Unlike some plans, which are limited to a specific fund family or predetermined group of funds, the PremierSource model offers a universe of investment options. There are no fund requirements except those set by the client. This allows our clients to be nimble and replace funds and fund managers who fall outside the investment policy guidelines without upsetting the entire plan. It also allows our clients to diversify risks associated with a single fund company. Open architecture of employee retirement programs has been a key area of emphasis in DOL reviews of late.
Objective Fund Performance Evaluation
Because our group retirement model is based on investment advisory services and not broker commissions, our fees are the same regardless of the funds or platforms we recommend. This places our interests parallel with the client’s and allows us to select funds and platforms based on long-term performance, stripped of any broker commissions or loads. While we serve plan sponsors representing retirement plans of all sizes and designs, within our “power alley” (plans exceeding $3 million in assets), we are able to consistently out-price our competitors using this model.
Multiple Layers of Investment Advisors
Our model is designed to appeal to all levels of stakeholders in the plan. Where the majority of the market providers and plan sponsors are restricted from offering investment advice, our registered advisors have been given the authority to do just that. At the plan sponsor and fiduciary level, we have a team of advisors who evaluate and make recommendations to the plan sponsor about the investment choices to offer in the plan. At the individual participant level, we have investment advisors on the ground that are registered advisors and can offer one-on-one participant investment advice and guidance specific to that participant’s needs. There is no additional charge to the employer or participants for these advisor resources. This is a very unique offering, and we have seen plan participation greatly increase with this particular feature.
As a provider of employee benefit services, we believe it is our role not only to assist you with your employee benefit needs, but also to actively promote employee participation through informed decision making. We have developed interactive employee education programs that reinforce the long-term value of employee participation in your group’s customized plan.
Plan Design Evaluations
Sometimes plans have not explored alternative plan designs for cost savings. For example, in 2003, the IRS took a new position with regard to discrimination in qualified plans. Certain employers can now take advantage of a “cross-tested” plan design that allows employers and highly compensated executives to tax-defer larger percentages than in the past without having to raise contributions across the board. This can result in significant tax savings for some employers. Further, many times we can evaluate a bundled plan and reduce costs or increase service value by unbundling the administration or recordkeeping and/or vice versa, depending upon the plan specifics. PremierSource looks at each case as unique to determine what plan design options are available to maximize savings and quality for the client.
When a client has not had an independent consultant assist with vendor or platform selection, they may be paying more at the fund level than they realize. Many funds are loaded with commissions and additional marketing expenses that are unknown to the client. Other times, there are revenue-sharing agreements in place with certain vendors that the client may not be aware of or taking advantage of. Our approved vendors are run through a vigorous screening process to qualify as a PremierSource vendor. Fair and competitive pricing is a large component of this selection process and oftentimes changing vendors alone can result in significant savings to our clients.
Ongoing Legal Support
PremierSource clients get the added value and experience of the approximately ten ERISA attorneys in our model. We have found that clients often prefer a second opinion relative to ordinary legal and regulatory matters. Our model brings this added support system without the traditional added cost.
Our model has a proven track record for seamless and efficient plan conversions. Because we have relationships with multiple vendors, our systems are designed for accessing the sophisticated technology of multiple providers. Our designated conversion teams focus exclusively on conversions and employ the same team members for all conversions to provide continuity of process, making for incredibly efficient transition of assets and account balances. We have converted assets and reporting in as little as 24 hours. Our targeted conversion period, as well as our average conversion, is one week.