advisers work to better understand their own P&L statement
when it comes to servicing a plan, and how that ties back to their
value proposition. Specialists may also choose to provide more
of the education and fiduciary services themselves in larger
plans, and use products that provide co-fiduciary solutions with
smaller plans to build efficiencies in their practice.
PLANADVISER: Should advisers rethink the types of plans
they want to work with or how they approach them?
Smith: Advisers need to determine how they want to operate
by market segment—takeover plans versus startup plans, for
example, or plans that have assets above or below certain thresholds—and how they want to respond to their clients’ needs. At
Ascensus, we support a range of solutions that can be tailored
to these specific needs. We offer bundled, open-architecture
retirement plans, but we also offer a recordkeeping-only solution in which we work with a third-party administrator chosen
by the adviser and their client. Or, we can provide third-party
administration and compliance services while using another
provider’s recordkeeping services.
PLANADVISER: In essence, you’re saying advisers need the
flexibility to work with a plan sponsor no matter what that
sponsor needs or how it wants to run its plan.
Smith: Exactly—and we think that’s a big deal. If I’m an adviser
trying to meet my client’s needs, do I need a bundled solution
with a single provider, or do I want to work with a third-party
administrator using different provider platforms? The financial
adviser should be able to choose what makes sense for them
and their clients, given the situation.
PLANADVISER: Is this a good time to be an adviser?
Smith: When things change, some people see opportunities and
others see threats. If you haven’t been particularly focused on
the retirement space, it creates a new set of challenges. You can
probably find turnkey fiduciary solutions that let you continue to
have relationships with plan sponsors. And if you’re an adviser
who’s doubling down on the retirement marketplace, this is an
opportunity to continue growing your business using a model
you’ve probably been using for years—which puts you ahead of
PLANADVISER: What is Ascensus doing to help plan advisers
navigate these changes? How does your business model help
Smith: Ascensus is and always has been adviser-centric. We
only service plans through the trusted relationship of the financial adviser.
Because we’ve been in the fee-based marketplace for over 10
years, we have a very knowledgeable and experienced sales
team that helps our advisers move to more transparent solu-
tions. We can deconstruct fees across providers, investment
managers, and advisers. In addition, we can give advisers tools
that help them explain all of this in an easy-to-understand
manner for their clients.
Most importantly, we offer a broad range of solutions that allow
financial advisers to choose how they want to work with their
clients—with emphasis on the word their. We believe that advisers
should have access to solutions that their clients need, not products that someone else needs them to sell. At Ascensus, we’re
agnostic to the specific products and business partners an adviser
wants to use. We just want to offer them the right solution.
Bottom line, the adviser and the client get to choose what will
work best for them.
Visit alwayshaveaplan.com for more information.