Practice Management

PANC 2015: Recordkeeper Partners Critical to Success

Two senior retirement industry executives—one from an advisory firm and one from a recordkeeper—discuss how the two types of service providers can work together for better plan sponsor outcomes.

By John Manganaro editors@strategic-i.com | September 29, 2015
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According to Joe Ready, executive vice president of Wells Fargo Institutional Retirement and Trust, dedicated retirement plan advisers have probably their most effective service delivery partner in their recordkeeper. And if they don’t, it’s time for them to find another recordkeeper.

“Mutual agreement up front and mutual service from the recordkeeper and the adviser are foundational to good plan sponsor outcomes,” Ready said during the first day of the 2015 PLANADVISER National Conference in Orlando. “When the recordkeeper supports the adviser and the adviser knows the recordkeeper inside and out, it absolutely leads to better ideas and better best practices.”

Working together throughout the process of running a retirement plan will certainly bring better outcomes and increased satisfaction from the plan sponsor, agreed Randy Long, managing principal at SageView Advisory Group. He observed that, earlier in his career, winning a new advisory client almost always meant converting them to a new recordkeeper.

“Today the process essentially works in reverse,” he explained. “Starting in the last 10 or 15 years, the industry has really evolved and we’re commonly winning new clients through our recordkeeper. It’s a client on the recordkeeping platform looking for a new adviser, which only makes things easier from the participant perspective.”

The benefits that arise from close coordination between adviser and recordkeeper are myriad, the pair explained. From greater plan management efficiency to more advanced reporting and faster data updates, a skilled recordkeeper/adviser team can really turn up the heat on plan viewability and performance.

For those advisers who feel it’s important to maintain a coolheaded distance from the recordkeeper in order to promote an image of independence and transparency among clients, Long says that’s great, but this doesn’t mean the adviser has to coordinate less with the recordkeeper or be a less effective partner.

“You can maintain your independence while presenting services in a highly coordinated and effective way,” Long said. “That’s something we have strived pretty successfully to do, I think. Just remember, the end goal is always to put the client first and keep the client happy, both for adviser and recordkeeper.”

NEXT: (Careful) collaboration is king