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.

 



Paul Zielinski

Vice President

Paul Zielinski is an attorney and former supervisor with the U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (DOL-EBSA).  Prior to joining Prudent Fiduciary Services, Mr. Zielinski spent nearly 10 years with DOL-EBSA’s Los Angeles Regional Office.  During his time with DOL-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 multiemployer 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.

 



Larisa Langston

Vice President

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, 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 an MBA 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. 

 

 



Allan Fera

Vice President

 

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

 

Mr. Fera was  the CFO of CNS Network, an employee-owned/ESOP medical company that specialized in clinical research and testing new drug treatments for FDA approval.  During an economic downturn, he successfully navigated a debt restructure to ensure ESOP sustainability.

 

He also served as COO for Creative Direct Marketing Group, an advertising agency specializing in direct-response advertising for the investor-relations, health, and educational products industries.  Mr. Fera also co-founded a small business lending startup that achieved $20 million in originations annually. 

 

Prior to that, he was a senior vice president, CFO, and board member at Comprehensive Business Services, an international franchisor of accounting and related business services to small businesses with 300 locations in three countries. 

 

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. 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.

 



Tom Murphy

Associate Vice President

 

Tom Murphy is an attorney and experienced ESOP Trustee.  Prior to joining Prudent Fiduciary Services, Mr. Murphy spent 3 and half years as an Institutional ESOP Trustee with Bremer Bank, headquartered in St. Paul, MN. 

 

Prior to coming to the ESOP space, Mr. Murphy spent 7 years in the document and contract review field.  Mr. Murphy spent time reviewing contracts for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, approving hundreds of contracts, grants, and research agreements with various private entities, public and private institutions, and other government agencies. 

 

Mr. Murphy brings ESOP fiduciary knowledge and experience to the firm, particularly with respect to ESOP transactions, plan mechanics, and relationship management.  Mr. Murphy also brings third party administration expertise and experience from his time at Bremer. 

 

Mr. Murphy graduated from the University of Saint Thomas in St. Paul, MN with a BA in political science and received his JD also from Saint Thomas.  Mr. Murphy is a member of the State Bar of Minnesota.

 



Dale Lowe

Associate Vice President

Dale Lowe is a former supervisor with the U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (DOL-EBSA).  Prior to joining Prudent Fiduciary Services, Mr. Lowe spent 11 years with DOL-EBSA’s Los Angeles Regional Office. 

 

During his time with DOL-EBSA, Mr. Lowe conducted and supervised numerous high-profile, complex investigations relating to several retirement and health plans types, including self-funded health plans, fully-insured health plans, Taft-Hartley plans, and ESOPs.  While serving as a group supervisor, Mr. Lowe spent seven years overseeing the Los Angeles Regional Office’s criminal enforcement program, as the region’s Senior Advisor for Criminal Investigations.  Mr. Lowe also oversaw the region’s Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program and Abandoned Plan Program. 

 

In addition to his time at the DOL-EBSA, Mr. Lowe has experience in commercial real estate and finance, and is a former Series 7 licensed representative.  Mr. Lowe has a BA in business administration with a specialization in finance from the University of California, Riverside.

 



Kelly Irizarry

Associate Vice President

Kelly Irizarry has over ten years of experience in ESOP Plan Administration and nearly four years of experience in ESOP Trust Administration.  Ms. Irizarry is a Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor and holds a SHRM-CP certification from the Society for Human Resource Management.

 

Prior to joining Prudent Fiduciary Services, Ms. Irizarry worked for an ESOP Third Party Administrator performing annual account allocations, compliance testing, participant distribution services, and 1099 reporting.  She was most recently the Director of Trust Administration for an independent ESOP Trustee.  Ms. Irizarry provided client advisory services, supervised trust compliance procedures, and ensured timely accurate trust transactions for over 120 ESOPs. 

 

Ms. Irizarry holds a Master of Science degree in Human Resource Development from Villanova University.  Prior to receiving her master’s degree, she attained a BA in English (writing concentration) from Kean University.  

 



Lydia Kenewell

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 founder and president of Scott Valuation LLC, a business valuation and  intellectual property (IP) valuation consulting firm.  Before founding Scott Valuation LLC, Mr. Scott was responsible for acquisition valuation and financial forecasting for Right  Now Technologies. Prior to that, Mr. Scott was valuation manager for Moss Adams  LLP, an accounting and consulting firm in Seattle.

 

Mr. Scott is an Accredited Senior Appraiser with the American Society of Appraisers with specializations in business enterprise valuation and IP valuation.

 

Mr. Scott has accumulated over twelve years of business valuation and IP valuation experience.  His experience includes valuation projects involving  ESOPs, transaction due diligence, mergers, shareholder disputes, partner disputes, marital dissolution / divorce, litigation support, loan collateral, gifting for tax purposes, estate valuation, fair value reporting, tax reporting, SBA 7(a), licensing, transfer pricing, and patent infringement.

 

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 an independent financial advisor to trustees and trust committees and/or on behalf of selling shareholders in ESOP transactions.

 

Mr. Scott holds a Master of Science in Finance degree from Northeastern University in Boston having graduated summa cum laude.  He studied securities regulation and real estate law at Suffolk University Law School and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Business Administration from the University of Oregon.

 



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.



Prudent Fiduciary Services, LLC  |   100 N. Barranca St., Suite 870  |   West Covina, CA 91791

  Email: mparedes@fiduciaryservices.com

  Office: (626) 549-1410

PFS provides professional Independent Fiduciary and consulting services, but it does not provide legal advice.