An interview with Fran Mulgrew conducted by Megan Lopez, internal sales associate at ABGRM
I'm speaking with Fran Mulgrew, Director of Sales and Business Development, at Alliance Benefit Group Rocky Mountain about the advantages we offer to advisors who work with us. ABG Rocky Mountain strives to provide the best services possible to help advisors and we want advisors to be aware of what they can take advantage of.
I know that ABGRM offers technology, services and tools to financial advisors who work with us to help them in the selling process and I would like to explore all of those today and talk about how ABGRM can help advisors grow their book of business.
First, I want to ask you about technology, ABGRM offers two apps; one designed for participants and one for advisors, tell me about the advisor app first.
Fran: Our advisor app is full of easy to access information that is useful for advisors. There are higher level view items like global funds and model portfolios and there is also a plan level dashboard that has lots of information including contribution and distribution summaries, participation rates and fund details.
That sounds impressive, now tell me about the app for participants.
Fran: A cool thing about the participant app is that it's designed to ease the enrollment process. Participants can enroll directly from their phone and once they are enrolled, they can also apply for loans and hardship withdrawals, check balance and performance, change contribution rates, and see the progress of requests from the app. They can also access financial wellness tools and retirement calculators. Basically, anything they may need regarding their account is accessible on the app.
I know that we offer something extra for our high-volume advisors, can you tell me about it?
Fran: Yes! This is an excellent addition and is unique to ABG Rocky Mountain. We can change the user experience on the app to an advisor's company branding. We can change coloring, fonts and add in logos and other personalizing features so it looks like an advisor's own company app.
That sounds like a great way for advisors to keep tabs on plans and to make enrollment a breeze. How do you pay for and access the apps?
Fran: The apps are free, and you can download them in the app store or play store on your device.
Now let's talk about services, can you give me an overview of the services ABGRM offers.
Fran: This is my specialty, so I'm excited to talk about it. We offer plan design consultations that can be done with the advisor and plan sponsor involved as well. We start with the plan sponsor's goal and work from there. For example, maybe they want the plan for employee retention or maybe they want it for tax purposes and depending on which one, we would utilize different plan options depending on the goal. We are really here to put together the perfect plan for each client.
It is exciting, tell me more…
Fran: We can also calculate employee projections to help plan sponsors make informed decisions when choosing a retirement plan package. ABGRM offers our services bundled or you can choose services "al la carte", to best fit your needs. We offer recordkeeping only services, but we can also be the TPA and work with a recordkeeper on our list of partners.
That's a great service! We also offer fiduciary support services to advisors and plan sponsors. "Specifically let's talk about two of our efficient services, 3(16) and managed accounts.
Fran: Most plan sponsors don't realize that their HR department will have additional responsibilities as a plan administrator. Our 3(16) services take the heavy lifting of responsibilities in a plan off a companies' HR department, leaving them time for more important HR duties.
Managed accounts are emerging as the new best practice for retirement planning, can you briefly talk about those?
Fran: Sure, in the interest of brevity, I'll just say by using managed accounts we can radically change the way you manage risk-based portfolios by making them more personalized. Managed accounts combine the best of both traditional 401(k) plans; you get an age-based allocation at an appropriate risk for that individual and with ABG's managed accounts service the advisor can pick the fund line up, the glidepath or both. We also offer two other managed accounts solutions so we can cover all variety of needs in this area.
Now on to tools; while we are on hot topics in the financial industry, can you tell me about the financial wellness tools that ABGRM offers.
Fran: We offer two financial wellness solutions. Our tool that comes with all recordkeeping services is called "Balance, Financial Fitness." It is a personal finance assistant and is free to participants, they can use it to plan for anything from buying a house to retirement. We also offer a paid service called "Financial Finesse" that is more comprehensive and personalized.
What about an advisor that is new to the retirement space or is interested in learning more about the space, do we have any services for them?
Fran: We offer a free education program to advisors; it's called 401k Sales Champion and it's a series of articles and web-based video tutorials designed to give an overview of the retirement space and best practices in selling plans. If someone is interested in the program all they need to do is request a login and we can get them set up. Also, if someone is needing more, we can also arrange a personal coaching session with an industry expert.
Can you tell me about prospecting lists, I know that can be a very valuable tool in building business?
Fran: We have access to the Judy Diamond database, where we can pull a list of plans with red flags. We can pull information in any zip code or pull specific industry information and give an advisor an excel file of prospects to target in sales campaigns. We can even pull reports on a specific plan that provides plan details. We are also happy to work with advisors on co-branded mailers that can be sent out to prospects.
Now that ABGRM has helped an advisor to sell a plan, what do we offer to help them keep the plan into the future?
Fran: Advisors who have plans with us can pull a plan checkpoint report from our advisor portal on our website. This report can be used to show plan sponsors the value that the advisor brings to their plan. For example, one report year the advisor may show the plan sponsor there are several employees who have poorly allocated funds or aren't participating. The advisor can target those participants and show the change in the next year's checkpoint report.
There you have it: technology, services and tools; three great ways grow your book of business.