PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 20

growing your practice / cover story
The site is not meant to be a full do-it-yourself
experience, and every page has a place to
click to schedule an appointment with a staff
member from the participant advice team.
and wealth management clients. " We want to eliminate
the industry jargon as much as possible, to write about
the things that people actually care about, and write as
simply as possible, so that people can be informed, but not
intimidated, " she says. " My whole lens that I view things
through is education: I feel that's the olive branch we can
offer people, whether they want to buy [wealth management
services] or not. If that education leads to an ongoing business
relationship, great. If it doesn't and it helps that person on his
or her financial journey, that's fine, too. "
SRP is among a growing number of firms that do
extensive plan-level retirement work and also now have
a website and/or app for individuals' use, for financial
wellness in some cases and private wealth in others. But
the firms interviewed for this story have a very different
service model than the technology-focused one utilized
by some industry providers for individual-level work. " It
is absolutely necessary that we have an online wealth
presence, and this is a way to introduce ourselves to people, "
Krapec says. " However, the goal of the site is that we want
to be able to move you into conversation with us as soon as
possible. Does technology play a role for us? Yes. But that's
just the tip of the iceberg. "
Strategic Motivations
The industry's increasing focus on working with individuals
comes at a time of changing dynamics for retirement plan
advisory work. " When you think about the core disciplines
for plan advisers of creating the investment lineup and
monitoring the investments, as an industry we now have
so much technology and we've built so much infrastructure
around this, there's only so much we can do differently
from our competitors. There's not much differentiation we
can create there, " says Troy Hammond, founder and CEO of
Pensionmark Financial Group in Santa Barbara, California.
" So we said, 'Where's our weak point? Our weak point is
that participants don't have the education and information
they need.' "
The Morgan Stanley financial wellness program's digital
education portal for participants grew out of the company's
2019 acquisition of Solium Capital Inc. and its digital
tools. But working with individual participants is familiar
territory for many Morgan Stanley advisers. " When I think
about how Morgan Stanley operates as a retirement plan
adviser, and talking to our advisers, some say they've also
been operating in a financial wellness capacity for decades, "
says Anthony Bunnell, head of retirement for Morgan
Stanley at Work in New York City.
" The focus on working with individual participants has
grown recently, because there is so much demand coming
from plan sponsors to increase interactions between
participants and their plan's adviser, " Bunnell adds. " I
think the demand is coming from plan sponsors because
participants specifically are asking for it. More and more
are asking for additional digital tools, and more and more
employers also want their plan adviser to interact with
participants individually. "
To engage participants, Bunnell says, it is crucial to
have multiple communication channels. Some people like
to do their own research online and then interact directly
with digital tools to make changes, he says. Others want to
learn some basics online, then talk to someone about their
issues. " Understanding the preference of users is important
to engage them successfully, " he says. " You need to have
all the channels: group education, one-on-one meetings, a
digital destination and proactive outbound communication "
such as targeted emails.
Pensionmark introduced its mobile app called
SMARTMap this year, after launching its Personal Financial
Portal site in 2013, but the firm's advisers have been doing
participant-level work since Pensionmark's founding
three decades ago. " Back then, we said, 'ERISA [Employee
Retirement Income Security Act] says we should be doing
this in the best interests of participants, so we should be
talking to them directly,' " Hammond recalls. " This concept
of connecting directly with participants and giving them
support has been in our DNA for 30 years. "
The Pensionmark offering for individuals breaks down
into three levels of service, depending on how in-depth
someone wants to go. At the first level is the SMARTMap
app, which helps people get started with basics such as
setting up a budget and establishing their goals for the
financial wellness program. " Eventually, we want them to
outgrow that. We want them to come to us and say, [for
instance,] 'Your app is great. I have two kids who'll be going
to college in six or seven years, and now I realize I need
to plan for that financially,' " Hammond says. " Then we can
start doing custom planning and setting goals with people. "
That leads to the second service level, which Pensionmark
calls Foundational Planning. It incorporates a more
enhanced technology platform, which Hammond likens to
the type of financial planning resources offered by wealth
managers, to create an individualized, in-depth financial
plan. The third level, Portfolio Advisory Services, is an
20 | planadviser.com March-April 2022
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PLANADVISER - March/April 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PLANADVISER - March/April 2022

A Digital Divide
Staying Power
The Prospects of Staying Virtual
Another Retention Tool
Is It Time to Let Go?
The Evolving Use of RFPs
Best Interest Reasons For a Rollover
Guaranteed Lifetime Income
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - C1
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - FC1
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - FC2
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - C2
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 1
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 2
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 3
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 4
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 5
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 6
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 7
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 8
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 9
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 10
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 11
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 12
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 13
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 14
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 15
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 16
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 17
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - A Digital Divide
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 19
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 20
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 21
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 22
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 23
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - Staying Power
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 25
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 26
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 27
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 28
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 29
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - The Prospects of Staying Virtual
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 31
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - Another Retention Tool
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 33
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - Is It Time to Let Go?
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 35
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - The Evolving Use of RFPs
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 37
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 38
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - Best Interest Reasons For a Rollover
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - Guaranteed Lifetime Income
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - C3
PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - C4
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