Sensenig Capital Advisors Helps Architecture Firm Find More Cost-Effective 401(k) Plan
RLPS Gains More Diversified Investment Menu, Ongoing Benchmarking, and Continued Financial Planning Education
Sensenig Capital Advisors made it simple for a local architectural firm to offer their employees a higher-performing 401(k) option with better customer service and more closely tailored to their unique needs as an architectural firm, aligning with their company size and requirements. The firm now relies on Sensenig to act as their trusted financial advisor, providing annual reviews, an ongoing analysis, and regular suggestions for improvement to their 401(k) plan.
A Pennsylvania architectural firm wasn’t satisfied with the results they were getting with their 401(k) investment company. Typically, for a firm and its participants to see the best results from their 401(k) plans, three components are required:
- A full-service financial advisor
- A third-party administrator
- A record keeper providing participants access to their accounts
The architectural firm was missing a full-service financial advisor, so they were getting far less value from their 401(k) planning than they could. Because they were self-managing, they were missing out on three key areas:
- Investment Due Diligence: prudent guidance on selecting the best investment options
- Independent Benchmarking: a comparison of balanced fees, services, and investments to evaluate industry options
- Employee Education: high-touch financial planning education for 401(k) participants
In addition, their current 401(k) plan significantly limited which mutual funds participants could select for their investments, so Sensenig’s “open architecture” style that allows them to choose from a broader, more diversified menu of investment options offered more choice and an additional layer of fiduciary protection. The current plan was also tied to paper-based forms, using outdated technology that did not allow participants to change their plans easily. Their provider also did not offer financial planning tools to enable participants to build their retirement plans or provide answers to questions — the service component was severely lacking. This spurred a need for the firm to find a solution more closely tailored to their needs and an advisor who could fill in the gaps.
Having an ongoing relationship with a senior partner at the architectural firm, Jeremy Brenn from Sensenig Capital reached out to let them know he could help them find a 401(k) plan that better suited their needs. He offered a free independent benchmarking audit to verify that better options were available.
The Benchmarking Audit was a simple process that involved meeting with the client to understand their needs, pain points, and challenges with their current 401(k) plan. After collecting various data points, Sensenig put together a Benchmarking document outlining the firm’s current 401(k) plan costs and value against other options available in the market. In this case, Sensenig was able to show many areas in which adding a financial advisor could significantly increase the value they were getting without a meaningful increase in cost.
The benchmarking audit guided Jeremy to suggest a more suitable plan that ultimately cost the company less and provided more tailored, relevant, and timely customer service. Sensenig provided transparent and frequent communication with continuous accessibility to help the firm transition. The firm is pleased with their experience with Sensenig and has noted that their employees are much happier with the new solution. Some have engaged with Sensenig to manage their personal financial planning as a result, thanks to Sensenig’s certifications which allow them to go above and beyond just 401(k).
Thanks to the addition of full-service financial advisor Sensenig, the architectural firm was able to add to the value they were getting from their 401(k) planning and they now enjoy:
- Major technology upgrades so participants have the flexibility to change deferral amounts and beneficiaries easily.
- Online financial planning tools to help participants gain more control over their retirement planning.
- Twice yearly on-site education sessions for participants plus ongoing access to financial planning experts available to answer participant questions at any time.
- A partner with the certifications to guide them through all their financial planning goals, not limited to just 401(k).
- The freedom to choose from a more diversified menu of investment options
The firm is enjoying a positive experience with its new provider, and participants are taking full advantage of Sensenig’s education sessions, reaching out with questions year-round to help build their financial acumen. They have found Sensenig’s 401(k) plan management and guidance invaluable and have substantially increased the value of their investment without significantly increasing cost.