Have you ever thought about what makes great partnerships work? What common themes apply to nearly every successful client relationship? In a previous post, I discussed some of the ways my team at Vanguard Retirement Plan Access™ (VRPA) would be working to strengthen and support our relationships with advisors, based on listening we’ve done over the last year.
An important part of this effort involves sharing useful information with you, which is why I want you to know about a recently published white paper called Vanguard Institutional Advisor’s Alpha™: Quantifying the Value of a Consultant.
Adding value to every client engagement
Our new research points to several important areas that matter most to clients in the DC space, and where you stand to add the most alpha to your practice and the retirement-readiness of your clients’ employees.
We know you face many priorities when serving clients. However, the research shows that focusing on a few critical areas—such as fiduciary matters, investment policy statements, and retirement plan design—can enhance client engagement. We recognize that many advisors already follow these practices, but highlighting them with clients can further differentiate you from the competition.
Fiduciary matters present ongoing opportunities
Fiduciary law and regulatory compliance are two areas where advisors can add enormous value. It’s a complex landscape that requires deep expertise, a commitment to ongoing education, and an ability to share your knowledge with clients of all sophistication levels.
In an industry where litigation has become all too common, you have an opportunity to help your clients navigate a dynamic set of fiduciary rules and government regulations.
Pay attention to investment policy statements
A comprehensive investment policy statement (IPS) can help you guide clients through many challenges. With a well-crafted IPS, market extremes and uncertainties can present opportunities to strengthen relationships.
An IPS can also help all parties focus on the long term and remind clients of previous commitments. Most important, a carefully crafted IPS will instruct boards and committee members how often it should be revisited and under what circumstances it can be modified.
Maximize outcomes with intelligent plan design
When you construct and monitor DC retirement plans, you have an ongoing opportunity to add alpha for clients and their participants. We recommend a tiered method to constructing an investment lineup.
You can continue to add value by developing a deep understanding of participant behavior and put that knowledge to work with intelligent choice architecture (including autoenrollment, autoescalation, and QDIA options like target-date funds). The last step is to use an informed strategy to monitor and measure participant wealth creation and plan effectiveness.
Partner with Vanguard
Great partnerships don’t just happen. They’re something you have to commit to, and work hard at building, every day. At VRPA, this is all part of our ongoing efforts to provide clear guidance and support to advisors like you.
I’ve written before about the growth mindset we’re incorporating to improve your VRPA client experience, and with that growth in mind, we will soon have cash balance and financial wellness services available for you in early 2019. It’s my hope that by introducing you to the ideas and best practices discussed in Vanguard Institutional Advisor’s Alpha, we can help you grow your practice as we continue to help our shared clients become retirement-ready.
Note: All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.