The Road Ahead
One of the keys to driving the future success of BenefitStreet, explained Bramlett, will be to further leverage the advisor-centric distribution model and build an industry-leading service and support platform for advisor networks and other key RIAs across the country. “The number of advisor relationships BenefitStreet has cultivated over the years – and the quality of those relationships – is impressive. We need to strengthen those ties by providing the information, resources, tools and support necessary for our partners to do their jobs and serve their clients effectively. The market is set to enter a period of radical change and plan sponsors, more then ever, will be relying on their investment advisors to lead the way through the many challenges that lie ahead.’
He also identified technology enhancements and customer service improvements as areas of strategic focus. “BenefitStreet has always been at the forefront from a technology standpoint, and we’ll continue to look for ways to make improvements, automate, and deliver what our clients and partners need,’ explained Bramlett. “What I learned during my 25-year tenure of building The 401(k) Company is that a firm’s success is built on top-rate customer service, superior technology and a culture based on client advocacy. In addition to providing a world class service offering, going forward it will be critical to give investment advisors access to an infinite source of investment content, especially highly efficient investment vehicles such as Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).’
The 401(k) Company was founded as a start-up TPA in 1983, first developing a balance-forward system in 1984 and then a daily valuation DC platform in 1986. In 1991 the firm began developing an investment consulting practice, ultimately launching a web-based advisory platform for DC plans called FiduciaryDirect. In early 2007 Schwab, addressing the need to establish a footprint in the jumbo 401(k) marketplace, acquired The 401(k) Company for a purchase price of $115 million (see Schwab Acquires The 401(k) Company From Nationwide).
“Jerry is a natural leader and a true captain of industry within the defined contribution space,’ said Hehmeyer, who retains his position as BenefitStreet’s Chairman. “His previous experience will be invaluable in helping to shape the evolution of BenefitStreet and drive the Company’s future success. Our Board members, executive team, employees and shareholders are all very excited to have him as our CEO and look forward to working with him.’