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2019 Advisor Survey

Evaluating Operational Challenges to Drive Scale and Efficiency

In August 2019, Vestwell conducted a survey to learn more about the reigning attitudes of today’s retirement plan advisors and how they are successfully approaching plan sales and engagement.

  • 33% of advisors see managing scale as their biggest hurdle when it comes to growth
  • Yet less than 30% are outsourcing their most basic functions
  • Additionally, 20% are still working with more than 6 recordkeepers
  • And those numbers are significantly higher for plan specialists!

What to dig deeper? Download the full report here.

Retirement Plan Improvements Highlight FinTech During 401kTV Awards

Retirement plan improvements help plan participants and plan sponsors alike.  Today, retirement plan improvement in the form of Fintech is at a tipping point. Led by advances and huge investments, fintech firms are competing to solve retirement, savings, investing and debt management issues at the worksite. At the inaugural 401kTV Genie Awards held in New York City on August 22nd at the Park Lane Hotel, 401kTV revealed the three Finalists for the 401kTV Genie Technology Award from the many nominations received.

Read more

Reducing the number of 401(k) record keeper partners poses a challenge for plan advisors

With almost 500 retirement plans but less than $100 million in AUM, Steve Austin of Apex Financial, who is a former Paychex wholesaler, is proactively reducing provider partners. He said robos like Vestwell are making it easier, particularly with their focus on lower costs and technology, issues that resonate with clients. Mr. Austin also noted that advisers need a business process, especially if they are growing quickly, with consolidation a key component.

Read more here.

Maximize Savings with a Safe Harbor Plan…And Soon

safe harbor

Safe harbor 401(k) plans can be a win-win for employers who want to maximize tax savings and retain employees. There is still time to reap the benefits for 2019.

1. Safe harbor basics

A safe harbor is like a traditional 401(k), but the employer must contribute, and contributions become fully vested when made. Contributions can either be limited to employees who make deferrals or offered to all eligible employees.

2. The trade-off may be worth it

Unlike traditional 401(k) plans, safe harbor plans automatically pass a number of required tests in order to keep your plan tax qualified and avoid other penalties and costs. These plans can be a great choice for small businesses that may have trouble passing nondiscrimination testing. For example, a family-owned or small business with more highly compensated employees relative to “rank and file” or non-highly compensated employees may otherwise have difficulty passing compliance tests.

3. More good news

The business owner can contribute the maximum annual deferral amount to his/her own 401(k) plan ($18,500 plus any catch up contributions), receive additional savings from the company’s matching contributions (they’re an “employee” too) and, come tax time, the business can deduct all matching contributions (up to the $55,000 IRS limit).

4. There is still time to maximize the savings for 2019

Safe harbor plans must be in effect three months prior to the plan year-end date, which means eligible employees must be able to make salary deferrals starting no later than the payroll period that ends on or after October 1 of the plan’s first year.  This means plan sponsors must make decision and sign necessary documentation by September 1.

5. If you already have a plan, you can take advantage too!

If you offer a different plan, but would like to take advantage of Safe Harbor benefits, here are dates to know:

  • By or before November 30, 2019: Your provider can amend your plan or start a new plan with a safe harbor provision for the following year
  • December 1, 2019: Your employees receive a 30-day notice of plan revisions
  • January 1, 2020: Safe Harbor provision takes effect and exempts the plan from nondiscrimination testing

Overall, there are benefits to any type of retirement offering, but a safe harbor plan can be a smart decision for many companies, particularly for small business owners. If you have any questions about whether a safe harbor plan is right for you, reach out to at any time.

Vestwell Appoints Two Financial Industry Leaders to its Board of Directors

Rana Yared, Principal Strategic Investments, Goldman Sachs

Lori Hardwick, CEO Wealth Tech, RedRock Strategic Partners

Goldman Sachs’ Rana Yared and industry veteran Lori Hardwick join the board following Vestwell’s $30 million Series B

New York – July 2, 2019 – Vestwell, a digital retirement platform, announced the appointment of two new members to the company’s Board of Directors, Rana Yared, Partner and Managing Director of Goldman Sachs, and Lori Hardwick, CEO of Wealth Tech at RedRock Strategic Partners and Chairman of Riskalyze. The two executives join Vestwell’s board on the back of the company’s recent $30 million Series B funding round, which will be used to fuel innovation and scale the company’s retirement technology platform.

“We’re very excited to have Rana and Lori join our Board to lend their expertise in financial services and technology and help guide our next phase of growth,” said Aaron Schumm, Co-Founder and CEO of Vestwell. “Rana is a clear visionary with deep insight into how fintech companies can successfully navigate and disrupt traditional financial services, while Lori is a renowned and dynamic industry executive with decades of experience leveraging technologies to scale platform businesses at pivotal junctures. Their contributions will certainly help make our future vision a reality.”

“I was drawn to Vestwell because it has developed a modern and intuitive interface that empowers advisors to more efficiently manage customized retirement plans,” said Yared. “I’m looking forward to working alongside the team to continue reimagining retirement through technology.”

Rana Yared joins the Board of Directors as a representative from Goldman Sachs, which led Vestwell’s Series B funding round in April 2019. At Goldman, Yared plays a leading role in the company’s financial technology investment arm and helps lead the commercialization of the bank’s technologies. She was recently named one of Goldman Sachs’ “Most Powerful Women” and has been recognized by Fortune’s 40 Under 40 list.

“Vestwell is filling an important gap that has prevented so many retirement advisors from not only scaling their businesses, but also improving their client experience,” said Hardwick. “I’m thrilled to join the board to help fuel a much needed transformation in how retirement plans are administered, managed, and experienced by all stakeholders.”

Lori Hardwick is a renowned industry veteran, with specific expertise in investment, technology, and advisory solutions. In addition to her current position, Hardwick serves as a member of the Board of Directors for AI Labs, a company she co-founded in 2017. Previously, she was one of the original partners at Envestnet, as well as Chief Operating Officer of Pershing. Hardwick has been named to the “Women to Watch” list by InvestmentNews, listed as one of the “50 Most Influential Women in Private Wealth” by Private Asset Management magazine, and included in Investment Advisor’s 25 list, among other accolades.

About Vestwell Holdings, Inc.

Vestwell is a digital platform that makes it easier to offer and administer retirement plans. Vestwell removes traditional friction points through flexible investment strategies, fiduciary oversight, and streamlined administration, all at competitive pricing. By acting as a single point of contact, Vestwell has modernized the retirement offering while keeping the advisor’s, employer’s, and plan participant’s best interests in mind. Learn more at and  on Twitter @Vestwell.

Media Contact

Brooke Flohr