Financial Advisor Marketing & Technology

Marketing & Technology For Independent Financial Advisors

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Archive for September, 2010

Secure, Encrypted Communications Between Advisory Firms And 401(k) Plan Participants

I was just monitoring one of our employee’s phone calls with a client and came across a great use of AdvisorVault to work with 401(k) plans.

I routinely monitor our help desk and sales calls every day. We use a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) phone system that enables me to “barge” calls with neither the client nor the staff member knowing I am monitoring the call. It keeps me in touch with what advisors need and whether we are giving good service. All advisory firm owners should have this VOIP system feature. (I posted about this at Advisors4Advisors.com.)

I barged a call just now in which an advisory firm wanted to give AdvisorVault access to a 401(k) plan sponsor. This is a great idea for advisory firms working with 401(k) plans.

Say ABC Advisors is advising XYZ Manufacturing on its 401(k) Plan.

ABC Advisors can give XYZ employees their own client vaults with their 401(k) information.

ABC Advisors can also give XYZ’s HR Department access to certain folders of each XYZ employee’s vault.

That allows XYZ, the plan sponsor, to place documents about the 401(k) plan into each client’s vault, but ABC Advisors can limit XYZ’s HR Department from seeing all of the client’s/employee’s documents.

AdvisorVault enables collaboration with third-party professionals. We always envisioned advisors giving access to a client’s vault to the client’s attorney or accountant. AdvisorVault has very elaborate controls for collaboration with third parties and advisors are telling us it helps them build a referral network of tax and estate planning professionals.

The advisory firm can enable third parties to see a client’s entire vault, just a folder in a vault, or just a single document in a vault. The third parties can be enabled to upload documents and get all the features of AdvisorVault, and the advisory firm that pays us controls the system. Advisors love this.

But we never imagined using the third-party collaboration features to enable advisors to work more efficiently with 401(k) plan sponsors. This is a great idea!

If you are advising a 401(k) plan for a group of doctors, for instance, you can enable the plan sponsor to post tax-related documents, educational articles, required disclosures, plan amendments, and all sort of other required information. And if you hope to turn some of the plan participants into wealth management clients, this is a great way to get to know them.

Please let me know what you think. Are there any caveats or questions we need to consider as advisors start using AdvisorVault to serve documents securely to 401(k) plan participants?

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