Centurion Group Helps Plan Sponsors Find Money for Financial Wellness Programs

Robert Gibson, fiduciary consultant at Centurion Group, says there is pressure on advisers from plan sponsors about what they can offer participants, and the challenge is how the program will be paid for.

Centurion Group, LLC, is offering the Centurion Financial Wellness Program to provide the employees of its retirement plan sponsor clients with the ability to take control of their personal finances and retirement readiness.

Robert Gibson, fiduciary consultant at Centurion Group in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, tells PLANADVISER that the program uses the services of Financial Finesse, but involves more personal outreach from Centurion’s registered investment advisers. “The great thing about Financial Finesse is the ease of getting information online, but we try to use our own registered investment advisers in group meetings and one-on-ones in connection with Financial Finesse online tools,” Gibson says.

Centurion Group offers on-site advisers to plan sponsors clients. “The online portal and ongoing outreach of Financial Finesse is critical, and then if we get on-site, employees will get more engaged,” Gibson says. He notes that with the Centurion Financial Wellness Program, plan sponsors can use their own brand or white-label the program without having to use the Financial Finesse name.

Gibson, who says his firm has about $16 billion in retirement plan assets under management and wants to continue growth and do more marketing, notes that the firm’s financial wellness offering is not much different than others—there are many robust programs to choose from—but there is pressure on advisers from plan sponsors about what they can offer participants, and the challenge is how the program will be paid for.

What sets Centurion’s service apart is its focus on analyzing benefits spend and helping plan sponsors find the money to offer financial wellness to employees. The registered investment adviser (RIA) firm serves as fiduciaries for plan sponsors and is a flat-fee provider.

When a plan sponsor reaches out to Centurion for its financial wellness program, the first step is to analyze the plan sponsor’s total benefit spend and see if there are inefficiencies that can be addressed to come up with the budget for a financial wellness program offering. “For example,” Gibson says, “if the plan sponsor is paying $130 per year per person for recordkeeping and we can negotiate that down to $115, the cost savings will provide for a wellness program.” But, Centurion looks at possible inefficiencies across all benefits, not just retirement plans.

He adds, “Sometimes employers don’t put their retirement plan in the same bucket as other benefits—looking at the budget for retirement plans separately from other benefits—but they need to combine them because retirement plan participants want more.”