SilverStone Group

Omaha, Nebraska


: PA TOP 100 - 2014: Teams and Individuals With 20% or More in: 403(b) Plans

SilverStone’s retirement clients enjoy the benefits of working with a consistent team of professionals who not only understand their business, but take ownership and accountability for every aspect of the relationship. Having nearly 80 years of combined knowledge in the qualified plan industry SilverStone’s Qualified Plan Investment Team is comprised of Jeffrey D. Sharp, Patrick M. Fay, Carol A. Gonzalez and Jessica A. Conlin and provides comprehensive retirement planning solutions to employers and helps participants prepare for a financially secure retirement.

SilverStone Group provides investment advisory services to retirement plans through its affiliate, SilverStone Asset Management, Inc., which is registered as an investment adviser with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. SilverStone Asset Management is a fee-based investment management and financial planning firm specializing in proactive investment advisory and planning services for investors and corporate retirement plans.

Securities offered through M Holdings Securities, Inc., a registered broker/dealer. Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advisory service offered through SilverStone Asset Management. SilverStone Asset Management and SilverStone Group are independently owned and are not under common ownership with M Holdings Securities, Inc.

With regard to your practice, what would you spend more time doing if you could?

We would focus more time meeting with individual employees. Retirement planning can be intimidating and many employees don’t feel a sense of urgency about the topic. As a result, we believe that not enough is done to motivate employees on the importance of making good decisions when it comes to saving for retirement. Even with features such as auto enrollment, auto escalate and do-it-for me investment options, nothing replaces a face-to-face meeting.

Describe your typical client.

Our typical client tends to fall into one of two categories: a family-owned business or a not-for-profit entity, including higher education organizations. These companies tend to demonstrate that they have a deep concern for the welfare of their employees and truly appreciate the guidance we can offer. This makes for a great partnership.

How do you differentiate yourself from competitors?

We separate ourselves from our competitors through our dedication to the Defined Contribution business. This is represented in a multitude of ways. First, we have team members who work exclusively on Qualified Plan Business. Because they do not have individual clients, they are allowed to focus exclusively on our retirement plan clients. We also have a unique level of knowledge. For example, one of our team members has more than 35 years of experience in plan administration, despite the fact that we do not do any plan administration in-house. This background allows us to provide a higher level of service to our clients by helping them navigate the administrative side of the plan.

What do you expect from your plan sponsor clients? From your vendor partners?

We expect our plan sponsor clients as well as our vendors to be partners in offering the plan. With the many moving parts that come with offering a retirement plan and the ever growing complexity it is important to work with people you trust to do good work and make good decisions. We hope that our clients and vendors see us the same way. At the end of the day we are all fiduciaries and in this together. We all have the same goal, which is helping participant’s secure financial freedom in retirement.

What is the biggest challenge facing plan sponsors today?

The biggest challenge facing plan sponsors today comes from two sources. First is the constant focus on fees. Sponsors need to receive real value for what they are paying while making sure all parties are treated fairly. One example of this is fee equalization, or ensuring that one plan participant is not paying a significantly greater percentage of the cost when compared to a similar participant. Secondly is the challenge of making sure employees are going to be able to retire on time and with a standard of living similar to what they are accustomed. This is important not only for the employee’s lifestyle, but also when considering the future costs of benefits and insurance for those employees who may be forced to continue to work well into their seventies.