Advisors Weigh In: How to Increase Participant Contribution Rates

December 4, 2019
Source: Financial Advisor IQ

What’s the most effective tool you’ve used to help increase contribution rates?

Dennis Bielik works at TCG Advisors, a firm based in Austin, Texas that has been in business for 20 years and manages $3.5 billion. His response is below:

Participants are unlikely to have access to other forms of quality financial advice, let alone a fiduciary. With that in mind, TCG’s focus on plan design still remains the most impactful way to improve participant levels. We focus on increasing participation through autoenrollment, auto-escalate and other plan design features.

Using employee education and engagement is a bonus to this structure — a combination of in-person communication and technology is provided to better educate our audience. Together, this allows us to capture users that value a hands-on experience.

A trusting relationship between employees and their benefits provider takes roughly three months to establish. Meetings are scheduled to develop rapport and encourage employees to get involved. Participants share their experiences about our services through word of mouth, building credibility for TCG.

Our mission and services resonate and connect with employees; therefore, participation in retirement plans is growing significantly. We saw particularly large growth over the plan year in our Erisa plans. Current users increased their contribution rates, in addition to new participants buying into a plan.

New growth motivated TCG to offer debt and budget reviews as a way to help employees find new ways to save for retirement. An income gap analysis option was added to assist plan participants in determining the amount they should contribute each year. These tools help employees feel comfortable investing in their retirement plan and assist in building trust with TCG.

As a “for instance,” one of our clients is a firm with 400 employees. For this plan we offer participants a monthly one-on-one appointment with a certified financial planner at TCG.

Within 30 minutes of their HR department launching this offering, all appointments were filled. Three months of successfully being booked out led the company to extend their employees’ time with us, adding an extra day each month. Proving ourselves as a high-quality partner has built trust between our institutions and led them to refer TCG to two outside organizations.

Check out the full article here.

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