Our Process


Consulting of any kind is an intangible service, so it helps to visualize the end result that you seek—it helps to have a mental portrait of your destination.  When you engage Independent 401(k) Advisors, our service to you follows three phases.

Have you ever measured how successful your plan is? Do you have a sense for how such a measurement might be accomplished? 

We begin with a simple question: is your plan succeeding at its primary mission of leading participants to a financially secure retirement?  Using current census and plan data we calculate an overall success probability for your plan—the percentage likelihood that the average participant in your plan can successfully retire at age 65.

Next we ask questions about the plan itself.  How is the service?  Has the full range of plan design opportunities been exhausted?  How do the current vendor and services compare to what is available in the marketplace?  How do costs compare?  Is the plan user-friendly for both participants and administrative staff?  We check the pulse of your current plan to determine areas of focus and improvement.

Your plan’s infrastructure consists of its vendors and service relationships.  You chose your current investment providers, recordkeeper, and other service firms after careful consideration—how did those decisions work out?  Are you satisfied or dissatisfied?  More importantly, what are the opportunities for improvement?  In 100% of the plans we serve, we find opportunities for improvement that are available by simply investigating the capabilities of the current vendors or applying pressure where appropriate.

When the current vendors do not appear to represent the best of what is available in the marketplace, we conduct a vendor search, help you choose a replacement, and manage the implementation for you.  Whether we simply take advantage of all the best features your current vendors have to offer or help you find a completely new vendor, the result will be that we bring your infrastructure to a high state of “polish”—we make sure that proper attention is paid to the details so that your plan is the very best it can be.

Proper fiduciary governance of a qualified plan is a tedious, labor-intensive, highly detailed process that virtually no company is willing or able to manage without help.  As experts in fiduciary governance we provide a template and firm guidance to ensure the work is done, and done properly.  We write the processes, organize the committees, serve as secretary in meetings, maintain a complete document file, monitor the investments, and the service providers.

Service at the plan level is important, but so is service at the individual participant level.  Our overwhelming experience has been that people respond best to other people.  A human face—a face of someone your people feel they can trust—can have more impact than all of the Internet tools and glossy brochures in the world.  For some clients, participant level service is impractical, but whenever economies of scale permit, we strongly advocate a thoughtful program of participant education and advice.

A Portrait of Your Destination

Here are just a few of the things you can expect when you hire us:


Whether you keep your current vendors or begin new vendor relationships, the services available at both plan and participant level will be polished to the highest possible level.

Every investment in the plan will be constantly scrutinized by our team of experts and professional partners.  Investments that disappoint us will be replaced promptly.  Money managers will be selected from the universe of available managers to find the very best in the world.

Your fiduciary duties will be met.  You will have a plan oversight committee, a written fiduciary governance process, a formal investment policy, quarterly review meetings, and detailed documentation.  We will lead and do all the heavy lifting—you just need to show up.

Your participant success probabilities will soar.  Savings rates will increase, participation will increase, plan satisfaction will increase, real returns will increase.  These are not guarantees, but it is accurate to say that these outcomes are likely when our methodology is applied to the fullest extent.

Every year we will conduct a formal review.  How is the plan doing?  Is it still cost competitive?  Are there any new features or plan design opportunities we can take advantage of?  In short, we polish the infrastructure regularly to make sure that it keeps its shine.

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