s auditor.
Mr. Paredes is also a noted ERISA authority that has presented numerous speeches and trainings to ERISA fiduciaries, employee benefit plan service providers, and the public on ERISA fiduciary obligations and EBSA Investigations, including the following:
The ESOP Association Annual ESOP Trade Show & Conference
Las Vegas, NV
The ESOP Association California/Western States Annual Conference
San Diego, CA
National Center for Employee Ownership Fall Forum
Beyster Institute Fiduciary Certification Course
Instructor - "DOL ESOP Investigations & ESOP Trustee Best Practices"
The ESOP Association - Western ESOP Summit
Keynote Speaker - "Update on DOL ESOP Investigations"
Dept. of Labor, EBSA National Fiduciary Education Campaign
Instructor - "Getting it Right - Know your Fiduciary Responsibilities"
American Bar Association Employee Benefits Committee Midwinter Conference
Panel Member - "What to Expect from an EBSA Investigation"
The ESOP Association - California/Western States Annual Conference
Keynote Speaker - "DOL ESOP Investigations and the Fiduciary Process Agreement"
U.S. Trustee's Office - San Diego, CA
Keynote Speaker - "ERISA Primer for U.S. Bankruptcy Trustees"
National Center for Employee Ownership
Ohio Employee Ownership Center
Western Pension & Benefits Council
National Association of Plan Advisors
Prior to joining the Department of Labor, Mr. Paredes was part of MassMutual Financial Group’s Corporate Auditing Department, conducting internal audits of the company’s financial statements, as well as auditing the company’s annuities, institutional investment, and retirement plan business lines.
Mr. Fera is an accomplished C-level ESOP, operations and finance executive with career-long success leading and managing organizations that range from entrepreneurial businesses to international organizations.
Mr. Fera has an outstanding list of achievements.
He was named CFO of CNS Network, a 100% owned ESOP company, for 10 years. As CFO, he successfully navigated a debt restructure that allowed the ESOP to ensure sustainability throughout an economic downturn.
Among other accomplishments, Mr. Fera has served as COO for Creative Direct Marketing Group. He's co-founded a small business lending startup, which exceeded $20 million in originations annually. Lastly, he was a Senior Vice President, CFO and Board Member at Comprehensive Business Services, a business servicing small businesses with 300 locations internationally.
Mr. Fera started his career as a CPA and Staff Auditor with Price Waterhouse. He earned his BS, Magna Cum Laude in Accountancy from Northern Illinois University.
Mr. Scott is an Accredited Senior Appraiser with the American Society of Appraisers with specializations in business enterprise valuation and intellectual property valuation.
Currently, Mr. Scott is founder and president of Scott Valuation LLC, a business valuation and intellectual property valuation consulting firm. Prior to founding Scott Valuation LLC, Mr. Scott was responsible for acquisition valuation and financial forecasting for Right Now Technologies. He was also a Valuation Manager for Moss Afams LLP, a large accounting and consulting firm in Seatte, WA.
Mr. Scott has accumulated over 12 years of business valuation and intellectual property valuation experience providing appraisal or appraisal review for over 500 valuation engagements. A significant portion of Mr. Scott’s experience is in the ESOP arena. Mr. Scott is a member of the National Center for Employee Ownership and has provided several hundred independent third-party valuations and valuation reviews for ESOP clients. He acts as independent financial advisor to trustees, trust committees, or on behalf of selling shareholders in ESOP transactions.
Mr. Scott earned his BS from the University of Oregon. He also holds a Master of Science in Finance from Northeastern University in Boston having graduated Summa Cum Laude and 2nd in his class. Lastly, he studied Securities Regulation and Real Estate Law at Suffolk University Law School and received top marks in both courses.
Prudent Fiduciary Services brings an expert level understanding of the requirements for ERISA compliance, balanced with a common-sense approach to the needs of corporate stakeholders. Our professional services help ensure that employee benefit plans are being administered prudently, effectively, and in compliance with the law.
Prudent Fiduciary Services, LLC | 2648 E. Workman Ave., Ste. 3001-509| West Covina, CA 91791
PFS provides professional Independent Fiduciary and consulting services, but it does not provide legal advice.