As a former CFO, CPA, professional consultant, and President of an employee benefits company, I had many opportunities to evaluate and procure employee benefits for staff. This is a critically important exercise for all companies because employee benefits help recruit and retain staff. After 20+ years of auditing, managing, and administering 401k programs my key learnings were:
· Time to administer a 401k benefit is an important consideration. Good 401k solutions offer time savings in the form of relief from audits, procurement of insurance/bonds and oversight activities.
· Customer service and expertise from most TPA’s/Recordkeeper’s is underwhelming. It is rare that a 401k solution will provide a dedicated service team with requisite experience that can be contacted directly and respond within 24 hours.
· Fund availability and performance varies greatly which impacts participants retirement/savings. Participants want access to a high-performing fund line up with multiple choices.
· Setting up and/or transitioning a 401k takes time. Employers want a no-cost 401k plan set-up, easy to complete paperwork, and a strong implementation team.
· Having a good 401k advisor to select and monitor funds is important; however, advisors consistently fell short when it came to staff and compensation strategies and responsive customer service. Employers want an experienced Finance or HR professional as a “Sherpa” to help them navigate the delivery of the 401k benefit to them their company administrators and employees
· Having a scalable retirement solution is important. The employers that started with a simple IRA or a 401k through a PEO, online or bundled provider quickly outgrew the solution because of pricing, customer service, and lack of options.
These learnings made it clear to me that there was an underserved market.
In 2016, I launched the first version of an ERISA multiple employer 401k program.
This program was built to model Association Health Programs (AHPs), which are health insurance programs that serve multiple employer groups. My vision was to create a similar value proposition in the retirement space. What was particularly enticing about this opportunity was the ability to serve many employer groups throughout their life cycle, whether they were 5 employees or 500!
The WTIA 401k really started to grow in 2018 after the right service providers were engaged. The “glue” was having an in-house program manager with C-Suite experience to be a direct liaison to plan employers and to help manage the delivery and communication of the benefit to the participants.
Why Mountain West 401k
I took my real-life learnings of launching and operating one of the first ERISA retirement programs for multiple employers and decided to create a new 401k program that could serve all employers, regardless of industry focus or affiliation with a specific Association. This is the Mountain West 401k Program.
The Mountain West 401k is the next evolution of a multiple employer retirement program
Interested in learning more? Go to the Mountain West 401k home page and complete the “get a quote” form today.
About the author
Mike Monroe is the founder of Mountain West 401(k).
Mike graduated from Gonzaga University with a finance and accounting degree and for the first 25 years of his professional career served in fiduciary roles as a Certified Public Accountant (“CPA’) and Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”) for many employers in the Pacific Northwest. Mike was the president of an employee benefits firm for 10 years where he launched the largest health insurance and 401k multiple employer programs for technology employers in North America, serving over 700 small business technology employers in 20 states.
Mike calls Tri-Cities home and volunteers as the President of the School Advisory Committee at Christ of King and U9 and U6 coach for the Three Rivers soccer club. Mike enjoys paddleboarding, soccer, skiing and hiking throughout the Inland Northwest.