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Benefits of Working with a Strong Team of Retirement Plan Partners

At the conclusion of a Fiduciary Education Session, conducted at UC Berkeley, Fred Barstein, Founder, and CEO of The Plan Sponsor University (TPSU) visited with Lynne Graham, People & Organizational Services Director of Bananas Inc., headquartered in Oakland, CA.  They discussed the benefit of working with a strong team of retirement plan partners on the plan.  Due to an administrative oversight, Ms. Graham was quick to assemble a team consisting of the plan’s recordkeeper, third-party administrator, and the retirement plan advisor.  The partners worked swiftly with the plan sponsor to resolve the oversight before any plan participants were impacted.  Watch how a strong team with good communications skills and a quality retirement plan advisor can make a big difference.

Full Transcript Here

Fred Barstein:               This is Fred Barstein with 401K TV at UC Berkeley in California, obviously, and just completed a TPSU program. I am here with Lynne. Welcome Lynne.

Lynne:                          Thank you.

Fred Barstein:               Okay if we ask you a few questions?

Lynne:                          Absolutely.

Fred Barstein:               Okay. So before we do, tell us a little bit about yourself and your organization.

Lynne:                          So I work for BANANAS Inc, which is a child care referral agency in Oakland, California.

Fred Barstein:               BANANAS?

Lynne:                          BANANAS. Long time organization, 40 plus years.

Fred Barstein:               Right.

Lynne:                          And I am the people and operational services director. So I handle all the human resources and operational services of the building.

Fred Barstein:               In another video we’re gonna ask you how we got to BANANAS, but we’ll save that. So what you talked about today, which I found interesting was, how you’re able to get your record keeper, your TPA and advisor to work together, collaborate, and bring new ideas and solve problems. So give us an example of that collaboration.

Lynne:                          Well we have a … Because we’re an old organization and pretty small, we have 36 employees, stuff comes up from time to time. So what I will do is I’ll usually reach out to my advisor at the same time as my record keeper. If I have a concern or problem or something I’m trying to fix, like for instance, I had somebody who left our organization before they had enrolled, but then they became eligible for our distribution under our planned document. They were still eligible. So I had to get my plan advisor involved. I got the record keeper involved, and I even contacted my TPA just to see, okay. Do I have to distribute to them? Is there penalties involved? Because we had missed the window because they had left. They were all able to chime in together on a communication to let me know what I needed to do to correct the problem without any fees to my organization.

Fred Barstein:               So they hadn’t enrolled, but because you have a match or you have-

Lynne:                          We have a percentage that we give employees.

Fred Barstein:               No matter what?

Lynne:                          No matter what.

Fred Barstein:               And so because it’s hard … You think all of these organizations, they work together, but they come together. They’re all independent.

Lynne:                          They are.

Fred Barstein:               So it’s really important for you to bring them together.

Lynne:                          Exactly. And they all were just really quick to get back to me and brainstorm together and respond to one another.

Fred Barstein:               Right.

Lynne:                          So that we could get the situation resolved, and the person got their distribution. And we didn’t have any penalties. So it was great.

Fred Barstein:               And if that coordination isn’t there, it just makes your life more difficult.

Lynne:                          Right. ‘Cause then you’re running from person to person, and then you’re-

Fred Barstein:               It’s not my fault.

Lynne:                          Right. Or you’re having to tell them what the other person said, and this way it’s just a really nice, cohesive communication.

Fred Barstein:               Yeah. It makes life easier. So you can focus on the children, right?

Lynne:                          That’s exactly right.

Fred Barstein:               Very good. And so tell us a couple of things you learned today that you may want to take back.

Lynne:                          What I learned today for my organization would be auto enrollment. I’m definitely gonna go back and look. Do a little more research and encourage the leadership to look at going in that direction. The other thing I learned was about, right now we manually upload our distributions to our employee’s accounts, and this way, I’m gonna try to connect my payroll to that now.

Fred Barstein:               Make sure … Get the payroll involved.

Lynne:                          Have them be my TPA. Yeah. So then we’ll look at that option.

Fred Barstein:               And why do you want to do automatic enrollment?

Lynne:                          Because I think that sometimes when people step away and don’t do it initially when they first join our organization-

Fred Barstein:               [crosstalk 00:03:36]

Lynne:                          Right. When they don’t join our organization, they don’t ever get enrolled. They forget. They put it to one side. It becomes too confusing. Whatever. So unless I’m at it pressing them, they’re not engaging, and it’s much easier.

Fred Barstein:               Right. Cool. Thanks for your time today.

Lynne:                          Thank you so much.

Fred Barstein:               And thank you for watching 401k TV.



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