How To Hire A 401k Investment Adviser

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By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

Employer plan sponsors often ask me which investment adviser credentials are most important to look for when hiring a 401k investment adviser. As a 401k investment adviser myself, I have observed a number of plan sponsors hiring the wrong advisers because they aren’t looking at the right investment adviser credentials and are using an incorrect set of criteria to judge who is best.

Following are some universal, common sense criteria that plan sponsors can apply when hiring a 401k investment adviser along with important investment adviser credentials to evaluate. The information is divided into what I would consider the three major categories plan sponsors should evaluate: Fiduciary Responsibility, Firm and Background. [Read more…]

401k RFP Tips For Employers

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PSI Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15

By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

Recently my Registered Investment Advisory (RIA) firm has been fortunate to receive a number of Requests For Proposals (RFPs) for investment advisory services. While I am grateful to receive these RFPs, I continue to be puzzled by how some plan sponsors choose to manage their RFP process. So, outlined below, I have provided some tips on how plan sponsors can optimize their 401k RFP process to ensure it produces the best possible result. [Read more…]

Four Things You Should Know About Your Broker

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MMM Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15I hope you had a great weekend and a happy May Day!

LRPC’s Monday Morning Minute for this week, “Four Things You Should Know About Your Broker” (presented below) comes to you courtesy of Investment Advisor Magazine. As an independent, objective Registered Investment Advisory (RIA) firm, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC has access to research from many sources. Be assured that I will share the most relevant information with you each week. This is a short piece I believe everyone can read in less than 60 seconds.

LRPC is a RIA which is much different from a brokerage firm. In the article below, the author, who also works for a RIA, outlines some of the differences between the two types of firms. I think you will find the differences surprising.

Have a wonderful week!

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Four Things You Should Know About Your Broker

By Bob Clark, Investment Advisor Magazine

As I’ve written many times, I’ve come to believe that a financial advisor’s job is to protect clients from themselves (succumbing to greed and fear in their investment decisions, and procrastination in their saving decisions), from the financial service industry and the financial media, by extension. Once again, I’m not saying that everyone in the financial services industry is a bad actor; but, as we all know, there are powerful financial incentives to put their own interests ahead of their clients’, and some folks can’t seem to be able to resist the temptation.

Now, the traditional client/advisor communications are usually effective in saving clients from their inclination to buy high and sell low. But in my experience, the biggest reason that retail investors need to be protected from the financial services industry is because they don’t understand how it really works.

And while most advisors do (I say “most” because it’s my observation that it takes an advisor between 5 years and 10 years of industry experience to figure out what’s really going on), they rarely make a formal effort to transfer this insight to their clients — which is a shame, as this understanding is the real key to financial success.

Here’s what I tell my clients these days: [Read more…]

What 401k Plan Sponsors Want To Know About The New Fiduciary Regs

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PSI Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

Since the Department of Labor released its final fiduciary compliance rules, there has been a tremendous amount of media coverage devoted to what plan sponsors need to know about the new fiduciary regs. Although much of it has been well written with good intentions, most of it has been wrong and has only served to confuse plan sponsors. Based on what I am hearing from plan sponsors, following is what you say you want to know about the new fiduciary regs: [Read more…]

Does Your 401k Investment Adviser Measure Up?

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PSI Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

Each year retirement plan sponsors should take time to evaluate their providers. Included in this group is your 401k investment adviser. Most plan sponsors use an investment adviser to help them with their 401k plans. This is a smart decision since many advisers are able to save plan sponsors at least as much as they charge. How can you tell if you are working with the right 401k investment adviser?

Top advisers: [Read more…]

Your 401k Investment Adviser Can Help Manage Providers

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By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

Most 401k plan sponsors work with an investment adviser to help them manage their 401k plans. Many are unaware that it is reasonable to expect their investment adviser to help manage providers. Leading edge investment advisers are familiar with the marketplace for trust, custody, employee education and recordkeeping services. As a result, plan sponsors should expect help from their investment adviser with: [Read more…]

What To Look For In A Top 401k Investment Adviser

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By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

As we move toward the end of another year, plan sponsors should make time to review their 401k plan providers. Most employer plan sponsors use an investment adviser to help them with their 401k plans. This is a smart decision since most advisers are able to save plan sponsors at least as much as they charge. How can you tell if you are working with a top 401k investment adviser? A top 401k investment adviser: [Read more…]

Why All 401k Plan Sponsors Should Use BrokerCheck

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By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

The Department of Labor (DoL) feel it is important that you, as a 401k plan sponsor, review your providers at least every 3 to 5 years. One way to check on the status of the financial advisor working with your 401k plan is by using BrokerCheck — a free service provided by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). FINRA is the regulator for all securities firms doing business in the U.S. Their primary objective is to protect investors.

BrokerCheck lists any financial advisor violations of investment-related regulations or statues and will also tell you whether your financial advisor is licensed to do business in your state. Don’t worry, your financial advisor will not be informed about whether you used the service to check his/her background.

BrokerCheck will tell you: [Read more…]

Services To Expect From Your 401k Investment Adviser

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By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

It’s annual review time. That part of the year when your 401k plan investment adviser visits to discuss what has happened in the markets and your plan during the prior year. As you consider the success of your annual review meeting, you may wish to evaluate the following investment adviser services you should be receiving. [Read more…]

401k Investment Adviser Annual Reviews — What Employers Should Expect

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PSI Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15
By Robert C. Lawton, AIF, CRPS, President, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

It’s annual review time! At least once each year, retirement plan sponsors should be meeting with their 401k plan investment advisor to review what happened in the plan during the prior year. Those plan sponsors that are already meeting with their advisor on a quarterly basis take note – the annual review should be a little different. All annual reviews should cover: [Read more…]