Tuesday, February 09, 2010

How to Run a Retirement Plan Business

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Running a retirement planning business is not an easy task. You are responsible for the safety and security of your clients' life savings, and any mistakes or oversights can prove disastrous. If you are organized and follow a consistent set of rules and processes, however, your business can flourish into a successful and profitable practice. Running this type of business is not much different than running any other type of business, except that your focus is on the management of client money. If you institute regular communication methods and remain informed about current events and trends in the retirement planning industry, your business should continue to grow.

Step 1

Communicate with clients. Regular and consistent communication, regardless of the method, is essential to maintaining a satisfied client base. Most people leave their financial advisers or planners for another because they feel neglected. By implementing a regular schedule of calls, letters and emails, you can ensure that none of your clients feels ignored. Because your company and its services are continually displayed to customers, your steady stream of correspondence will also increase the likelihood that clients will refer you to others when the topic arises.

Step 2

Schedule annual reviews. In addition to regular written correspondence, you must meet with your clients at least annually. This reinforces your positive relationship with them and reassures them that you are continually looking out for their best interests. Conduct an annual review to examine the performance of their accounts, illustrate how your recommendations affected the performance of their money and note any new events or changes in your clients' lives. These annual visits are also a great opportunity to ask for additional business or referrals.

Step 3

Maintain a watchful eye. You must always know how the stock market is performing. Because a great deal of retirement assets are in variable accounts, the performance of the stock market will directly affect the amount of money your clients have. By remaining informed about changes in the stock market and other financial sectors, you will be more able to properly address any client concerns that arise from sudden or unexpected declines.

Step 4

Stay abreast of industry changes. Get into the habit of reading the Wall Street Journal and Barron's on a regular basis. These newspapers, and other business publications, will keep you informed about current events that may have an impact on the financial markets of the country and the world. Your grasp of industry events will allow you to make better recommendations to those clients with money invested in various industries and sectors.

Step 5

Learn about new products. Every year, insurance companies, mutual funds and other financial institutions create new products and services to help clients grow their savings. Attend industry workshops and seminars to learn about the upcoming release of new annuities, mutual funds or other retirement investment products.


Join mailing lists. Every insurance carrier and mutual fund company can add your business address and email address to a list of recipients who receive weekly or monthly newsletter updates. This is the best way to stay informed about industry changes and new product availability.


About the Author

Gregory Gambone is senior vice president of a small New Jersey insurance brokerage. His expertise is insurance and employee benefits. He has been writing since 1997. Gambone released his first book, "Financial Planning Basics," in 2007 and continues to work on his next industry publication. He earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Article originally published on Chron Small Business (2/9/2010)

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