Meet a retirement plan design consultant

See how retirement plan design consultants create plans that help plan sponsors meet their goals and stay in compliance.

Q: What's the plan design consultant role at Lincoln?

A: They answer technical questions for internal and external partners, and work with plan sponsors, advisors, and consultants to help meet their plan design needs and drive better retirement plan outcomes. They review requests for proposals (RFPs), lead Plan Document Days, fix operational failures, provide assistance with merger/acquisition transactions, prepare cost projections for new plan features, and consult on plan design.

Q: How do they interact with plan sponsors, advisors, and consultants?

A: Their interaction includes emails, conference calls, direct calls, and face-to-face client meetings. Usually the account manager (AM) or relationship manager (RM) starts the conversation and then they take over. They'll have a call that includes the AM, RM, consultant or advisor, plan sponsor, and potentially their attorney or a plan document consultant. They gather and analyze the facts, then provide a solution that everyone can understand.

Q: How do they help drive better outcomes?

A: Their role is to help plan sponsors keep their plans in compliance and in tune with their financial goals and plan objectives. Recently, a client went through a merger and acquisition. They designed a plan to meet the client's changing needs and satisfy requests within ERISA guidelines. Lincoln provided a turnkey approach by walking them through each step of the process, while accommodating the needs of the plan sponsor and its employees. By providing benchmarking information and industry standards, they equipped the plan sponsor with the valuable insight needed to make challenging decisions for the plan.

Q: How do they retain great relationships with clients?

A: They try to make internal partners, consultants, and advisors look great. They listen to needs and ask clarifying questions. Through this approach, they gain respect and trust. For example, a municipality wanted to add a new plan for its executives. They met with the client in person, provided a write-up of available plan design choices and walked them through each option. The consultant was involved in the entire process. The client was so happy it brought the relationship to a new level.

Q: What tools do they rely on most?

A: They often use The ERISA Outline Book. We call it the "industry bible." It's a reference book on qualified and nonqualified plans. It's also a fully searchable and cross-referenced website containing everything about ERISA. They also use ERISApedia, a web-based resource that provides access to compliance and technical information including books, links, and references to the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Treasury Regulations.

This material is provided by The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company, Fort Wayne, IN, and, in New York, Lincoln Life & Annuity Company of New York, Syracuse, NY, and their applicable affiliates (collectively referred to as “Lincoln”). This material is intended for general use with the public. Lincoln does not provide investment advice, and this material is not intended to provide investment advice. Lincoln has financial interests that are served by the sale of Lincoln programs, products and services.