A Conversation With Barry Goldwater: Should the CPA Make the Pension Referral?

Should the CPA make the Pension Referral? There are twenty two million small business people in this country and 80 percent of them do not have pension plans. The three reasons given for this anomaly is:

*The perception that it is too expensive because of employee participation

*Ignorance about what kind of plan is appropriate

*Have never spoken to anyone about different types of retirement plans

We must assume that business people use the services of accountants and we always assume that accountants are tax deductible specialists. To my way of thinking as an advanced planning insurance broker, shouldn’t pension planning really begin in the office of a CPA and end in the office of the investment advisor? The CPA recommends the plan and the client finds the pension specialist.

If the pension specialist was associated with the CPA firm and introduced as a team member, the transition from suggestion to illustration to implementation would be seamless and the concept, strategy and additional revenue would be derived from within the firm’s existing client base. This model is part of a wealth management and paradigm change for CPA firms seeking revenue expansion and a broader business environment for their clients. It incentivizes firm partners to participate and if there is incentive, there will be recommendations.

When CPA/Asset Management and P&C firms decide to create a multi-disciplinary approach to client service delivery, they sometimes fail to prioritize the structure of the change. What happens is that because the compensation arrangement between the partners is not clear, and client segmentation identifying the top prospects within the firm did not occur, the referral incentives from the partners never materialize and finding the appropriate clients becomes challenging and sporadic. Because there are so many skills needed when expanding the traditional business environment to include financial services, the ability to move a client from one point within the firm to another point with different proficiencies is crucial to its success. The inability to coordinate this business model with the referral partners is the primary reason for failure.

So when would be the best time for a CPA to suggest a pension review? Usually it takes place with the initial interview, when the client first became interested in the firm. If it was not common practice to do so, then as a marketing campaign, the firm as a whole starts to inform their clients that because of the new tax law changes, they are calling for a firm wide pension audit because there is the belief that their clients can turn their additional tax savings into much larger pension contributions.

When a CPA firm starts marketing to its clients about cost savings, tax deductions, benefit protection and insurance solutions, they will be meeting the needs of what the modern consumer and definitely “A” list clients are expecting of their nicely paid trusted advisors. It is incumbent upon forward thinking professionals to start understanding how to form strategic alliances with other professionals which will address a variety of important client financial planning needs and improve profitability per client.

About Barry Goldwater
Barry Goldwater is the Principal of the Financial Resource Group and a 20-year veteran of the insurance industry. He focuses not only on working with the business and affluent clients of CPA's and attorneys, but also in helping CPA's form and develop a business model to include financial services. His expertise lies with using insurance and tax deductible solutions and their applications in the areas of Business Planning, Pensions, Retirement Protection Planning and Wealth Transfer Planning. He is an insurance specialist who is a member of the Bisys Exceptional Producer Group, the New York and Boston Chapters of the Estate Planning Council and he currently sits on the board of the Society of Financial Service Professionals. He can be reached at 617-527-9736 or barry@frg-creative.com. His web site is http://www.frg-creative.com.

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