Speaking on a panel at the PLANADVISER National Conference, Chuck Williams, Managing Director, Sheridan Road Financial, suggested having a meeting at the beginning of the year to discuss how the plan will be better at the end of the year. Also, advisers should try to use a different theme or topic at each quarterly meeting to avoid having the same meeting every time. For example, the themes could be investment benchmarking, plan health, plan design, and regulatory updates.
Paul D’Aiutolo, Institutional Consultant, UBS Financial Services, said it is essential to align current events with the client’s plan. He recommended advisers provide sponsors ahead of time with the issues that will come up at the meeting.
Williams added that in the meetings, advisers should review prior meeting topics, review the timeline of things that need to get done, and identify what to do before the next meeting. Williams also said sponsors often want to discuss whether they are meeting their fiduciary responsibilities, and they are also getting increasingly into budget discussions and how to cut costs while making the plan valuable to employees.
Chris Simmons, VP National Sales Manager Intermediary Distribution, Neuberger Berman, told attendees that plan providers should be available to attend one meeting or more during the year.D’Aiutolo explained that the main purpose of including the provider in the meeting is to match provider tools to sponsors needs. The adviser and sponsor should also discuss plan design with the provider and whether it is solving income replacement needs for every employee.
D’Aiutolo told attendees of the PLANADVISER National Conference that UBS has a three- to four-page executive summary on how investments are doing to share with plan sponsors. It also shows results of employee education and a fee comparison.
To keep things fresh, D’Aiutolo said to make the meeting as personal to the plan as you can. Relate the information to the affect on participants within five years of retirement, for example. Also, advisers should talk to the committees about letter the adviser consult one on one with participants.
Williams noted that a lot of information is now provided to sponsors electronically. It saves time and is “green.”