About Prudent Fiduciary Services

 

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.


Our Story

Miguel Paredes, MBA, CPFA

President & Founder

Prudent Fiduciary Services

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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:

 

November 2018

The ESOP Association Annual ESOP Trade Show & Conference

Las Vegas, NV

 

October 2018

The ESOP Association Hawaii Chapter Conference

Honolulu, HI

 

September 2018

The ESOP Association New South Chapter Fall Conference

Birmingham, AL

 

May 2018

The ESOP Association Annual Conference

Washington, D.C.

 

November 2017

The ESOP Association Annual ESOP Trade Show & Conference

Las Vegas, NV

  

October 2017

The ESOP Association California/Western States Annual Conference

San Diego, CA

 

October 2017

National Center for Employee Ownership Fall Forum

Tampa, FL

 

2013-2017

Beyster Institute Fiduciary Certification Course

Instructor - "DOL ESOP Investigations & ESOP Trustee Best Practices"

 

August 2015

The ESOP Association - Western ESOP Summit

Keynote Speaker - "Update on DOL ESOP Investigations"

 

May 2015

Dept. of Labor, EBSA National Fiduciary Education Campaign

Instructor - "Getting it Right - Know your Fiduciary Responsibilities"

 

February 2015

American Bar Association Employee Benefits Committee Midwinter Conference

Panel Member - "What to Expect from an EBSA Investigation"

 

October 2014

The ESOP Association - California/Western States Annual Conference

Keynote Speaker - "DOL ESOP Investigations and the Fiduciary Process Agreement"

 

April 2013

U.S. Trustee's Office - San Diego, CA

Keynote Speaker - "ERISA Primer for U.S. Bankruptcy Trustees"

 

Professional Affiliations:

 

ESOP Association

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.

  



Ty Fukumoto

Executive Vice President

Ty Fukumoto is an attorney and former director with the U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), and is the current Executive Vice President of Prudent Fiduciary Services.  Prior to joining Prudent Fiduciary Services, Mr. Fukumoto spent 12 years with EBSA’s Los Angeles Regional Office, which included time as an investigator, a group supervisor, and the Associate Regional Director. 

 

In 2013, Mr. Fukumoto became the Deputy Regional Director of EBSA’s Los Angeles Regional Office, and was extensively involved with the planning and oversight of the office’s civil enforcement program and operations.  This entailed monitoring and overseeing well over 1,000 investigations, including the region’s largest and most complex financial cases and ESOP investigations. 

 

Mr. Fukumoto brings expert-level knowledge and over a decade of experience to Prudent Fiduciary Services covering a wide array of areas relating to employee benefit plans; fiduciary responsibilities; ERISA law and compliance; and DOL-EBSA investigations and enforcement activities. 

 

Mr. Fukumoto has a B.A. in political science with a specialization in business administration from the University of California, Los Angeles.  Mr. Fukumoto received his J.D. from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and has an M.B.A. from Loyola Marymount University.  Mr. Fukumoto is a member of the California State Bar.

 



Larisa Langston

Director

Larisa Langston is an experienced professional in the business valuation and ESOP trustee services arenas.  Ms. Langston is an Accredited Senior Appraiser in business valuation with the American Society of Appraisers, and prior to joining Prudent Fiduciary Services as a Director, worked on ESOP transactions and ongoing ESOP engagements for an ESOP trustee.

 

Prior to changing her focus to ESOP trustee services, Ms. Langston spent 15 years in the business valuation field.  In her role as a Senior Manager of Eureka Valuation Advisors, she was responsible for valuation assignments of privately held businesses, intangible assets, and debt and equity instruments for financial and SEC reporting, as well as ESOPs, fairness and solvency opinions, and tax and estate planning.

 

Prior to joining Eureka, Ms. Langston was a Senior Associate at BCC Capital and an Associate at RSM and Citigroup, where she focused on the valuation of privately held middle-market companies for mergers and acquisitions, and  conducted market research and financial statements analysis.

 

Ms. Langston holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Pepperdine University.  Prior to receiving her master’s degree, she graduated with honors from Kostroma State University in Russia, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Literature.

 



Paul Zielinski

Director

 

Paul Zielinski is an attorney and former supervisor with the U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA).  Prior to joining Prudent Fiduciary Services, Mr. Zielinski spent nearly 10 years with EBSA’s Los Angeles Regional Office.  During his time with EBSA, Mr. Zielinski conducted and supervised hundreds of investigations relating to all types of ERISA-covered employee benefit plans and service providers to such plans, including cases involving complex financial issues, ESOPs, and Taft-Hartley plans.

 

Mr. Zielinski brings extensive ERISA knowledge and expertise to the firm, particularly with respect to fiduciary responsibility, plan administration, and prohibited transaction issues.  Mr. Zielinski also brings significant experience and insight into navigating DOL-EBSA investigations and compliance matters.

 

Mr. Zielinski graduated cum laude with a B.B.A. in business economics from the University of San Diego and received his J.D. from the University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law, where he served on the Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law.  Mr. Zielinski is a member of the State Bar of Arizona.

 



Allan Fera

Director

 

Allan Fera is an accomplished senior operations and finance executive with career-long success leading and managing organizations that range from entrepreneurial businesses to international organizations. 

 

Prior to joining Prudent Fiduciary Services as a Director, Mr. Fera served as a member of its Advisory Committee, and he was Chief Financial Officer of CNS Network, a 100% owned ESOP company, for five years.  As CFO, he successfully navigated a debt restructure that allowed the ESOP to ensure sustainability throughout an economic downturn.

 

Among other accomplishments in his career, Mr. Fera has served as COO for a Los Angeles-based direct advertising firm, co-founded a small business lending startup which exceeded $20 million in originations annually, was responsible for over 100 franchised and corporate-owned computer training facilities in North America, and served a Senior Vice President, CFO, and Board Member at Comprehensive Business Services, a 300-location franchised business providing financial services to small businesses. 

 

Mr. Fera earned his B.S., magna cum laude in Accountancy from Northern Illinois University, and started his career as a CPA and Auditor with Price Waterhouse & Co. in Chicago.  He also holds a master’s degree with honors, in Organizational Leadership from Colorado State University.  He is an adjunct professor of Leadership and Entrepreneurship at Vanguard University of Southern California and is a certified Leadership speaker and coach.

 



Lydia Kenewell

Director

Project Management

Lydia Kenewell is an experienced manager with in-depth knowledge of employee benefit plan administration, operations and risk mitigation.  Ms. Kenewell has the practical know-how to facilitate a broad range of projects.  Ms. Kenewell joined Prudent Fiduciary Services after an exemplary career as an employee benefit plan investigator with the U. S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration.  During her career, Ms. Kenewell conducted numerous investigations of ERISA covered retirement plans and health and welfare plans, including ESOPs.

 

Prior to joining the U.S. Department of Labor, Ms. Kenewell owned K&W Benefit Consultants, Inc. (K&W), which offered management consulting to fiduciaries of employee benefit plans for nearly 20 years.  Among other accomplishments, K&W developed trust administrative policies, including ESOP policies, for bank trust departments.  K&W led projects included plan and trust compliance reviews, due diligence reviews of plans and trusts upon acquisition, plan recordkeeping reviews, and risk mitigation recommendations. 

 

Ms. Kenewell earned her B.A. from Occidental College.  She is an Accredited Investment Fiduciary Analyst™ (AIFA®) and Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS).

 



Kirk Soto

Financial Analyst

Kirk Soto is a recent Ivy League college graduate.  Mr. Soto received his Bachelors Degree from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire with an Economics Major and Chinese Language Minor.  At Dartmouth College, Mr. Soto focused on international trade and public economics.

 

During his college tenure, his interest in public economics led him to two three-month stints at the Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). At the Department of Labor, Mr. Soto gained a wealth of knowledge of ERISA law and compliance, employee benefit plans, and DOL-EBSA investigations.

 

Prior to joining Prudent Fiduciary Services, Mr. Soto spent a year and a half with C&S Wholesale Grocers, one of the largest privately held companies in the U.S. He worked as an Associate Financial Analyst on a team analyzing over one billion dollars of yearly spend related to operations.  Mr. Soto brings his financial technical skills alongside his knowledge and exposure of ESOPs to our Prudent Fiduciary Services team.

 



Iver Scott

Advisor

Iver Scott is a key member of Prudent Fiduciary Services' Advisory Committee. 

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 Adams 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 B.S. 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.

 



Our Mission

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.