How to Deal With Plan Sponsor Clients Who Want Financial Literacy Programs
Source: FA-IQ, Sep. 27, 2018
RITA RAAGAS DE RAMOS, SPECIAL PROJECTS MANAGER, FINANCIAL ADVISOR IQ: Plan sponsor clients are increasingly demanding financial literacy programs for their plan participants. We asked some Financial Times Top 401 advisors how they are actively supplying this demand.
BARBARA DELANEY, PRINCIPAL, STONESTREET RENAISSANCE: We've actually embraced financial wellness now for, well, this is going onto our sixth year. We partner with a firm called Financial Finesse out of California to provide wellness programs to our plan sponsors and their participants. And it's gone over so well because every participant in a plan has very different needs.
And one example of something that we've done with the NYPD, we handle two of their unions. They were bothered -- and they were responding to an assessment that we put out there, that they don't know how to get their kids through school, into school, the FAFSA form and everything that needs to be filled out.
So we had New York State come down. We had it at Police Plaza with 400 members there. And they went through the college process. Is it a one loan application? What grants are available? What loans are available? And actually getting them to fill out the forms to get into college.
So I think it's unique things like that through the financial wellness programs, and creating workshops that are really different, and not necessarily about retirement. But it's really stressing people out. That has been helpful and very useful for our plan sponsors.
KEVIN MAHONEY, MANAGING DIRECTOR, THE MAHONEY GROUP OF RAYMOND JAMES: We are very active in providing financial wellness and financial literacy programs. We do a monthly newsletter. We do quarterly webinars. And we do Ingroup.
And probably most importantly, the ones that probably have the best impact, are one-on-one sessions with the employees. We devote an enormous amount of time to scheduling one-on-ones, being on site at every location every year, making sure that all the employees have access to a financial plan.
JAMIE GREENLEAF, LEAD ADVISOR, PRINCIPAL, CAFARO GREENLEAF: Sure. Financial awareness is absolutely a big concern in plan sponsors. And so what we do is monthly webinars around different financial stresses. We keep them 20 minutes so that they're quick and we're just giving information only and education available to them after if they need additional resources.
FRANCESCA FEDERICO, CO-FOUNDER AND PRINCIPAL, TWELVE POINTS RETIREMENT ADVISORS: We feel as though we're actually in the education business for plan sponsors. And typically what we do is we provide monthly webinars on different topics for participants, ranging from buying a first home, to credit card debt, student loans, Social Security. But we're extremely active in providing education for participants of 401k plans.
JOHN CUNNINGHAM, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, ALLIANT RETIREMENT CONSULTING: Alliant provides ongoing support, typically quarterly for employee communication in some form or another.
Typically, it would be group meetings. Traditional would be group meetings followed by one on one meetings. But today with sort of the different media opportunities, we've got Brain Shark videos, quick learning videos that could be accessed, mobile apps that could be used directly through the vendors to create messaging.
So there's multiple different ways to get to people, whether that's through their phones, obviously sending them messages through their computer, through their tablets, to also creating those one on one meetings that at the end of the day probably can't be replaced by any other technology.
DANIEL KETCHUM, RETIREMENT PLAN ADVISOR/ FINANCIAL ADVISOR, RAYMOND JAMES FINANCIAL SERVICES: Every plan has unique features to it. And so typically what we do is we are using their record keeper, education programs, in conjunction with our education programs. So we typically do not use third party paid services. The market that we're in, most of these plan sponsors want to keep the expenses down as much as possible and rely quite a bit on us.
So we tailor the messages, the education to each company. So we do an assessment of where the plan is currently. What's the participation rate? What's the deferral rate? What are the plan balances that each participant has? What are the ages of these participants?
And so what we do is we do a combination of communications. Some of it's one on one with education programs at the company. Some of it is via phone, direct contact, emails, webinars, even statement stuffers.
JOSHUA COUGHRAN, MANAGING PARTNER, TITAN RETIREMENT ADVISORS: We're involved with our plan sponsors very routinely with all the plans that we're involved with.
Our firm, we do one on one meetings with clients. We do group meetings with clients. We do webinars. We take advantage of technology that's either at the provider or other third party technology providers that are able to aggregate data and help them see what their financial picture is today, and see what they need to do to get farther.
And then recently, now, we've put in an actual six hour curriculum that's available to participants. It's a two class, three hours that allows that participant to come and go through a complete analysis of where they are. And mostly understand the process. Understand what they need to do. Understand the language. Understand the words that they need to know.