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Financial Wellness Program Category at 401kTV Chicago GENIE Awards Won by Brad Arends

Financial Wellness Program Category at 401kTV Chicago GENIE Awards Won by Brad Arends

Financial Wellness Program category winner, Brad Arends, CEO of Intellicents is making a difference for plan sponsors and plan participants when it comes to improving outcomes. Mr. Arends’ extensive experience in plan design, investments and technology contribute to Intellicent’s success in the area of Financial Wellness Programs.  According to Mr. Arends, Intellicents “incorporates a 5-step process for a financial wellness program that actually works.” In today’s environment of information-overload Financial Wellness programs need to be much more than convenient technology-driven solutions focusing solely on either education or investments.  A successful Financial Wellness program needs to prompt or nudge participants while helping them to make decisions and changes that are not complicated to execute.  After the 401kTV GENIE Award Program, Brad Arends of Intellicents, was interviewed by Graham Thomas, Publisher of 401kTV.  During their conversation, Mr. Thomas and Mr. Arends discussed the challenges facing employees today when they are forced to make Financial Planning decisions and they rarely have the skillsets, education, resources, and knowledge to do so.  Learn the benefit of instituting a foundational financial plan for your company employees.

Full Transcript

Graham Thomas:
Hi, I’m Graham Thomas, publisher of 401kTV coming to you live from the 2019 GENIE Awards in Chicago. I’m joined here by Brad Arends, CEO and co-founder of intellicents. Brad, congratulations on your nomination for-

Brad Arends:
Thank you.

Graham Thomas:
… Wellness. You’ve had an interesting career, you’ve been a record keeper and now an adviser and also now a technologist. So could you sort of talk a little bit about that journey and the motivation behind it?

Brad Arends:
Well, we actually started as advisors and then along the way we felt that we had to build the supporting record keeping. And for years, literally decades, it was kind of a sister business, almost a stepsister business for us. But then it grew to where we were providing recordkeeping services to advisors across the United States. We had 120 employees that we sold that piece of our business back in 2016 and now we’re kind of back to how we started.

Brad Arends:
We’re an advisor, but we’re also putting together pieces of technology now to support our advisory services, which are primarily directed towards worksite financial wellness.

Graham Thomas:
Got it. And where do you see the opportunity moving forward or what do you see that’s kind of lacking in technology for the retirement space right now?

Brad Arends:
Today when you look at the services that are being demanded of the adviser today, it takes today four to six different pieces of technology to deliver those services. And each of those pieces is excellent at what it does. But it’s very, very inefficient for the adviser who has to deliver this and make money. And so my dream, I have a dream that there’s going to be… I’ve put together things that I’ve felt have been missing. So for example, I feel that the typical American today at his place of employment is asked to make selections in a menu of benefits that he doesn’t have the skillset, he doesn’t have the education, he doesn’t have the knowledge, and oftentimes he doesn’t have the resources in support to make those decisions yet we’re still asking him to do that.

Brad Arends:
And these are no longer just benefit decisions. They’re actually financial planning issues. And I believe that what’s going to happen and what is needed is that we need to start looking at financial planning solutions within the workforce, which means that we as advisors have to have the means to deliver this economically and efficiently to thousands of people. And what we developed, I mean there are fantastic resources out there for furniture planning software, but they’re really, really labor-intensive to create that. What we’ve done is we’ve basically created a Robo financial plan, call it a foundational financial plan that with just age and wage that we can get from the payroll department at the plan sponsor, we can create a foundational financial plan for every employee that will tell them a number of things. How much do they have to have in an emergency fund?

Brad Arends:
How big of a debt load should they have at a maximum? How much life insurance do they need? Most people have no more than what their group term life is provided by their employer. Yet they need a lot more. What their disability benefits should be. If I can get the ages of their kids, I can tell them what they should have in their 529 plan today in order to be able to afford a state school or a public school. And I should be able to also based on age, tell them what they need to have in their retirement today to actually be on track, to have enough money to maintain their same standard of living at retirement. Right.

Graham Thomas:
So it sounds like there’s a lot of data there and that you’re going to be to harness a lot of that, and that’s going to take buy-in from both the plan sponsor, the plan advisor, everybody [inaudible 00:04:25] away. So I wish you the best of luck. Congratulations on-

Brad Arends:
Thank you.

Graham Thomas:
… All the work you’re doing. Brad Arends, intellicents coming to you live from the GENIE Awards in Chicago. Thanks.

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