IMHO: Committed Relationships

Advisers in the retirement plan industry make a difference

Congratulations to Chad Larsen, the Retirement Plan Adviser of the Year, and The STAR Group, the Retirement Plan Adviser Team of the Year!

In the real world, employers—even employers that cover the retirement plan industry—have a business to run. Running the retirement plan, as important as it is, generally isn’t part of that “core’ business. Couple that reality with the demanding fiduciary requirements of ERISA, and the dynamics of a constantly evolving regulatory landscape, and it is easy to see why financial advisers have become an indispensable member of the team for most workplace retirement plans.

That realization has been a growing component of our focus here the past several years. It was part of our decision to launch AdvisorDash in 2003, an integral aspect of the launch of the PLANSPONSOR Institute and the PLANSPONSOR Retirement Professional (PRP) designation in 2005, and an essential factor in our decision to introduce PLANADVISER magazine and last fall. It’s why, next month, we will launch the Retirement Foundations Program, a new training initiative for advisers newly committed to the retirement space.

It is also why, three years ago, we decided to create an award that would acknowledge the best efforts of the best retirement plan advisers in the country. It was a daunting task to contemplate that first year. I wasn’t even sure that we would be able to find the best advisers, much less establish the kind of benchmark standards that truly could speak to retirement plan servicing excellence.

I need not have worried; the advisers committed to this space knew us, even when we didn’t (yet) know them. We were blessed with judges who not only knew the space, but the profession, and we received the eager support of plan sponsors who were willing—and in many cases, eager—to share their adviser experiences.

Mostly, however, we have been fortunate to have so many qualified, dedicated, and committed advisers to work with—advisers whose expertise and commitment make a difference every single day—advisers like you.

The Awards
’s Retirement Plan Adviser of the Year is designed to recognize “the contributions of the nation’s best financial advisers—and adviser teams—in helping make retirement security a reality for workers across the nation.’
The award acknowledges a demonstrated excellence and commitment to the retirement plan business, as evidenced by:
• increased participation rates,
• enhanced rates of participant deferrals,
• improved asset allocations,
• reduced fees,
• expanded service levels.
In addition, this year for the first time, we acknowledge the contributions of adviser teams.

The Judges
This award would not be possible without the selfless contributions of time and expertise by our Retirement Plan Adviser of the Year judges:
Dorann Cafaro, The Cafaro Group*
Steff Chalk, CHALK 401(k)
Advisory Board
Mark Davis, Kravitz Davis Sansone
John Mott, Smith Barney*
* previous Retirement Plan Adviser of the Year