Family-owned, multi-location company* and client of M3 Financial
When choosing a financial advisor for your retirement program, how much does fiduciary expertise really matter? (The short answer is a lot.)
For a family-owned company with locations in various parts of the U.S., taking care of a growing and diverse employee population is major priority. When this client changed financial advisors for their retirement plan program, they didn’t realize just how immediate and significant the effects would be.
We believe when it comes to genuine fiduciary expertise, financial advisor generalists simply cannot keep pace with the minutiae of evolving ERISA standards. And that’s just for starters. What about the time, effort, and knowledge it takes to effectively negotiate provider fees? Or analyze the plans themselves in order to optimize their performance? And of course, let’s not forget about the employees themselves. After all, they’re who your retirement plan program is ultimately for. How many advisors will travel on location and sit down one-one-one with individual plan participants?
When you can truly transform your retirement plan program, everyone feels the impact.
M3 Financial put our fiduciary expertise into action by first negotiating fees with the client’s retirement plan provider. While not always the case, this resulted in cost savings related to administration fees.
But how does that happen? Here’s M3 Financial Retirement Plan Consultant, Kurt Mihelich: “We all come from the retirement plan provider side—all of us. We understand where fees should really be. We also know where hidden costs can occur. If you don’t know things like that, you’ll never be able to negotiate fees effectively.”
M3 Financial advisors also analyzed and then adjusted mutual funds and investment strategies at an individual level to better align with each employee’s age and time horizon. To the client’s credit, the company really wanted their employees to benefit from individual access to M3 Financial advisors. As a result, M3 Financial has been conducting one-on-one, in person meetings with employees located around the country.
Kurt explains, “Our fiduciary advising extends to individual employees. That means we can help participants optimize the long-term performance of their plan. But it also means we can give helpful investment advice. For example, if someone is around 60 years old, we can talk about reducing investment risk, discuss other investment options, and address when to start taking Social Security. On the other end of the spectrum, we can help, say, a 28-year-old better understand market trends, the nature of investment risk itself, how to truly appreciate the way a 401k plan works—and even how they’re, in essence, owners of the companies they invest in.”
This kind of focused attention creates enthusiasm at both the company and the employee level: the client sees their benefit plan actually working for participants while employees feel empowered with knowledge and more appreciated by their employer. They also know they can always turn to M3 Financial when they have questions about their retirement plan.
*The client name is withheld in accordance with compliance regulations surrounding the fiduciary duty of M3 Financial as a financial advisor. This case study may not be indicative of all client experiences.
Investment advisory services offered through M3 Financial, a registered investment advisor.