What Makes Us Different?
We are one of the few firms that have an Enrolled Actuary (EA) and Member of the Society of Pension Actuaries (MSPA) on staff! While many firms will provide Defined Benefit (DB) Plan work, they must have an EA perform certain aspects of that work legally. This means that most firms will have an outside consultant “ghost” the work without the client necessarily being aware. While that works fine sometimes, at other times, the level of quality suffers. He belongs to an exclusive club of professionals with only about 4,000 active EAs/MSPAs in the entire country!
While getting the EA, our EA has increased his specialized knowledge in DB plans and actuarial science (helping to understand the theory and equations behind actuarial valuations). This, he feels, makes him better able to provide DB administration and valuations, especially with complex DB or DB/DC combination designs.
Complete Care Of Clients In-House
We provide a better quality service because we employ the EA who does the work completely in-house and cares (with intense passion) about the quality of the work. Our EA can officially sign Schedule SBs (the retirement actuarial schedule) in the Form 5500 series. This is a requirement for all DB plans in the country. So any DB work we perform will be kept entirely in-house helping us have better client service since clients can discuss every aspect of their returns, administration and actuarial valuations by the person who actually performed the work.
Additionally, our EA is a Circular 230 Preparer licensed before the IRS to practice as an actuary. While the IRS has deemed our returns (i.e. the Form 5500 series) as “informational” and, therefore, not requiring a Circular 230 Preparer to sign, there have been rumblings in the past to require a Circular 230 Preparer to sign these returns. As an EA, he would qualify for our firm to sign the Form 5500 series, if that would ever be a future requirement.
If you are already using another actuarial consulting company/third party administrator (TPA) (for your company or your clients as an advisor), what do we offer that is unique?
- Plans That Meet Your Goals
We highly customize plans and review plans periodically to make certain that they still meet the original goals of the business owner(s). If not, we will discuss different plan designs with the advisor(s) and client.
- Face To Face Meetings
We believe in the human element. We will meet with clients and advisors as often as you would like to discuss the plan. If you are busy then we do not need to meet, but if you would like to put a face with your services, we love meeting with the people we work with and provide service for. Oftentimes goals and thoughts will come out more in a face-to-face meeting than over the phone or e-mail, so we want to give advisors and clients the opportunity to articulate their goals and help us provide the best service we can. If you are not local, we will still try to find ways to meet, such as scheduling meetings if we are in your area or using services like Skype to facilitate a meeting.
- Fast Response
We respond to you quickly. Your questions are important to us. We will respond to your calls and e-mails within 24-48 hours during the business week (48-hours only during our busy seasons).
- No Bills For Phone Calls Or Emails
You will never be billed for extra phone calls or emails. In fact, we love educating clients and advisors further on plans to help you better understand the plan you have or (for advisors) understand what you could talk with your clients about implementing.
- Respect For Advisors
We defer to the advisor. We will not try to control the relationship with the client. If you want most communication to come through you, as the advisor, we will tailor our communication efforts that way. If, however, you would like us to deal directly with your client, then we will. Whatever you need, we will make it happen!
- Proactive, Secure Information Exchange
We strive to request information proactively. We also collect information through our easy-to-use secure file exchange, which has the same encryption as banks use. If, however, you do not like the secure file exchange, no worries! We can use regular mail, fax or e-mail as well.
- Share Revenue Proceeds
We credit our clients with revenue sharing proceeds. Most TPAs receive revenue sharing from all of the major fund houses, but not all credit those proceeds back to their clients (pocketing the proceeds instead). We feel that it is right to credit this back to our clients. If we receive revenue sharing for your account, we will credit that back towards your next invoice—always—helping your better afford your plan expenses!
- Locally and organically grown in the Pacific Northwest
We live and work in the area with offices in Mukilteo and Snoqualmie currently easily accessing King Co (Seattle/Bellevue), Snohomish Co and beyond. We’ve never purchased business so every client we have is someone we’ve actually talked with personally.