PlanAdviser’s 2015 Top 100 Retirement Plan Advisers

Plan Adviser LogoThis year, Moneta was named one of the Top 100 Retirement Plan Advisers by PlanSponsor Magazine. This Q&A profile gives further insight into Moneta Institutional Consulting.

Q: What’s the most important lesson you had to learn about working with retirement plans—and how did you learn it?

A: When participant-directed investing became the norm, most retirement education focused on investments. Our program was no exception. And while we had moderate success, great participation and savings rates seemed mostly unachievable.About five years ago, we adopted an approach more focused on behavioral science and the results were eye-popping.Today our focus is on creating expert savers, not expert investors. We continue to preach sound investing fundamentals, but now our program is designed specifically to focus on overcoming the key hurdles that prevent saving enough, and to encourage participants to leave the investing minutiae to the professionals.

Q: How do you differentiate yourself from competitors?

A: The retirement benefit is already complicated enough, and that’s why we work to simplify it at every turn, starting with the way we speak. We break down terminology and concepts into comprehensible chunks, whether working with fiduciaries or plan participants. We don’t try to impress or distract clients with our command of complex financial jargon. We want our clients to walk with us, every step of the way.

Q: If we asked your clients why they do business with you, what would they say?

A: We believe that they would say something like this. “With Moneta, we receive the benefits of a full-time retirement plan department without the full-time expense. They make our retirement benefit easy, minimizing our fiduciary risk and helping our employees succeed. We and our employees sleep better knowing that we’ve got the right plan in place and Moneta is working it for us and with us, every single day.”

Q: What are the biggest challenges facing plan sponsor and participant clients today?

A: For most plan sponsors, the scariest part of the retirement benefit is the unknown. An endless list of rules and regulations sit inside a mystifying black box, changing and multiplying every day.

For most participants, the desire to improve their financial outlook is there. And while there is no shortage of calculators and information available, they don’t know where to begin.For both parties, it’s hard enough just to ask the right questions. But even when they manage to ask the right questions, they are often “rewarded” with an incomprehensible answer. So it’s no surprise that so many give up.

Q: How will the practice grow or change in the years ahead?

A: Moneta Group plans to implement marketing and customer service tactics to support both our strategic plan and firm growth in coming months and years. At Moneta, our top priority will always be to stay laser-focused on serving clients; however, as we grow and the industry changes, we recognize the importance of adaptability. As the ‘benefits’ world shifts to being more and more focused on the rapidly changing health care industry, we plan to stay focused on implementing behavioral finance techniques, wellness programs, and plan designs that help break the inertia for participants and realize the importance of retirement benefits.