Business Development for Advisors

We all love BEST practices; I love BAD Practices. 

Bad Practices help good Advisors gather more assets!

What makes my marketing approach for retirement plans, endowment & foundations different stems from my philosophy background.  The majority of folks working with retirement plan sponsors claim to be adhering to best practices which is echoed in their proprietary marketing pieces, and most plan sponsors don’t know any better. Since best is a relative term, my approach is that in order for a plan sponsor to understand best practices, one has to compare them to bad practices. To this end I have a two-step approach: Ensuring you have independent certification that your firm adheres to best practices and then helping you target fiduciarily vulnerable opportunities that utilize bad practices.

Best Practices

There is only one consolidated, well substantiated list of fiduciary best practices in the country; the Global Fiduciary Standard of Excellence.  The Centre for Fiduciary Excellence (CEFEX) is an independent assessment organization that provides fiduciary best practices certification to both advisers and to stewards (retirement plan sponsors, endowment trustees, etc.) Some of the advantages of CEFEX Certification include:

Distinguishing yourself and your firm from the competition

Up to a 25% discount on your professional liability insurance (E&O, D&O and fiduciary liability)

Enhancing your reputation via independent third-party certification that are acting in your clients’ best interests and adhering to a very rigorous prudent process

The ability to easily and inexpensively have your clients independently certified – which also entitles your client to the liability insurance discount

CEFEX Certification is based on ISO principles and auditing methodology which makes your message resonate with the thousands of ISO oriented firms in the country.

So imagine being in a competitive situation, handing your prospect a hard-copy of the Global Fiduciary Standard of Excellence and stating:

“Our firm has been independently certified that we adhere to these fiduciary best practices. If you engage us as your 401k Adviser, within six months we will have your plan independently certified as well! The rigor of this independent certification is so well respected that the insurance industry provides up to a 25% discount to certified firms!”

Moreover, given the increasing number of fiduciary breach lawsuits you can provide a compelling tool so that plan sponsors can reassure their participants that their 401k plan has been independently certified for:

Offering a prudently selected investment line-up

Being well-managed

Earning a reasonable return

Controlling investment expenses

Once your new client obtains their own CEFEX Certification, inform their employees about its value and then start enjoying the insurance discount, it’s hard to imagine your losing that client. (It is simpler and cheaper for clients of a CEFEX Certified firm to achieve certification.)

Bad Practices

There are too many bad practices to list, but you’ll see many examples in Why is being a Member of ASPPA similar to being a West Point Cadet? Other ways I identify bad practices include reviewing publically available Form 5500s and audit reports for:

Rule 404(c) Issues

Inappropriate Share Class Issues

Investment Menu Performance-Benchmarking

Excessive Fees

Fiduciary Process Issues

Prudent Champion, Inc. can also provide fiduciary marketing support including: 

Advisor Fiduciary Education
Sales Call Preparation
Sales Call Preparation & Attendance as Independent Fiduciary Expert*
Seminar Presentations – Aside from fiduciary education, I can design and co-present with you an ethics CE presentation for any organization’s or profession’s code of ethics.**
Identify the most competitive, fiduciarily sound 401k packages available through your firm.

Preparation of Request for Proposal (RFP) responses that showcase the value of your CEFEX Certification

* (See

**Most organizations and professions have a code of ethics, but not many folks have the credentials to present on the topic or the expertise to apply it to retirement plans, foundations and endowments.  I can also co-author articles addressing the key points of the presentation for their publication (or website) either before or after the presentation.