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A Better Advisor Search Process

Let’s face it, the Request for Proposal or “RFP” process is cumbersome, difficult and time consuming. It is necessary in order to document your due diligence, and if you are going to spend the time, it’s important to focus on getting the unique and key features out of your respondents. Much of the industry is commoditized. So gather that commoditized data, and then focus on what is really important:

  1. How are you going to make sure I am compliant?
  2. How are you going to help my employees be more successful in their financial life?
  3. How are you going to do this without taking more time from me?

So, here are the areas to focus on:

Minimum qualifications

  • Ask qualifying questions that determine an advisor’s viability.
  • Verify they are licensed, registered, qualified, not under investigation, etc
  • Document that you have examined the minimum qualifications

Ability to serve your company needs

  • Cut through the noise and ask three simple bottom line questions:
    1. How will you help my employees achieve better results in the company retirement plan and in their overall financial well-being?
    2. How can you minimize the fiduciary liability & exposure to the plan fiduciaries?
    3. How will you make life easier on the human resources/benefit team?


  • Determine cost for services included
  • Determine what services are additional costs
  • Seal the cost section and do not disclose to your plan committee/evaluation team until you have evaluated the advisor’s ability to serve your company needs