Every year Pension Consultants, Inc. proudly sponsors Fiduciary Focus Conference, hosted at the Chateau on the Lake in Branson, Missouri. Since 1996, Fiduciary Focus Conference (formerly Pension Focus Conference) has successfully provided fiduciary committee members valuable insight on how they can have confidence that the plan they offer to their employees is truly a GOOD one. This year was no exception!
This year, Fiduciary Focus Conference really honed in on topics that are critical to the conference’s fiduciary-based audience, as well as their roles and responsibilities in service to their plans. Audience members were able to experience hands-on training and engage in scenario-driven educational sessions. Additionally, this year’s speaker line-up represented a significant breadth and depth of industry knowledge from every area of retirement plan management. Speakers presented on several different topics and facilitated an open dialogue that helped fiduciaries be more prepared to make decisions that will help improve their plan’s outcomes and give them the confidence to know their plan is a good one.
Opening the first day and setting the tone of the conference, Mr. Chris Thixton, QPA, C(K)P® (Pension Consultants, Inc.), walked audience members through a comprehensive look at what a GOOD retirement plan looks like. He dove into the three qualities of a good plan: plan’s investment lineup, fees paid by the plan, and employee’s retirement readiness. He discussed how each of those areas should be measured to provide a clear plan performance picture, as well as what to measure those three qualities against – a relative, objective benchmark.
Experts in employee benefits law Mr. Eric Namee, JD (Hinkle Law Firm LLC), and Ms. Felicia Finston, JD (Wilkins Finston Friedman Law Group), caught us up on current legal issues and regulatory updates in interactive breakout sessions. They worked with audience members through hands-on case studies and real world scenarios, walking them through common legal issues fiduciaries should be aware of. Some topics that were discussed in those sessions include: fiduciary decision-making and oversight, plan administration, vendor and fee management, employee relation issues, etc.
Thursday was rounded off with National Spokesperson with MassMutual Workplace Solutions, Mr. Tom Foster, JD. Mr. Foster led a discussion about the economic and financial value of the retirement plan. He presented strategies to help participants retire, reviewed the current state of the retirement plan business and how it’s evolving, as well as look at how to take action and make effective fiduciary decisions that result in positive outcomes.
The conference opened Friday’s breakfast session with Mr. Brian Allen, CFP® interviewing industry research expert Dr. Rui Yao, CFP® (University of Missouri), on current industry research findings and her perspective of the future of the industry. In this session, Dr. Yao presented staggering results that most retirement plan investment lineups are not performing well. The research has unveiled the need for the plan adviser industry to focus on performance.
Friday concluded with the conference speakers reconvening for the Conference Faculty Panel, where audience members had a chance to ask the expert panel questions they had throughout the sessions.
Followed by the panel discussion, we broke out into our newly added session, the Fiduciary Roundtable Discussion. This brand new interactive workshop brought together all of the fiduciary audience to discuss the current state of their plans – the things that are going well and the things that may need improvement.
Led by Pension Consultants, Inc.’s team, this session gave attendees potential actions or decisions they could make to influence the outcomes of their plan’s performance.
The first official Fiduciary Focus Conference was a resounding success, providing fiduciaries with the opportunity to grow their knowledge and gain confidence that the decisions they make on behalf of their employees them to having a GOOD plan.