/ by Craig Rosenthal

Byeeeeeee 2020: 8 Lessons to Prepare you for 2021

 

What a strange, unsettling and eventful year it has been! Thankfully, as the year disappears into 20/20 hindsight, I hope that all of us can look at the lessons that the year has taught us.

As a retirement plan professional, we adapted. We updated our business policies and rethought the traditional office. We embraced new technologies. For as much discomfort as we experienced, the silver lining is that we grew. As we turn the corner and welcome a New Year, here are 8 lessons to reflect on as we close the book on 2020.

Disaster Recovery – This is Not a Test

Along with the rollercoaster of events that 2020 dished out, we got a crash course in disaster recovery. Thanks to a global pandemic, light was shined on areas that may have previously taken an IT security or compliance audit to uncover. Many of us were faced with addressing technology and filing … Read More

/ by Craig Rosenthal

Extra Credit: Show Your Work So They Know Your Value

In the blink of an eye, 24 hours can disappear. Between the 5-8 hours of sleep, 8-10 hours of work and about 6 hours of extracurricular, the pace of life moves fast. With Monday’s good intentions and Friday’s to-dos, one week’s required tasks can easily be pushed to a future date. However, your 8-10 hours of daily work time needs to generate revenue. And, when you know how much your time is worth, your practice can be even more powerful because you understand how precious your time really is.

Front of the house & back of the house

In our previous article, “Love it or Hate it: Time Tracking is Important for Retirement Plan Advisors”, we unpacked the importance of time tracking. By monitoring how much time is allotted to your clients, you maximize the monetary value of your time.

Your work time can generally be categorized into two buckets: revenue generating … Read More

/ by Craig Rosenthal

The Last Retirement Plan Practice Management Tool You’ll Ever Need

It’s not uncommon to need a little extra help behind the scenes when managing your practice. When you have multiple moving parts of your business, you’ll notice you have multiple ways of tracking retirement plan data and information.

You may have experienced one or more of these situations in your career:

You have an ongoing spreadsheet of prospect and/or client information that is half filled out
You subscribe to a robust CRM that you barely use
You have practice management documents that need to be refreshed
You pay for a benchmarking tool that isn’t easy to use and doesn’t represent your VALUE properly

Sometimes you have to work with what you’ve got. Right?

But, is it so bad to live in a fantasy world where all of these items worked together to help you run your practice more effectively and efficiently? Great news! This is no fantasy world you live in, there is a solution.

Fiduciary Benchmarks’ Business … Read More

/ by Craig Rosenthal

The Value of Strategic Advisor Partnerships for Retirement Plans

Are you a generalist or a specialist retirement plan advisor? Most advisors typically choose one path or the other at some point in their career.

No matter which path you’ve chosen, you are expected to bring valuable skills and guidance to the table for your clients.

And in fact, if you serve workplace 401(k)s, industry experts believe both generalist advisors, such as benefits brokers and wealth advisors, along with retirement plan specialists, are vital to supporting and sustaining the market.[1]

In addition, regardless of the size of the retirement plans you serve, opportunities for partnerships between generalist and specialist advisors are abound. This article will highlight these opportunities for collaboration and how financial professional partnerships can positively impact employers and their workforce.

The Benefits of a Strategic Retirement Plan Specialist Partnership

It’s widely known that advisors are continually seeking new ways to enhance the value they provide for their retirement plan clients. This … Read More

/ by Craig Rosenthal

Secrets Revealed: Where Our Data Comes From

There are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created every day[1] and ongoing growth is exponential. The availability of data on the internet only compounds the issue as old data lives forever and new data is added daily. At least we know the data on the internet is always accurate (haha).

So, what data should you use to benchmark your clients or manage your business? You must have a data source that is current, comprehensive and trustworthy to get the job done. Here is how Fiduciary Benchmarks gathers, processes and presents data “from the source” that will enable you to better retain clients and grow your practice.

Why is it important to have clean data?

The importance of clean data is driven by how people will use it. For Fiduciary Benchmarks, the data provides context for service providers and fiduciaries as they benchmark their retirement plans. Given that benchmarking is a fiduciary … Read More

/ by Craig Rosenthal

Your Retirement Plan “Dream Team”

Having a deep bench of expert support can help you add more value, strengthen client relationships, and grow your practice.

As an advisor, your goal is to be your clients’ go-to retirement plan resource, which requires you to wear a lot of hats. However, it isn’t reasonable to expect that you can fulfill all of these roles and be all things to your clients by yourself.

In fact, the most successful retirement plan outcomes are most likely to be achieved through partnership with an all-star “dream team” — composed of the plan sponsor, third party administrator, recordkeeper, asset managers (defined contribution, investment only (DCIO)), wholesalers, and of course, you, the advisor.

Every retirement plan advisor should have a variety of support resources and expertise to tap into so they can offer value-added services to their plan sponsor clients, whether those professionals are by your side or behind the scenes. Here is how partnering … Read More

/ by Craig Rosenthal

3 Proactive Conversations You Need to Have with Plan Sponsor Clients

 

With the world in flux and companies trying to adjust to the “new normal”, many employers may not be thinking about their retirement plan. However, with the CARES Act and Paycheck Protection Program their attention may be warranted.

As their trusted advisor, your plan sponsor clients could benefit from considering these three proactive assessments to preempt unwanted plan surprises.

Fiduciary Risk Management

The past few months have been riddled with a series of hefty fiduciary decisions. Many plan sponsors are overwhelmed by trying to understand the impact of the CARES Act, social distancing, CDC requirements, WFH technology challenges, and a myriad of additional complexities brought on by the global pandemic.

In terms of their retirement plan, your clients are having to choose whether or not to adopt CARES Act distribution provisions. This is a fiduciary decision – one that should be thoughtfully considered and documented.

Interestingly, a recent Fidelity study found that approximately 97% of … Read More

/ by Craig Rosenthal

The Keys to Doubling Your Business are Right in Front of You

 

Did you know it can cost five times more to attract a new client than it does to retain an existing one?[1] Many believe that the key to business growth is new sales. However, don’t miss out on your biggest opportunity to grow by building on the relationships with your existing clients.

Keeping Happy Clients

The top two reasons plan sponsors hire advisors are to help with understanding how well the plan is working for employees and how to improve it.[2] They want to know that their retirement plan is working to financially prepare participants for retirement.[3]

To illustrate plan performance metrics, advisors could track financial preparedness, provide ideas to enhance contribution rates, and host regular retirement plan committee meetings. They are all great ways to deliver immense value, demonstrate your involvement and expertise that will ultimately increase participant outcomes. However, you don’t want to conduct a … Read More

/ by Craig Rosenthal

Present Like Cuomo

 

Present Like Cuomo

If you were around in 1992, the Gatorade mantra “Be Like Mike” was intended to inspire us all to achieve our personal best. Fast forward to 2020 and I’d like to propose a new mantra intended to inspire us all to deliver our best communications – “Present Like Cuomo”.

The times we are living in are sad, bizarre and finding the positives is difficult. Negative and conflicting messages are being delivered via social media, the news and public figures in volumes never seen before.

However, if you look closely you can find positive stories of heroism, generosity and innovation. People are looking for comfort and leadership.

The reason that Governor Cuomo’s daily briefings are being shown on the national networks is partially because New York is the epicenter of the virus in the U.S. and also, I believe more importantly because he is displaying communication skills, leadership and empathy. That is … Read More

/ by Craig Rosenthal

Should Fiduciary Responsibility Take a Sick Day?

 

With global concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic and millions of employees now required to work from home, how will fiduciary governance be impacted? As the stock market peaks and troughs, investors are panicking as they watch their retirement dollars ping pong up and down. It is a tense time for all. However, in this chaos and transition, should other priorities take precedent over the retirement plan committee’s fiduciary responsibility?

Plan Sponsor Response to Chaos

According to Malcolm Gladwell in the book “What the Dog Saw,” he explains that when a crisis happens, people generally respond in one of two ways. They either choke up or panic. When a person chokes up, they overthink a situation. Whereas, when a person panics, they think or act too little.

Choking Up: Overthinking

Looking at this situation through the actions of a plan sponsor, let’s say a plan sponsor client responds by overthinking. They request their advisor to … Read More