Benetic’s new online platform allows advisers and consultants to evaluate recordkeepers and asset managers to generate proposals, requests for proposals (RFPs), requests for information (RFIs) and plan comparisons quickly.
Ray Conley, CEO of Benetic, says the platform allows advisers to gain efficiencies and streamline their workflow, taking over everything from RFPs and plan service negotiations to pricing conversations, changes in products and investments. Although the platform focuses on plans of $20 million and larger, it is valuable for all size plans, he tells PLANADVISER.
The platform was built by Silicon Valley engineers with backgrounds at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Google and Facebook, who created what the company has named the Benetic Match intelligent search, which compares each provider’s differentiated value with the unique needs of each retirement plan.
Benetic can also help manage compliance by acting as an adviser’s digital assistant, the company notes, guiding them through the steps of the platform’s streamlined process for investment selection, recordkeeper evaluation, proposal generation, onboarding and client management. The whole process is meant to help advisers work with their clients, as the platform must be navigated by an adviser. However, Conley says, Benetic can have a relationship with a plan sponsor if the adviser chooses to send a proposal digitally to the plan sponsor. Benetic can then provide the adviser with analytics on how the plan sponsor engaged with the proposal.
At launch, the platform has seven recordkeepers embedded in the system, so advisers can get instant/real-time pricing. Conley says advisers can also get quotes from recordkeepers that are not within the system, but with a longer turnaround. The efficiency there is that the platform will manage that request for the adviser. Recordkeepers that decide to participate within the platform are able to determine how they want to display pricing, Conley notes.
Advisers have to engage with the recordkeeper in order to negotiate pricing. Over time, Conley says he expects to add other service providers, including those offering financial wellness solutions, pooled employer plans (PEPs) and managed accounts.
Conley also says he expects the number of recordkeepers participating in the system for real-time pricing will grow, with the “expectation that they’re all participating in the next 12 months,” he says, as there is no cost to them to participate. In the future, there may be services the company can offer recordkeepers for which it may charge, but there is nothing planned right now.
There’s also no cost to advisers to use the system. “I didn’t want to create any barrier to adoption,” Conley says. “The way we make money is people using the funds.”
Although the platform allows advisers to pick any fund, Benetic is partnering with investment managers to offer collective investment trusts (CITs) with market-leading pricing exclusive to Benetic (offered only where permitted under applicable law). When plan sponsors add those Benetic-exclusive CITs to their plan, Benetic receives an ongoing distribution fee.
The company is initially working to develop relationships with specialist advisory firms, and it has already been working with advisers at such firms, Conley says. After networking in the specialist space, he adds, the firm will work to pursue relationships with broker/dealers (B/Ds).
Benetic is built to provide benefits to both specialist retirement advisers and consultants, who can use the platform to help manage their current books of business and provide insight and differentiators related to 450 plan elements. At the same time, the interface can also be simplified for generalist advisers who are trying to figure out how to maximize proposals and get business in the door, Conley says.