Meet a relationship manager
Julie Kruser, a relationship manager with Lincoln Financial, discusses her relationships with consultants and advisors, and making an impact with plan sponsors and participants.
Q: What’s your role at Lincoln?
A: I’m a relationship manager, and I partner with many Lincoln colleagues to bring a complete retirement plan experience to my clients. The depth of the team helps me deliver solutions to current needs and position the plan for continued growth and streamlined administration.
Q: How do you work with your team?
Recently a large 403(b) healthcare client with assets of $50 million had difficulty getting long-term employees to engage with the plan. The consultant worked with us to make the campaign a success—it was a great collaborative effort. We used a tailored plan design and communications solution: auto-enrollment for existing employees and a large-scale communication effort to the employees to explain the benefits of participation. The consultant helped the client choose the investments for the auto-enrolled employees and the result was a dramatic increase in participation of long-term employees.
Q: What’s a typical day like?
A: My day is dictated by my client’s needs. I’ll reach out to discuss plan design changes, participant education campaigns, upcoming regulatory deadlines or changes, or news that could impact the retirement industry and their plan. We also do a proactive communication to the consultant, so the consultant and I can have a deeper conversation with the client and talk as a team about what plan provisions may need to change.
Q: What are you focused on?
Recently we’ve dedicated a significant amount of time to planning and executing Plan Document Days with my plan sponsor clients and in collaboration with the consultant. These days ensure operational excellence and creative ideas to help the client achieve their desired goals.
Q: How do you help plan sponsors and consultants drive better outcomes?
A: We combine an optimized plan design and provide a tailored communication plan for both the employer and employees. Delivering a specific message to a specific demographic is critical—that includes content and delivery method. Executing on all those levels can start moving the needle toward desired outcomes.
When a consultant and a plan sponsor collaborate to stretch the match formula to increase the number of plan contributors, I provide data on the number of people in the plan who deferred to the match limit, but never increased past that level. It helps the client see how plan design decisions effect how employees save.
Q: How do you retain great relationships with your clients?
A: I’m available and highly responsive, and my clients know they can rely on me to engage with their consultants and bring proactive solutions to the plan. Every retirement committee loves to hear that their employees save at a higher rate than the industry benchmark. Knowing that I played a role in driving those outcomes is very rewarding.