PLANADVISER: Tell us about your practice and how you and your team members got into advising retirement plans.
Bukaty Companies Financial Services: Bukaty Companies Financial Services is an affiliate of Bukaty Companies. Bukaty Companies, founded by Mike Bukaty, has been in operation since 1992. The Financial Services Division was established in 2001. Since 2001, Bukaty Companies Financial Services has been working with plan sponsors to help with fiduciary oversight, enhancing employee retirement outcomes, and plan administration. Our RIA Firm, Resources Investment Advisors, was established in 1987, and acquired by Bukaty Financial Services in 2010.
Bukaty Financial Services’ involvement and advocacy for the retirement plan industry is a product of our firm’s philosophy and dedication to clients, which is a very important differentiator for us from other advisers. Not only are we looking to stay informed of the latest regulatory changes, we are looking to be a driver of what those changes will be for our industry. We work to provide services that aren’t just limited to participant meetings, but all aspects of saving to help us achieve a more holistic approach to retirement readiness.
We make sure the advice we give you is following industry “best practices” and in order to insure that our staff is properly trained to provide our clients with the industry’s best practices and knowledgeable advice, we belong to some of the industry’s top organizations.
Our team members come from a diverse background including law, recordkeeping, third-party administration, and insurance, just to name a few. Here are just a limited number of designations and positions that our team holds:
• ERISA Attorney
PLANADVISER: What is your mission statement?
BCFS: Core Value: “Helping People Protect Their Quality of Life”
Bukaty Financial Services provides the following to retirement plan clients:
• Maximize fiduciary protection by signing on as a 3(21) or 3(38) fiduciary
• Enhance employee retirement readiness by proactively engaging participants
• Ease of administration
PA: How is your team/process/structure unique? How has it evolved?
BCFS: Unlike some firms where producers are stacked together either in a 1099 relationship or a partnership relationship as independent practices, Bukaty Companies employs W2 team members. This is an important distinction as we are able to control the entire business model and services levels from the top down. Our belief is this allows for a more sophisticated and formal approach to our service delivery. This approach also allows for centralization of services and functional approach to team members.
Bukaty Companies Financial Services has grown from a startup company to an office and staff of 45 that handles over 300 institutional clients with over $4 billion in assets. Over the past 16 years, we have grown from a two-person staff to a 46-person team with revenue increases of 38% on average per year over the past five years. In March of 2013, Forbes Magazine ranked RIA as one of the fastest-growing investment advisory firms in the country.
We have evolved over the past decade into a single-source solution for any organization’s retirement plan needs. Each division serves in a different capacity to provide personalized attention to help your company save time and money in managing retirement plans. Whether we are working with a 401(k), 403(b), or Non-Qualified plan, we implement the same process and procedures to assist with all aspects of plan design, fiduciary oversight, vendor searches, investment monitoring, participant education, IRS and ERISA compliance.
PA: What do you consider the most significant challenge facing retirement plan participants? Facing retirement plan sponsors? Facing retirement plan advisers?
BCFS: Having also been in the wealth management space for most of my career, I see how individualized help can make a difference in people’s lives. The ability to have access to someone who can provide technical investment management but also financial planning and emotional support is so important in retirement outcomes and a successful retirement.
The recordkeepers and third parties have done, or are doing, a better job in helping participants via a self-service model. In other words, they are building websites with useful tools and feedback that help participants seeking the help on their own. However, to me, the next evolution is how we bring services that were traditionally only available to the HNW clients, down to the masses. As we discuss financial wellness, we can attack this in multiple ways by using behavior change tools like SmartDollar or complete outsourcing like Doublenetpay. But I think we need a mix. We built a process by which we can support the masses by using tools that allow for participants to have human and self-service interactions that provide them with the ability to review budgets, plan for the future and obtain investment management advice.
Retirement plan sponsors are facing an overwhelming prospect of administering retirement plans. Our large-market plans have different challenges than my small-market clients. My large-market plans have dedicated staff that can deal with the administrative burdens of the plan, but as the labor market has tightened and become more competitive, these plan sponsors are looking for more ways to make their plans more competitive.
PA: As a retirement plan adviser, what do you take the most pride in?
BCFS: As a retirement plan adviser, our most prized accomplishment is that we feel we are helping so many people. I take pride in the fact we help so many businesses navigate the very complex world of ERISA and Investments so that they can offer a plan to their employees. I get the most satisfaction and sense of accomplishment from helping so many employees learn about financial matters, create self-esteem, and save for retirement.
PA: How do you react to clients or prospects who don’t share your goals for their retirement plan?
BCFS: As a small business owner, I understand sometimes that owners can’t always just pursue an altruistic few that they are responsible for their employee’s retirement. Not all businesses are profitable and not all businesses are equally well run. However, business owners that just offer a plan to check the box that they have one and then stick their head in the sand are a huge disappointment to me. My view has been either to offer a plan and accept the responsibilities that come with it, or don’t offer one at all.
PA: How do you grow your business? What changes to your practice or service model are you planning for 2017 and beyond?
BCFS: We will continue to grow our business via organic, new sales, but we will also continue to add new advisers via existing advisers joining our firm as well as acquisitions. Our recruitment efforts are driven by our firm’s value proposition of helping advisers focus their attention on the growth of their business while we focus on practice management, infrastructure, client experience and outcomes.
We centralized what services can be utilized across multiple advisers, but allow our advisers to customize their services model and how they manage the client relationship. In order to scale this model, we will continue to focus on our technology buildouts. Examples of how we do this are reflected in our small market product, the FreedomTrust, our centralized vendor searches, customized CRM system, centralized financial wellness program, the ability to offer common benefits, phone system, and technology build outs, etc.
Beyond Bukaty Companies, we are also launching a Resources Investment Advisors, Inc. brand in the marketplace. This brand already represents and supports an additional 68 advisors nationally.
BUSINESS AT A GLANCE:
Plan assets under advisement: $4.5 billion
Median plan size (in assets): $15 million
Total plans under administration: 299
Total participants served: 85,434