If you’re an advisor or a TPA like we are, you’ll be found.

I’m not talking about prospective clients. Rather, the large number of insurance companies, mutual funds, and other financial service providers who want to do business with you. That is, distribute their product or service.

Cogent Research, a market research firm for the financial service industry, estimates that financial advisors receive over 100 “touches” (in-person meeting, emails, print mailings, periodicals, social media, and telephone calls) every month from providers. Actually, maybe a low estimate if you factor in LinkedIn group posting and Twits.

I learned a long time ago that you can’t do business with everyone. So how do you evaluate a potential business relationship or an existing one for that matter in which their representative says, “We want to be your business partner”?

We’re a company that administers qualified retirement plans in an “unbundled” service delivery model. It’s the “platforms”, the daily valuation recordkeepers and fund providers such as the insurance companies and mutual fund companies, with whom we work.

Here are the important considerations to us with in developing a long-term business partnership with a platform:

  • On-site client sales calls and support
  • Continuing education seminars
  • Joint marketing initiatives
  • On-going product updates
  • Annual review meeting support
  • Assistance in firm business development
  • Regular discussions about client service matters

And, of course, conduct business with integrity and honesty.
It’s simply this. Can they help us add value to our existing client and advisor relationships?

Jerry Kalish is President of National Benefit Services, Inc., a Chicago-based third party administrator. He also publishes The Retirement Plan Blog (www.retirementplanblog.com). Jerry can be reached at jerry@nationalbenefit.com.


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