Software Products and Resources
Fund Monitoring, Practice Management and Participant Education Resource Tools
As our advisor partners know, having the right resources and tools to effectively and profitably operate their practice is paramount. With the advisor service model continually evolving, understanding which product and/or resource can help grow with their business is critical to their success. Software products and systems are a major financial investment. Therefore, choosing the wrong one could cause a signif- icant financial setback to an advisor's practice. Evaluating these products involves not only proper due diligence but also must take into consideration and anticipate the future needs of the practice. Do these tools have the flexibility, scale and depth to meet the growing demands of an advisor practice?
With significant historical experience, detailed due diligence and valuable commentary from our advisor network, APG can assist with these important evaluations. We understand that these components are the very essence of an advisor core competency, and the foundation of the deliverables to the Plan Sponsor and participants. By creating comprehensive and expansive database profiles, and understanding the needs of our advisor partners, APG is able to carefully match the appropriate resource to an advisor's practice. We painstakingly analyze, inter- view and assess on a constant basis these resources, in order to deliver the right combination for advisor successful outcomes. These vendors recognize APG's vast advisor network and are eager to provide all requisite and necessary information so informed business decisions can be made. Given the economic enormity of these choices, we have successfully and substantially negotiated valuable fee discounts for our advisor partners.
Each category of product and resource evaluation has its own unique criteria and profile building logic. Fund monitoring and governance may have technical applica- tions such as the degree of analytic horsepower needed; branding issues desired; ease of advisor use; base of Plan Sponsor understanding; and the degree of training and ongoing support warranted. Practice management tools may need to address such items as: benchmarking and RFP support; management tools; and proposal generation and sales tracking software. This often involves assessing whether indi- vidualized personnel is a better solution versus web based applications.
Since participant education is such an intrinsic part of an advisor's service offer- ing and value proposition, securing the right tools and resources is fundamental to success. This requires a detailed needs and logistical assessment to determine the frequency of scheduled meetings, the type and structure such as group versus one-on-one and whether the recordkeeper will participate. This type of diagnostic delves even further by examining, when needed, available education outsourcing organizations to provide services for large or geographically dispersed participant populations. Additionally, the vendor profile should be clear whether the concen- tration will be focused on education/guidance versus the need for advice modules. Each vendor typically will have varying levels of sophistication within these catego- ries based upon the needs of an advisor. The definition of true participant education success is based upon the effectiveness of changes and motivation. The tools must be able to quantify, measure and track the degree of effectiveness within many categories. These software products are built to incorporate behavioral economics to effectuate action and change, to ultimately prepare for retirement readiness.