Get ready everybody because 2016 is looking to a be a very big year in the world of retirement plans. Several things are all converging at once to create a very interesting year. We have the looming fiduciary standards, volatile stock markets, PPA restatement deadlines and numerous recent lawsuits focusing on fees associated with retirement plans. Financial Advisors that include retirement plans as part of their business model need to avoid 3 bad habits that could negatively impact their business in 2016.
Bad Habit #1 – Not Staying Front of Mind with Clients
Your retirement plan clients need to be constantly reminded of your role and the value that you provide to the fiduciaries, participants and the overall plan. Find creative and repeatable ways to stay front of mind with your clients. When meeting with clients make sure that you bullet point and review in detail the value and services that you brought to the plan since meeting last. It’s okay to promote yourself a little bit as too often clients lose sight or forget the behind the scenes work of the plan’s Advisor.
Bad Habit #2 – Hiding in Volatile Markets
When markets are crazy, Plan Sponsors and their participants start to worry about all kinds of things. They don’t understand the stock market and this can lead them to make poor choices and assumptions about the retirement plan that you helped them establish. The may come to illogical opinions about the vendor you helped them select or the mutual fund selection that you assisted on. What I mean to say is that you are vulnerable if you don’t get in there and provide guidance and support. Show your clients that when times get tough you are a proactive Advisor and a shoulder to lean on.
Bad Habit #3 – Stagnant Business Models
If it ain’t broke, break it! I know that statement kind of goes against typical mindsets, but I would suggest you stop being typical. Amazon has crushed bookstores, Apple’s i-tunes changed the music business and Uber is disrupting the taxi industry in a massive way. Access to technology and a rapidly changing retirement plan landscape create opportunities for Advisors like we have never seen before. If Advisors don’t reinvent and refresh their service and delivery models, they will be left in the dust by creative Advisors that reimagine and create better solutions for Plans Sponsors and their participants.