TPA Trends from the Women Business Leaders Forum

| June 27, 2013 | 1 Comment

ASPPA News from the Field
2013 Women Business Leaders Forum

AUSTIN, TX – (June 27, 2013) Where can you find a uniquely structured panel of female business leaders and decision makers in the world of Third-Party Administrators (TPAs)?

During this year’s ASPPA Women Business Leaders Forum, which featured a power-packed line-up, including Laura Moskwa, CPC, QPA, of Moskwa Consulting, Sue Diehl of PenServ Plan Services, Inc.; Kyla Keck of SageView Retirement Plan Consultants, Inc.; Karen Smith of Nova 401(k) Associates; and Cherie Beirau of Advanced Pension Solutions, Inc. (Pentegra Retirement Services).

Each panelist touched on a different trend and topic in the TPA industry.

Diehl offered attendees insight into the trend toward offering services outside of the traditional DC plan, such as in the 403(b)/457 market. There is an increased need for TPAs in that arena, partly because an increase in IRS audit activity shows 90% of audited plans have problems that must be resolved and partly because many vendors are leaving the market, opening the door for more consulting activity.

Rebranding TPA firms as the market changes was Keck’s focus. She detailed her own firm’s metamorphosis over the years and how she changed her referral network when people who were referring her business changed their own focus. She touched on how to decide what services to offer, and how she has partnered with other providers to perform services outside of her new business model.

Growth was the subject of the day for Smith, who emphasized that success and longevity for a TPA practice require a conscious and focused effort to grow, especially because of the trend towards consolidation and the creation of regional and national firms. She discussed hiring dedicated sales staff to help with growth and how that can force changes in the culture of a firm.

Beirau’s presentation revolved around her experience in selling her firm. She discussed why she made the decision, how she found a buyer and determined the selling price. She gave helpful information regarding things to consider and watch out for when looking for a buyer and moving through the process. She also touched on the pros and cons of selling a business.

Moderator Laura Moskwa presented on the TPA trend towards hiring outside sales staff. Business leaders need to decide what model they will use, she said. Will the owner be the sales person or will he or she hire a rainmaker of sorts? Moskwa also touched on how to track and set sales goals, establish a sales process, and measure success. The close ratio for retirement plans drastically increases when the TPA firm is represented by one of its own, whether it is the owner or a sales person, at the client presentation meeting, said Moskwa.

Before the presentation broke out into smaller roundtable discussions, other panel topics included developing relationships with DCIO providers, how TPAs view their role in driving business to referral sources, and the need to spread the word about the importance of the private retirement industry.


Shannon M. Edwards, ERPA, QPA, QKA
President, TriStar Pension Consulting
ASPPA member since 1996


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