Broker Check

Corporate Nonprofit and Executive Retirement Plans

4 Aspects of My Servicing Philosophy

There are 4 primary focuses of my servicing philosophy for corporate and non-profit retirement plans. I will work very closely with two parties in the retirement plan: the plan sponsor and the plan participant. The first two capacities below focus on the Trustee (or the person primarily responsible for the plans maintenance), who, in my experience, receives very little help and assistance. The third aspect deals with the participant, while the fourth is all encompassing.

 1. An Advisor to the Plan Sponsor

My objectives for my plan sponsor clients are to help them design and maintain an exceptional retirement plan that meets their specific needs and desires. I’m always looking for ways to reduce their workload and increase services and preparedness. I have identified service providers (Third Party Administrators and Plan Providers) who act in like capacity, reducing your workload on the front side and looking to protect your backside!  Professional and thorough hand-holders! 

This is accomplished by:

  • Understanding what’s most important to the company, key employees and all participants
  • Asking the questions that most plan sponsors didn’t know they needed to ask
  • Researching plan types and recommending a plan designed specifically for their situation
  • Conduct a thorough vendor search determining which providers best fit their needs Coordinate implementation
  • Helping them understand their fiduciary responsibilities
  • Act as your advocate with the investment provider, record keeper and administrator.  I am not a captive sales rep. for any investment provider.  My loyalties are with my clients.

2. Systems to Address Fiduciary Responsibilities

The second aspect of my philosophy is demanding more attention in this very heavily regulated world.  Also, extreme bear markets can bring a certain level of clarity to issues for most plan sponsors that are virtually ignored during bull markets!  In particular, issues such as:

  • Annual reviews of investment options and plan operations
  • Surveying participants in order to determine educational needs, then conducting seminars or providing educational materials to fill those needs
  • Development of - and adherence to - an Investment Policy Statement
  • A Fiduciary and Administrative Checklist designed to help you understand what your responsibilities are and address them
  • Building due diligence files
  • Periodically comparing investment providers verifying your plan is current with standard industry practice and trends, and pricing remains competitive with the retirement plan marketplace

3. Financial Advisor to the Plan Participant

My objectives for the plan participant is to help them make more educated investing decisions and increase their appreciation with the benefit you are providing them. It’s been my experience that most plans simply do not have this kind of help.  Volatility in the markets leaves plan participants desperate for help.  Since I am primarily in the investment business and not from the administrative side, I can offer this kind of help, and actively encourage it!  This is accomplished by:

  • Utilizing plans that offer excellent web sites, statements, newsletters and enrollment materials
  • I also offer personalized attention for those who want and need help through retirement planning, risk tolerance analysis, cash flow planning, asset allocation studies, IRA rollovers, account consolidation, college planning, and estate planning for sizable portfolios held at the firm.Providing educational opportunities through seminars such as: How To Choose Your Investments, Market Updates, and Rebalancing
  • Providing educational materials on a variety of topics 
4. Full Service Competitive Retirement Plans for the Small-Plan Market

The fourth aspect of my philosophy is to bring full service competitive plans to the small-plan market. Over the past decade there have been dozens of plan providers who have left the business.  It is crucial to find a provider who values this size of plan and is successful servicing it.  LPL Financial has a retirement plans department that continually monitors and recommends plan providers and have numerous investment provider, record-keeper, and administrator options.  Depending on the needs of the client, identifying plans with:

  • Competitive pricing. It is extremely important to be aware of what plans cost for your specific situation. I constantly monitor plan pricing for trend changes.
  • Easy to understand enrollment meetings and materials.  Investor education options from seminars, to printed materials, to streaming web broadcasts.  Professional Enrollers to help increase participation.
  • Full internet features and accessibility 24 hours a day for: enrollment, investment changes, forms, planning, investing and general financial education.
  • Administration (daily valuations, local, flexibility in plan design for directing higher percentages of company contributions to key employees, as much as possible and if so desired)

James E. Zbach, CRPC®  

Vice President | LPL Registered Representative, LPL Financial Advisor & Retirement Plan Specialist