An Advisor to Help With 401(k) Plans
You’re a skilled, caring, and intelligent advisor. But maybe retirement plans aren’t in your wheelhouse, or you just prefer to focus on the things you love. 401(k) plans, SIMPLEs, pension plans, and non-qualified deferred comp have unique rules and service demands that might not be part of your offering.
If that’s the case, I can help in one of several ways — you choose:
- Complete 401(k) outsourcing: Handle the plan for you from start to finish and provide excellent ongoing service to your clients
- Do the heavy lifting: Partner with you and do most of the work if that’s logistically feasible (assuming the other service providers, like recordkeepers, can accommodate that)
- Hourly consults: Provide advice to you on an hourly basis while you handle the plan yourself
- Participant education: Conduct employee education or enrollment meetings for a flat fee, while leaving the plan in your hands
But Won’t You Steal My Clients?
That’s a valid concern, and as I’ll explain below, I believe you protect your relationships by working with me. But yes, some advisors use 401(k) plans as a way to gain access to business owners. They get a foot in the door by talking about the 401(k), while they’re really after the owner’s individual business.
That’s not the case with me — I’m happy to be “just the 401(k) guy.” But that might not be reassuring enough, so let’s talk more:
- I’m happy to sign an agreement saying I won’t work with your clients individually. If they get mad at you and want to leave you, they’ll have to find somebody else to help with their personal affairs.
- I “dance with the one who brung me.” It’s in my best interest to keep your relationship with your client healthy. If I steal your client, how many more 401(k) plans will you ask for my help with? None. But if I do a good job and avoid interfering with your relationship, everybody wins (including me). More on that below.
What if your client asks me for advice on topics beyond the retirement plan? My standard answer, because it is 100% honest, is:
“That’s a good question. But I’m probably not the best person to answer that since I know you’ve been working with Pat (your advisor). Pat knows all the other details about your finances, and I’m ignorant about all the bigger-picture aspects. Pat can give you the best advice that’s aligned with everything else you have going on. Can I help you draft an email to Pat that summarizes your question?”
How You Benefit
Set the stage: In addition to helping your clients secure high-quality 401(k) service, you benefit from working with a trusted partner. You can tell your client that all 401(k) service providers (including the recordkeeper, the TPA, and me) are expendable, and you’ll fire us if we don’t perform.
Protect your business: By helping your client find help (while not doing all the work yourself), you ensure that your client doesn’t outsource the 401(k) to somebody else, who might want to work with your clients individually — possibly displacing you.
What’s My Experience?
Before launching my own RIA, I worked in a practice where I had contact with roughly 100 retirement plans for 14 years (mostly 401(k), but others as well). Please feel free to review this site and ask me any questions to learn more.
My experience is primarily with small and micro plans (less than $5 million, although I’ve worked with bigger plans), which most advisors don’t want to handle. I’m happy to help with startup 401(k) plans and those with just a few participants.
To offer high-quality service to clients, I have the following industry designations:
- Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®), which you’re probably already familiar with if you’re an advisor (so I won’t bore you with details).
- Professional Plan Consultant (PPC®), an Fi360 designation for individuals committed to serving employer-sponsored retirement plans and promoting successful participant outcomes.
What Types of Plans?
I can work with a variety of plans, and I’m happy to help your clients select the right plan and the right service providers for their needs. We can talk about everything, including:
- IRA-based plans like SIMPLEs or payroll-deduction IRAs
- Defined-benefit plans
- Nonqualified deferred compensation (NQDC)
What Will I Do?
My job will be to handle everything required to help the employer and plan participants manage and benefit from the retirement plan. That includes (among other things):
- Vendor comparison and selection
- Trustee Meetings
- Coordinating with third-party administrators (TPAs) and other service providers
- Investment advice on the plan menu
- Employee education and enrollment suppor
- One-on-one or group discussions
- Live and on-demand (recorded) video sessions
- In-person visits, at an additional cost
- Consulting on plan compliance and best practices
- Fee benchmarking and comparisons
- Serving as a fiduciary advisor to the plan and plan participants
- Transitioning to new providers, if necessary
- And more
Don’t You Also Work With Individuals?
Yes, but I agree not to take on your existing clients if we’re partnering on plans.
Call today to talk more about how we can give your clients an excellent retirement plan experience!