Change can be a good thing and sometimes it isn’t, especially at the top

When I was working for a third party administrator, we were getting bought out. Going from a closely held business by a larger business would bring some changes. I told employees that whenever there is a purchase of a business by another, change was inevitable. I told that to one of my fellow employees who was a bit nervous and told the boss. I was told that I was running morale, but that’s a fact of business. Change is inevitable. Heck every sports manager or coach is on pins and needles when there is a change of ownership or in the general manager’s office.

As a retirement plan provider, change of control of your clients and/or potential clients can be a blessing and a curse. If you have been prospecting a client with a change of the staff in control of the retirement plan, perhaps a new set of eyes can make the plan sponsor understand why hiring you can help limit their potential liability as a plan fiduciary.

On the other side of the coin, having a change of leadership for a current client can often be bad news even if you are doing the greatest job possible. I will never forget the story of a broker that my TPA did a lot of work for. He was fired from a company he did a lot of great work for because there was a change of the top operating executive. As it turns out, the Human Resources Director who liked the broker also got fired too. The Human Resources Director blew the lid on why there was a change of broker; the chief executive officer hired a new broker and was receiving a kickback. It’s hard for any broker to compete with that kind of chicanery. I had a friend who is a top fiduciary being let go by a plan because the new folks in charge claim that he isn’t a fiduciary, even though his work and his contract says otherwise.

People say that change is a good thing. Change can be a good thing, but there are times when change isn’t good for the retirement plan provider and their clients.

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