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Advisor Connect

Each month, we deliver a video that shares insights and actionable ideas to drive plan growth and encourage dialogue with your clients. Each piece shares a retirement plan topic, reveals market opportunities, and is accompanied by a written article to showcase key points and takeaways.

Help Clients Find the 401(k) That’s Right for Them

  1/30/2019  12:11PM

You know the expression - it's not a one-size-fits-all-world. We're different. From the foods we eat, to the cars we drive, to the places we go on vacation. And it's also true when it comes to 401k plans. Ask two company owners what their's looks like and you might get two different answers.

Helping Participants Understand RMDs

  1/2/2019  10:07AM

In the retirement plan business, we naturally focus on helping clients accumulate wealth. But at some point we turn our attention from accumulation to decumulation. After all, everyone will reach the age at which they no longer contribute to their accounts and begin to withdraw money from them to sustain their lifestyles beyond their working years.

Compliance Essentials

  11/27/2018  2:21PM

At a glance, compliance tests assure that every retirement plan is producing a meaningful benefit to rank and file employees and that it demonstrates a level of fairness in the benefits those same employees get as compared to the benefits achieved by owners and other highly compensated employees.

Use Benchmarking to Your Advantage

  10/28/2018  10:32AM

In some ways you can divide clients into two groups - those who are primarily motivated by lowest cost and those who seek value. That doesn't necessarily align nicely with retirement plan benchmarking since it's much easier to compare and report things that are more easily quantified than things like expertise and quality and the care of consulting that we deliver together.

Mergers and Acquisitions

  9/25/2018  3:51PM

Everyday companies large and small make decisions to combine forces. In fact, in 2017, more than 15,000 companies announced a merger or an acquisition. And it probably won’t surprise you, but M&A activity spans all major industry sectors and nearly all geographies. For some, it’s a strategy for growth. For others, it’s a defensive move to survive as markets and business requirements change.

ERISA Fidelity Bonds & Fiduciary Liability Insurance

  8/14/2018  12:24PM

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act known as "ERISA" regulates 401k and most other types of employee benefit plans. Under ERISA, anyone who handles plan funds must be covered by a fidelity bond. The bond protects the PLAN from losses that may result from fraudulent or dishonest acts.

Aligning Plan Design With Client Goals

  7/26/2018  10:03AM

Most of us live in homes that were not custom-designed for us. We adapt to them rather than expect them to be optimized to how we like to live. Most retirement plans are sold the same way. Companies buy something off the shelf that was intended for a generic audience, but not necessarily ideally suited for them.

TPA Partner Can Help You Win Business

  6/25/2018  9:41AM

When it comes to the administration of retirement plans, most TPAs can execute the work pretty competently. And while there are differences in quality of process and internal expertise, most of this is technical work that happens behind the curtain.

Advantages of an Unbundled Platform

  5/18/2018  10:04AM

There are some things that we’re happy to buy right off the rack. After all, mass production usually means consistency and cost-savings. On the other hand, when we do buy off the shelf, we compromise on individual choice and sometimes flexibility in getting the exact qualities and features we want.

Plan Audits

  4/28/2018  11:24AM

Your clients are familiar with the idea of an audit on their personal or corporate tax return, but they may not be familiar with an audit of their qualified retirement plan. There are two broad categories of plan audits.

Maximizing an Owner's Retirement

  3/30/2018  09:17AM

It’s a common story – business owners put everything into their businesses for years before being in a financial position to put real money away for retirement. Once they’re ready to really get going, we can suggest a number of retirement plan designs and individual plan features that can help them reach their goals.

Forfeitures in a Retirement Plan

  2/27/2018  10:06AM

When we talk about 401k type retirement plans we sometimes focus on the contributions made by employees that are always immediately vested. In other words, it's their money and they can always withdraw it without forfeiting any- subject to IRS rules about early withdrawals.

3(16) Fiduciary Services

  1/30/2018  3:34PM

As a financial advisor, you know that the people who exercise control and authority over the management of a retirement plan’s assets are fiduciaries. So are professionals who provide investment advice with respect to those assets.

It's All About Relationships

  12/30/2017  4:56PM

There are many industry stats about 401k “sales.” Perhaps you have your own. It’s natural to talk in terms of lead generation and sales funnels and qualifying questions and, of course, closing. But, when you get down to it, it’s not really so much about generating leads as it is about generating relationships.

Understand Why a QDIA Matters

  11/30/2017  1:22PM

Auto-enrollment has been proven to be effective in raising participation rates in 401(k) plans. As a result, it's been pretty widely adopted across the country, especially in mid- to larger plans. Automatic enrollment creates a situation where many employees fail to make an investment election on their own. This creates a need for a default investment in the lineup.

The Loan Never Taken

  10/30/2017  10:52AM

IRS rules provide for participant loans and hardship withdrawals from 401k and other plans. They're not required, but rather left to the discretion of the plan sponsor. Today, there's a good bit of debate about how participant loans affect long term retirement outcomes.

Of Course Your Clients Are Fiduciaries

  9/26/2017  12:12PM

When it comes to the topic of fiduciary responsibilities for qualified retirement plans, there are three things we know really well.

When to Set Sail with Safe Harbor

  8/29/2017  8:44AM

You already know that a 401(k) is a very popular retirement plan and, like other plan designs, it allows employees to take advantage of tax deferrals on contributions and earnings while their money accumulates for retirement.

Defined Benefit Plans Alive and Well

  7/30/2017  1:23PM

You already know that a 401(k) is a very popular retirement plan and, like other plan designs, it allows employees to take advantage of tax deferrals on contributions and earnings while their money accumulates for retirement.

Financial Wellness – It’s Essential to Saving for Retirement

  6/29/2017  3:03PM

Introducing a workplace retirement plan can be a compelling way for individuals to take control of their retirement savings, but for so many people that don’t have control of their personal situation, the retirement plan at work doesn’t have a chance to be successful without a helping hand and tools to achieve financial wellness.

Cash Balance Plans Allow Six Figure Annual Contributions

  5/28/2017  2:44PM

Most people can contribute to their 401(k) without worrying about exceeding the annual contribution limit. If you’re under 50 years old, that’s $18,000 a year. If you’re 50 or older, it’s $24,000.

To Roth or Not to Roth

  4/26/2017  4:31PM

A compelling feature of a 401(k) type retirement plan has always been the opportunity to contribute money from your current income on a pre-tax basis today - let it work for you over the years - and then pay taxes on the accumulated balance as you withdraw it in future.

Auto-Enrollment and Auto-Escalation

  3/31/2017  2:23PM

When we think about the important goals we’ve reached in our lives, like graduating from college or achieving a career milestone, the journey likely took time, perseverance, and a whole lot of hard work.

Answering the 'Why Us?' Question

  2/28/2017  3:21PM

Whether retirement plans are core to your practice or part of a larger strategy to help clients, you’ll compete more effectively if you successfully communicate how you differentiate yourself from other advisors.

It’s Not a One Size Fits All World

  1/31/2017  4:23PM

This won’t come as a surprise, but we all have different tastes and needs. The examples are all around us. Take TV, for example. To me, it means movies. To you, it might mean sports or news. But that’s ok because we can customize our experience. After all, it’s not a one-size-fits-all world.


ABG Retirement Plan Services (ABG) is a regional service office of one of the largest retirement plan administration organizations in the country. (More)

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