Meet an implementation partner
Explore how implementation partners facilitate smooth retirement plan transitions and build strong consultant relationships.
Q: What's the implementation partner role at Lincoln?
A: Implementation partners work with plan sponsors and consultants to develop and execute a project plan. They then transition the plan and its assets to Lincoln, setting up the plan for future success. A vital part is understanding client and consultant needs, including the role the consultant wants to play. During a welcome call, they introduce themselves and get to know the plan sponsor. They want to know what works for them, challenges they face, why they're changing providers, and what Lincoln can do to better serve their participants. Ultimately, their goal is to lead a smooth and seamless transition for the client.
Q: How do they work with their team?
A: Something unique to Lincoln is that we get the entire service team — relationship manager, account manager, retirement consultant (RC) or enrollment team, and communication consultant (CC) — involved early in the transition process. This informs the team and makes the transition seamless from implementation to ongoing service.
Q: How do they interact with the plan sponsor and consultant?
A: They have weekly meetings with the plan sponsor and consultant. They ask the consultant how involved they would like to be in the project. In some instances, the consultant would like to be the primary contact to discuss concerns before Lincoln addresses them with the client. In other cases, the consultant just wants to be informed and leaves Lincoln and the client to resolve issues. Lincoln can accommodate both cases.
Q: How do they help drive better outcomes?
A: Transitions are an opportunity for change. Recently with one plan, Lincoln discovered the prior recordkeeper had classified it as an ERISA plan, but it was actually governmental. Changing the plan's status reduced costs by eliminating unnecessary testing and allowed more flexibility in plan design.
Another client hadn't changed its plan for decades. The plan sponsor selected Lincoln to transition the plan from a balance-forward environment to a daily value platform. Participants didn't have access to accounts and couldn't see daily balances. Lincoln held educational meetings for participants and their families, even on Saturdays. The Implementation team also held group and one-on-one meetings in Spanish for participants whose first language wasn't English. The Lincoln goal is to help clients administer their plan the best way possible.
Q: How do implementation partners help meet plan sponsor goals?
A: Usually, the plan sponsor is transitioning for a reason, so implementation partners make sure Lincoln addresses specific needs. One plan's vesting wasn't being tracked accurately, so the match payouts weren't correct. Lincoln created a platform that allowed the plan sponsor to monitor vesting, which reduced expenses, since corrections cost money.
Sometimes Lincoln needs to help participants understand the value of a retirement plan, and that's where the CCs and RCs come into play. If a goal is to increase participation, Lincoln puts a strategy in place to help the plan sponsor succeed.
Q: How do they retain great relationships with their clients?
A: They build strong relationships with consultants. Some consultants request the same service teams again and again because of the great service they've received and the value they bring.