/ by Craig Rosenthal

Are Your Plans Overdue for a Check-up?

If your plan sponsor clients are not reviewing their plan reasonableness on a regular basis, then you are missing out on major opportunity to help them mitigate fiduciary risk, improve plan results and protect your business.

According to the Center for Disease Control, 88% of Americans between the ages of 45-64 have seen a health care professional within the last 12 months.[1] So, what does that have to do with retirement plans you ask? Well nothing, but employers often ask, “How often should we do a “check-up” on our 401(k) plan?”

The Department of Labor (DOL) recommends benchmarking about every three years. Of course, there are also best practices which indicate plans greater than $100mm should be benchmarked annually. For plans with assets between $10 – $100mm, they should benchmark every other year and plans less than $10mm every three years. However, benchmarking can also occur as often as needed to ensure … Read More

/ by Matt Golda

Are Your Client’s Retirement Plans Working? No. And Here’s Why.

An Advisors Guide to Fixing the Retirement Plan Crisis

A Bleak Outlook: Savings Crisis Facts

It’s no secret that Americans are severely underprepared for retirement. With social security looking less and less likely to provide for younger generations as the years roll on, retirement plan advisors have a duty and a responsibility to encourage people to save.

Encouragement is only part of the picture, however. There are a number of reasons why Americans aren’t saving for retirement:[1]

40.1% say they don’t make enough money
24.9% say they are struggling to pay bills
10.3% say they don’t think they need retirement savings
9.9% say they have used their retirement savings for an emergency
9.2% say their company doesn’t offer a 401(k) plan
5.7% say they are prioritizing paying down debt

In addition to the savings crisis, there is still large discrepancies in the way retirement plan advisors service their clients from the IPS, plan design, employee education, and more. … Read More

/ by Craig Rosenthal

Are Plan Fiduciaries Asleep at the Wheel?

Are Plan Fiduciaries Asleep at the Wheel

 

Retirement plan advisors – did you know that almost 49% of plan sponsors don’t know they are a fiduciary to their company’s retirement plan?[1] Is it lack of knowledge? Your fellow peer advisors aren’t providing fiduciary education. Plan sponsors are juggling too many responsibilities from payroll to management. Essentially, many plan sponsors are asleep at the retirement plan wheel, and this needs to change.

Unfortunately, plan sponsors are not paying enough attention to the direction and outcomes necessary for a successful retirement plan. Fiduciary awareness is fading, and participants might be suffering because of this.

With more than 75% of employees living paycheck to paycheck and another 25% claiming that personal finances are a distraction at work, retirement plan advisors are facing an epidemic to provide meaningful financial wellness solutions to plan sponsors and their participants. [2], [3]

It’s time for advisors to push plan fiduciaries to … Read More

/ by Matt Golda

Love It or Hate It, Time Tracking is Important for Retirement Plan Advisors

Love It or Hate It, Time Tracking is Important for Retirement Plan Advisors

Have you ever looked up from your work, glanced at the clock to astonishingly find that it is already 5:00 pm? In that moment, you can’t help but wonder, “Where has the day gone?” It feels like you were just debriefing from your 10:00 am meeting and now another day is coming to a close.

Whether you are preparing for an annual committee meeting, meeting with wholesalers or responding to RFPs, monitoring how you spend your time is important. Which is why, actively practicing your time management skills during the working day is crucial to the productivity and health of your retirement plan practice.

Believe it or not, effectively tracking your time leads to generating more revenue for your firm. Think about it like this: You have contracted 12 hours per quarter dedicated to ABC Company from back-end plan administration to committee meetings. However, if a client is requesting more of your … Read More

/ by Craig Rosenthal

How Advisors Can Address the Top Employer Retirement Plan Headaches

How Advisors Can Address the Top Employer Retirement Plan Headaches

For employers, managing a company retirement plan can bring many challenges. From meeting compliance deadlines to tracking investment performance and fee reasonableness, it can feel like your head is spinning out of control. As mentioned in our last blog article, Steps to De-Risk Your Plan Advisory Practice During 2019, lawsuits have steadily increased over the last decade and can cause unwanted stress and chaos for plan sponsors. Advisors should pay close attention to these three plan sponsor stressors.

Top 3 Retirement Plan Headaches:

Lawsuits
DOL Audit Failures
Missing a Compliance Deadline

Lawsuits

In 2017, 307 criminal investigations were closed for offenses that were related to employee benefits plans. Nearly a third of those individuals were indicted.[1] In the current litigation environment, nearly any plan is subject to a fee claim.

ERISA class action settlements reached nearly $1 billion in 2017.[1] Plan sponsors are … Read More

/ by Matt Golda

Steps to De-Risk Your Plan Advisory Practice During 2019

Steps to De-Risk Your Plan Advisory Practice During 2019

Steps to De-Risk Your Plan Advisory Practice During 2019

If you have been in the industry as long as we have, you’ve experienced the effects of a market downturn. Historical bear markets, the disastrous financial crisis of 2008, and the recent swings of volatility causing severe panic among investors. Although institutional business is slightly more insulated, plan sponsors and participants are starting to feel anxious about their 401(k) plan.

Advisors charging asset-based fees may be first to feel tremors: annual plan revenue is directly affected by severe market fluctuation. When the stock market is on the rise, everything is great; your revenue also experiences the uptick. However, if the stock market rapidly declines, your annual plan revenue will too. Assuming a typical plan asset allocation, we estimate that for every 10% of stock market value lost, asset-based advisor fees could decline by around 6% – not inconsequential when … Read More

/ by Craig Rosenthal

Secrets to Building a 401(k) Book of Business

Secrets to Building a 401(k) Book of Business

Prospecting for 401(k) Clients

Whether you are starting out in the 401(k) industry or a seasoned professional – it all starts with an accurate prospect list. Who are the key decision makers that you can connect with so that you can share your story and earn their company’s retirement plan business?

Thankfully, in our industry, we have a huge advantage: the Form 5500. As you may know, the Department of Labor (DOL) requires plan administrators to file this annual form by July 31st. It is available to anyone looking for plan information and can add value to your prospect list. The form holds crucial contact information such as decision makers names, addresses, and phone numbers as well as valuable prospecting data points such as total plan assets, annual contributions, number of participants, and much more.

To get started, you will want to identify your target market. Start with the familiar and work outwards. Below are … Read More

/ by Craig Rosenthal

What About the Endgame?

“Shouldn’t the Fiduciary Reg (“The Reg”) debate be about more than costs and workflow changes?”

The media coverage of the final release of the Fiduciary Regulation has been nothing short of extraordinary. Media outlets, law firms and service providers are providing daily interpretations of “The Reg” – how service providers should respond to it; what elements were missed or should be changed; calls for delays in implementation and estimates of the cost impacts and more.

The issue that has not received enough coverage (in my opinion) is how much impact The Reg will have on helping participants/investors achieve improved retirement outcomes. The story that follows refocused me on the “endgame” – Why we are involved in retirement industry in the first place. I can only hope that it does the same for others that read this blog.

Several weeks ago I attended a retirement party for a former boss that I had worked … Read More

/ by Craig Rosenthal

One Shining Moment

March is a month with many milestones – the start of Spring, the countdown to tax season and most importantly “March Madness.” For those of you that don’t know “March Madness” or the “Big Dance” as it is sometimes called, it is the NCAA Men’s Division 1 Basketball Tournament. 68 teams compete in a single elimination tournament culminating with a national championship game. It is a fantastic sporting event that takes place over two weeks and comes with both the “thrill of victory” and the “agony of defeat.” The reason it is “must watch tv” is because you have larger, well-known schools playing smaller, often unheard of schools and the outcomes are not always as predictable as you might think. In addition, you have college players whose next stop will be the NBA playing against other students whose next stop will be a full time job, and again the outcomes … Read More