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Part three-The Role of Retirement Plan Advisors in the Post-Covid New Normal

By Christian Mango, AIFA, President, Financial Fitness for Life

As we explored in parts one and two, COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the relationship between employer and employee. Employers are looking for help in meeting employee needs and are increasingly turning towards financial wellness solutions to solve that need across health, wealth, and broader benefits.

This trend of thinking more broadly about employee care that includes health, wealth and the broader benefits spectrum will be critical to employers’ recovery in the months to come. As more and more financial wellness offerings are introduced into the benefits marketplace, employers will need to evaluate these products and services carefully, especially in regard to financial education. And they will look to retirement plan advisors to help them choose.

As a result, retirement plan advisors have an important role to play in not only re-shaping the concept of retirement but in helping to deliver a more holistic approach to overall employee wellbeing to confront this changing landscape.

In helping employers select a financial wellness solution that makes sense for their organization and one that reduces employee financial stress, improves their financial well-being and increases their loyalty, as well as organizational productivity and profitability, retirement plan advisors can truly differentiate their practice and help them stand out from their peers by expanding the value they provide.

As retirement plan advisors seek to stand out in an increasingly crowded market, they will need to enhance and evolve their value-proposition to provide and deliver answers and solutions to these new needs. They’ll need to do more for their plan sponsors to more effectively engage employees at every touch point throughout the employee experience lifecycle, and ultimately provide better outcomes for clients and plan participants. This notion of ‘democratizing financial planning’ and providing a high touch experience in a low touch economy will be increasingly challenging for retirement plan advisors to deliver.

If that were not challenging enough, retirement plan advisors will increasingly need to consider succession planning, firm valuation, and maximizing the enterprise value of their client relationships. This will mean thinking about expanding into and growing other lines of business to diversify revenue streams.

The good news is that the need for financial advice has never been greater than it is today, and the workplace is increasingly becoming the place where most Americans want to access it. In thinking about and evaluating your value proposition, it is important to ask yourself about your overall strategy.

  • Are you focused on retaining plans or winning new ones or both?
  • How are you going to deliver that high touch in this low touch economy?
  • How are you maximizing the enterprise value of your existing clients?
  • Will you be scaling existing services or adding new capabilities to increase revenue?
  • Do you have pre-determined revenue goals you want to reach to justify the associated costs?

Just as virtual meetings have become commonplace and acceptable, so has partnering, and retirement plan advisors can look for partners to solve these real problems and support your longer-term business strategy.

As employers consider how to address the pandemic now while looking ahead to a permanently altered business environment in the months to come, it is critical that you make sure your value proposition is aligned with this new normal, and is well-positioned to help your clients.

In part four of this series, we will explore the financial wellness landscape and how both employers and retirement plan advisors should evaluate and select a solution that makes sense for their organization.

Christian Mango is the president of Financial Fitness for Life , a leading financial wellness solution providing in-person employee financial coaching coupled with best-in-class technology.

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