Use ERISA to set the agenda
ERISA requires that fiduciaries monitor services and fees on an ongoing basis. These duties can drive a reusable meeting agenda made up of other topics that you should cover in every 401(k) meeting. This can both help your clients meet their responsibilities and save you time preparing for meetings.
With ERISA’s duties and repeatability in mind, consider making these seven areas the core of a 401(k) review meeting agenda you can use with all your clients:
1 Market value, fee, and performance updates—highlight major investment trends, fee changes, and any performance red flags.
2 Participant activity reports—note trends and changes, such as an uptick in loans or unusual activity.
3 Plan and participant health metric updates—discuss key financial wellness measures and provide benchmarks, including:
4 Service provider news—report on news about recordkeeper services or organizational changes.
5 Marketplace, legal, and regulatory developments—explain how legislative and industry changes, such as the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act, affect 401(k) plans.
6 Recommendations—present suggestions in plain, simple language.
7 Strategic planning—suggest longer-term goals and ways to help achieve them.
By including these items in your agenda, you’ll only have to swap in plan-specific facts for each client, which can reduce the time you spend preparing for meetings.
Another way to save time—and get more out of your meetings—is to distribute reports in advance. This will give your clients a chance to get familiar with your presentation ahead of time, reducing the number of questions and freeing up more time for discussion and planning.
The right retirement plan partners can help, too
Your ability to add value relies on your ability to use plan and participant data as a basis for business planning. You’ll need a business partner, whether that’s a recordkeeper or local third-party administrator, who can provide you with the tools you need to turn data into action. Your business partners should be able to provide you with:
- Customized reporting to match your agenda items
- Legal and regulatory updates prepared by ERISA specialists
- Fee and investment performance benchmarking, telling clients where they stand compared with other plans
- Expert plan design, conforming to the latest regulations and industry
With partners who can complement your expertise and supplement what you can bring to an agenda, you won’t be on your own when it comes to preparing for your meetings and proving your value.
Make every 401(k) meeting count
By using ERISA requirements to guide your 401(k) meetings, you’ll have an agenda you can reuse, saving you time and enabling you to meet with more clients. Your agenda will include both standard, repeatable meeting topics and client-specific agenda items. And remember, you’re not alone—your business partners can provide the client-specific information you need to make every 401(k) meeting count.
The content of this document is for general information only and is believed to be accurate and reliable as of the posting date, but may be subject to change. It is not intended to provide investment, tax, or legal advice (unless otherwise indicated). Please consult your own independent advisor as to any investment, tax, or legal statements made herein.
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1 “Don’t Spend 5 Times More Attracting New Clients, Nurture the Existing Ones,” Forbes, https://www.forbes.com/sites/jiawertz/2018/09/12/dont-spend-5-times-more-attracting-new-customers-nurture-the-existing-ones/, September 12, 2018.