Infographic: Retiremap’s Impressive Engagement Metrics

This infographic illustrates the key metrics that are driving Retiremap’s success as a pro-actively delivered plan education platform.

While a 5% provider utilization rate is considered good, Retiremap has shown it can do 10 times that rate.  Our secret sauce is our engagement process, developed with leading behavioral economist Dan Ariely, plus our delivery model using iPads and email activation links.

On top of all of this, our messaging focuses on top-of-mind personal finance issues to make Retiremap’s value relevant for employees. You can download a PDF of the infographic here.

Retiremap engagement infographic.001

Kiva Nominated for P&I Innovators Award

Image Credit: Pensions & Investments, Crain Communications.

Kiva was the first plan sponsor to offer Retiremap’s Plan for Your Future iWorkshop and as a result, their VP of HR, Britt Huber, has been nominated for a Pensions & Investments Innovators Award.

We’re also very proud that Britt will be speaking on a P&I West Coast DC Conference panel, Evolution of Technology in DC Plans, on the afternoon of the Innovators Award lunch. Joining Britt on the panel will be Helene Sanford from Intersil, which is another company that used Retiremap to engage employees. You can see the P&I West Coast DC Conference agenda here.


In the first month of launching the program, the Retiremap platform demonstrated significant, measurable improvements in retirement readiness. Using iPads in onsite workshops, half of the 30 employees decided to increase their deferral rate by an average of 6.3% of pay.

Additionally, the iPad workshop launch, coupled with an email campaign, engaged 40% of Kiva’s employees, which are spread out all over the world. Of all the employees who participated, 37% requested a follow up meeting with the plan advisor. Additionally, 15% expressed interest in automatically escalating their deferral rates.

Your can read more here in the case study:

Financial Wellness Is Coming to Mountain View!

Want to improve employees’ financial wellness?

Come learn how to design an impactful financial wellness program at an interactive workshop in Mountain View, California.  You’ll get to learn first-hand how today’s technology, including iPads, can better engage employees and help them get on track to reach their financial goals.

The workshop content was developed with leading behavioral economist and NY Times bestselling author, Dan Ariely, and is based on his research on how people make decisions in the real world.

In the spirit of learning while doing, every workshop attendee will get to use an iPad to simulate the financial wellness workshop experience.

Space and iPads are limited, so please register today.

Eventbrite - Designing an Impactful Financial Wellness Program

What’s the Value of a 401k Study Group?

In this short interview with Chuck Hammond, President of RRG and co-founder of the 401k Study Group who built his broker-dealer’s study group from 8 to 70 members in three years, we discuss:

  • The value of a 401k Study Group
  • The lessons Chuck has learned through the Study Group
  • Top 401k tools for advisors
Here are the videos of Chuck talking about these topics (scroll over “Playlist” to view all the videos):

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To watch Jason Chepenik’s video on Succeeding in the Retirement Plan Plan Industry, click here.

Making It Easy For Advisors

Having worked with financial advisors for a few years now, we recognize that they are a busy bunch often running in many different directions.

To make things easier for them, we are formalizing the Retiremap sales and implementation process so that all they really have to do is come up with a list of plan sponsors who would be interested in improving plan outcomes and reducing fiduciary liability and then make the introductions. We’ll take it from there.  Of course, the advisor is always part of the process, but they do not have to drive the process and we make sure to stay in regular contact.

This flow chart helps make Retiremap’s sales and implementation process more clear for advisors, so that they better understand all the ways that the Boulevard R team provides support.  Our mantra is:

“You make the introductions and we will do everything else.”

In addition to creating a landing page like this for advisors (you can request your own landing page here), we will also create a powerpoint slide deck that you can present on its own or we can incorporate it into your Overview of Services presentation.  Here is a firm-branded version of the presentation:

Finally, to make things even clearer, here are some common FAQs that advisors have about implementing Retiremap:

How do we get participants to use it?
Boulevard R helps you actively promote plan education and engage participants through unique delivery options that include:

  • Webinars
  • Email activation links that originate from the benefits contact, but are sent by Boulevard R on their behalf
  • Mobile computing (eg. iPads)

How do we roll it out?
Once the agreement has been signed, Boulevard R will work with you and the plan sponsor to create a timeline for an initial participant webinar, as well as presentations and email campaigns. Our support team is also available to do presentations throughout the year and can coordinate email campaigns or tablet (eg. iPad) deployments based on your schedule.

What if I do not meet with participants?
Retiremap offers more personalized educational value to participants than most plan education meetings and in significantly less time. For participants seeking advice or financial planning assistance, you can refer them to a qualified advisor you trust through your Advisor Management Interface.

What Happened In Vegas

Not everything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Last week I attended the 401kWire Influencers’ Summit, as well as the ASPPA 401k Summit and after a brutal five days of hardly ever seeing the light of day, I learned a lot.

Let’s start with the 401kWire Influencers Summit, since that was where the industry leaders and top advisors gathered to discuss what is happening in the industry. I’ll outline the top trends that struck me and then expand on a few below and hit on more in a later post.

Top trends:

 

  • Fee disclosure will collapse margins
  • Big focus on improving plan outcomes / savings rates, with the idea floated of doing an industry “Got Milk” style media campaign to get savings rates to 12%
  • If the industry doesn’t improve outcomes, they are essentially inviting the government to gut their business model
  • Advisors are the key to better outcomes through one-on-one meetings with participants (advisors are the one part of the industry that are not yet a commodity)
  • Most vendors have drunk the behavioral finance Kool-Aid, around plan design and “free lunches” (see Dan Ariely’s book “Predictably Irrational”) that induce participants to improve their behavior
  • Investment solutions will increasingly move in the direction of defined benefit plans, with lifetime income solutions (for all the talk about meddling government  intervention, I heard someone float the idea that these investments should be government backed!)
  • Advisor or plan sponsor access to recordkeeper data is coming (my guess this is still a long way off)
  • Mobile technology is a trend/reality that vendors need to wake up to
  • The industry needs disruption (unlikely to come from an incumbent)
  • Social networking is something they feel needs to be harnessed, but have no idea how to do it
  • Recordkeepers are moving to an a la carte business model where services can be added, with a breakdown on cost for transactional (the 87 octane option) and advice (the non-commoditized 91 octane option);  also expect significant consolidation in RKs as margins flatten and technology costs increase
  • Plan sponsors are paternalistic when it doesn’t cost them anything (this doesn’t apply for non-profits)
  • Coming industry conflict will be between fiduciaries and non-fiduciaries

While we’re new to the 401k space, what stuck me is that advisors and industry leaders were thinking about retirement in the same way we were when we started Boulevard R in 2006 (focus on improving plan outcomes).  The main difference is that the landscape has shifted with the market of 2008, fee disclosure, the ascendance of behavioral finance and the growth of mobile technology.

 


Improving Plan Outcomes

One of the panelists at the 401kWire Summit asked the audience to think about not only their profit motive, but also the social good that 401k plans provided.  It’s pretty clear that Obama and many Democrats see 401ks as a vehicle for social good and new regulations aim to improve outcomes by lowering costs and reducing the industry’s profit margins.

The challenge is that the 401k was designed to be a secondary vehicle for retirement savings and as companies have cut defined benefit plans, they are not willing to increase the cost of their 401k plans.  Even though they save thousands of dollars per employee with a 401k plan, employers are hard pressed to add any cost to the plan, even if that means a further decline in plan outcomes.  The challenge is then to identify plan services that deliver no or little value (eg. daily trading capabilities, enrollment/educational brochures, etc.) and replace them with services that can measurably improve savings rates.

The further challenge is that plan sponsors don’t really want more participants to max out the company match, making the plan more expensive.  So we need to create some tools and processes to improve plan outcomes, while restructuring the company’s contribution in such a way that the overall cost to the plan sponsor is insignificant.


Advisor Is Ascendent
It was no coincidence that the 401kWire’s event focused on advisors (aka Distributors) for the entire first day.  Vendors echoed the importance of advisors as “boots on the ground” and the key changes agents when it comes to improving plan outcomes.  One panelist characterized advisors falling into one or at most two of these personality types:

  • Engineer (focused on plan design and all things quantitative and measurable)
  • Philosopher (focused on education and how to improve outcomes (caveat- I’m not 100% sure about this definition))
  • Networker (loves people, winning plans and the sales side of the 401k business a natural sales person)

As the industry moves towards independence, transparency and meeting fiduciary needs advisors are playing an increasing central role.  My guess is that more advisors will start breaking into the direct sold marketplace, since they have a better story to tell and can often provide a better mix of low cost investment options.

There was significant discussion about the generalist or advisor who dabbles in 401k plans, being pushed out of the market as plan specialist take away their share of the business.  However, it was also pointed out that many of the plans are run by advisors who have a personal relationship with the business owner or fiduciaries (eg. brother in law, college buddy) and that it won’t be so easy to terminate these relationships.

Though I don’t remember this being discussed explicitly, rollovers are a massive opportunity as the huge demographic shift from Accumulators to Retirees starts to happen.  According to Cerulli, by 2015 at least $2T or 48% of $4.6T will be “in play” which is why I’m guessing that Schwab is rolling out a new service that couples low cost ETF funds with some type of professional advisor/advice model for each participant (more on that in another post).


Leveraging Mobile and Social Technology
There was a lot of talk about using mobile and social technology to improve plan outcomes.  Personally, I think it’s hard for participants to have a very quality interaction on a cell phone.  They’re good for games, but I don’t think participants want to play a 401k games.  Where I see a real opportunity is with iPads and using both the interface to engage participants around their financial goals, as well use tools like video conferencing to reduce costs and improve outcomes.  There will seemingly always be a need for an advisor, but how do we make that experience more effective for both parties?

When it comes to social networking tools, I see the Fidelity’s of the world having a hard time getting traction on Twitter and Facebook.  Partly it’s a compliance issue, but mostly it’s a coolness issue.  Who wants to hear what a cooperation has to say, unless it’s hip, relevant and can save me time or money (JetBlue)?  Why would I want to add Putnam or Schwab to my flow of information overload?


Disruption: From Where?
I think most key industry players recognize that the 401k industry has been complacent.  What motivation did they have to change with such healthy profit margins?  It was pointed out that many of the current CEOs of major financial services companies came up through the DC side of the business, but are those really the people who are going to risk the future of a company in order to re-invent it?

While there is a need for a new way to evaluate the success of 401k plans and get them on track, I’d be surprised to see it come directly from the 401k industry.  I know Putnam has developed a monthly income forecaster, but most DC-IOs have few if any tools and even then, they are proprietary and provide no data through to the advisor.

Looking out across the 401k landscape, the only new disruptive company that I can think of is Brightscope.  All the rest are geared toward just helping vendors or advisors do a better job.  Financial Engines has had a somewhat disruptive impact in the Jumbo plan space, but they now sell by partnering with the vendor and have a big payout in the form of their Cost of Revenue.

The key to disruption is developing processes and software that leverage the impact of the advisors and cut out ineffective costs, while getting more assets into the plan by making it easy and compelling for participants to save more.  This is an approach that Boulevard R is committed to seeing through with Retiremap and look forward to sharing our results as we roll it out for the initial plans in the coming months.

Boulevard R Launches Retiremap

Boulevard R’s new Retiremap product is designed to improve retirement plan participant outcomes with more engaging education, while limiting plan sponsor fiduciary liability with automated 404(c) compliance and helping plan advisors uncover new ways to deliver value-added services.

Since plan advisors are who we know best, we’re providing them with customized data sheets that they can then pass on to plan sponsors. If you’re an advisor who’d like to use Retiremap to get ahead of your competition by:

  • Differentiating your services
  • Saving time in participant meetings
  • Generating more revenue from each plan

then we’d be happy to create a custom branded data sheet for you (see Mike Montgomery’s data sheet below).

Get Your Own Data Sheet

To request a custom firm-branded data sheet just fill out this short form:
https://theboulevardr.wufoo.com/forms/retiremap-data-sheet-request/


To move advisors and plan sponsors to action, we came up with the following sweetheart, low-risk pricing, since our biggest focus right now is getting plan sponsors signed up:

  • Free for the first year*
  • No set up fee
  • After the first year, it’s $24/year per registered participant (meaning that they signed up on the system through the activation link and have an account in the database)

This pricing is only available for the first 10 early adopting advisors and plan sponsors. For any plan sponsor you think would be interested, we’d be happy to do a demo. If the they sign up, we’ll do at least one educational webinar for their participants.

For more information, email us at sales@boulevardr.com

Here’s the sample data sheet we did for Montgomery Retirement Plan Advisors (Scribd.com is not rendering the second page correctly (though it’d be fine on your firm-branded version), since it’s trying to fit a landscaped (wide) page onto a portrait (tall) page format):

Montgomery Retirement Plan Advisors’ Retiremap Data Sheet

* To qualify for this special pricing, retirement plans must have at least 50 enrolled plan participants.