BCG Blog

Manufacturing May Change Benefits for the Better

Plan sponsors keeping an eye on trends in benefit plans and offerings may want to pay attention to a new field – manufacturing. Will development of new manufacturing across the U.S. change employee expectations for benefit plans?

SECURE Act 2.0: Sponsors, Get Your Forms Ready

SECURE Act 2.0 may require a bit of work for plan sponsors and those who manage the administrative side of benefit plans. We sat down and discussed the new act with our experts. They noted three main areas sponsors may want to consider: hardship deduction tracking; changes that could significantly increase or decrease the number of participants (and by association, your costs); and how forms are worded and stored.

What Participants Should Know: Unpaid Student Loans and Retirement Income

In an effort to build benefits packages that attract workers, many employers are adding student loan repayments to their benefits lineup. This measure was often seen as part of professions requiring advanced degrees like law and health care. But a new study may add additional weight to that decision by showing that student loans impact retirement income long after employees have graduated.

Should We Reschedule? The Recession and the Great Wealth Transfer for Women

Several major trends may be colliding for women in investing. Three that may have the most impact are a potential recession, the Great Wealth Transfer, and the rebalancing after the she-cession. Advisors may want to engage in a careful consideration of these trends, how they interact, and what it means for asset building for women.

Secure Act 2.0: Clients Want to Know…

Act 2.0 is full of provisions that will benefit clients of all sizes. But what we focus on and what clients care about may be different. Here are three areas that may drive client conversations over the next few months.

New Aspect of Annuities Your Clients Will Want to Discuss

Sales of annuities are breaking records, and yet, many advisors shy away from them. Sales in 2022 topped $80.7 billion in the summer. That’s not too shabby for an asset class that causes confusion among many.

A Round Up of Advisor Articles and A Few Predictions

For the last four or five years, every article seeking to review the past year’s events has summed up the previous twelve months as “a lot.” After so much unpredictability and turmoil in the markets, reading those future planning articles may seem less than fruitful. Yet, we still think it is important to take stock of what has happened in 2022 and look at what we think might be coming in 2023.

Newest Suits Against Plan Sponsors Show a Pandora’s Box-Like Effect from the Hughes Case

New lawsuits against Plan Sponsors are all over the map, and not just geographically. Sponsors are now being sued for choosing funds that are too cheap. The class action suits continue their pile-on against plan sponsors. Here are a few key takeaways.

Honesty is the Best Policy

When it comes to hiring, interviews are a two-way street. Are you marketing your benefits well? How best to be honest and open about benefits in recruiting.

Auto-Enrolling Seasonal Workers

Seasoning isn’t just for your stuffing. Instead, seasoning may be flummoxing your benefits team. Adding those workers can add a positive boost to morale but may be a nightmare for your administrative team. Here are three key considerations to discuss with your team.

Advisors to the Rescue – New Determination Letter Regulations May Help Ease the Pain of Taking on 403(b) Clients

Recently, the IRS stated that it will consider accepting determination letters from retirement plan sponsors of 403(b) plans starting in 2023. This relatively simple announcement could be good news for plan sponsors who run more than one type of plan and better news for financial advisors looking for new clients.

You Take the Good, You Take the Bad, You Take them Both and There You Have the FTX

The FTX crisis may be a well-timed learning opportunity for investors seeking confidence in the markets. Read on for how financial advisors can use some of the behind-the-scenes troubles at FTX as an example of the kind of information the SEC’s on-going efforts towards making information more easily accessible to investors.

Presenting Passive Investing with a Side of Trend Analysis

How can advisors help clients understand index funds and their place in an investment strategy? It’s all in the presentation.

Recession – and retirement – cometh? How can plan sponsors prepare for how a recession may impact their staffing and education needs

Will there be a recession? Will it Impact retirement trends? For plan sponsors, who need to allocate budgets and recruit staff, those questions are more than theoretical. Here are our takeaways and suggestions that may help plan sponsors be prepared for the change in retirement trends caused by the slowing growth and increased inflation in 2022.

Social Media Roundup: Five Trending Topics to Keep Your Eye On

The numbers don’t lie: these five pressing topics that are top-of-mind for employees right now.

To Have and to Hold Until Audited: How Long (and How) to Retain Retirement Plan Documents

You may think you know how long to keep copies of previous benefit plans, but can your team answer the other important questions around retaining them?

Projections and Statistics? How to Stay Up to Date

Projections for retirement and investment prospects for the last few years have been less than accurate. Aside from relying on professional groups and advisory sources like BCG, where can advisors turn to for reliable studies on investor trends and retirement data?

Re-Think “Real Estate” Investing

Most renters complaining that their housing payments have increased considerably over the last two years, traditional alternative investments in rental properties may seem like a limited option. Can your clients use the increased mortgage rate (possibility of further increases) to their advantage? The answer may be in changing how your clients think about real estate.

Advisors as Independent Contractors – Will the Gig Be Up?

The Department of Labor recently announced a major shift intended to assist so-called “Gig Workers” that may result in significant changes for financial advisors. Here is a brief summary of how we got here and where we may go.

Financial Literacy 2.2022: Why Combining Digital FinLit with Basics is Essential

When it comes to financial literacy, student loan forgiveness and mortgage rates may be top of mind for younger plan participants. These may be areas that participants have identified as weaknesses or gaps in their knowledge, but there’s an argument to be made for focusing on the basics of financial literacy: they don’t know what they don’t know.

The Season’s Hot New Trends

Everyone loves a three-day weekend, so wouldn’t it be grand to have them every week? Maybe in theory, but in practice it’s far more complicated than that, and can require restructuring of an organization’s workforce. So how do sponsors know if it’s right for them?

“Financial Influencers”: Investing, Enrollment and Your Employees

There may be buzz around new laws on auto-enrollment’s impact on plan sponsors and their employees, but getting those employees to enroll and stay enrolled is still a pain point for many sponsors. If plan sponsors aren’t reaching their employees about the importance of saving for retirement, maybe there’s another option: social media influencers who post about personal finance.

Don’t Walk Like a Duck: 3 Steps Advisors Can Take to Not Sound Like a Scam

With recession a looming possibility, there may be more fraudsters contacting the very people in your prospect pipeline. What may be worse is that fraudulent schemes have evolved to sound more like legitimate businesses. With the scammers stealing marketing methods from legitimate advisors, how can you make sure your marketing pieces don’t get confused with more nefarious folks?

Unretirement: Boomerang Retirees

Amidst all the talk about quiet quitting, quiet managing, and the Great Resignation, another trend may be brewing: the retirement boomerang. Retirees who don't plan for their retirement income properly may boomerang back into the workforce. Advisors can help prevent this by working on education ahead of a planned retirement date.

Worried About Market Volatility? Take a P.A.U.S.E.

It may seem like there is a lot of news about the stock market being volatile. If that’s got you concerned, here is an easy way to consider how you perceive the stock market and its fluctuations. Try taking a pause. Here are five things to remember about volatility that can help you position yourself appropriately and reduce your concerns.

Auto-Enroll Your Employees in More than a 401(k): Why FinLit and Financial Wellness Can Boost Your Bottom Line

Many companies offering their employees a new financial wellness benefit. Plan Sponsors may want to take note, not just for how your competition may be enticing employees, but also, how those programs can increase productivity. Here’s the Who, How, Why and What of it all.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Even small money decisions and discussions can be difficult and stressful but saying “no” and saying “yes” are essential skills every employee should learn.

Hughes Applied and FINRA’s New Alternative Mutual Funds Notice: Compliance Concerns to Watch

Sponsors looking for more definitive guidelines following the Supreme Court’s Hughes decision may be waiting awhile. New court decisions haven’t stemmed the influx of cases, and further FINRA notices may indicate that Sponsors need to tighten their compliance efforts.

Recessions and Retirement Age: New Research Shows Different Trend

Studies show that Americans retirement age is changing. What’s behind that latest trend? Those details show unsurprising results, like longevity and better health. But they also show interesting details financial advisors may want to watch.

ESG, Institutional Investors and SEC’s Greenwashing Rule

ESG has long been a hot topic for advisors working with individuals. Now, new research shows that institutional investors are prioritizing ESG in their decisions too. But there are concerns about what qualifies. Here’s what you need to know to help your institutional clients.

The Coming Storm – The History the IRA’s Treatment of Carried Interests Shows What Might Be to Come

The Inflation Reduction Act may have had many financial advisors worried. That’s because one iteration of the legislation proposed significant changes to Section 1063 of the tax code. We thought it was important to dig in a little bit to the proposed changes and the history of them.

This Time It’s Personal

To meet employees where they are, plan sponsors should take a lesson from BuzzFeed quizzes and subscription boxes.

Small Business Basics on 401(k) Enrollments

How can small businesses choose the right plan that factors administrative costs but also addresses their need for flexibility? They may want to consider goals and culture. Here’s why.

Let Them Eat 401(k)ake!

It’s time to ditch the ping-pong table, snack bar, and bean bag chairs (not that they’ve gotten much use in the last few years). The best recruitment tools aren’t free lunches or nap pods, it’s just better benefits.

Manage Meeting Mayhem

As the Wall Street Journal says, “Great meetings are small, fast, and don’t involve status updates.” So how can you get to great? Here are a few key tips.

Inflation’s Improbable Benefits for Investors

Is there an upside to inflation? We found three areas where investors could benefit from inflation’s impact on the economy.

Maximize Your Relevancy to Prospective Clients by Knowing Your Assets

Your current search for marketing data may overlook your intangible assets. Here’s a deep dive into why playing on your intangible assets can help you.

Practice Pointers: Interviewing and Hiring

You could be doing all of your recruitment right, but still fall short on hiring. Many employers fail to focus on how the interview process informs candidates about company culture and lose networking opportunities for the almost-right candidate.

Next Up in Prospecting - How to Delegate

Looking for a way to lighten up your stress? The experts all suggest delegating more of your to do list. We know it’s easy. But one task you can delegate to others is building your prospect database.

Skill Building: Become a Better Listener

41% of advisors report communicating more frequently with clients. Now may be a prime time to sharpen your listening skills with these tips.

Document Retention Policies Post-Pandemic- Is it Time to Rethink Yours?

Is it time to revamp your company’s document retention policy? As always, discuss any change to information management and client records with your legal counsel. Here are a few things to consider asking your counsel, especially if you are continuing to work in a remote or hybrid work environment.

The Three Questions Your Employees Have on HSA Investments

Few realize that HSA contributions can be invested for long-term gains. When teaching “HSA investment 101”, here are three questions sponsors will have to answer.

Rock, Paper, Scissors: Considerations for Contemplating Adding New Plan Providers

As benefits continue to be a leading item in recruitment and retention of top candidates, plan sponsors may be considering changing their plan providers as well as their plan options. Here are a few thoughts on the pros and cons of adding plan providers, consolidating multiple plans and staying put.

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.

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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