PLANADVISER: What have you done in the past year to improve participants’ retirement readiness?
Mark Ray: We have implemented auto enrollment, auto escalation and re enrollment in a number of our client relationships in addition to making recordkeeper changes that provide much more robust participant and plan level data for educational campaigns.
PA: Describe any particularly noteworthy initiatives you have led with your customer base in the past 12 months (investment, education, plan design or communication).
MR: Over the past year, we have reviewed and consulted to possible plan design changes on every client’s Pension Protection Act (PPA) restatement including tiered allocation strategies and employer contribution strategies as well as discussing with clients how they are interpreting the plan definition of compensation (many employers do this incorrectly) and eligible employees, as well as applying re-hired status.
PA: As a retirement plan adviser, what do you take the most pride in?
MR: Within our focus on client advocacy, the ability to shift our perspective to that of the client’s perspective, whether it is the Plan Sponsor or the participants they serve.
PA: What are the most important issues that your plan sponsors face with their company retirement plan, and what specific actions do you take to assist them in overcoming those issues?
MR: The changing landscape of participant educational mediums, the impact of health care cost sharing on the employer contribution and employees’ ability to defer at effective levels, and the increasing regulatory environment.
We implement multiple educational mediums based on the client’s demographic needs including participant advice, Web-ex, recordkeeping platform tools/technology and on-site education. We consult on plan design to incentivize employee contributions through effective employer contribution leverage. We are actively involved with NAPA, the Retirement Advisor Council and other industry associations to advocate for productive retirement plan legislation and bring such information to our plan sponsor clients on a timely basis.
PA: What is your mission statement?
MR: To empower personal accountability for prudent investment and fiduciary decisions through advice, education and inspiration.
BUSINESS AT A GLANCE
LOCATION: Sacramento, California
TOTAL PLAN ASSETS UNDER ADVISEMENT: $462.35 million
MEDIAN PLAN SIZE (IN ASSETS): $3.4 million
TOTAL PLANS UNDER ADMINISTRATION: 42