Asked and Answered: Why Team Up With a TPA?

May 27, 2021
A woman with question marks surrounding her

Third-party administrators manage many day-to-day aspects of a retirement plan, with expertise on plan compliance, design and consulting. We get a lot of questions about TPAs and how to best partner with one. To get answers, the In the Loop team talked with Rita Taylor-Rodriguez, national TPA sales director at The Standard.

In the Loop: Why should an advisor work with a TPA?

Taylor-Rodriguez: Because this partnership can help you build your business. It’s smart to use all of the resources at your fingertips, including a TPA. A third-party administrator is another partner to help you uncover new opportunities — and a great referral service. TPAs will step in to be the problem solver. They’ll take on the tricky phone calls to resolve issues that can be a drain on an advisor’s practice.

ITL: Can you describe a typical referral situation for an advisor?

Rita Taylor-Rodriguez

Rita Taylor-Rodriguez

Taylor-Rodriguez: Sure. TPAs work with many clients and their clients are loyal to them. Let’s say a client wants to change advisors. Maybe an advisor is retiring or has fallen out of favor for whatever reason. A client may automatically turn to a TPA for help. If you’ve already built a relationship with this same TPA, you may be the first advisor who’s recommended to the client.

ITL: How can a TPA help me run my business more efficiently?

Taylor-Rodriguez: TPAs can make servicing and retaining your clients easier for you. They add an additional layer of local, expert service, often client-facing. TPAs provide deep technical support. And this gives you more time to focus on growing your business.

ITL: When does it make sense to partner with a TPA?

Taylor-Rodriguez: The better question might be, “When does it not make sense to partner with a TPA?”

TPAs are a great fit for plans of all sizes, small and large. For small plans, TPAs help take on day-to-day plan responsibilities, which is essential for employers who don’t have employees dedicated to plan management. For large plans, which tend to be more complex, TPAs can draw on that deep technical expertise to help with sophisticated plan design, compliance consulting and regulatory updates. If you’d like more time to build your practice, teaming up with a TPA makes sense.

ITL: How do I choose a TPA and a recordkeeper that I can trust to service my clients well?

Taylor-Rodriguez: Choose a TPA and recordkeeper who work well together, understand their respective roles and responsibilities, and effectively share information. Plan administration relies on accurate, up-to-date plan data. Recordkeepers must supply TPAs with reliable data so they can execute well on responsibilities like compliance testing, Form 5500 preparation and review of participant transactions.

It’s also important to choose a recordkeeper whose services and processes are consistent for all plans, whether they’re unbundled or bundled.

ITL: Is The Standard one of these recordkeepers?

Taylor-Rodriguez: Yes, The Standard provides the same level of service to unbundled and bundled plans. We work closely with TPAs to leverage their strengths, and provide support for them and their clients to fit their needs. Plus, our industry-leading solution for participant data management means TPAs and plan sponsors can trust the plan data we provide. And more recently, we’ve grown our National TPA team so we can devote even more service to these essential partners.


Talk to your retirement plan consultant at The Standard for more information about TPA partnerships.