If you’ve attended a Little League baseball game recently, you’ve probably experienced the frustration of watching a young batter watch a perfectly good strike go by and then take a wild swing at a pitch that hits the dirt before it hits the plate. You may find yourself saying under your breath, “Coulda hit that one, or shoulda let that one go by…..”
Maybe plan participants are watching the same type of opportunities go by with their retirement accounts. Read more
For a while now, I’ve helped advisors and financial professionals develop their “story,” or their value proposition, and then helped them incorporate it into a marketing plan and their everyday practice. It’s a privilege listening to someone’s story and I really enjoy doing it – absorbing a heap of information, understanding the challenges, and then creating a plan that addresses their challenges and takes their story to the next level. But as much as I enjoy the process, a couple of years ago I learned an important lesson about getting too comfortable.
I know what I’m doing – listen, learn, create, repeat.
I had gotten to the point that I felt like I’d done so many advisor and financial professional consultations, that I was in a groove – listen, learn, create, repeat. I assumed I could simply listen for a few key words, review some of their existing material and slap a plan together.
One day, I dialed into a call with an advisor and shared what I considered a great plan. His response? “This isn’t what I was looking for at all.”
But you know what they say about assuming… Read more
I know what you’re thinking. First Kenny Rogers and now the Rolling Stones? Why does this guy keep quoting 1980s songs and relating them to defined benefit (DB) plans?
Well, there were two things I did during my summer nights as a teenager growing up in the ’80s that left a lifelong impact on me – listening to music and dreaming about DB plans. Didn’t we all? More on this later….
Anyway, in my last post, I introduced the idea of dynamic asset allocation (DAA) as a DB plan risk management strategy. This strategy works particularly well with hard frozen DB plans.
Let’s face it, Americans love top 10 lists. David Letterman includes one in every episode of the show, and if you Google top 10 lists you will find an array of results that range from the predictable to the just plain strange.
A recent search result included:
- 10 absurd trademark claims
- 10 video game characters with real-life prototypes
- 10 competitive eating achievements NOT to be tried at home
I recently put together a top 10 list (of sorts) for Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs). It outlines in ten steps the activities that need to be completed to put a plan in place.
The ten steps are:
(1) Engage your ESOP consultant
(2) Conduct an ESOP feasibility analysis
One thing is for sure – we are shaped by our experiences. And when I look back over the past 14 years of my career in the retirement industry, I’ve had some amazing experiences working with many of our industry’s most influential advocates, hundreds of plan sponsors and committees, and thousands of plan participants.
I’ve been so blessed, to learn so much from so many, that I feel obligated to pass on what I learned from these experiences and the wisdom that was shared with me. My blog will focus on practice management and development, mostly for retirement plan advisors and financial professionals, but occasionally broad concepts on marketing, sales, and service.
I’ve been working with advisors and financial professionals for nearly my entire career, but here’s what you need to know about me:
We are often asked the following question from investment professionals and recordkeepers – “How do I demonstrate that my compensation is reasonable?” Understanding and demonstrating the “reasonableness” of your compensation has come to the forefront of what plan sponsors now expect in evaluating financial professionals and other plan service providers because of the onset of the Department of Labor’s fee disclosure regulation. And there can be little doubt that the fee disclosure regulation will continue to garner a lot of attention.
What seems to be lost in all of the publicity surrounding these new disclosure requirements is that the mandate that service provider fees be reasonable has been a condition to exemptive relief under DOL’s 408(b)(2) regulation since the enactment of ERISA. In other words, while it may now be the case now that provider compensation needs to be disclosed, it has always been the case that the amount paid needs to be reasonable.
All of this begs the question – how can I prove that the compensation I receive satisfies the “reasonableness” test? Read more
What does Kenny Rogers have to do with pension plans? Well, nothing really. But as I sat down to write my LDI blog post, I thought about how many plan sponsors gamble with their pension plan investments.
As I mentioned in earlier posts, the behavior of the stock market has little to do with the way a defined benefit (DB) plan’s liabilities react. Yet many DB plan sponsors make big bets by allocating a large portion of their plan portfolios to stocks— without considering plan liabilities. (After all, “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.”) Read more