How Financial Advisors Can Prepare For Those 401(k) Potential Client Meetings

My latest article for canoe found here.

Posted in Retirement Plans | Leave a comment

These Small Things That 401(k) Plan Sponsors Shouldn’t Neglect

My latest article on can be found here.

Posted in Retirement Plans | Leave a comment

401(k) Plan Provisions That Are Great Ideas

My latest article on can be found here.

Posted in Retirement Plans | Leave a comment

99 Cents Stores To Fork More Than A Dollar in 401(k) lawsuit

99 Cents Only Stores have come to terms with an excessive fee suit involving their 401(k) plan for about $749,901.01 more than their name.

99 Cents Only was sued for 1) for breach of fiduciary duties of prudence and loyalty, and 2) for breach of fiduciary duties in violation of the duty to investigate and monitor investments and covered service providers.

That proposed settlement calls for a cash settlement of $750,000 for a plan that only had $76 million in assets.

Posted in Retirement Plans | Leave a comment

The Theater of the Absurd

I knew a comedienne who was sued by her sister-in-law for telling jokes about her, the mother-in-law joined in on the case. Made the front page of the New York Post. One of my family members lamented that despite the case being thrown out of court on first amendment grounds in New Jersey Federal court, it might have succeeded in New York. I said the case only had a chance on Mars.

When dealing in the retirement plan space, you will find plan providers who have no understand the laws and regulations regarding the space. They may not understand fundamental concepts such fiduciary duty or reasonable plan expenses or exclusive benefit of participants. While most plan providers get it, there are just so many out there that don’t get it. They act in the theater of the absurd, where anything goes and participants just lose out.

Posted in Retirement Plans | Leave a comment

You need the right partner

September 7th will be 20 years of marriage for me. If marriage was easy, there would be no divorce. You need the right partner to make it work. The same is for business.’

Whether it’s a partner in your business or a business partnership with another plan provider, it needs to be the right fit. I worked for two third-party administrators (TPAs) where partnership mismatches helped doom them. I’ve seen other partnership distributions that fall flat because of bad pairings. Partnerships need to complement each other, have the same values, and have the same goals. That law firm where I worked for 2 years which has given me 13 years of writing material, was a bad partnership when the biggest billing partners were former solo practitioners and didn’t understand the need to share clients for added growth. One of these partners pretty much closed down the NYC office because the profit margin wasn’t there, even though it had a large political influence because it was led by political stalwarts like Harold Ickes and Basil Patterson.

I’ve been on my own in my own practice for 13 years now and any involvement in other organizations has been bad because I didn’t find partners that had consistent values and views to make things succeed. Talk is cheap, you need business partners that do and do what’s best for the partnership.

Posted in Retirement Plans | Leave a comment

Don’t flake out

There must be something in the water where I live. Anytime I need a big project for my house, I just cringe. Getting contractors to just show up and give estimates is such a chore. A few weeks back, I scheduled 2 contractor estimates to do concrete work for my backyard and they both canceled or what they say these days, ghosted me.

As a retirement plan provider and you’re in the business of retaining and recruiting new plan sponsor clients. Life can get in the way of things, so when it comes time to schedule meetings with plan sponsors who want you to look at their plan, don’t ghost them.

Posted in Retirement Plans | Leave a comment

Don’t shrug

One of my pet peeves out there is when you give a list of complaints to a business or an organization and they give the proverbial “shrug of the shoulders.” The “proverbial shrug” is basically the business or the organization telling you that they aren’t going to merit a discussion of your complaints because like what Jeff Probst tells losing reward challenge participants on Survivor, they have nothing for you.

I always say that everything in business is about communication because it’s a connection business. Having empathy for clients who aren’t happy with your service goes a long way. Saying that you understand their complaints and that you will try better the next time goes a long way.

Taking the path that apologizing in any way possible is like admitting to a criminal act is only going to exacerbate the tension with the client. Whether the client’s gripes are justified or not (and many times they aren’t because it may contravene the law), they want to be heard.

I’ve learned as the older I get that when I’m unhappy with something, I’ll complain and let my feelings known. When the business or the organization I’m dealing with, tells me that it doesn’t care by not even trying to address a problem, I’m going to be looking for someone else to work with.

People sometimes complain and all they want is to be heard and acknowledged, they don’t even want an apology. Shrugging your shoulders isn’t the way to go.

Posted in Retirement Plans | Leave a comment

Networking was never about selling

One of the great joys of my practice is networking with other plan providers. I enjoy meeting people and meeting advisors out there that I can help, most times at zero cost. The retirement plan business is a relationship-driven business, so it’s great to create new relationships with plan providers and maintain old ones.

My biggest peeve when it comes to networking is when it’s clear from the beginning that the person isn’t interested in developing a networking relationship but just wants to sell me something or sell something to my clients. I understand like for example on LinkedIn that you try to develop relationships that will help your business. Yet when it comes to networking, I don’t try to sell my services. People know what I do and when it comes to hiring an ERISA attorney for themselves or referring one to clients, they’ll think of me because I speak in English (not ERISAese) and I charge a flat fee. So while I don’t try to sell my services immediately, I hate when someone connects with me and say it’s from the get-go that they want to sit down with my clients. Most of my clients come from referrals from advisors and all my clients have advisors, so there is a limit on the business that I can refer and if I’m going to refer an advisor, it’s going to be someone that I’ve known for a long time. I don’t mind connecting with people, but let’s develop a relationship before you try to sell me or my clients something.

It reminds me of when I first started networking when I worked for that semi-prestigious law firm on Long Island. I would network and I would run into some insurance agents and instead of wanting to develop some type of networking relationship, they wanted to sell me life insurance. They would promise how they could help me network, but I always thought that someone who wants to immediately sell life insurance isn’t going to help me network.

Networking is about developing relationships and I think someone who is so upfront about wanting to sell really isn’t interested in networking.

Posted in Retirement Plans | Leave a comment

401(k) Plan Provider Marketing Traps You Should Avoid

My latest article for can be found here.

Posted in Retirement Plans | Leave a comment