Vendettas in the retirement plan business don’t pay your bills. Disputes with other retirement plan providers don’t help grow your business. Years ago, I was invited by a dear friend in the business to speak at a local event for advisors and third-party administrators (TPAs). The top salesman from a local TPA that was a successor in interest to one I worked at, heard I was speaking there and told my friend that he wouldn’t show up because I was there. I think to this day, he might be upset that I blew the whistle on an accounting firm that was preparing audits that weren’t independent. That’s his problem, not mine.
I’ve made more friends in this retirement plan business than enemies. I’m sure my appetite for speaking my mind has ruffled a few feathers over the years, but that’s me.
The older I get, the more mellow I’ve become, yet there are situations over the past few years that have caused a range war here and there. While I think I stand for fee transparency and honesty in this business, that doesn’t help me with the folks who still want to operate like it’s 2010. For those folks, I’m a threat, I’m a danger and I get that. I think it matters to have a little perspective and when dealing with adversarial relationships, to figure out what the other side is thinking. If I was involved in a scheme to overcharge plan sponsors, I wouldn’t like someone like me.
Sometimes, the hero is the villain in a story and that just falls on whose perspective you’re looking at.