The Standard is the marketing name for StanCorp Financial Group, Inc., and its subsidiaries. StanCorp Equities, Inc., member FINRA, wholesales a group annuity contract issued by Standard Insurance Company and a mutual fund trust platform for retirement plans. Standard Retirement Services, Inc. provides financial recordkeeping and plan administrative services. Investment advisory services are provided by StanCorp Investment Advisers, Inc., a registered investment advisor. StanCorp Equities, Inc., Standard Insurance Company, Standard Retirement Services, Inc., and StanCorp Investment Advisers, Inc., are subsidiaries of StanCorp Financial Group, Inc., and all are Oregon corporations.
Asked and Answered: Why Team Up With a TPA?
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?
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.
Confidence and Compassion
A Note from Greg Ness, Chairman, President and CEO
At The Standard, we’ve been helping people achieve financial well-being and peace of mind since 1906. As the global health crisis continues to disrupt lives, communities and the economy, I am confident we’ll continue helping people when they need us the most. Our company has been through hard times and market volatility before and we will navigate through this challenge as well. As our customers face tremendous stress and uncertainty, we will continue providing support and stability to those who rely on our products and services.
This pandemic is tough on everyone. Our communities are hurting, our families and friends are distressed and some of our most vulnerable neighbors are at risk.
The crisis and the way we collectively respond to it will define a generation. We are rising to the challenge. I know every single employee at our company — along with staying focused on keeping our business running and serving our customers — is looking for ways to make a difference for those most affected by this pandemic. That’s proving true in businesses and homes across the community, the country and around the world.
Part of the tragedy of this disease is that even as we come together to help those most in need, the unique nature of COVID-19 is forcing us apart. We all understand the importance of —social distancing— to slow the spread, but we should remember that’s just physical distancing. I encourage you to find ways to safely connect with those in your neighborhood who may require extra help and with groups in your community that are making a difference and support them however you can. And now is the perfect time to reach out to friends and others and just check in.
To our health care providers, first responders and everyone selflessly setting aside their own fears and concerns to help others during this time — thank you hardly seems enough. These people are true heroes. This crisis reinforces how reliant we are on the many essential services we too often take for granted. We are grateful to so many for continuing to show up with focus and commitment.
We will get through this, especially if we are sustained by the examples of those who make us the proudest right now — family, friends, neighbors and colleagues working together — rather than allowing our fears to guide us. No matter how unsettled we may feel, remember we are not alone. There are so many people in this world trying their level best to help others. And I am certain we will get through this — together.
In times of crisis, we are defined by how we react. Let’s continue to be defined by compassion.
And to our customers, thank you for putting your trust in The Standard. What we sell is a promise to be there when you need us, and that promise is unwavering.
Be safe and well, and stay connected.
Jared's Story: Time for Family
Age: 36 - Occupation: pediatrician - Married, one child
How the Family Care Benefit provided the ability to care for a loved one
Jared's daughter was born with a heart defect. They visited multiple specialists to diagnose the condition and determine the appropriate treatment. Then his daughter underwent surgeries, hospital stays and months of follow-up appointments. Benefits from Jared’s Platinum Advantage policy helped make up for the income lost when Jared spent time away from work to attend physician appointments and to be with his daughter in the hospital and throughout her extended recovery — providing peace of mind during a trying time.
Supportive Office Equipment
Age: 42 - Occupation: accountant - Married, no children
Assistance on the road to recovery through a rehabilitation program
Jody's role as an accountant at a small firm requires a lot of computer work. After sustaining a serious back injury from a car accident, Jody was totally disabled under her Platinum Advantage policy. Jody’s doctor recommended she purchase assistive equipment to help her work comfortably at her desk without aggravating her condition. She was able to return to work full time after participating in a rehabilitation program in which expenses for a sitstand desk and other ergonomic accommodations were paid for under her Platinum Advantage policy. These modifications helped ensure she could return to work safely, without hindering her recovery.
David's Story: Starting a Medical Career
Age: 33 - Occupation: dermatology physician - Single, no children
Benefits that match career growth through the Benefit Increase Rider
David is completing his dermatology residency and just accepted an offer at a private practice. Before the end of his residency, he purchased a Platinum Advantage policy that included the Benefit Increase Rider, knowing his income will rise significantly after he starts his first post-residency job. The benefit also will allow his policy to grow with him as he progresses in his career and receives additional salary increases. David values the fact that his coverage going forward will match his developing career.
Jason's Story: Accidents Happen
Age: 35 • Occupation: orthopedic surgeon • Married, two children
Finding work in a new occupation with the Own Occupation Rider
Jason injured his right hand in an accident and was unable to return to his job as an orthopedic surgeon because he couldn't perform surgery. Due to his medical training, he was able to return to work as a family medicine physician. Jason was considered totally disabled in his regular occupation as an orthopedic surgeon — even though he earns an income from another occupation as a family medicine physician — because of the own occupation definition of total disability included in his Platinum Advantage policy. Because of this, he receives the policy's full basic monthly benefit, in addition to the income he receives in his new position.
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