From large companies to individual plans, Trust Point’s retirement plan services team works in the best interest of its clients.
Davy Engineering has been trusted since 1929 to find solutions to complex infrastructure problems in La Crosse and the surrounding region.
The engineering consulting company does everything from street and highway design to water system planning to industrial development. Founded by company president Mike Davy’s grandfather, Davy Engineering (and its Davy Laboratories branch) is still a family-run corporation, but it has grown from a handful of people to roughly 50 full-time engineers, biologists, and chemists.
To handle the profit-sharing and retirement plans for those employees, Davy Engineering has—for more than 60 years— placed its trust in another local institution: Trust Point.
“That means that the staff that we’ve worked with are professional, they’re knowledgeable, and we do think that they’ve always had the attitude that—before it was a buzzword—they understood what a fiduciary responsibility was,” Davy says. “And we were always comfortable with the idea that they were looking out for our best interest rather than trying to generate fees.”
Competition for retirement planning services is fierce—Davy knows it as he’s fielded calls from many other providers and met with some to compare plans. But he’s always felt confident in Trust Point for his company, and his own personal plan.
From single plans to businesses like Davy’s to companies of more than 600 employees, Trust Point offers retirement solutions built on real relationships and the best interests of clients.
A Complete Solution
Michele Seidel is a compliance specialist at Trust Point, a part of the retirement plan services team, and an expert in 401(k) administration.
Trust Point provides what Seidel calls an “all-inclusive solution” for 401(k) plan sponsors (the people making the decisions) or employers, helping them with their investments, plan documents, record keeping, and everything else associated with a plan.
Other institutions commonly send clients to third parties for various services, producing numerous contacts and limiting relationship development. “We are the all-encompassing solution for them,” Seidel says. Typically when approached about managing a 401(k) plan, Trust Point will meet with the business or individual to first learn all of the backgrounds. If someone is looking for a new plan, what are the drawbacks with their current provider? Will a new plan be cost-effective? Is there a better solution?
The Trust Point team then drafts a proposal that walks through every service provided in the bundle and how each will be implemented. Each plan has a designated relationship manager as the primary contact, though the whole retirement plan services team is accessible so there’s always someone available to answer questions.
Education is encouraged and provided at least annually for all plan participants and one-on-one guidance is always available, and often utilized.
For example, Seidel worked with one business that had a terminally ill employee who was unable to work for his company, but his employer kept him on so he could receive insurance for medical bills. Unable to withdraw money from his 401(k) because he was technically still employed, Seidel worked with him to set up a loan that allowed him to borrow money from his account.
“They appreciated the fact that we treated him like family, much like they do with their employees,” Seidel says. “It was that extra step that they appreciated. That he wasn’t just a number. That he was a person facing this situation.”
Looking out for Clients
Treating clients like family isn’t just a saying at Trust Point. As a fiduciary, the company is ethically and legally obligated to operate in a client’s best interest. The company is also considered a discretionary trustee, which means it takes on as much liability with plan sponsors as it can.
“So if we’re taking on a lot of liability, we’re going to be very careful in what we do to make sure we’re compliant with everything that’s depicted in the law.”
We hope ethical and legal responsibility will make us a trustworthy source for retirement planning advice.
Trust Point’s staff also takes pride in serving clients, working under the motto that doing what is best for clients is doing what is best for the company.
“One of the things I love about this job is the interaction,” says Beth Erickson, a relationship manager at Trust Point and manager of the Davy Engineering account. “You get to talk to everyone from maybe a factory worker to a CEO and all levels in between and establish relationships with them.” It’s not unusual for Erickson to be on the road for days at a time to be able to meet face-to-face with area clients, answer their questions, and provide the guidance they’re looking for. Davy is in touch with Erickson quarterly about his business’s 401(k) and profit sharing programs and knows his employees have developed their own relationships. “I’ve always been convinced that we have a good relationship,” Davy says. “That we have good service, we have a good plan, fair fees, and we’ve never found a need to change.”
While working with clients of all sizes on 401(k) plans, Trust Point’s Michele Seidel and Beth Erickson have helped participants overcome a variety of common challenges. Here are a couple tips for anyone saving for retirement:
“Probably one of the biggest factors facing people right now is not being able to save enough,” Erickson says. “We aren’t on track as a nation with our retirement accounts and financial wellness scores are not very good.”
Contributing to a 401(k) is good, but participants should talk to their financial advisor about how to maximize their contributions to ensure they have enough income to retire when they want and live comfortably.
“Some of the struggles that we sometimes run into are when the market is up, we don’t get a lot of inquiries from plan participants,” Seidel says. “But when the market is down, we might get a lot.”
Interest in education tends to fall off during good financial times, she says, but participants should make an effort to maintain their financial education so they are prepared when times get tough. That goes for plan sponsors and employers as well.
“We put the 401(k) in place for a reason,” she says. “It’s important to utilize the sources that can help you and your employees get the most out of it.”
by Jake Weyer
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