How does the broker that set up your group RRSP or Pension Plan support the employees that are members of the plan? We talk all the time with plan sponsors about employee engagement with their retirement plans. It is one of the most difficult things to maintain. Keeping your employees engaged and interested in their retirement plan is really hard to do. In most cases they see the contributions coming off as payroll deductions but don’t really take the time to review what they are getting in their plan. As a plan sponsor, the minimum that you should see from your broker is that they negotiate the fees and management expenses within the plan to maximize the returns for your employees. They should also work to ensure that the investments available within the plan provide options that cover all risk tolerances and goals so that your employees can select an investment that meets their goals. What happens after this though? Once the plan is established what should you expect to see as ongoing support
- When you have a new employee that joins your plan a one on one consultation between that employee and the advisor for the plan should happen. During this meeting the plan fundamentals can be reviewed. There should also be a risk assessment done and the employee is able to ask questions that will help with the selection of the best fitting option within the plan.
- Review meetings – Depending on the size of the group that you have there should be review meetings for the plan members to take advantage of. Typically with larger plans you would see the option for group review meetings, while smaller plans may be done on an individual basis. These sessions tend to include topics like offering a review on how to use the website or app that is associated with the plan or an overall economic review to help understand the investment returns. By providing general information topics you
Again, these are more base level support and what we tend to see is that they don’t necessarily increase plan engagement with employees. There is often a group of employees that are quite active in the plan and they will take advantage of information sessions and are familiar with what they currently have in the plan. This group tends to be smaller in size as well. Reaching the plan members outside of this group is difficult but we have some ideas on how to do it
Think about offering meetings that aren’t necessarily linked to the group retirement plan directly, but offer valuable information otherwise. A couple of examples are
- Offer a series on financial literacy. This type of meeting will offer information on managing cash flows, consumer debt and daily living expenses. This is an area where there is little education provided currently but can have a huge impact on your employees lives.
- Retirement on the Horizon – offer a series of sessions for people that can see retirement coming. They are usually time based (i.e. 10 years away, 5 years away etc.) and will cover topics like how the plan you offer cana work in concert with government benefits, financial strategies and debt management tools that will help ease the transition into retirement
The bottom line that this comes down to is that the more engaged your employees are with their plan, the more they understand what a valuable benefit it is that is being provided for them. Attract and retain key employees is the mantra of a great benefit plan. In order to do this you need to supply a regular stream of information about the plan and overall financial well being that the plan encourages.