PA: What is your mission statement?
ClearPoint Financial: Our mission is to be the market leader of retirement plan consulting services in the Pacific Northwest. We deliver clear, innovative retirement benefit solutions that create lasting value for our clients and are mutually profitable for all stakeholders. To that end, we focus on three key strategies that we believe are critical to a successful long-term relationship:
- Provide comprehensive retirement plan-design and consulting resources that drive measurable results;
- Offer a continuum of products and services that incorporate industry best practices and satisfy the diverse needs of our clients; and
- Deliver superior accountability when servicing relationships and developing solutions to the challenges that arise in the ever-changing retirement business.
PA: How is your team/process/structure unique?
CPF: ClearPoint Financial utilizes a uniquely empowering team structure, whereby account directors are encouraged to assume the lead position on virtually every aspect of their plans and relationships. By entrusting our people with vital and challenging client management responsibilities—without the brain damage of actually building a book—we retain top industry talent.
PA: What have you done in the past year to improve participants’ retirement readiness?
CPF: We believe that a large portion of our success is attributable to our reputation for supporting individual employees. One-on-one conversations are still needed to maximize the online and communications improvements vendors have delivered. If we had to pick a single driving theme, it would be our focus on simplifying the entire participant experience. Our people thrive on the thankful comments received from those they’ve helped.
PA: How have you been able to lower fees for clients?
CPF: As business owners, we understand and support profit motives. At the same time, ClearPoint Financial has always been an advocate of transparency and fiduciary best practices. The past couple of years have produced the greatest focus on value and sponsor willingness to pursue fees that we have seen at any point in our careers. Our experience with virtually every service provider and plan design allows us to credibly negotiate on our clients’ behalf.
PA: Describe any particularly noteworthy investment initiatives you have led with your customer base in the past 12 months.
CPF: There’s been an uptick in plan sponsors’ interest in target-date fund (TDF) construction and differences. Employees are obviously utilizing them when offered the choice. We’ve made a special effort to incorporate TDF language into policy statements and are applying additional metrics to better track relative performance.
In addition, the active vs. passive management debate has been rekindled and is of keen interest to many of our clients. We’ve dedicated additional team training to this topic.
PA: Please describe any special education or communication initiatives you’ve undertaken with plan sponsors or participants.
CPF: To elaborate on our belief that one-on-one engagement is still needed to maximize the online and communications improvements vendors have delivered, we recently engaged with a client that placed particular emphasis on the employee experience. The sponsor explored various strategies to remedy its large and long-standing balance in the money market fund. Ultimately, it opted for a target-date re-enrollment solution that required extra communication with diverse employee groups in multiple languages. Our team spent several days coaching hundreds of employees through the improvements and new offerings. The results were measurable and exceeded the client’s high expectations. Employee deferral rates increased, and aggregate investment allocations are greatly improved.
PA: As a retirement plan adviser, what do you take the most pride in?
CPF: We are proud of our history of focusing on retirement plans long before it became so popular to do so. Our team enjoys tackling special situations and challenges that enable us to share decades of cumulative experiences.
BUSINESS AT A GLANCE
Plan assets under advisement: $2 billion
Median plan size (in assets): $15 million
Total plans under administration: 184
Total participants in plans served: 40,000