PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 33

paying off their credit card bills each month.
Evaluation data can come from multiple sources. Emilio
Vela, director, participant engagement with Pensionmark
Financial Group in Santa Barbara, California, says Pensionmark
uses multiple metrics to evaluate its financial wellness
program's impact.
" [By way of] the data collected by the recordkeeper and
our proprietary reporting, sponsors can easily measure
employee engagement, satisfaction and program benefit
usage, " says Vela. " We track participant contribution rates
and data utilization to monitor progress. Importantly,
with retention rates and CSAT/NPS [customer satisfaction/Net
Promoter Score] scores, we can also assess [the
plan-sponsor] client's loyalty and satisfaction. These
metrics give a clear and comprehensive
picture of the program's
impact and enable us to guide the
program's future improvements. "
Edelman Financial Engines too
uses multiple metrics to track and
demonstrate its financial wellness
program's value. At the employee
level, the firm tracks metrics related
to: satisfaction and financial confidence;
employee outcomes such
as improvements in saving rates,
portfolio risk and diversification
assessments; and employee retirement
income forecasts, as well
as improvements to individuals'
personalized plans, says Keith Kotfica, senior vice president
and head of employee planning for Edelman, in Boston.
" We're also looking at engagement and usage of the
cautions. He says financial wellness programs should be
designed to achieve long-term objectives, and Pensionmark
talks to plan sponsors about how defining success
should take into consideration more than just the direct
impact to a workplace retirement plan.
" We show employers how providing resources and
guidance across the broader landscape of personal finance
encourages employees to engage with the program wherever
they are on their financial journey, " says Vela. " That
may not directly affect the plan balance within the first
year, but research shows that the return can lead to
increased productivity, reduced stress and an overall wellbeing
boost that employees with access to financial wellness
benefits experience. "
" Key success metrics, for both
sponsors and participants, differ
based on business drivers, baseline
program metrics, as well as
program priorities and objectives. "
various program components, including digital advice;
educational resources such as webinars and online tools;
discretionary 401(k) professional management or nondiscretionary
advice solutions; calls to 401(k) advisers or
financial counselors; and requests for advanced planning
needs, " Kotfica says.
Managing Sponsors' Expectations
Mark Smrecek, North American financial resilience
leader with Willis Towers Watson in Chicago, notes that
goals for employers and participants are often specific to
a situation. " Key success metrics, for both sponsors and
participants, differ based on business drivers and baseline
program metrics, as well as program priorities and objectives, "
he explains. " From a plan participant perspective,
individual situations vary widely. Success not only differs
by age, earnings, role and employer, but within each of
these segments as well. Understanding the state of the
current workforce enables plan sponsors to not only build
a relevant financial wellness program, but also to set goals
and priorities [that] will drive [return on investment] more
deeply into the organization. "
It is important for sponsors to avoid a short-term,
quick-fix mentality with financial wellness programs, Vela
Benefit to Adviser
Helping sponsors implement wellness programs also benefits
the adviser's practice, says Harris Gignilliat, senior institutional
consultant with Trillium Partners, UBS Financial
Services in Atlanta. " If I get a good wellness program initiated
with an existing retirement plan client, it's like sticky
glue [with] that client, " he says. " Not only are they able to
see the front end of what a 401(k) or a benefits package
looks like, but now we can track how far the needle moves
by incorporating a wellness initiative to go along with that
to fill that education component. "
Vela says there are multiple business reasons for
advisers to develop and deliver a comprehensive, multifaceted
financial wellness platform. He says it is the most
effective method Pensionmark has found, coupled with
additional core plan design elements, for a plan's participants
to achieve their financial goals. This is a key indicator
of plan success and a core part of the firm's proposition,
which helps Pensionmark retain existing clients and garner
new ones, he says.
" In addition, it takes the workload off the plan sponsor
and gives the participants a better experience, both of
which strengthen our relationship and value proposition, "
he continues. " Lastly, for firms that engage participants in
individual wealth, insurance or other business, it creates a
one-to-one relationship with the participant that can result
in additional opportunities for the adviser. " -Ed McCarthy
Practice Management | Fall 2023 | 33


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PLANADVISER - Fall 2023

At the Core
A Need to Show Value
The Talent Pipeline
Inside the Deal
Demand Performance
Are They Legally Binding?
The SEC on Cybersecurity
From Managing to Leading
Can You Predict Client Stress?  
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - C1
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - FC1
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - FC2
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - C2
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PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 12
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PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 15
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - At the Core
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PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 18
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 19
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - A Need to Show Value
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 21
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 22
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 23
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 24
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 25
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - The Talent Pipeline
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 27
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 28
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 29
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - Inside the Deal
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 31
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - Demand Performance
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 33
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - Are They Legally Binding?
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 35
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - The SEC on Cybersecurity
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 37
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - From Managing to Leading
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - Can You Predict Client Stress?  
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - 40
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - C3
PLANADVISER - Fall 2023 - C4