PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 33

our roles, how we want to be involved, and the services we
provide. This way, the recordkeeper contacts know when they
need to communicate with us when they're working with our
client on service-related items. This system has eliminated
conflict. When there has been an issue is when we take on
a new plan relationship and we haven't had a plan with that
provider recently, and it may not know us and our model.
Morris: We haven't had many conflicts with the recordkeepers
or investment managers, and I believe the reason
is the emphasis we've put on laying out the communication
plan with the committee and other plan service providers
ahead of time. There may be overlap, but we find that, when
we have transparent communication at the outset of the
client relationship, there's much less conflict, and all roles
are more defined.
PA: When you have investment committee meetings, what
is the role of the recordkeeper or other service provider?
When they participate, how does it affect the agenda?
Morris: We, as the consultants to the committee and the
employees, will create the agenda. We decide where to slot
the recordkeeper into that agenda. Generally, the recordkeeper
will go over its plan review report, which includes
plan demographics and asset-allocation data. It will gather
all necessary information that can be pulled from its system
and relay the specifics of the plan to the client. Consultants
don't own any portion of the recordkeeping experience or
act as the custodian of any client assets, so we must rely on
the recordkeeper to supply that information.
Barry: Typically, we don't have the recordkeeper involved
with any investment-committee-type meetings. But sometimes
there's no easy way to avoid it, and when that happens
we just take care of the investment business at hand, before
discussing recordkeeping matters. We try to keep them
separate. In the past, too often recordkeepers would try
to influence the fund menu with proprietary funds. This
doesn't happen much anymore. The recordkeeper should
have no input with the fund menu.
Connell: This is an interesting change happening at the
client level. There used to be recurring attendance of the
recordkeeper at committee meetings, at least annually with
most clients. With the recent changes to in-person meetings,
we switched to Teams meetings where the client
participates from its offices. The recordkeeping reporting is
essential, and we work together to pull the data we need. But
we can present it to the client without the provider in attendance.
We also meet with providers and share the clients'
goals, and eliminate extra time the committee would spend
in discussions. Instead, we present a plan of action based on
a subset of the committee who really want to be involved in
these discussions outside the committee meeting.
The meeting length and agenda can also be shortened by
being virtual. Time seems to be a more precious commodity
than ever, and if we can shorten a meeting by 30 minutes
several times a year, we have seen committee members
more willing to serve and be involved in their role and
responsibilities.
PA: Do you have a set group of service people in your practice
whom you use for all clients of one recordkeeper? If so,
how does that make a difference?
Morris: We purposely have our entire team become familiar
with all recordkeepers we have clients with. This lets us
be more adaptable and versatile when clients come to us
with various requests. We do have individuals on our staff
who act as recordkeeper liaisons, such as our business
development team. Occasionally, they'll schedule meetings
with the recordkeepers or investment partners so we can
understand what new enhancements or capabilities those
providers are rolling out.
Barry: We ideally like to have just one person at each recordkeeper
who is our contact. I think things are most efficient
that way. For example, over the past 25 years, a few times a
recordkeeper went from having one individual who serviced
us, to a team. Service levels plummeted. They eventually
went back to the single-person point of contact. Often, we're
discussing Client A with the service person and, on the
same phone call, we're able to bring up items Client B needs
addressed-this saves us all time.
Connell: We don't assign certain relationship managers on
our team to certain providers; we want all of our client relationship
managers to be able to know all providers' systems,
websites and procedures so we can be extremely responsive
to all client needs as quickly as possible. I think, with
the merger mania and RIA [registered investment adviser]
firms becoming extremely large and spread out, that this
is a differentiator for our model, of staying more handson.
And it allows providers to fully understand our service
model and how we partner with them.
John Barry is a
registered principal
of JMB Wealth
Management
Inc./LPL Financial
in Torrance,
California.
Joe Connell is a
partner in Sikich
Retirement Plan
Services and part
of Sikich's wealth
management
team in Naperville,
Illinois.
Vince Morris is
president of the
retirement and
wealth division,
and a registered
investment adviser,
at OneDigital
Investment Advisors
in Leawood, Kansas.
planadviser.com September-October 2021 | 33
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PLANADVISER - September/October 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PLANADVISER - September/October 2021

Masterminds of the Plan
"PLANADVISER’s 2021 Top 100 Retirement Plan Advisers"
How to Optimize Connections
Defining Roles
Building Strategic Partnerships
Different Strokes
Cybersecurity Considerations
Provider Recommendations
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - Cover1
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - Cover2
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 1
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 2
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 3
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 4
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 5
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 6
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 7
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 8
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 9
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 10
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 11
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 12
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 13
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 14
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 15
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 16
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 17
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - Masterminds of the Plan
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 19
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 20
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 21
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - "PLANADVISER’s 2021 Top 100 Retirement Plan Advisers"
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 23
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 24
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 25
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 26
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 27
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - How to Optimize Connections
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 29
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 30
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 31
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - Defining Roles
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 33
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - Building Strategic Partnerships
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 35
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - Different Strokes
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 37
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - Cybersecurity Considerations
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - Provider Recommendations
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - 40
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - Cover3
PLANADVISER - September/October 2021 - Cover4
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https://www.planadviserdigital.com/planadviser/may_june_2018
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