PA: What have you done in the past year to improve participants’ retirement readiness?
Spectrum Investment Advisors: Our patented Spectrum Investor™ Communication Process uses colors to communicate about investing, as illustrated by our tagline: “Colors Simplify Investing™.” The presence of the colors helps participants better understand the investments and empowers them to take action in building a retirement-ready plan. For example, after conducting mandatory meetings for a 375-employee company, we increased participation by 20%, 130 employees raised their deferral an average of 4.2%, and the average participant allocation rose from five to 13.5 funds. Where mandatory meetings are more difficult, we use automatic enrollment and auto-increases.
PA: How is your team/process/structure unique?
SIA: At the core of our company is an expression we call The Spectrum Investor™ Experience: “Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I’ll understand.” That experience is delivered by our team of 12 licensed advisers who take part in our year-round communication campaign, which involves thousands of participant one-on-one meetings in more than 25 states. These face-to-face meetings include investment advice and implementation through assistance with account access via laptops and iPads.
Four of our advisers are retirement coaches who have retired from successful careers and are now helping others do the same. They are seasoned investors who are able to provide a distinct, holistic perspective by sharing their lifetime investment experiences. In addition, we have bilingual capabilities for Spanish-speaking participants. As a fiduciary, we use custom benchmarking tools, including our patent-pending Spectrum SIRRP [Spectrum Investor™ Relative Risk and Performance] Score™ to aid plan sponsors in monitoring plan investments. Membership in the LPL Financial Retirement Partners Group has also given us unique perspectives and tools to better serve our clients.
PA: Please describe any special education or communication initiatives you’ve undertaken with plan sponsors or participants.
SIA: Spectrum co-sponsors an annual retirement plan investment seminar with the Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants (WICPA), which offers continuing professional education (CPE) credits to CPAs or Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) members. This year will mark our ninth annual seminar, which in the past has included well-known Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) attorneys Jason Roberts and Bradford Campbell; investment strategists Bruce Johnstone of Fidelity and Dr. David Kelly of J.P. Morgan; motivational speaker Steve Gilliland; dietician David Meinz; PLANSPONSOR magazine founder Charlie Ruffel; and, this year, Jeff Skiles, co-pilot from the “Miracle on the Hudson” flight.
New to Spectrum is our “Spectrum Investor™ Coffee House Educational Series,” which consists of seminars held in-house. By incorporating a coffeehouse approach to our new building, which includes local baristas serving lattes, we’ve created a comfortable atmosphere where our clients can come in and learn. Our topics include economic reviews; maximizing Social Security and Medicare; long-term care; and life stories from Jack Harbaugh, father of Super Bowl coaches Jim and John Harbaugh. Education is a missing link within the investment world today, and our Coffee House Educational Series helps restore that link, while providing individuals with a positive, memorable experience.
PA: As a retirement plan adviser, what do you take the most pride in?
SIA: Our team’s relentless passion for making a difference through participant education has resulted in many of our customers becoming advocates, exemplified by our average customer retention of 98% for the past 14 years. Having strong advocates has allowed us to be fortunate enough to not only build a successful business but also to build our own office building.
Throughout our building, we have a number of murals and charts that communicate our process as well as our story. We believe images are remembered long after what you have read or heard is forgotten.
BUSINESS AT A GLANCE
Plan assets under advisement: $1.25 billion
Median plan size (in assets): $7.5 million
Total plans under advisement: 110
Total participants in plans served: 18,000