JHFN Launches DC Adviser Consulting Program

John Hancock Financial Network (JHFN) is introducing a defined contribution consulting program that provides advisers working with retirement plans training, practice management consulting, sales support, and expert resources.

“We want to become one of the premier destinations for retirement plan focused advisers,” said Bruce Harrington, head of retirement sales and strategy for JHFN. “There is tremendous opportunity for growth in this market and the combination of resources in this new program will help position JHFN’s financial advisers for success, whether they choose to specialize or just offer retirement plans as a portion of their practice.”

Harrington told PLANADVISER that JHFN wanted to “build a program that would make us a player in the 401(k) space,” and he thinks the team and the platform that has come together “competes with any of the major broker/dealers.”

The new DC platform has levels of support and services for the range of advisers—whether an adviser specializes in 401(k) plans or it is a small segment of his practice. The message Harrington said he wants advisers to hear is “no matter what your 401(k) knowledge, we’ve got training events and support to help you grow your practice.” JHFN will offer training for each level of financial advisers: for experienced financial advisers looking to move up in the market, the program will offer “401(k) Masters” meetings. For advisers who are active in the retirement market but not looking to focus exclusively, JHFN will host a Retirement Plan Symposium and regional 401(k) Boot Camps. Online courses will be made available to all advisers as well.

Harrington said JHFN created a dedicated sales support team to support these financial advisers. They are product agnostic and are there to provide advisers with prospecting ideas, case consultation, and information on industry best practices. For expert-level advisers, Harrington said the support team will act as relationship managers and for the mid- and lower-level advisers the support personnel will be a combination of proactive and reactive.

DC Consulting Program 

The DC Consulting Program is for the expert-level retirement plan advisers, Harington said. To be in the DC Consulting Program, an adviser must hold the AIF designation, have 10 plans or $10 million in retirement plan assets under advisement and be part of the company’s RIA.

For those advisers, JHFN, through its investment advisory subsidiary, Signator Investors, Inc., will provide a specialist program with tools and resources for experienced advisers to act as retirement plan co-fiduciaries.  They will also be able to get paid as a consultant.

JHFN has contracted with Retirement Plan Advisory Group (RPAG) to provide the advisers in the DC Consulting Program with a suite of retirement plan-focused practice management tools including proposal support, fund selection tools, a marketing library, sales ideas, and informational Web casts (see “RPAG Partners with John Hancock“).

JHFN identified those advisers with 50% or more of their business in retirement plans, and they are eligible to attend the company’s 401(k) Masters meetings and are eligible to apply to be in the DC Consulting Program, Harrington said.

“Our new defined contribution consulting program is a great example of how JHFN strives to serve its clients by providing the best tools and resources to its financial advisers,” said Chris Maryanopolis, president of Signator Investors, Inc., the broker/dealer of John Hancock Financial Network. “Our experts carefully developed this program to assist JHFN’s diverse group of financial advisers so that they can continue to service the retirement plan market and help clients select retirement plan options that fit their needs.”