Are You Leaving Business on the Table?

Enhance the Profitability of Your Retirement Plan Client Relationships by Offering Value-Added Services

With plan review season in full swing, now is a great time to sit down with your plan sponsor clients and review their existing menu of plan services and fees. This is an ideal opportunity to check in to make sure you’re not leaving untapped business on the table and a prime time to reinforce the value you bring to the relationship. It’s also a chance for you to offer new services, whether they be at the plan or participant level, or ancillary offerings, such as health savings accounts (HSAs) or wealth management solutions.

It probably goes without saying, this is a win-win for both you and your clients. You get to explore new, potentially profitable opportunities to expand your relationship while helping your clients better understand the value of the services you provide. They get enhanced, customized plan solutions designed to serve the best interests and unique needs of their plan and participants.

Start with Plan- and Participant-Level Services

As their name suggests, plan- and participant-level services are quantifiable services that pertain to the retirement plan and its participants. In general, these services can be easily identified and presented in a simple, transparent and practical way using a comprehensive benchmarking report.

Our benchmarking reports identify four categories of services the plan may have received within the past 12 months:

Investment Services

These may include an assessment of the plan’s investment objectives; investment structure design; developing, maintaining, and monitoring the plan’s Investment Policy Statement (IPS); building and managing model portfolios; providing and reviewing periodic investment performance reports; and selecting and monitoring investment managers. Plan sponsors typically prefer to outsource their plan’s investment management and related services to an experienced advisor. As such, this is an area where you can potentially provide meaningful value and deepen your client relationships.

Vendor Review

Keeping tabs on a plan’s vendors, their fee structures, and ensuring that they consistently provide value are key fiduciary responsibilities, ones that your plan sponsor clients do not always have the time (or the inclination) to manage. You can deliver additional value and demonstrate your expertise by identifying ancillary responsibilities you can take on. This could involve monitoring plan service providers, evaluating fee disclosures, benchmarking fee reasonableness, generating and evaluating requests for information (RFIs) and requests for proposal (RFPs), and supporting contract negotiations and service provider transitions. All of these are opportunities for you to improve the plan while offering additional support and guidance for your plan sponsor clients.

Plan Support Services

Managing a retirement plan involves a lot of moving parts. Retirement plan sponsors and committees often have their hands full with implementing governance, getting the right insurances, building plan design, and creating an education plan. As the plan’s trusted advisor, you serve as a valuable resource to help make these processes smooth and seamless, saving your clients time, money and stress. In our experience, these are results every plan sponsor client wants. With the right benchmarking tools and data at your fingertips, you can easily help your clients achieve their plan goals.

Participant Services

For many workers, saving for retirement is not intuitive. Plan advisors are in a prime position to provide the support needed to help improve participation and savings rates by delivering services such as phone and email assistance, regular newsletters, one-on-one and group meetings, participant advice, and education programs. Financial wellness and education programs also fall into this bucket and have proven to be integral to help drive success, particularly when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent, reducing absenteeism, bolstering employee engagement, and improving employees’ overall well-being and job performance.[1]

Consider Additional Value-Added Services

Complimentary benefits outside of the retirement plan are also areas where you can provide additional insights and advice for plan sponsor clients. Consider offering value-add, bolt-on services, such as health savings accounts (HSAs), personal wealth management, business insurance and other types of insurances that have the potential to improve the financial security of your clients’ workforce. Again, this is an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and provide value by delivering outside-the-box solutions that can upgrade your clients’ experience and improve outcomes across the board.

Could you be leaving retirement plan business on the table? Here are some questions to ask as you consider ways to add value to your client relationships going forward:

  • Where are the gaps in your clients’ current benefits offerings?
  • Have your clients expressed the need for additional services, either directly or indirectly? Where have they indicated their greatest needs are?
  • How can you leverage your unique strengths and expertise to add more value to your existing client relationships?
  • How can you ease your clients’ administrative and fiduciary burdens?
  • Are there pending legislative or regulatory changes that may require updates to the plan or its design? How can you help facilitate those changes?

Chances are, there are opportunities to expand the services and solutions you’re offering to your existing plan sponsor clients that can help deepen and increase the profitability of your relationships. Conducting a comprehensive annual plan review and benchmarking exercise is an important first step in identifying areas where you can add value and serve your clients better.

To find out more about how FDI can help you leverage your expertise to expand your client relationships and capture additional business, contact us.

[1] Retirement Advisor Council. “Advisors Take Steps to Measure Employee Engagement in Financial Wellness Programs.” Jan. 2021.

About Author:

Craig Rosenthal, Head of Strategy and Chief Marketing Officer

Craig Rosenthal, Head of Strategy and Chief Marketing Officer

Craig is Head of Strategy and Chief Marketing Officer for Fiduciary Decisions. In this role, he is responsible for driving Product and Partnership strategy as well as the overall messaging and marketing for the firm.

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