“CustomConsultant” to Help Illuminate Plan Risks

The Hartford Financial Services Group is introducing a service to help advisers identify potential risks associated with retirement plans and educate plan sponsors on how to eliminate those risks.

The Hartford’s “CustomConsultant” service was designed in response to an increasingly complex regulatory environment. The service provides an easy-to-use tool intended to help advisers sharpen their consultative capabilities.  Using an online portal, advisers target local retirement plans that may need assistance with specific problems or identify up to 70 potential risks associated with a specific plan. To supplement the online tool, The Hartford’s 80 retirement plan specialists are available for educational support.

“The Hartford is stepping up its efforts to help financial advisers identify common problems that can potentially become bigger issues for plan-sponsors if not addressed,” said Christine Chaia, assistant vice president of distribution marketing for The Hartford’s Retirement Plans Group.

The Hartford employed Larkspur Data Resources to manage the online portal. Larkspur says that the typical retirement plan can have anywhere from three to seven risks.  Many times, employers are either unaware they exist or are unsure about how to remedy them, according to Chaia.  Some of the most common potential risks associated with retirement plans as identified by The Hartford’s analysis include:

  • Missing an opportunity to fully adopt the available fiduciary protections afforded by section 404(c) the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
  • Triggering the return of retirement plan contributions made by highly compensated employees because of low plan participation by the overall employee population
  • Exposing the employer to greater financial liability by lacking sufficient fidelity bond protection against plan improprieties and other issues
  • Missing opportunities to boost retirement assets because of ineffective plan designs.

“Some risk factors, under certain circumstances, can potentially lead to costly civil or even criminal court actions, federal and state tax issues, or other problems. In many instances, though, the greatest risk is missed opportunities for employers and their employees to make the most of their retirement plans and accumulate enough assets for retirement,” Chaia said.

The “CustomConsultant” service is available for use with 401(k) and 403(b) defined contribution plans that file IRS Form 5500.  The program is available at no cost to any adviser who is licensed to sell retirement plans and for any retirement plan with at least $250,000 in assets under management.   

For more information about using the CustomConsultant service, log on to hartfordinvestor.com.