PlanFees in Practice: Changing the Conversation

Posted by PlanFees on Jan 19, 2022 8:27:00 AM

You already know PlanFees is an essential tool for benchmarking your fees when closing the deal with a new client — but the power of PlanFees can also help you retain those clients you’ve worked so hard to sign. Luke Vandermillen, New Business Development Associate at , PlanFees, loves collecting success stories from advisors across the nation. As a lead on the business development team, he’s always on the move with his ear to the ground, tapping into the real-life success stories he hears from retirement plan advisors across the U.S.

When we caught up with Vandermillen, he shared this recent story about a quick-thinking advisor in Philadelphia who relied on PlanFees to pivot what could have been a difficult conversation into a great client service — and retention — success story.

Scenario: Concerned Plan Sponsor Becomes Satisfied Client

Meeting with a plan sponsor team, one advisor found himself in the hot seat when the question of excessive fees came up. The client was aware of growing trends in participant litigation against plan sponsors claiming excessive fees and the sponsor had concerns about their plan. The advisor knew just what to do — he pulled up the PlanFees app and did some instant benchmarking right there with the client. Vandermillen says, “PlanFees is like an MRI machine because it allowed the advisor to diagnose the problem with the plan for the sponsor very quickly.”

Looking at where the client’s fees were in relation to plans with comparable assets under management and participant numbers, the advisor was able to give on-the-spot assurances about the reasonableness of their fees while opening a dialog about strategies to further reduce plan costs. Instead of being on the defensive, the advisor became a partner in problem-solving. “This is why PlanFees is a win-win for retirement plan advisors and sponsors,” Vandermillen adds.

Key Takeaways

By tapping into the power of PlanFees, this resourceful advisor was:

  • More efficient with his own time: There was no need to schedule a follow-up meeting with the sponsor — he could provide answers on-the-spot to address their concerns.
  • Productive with the client’s time: The client, HR and the retirement plan committee didn’t have to spend time gathering information for the advisor or figure out how to get the team together again for a follow-up meeting.
  • Responsive: Immediate benchmarking with PlanFees changed the dynamic of the situation, assuaging the client’s generalized concern and shifting the conversation toward discussing more positive and productive strategies
  • Credible and transparent: Because PlanFees’ live-bid database is so robust — based on tens of thousands of plans with hundreds of billions in total assets — advisors (and in turn plan sponsors) can trust that the data is accurate and unbiased.
  • Proactive: PlanFees provides the opportunity for active benchmarking between live bids every three to five years, and demonstrates to sponsors that the advisor is actively monitoring their fees and taking steps as necessary to ensure fees are reasonable.

Armed with the power of PlanFees, this advisor turned what could otherwise have been a difficult meeting into a client success story. He came across as prepared, knowledgeable and professional and effectively partnered with his client to address their concerns.

What’s Your Success Scenario?

We love hearing how advisors are taking advantage of PlanFees to help them in their practice. Please reach out to Luke at to share how you’ve leveraged the power of PlanFees with clients and prospects.

Topics: Fees