Our services

Investment Services

The investment lineup of your retirement plan has a direct impact on your participants’ assets and carries significant fiduciary risk for your business if it is not properly designed and managed. Our prudent investment management process will help guide you in designing, implementing and continuously improving your plan’s investment lineup.

We begin by drafting an Investment Policy Statement, which serves as the blueprint for building a sound, customized investment lineup and maintaining a steady course forward. Our in-house research team then implements our process that has been refined over the last 30 years. That process evaluates performance and the people, the processes and the investment discipline that has generated that performance to help you select the right investment options for your plan.

We can act in one of two capacities to help manage your plan:

3(38) Investment Manager – Fiduciary

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By retaining Advus as your plan’s 3(38) investment manager, plan sponsors delegate the liability and responsibility for the design of plan’s investment menu and the selection of the underlying investments. This association offers you the maximum amount of fiduciary protection for the decisions surrounding your plan’s investments.

3(21) Investment Advisor – Co-fiduciary

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For plan sponsors who wish to delegate only partial responsibility to us, Advus acts as a 3(21) investment advisor. In this capacity, Advus provides the same level of due diligence and oversight of the investment options, however, the plan sponsors retain the decision-making authority and the fiduciary responsibility for those decisions.

Participant Education

The retirement income gap in the United States is estimated at $6.6 trillion, leading many to believe that 401(k) plans have failed to prepare people for retirement. Studies show that the number one barrier to participants’ joining a plan is a lack of understanding.

Our participant education programs are designed to help overcome this lack of understanding and empower participants to achieve their retirement goals. We begin by assessing your employees’ financial acumen and then deliver easy-to-understand programs to educate and engage participants, activities that directly contribute to your plan’s success. From the first steps of enrollment through asset allocation and long-term planning, our team works in partnership with your organization to maximize retirement readiness.

Enrollment Support

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The first step is often the hardest – and the most beneficial. It has been proven that once employees enroll in the plan, they are likely to remain enrolled throughout their employment. We also know that the number-one barrier to entry for participants is fear or lack of understanding. That is why we help make the enrollment process as simple and stress-free as possible for your participants. We provide engaging customized presentations and materials targeted to the unique demographics of your plan to keep participants informed and aware of their plan’s details.

Onsite and Online Meetings

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Our dedicated education staff delivers customized education and enrollment programs onsite and online; we do not rely on providers for education support. We have found that consistency is important in creating trust between the participants and the education staff. Therefore your plan will be assigned a single education coordinator who will get to know your staff and their unique needs.

In between meetings, participants can call their education coordinator rather than having to try to reach a call center for your provider.

One-on-One Consultations

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Retirement planning decisions can be overwhelming, and many participants are not comfortable speaking about their finances in group sessions. We offer participants one-on-one meetings with your education coordinator to discuss their personal situations and needs in a private and comfortable environment.

Financial Wellness

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Employees seek financial freedom and empowerment. They want to be in control of their financial life but may not have the needed knowledge, skills or inclination to look at the big picture. We help them take a holistic approach to their wealth, providing the resources to help them understand and manage their total financial life. Our solution, Fiscal Fitness, meets your employees where they are in their journey – whether just starting out or looking toward retirement – and helps them get to where they want to go. Whether they need basic information or more complex advice, our team is there to help them envision and execute for their best life.

Fiduciary Oversight And Plan Governance

The demands of a plan’s day-to-day operations often shift the focus away from the plan’s long-term management and governance. We believe that a prudent oversight and governance process is critical to plan’s success and the reduction of liability. We help you establish properly formed plan committees and empower them with the tools and the information to help make strategic plan decisions.

Strategic Plan Design

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The design of your retirement plan is not simply an operational function. Your plan’s features and provisions can have a direct impact on your organization’s finances, operations and employee satisfaction. We help you manage your plan design to help ensure that it is consistent with your organization’s needs.

Fiduciary Liability Mitigation

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Many plan sponsors do not understand the extent of the fiduciary liability associated with their retirement plan. The industry has turned the word “fiduciary” into a marketing buzzword, while carefully crafting contracts that limit their exposure. Our approach is different: we embrace our role as a fiduciary to your plan and believe it underscores our commitment to the success of your plan and its participants. We educate you on your liability rather than use it as a scare tactic, and we offer practical solutions to help eliminate your liability where possible and reduce it where it is not.

Committee Training

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The most successful committees are those who have informed members. Unfortunately we often find that committee members do not fully understand their responsibilities. We have created a committee member training program designed to quickly educate your committee members on the importance and substance of their role and responsibilities.

Participant Success Measures

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How does your plan compare to similar plans? Is the education program working? We monitor specific measurements of your plan’s effectiveness and compare that data with similar plans to provide clear, accurate answers on how to improve or maintain your plan’s efficiency.

Vendor Search and Fee Benchmarking

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Plans can outgrow their platforms. As the demographics and needs of a plan change, a committee must review the vendor structure of their plan. We facilitate this process by providing insight from our database of providers or by overseeing the RFP process. We also provide third-party fee benchmarking reports to help your committee understand how your plan’s costs compare with plans of similar demographics.

Plan Operations Support

Efficient and smooth plan operations are critical to the success of your retirement plan. Our retirement plan experts have the skills and the resources to help ensure your plan operates as efficiently as possible and help your plan avoid the common administrative pitfalls.

Operational Blueprint

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A successful retirement plan starts with a great design. A plan with outdated or inefficient features can cause manual processes, which can lead to errors. Our expert team will evaluate your plan design to determine if there are areas for improvement. They then will evaluate your plan’s operation to help make sure it is consistent with documents and review final work product of the plan’s vendors to help ensure that the plan’s design and operation are functional end to end.

Help on Demand

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In any plan, questions always come up. One of the most frustrating parts of running a plan is just trying to get an answer to those questions. Is this really a qualified hardship? Is this QDRO correct? What is the best way to correct this document error?

Plan sponsors tell us that clear guidance and answers to plan questions are often hard to come by. That is why we have created our Plan Answer Desk, which is staffed with our team of experts to answer any question about your plan quickly and completely.

Audit Support

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Whether routine annual CPA audits, or an unplanned examination by the IRS or DOL, audits are never fun. But they are manageable. Our team helps you with your annual audit process to help ensure compliance and coordinate all your vendors with your auditor.

Advus also has experience dealing with IRS and DOL examinations. If your organization does receive notice of an examination, Advus can step in and coordinate your response to the regulator to help ensure as smooth an experience as possible.