By Cyril Tuohy
Financial advisors back to prospecting for retirement plan sponsors following the Labor Day weekend might want to download Principal Financial Group’s most recent guide for how to approach and structure a request for proposal (RFP) for retirement plan sponsors.
The guide, titled “Mastering the Advisor RFP,” is billed as a “research-based tool kit” offering advisors insights to use when responding to RFPs issued by plan sponsors.
Rob Logan, regional vice president for Principal Funds, said the guide was created after hearing complaints from advisors who grumbled about the burdens of the RFP process, while seeing very little in the way of financial return.
“We applied our expertise in the retirement space to create materials that help advisors better navigate the process, positioning them to win new business and retain current clients,” Logan said in a news release.
The guide offers advisors ideas and strategies around differentiating their story, breaking down the RFP lifecycle and where advisors should be at each stage, identifying factors most likely to mean a successful RFP outcome, and mastering the RFP process through best practices.
Advisors also have access to downloadable tools to take them through the three stages to support a successful outcome, Principal Funds said.
There’s a major opportunity for advisors to rethink their approach toward retirement plan sponsors as 71 percent of retirement plan sponsors conducted an advisor search within the past five years, Principal Funds said, citing one recent study.
The finding proves plan sponsors are in the market for retirement plan advice.
Ann Schleck, a consultant to retirement plan advisors, said more retirement plan sponsors are requiring advisors to submit RFPs to be selected as a consultant to a retirement plan. If RFPs aren’t properly filled out, or if the RFP doesn’t position an advisor in the most positive light, then advisors don’t even get a foot in the door.
“When RFP responses are used as a tool to screen advisors, it’s easy to get eliminated from consideration — especially if the plan sponsor can’t discern the important intangible differences,” Schleck said. “This tool kit helps advisors follow steps to create meaningful responses and put their best foot forward.”
Schleck, founder and principal of Ann Schleck & Co. in Woodbury, Minn., contributed to Principal Funds’ report.
Cyril Tuohy is a writer based in Pennsylvania. He has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. He can be reached at Cyril.Tuohy@innfeedback.com.
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