/ 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

/ by Craig Rosenthal

Less Talk, More Action: It’s Time to Implement a Financial Wellness Program


Increasingly, employers are focusing on employee wellness, customizing benefits to meet the diverse needs of a workforce that spans multiple generations. Offering a holistic benefits program isn’t just good for recruiting and retention, it can help improve employee productivity and provide a boost to employers’ bottom lines.

One of the key pillars of an employer-sponsored wellness program is financial wellness — measuring and improving the state of overall financial health and well-being. Financial wellness programs are designed to foster positive behavior changes to help employees feel more confident about managing their money and achieving their financial goals.

More and more, employers are turning to financial advisors to help them select, implement, manage and support this important benefit. Financial wellness is no longer a “nice-to-have” benefit — it’s a “must-have.” This presents you a unique opportunity to provide additional value to your plan sponsor clients by helping their employees become financially empowered.

Why Financial … Read More

/ by Craig Rosenthal

5 Ways to Reach Plan Sponsor Prospects

5 Ways to Reach Plan Sponsor Prospects

When was the last time you received an unsolicited sales call? Were you thrilled to stop everything you were doing, turn your attention from your workflow and focus on the unknown voice on the other end? Occasionally you might do it to satisfy curiosity, or even annoyance. But most would typically avoid answering in the first place. The point is, if we find cold calling unacceptable in our own lives, why would it be accepted as an appropriate marketing strategy?

The era of cold calling or interruption marketing has slipped into the past. Your plan sponsor prospects want to connect with you using more modern platforms. To give the people what they want, consider these 5 ideas:

Develop a Short List

Search 5500 forms to identify companies you want to work with. You can develop your short list by creating a profile of ideal … Read More

/ by Craig Rosenthal

Benchmarking is So Much More Than Fees


We all know someone who likes to take the easy way out. This would describe the narrow view of fee-only benchmarking. It is fast and easy. However, like all things with those characteristics, it adds little value and may do more harm than good.

Whereas, we all know someone who does things the right way. Their methods usually take a little longer and are a little more difficult but, like all things with those characteristics, they add a lot of value. They do not act with haste. They see the bigger picture that ensures that quality, service, value and extra credit items are appropriately accounted for. These characteristics would describe the thorough consumers of Value and Fee benchmarking.

If all of the above is true, why would anyone view fee-only benchmarking as an acceptable solution?

Two answers, our desire for instant gratification and “we don’t know what we don’t know.”

First, I think deep … Read More