Plan Participant Service

Scott Ciullo, KerberRose

Marquette, Michigan

Scott Ciullo, KerberRoseScott Ciullo, KerberRose

Business at a Glance as of 12/31/21

  • Plan assets under advisement: $168 million
  • Median plan size (in assets): $2.8 million
  • Plans under administration: 60
  • Total participants served: 3,347

PLANADVISER: How is your team/process/structure unique? How has it evolved? Where will you be in five years?

Ciullo: Our small team is made up of a very diverse range of ages from 20’s to late 50’s, both males and females and everyone on our team is cross trained to handle participant service and basic financial education which helps us in reaching more participants. When a participant needs help, we don’t just give the participant a phone number for the recordkeeper or send them a form to complete; we make the call with them or walk them through completing the form. We help them get logged onto the recordkeeper website or download the app and get logged in. We try to remove any and all obstacles for them getting into the plan and contributing towards their retirement. We will continue to build a team that can make use of the newest tools, ideas, and technologies for streamlining our processes while still providing top-notch, personalized service to plan participants. I want this service model to continue five years and beyond.

 

PLANADVISER: As a retirement plan adviser, what do you take the most pride in?

Ciullo: I take the most pride in my service model and making financial education and top-notch service available to all our participants. I instill my service model into my entire team, so we are all working together to make ourselves available to plan participants for both financial education and service which leads towards our ultimate goal of participants obtaining their retirement goals.

 

PLANADVISER: What changes to your practice or service model are you planning for 2022 or 2023?

Ciullo: I am very fortunate that I am able to work on referral only. We are using more technology and tools to be able to help more participants. For example, during all our site visits, we are encouraging and helping participants to put the apps on their phone so they can easily track their accounts and make changes. We are also using Teams or Zoom when site visits are not possible.

I plan on training up the next generation to give the same level and quality of service and continue the legacy of helping participants reach their retirement goals.

 

PLANADVISER: What challenges do you think the retirement plan industry faces and what role do you have in addressing and confronting those challenges?

Ciullo: The biggest challenge is succession because the average age of plan advisers is over 50. My role is to train and mentor younger advisors to use the newest tools and technology but to always remember the plan participants and what their needs are.

 

PLANADVISER: Why do you feel it is important to work individually with plan participants?

Ciullo: Most people don’t have the time, knowledge, or experience to know how to plan for their future retirement. They need someone with the knowledge and experience to help them through the retirement plan maze. I take on that very important role of being their financial guide.

 

PLANADVISER: What are the biggest challenges that plan participants face today and how are you helping to address them?

Ciullo: I believe one of the biggest challenges for plan participants is financial education. Most schools don’t teach about budgeting, investing, saving for the future, etc. Therefore, having someone available at their work site is crucial because it may be the first time they learn about these things and possibly the only time. Knowing what to do with their account—how to access it, what to invest in, how much to contribute, and having a plan for the future is the challenge that we take on!

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