Roll(over) with the changes


Scott Critchfield, Director – External Practice Development with Waddell & Reed, Inc.

Great Practice Solutions

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You’ve probably had at least one client economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. September 30, 2020, marked the end of the most recent Paycheck Protection Program relief for businesses, resulting in thousands of furloughs and layoffs across numerous industries. These cuts to the workforce, and in some cases permanent shuttering of businesses, are leading people to consider either a job change or early retirement.

Clients or prospective clients who find themselves in either of these boats will need your advice. For example, job changers will need guidance about what to do with their employer-sponsored retirement account, which includes multiple options:

  1. Leave the money in your former employer’s plan;
  2. Roll over the money to your new employer’s plan, if the plan accepts transfers;
  3. Roll over the money into an individual retirement account (IRA); or
  4. Take the cash value of your account.

So, how do you position yourself as someone who can help them work through their thought process as they make this critical decision?

  • Identify the opportunity available. Starting with your client base, identify industry or niche concentrations which may be impacted by job cuts. Of those, how much do you know about their retirement benefits? And do you have enough clients to devote resources and effort to developing a campaign?
  • Leverage your client base. If the opportunity is viable, identify clients who can: A). offer introductions to other potential clients who may have been impacted, or B). who can provide you with information related to their industry or retirement benefits. Ask them for an introduction to their firm’s human resources group and offer your services as an informational resource.
  • Formulate your value proposition. Develop a statement on why someone should work with you. Does your existing client base enable you to have knowledge of what alternatives are available to them regarding their plan? Did you work in their industry prior to becoming an advisor allowing you to speak their language? What do you bring to the table in this potential relationship?
  • Choose which tactic(s) you will use. A shotgun approach is not recommended. Rather, staying narrow and focused will generally yield the best results and allow you to measure the impact of your efforts. Social media searches will identify connections to your existing clients who can offer referrals. Seminar invites can uncover potential attendees who are employed in an impacted industry or firm. Emails provide the ability to send informational newsletters and articles to your clients and prospects. Your website can host a landing page with specific information for those who are going through a job loss or change. A webinar series is a great way to showcase your access to resources and tools.
  • Become a specialist. Even if you have few clients in an industry or local firm that has cut jobs, being informed on retirement benefits and fully understanding the alternatives can position you as a specialist.