Discussing best practices and proven methods for managing today’s financial investments.
Insight into TCI’s Retirement Plan Services
A Conversation With Jill Schluntz
I recently sat down with Jill Schluntz, CPA, who leads TCI’s Retirement plan services team, for insight into her work and the evolving 401(k) landscape.
Tell us about TCI’s target market and the type of services you provide.
JILL SCHLUNTZ: Our target market is small to mid-size businesses. A typical TCI client has plan assets around $3 million and 40-50 plan participants. We target companies with plan assets of $2-10 million.
In terms of services, we handle everything for our clients from plan design and consulting to education, investments and compliance. The “end game” for us is delivery. We provide plan sponsors with comprehensive services tailored to their specific needs. With all of the new, increased scrutiny on retirement plan service sponsors and providers, TCI is positioned well to be a great resource for our clients. Our best clients see us as an extension of their company.
How would a prospective client benefit from working with TCI?
JILL SCHLUNTZ: I think two things stand out:
1) We run everything in house with a single client contact and
2) We’re local; we live and work in the communities we serve.
Just recently I called a former client who left a few months ago for larger provider. When I reached him he had been on hold with his new firm’s call center for 20 minutes. Timing is everything (laughing) and I suspect we will talking again soon.
How has the retirement plan services field changed through the years?
JILL SCHLUNTZ: The environment is much more competitive. A lot of competitors have merged through the years and services have become a commodity. At the other end are providers who only do pieces; either plan design, administration or investments. The result is a business owner either has to establish multiple relationships or deal with a large provider’s “silo” structure, where calls are routed to the proper department. This is a relationship business. No call center can replicate a local, personal touch.
Can you give an example?
JILL SCHLUNTZ: Recently a controller left one of our clients. At her new position she experienced the hassle of working with three different providers for their retirement plan who didn't communicate with each other. Because of the high level of service we provided in the past we are now transitioning her new employer plan to TCI.
You also provide wealth management services for key executives.
How has this enhanced TCI’s offering?
JILL SCHLUNTZ: Integrating our wealth management services for key executives helps companies attract and retain top talent. Our clients benefit because we are a resource for them, which adds to their bottom line. For most investors the accumulation phase (of wealth) begins with their 401k plan. Assets grow in tandem with career advancement which provides a nice transition to TCI’s private wealth planning for key executives. Many of our top wealth management clients began as retirement plan clients.
What are some of the challenges you face in the marketplace?
JILL SCHLUNTZ: Our biggest challenge is awareness. TCI has provided retirement plan services since inception (in 1993). We do a great job with little fanfare and need to spread the word. Building awareness creates opportunity as we grow and develop our staff.
What’s the biggest misconception you experience with potential clients?
JILL SCHLUNTZ: Business owners think it’s hard to move. They often have the mindset “if it’s not broken why fix it?” Our new client onboarding is painless, particularly when we take control of all aspects of the plan. New client conversions take two weeks tops.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
JILL SCHLUNTZ: I enjoy the people and the opportunity to help companies grow. To see a business develop and hard work pay off through the years, and to be a key part of the process, is rewarding.