What makes a good retirement plan financial advisor? Well it takes an attention to detail, an understanding of what the role to entails, and a dedication to the client. In addition, what I find is the way a good financial advisor handles other retirement plan providers.
A good financial advisor will use other retirement plan providers to act as part of their team to offer the best overall retirement solution to their client. They will lean on the third arty administrator (TPA), ERISA attorney, or auditor to assist with their clients and use them as a resource for any questions they may have, as well as a sales resource for potential clients. When I was working for a New York TPA as well as in my practice today, I have helped advisors with potential clients. It’s a feather in an advisor’s cap as it shows a potential client that they offer white glove treatment if they can get a TPA and/or ERISA attorney to offer assistance without being retained first.
The not so good financial advisor sees themselves as an island, they are very possessive of their clients and are very wary of any provider encroaching on that client. They also have no use for any other retirement provider because they don’t value what they bring to the table. They only see other retirement plan providers as referral sources which they are not because most of the referrals that these providers receive are from other financial advisors and in the rare case that they get a direct referral from a plan sponsor, they are only going to refer that client to financial advisors that they have a longstanding relationship with.
Financial advisors should target a few TPAs that they can work with and rely on with any proposals or any questions for potential clients and to assist current clients. They should also seek out an ERISA attorney who has an eye in developing relationships with the hope of getting business later, rather trying to charge for every phone call and every consultation. See them as part of your team to help augment your sales team, but they likely won’t be your sales team.