BCG Blog

Maggie Juliano, Esq.
In the wake of an unexpected separation, employees may be focused on their immediate major financial needs. Retirement planning is most likely the largest, but farthest from top of mind, for most couples. Yet, Plan Sponsors may be able to help with just a few tweaks to their EAP information.
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For some advisors the last five years have been like a dust storm, obliterating any boundaries of where we’d come from. And where we had planned to go? How can you get back, and stick with, your own goals?
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Planning for an audit sounds like rooting for a root canal, but unlike unwanted dentistry, planning for a plan audit can significantly lessen the pain involved. Here we detail both IRS and DOL audit processes so you can be prepared.
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Recent decisions and plea agreements between FINRA and financial advisor firms show that internal compliance controls are more important than ever. We’ve reviewed a few examples from the agency to give you a sense of how to avoid similar pitfalls.
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For those who work as advisors to plan sponsors, understanding how their benefit software may change is crucial to maintaining a good customer service. It’s also crucial to know when that benefit software may change. So, what’s new in benefit software?
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Can you name what you've built, won, earned, sold and mentored? Having your elevator pitch polished and ready may help in a chance encounter with a potential client, but brag sheet may help you be more flexible in presenting your experience to potential clients over the long term.
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There’s plenty to love about IRAs. For some employees looking at an IRA may be the first step towards a larger, more robust retirement plan. For others, it may quench some fears around stock market stability which gets them started in investing.
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If your company, like most relies on outside contractors, your employees scratching their heads about why the contractor’s get better benefits. Here’s a few tips on how to talk to employees about benefits.
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20% of Americans are missing out on an employer match in their retirement accounts. Read on for why that might be and what plan sponsors can do.
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Benefits and perks are a major consideration in weighing job offers. Nearly 80% of those surveyed would take additional benefits over an increase in salary. Read on for more on benefits that capture recruit’s attention
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You don’t have to look too far to find the road to Wall Street littered with the shells of robo-investing platforms that just couldn’t make it. So if the algorithm has a case of the blues, what takes its place? A love of research-backed stories.
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The newest buzzword in business lingo may already be baked in to your financial services. How can you show your clients you’ve been “future proofing” their investments all along?
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The advice given to many about how to pay down debt or save for a specific event, like a wedding, anniversary vacation or new house, is to create separate savings accounts. But can you have too many accounts? Is there a price to pay other than marital harmony or peace of mind?
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Just like you probably don’t need the fifth set of towels in the guest bathroom, employees may be holding onto investments or savings processes that are no longer needed. So how can plan sponsors help their employees spring clean their investment plan?
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While most Plan Sponsors would think that creating tools that help employees see how their small indulgences add up, and usually add up to keeping them from saving, is helpful, there is a small contingent of voices arguing against that advice.
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Knowing where retirement planning happens may help advisors understand the hidden limits an investor or client is facing. Location may be everything if retirement planning happens at work.
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Recently, many institutional investors showed signs of tiring from the non-traditional investments like timber that seemed to mark the last five years. What’s causing the change?
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Plan Sponsors can use the news about recent drops in life expectancy to help educate employees about the need for individualization in retirement planning.
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With access to financial information getting easier thanks to new and proposed regulations from the SEC, it may be worthwhile for employees to know where to look to find the best financial information about companies and funds.
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The urge to get rid of student loans is constant and distracting, and probably a little sweaty. But employees look and listen before refinancing their student loans to make sure they end up with a better bargain.
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Lately, it seems like most financial news seems to question conventional wisdom as often as they apply it. So, if it’s being questioned more often, is the wisdom even conventional anymore? Now more than ever, employees may need more individualized advice.
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Socially Responsible Investing, such as ESG Funds, continues to show strong performance. Here’s an update on how the SRI market has faired since our last post in 2017.
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With HSAs now a near must for many employees, clients may be asking questions about how best to offer HSAs and FSAs to their employees. Those clients may also wonder how HSAs interact with plan coverage.
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Americans are, without a doubt, retiring later. Does that mean they now need less to money stashed away for retirement? Have Americans changed the tried and true standards for retirement readiness?
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With 1 in 3 Americans having less than $5000 in retirement, many will need to spend their later years catching up. What do employees need to know about IRS rules on setting aside extra savings in their fifties?
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In 2018, California created new regulations that require greater diversity on corporate boards. How can advisors use these changes to increase collaboration and client contact? The key may be how boards may become more focused on company culture.
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as competition on advisor fees heats up a return to the basic business school principles of price setting might help ease stress and help create a workable plan to fill your pipeline of business prospects.
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How can you help an employee bridge the gap from their current self who works hard and saves for retirement instead of eating out more often and their future, older retired self who gets to play with grandchildren? One method may be simply to communicate with the future self.
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It is the season to worry about a recession. Actually, many employees often worry constantly about recessions and the resulting uncertainty in their finances. Reducing worry in your employees, for whichever reason generates it, can help them continue to be productive.
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Countless research reports show that clients who respond to market changes based on fear harm their retirement readiness. But fear impacts decision making more than just by adding additional transaction costs or advisor fees.
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As the financial advisory industry lurches towards another dynamic year of quick pivots and increasing stress on advisor fees, the pressure on advisors could lead to chronic stress or burnout. And those two results can drastically undermine even the best compliance program.
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Over the long run, those too on restrictive budgets end up bugging out and making poor money decisions. Planning for splurges can help both with your employee’s waistline and wallet. So how does it work?
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Employees looking to balance work and family while also budgeting may feel hemmed in by their options. They may avoid options to save time because they think they are too expensive. But there may be some magic to luxuries after all.
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Sometimes a rose isn’t always a rose. Some words or phrases have more than one meaning, and when that happens in the financial world, it can cause confusion for clients and advisors.
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Does the jargon in your communications make your clients miss the boat? Not catch what you are saying? Not smell what you are stepping in? A quick review of English slang can keep you from leaving readers out in the cold.
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There’s more to health care and retirement than explaining an HSA. Sponsors can help employees by educating themselves on the link between health, stress and retirement saving.
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Many think those who work a lot make (and save) a lot. The true fact is those who compulsively work (or might be called workaholics) are terrible savers. What can employers do to ensure those who work too much also understand to save?
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With news ringing about new wire transfer fraud alerts from the FBI, advisors may want to examine all the other electronic means of transferring money and make sure they are knowledgeable about them.
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2018 saw a flurry of information, and countless opt-in/out messaging about the GDPR. Yet, states and other regulators have been moving improving cyber security protections all year long. Read on for more information on cyber laws you might not have encountered and how they could impact on how financial advisors practice.
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Statistics show that almost half of young families have significant student loan debt. How can employers help educate their employees, especially those who may want additional degrees so they can specialize, about debt, savings and retirement planning?
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Not all debt has the same impact on retirement readiness for employees. Debt has impacts on retirement readiness your employees may not realize. Below, we list a few key distinctions employees may not know when making budgeting decisions that could impact their retirement readiness.
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Before you jump on the App bandwagon, you might want to consider whether developing an App for your advising business is what’s best not for you, but for your clients. Here are a few things to consider before investing in developing an App for your advising business.
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Many millennials are making mistakes in home buying, yet are reporting higher levels of satisfaction with advisors. How can Advisors understand their blind spots, especially as millennials begin to move into decision-making roles at companies and organizations?
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While the cult of busy has taken over workplaces as a way to show your importance or social capital, when it comes to retirement, “too busy” may mean more than trying to look important. It might hide worries in financial planning
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If clients think that their taxes are increasing due to new changes in the tax laws, they may fear that they have less to contribute to retirement. So what changes impact the amounts available for retirement savings?
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Employees may be wanting to access some of their retirement funds, rather than take loans, but may be confused by differing rules between Self Directed IRAs and 401(k)s.
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The discussion sparked by WeWork’s vegetarianism decree about how workplaces encourage wellness and better behavior highlights something important for how employers and plan sponsors may want to think about their own activities in encouraging saving for retirement.
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Recently, the SEC’s Chairman said that he thinks the agency’s rules need “sprucing up” and he is looking at other rules, including the private placement rules, to see what could be changed. What else might be on the table for a makeover?
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Mergers may be sleeping giants for those involved, but how they impact benefit plans and how the surviving company will use them may feel like a decision with a deadline. This pressure may also be present for clients facing reorganization in bankruptcy. What can a financial advisor do to be ahead of the pressure points in reorganizations?
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New delivery options can provide employees with more information about the funds they are investing in through your 401(k) retirement plan. But before you turn on the fire hose of information, a quick review of what information helps engage employees in investing can help you increase your employees’ participation in your plan.
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With fixed costs like housing increasing each year, how can Plan Sponsors help employees understand inflation and cost of living increases in planning for retirement?
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Understanding the impact on soon-to-retire employees and the return of their adult children on availability of funds can be essential in today’s economy
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Does your database hit the mark when needing to send information to retired employees? If a fund has to be dropped, can you meet your notice requirements? How to ensure retired employees update their contact details in an information age?
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Are minor details or tech glitches preventing your employees from enrolling in your plan? How can Plan Sponsors learn if administrative details are affecting enrollment numbers?
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Understanding what is competing for your employee’s money can help you work with them to navigate saving for retirement and encourage more employees to save for retirement.
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Employees who respond to the market by moving or trading investments with every major market movement may be engaging in “Emotional Investing.” This kind of investing fails to prioritize the long-term goals of retirement planning. An employee’s single best tool for weathering a volatile market is time and compound interest.
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Understanding that boards of directors who were formerly reluctant to spend company monies on cybersecurity may now be so cyberfatigued that their decision making may be out of alignment with the realities of employment benefits.
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Knowing how to assess and understand company culture when onboarding a new client and how to reassess company culture during times of leadership change can help you meet a client’s needs.
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Some financial advisors have also helped employees understand that their goal in retirement planning is more than “beating the market.” Instead, it may involve flexible planning, capturing tax benefits, or helping employees stay the course during volatile markets.
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While some may prefer a more detached approach to investing through algorithms and robo-investing, the human element is in more demand for most investors. This could be because financial advice, unlike cat food or the very best pen, requires an ongoing understanding of individuals and their specific concerns.
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Widening the definition of Investment Advice, under the new Fiduciary rule, may come with new exceptions and exemptions. These exceptions and exemptions may track those already in place by SEC regulations.
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Focusing on board leadership styles and how that might impact interaction with a financial advisor to a plan could make synchronizing those two aims a little easier.
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With several provisions of the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Duty rule on hold for now, what other regulations or changes could be on the horizon for this year?
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A number of factors are keeping older Americans in the workforce. And many older workers may be confused by the rules regarding RMDs. Some may think that by continuing to work, the funds can stay in the account indefinitely. So what are key points to advise your clients on?
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Extending your plan to cover all your employees eager to get started on retirement saving may need to consider whether all of those employees are U.S. citizens or their residency status.
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Employers who are looking for creative ways to engage more employees in retirement savings may have a few new options!
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Here are a few things to consider in working with your clients and their concerns about part-time employees, including those who work for a client part-time but regularly, and those who work for a client full-time but only seasonally.
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Cybersecurity is the biggest technology anxiety among those regulating financial advisors this year. So what counts as a cyberattack? and what do analysts suggest that smaller companies do?
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EBSA recently published new Prohibited Transaction Exemptions (“PTE”s) that include, among other things, amendments concerning annuities. The new amendments change how advisors can earn commissions and impose other requirements
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In the last decade, income grew by 26% yet expenses have grown 37% or more. And the average household is paying almost $7000 in interest per year: that’s almost 10% of the average household’s income going straight to debt
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FINRA and the SEC may be moving the line on how they investigate ethical behavior by looking to corporate culture. What areas can you assess now in your practice to make sure you can comply with this broadening scope? 
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Confused by the multiple actors working on Fidicuary Rules? Don't be. Here's a summary of what States, the DOL and the SEC are doing. 
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Financial scams date back to the Roman Empire, and now impact nearly every consumer, with recent surveys finding 8 in 10 consumers have received communications about financially fraud.
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While green investing in the 1990s wasn’t always a financially profitable endeavor, sustainable investing seems like it may have hit the mark. Now “profits with a purpose” may actually include profits.
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Changes to the regulatory environment top the list of many commentators as a key trend to watch. Which other trends in the market affect Plan Advisors the most?
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After the globalization wave of the early 2000s, what exactly does an “international investment” look like?
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Even the most dedicated financial advisor with the flexibility of a yoga teacher can run into a dispute or misunderstanding with a client. Can mediation or arbitration help resolve things early?
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Training new board members can be done with an eye towards the future: Reflecting on what you’d like the board chair to know now could determine the areas where a new board member could be trained.
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Meeting your client's employee's needs for a data-driven customer experience is a two way street: deliver individualized information and in a systematic way that can be collected and analyzed. How?
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As it gets ever easier to collect data and run reports on your clients and harness that data into automated reports you may feel either savvy or slathered in numbers. How do you ensure that you remain in the first category?
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Many advisors have been focusing their attention on baby boomers entering retirement. But, it could be the Generation Xers (those between ages 35 and 50) that need the most help. Gen Xers are in the prime of their earning years, but have the worst financial habits.
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Balancing might seem like shelter in a storm of numbers and predictions for the more risk adverse investor. But then, how often to rebalance? Or a more complicated question, how to factor rebalancing into plans based on algorithms or robo-investing.
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Lately, there has been a rise in financial investment platforms aimed at women. Conventional wisdom held that women invested too conservatively, too late, and too little. If so, then why the rise of new platforms?
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More businesses are relying on cloud computing. Yet, DOL has not produced guidelines for protecting personal identifying information except to acknowledge that it must be protected. Enterprise cloud computing may provide answers.
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While some online sources on personal finance urge readers to take loans from their 401ks, rather than cashing out the securities or bonds in them, those loans may need to have careful structuring.
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While research suggests that only 18% of small business have 401k plans, almost 60% of small businesses lack a succession plan.
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Corporate compliance and risk management evaluates internal policies, externally imposed regulations and reporting requirements, and synthesizes both with an eye towards performance and efficiency. The same holds for Investment Monitoring and Oversight
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No matter what the current temperature of public opinion is on 401ks, it may be worthwhile to review options with your client to make sure that their needs for liquidity, tax benefits, ease of administration, social concerns and rate of return are met.
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The intention behind ERISA was to ensure that those who manage retirement plans do so to benefit the plan participants and make good choices about investing. Those drafting the law defined certain individuals involved with retirement plans as fiduciaries to impose the duties of prudence and loyalty, specifically those regarding revealing conflicts of interest, on those involved in advising retirement funds.
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While employers complain about the mountains of paperwork involved in plan administration, their employees complain about not understanding the offerings. Employees who feel that they don’t understand a plan or its benefits may reduce the amount of assets in the plan by not enrolling at a maximum contribution or not enrolling at all.
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