Raymond James Advisor Reveals Key to Servicing Plan Sponsor Clients
Source: FAIQ, Sep. 27, 2018
RITA RAAGAS DE RAMOS, SPECIAL PROJECTS MANAGER, FA-IQ: Hi, I’m Rita Raagas De Ramos from Financial Advisor IQ, and with me is Daniel Ketchum, retirement plan advisor from Raymond James Financial Services. Your firm believes that financial advisory services should be tailored to the unique needs of each client. What makes the needs of plan sponsors unique?
DAVID KETCHUM, RETIREMENT PLAN ADVISOR/FINANCIAL ADVISOR, RAMOND JAMES FINANCIAL SERVICES: Well, I think with every plan sponsor is unique from the standpoint of an individual business or organization. Different industries have different profit levels, have different wages, different philosophies, as far as paternalism, as far as are they going to look out for their employees and to what degree.
RITA RAAGAS DE RAMOS: So in terms of your clients, what are the needs and demands that you’re seeing from them, and how have they changed?
DAVID KETCHUM: The needs from the plan sponsor standpoint is that they want to -- retirement planning is a bigger component of the benefits, we’ll say. It has more of a focus for the organizations, and attracting employees, retaining employees, and their financial wherewithal determines on really how well their employees, the dignity of their retirement.
RITA RAAGAS DE RAMOS: And how are you able to customize the services you provide to them, and how customized are they?
DAVID KETCHUM: So I think my organization, my staff, we’re pretty unique from the standpoint we're fairly global, located in Southern California, [which] has a high Hispanic, high Asian population. So we speak a lot of languages in my shop. I have a person that was born in Mexico City, so very fluent in Español. I have another, I like to call her a linguistic genius, she speaks nine languages, besides Spanish, many [of them] Asian.
We have a person born in India and one from the Middle East, actually. So what we do is when we have a new client or even our existing clients, what we do is we take an assessment of where they’re at, right. So what’s the starting basis, and what we like to do when we assess -- when we assess the plan is, what’s the participation rate, what’s the deferral rate, how are they for retirement readiness, and so we have a -- so we have a starting basis.
And then we also have to dissect it as far as their ages. So from tailoring it, every client has some unique features to them. Even though everyone wants to get to that retirement goal, as I was saying before, different firms and organizations contribute more, so plan design, right, what type of match do they have, are they more paternalistic, thinking that they have to design that plan so that the employees determine their behavior, so to speak, right.
Also based on their profitability, what can they contribute to the plan? Depending on the organization, as well, what’s the education, the knowledge level of the participants. And so those are a lot of factors that go into when we assess a plan. After we’re assessing it and seeing where we think the common weaknesses or opportunities for improvement in the plan, we will tailor our presentations, our education, and enrollment meetings in various manners.
Some people -- first off, we want to make certain who’s not in the plan. Right, so we like to get everybody’s email, everybody’s phone number that are employees of the organization, so we have ways of contacting via email and phone. But some people also prefer seminars. At the company itself, some prefer webinars. And many companies have people out in the field spread out, or different locations. So then even on those areas it’s what are the topics that are relevant.
So if someone’s not in the plan, we’re going to have a different message than someone who's in their last few years of working. So there’s a lot of different factors into having this successful education program.
RITA RAAGAS DE RAMOS: Thank you, Daniel.
DAVID KETCHUM: OK, thank you.