Corporate Retirement Plan Consulting

Shepherd Financial oversees all aspects of corporate retirement plans, providing leadership, inspiring with our enthusiasm, holding ourselves accountable, advocating for plan sponsors and employees, and bringing our knowledge and ingenuity to each retirement plan we serve. Our focus is on understanding our clients’ priorities to create a roadmap for a successful and productive consulting relationship.

Employee Financial Wellness And Engagement

The Shepherd Financial team is passionate about helping employees address everyday financial concerns and prepare to retire on their terms. Each clients’ goals help shape the employee engagement plan for each year, focusing on the number and type of meetings desired, optimal communication practices, and any specific needs that should be addressed.

Financial wellness program

Employees struggle with more than saving for retirement and need quick, easy, and efficient guidance for everyday life. From the time an employee is hired to their termination or retirement date, the Shepherd Financial team provides support and encouragement to help cultivate an optimal environment for financial wellness and behavioral changes. Regularly scheduled onsite meetings provide opportunities for employees to ask questions and receive additional support – these presentations are completely customized for each plan to help participants understand the specific benefits, features, and investment options available to them.

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Consistent engagement

Following group meetings, Shepherd Financial consultants are available for one-on-one sessions. This focused time allows for tailored education and advice to help employees with all their financial concerns.

Each month, Shepherd Financial hosts a financial wellness webinar focused on a range of topics, including creating a financial plan, dealing with financial stress, budgeting and debt management, and pre-retirement planning. Every quarter, we present a market review to help participants better understand market trends, economic impact, and a bigger-picture view of investing.

On monthly Open Phone Days, employees can schedule a phone call with a Shepherd Financial team member to discuss their financial situations, including retirement plan features, investment questions, financial planning resources, or other financial concerns in their lives.

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Personalized retirement readiness analysis

This analysis provides a custom snapshot of the employee’s current retirement scenario, offers insight as to whether they are on track to retire in a timely manner, illustrates behavioral changes they may need to make to eliminate any shortfall, and contains a paycheck calculator to help explain if they can afford to make those changes today.

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Plan design consultation

It is critical to understand how plan design changes, financial wellness resources, and employee engagement affect overall retirement savings and participant behavior. Following each employee meeting, Shepherd Financial creates an employee engagement analysis detailing new enrollments, deferral rate changes, beneficiary designations, and advisor interactions.

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Fiduciary support

We understand the complexity involved in sponsoring a corporate retirement plan, and it is our goal to help our clients in every way possible. To show our commitment, the Shepherd Financial team always signs on as either a 3(21) or 3(38) fiduciary for every client.

Fiduciary education

It is essential for the retirement plan committee to be fully invested in the health of the retirement plan and its participants. Shepherd Financial helps establish a committee charter and fully prepares each member with our extensive fiduciary training program. This training helps equip committee members and key personnel with the education needed to properly execute their roles and responsibilities. The series explains fiduciary duties, creates or refines an established documentation process, maintains fiduciary accountability, and is accompanied by an annual fiduciary checklist.

Secure online vault

Each client receives access to a secure, online fiduciary vault to allow quick access to plan information for everyday reference and compliance audits. All plan decisions are thoroughly documented within corporate minutes, which are saved in the online vault.

Fee benchmarking and service provider comparison

We regularly discuss potential methods to lower costs, improve plan design, and positively impact employees’ quality of life. Service provider benchmarks are performed at least annually for every Shepherd Financial client. Utilizing service provider-supplied documentation enables us to calculate investment costs, recordkeeping, and administration costs, and total plan costs. This data is benchmarked using independent third-party resources to provide reliable data and show how a particular plan compares to plans of similar asset and participant size.

Investment selection, design, and monitoring

Regardless of our fiduciary status, our fund screening and due diligence processes remain the same. Our process combines consulting, independent investment management, and continuous oversight. We believe these elements help committees effectively and responsibly guide their retirement plans and, ultimately, contribute to employee wellness.

Investment Policy Statement (IPS)

Our team has produced a detailed IPS to assist the plan committee by creating guidelines for making investment-related decisions in a prudent manner. The IPS outlines the underlying philosophies and processes for the selection, evaluation, monitoring, and termination of the investment options offered by the plan.

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Investment research

The bulk of assets in participant-directed retirement plans are invested in professionally managed portfolios, such as mutual funds, whose performance is a contributing factor in a participant’s ability to retire. Often, the success of employees reaching retirement is minimized due to excessive fees, poor investment options, and lack of education. To combat these potential detractors of savings accumulation, we employ a process-driven investment approach to research and evaluate potential investment options using a wide range of tools. 

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Investment monitoring

Our team researches fund companies by focusing on the portfolio manager’s process and philosophy, team structure and operations, and historical performance. Our quantitative and qualitative screening process is used to identify potential investment managers who have demonstrated characteristics that align with our scoring system. Prospective managers are further examined through document reviews, phone calls, and scheduled visits. Mutual funds are selected to represent each asset class based upon many factors, including various historical risk/return profiles and fees. Every investment in our clients’ investment lineups is monitored with due diligence, using unique criteria and thresholds. Clients are provided with quarterly investment monitoring reports.

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