Time to Humbly Brag

I am pleased to roll out a new PLANADVISER initiative that I think is long overdue: Advisers Giving Back.


Art by Alex Eben Meyer

One of my favorite questions during our interviews for Retirement Plan Adviser of the Year (RPAY) is how did that individual get into the business, and why? It’s hard to quantify their passion and genuine interest in building better participant outcomes!

Lately, I’ve noticed a new thread weaving through advisers’ stories as we talk about their passions and endeavors: philanthropy. Much of what I hear hasn’t been publicized. I’ll speak to one adviser who has a charitable foundation as a cornerstone of his practice who references another adviser who has decided to do something in her local community, who, in turn, mentions another adviser … You get the picture. The culture that these advisers are building speaks to why people join this business—to help people improve their lives.

The fact that this giving has been a quiet trend, I think, soft-pedals its importance. The work being done speaks volumes about the value of our industry—one that Millennials, and others, should be excited to join.

That’s where we at PLANADVISER come in. I am pleased to roll out a new initiative that I think is long overdue: Advisers Giving Back.

This recognition is not a contest. There will be no “winners” here—it’s not for us to say one person’s or group’s initiatives are more or less worthy than another’s.

Each month, on PLANADVISER’s website, we’ll roll out a profile of an adviser or advisory practice that has undertaken some philanthropic endeavor. It might be a local community service event, or it might be an outreach with a global footprint. It could also be volunteering or fundraising—we won’t restrict recognition to only social action.

Besides to highlight the good being done by retirement plan advisers and to attract a new generation, we hope these stories will help those of you who have yet to figure out the role of corporate responsibility or philanthropy in your practice. We hope they’ll give you insights for embracing such initiatives in your culture.

If anyone needs another reason to try philanthropy: A recent analysis of 350,000 surveys taken by organizations certified by Great Place to Work found a connection between organizational giving and employee behaviors. Employees who said their employers made a positive impact in the world were more likely to: give extra to get the work done; stay with an organization for the long haul; and look forward to coming to work. All things employers appreciate.

We will begin to profile these advisers on PLANADVISER.com next month, and I encourage advisers to contact me about what they—or their peers—are doing in this area. Submissions describing the initiatives should include information about who in the adviser practice is participating, the location and dates of volunteerism/fundraising/etc., details about the group benefiting from the adviser’s work, and anything else that’s relevant. Photos are welcome, too!

Tell us about your story, or a colleague’s, by emailing advisers@strategic-i.com.