PLANADVISER - March/April 2022 - 37

difficult for advisers to differentiate themselves on paper,
particularly when competing with five other firms also
good at creating RFP responses.
Even with the " tire kickers, " who are just benchmarking,
the adviser can gain from addressing the RFP, says Bret
Almstedt, vice president wealth RPS [retirement plan
services] service manager at Johnson Financial Group in
Grafton, Wisconsin. The firm works with institutional
clients having retirement plans in the $2 million to $50
million range, though it does not spend significant time
customizing answers for such clients.
" We believe we have a very powerful offering to showcase,
so we tend to keep a pretty robust set of responses for
those stock RFPs, " Almstedt adds. " We know our capabilities,
and we know our platform, so having some of that in
reserve makes it easier to respond to those opportunities
when they arise. "
New Areas of Focus
To continue to craft stand-out RFP responses, advisers say they
must continue to improve upon their process. At SageView,
that has translated to a shift in focus from retirement
readiness to financial wellness, as more plan sponsors now
take a holistic approach to their benefit offerings.
In addition to traditional, core questions about fees,
services, fiduciary offerings and the adviser's ability to
produce better outcomes for participants, sources say they
increasingly see new questions pop up in RFPs, relating to
some specific areas. One such area has been technology in
general and cybersecurity in particular, Almstedt says.
Plan sponsor committees want to know about advisers'
cybersecurity processes and procedures, as well as their
approach to maintaining and improving their platforms
and virtual offerings, he says. Questions having to do with
environmental, social and governance matters are often
appearing, as well as questions on diversity, equity and
inclusion-due partly to a growing awareness of inequity in
retirement savings.
" Plan sponsors want to know: How do we educate
participants new to retirement saving, those who
haven't previously been offered plans, those with limited
knowledge of the benefits of long-term investing,
those
whose understanding of retirement may not yet include
concepts of financial security and independence, " Almstedt
says. " Fundamentally, a retirement plan is a vehicle for
individuals to enhance their own equity, and our mission is
to expand and include as many individuals as possible, from
all walks of life, all cultures and communities, in achieving
positive financial outcomes and more secure futures. "
Some advisers also see diversity, equity and inclusion as
an area where they can differentiate themselves.
" Our firm is doing a lot more to branch out and participate
in DEI programs, so we're proud to be able to talk to some of
those points in the RFP, even if [the prospect] isn't bringing
it up, " Donnelly says.
As to ESG, the focus can vary substantially depending on
a plan sponsor's industry and employee demographic.
" At the risk of stereotyping, a solar panel producer will
probably have more questions about ESG than a welder
will, " Almstedt says.
Another growing area for sponsor questions, Almstedt
says, is multilingual plan offerings and the ability to serve
plan participants who mainly speak Spanish or some other
language.
planadviser.com March-April 2022 | 37
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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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