BCG Blog

An Increase in Lawsuits against Sponsors May Call for Fresh Benchmarking Data

The Supreme Court’s recent case concerning plan fees has opened a pandora’s box of options for plaintiffs. Plan Sponsors may want to monitor recent developments and consider expanding their benchmarking plans.

Workforce Changes To Monitor

Plan Sponsors may feel overwhelmed having kept up with what might have felt like large swings to their demographics in their workforce. Those who are eager to keep track of demographic changes in the overall investing habits of America may want to take note of several new studies and statistics that were released.

DEI: Diversity, Equity, and….Investments?

401(K) matching only matters if you have money to invest. How do sponsors make sure no one is financially left behind?

Love is in the Air? What to Think About Mergers After the 2021 Merger Rush

While RIA acquisitions may be slowing in 2022 after the unusual heat of 2021, the proliferation of them may have some advisor groups wondering if merging may be worth thinking about. When considering any major business move you should always consult with your advisors. While you await their calls, here are a few things to think about when thinking about mergers.

Alternatives to Alternative Investments?

Alternative investments seemed like a hot take on surviving market volatility during the pandemic. With low barriers to entry and high liquidity, cryptocurrency may have seemed like a smart choice. What now for clients who may be seeking alternative investments in a post-crypto world? It may be as simple as reviewing the basics, like life insurance.

Entrepreneur Lessons: Scale Deep and Ask Around.

Worldwide, the increase in startup companies in 2020 increased 26.9% over the last decade. Whether you are one of those companies starting fresh in 2022, or you work with many of them, there are a few clear key points in what can help make an entrepreneur successful. The clearest of them involves scaling deep versus scaling up and owning your knowledge gaps. Here’s more of what we mean.

Educating GenZ

Recent studies have shown an uptick in interest in investing in alternative investments by Generation Z. GenZ are those who are roughly ages 10 to 25 in 2022. Plan Sponsors who worry that their GenZ employees may be forgoing 401(k)s for buying blitzes of bitcoin can rest a little easier. GenZ is investing in their 401(k)s, but that’s not all they’re betting on.

Postal Service law and Plan Sponsors

Changes to the laws around the post office may have arrived right on time. Many plan sponsors struggled with using first class mail during the pandemic due to the overload on the Post Office. But not so fast, struggles may still be on extended delivery. Here’s a quick survey of what plan sponsors may want to consider around first-class mail and plan disclosures.

Strategic planning approaches for plan sponsors

Changes to employee benefits may be a small part of an overall organizational strategic plan. It may seem odd, then, to consider strategic planning a benefits change. But a review of the different models of strategic planning may help plan sponsors consider how to structure the process of changing plan documents.

Changes to the Exemption from Prohibited Transaction Practice: Proposed Rule Change Underway

The Department of Labor has announced a major change to its process of assessing requests for exemptions from prohibited transactions. This change could impact fiduciaries, those who serve plans, and others who may need to monitor the potential for prohibited transactions.

Erase Your Tech Debt? The Biggest Tech Mistake of All

When employees returned to the office from the months or years locked in WFH, they discovered sad coffee cups, lonely plants and their undying hatred of the office printer. With employees working from home, they may have lost the tolerance they had for the minor tech issues that your office worked on or around. Now may be the best time to assess your technical debt.

Your Pipeline is Ready for Primetime: Using Videos as Part of Your Prospecting Plans

The revolution may not be televised, but adding videos to your prospecting plans may feel like a total transformation. If you are looking for new ways to boost your prospecting efforts, you may want to consider adding videos. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Go Go Gadget Investing!

Persuading employees to engage with their benefits options is like finding Cinderella armed with just a shoe: it’s about finding the right fit. For new investors, those with low investment capital, and straightforward finances, robo-investment can be an excellent fit.

Better Benefits Meetings: Why Virtual Might be the Right Answer

Turn “this could have been an email” into “this was a great meeting” by assessing the who, how and why of benefits meetings.

Making Better Decisions: Informing Employees About Typical Decision-Making Shortfalls

25% of Gen Z employees and 23% of Millennials are planning on leaving their jobs in the next 6 months. In the midst of these large, life changing decisions, how can plan sponsors help their employees navigate smaller but no less important decisions, like planning for retirement?

Mailing Melee? What to Know About The 2022 Postal Law Changes

New legislation about the US Postal Service may seem like a huge benefit to investors and fiduciaries. But a deeper dive into the recent changes, as well as the USPS’s requests leading up to them, may in fact result in longer mail times, not shorter ones. Here’s what to know.

Factor Rotation and Diversification: What Your Clients May Be Asking

Hearing about factor rotation a lot lately? So are your clients. Here’s what they might really be asking you about.

Emotional Investing and Commodities

Commodities had their best year in more than a decade, but a client’s interest in them may be based on more than rate of return. Here’s what clients may need to hear about emotional investing and commodities.

Investor Behavior: Risky Moves Among the Financially Free and Financially Surviving Alike

A new study released this winter should ring warning bells for any advisor as investors report trading more frequently, increasingly buying alternative assets and turning to social media for advice.

Female-Led Indexes: The ESG Funds of the Future?

New research shows that gender diversity in leadership does more than ensure fair representation. It may also change how companies think. That in turn may explain why companies that are more gender diverse outperform their less diverse counterparts. Is it time to keep an eye on Female-Led Indexes?

Increase Productivity and Retain Employees by Focusing More on Compassion and Less on Empathy

Emotional Intelligence is one of the best skills a financial advisor has. It draws in clients and helps retain the best employees. Advisors, like anyone else in a leadership role right now, may be feeling that those skills have been tapped dry. Here’s a refresher on using emotional intelligence in the most optimal way.

Name That Tune: Educating Employees about the Federal Reserve

While everyone may seem like they are singing the same sad tune about the Fed, there could be one key group left out of the chorus: your Employees. They need to know how the Fed impacts their savings and retirement plans.

New Plan Designs: Expanding on Auto-Enrollment Features

If 87% of employers agree that auto-enrollment in a 401(k) plan has a favorable impact on employees’ retirement readiness, why not try other stumbling blocks for retirement readiness? Results from a retirement readiness survey seem to suggest that many plan sponsors are considering just that.

Location, Location, Location

In the TV show of life, the hottest will they/won’t they is about remote vs. in-office work. What’s the best decision, and for whom?

More than Girlboss or BossBabes: Are Women Ready for Surplus Assets in The Great Transfer of Wealth?

Many in wealth management have been focused on the estate planning aspects of the upcoming so called Great Transfer of Wealth. But there is another side to that massive trend – those who will inherit the assets.

Thanks and Giving: Financial Advisor’s Role In Client’s Charitable Giving is a Gift to Both Parties

As the pandemic moves into its continuing phase and life gets slightly back to normal, we can look back and see that clients really did move more of their treasure towards charity. As philanthropic software giant Blackbaud recently stated in it’s study charitable giving was up 8% and up 17% overall.

CyberSecurity and Artificial Intelligence: a 2022 Love Story for Plan Fiduciaries and Financial Advisors?

The ground artificial intelligence is breaking in investment management may be the same covered in the DOL’s new Best Practices on Cybersecurity. A quick comparison of the two may help you plan for 2022.

Buyer Beware!

It’s time to revisit spending—and budgeting. Especially given the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are turning to “buy now pay later” loan programs which can be downright predatory.

Employee Education for New Year: Goals, Goals, Goals

Following such an unpredictable few years, employees may be wondering if they can or should even set goals anymore. Plan Sponsors can help employees all year long by providing information about proper goal setting. Here are a few ideas.

Cryptic Currency

What’s going on with Bitcoin ETFs, and what information should benefits advisors and plan sponsors have ready for when employees ask about their plan’s investment options for bitcoin?

Are We There Yet? Is a New Fiduciary Rule Finally on the Horizon?

A new definition of “fiduciary” might be here by the close of 2021. But how do we get there?

New Roth IRA Rules?

It might sound like the changes proposed to Roth IRAs over September 2021 and October 2021 are cause for a lot of concern by many investors. Your clients may already be peppering you with questions. A quick deep dive into those proposed changes may answer some of that concern.

Do American Investors Need a Miracle? New Study Results on Retirement Readiness Highlights Global Differences

A new global study found that 41% of investors say that its going to take a miracle for them to retire on time. Is this true for American Investors?

Keep It Intra-resting: Creating an Engaging HR Intranet Site

If an HR intranet page is difficult to use, employees are going to walk away frustrated, confused, and may not be able to access vitally important information. Here are five suggestions to improve user experiences.

Employee Retention Best (and Worst!) Practices

“WE’RE HIRING!” signs are everywhere, but every sponsor worth their salt knows that retention is even more important than recruiting. So, what entices employees to stay?

It’s the Economy, Genius.

Empowering employees to ask questions, raise concerns and become more educated can help those employees feel more confident in investing and saving for retirement. How to Address Employees’ Concerns About Changes to the Economy Through Education.

Supreme Court Watch: Hughes v. Northwestern University

A quick review of what’s on the Supreme Court’s docket will show the “as yet to be calendared” case of Hughes v. Northwestern University. This case could impact an advisor’s duty of prudence and is worth watching for a variety of reasons.

Fresh out of Content? Responding to Social Media Is Always In Season

If you are facing a blank screen and blinking cursor for your next client newsletter, we have a solid suggestion for you: respond to someone else’s content. It’s a practice well accepted in academia for generations, and its making its way through social media too.

Planning for Year End: Four Things to Add to Your Own Year End Planning Lists

Advisors may be compiling year-end lists for their clients. But with advisors seeing higher than normal numbers of new clients, they may do well to follow their own advice. So what do you need to do to get yourself sorted for year end? Here are four things to include in your year-end planning.

Behavioral Science is a Plan Sponsor’s Best Friend

“One Neat Trick to Increase 401(k) Enrollment!” sounds like the subject line to an email scam, and it probably is. However, the only “BS” here is Behavioral Science, and it really can help.

About Last Year: Plan Sponsors Can Harness the Why Behind the Rise in 401(k) Participation

Average 401(k) balances are up more than 20%. What’s behind those eye-catching numbers? Why are employees investing more? The answers can inform plan sponsors’ educational programs in 2022.

How to Speak Sponsor

Communication strategies for sponsors trying to convey their duties, plans, and needs to other groups in the office less familiar with their roles.

TV Land: What to Watch

What are your employees reading/watching that could help you convey retirement savings and investing information? Here are three wildly different picks that may resonate with employees.

Cultural Competency and the Paperless Office

Why going paperless for providing information to employees may be hurting your enrollment. From religion to neurodivergence, money to age, the diversity of those who would benefit from printouts may make you want to reconsider the purely digital enrollment paradise you may be envisioning.

The A, B, C’s of Confusion: How the Internet Isn’t Helping When It Comes to Understanding 403(b)s

Given how well participants in 403(b) plans did over the last 18 months (in terms of savings and enrollment), Plan Sponsors may want to get ready for some common queries. Here’s a review of what we’ve seen on the Internet that may need clearing up for your participants.

Six Solid Staffing Tips

The pandemic’s change to how we work had big effects on staffing. Is the biggest impact on workforce management hiring? Maybe, but there are a few new staff management practices that could be worth taking note. Here are six of them.

Networking or Bust? Four Questions Worth Asking About Your Networking Strategy

The effects of the pandemic meant cancelled events and virtual platforms. As advisors began planning for 2022, you might be asking, is networking still a worthy part of your marketing plan? Here are four questions to ask as you plan for 2022.

Retail Worker Shortage and other Trends Point to a Bright Savings Future

Where oh where did the workers go? The story we hear about worker shortage may show the confluence of several trends, all pointing to your clients having an easier time saving for retirement.

The Best Communication Strategies Come from ADHD Learning

Employees across the board are struggling to concentrate on work, let alone their retirement plans. One method to adapt to this new environment is to learn from those who are already familiar with this landscape.

Spare No Expense: The Priorities Competing with Employees’ Retirement Budget

Over the last year and a half, employees’ relationships with their retirement contributions have seen some significant changes. Why is that, and how can sponsors encourage good habits to stick and help others get back on track?

Is Adding An Employer-Sponsored IRA to Your Benefits Mix Optimal? Four Things to Consider

Wondering if your current benefits lineup can hit a home run with your current (and future) employees? Before you add an employer-sponsored IRA to the lineup of your 401(k), FSA and HSA consider these four things.

Myths About Marketing Post-Pandemic

Given all of the unpredictability, it might be tempting for advisors to follow some common myths about post-pandemic marketing. Here is a look at a few of the most common post-pandemic marketing myths we’ve seen and an eye on what’s fact versus fiction.

Summer Reading – Is It Time for a Book Club?

Book clubs popped up all over during the pandemic. Could a book club be an avenue to find new leads for your business? Here are a few thoughts about book clubs and marketing.

Third Quarter Starts with Three Compliance-Related Cases from the SEC Worth Reviewing

Quarter three of 2021 shows a trend that advisors should review with their internal compliance team including a recent win by the SEC in federal court and two administrative orders, one involving a $7.2 million disgorgement award.

Goldilocks and the Three Vendors: How to Assess Company Culture to Simplify Vendor Selection

Selecting new vendors may seem like a herculean task. Can you find an easier way to find a vendor that is not too soft, not too hard but just right, like Goldilocks’ bed? We think so.

Extra, Extra: Read All About Open Enrollment

Open Enrollment in remote settings got you scratching your head? Especially about the "extras" or "perks" of their benefit plans? We have thoughts.

Niche to Normal: Conversations and Considerations for Remote Workers

Now that remote work is here to stay, here are a few topics sponsors may want to have with employees who spend their time out of (literal) office.

Maintain vs Retain: Keep Clients by Borrowing a Page from E-Commerce

Advisors may be turning their thoughts towards maintaining their clients. While advisors and others in service industries focus on client maintenance, those in eCommerce focus on client retention. The difference between the two may provide some interesting insight into your client maintenance plans and point to where you might be able to improve.

Beat Your Client’s Zoom Fatigue

Clients are, shall we say, tired of Zoom. How can you or other advisors on your team still produce effective client seminars? There’s no quick answer, but a few solid tips from professionals discussed below may help.

What Else is New? Why Learning a New Skill Should Be At the Top of Your Marketing Plan

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but that might be because learning new tricks keeps your dog young. Here’s why you need to stretch your gray matter to stay on top of your client acquisition game.

The Latest Employment Trend? Quitting Your Job

Moving into FY 2022, retaining employees may be the biggest hurdle your organization faces. What’s driving the employee exodus, and how do businesses retain workers and attract new talent?

Cybersecurity, a Different Type of 401(k) Risk Assessment

Like everything else in the 21st Century, the threats posed to employees’ retirement savings are increasingly digital. Here’s what you should know.

Reading the Proverbial Tea Leaves? Is the Supreme Court Signaling Greater Consumer Protection for Financial Matters?

With a rising tide of concern over Wall Street’s growing disequilibrium to Main Street’s economic concerns, along with a Congress that is the human incarnation of a logjam, the Supreme Court’s recent opinions on consumer finance are worth a closer look.

Ready, Set, GO GO GO! Talking to Clients about Post-Covid Spending and Travel

It’s worth revisiting the basics with clients now, as the urge to splurge on travel, or any other “normal” activity. But the thought of stepping out is hard to step away from. With the behavioral finance of planned splurges and the following information, you can have a productive conversation with your clients, even if they are cabin-feverish.

Putting the “Ad” in “Advisor”

Advisors rejoice, because now testimonials can finally be used in their advertising. Here’s a summary of what changed, why you should do it, and how you can make the most of this new opportunity.

The 411 on FINRA’s Rule 4111?

With the SEC and DOL potentially making new rules, don’t lose sight of new regulations from FINRA that could impact you. FINRA’s newer rules warrant caution and consultation with counsel.

Even the Interns?

Who is covered by your company’s 401(k) plan? Sometimes the breadth of a plan can include surprising groups, like interns. But even when it might not, there’s an argument to be made for providing coverage anyway.

The Argument for Certificate Programs, Coding Bootcamps, and Other Non-Degree Credentials

COVID-19 drastically altered the educational landscape. As enrollment fluctuates and more online options are offered, employers should consider the merits of degree alternatives both in hiring considerations, and when it comes to benefits packages.

The Importance of Benefits and Benefits Onboarding for New (and Potential) Employees

Sure, salary matters, but what’s your company’s healthcare coverage like? For most employees, the answer to that question is more important than how much they’re paid.

Community Service and Brand Growth: Three Ways Advisors Can Get Involved

Financial advising is all about cultivating trusting relationships. By giving back to their local community, advisors can demonstrate their investment in their neighborhoods and can even drive business.

Mega Wedding Mega Bust: The Small Wedding Trend is Great for Investors

In 2020, the average cost of a wedding dropped by 33%, but couples still may have to choose between a traditional wedding and a traditional starter house. Advisors may want to read up on the small wedding trend to help with this large purchase.

State and Local Legislation to Watch

When it comes to income, investing and saving for retirement, it isn’t only federal laws to keep an eye on. States may be creating new challenges and opportunities for investors as well. Here are a few we’ve noticed in the last year.

Spring Cleaning your Plan Documents

Capture the calm before your budgeting storm to assess and update your Plan Documents this Spring. The IRS’s guidance on how to prevent mishaps related to not updating plan documents is sound advice at any time of year. Most of their recommendations fall under good project management processes.

Practice Makes Perfect: How planning big purchases can help employees learn how to save for retirement

Creating a short-term savings plan for something like a new couch or a vacation is a great opportunity to learn the basics that apply to long-term retirement savings.

The Three Little Pigs Should Have Rented

While owning a home comes with many benefits, for young adults it often makes more sense to rent so that when the Big Bad Wolf comes over, someone else pays for repairs.

Plop Plop Fizz Fizz: How to Help Clients During Market Bubbles

The current hot real estate market may not be a bubble, but it may feel like one to your clients. Advice for advisors on how to keep your clients on steady footing.

Why You Need a Content Plan

Content plans (aka content calendars) will help your client communications stay organized, consistent, and on-brand. Here’s what they are and why you need one.

When it Comes to Hiring, Focus on People Not Skills

Hiring outside the box can make your organization stronger and more appealing to a wider variety of clients. After all, advising isn’t just about asset management, it’s about trust and connecting with people first and foremost.

Tax Prep and Budgeting for Employees, Freelancers, and Contractors

Tax prep is a notoriously difficult and unpopular activity, but also offers an opportunity for workers to review expenses and start gathering information to help them plan and budget. Here are five ways to use this time to budget for success.

Budgeting Basics

Most people could benefit from better budgeting behaviors, but where to start? Finding a method and the tools to support it are step one; here are some resources to help employees begin their budgeting journey.

Reignite Fried Workers with Corporate Social Responsibility

Can Corporate Social Responsibility reignite your workplace? Harnessing CSR for employee engagement can be a solution to burnout.

How to Make Sure Advisor Achievements Stay Visible to the Boss and Client

For advisors working from home, how can they make sure poor communication isn't holding back their career advancement and client relationships by making their achievements invisible?

Diversify Your Assets…and Advisors

Why do diversity and inclusion matter, and how do advisory firms go about creating and maintaining diverse, inclusive workspaces? It turns out that diversity policies aren’t the answer, but mentorship may be.

Looking Ahead: What Could be On the Menu for Regulatory Agencies in the Biden Administration

It may be tough to pinpoint what the Biden administration’s regulatory aims are as to employment and retirement policy because of the current COVID crisis. A look at who the White House has named for leadership posts could help employers get an idea of what regulatory changes could be coming.

The Pandemic Productivity Problem

While companies understandably want to keep business operations firing on all cylinders, it’s important to remember that employees are under unprecedented levels of stress. Expecting regular performance in 2020 (and now 2021) can contribute to burnout that will ultimately hurt business.

How Plan Sponsors Can Help Employees Navigate a Particularly Difficult Winter

Winter can be hard for many people in a good year, but this winter has been especially difficult. How can plan sponsors help employees weather personal mental health related stress and move forward with confidence?

Merry Covidmas! How to Handle Holiday-Related Viral Spread

Let’s face it: people traveled for the holidays. For employers, this means that the likelihood of employees getting the coronavirus skyrockets. How can plan sponsors help prevent, and also prepare for, the inevitable?

How to Talk to Clients about Market Complexity

What do investors need right now, and how can advisors continue to build relationships and communicate effectively in a way that helps clients navigate the current economic whirlpool?

What Clients Want to Know about the Vaccine’s Effect on the Market

It’s easy to believe that the coronavirus vaccines are going to quickly stabilize the economy, but that’s not quite true.

Is That the Light at the End of the Tunnel or an Oncoming Train?

Like an M. Night Shyamalan movie, the last year has been filled with unexpected twists. Here’s how advisors can help explain to clients why we haven’t bounced back yet, and what signs of recovery to look for.

Annuities and GenX – Why New Annuity Rules May Help the Hopeless Generation

Missed the major changes to Annuities Rules? Catch up Quick on how these rules could be beneficial the “hopeless generation”.

Millennials, Gen Z, and Early Retirement

Young people want to retire early but tend to underestimate cost of living expenses that make this unlikely. What factors aren't they considering (that they should be), and how do FAs help them realistically save for early retirement?

Is the doomsday clock still ticking on Social Security?

Social Security is primarily funded through payroll taxes; however, due to the significant layoffs caused by COVID-19, 10.7 million fewer workers are paying into social security, plus many others have had their hours cut. Taken together, this means that Social Security contributions have slowed down significantly.

Financial Stress Factors During the Pandemic

It’s a stressful time in almost every way possible. How are employees feeling this financially, and what gaps are they looking for plan sponsors to fill?

American's Declining Quality of Life

Of the 168 countries surveyed for the 2020 Social Progress Index, America currently ranks 28th and is one of three countries (joining Brazil and Hungary) where citizens are worse off than in 2011 when data collection began. So what's contributing to this decline in quality of life?

Be PEP-pared: Pooled Employer Plans 101

Pooled Employer Plans (PEPs, or open MEPs) are allowed by the SECURE Act. Here’s a rundown of what a PEP is and what plan sponsors need to know about them.

Playing the Blame Game With Covid Spread in the Workplace

The recent spread of COVID-19 within the White House and beyond quickly made headlines. What lessons can employers glean from this high-profile case study of coronavirus in professional environments?

Woke-Washing Won't Cut It for Your Employee's Investments

It’s time for real change, and employees won’t settle for performative measures. However, learning what to look for comes before they can determine what’s “woke-washing” and what’s a real commitment to justice and reform.

Should Employers Worry About Jobless Benefits? Studies Say No.

Are jobless benefits a necessary and life-saving measure or a terrifying spectre worthy of Halloween? While many fear the possible economic impact, studies paint a sunnier portrait.

About that Roth IRA: Time to Talk About Tax-Advantaged Funds

How can advisors help walk their clients through a thicket of potentially globally changing financial circumstances? When it comes to circumstances that may hit client’s static budget items – like housing, transportation and taxes, advisors may be able to help clients position themselves now for potential problems later by discussing advantages, especially tax advantaged funds.

Need a Proposal?

Before leaping into the unknown, we recommend a thorough examination of your plan. Because we are experts in the field, we know the marketplace and know what your existing vendor is capable of offering.  Through this examination, we can help you optimize the service you receive.

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