Managing Principal Michael J. Olah’s career as an employee benefit consultant and attorney spans all aspects of retirement plan design, documentation, administrative process and procedures, compliance testing, controversy resolution and fiduciary concerns. Michael’s background as a practicing lawyer and internal consultant with several large retirement plan service providers and institutional trustees has provided a depth and breadth of experience that allows him to assist clients at all levels – from strategic planning and benefit designs that accomplish specific corporate goals through vendor selection and management, fee benchmarking and negotiation and fiduciary best practice analysis and implementation, to operational process improvement, error correction, root cause analysis, and loss mitigation. Michael’s consulting philosophy and approach is to partner with several regional consulting practices that will provide additional support in areas including investment selection and monitoring and specialized educational analysis and support, and insurance based benefits to provide “best of breed” services in a cost effective manner.
Michael received his law degree from the University of Akron in 1985, and his LL.M. (Taxation/Benefits) from Case Western Reserve University in 1995, and has practiced ERISA/Benefits law in several law firms in Ohio and Virginia, as Trust Counsel for KeyCorp, a major “super regional” bank based in Cleveland, Ohio supporting it’s institutional trust business involving both bundled and unbundled defined contribution plan services, and defined benefit master trust and custody services. Michael also functioned as a member of the senior management team, as a Vice President, ERISA Services, overseeing the organization’s client consulting services and functioning as a consultant on ERISA matters with the bank’s clientele. Michael subsequently became Director of ERISA Services for Strong Capital Management, Inc., a mid-sized mutual fund complex, building a client consulting group within the company’s bundled defined contribution product, and functioning as a “relationship manager at large,” dealing with issues affecting specific clients, resolving disputes, and rectifying errors. Notably, Michael was a member of the client services team for Schwab Retirement Plan Services, Inc., and subsidiary of Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., functioning as a internal and external resource on ERISA, client management, and compliance issues.
Michael has spoken frequently at industry conferences, professional associations, and before client committees on maters pertaining to fiduciary best practices, industry trends and current legislative and regulatory matters, and has taught various courses in paralegal studies curricula on employee benefits and most of the course offered under the Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS) program offered jointly by the Wharton School of Business and the International Foundation of Employee Benefits. Michael has also authored and co-authored various articles and “white papers” on fiduciary responsibility, investment committee best practices, and employee benefits in mergers and acquisition.