Why select Heartland Bank Retirement Services?
There are several crucial advantages of Heartland Bank Retirement Services program. The recordkeeping partnership with BPAS makes our program the best solution for your company retirement plan:
In our program, a plan sponsor can select the strongest possible menu of investments, using funds from over 135 fund families as well as a self-directed brokerage window option. There are no proprietary funds involved whatsoever. Our broad flexibility on investments is a major advantage versus many other programs available in the marketplace.
In sharp contrast to many insurance-based programs, our program uses no variable annuities or separate account investments. This means that all fund prices match the newspaper and are “known quantity” investments. Our approach ensures a low overall cost and full disclosure of fees, with no exit penalties or restrictions. What’s more, plan sponsors are not asked to sign a “contract”; merely an administrative services agreement and a trustee agreement.
Unlike most competitors, we deliver comprehensive administration in lieu of “recordkeeping”. We receive a complete census file from clients each pay period covering all employees – whether they are participating in the plan or not – as well as year-to-date hours and compensation. Receiving this complete set of information allows us to simplify life for Human Resources in a variety of ways. We determine eligibility by source, update vesting on a real-time basis, offer an automated process for loans and distributions, and communicate “action items” to the client through the plan sponsor website. In addition, our comprehensive approach dramatically simplifies the year-end process for compliance testing, allocation of employer contributions, processing of forfeitures and completion of Form 5500. We ask for more data so we can do a more complete job in administering your plan. This approach is music to the ears of HR professionals.
BPAS is highly unique in that it provides administration, mutual fund clearing and agent-to-trustee services under one roof (through the legal authority of sister company Community Bank, N.A). Having a single firm as the partner to Heartland Bank and Trust instead of two or three entities ensures simplicity and accountability, and eliminates the possibility of coordination problems or “finger pointing”. When questions arise regarding contributions, loans, distributions, enrollments, census files or other matters, they can be quickly resolved since all of these functions are handled within a single facility. Our staff members know each other well and interact on a minute-by-minute basis. This is a major advantage versus recordkeepers with 1,000 or more employees who are dispersed over multiple states and locations.
Qualified plan regulations are complex and constantly changing. BPAH considers it our responsibility to know these regulations and to keep clients apprised of their options. Each plan is assigned a Plan Consultant, who is their primary contact over the life of the relationship. This individual performs all plan consulting and plan design assistance for the plan, while serving as the client’s relationship manager. Unlike many other provides, we do not relegate plan design issues and discrimination testing to a small team of specialists; we require that all of our plan consultants be proficient in these matters themselves. What’s more, we are not an accounting firm or healthcare TPA who has tried to vie in the qualified plan business. Our core business is retirement plan administration and consulting, which becomes apparent when you witness the technical depth of our staff.
This helps your retirement plan committee discharge its duties properly – including the selection and review of plan investments, adherence to sound fiduciary process, assistance in complying with ERISA 404(c) and other matters. Our comprehensive approach reduces risk for your organization as a whole and provides better peace of mind.
The Heartland Bank and Trust approach includes regular onsite meetings, accessibility for one-on-one sessions, and ongoing communication with employees during the year using a variety of media. We know that employees only become truly engaged in their retirement journey when education needs are handled properly. Creating this environment is one of our most important imperatives as your Trustee.
Our program offers features such as personalized rates of return, automatic account rebalancing, online fact sheets and prospectuses, a self-directed brokerage account option, an online “file cabinet” for participant and plan sponsor reports, and numerous other features. New features continue to be rolled out over time to keep our program on the leading edge.
A clear trend over the last few years is that many of our competitors have outsourced their business to “mega recordkeepers”, who may handle one million participants or more. While this may sound impressive during the sales process, what they don’t tell you is that many of these firms have moved to rotating service teams, loop lines and other approaches which essentially put the provider’s business objectives ahead of the needs of the client. In any administrative relationship, questions or issues will come up. Our approach ensures that they can be quickly discussed and addressed by calling your Plan Consultant (or another team member) directly. This approach leads to satisfied plan sponsors and successful, long-term relationships.
Over the years, your company will change its employee benefits program; you’ll probably also change payroll providers several times. Our solution works well regardless of which payroll system you utilize and provides tremendous benefits to reduce your administrative work and risk. Of all employee benefits, none has a more far-reaching impact on a participant’s future quality of life than their retirement plan. For that reason, it’s critical to select the most flexible solution.
Please call us with any questions you may have about our Retirement Services program. We look forward to the opportunity to service your plan.