Navigating the World of Retirement Plan Benchmarking

Luke Vandermillen Jr. invited Basam Malik and Larry Witzel to give their insights on their benchmarking practices in the industry. Their knowledge helped shed light on the complexities of fee benchmarking analysis, the importance of scalability and process control, as well as client interactions. In this post, we will discuss the key takeaways from their panel presentation and explore the various strategies they have suggested to provide valuable solutions for their clients.

Analyzing Prospects: A Consultative Approach

Basam and Larry highlighted the importance of taking note of your client's needs, regardless of whether they are a potential prospect or an existing client. The discussion continues on with the topics of identifying pain points, demographic shifts, or industry changes that may require a customized solution.

  • Basam's Approach
    • Primarily working with internal clients, Basam emphasizes warm contacts. He touches on the pain points and constructs tailored solutions with other collaborative accounting partners. When it comes to potential prospects, the focus is more on building relationships and understanding the needs that are unique to them.
  • Larry's Approach
    • In order to gain a better understanding of the values and current status of prospects, Larry's firm conducts in-depth interviews. They prioritize cultural alignment, client service experience, and participant education, using their team to provide personalized solutions.

Resources and Reporting

In order to streamline their processes and provide a comprehensive analysis for clients, both advisors leverage resources and reporting tools.

  • Larry's Reliance on RPAG
    • Larry touches on the importance of RPAG and the vital tools that they provide for fee benchmarking. Their firm widely uses RPAG's tools and resources to conduct open architecture comparisons, considering multiple record-keepers to present a holistic view of fees and services.
  • Basam's Integration of RPAG Tools
    • Basam's firm utilizes RPAG's tools for benchmarking plan fees. They focus on both bundled and unbundled solutions, highlighting the value of taking a consultative approach to cater to the diverse needs of their clients.

Scalability and Process Control

Both advisors stated that crucial elements within both of their practices include scalability and process control, which allow them to efficiently manage a larger number of plans while maintaining high standards of service.

  • Basam's Insights
    • Drawing from his background in biochemistry and genetics, Basam emphasizes the importance of process control. With the assistance of RPAG's tools and resources, his firm manages nearly 300 plans and over a billion dollars in assets, ensuring scalability and efficiency.
  • Larry's Defensive Play with Benchmarking
    • Larry stresses the significance of scalability not only in prospecting but also in client retention. Implementing regular fee benchmarking helps his firm play defense, offering clients a preemptive solution to fee-related inquiries and ensuring long-term retention.

Quick Hitters and Takeaways

Basam and Larry wrap up their panel discussion with a few valuable takeaways to help enhance their fee benchmarking processes.

  • Basam's Advice
    • Basam encourages advisors to focus on process control, leverage partnerships, and use the tools provided by RPAG to develop systems for scalability.
  • Larry's Insights on Meeting Minutes
    • Larry underscores the importance of meeting minutes in the prospecting process. Providing meeting minutes after presentations helps reinforce the firm's processes and commitment to transparency.
  • Retention is Key
    • Both advisors highlight the importance of client retention, emphasizing the value they bring to clients beyond just lower fees. Providing comprehensive services and solutions ensures long-term partnerships.

In the dynamic landscape of retirement plan advising, Basam Malik and Larry Witzel showcase the importance of a consultative, process-driven approach. Their insights into prospect analysis, resource utilization, scalability, and client retention offer valuable lessons for advisors looking to navigate the complexities of fee benchmarking in the evolving financial services industry.


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