LIMRA and LOMA are launching the Secure Retirement Institute to encourage education and research on improving retirement readiness. Robert Kerzner, president and CEO, announced the effort at the 2013 LIMRA Annual Conference in October.
"Retirement is top of mind for most Americans, but our research shows that many consumers have not saved or planned enough to achieve a financially secure retirement," Kerzner said in a statement. "While there has been much debate on what is causing this lack of preparedness, I think we can all agree that getting a better understanding of the fundamental issues undermining Americans' financial security in the hands of decisions makers is critical and would help certainly move us in the right direction."
The course focuses not on advisors, however, but on back-office staff at firms in the retirement industry, even those who may not necessarily interact with clients.
“There are a lot of programs for advisors, but we know that people in the back office can be siloed. They don’t always see the broader picture. Research has shown that employees with a better idea of where they fit in the company are more productive and more creative,” Catherine Theroux, director of public relations, told ThinkAdvisor on Friday.
The program is divided into three parts. The first course will be available on Monday and will provide a basic understanding of the retirement industry, Theroux said: “what’s going on the industry, different products, challenges consumers are facing.”
Employees who complete the courses in the first portion of the course will earn a Certificate in Retirement Essentials.
The second and third portions of the program will be available in the beginning of 2014. The second portion will introduce more strategy and research, with more information about product development and marketing. Employees who complete those courses will earn an Associate, Secure Retirement Institute (ASRI) designation. The third portion focuses more on back-of-house issues than sales, Theroux said. It includes more interactive sessions on the regulatory, legislative and economic challenges to the industry. Employees who complete those courses will earn a Fellow, Secure Retirement Institute (FSRI) designation.
Theroux pointed out that “retirement is a universal challenge. Whether you’re in the business or not, everyone wants to retire."
Employees at LOMA member companies can pay $220 per course for the initial portion of the program. The price for non-member employees is $330. The Associate and Fellow portions will be priced higher.
The Secure Retirement Institute’s board is made up of executives from several major firms in the industry.
- Gumer Alvero, Executive Vice President and General Manager, RiverSource Annuities, Ameriprise
- William Anderson, Senior Vice President, American Funds Distributors Inc.
- Maliz Beams, CEO of Retirement Solutions, ING U.S.
- Gregory Burrows, Senior Vice President of Retirement and Investor Services, Principal Financial Group
- Dewey Bushaw, Executive Vice President of Retirement Solutions Division, Pacific Life Insurance Company
- Kent Callahan, President and CEO of Employer Solutions and Pensions Division, Transamerica
- Chip Castille, Managing Director, BlackRock Inc.
- William Chetney, Executive Vice President, LPL Financial Services
- Charles Cornelio, President of Retirement Plan Services, Lincoln Financial Group
- Aimee DeCamillo, Vice President of T. Rowe Price Group, Inc. and Co-Lead of Retirement Plan Services
- Peter Gordon, President and General Manager, John Hancock Retirement Plan Services
- John Grogan, Jr., Senior Vice President of Planning and Sales, Northwestern Mutual
- Eric Henderson, Senior Vice President of Life Insurance and Annuities, Nationwide Financial
- David Levenson, Principal, Retirement, Insurance and Banking, Edward D. Jones & Co., L.P.
- Drew Lawton, Senior Managing Director of Retirement Solutions and Third Party Distribution, New York Life Investments Group
- Bill L. Lowe, President, Sammons Retirement Solutions
- Julia McCarthy, Executive Vice President of Workplace Marketing, Solutions and Experience, Fidelity
- James McCool, Executive Vice President of Client Solutions, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
- Edmund Murphy III, Head of Defined Contribution, Putnam Investments
- Charlie Nelson, President of Retirement Services, Great-West Financial Service
- Robert O'Donnell, President, Prudential Annuities
- Joseph Ready, Executive Vice President and Director of Wells Fargo Institutional Retirement and Trust, Wells Fargo
- Katherine Roy, Executive Director of Individual Retirement, JP Morgan Asset Management
- Elaine Sarsynski, Executive Vice President of MassMutual's Retirement Services Division; Chairman of MassMutual International
- Jon Stenberg, Executive Vice President and General Manager, RiverSource Insurance, Ameriprise
- Eric Thomes, Senior Vice President of Sales, Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America
Check out How Gen X Learned to Start Worrying and Love Retirement Planning on ThinkAdvisor.