Participant Education Programs Crucial To Producers In Retirement Services
To succeed in the retirement services business, producers need more than providers that offer a good product. In fact, a top-notch product is merely the beginning.
What they need is access to plan providers that live up to producers expectations of service and support. And, when it comes to participant education, expectation levels are increasing daily.
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How do I know? Because Ive spoken extensively with some of my regions leading producers and they are adamant about this issue. Participant education is key to a successful retirement services program. Even very intelligent people who believe they know a lot about retirement can still be very uninformed.
Furthermore, nearly one-third of workers (32%) who were polled by Transamerica in 2001, agree strongly that they would like their employer to take an active role by providing information and advice on how to reach retirement goals.
To address this issue, some producers take a proactive approach. They schedule quarterly new-employee meetings for each client firm. These meetings focus less on paperwork and more on investor education and financial planning reviews.
For instance, the producers use the meetings to educate participants about the components of a 401(k) plan and provide regular reviews of participants financial plans and goals. They also use the meetings to help participants decide if their asset allocation needs rebalancing and to introduce them to the monitoring tools available to them.
Most producers do not be-come as involved in participant education as this, no doubt because they lack the resources to manage a participant education program effectively. For this reason, I believe the onus falls on providers to provide the resources.
There are several things a provider can–and should–do to establish and maintain an effective participant education program. These include the following:
Offer a results-focused program. Its not enough for the producer to just sign up participants. There should be an enrollment process that runs like a results-oriented workshop.