Nick Jenkins, VP and partner at Liver Financial Advisors, partner with Betterment for Business, provides its clients with high-tech, low-cost 401 (k) solutions.
Can you briefly describe your instructional practice and the type of clients you are serving?
Nick: Lewer Financial Advisors Lewer is a part of the company, a group of companies serving business owners, families and individuals. We are located in the Kansas City area, but we are licensed in each state and do business across the country and in Canada.
Our goal is to be a full-service, business owners often engaging with franchisee organizations, building relationships at the corporate level and becoming the preferred business service advisor to franchisee owners as individuals and employers. The services we provide may include individual asset management, life insurance (both individual and employer), estate planning, business inheritance planning and health and wealth employee benefits. The Lewer Benefit Group focuses on LBG, medical, dental, vision, and wellness benefits while the Lewer Financial Adviser, LFA, focuses on home assets, primarily 401 (k) s retirement plans.
Which inspired you to enter the 401 (k) space?
Nick: From a business standpoint, 401 (k) complements other services that we are already providing to the franchisee or business owner. Among our health and wealth benefit offers, the 401 (k) plan is the biggest component. We are focusing on business owners who recognize the importance of growing their business and hiring and retaining their core employees. When you come across the right business owners, a 401 (k) plan can represent significant assets, and plan participants can represent dozens of potential clients for insurance or other consulting services. We see 401 (k) as a great foundation for building a long-term, multifaceted relationship.
So what do you actively expect for 401 (k) clients?
Nick: No, we build the relationship first, then discuss the content of 401 (k) if it is right for the client. We’ve had more success with this approach than trying to move clients away from anyone else.
How would you describe your role to employers and employees?
Nick: It is critical for us to maintain that relationship, so we are the main subject of communication between employers and employees. We tell them we specialize in anything related to their One Stop Shop, their 401 (k) plan. We want them to call us first, whether employees need help signing up online or downloading apps, choosing investments, using the platform; Or the business owner who needs help making a plan design decision such as what kind of 401 (k) plan to create, what vesting schedule to adopt, whether they should contribute to matching or profit sharing. Anything. And of course we help employers understand consent and regulatory requirements, including how to remedy any violations that may occur.
In fact, many of those conversations began with the first meeting after the 401 (k) expressed interest in giving the plan. In just a matter of minutes, we go through a variety of planning types, matching, vesting, non-discriminatory testing, and more. We do this at the beginning of the process for two reasons: we specialize in this area and it really turned out to speed up the process later. And because of our relationship with them, we are able to help guide them through these decisions. We already know a lot about their company, their culture and their business purpose.
So now that you’re leaning towards how to move forward, can you talk a little bit about that?
Nick: I believe we were one of the first advisors to work with Betterment through a growing list of our individual clients on the Betterment platform for advisors, but we are fairly new to offering Betterment 401 (k). We looked at several providers before determining a better 401 (k) solution for our clients based on two main factors: tech-forward platforms and competitive pricing. When talking to business owners, I basically tell them what Betterment for Business is all about: “We use the Betterment 401 (K) platform to give you tech-forward products at a better price – less than what you’re going to find in the marketplace. Low fees mean employees can keep their return on investment higher.
We let clients know that they want to provide their employees with a 401 (k), but the 401 (k) platform can be much more in terms of overall financial planning and have everything in their app Phone Advanced technology and accessibility is really great.
We haven’t looked back since we started working on Betterment.
Disclaimer: This case study was conducted as a Q&A in 2021 and is not reflective of all client experiences, which may vary depending on individual circumstances not considered here and may not indicate future or similar results.