pa|nc | PLANADVISER November/December 2016

2016 PLANADVISER National Conference

By Lee Barney, John Manganaro and Rebecca Moore | November/December 2016
Page 8 of 12View Full Article

Overcoming Plan Sponsor Hurdles
Many winners and finalists for PLANSPONSOR’s Plan Sponsor of the Year awards cite help from great advisers for making their retirement plans great.

Kimber Dills, vice president of human resources with Mental Health Cooperative, Inc. said the adviser they have now helped with a plan change that did not go over well. The company decided to auto escalate everyone in the 403(b) plan to 6% of salary deferral contributions and automatically enroll new employees at a 6% deferral rate.

“There was a lot of push back, but we provided education and did one-on-ones with everyone concerned,” she said. “Now people are excited when they get their statement and see how much they are saving.”

Likewise, Judi Leccese, Retirement and non-qualified plans manager at Cabot Corporation, said her current adviser helped the company create a very detailed plan about implementing plan changes and was good about teaching the company about extremes and how far they could push things. The adviser did focus groups before the change, and after the change, got management to do town hall meetings with employees. The company had a leveraged employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) that was about to expire and decided not to continue with the ESOP. However, it increased the company match in the 401(k) plan and offered employer-paid financial wellness.

Leccese added that an adviser should want to get to know the company and what is going on in the retirement plan. “By talking, listening and collaborating, [the adviser] helps decide what makes sense for the plan.”

Advisers should also be able to work well with plan providers, both Dills and Luccess agreed. “I work with our advisers a lot, but also work directly with the vendor,” Dills said. “But they both come to education events and the vendor has a backup in case the adviser cannot attend.”

Luccese shared that Cabot has a retirement optimization team, consisting of the 401(k) provider, the non-qualified plan provider, the financial wellness adviser and the plan adviser. “At first we would do quarterly calls,” she said. “This year we are going to meet with 24 vendors, including life and health insurance providers.”