Almost any time you pick up a newspaper, log in to your computer or turn on your television, chances are you will be exposed to some message or commentary about the impending worldwide retirement “crisis.” There’s a common theme: many people are retiring; they haven’t saved nearly enough money; their quality of life will surely be impacted, etc.
Companies in the insurance and financial services industry are actively confronting these retirement issues, which have been exacerbated by social and economic trends … among them, a strained Social Security system, and an increasingly aging population. Many companies are offering – or have expressed intentions to offer – plans, products and services to help customers prepare for a comfortable retirement with a predictable income stream.
LOMA, long an innovator in providing educational initiatives to address emerging industry issues, is currently developing a comprehensive program that addresses retirement concerns and will support companies in their efforts to develop industry professionals whose business knowledge will enable them to make significant contributions to organizational and industry goals.
LOMA’s Retirement designation program will provide a comprehensive education and training program for employees whose jobs require an understanding of retirement savings and income products, such as annuities, pensions, employer-sponsored retirement savings plans, IRAs, mutual funds, and other investment products.
The program is being designed specifically for employees in insurance companies, asset management firms, recordkeeping companies, and distribution organizations. This comprehensive professional development curriculum covers the entire retirement savings and income marketplace and will help employees:
- Gain an understanding of the plans and products they support and the role of those plans and products within an individual’s retirement plan;
- Understand the role of their jobs/functions within the broader context of their company and the retirement industry as a whole ;
- Develop the knowledge and skills needed to support retirement plans and products;
- Deliver effective service and solutions to their internal and external customers.
The new program will address the following primary topics:
- The retirement environment, the retirement industry, and retirement savings and income needs;
- Retirement plans and products and regulatory and tax issues;
- Planning for retirement and management of retirement income;
- Service, support, and other company activities associated with retirement plans and products;
- Key business and financial concepts that build a deeper understanding of the retirement industry.
By explaining a broad range of retirement business concepts and including a variety of concrete examples, the courses in this program will provide an effective foundation for company-specific training and enable learners to develop a solid understanding of the “what, why, and how” of the industry.
See also: A time of transition
Three levels of achievement will be available through the program:
- Level 1 (Certificate Level) provides a strong foundation in retirement principles, plans and products, and planning.
- Level 2 (Associate Designation Level) teaches advanced concepts in retirement income planning and management and the application of retirement industry knowledge to company operations, service, and other functions that support the business.
- Level 3 (Fellowship Designation Level) strengthens business acumen and builds a deeper understanding of the retirement industry through courses in marketing, operational excellence, institutional investing, and risk management/product design.
This nine-course designation program will provide a business education for the retirement industry and will enhance the knowledge base and professional development of employees who:
- Develop and support retirement plans and products;
- Provide service to customers and advisors;
- Are otherwise involved in retirement plan/product operations, administration, and support.
All of LOMA’s major education and professional development initiatives are collaborative efforts that call upon the knowledge, expertise and experience of industry experts from its member companies to inform, guide and confirm program materials.
For the design of this program, LOMA is working closely with an Advisory Panel composed of managers and executives who are well-versed in the issues, products, and markets associated with retirement. In addition to consulting on the overall design and program components, the panel members will also act as advocates to their companies and the retirement industry for the program they influenced.
A second group — course reviewers — gets to roll their sleeves up and look at detailed outlines, individual course content, and, with respect to online interactive programs, presentation. This rigorous review ensures accuracy, relevance, and clarity of the information and helps make the courses more understandable and engaging for learners.
Watch for more detailed information about this exciting new initiative as it unfolds.