Meet an Account Manager
Tracy Berning, account manager, discusses her role at Lincoln and working with consultants and advisors to streamline plan administration.
Q: What’s your role at Lincoln?
A: I’m an account manager in the mid- to large market, and I focus on recordkeeping operations. I collaborate with consultants, advisors and my internal partners on solutions to simplify administration and streamline day-to-day operations. I also help plan sponsors meet and comply with regulatory deadlines. Together with the relationship manager, I help develop strategies to meet plan sponsor goals for the year, while creating and managing the project plan to achieve these goals.
Q: How do you work with your team?
A: The account manager is the quarterback, driving the outcome. From an operational perspective, I’m the face to our clients, and I have the support of my internal partners. Lincoln has groups that specialize in compliance, plan design, processing, and data engagement. I leverage them on a daily basis to ensure that we provide our plan sponsors the solutions that best meet their needs.
Q: How do you interact with the plan sponsor and consultant?
A: It’s important for us to be on the same page, so we hold quarterly meetings with the consultant or advisor and the relationship manager to make sure we have the same vision before we meet monthly with the plan sponsor.
Q: When have you made an impact with a plan sponsor?
A: A large client was undergoing a merger and acquisition. They were sending 30 individual payroll files with different wires for each and calculating the match independently. This was a great opportunity to save the plan sponsor money and time. We merged the files so they could send one file and one wire, and now we’re exploring options to take over calculating the match. Before we presented our idea to the plan sponsor, we worked with the consultant to ensure her support of this approach.
In another instance, a consultant approached us for help with a governmental plan. The client wanted to limit carryover vacation days to reduce cost at the time of employee separation and, instead, make employer contributions to the plan. Talking to the plan sponsor gave us a clearer understanding of the ultimate goal, and we set up a 401(a) plan that allowed them to make continuing discretionary employer contributions. Now they promote this contribution as an ongoing incentive.
Q: How do you maintain great relationships with your clients?
A: Building strong relationships and earning trust is vital. I offer proactive solutions, and I’m there when people need me. I worked for another recordkeeper before Lincoln, and consultants found me at Lincoln and requested that I work with them again. That’s the power of great relationships.
Q: What tools do you rely on most?
A: What I really rely on the most is the knowledge of my internal partners. Our entire team helps deliver solutions. I also use project plans and the compliance testing calendar to ensure that all parties are on track.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about your role?
A: It’s rewarding to know that the work I do matters. Every interaction makes an impact. I also like building personal relationships with my clients and having them know they can call me for help.