One major development last year that affected Bukaty Companies Financial Services, the 2019 PLANSPONSOR Retirement Plan Adviser Mega Team of the Year, based in Overland Park, Kansas, was the acquisition of its registered investment adviser (RIA), Resource Investment Advisors, by OneDigital in February. Through this acquisition, OneDigital also acquired Bukaty.
“We saw this as an opportunity for growth beyond our Kansas City and Denver markets,” says Vince Morris, founder of Bukaty and now president of OneDigital Retirement, as well as president of OneDigital Investment Advisors. “Also, OneDigital—the largest employee benefits firm in the country, with more than 100 offices—offers its customers more of a holistic vision of health, wealth and retirement. We believe that being able to have a broader conversation with our clients is a better value proposition.”
While many other retirement plan practices struggled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Morris says his team found “there was a lot of demand for our financial wellness platform, so we added four advisers to our team to support that. That brings us up to a total of 18 team members. We experienced great organic growth throughout 2020, and we attribute that to our size and scale, and the ability of our people to deploy their services through the use of technology.”
Since receiving the PLANSPONSOR honor in 2019, Morris says the industry has “become more mature, with more RIAs focused in this area. The tool sets, skills and deliverables these RIAs offer clients are all becoming more refined. They are better able to take care of plan sponsor clients and upgrade retirement outcomes for participants. Technology is driving a lot of that refinement. However, I would not say that the industry has drastically changed.”
Morris says he is very optimistic about the future of the retirement planning industry. “Now, more than ever, people want advice, and they want it through their employer,” he says. “Our viewpoint is that the American family is grappling with two main issues: health care costs and saving for retirement. We are an organization that believes deeply in helping people manage through those two decision points.”
As to how his practice has fared throughout the ongoing pandemic, Morris says: “We are pretty fortunate to be in the service industry and to have an offering in the marketplace that allows us to work from home. We have continued to perform at our highest level and, really, have been largely unaffected by the pandemic. In fact, we saw our high performers continue to be high performers, and we also some people become high performers working from home. The hardship comes in being emotionally able to deal with the quarantine. This may be the new norm.”
As the pandemic emerged, Morris and his team made it a point to explain the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to clients.
“Internally, we were also having major discussions on inequality and social justice,” Morris says. “We now have a diversity and inclusion [D&I] committee that looks into these issues and delivers actionable items. Last year, OneDigital also sponsored a survey on women and pensions to figure out how to attract more women to the business. This is a very important area for us.”
As to what retirement plan advisers can do to improve defined contribution (DC) plans and retirement readiness, Morris says he is very encouraged by the “movement in the past decade to focus more on retirement outcomes and getting participants engaged.”
“We are so lucky that so many sponsors today embrace automatic enrollment, escalation and target-date funds [TDFs],” he continues. “Now sponsors are beginning to understand the value of really taking care of plan participants to and through retirement. This is something we have been able to position our company to handle well. We are well equipped to coach our participants through various life events, not just retirement.”