2023 RPAY – Anthony Powers, KerberRose Retirement Plan Services

Business at a Glance as of 12/31/22

  • Plan assets under advisement: $136 million
  • Median plan size (in assets): $281 thousand
  • Plans under administration: 133
  • Total participants served: 2,761

PLANADVISER: Tell us about your practice and how you got into advising retirement plans. 

Powers: I completed my licensing after graduating college and gravitated toward retirement plans and ERISA right away. I found that, being in my early 20s, it was difficult to get older, more established individuals to trust me with their life savings. However, I could discuss with plan sponsors what ERISA required them to do in order to keep their plans in compliance, and this expertise would land me the plan. Once hired by the plan sponsor, the plan participants trusted me, due to the fact that their employer trusted me to help oversee the plan.

PLANADVISER: How is your team/process/structure unique? How has it evolved? Where will you be in five years?

Powers: When I merged my company with KerberRose in 2017, the team consisted of myself and my administrative assistant. Since then, we have grown and evolved into a team of 12 with a retirement plan division and wealth management division.

I believe there are two things that set KerberRose apart. First, we will work with plans of any size. Whether it is a two-person shop or large organization, we feel that the best way for their employees to enjoy a secure retirement is to have a retirement plan available through their employer. Second, we meet with every plan participant to get them enrolled (even if there is automatic enrollment). We go over their personal financial situation and advise them on what is going to be best for them, tailoring this advice to each individual. If they would like, our wealth management team is available at no additional cost to provide comprehensive financial planning. We believe this personal touch separates us, elevates our client experience and will continue to help KerberRose Wealth Management and Retirement Plan Services grow over the next five years.

PLANADVISER: As a retirement plan adviser, what do you take the most pride in?

Powers: As a retirement plan adviser, I take the most pride in the team here at KerberRose. I work with an extraordinary group of people that share my belief we are changing the world one person and one financial journey at a time. We all strongly believe that encouraging companies to set up retirement plans, then working one-on-one with those participants to help them build a secure financial future, will reduce the financial stress in the lives of so many people. The KerberRose team has a passion for sharing our knowledge and helping others to achieve financial peace.

PLANADVISER: What challenges do you think the retirement plan industry faces and what role do you have in addressing and confronting those challenges?

Powers: I think the biggest challenge the retirement plan industry faces is that there are not enough of us (advisers) to serve all of the businesses and their team members who need our help. This was one of the largest factors that lead me to merging my practice with KerberRose. As a solo adviser, I was only able to help so many businesses and their employees before I reached capacity. Joining KerberRose gave me the resources to expand the team and created unlimited potential for serving businesses and their team members.

PLANADVISER: Why do you feel that retirement plan advisers should get involved in the expansion of the DC retirement plan system to cover more types of employers and employees? 

Powers: I think plan advisers should be involved in the expansion of the DC retirement plan system to cover more types of employers and employees.

First, I believe that it is important to encourage retirement savings among as many people as possible, regardless of their employment situation or industry. By expanding the DC retirement plan system, we as plan advisers can help to ensure more workers have access to retirement savings. The statistics tell us that if employees don’t have access to a plan, they are most likely not saving for retirement, and everyone deserves to have a comfortable retirement.

Second, I feel a sense of responsibility to help educate employers and employees about the benefits of retirement savings, the importance of planning for retirement and financial wellness. By getting involved in the expansion of the DC retirement plan system, we are able to help both the plan sponsor and the employees. Plan sponsors get the benefit of being able to better recruit and retain employees by offering a plan, and [they] reduce their health care costs by having a more financially secure workforce and less financially stressed employees. The employees get the benefit of having access to a retirement plan and advisers that can help them make more informed decisions about their retirement savings and their other financial needs. That adviser can work with both the employer and the employee to provide financial wellness programs to reduce the stress employees feel regarding their finances.

PLANADVISER: What are the biggest challenges preventing the broader delivery of tax-advantaged retirement savings opportunities in the workplace, and how might these be solved?

Powers: There are several challenges that can prevent the broader delivery of tax-advantaged retirement savings opportunities in the workplace. Some of the biggest challenges include:

  • Lack of awareness: I feel that many employers are not aware of the benefits of offering a retirement plan. Beyond helping their employees save for retirement, a plan will help them recruit new employees, retain their existing talent and help reduce healthcare costs.
  • Perceived costs: When I chat with companies that are looking to start a plan, they often believe it is going to cost them more than $5,000 in administration fees on top of their contributions to the plan, when in reality this is not the case. I believe the perceived costs prevents employers from looking into offering a plan.
  • Regulatory complexity: ERISA is complex and can be difficult for employers to navigate, especially for small businesses that may not have the resources to handle the administrative and regulatory requirements.

To address these challenges, several potential solutions could be implemented:

  • Education: Educating employers about the benefits of retirement savings plans, costs, how a plan can positively impact their workforce, other benefits and a bottom line would increase the adoption of plans.
  • Broader adoption of fiduciary outsourcing: The use of 3(16) services would help reduce the regulatory burden on plan sponsors and could make it easier for employers to offer a plan.