SPARK Forum 2014


Sunday, November 2, 2014

8:00 am Golf Tournament

1:00 – 5:00 pm Exhibitor Setup

1:00 – 6:00 pm Conference Registration

6:00 – 8:00 pm Welcome Reception with Exhibitors –

8:15 – 11:00 pm Meet and Greet with Bill Walton, accompanied by Cocktails and Dinner –

Monday, November 3, 2014

7:00 am – 5:00 pm Conference Registration

7:00 – 8:00 am Continental Breakfast with Exhibitors –

8:00 – 8:15 am Welcome, Opening Remarks & SPARK Advisor Award Announcements

Joe Ready, Executive Vice President and Director, Wells Fargo Institutional Retirement and Trust and President, SPARK Institute

8:15 – 9:15 am Fi-natical Curiosity

Scott West, Head of Invesco Consulting

Scott West, Head of Invesco Consulting, will lead an interactive session to show you how to embrace the power of curiosity to win business and build relationships. In his presentation on “Fi-natical Curiosity” Scott will teach you how to learn as much about your prospects and clients as possible in the shortest period of time by using the natural order of curiosity, unique Q-cards for financial advisors and the art of asking questions. This session is ideal for both service providers and advisors.

9:20 – 9:50 am Break with Exhibitors –

10:00 – 11:00 am BREAKOUT SESSIONS

SESSION A – Capabilities to Drive Business Success

Barbara March, CEO, BridgePoint Group, LLC

Changing market dynamics are requiring that organizations evolve to better meet the expectations of their customers and corporations. But what capabilities do you need to remain competitive?

As we head into a new year, firms have all assembled lists of tactical initiatives focused on addressing growth or scale objectives. But is your firm also focused on developing the specific capabilities needed to drive business success? Barbara March of the BridgePoint Group will share perspectives of how firms must continue to adapt to address the required evolution of our industry.

SESSION B – Contribution Processing: Challenges and How to Leverage Technology, Processes and People to Reduce Complexity and Lead Time

Lucas Soucy, Director of Retirement Services, Congruent Solutions

Contribution processing is a necessary evil across the industry. It is a plan requirement and provides new cash flows into the plan, but in itself it is not necessarily something the client sees as a value add to the services you offer. It does however have a direct impact on the client experience both at the time of upload and for downstream processes. Many in the industry face similar challenges when dealing with contributions that become an expense and a drag on the bottom line, but there are ways to reduce this drag. These solutions may come in the form of technology and software options available to the industry today that weren’t available before or as simple as how you organize your administration teams and deploy people. The right choice will depend on your business needs, the size of your organization and your target market.

11:00 – 11:55 am Regulatory Update

Steve Saxon, Chairman, Groom Law Group

Steve Saxon will review major regulatory issues affecting 401(k) and other individual account retirement plans. Among the activities he will discuss are the DOL’s fiduciary regulation re-proposal, lifetime income guidance, IRA rollover issues, new guidance on brokerage windows, missing participant guidance and more.

12:00 – 1:00 pmLunch

1:05 – 1:55 pm Emerging and Future Trends in Retirement Communications

Tim Slavin, Senior Vice President, Defined Contribution at Broadridge Financial Solutions (Moderator)
Karen Eisenbach, Executive Director, Retirement Marketing, J.P. Morgan Asset Management
Matthew Guidotti, Director, Marketing and Regulatory Communications, Broadridge Financial Solutions
Jennifer Plese, Vice President, Participant Experience Manager, Wells Fargo Institutional Retirement and Trust
Harley Spring, Vice President RP Plan Services, The Standard

The management of plan and participant communications continues to be a double-edged sword for retirement providers. On the one hand, providing effective communications offers the promise of establishing competitive differentiation in a commoditized industry. On the other, delivering these communications impact already thin margins for business under fee pressure. This panel will explore new solutions and emerging approaches for engaging participants and helping to overcome the nation’s retirement challenge.

2:00 – 2:30 am Break with Exhibitors –

2:35 – 3:25 pm BREAKOUT SESSIONS

SESSION A – Increasing Margins in a Fee Sensitive and Competitive Market

Peter Demmer, CEO, Sterling Resources (Moderator)
Charlie Nelson, Executive Vice President, Retirement Services, Great-West Financial
Bill Yoerger, President, Retirement Services, OneAmerica Financial Partners, Inc.

This session will contain industry profitability data from Sterling’s P2000TM data and feature critical comments and information from Great-West Financial and OneAmerica on success factors in the industry. A discussion on industry consolidation, scale and technology and how providers are dealing with revenue/price compression will feature both historical trends and possible future changes. A critical point we will cover is how competition for scarce resources, in the face of declining per dollar of assets fees and rates, is limiting investments in real outcomes for participants, potentially creating a new retirement crisis in America.

SESSION B – Service Delivery Excellence: Overcoming Barriers and Accelerating Results

Stacy Sandler, Principal, Deloitte Consulting
Christine Skatchke, Vice President, Director Retirement Product Strategy & Development, Wells Fargo Institutional Retirement and Trust
Lisa Weil, Vice President and General Manager, ProcessUnity

As providers move along the transformation path to a formal product offer and service delivery management practice, they are finding common values and successes. Successful providers have focused on a few key objectives and aligned phased implementation strategies. This session will provide attendees with the opportunity to learn from industry leaders on how they are creating implementation approaches, overcoming key barriers and accelerating business results including:

  • Provider Perspective: Key Initiative Priorities & Focus
  • Creating and Realizing a Competitive Product Offer – The Journey with our Clients
    • Implementation Roadmap & Considerations
    • Diligence around Value Proposition
    • Segmentation Strategies
    • Benchmarking
  • Wells Fargo Case Study: Equipping RM’s to Change Conversations with Plan Sponsors
  • Success Factors and Considerations

3:40 – 4:30 pm Leveraging Acquisitions as a Strategy for Market Growth

Greg Clark, Executive Vice President, Relationship Management, SunGard Wealth and Retirement Administration (Moderator)
Bob Wuelfing, Executive Director, The SPARK Institute, Inc. (Facilitator)
Diane Jenkins, Senior Vice President, BOK Financial Services’ Institutional Wealth Group
Bill Yoerger, President, Retirement Services, OneAmerica Financial Partners, Inc.

Top and bottom line expansion pressures force financial institutions to analyze costs and look at expanding markets across the entire investor value chain. Market segment expansion, breadth of offerings and expanded distribution are all strategic areas to consider for growth initiatives. Join this panel discussion to learn how and why these industry leaders have chosen to include acquisitions as a key part of their growth strategy and learn about the benefits they have received from these initiatives.

5:00 – 7:00 pm Reception with Exhibitors –

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

8:00 – 9:00 am Looking Back to Look Ahead: Congressional Activity in 2014 and the Landscape for 2015

Derek Dorn, Partner, Davis & Harman LLP

In this plenary session, Derek Dorn, a partner of Davis & Harman and The SPARK Institute’s legislative counsel, will recap and assess the past year’s developments on Capitol Hill as they relate to retirement plans – including release of the most significant tax reform proposal in a generation; ongoing scrutiny of incentives for DC plans; and thoughtful bills that would build on PPA’s success. With his characteristic ability to contextualize retirement policy through the lens of broader congressional activity, we will consider the trend lines and evaluate what the new Congress, to take office in January, is likely to have in store for the retirement plan community. He will also explore some of the Administration’s broader retirement priorities (including myRA) alongside the mushrooming of state-level proposals.

9:05 – 9:55 am BREAKOUT SESSIONS

SESSION A – Emerging Themes in Custom Target Date Strategies

Chris O’Neill, Managing Director, Chief Investment Officer and Director of Research, Mesirow Financial Investment Strategies (Moderator)
Stephen Bozeman, Director, Senior Product Strategist, Defined Contribution, BlackRock
Matt Sommer, Director, Senior Retirement Specialist, Janus
Bransby Whitton, Senior Vice President and Real Return Product Manager, PIMCO

The DOL’s recent guidance to plan sponsors is enhancing interest in custom target date services, as plan sponsors are encouraged to look more carefully under the hood of their off-the-shelf QDIA offerings. In addition to avoiding potential conflicts and excessive fees, sponsors going custom are leveraging emerging trends in line-up construction as a response to concerns about rising rates and equity volatility. Learn how diversifying multi-strategy bond, multi-alternative, and real return strategies are enhancing custom QDIAs, while the integration of retirement income products and portfolio-level downside risk management can offer participants at or near retirement the peace of mind they cannot find off the shelf.

SESSION B – Today’s 401(k) Advisor

Ron Bush, Founder and Principal of Brightwork Partners LLC

Drawing on recent research conducted by Brightwork Partners among both advisors and plan sponsors, this session will explore important changes in the profile of 401(k) advisors, in their value proposition and in what they value most from retirement service providers. It will also address the critical decision to retain or switch service providers from the perspective of plan sponsors who recently undertook a bidding process, including the role of advisors in that process and the key decision drivers.

SESSION C – Personalizing Service Delivery to Enhance Retirement Readiness & Plan Management

Eric Levy, Senior Vice President, Head of Product and Solutions Management, Retirement Plan Services, Lincoln Financial Group
Paul Gould, Assistant Vice President, Head of Participant Engagement Phone Channel, Lincoln Financial Group
Jim Wironen, Vice President, Strategic Relationships, Wealth Management Systems Inc.

DC plans are no longer just supplemental savings plans but rather are becoming the backbone of the US retirement system. Regulators are dedicated to strengthening savings in DC plans recognizing that they will be the primary sources of retirement income for most Americans. As an industry dedicated to serving the retirement needs of employees, we are all looking for new and effective solutions to bring retirement planning to life for participants to empower them to achieve retirement readiness. Join Jim Wironen from Wealth Management Systems Inc. (WMSI), Eric Levy from Lincoln Financial Group, and Paul Gould from Lincoln Financial Group as they share industry trends, best practices and effective new program and product solutions from providers dedicated to proactively addressing the retirement income needs of participants.

10:00 – 10:30 pm Break with Exhibitors –

10:30 – 11:20 am The Fabric of America’s Workforce

Cynthia Hayes, President, Oculus Partners, LLC

A look at the American workforce of today and tomorrow and how retirement may be impacted. This session will cover how the American workforce has changed and will likely change over the next 5 years and how retirement providers can better connect to that workforce in planning for and living in retirement. We’ll leave with the top 5 things providers can do to have a positive impact on retirement outcomes across this wildly diverse group of workers.

11:25 – 11:45 pm Break / Check Out

11:45 – 12:35 pm BREAKOUT SESSIONS

SESSION A – Trends and Opportunities in the DC Small Plan Market

Sean Murray, Executive Vice President and National Retirement Sales Manager, PIMCO
Christina Stauffer, Senior Vice President and Account Manager, PIMCO
Bransby Whitton, Senior Vice President and Real Return Product Manager, PIMCO

PIMCO has partnered with Bright Scope to examine small plan level data over the last three years to uncover a number of key marketplace trends. We look forward to sharing our small plan market findings ($1 Million-$50 Million plan size) across pricing, participant saving rates, and corporate matches, as well as investment dynamics over the period. Join us to learn how these trends provide opportunities for both record keepers and advisors who cover the small plan market.

SESSION B – Introduction to The SPARK Institute’s Government Relations Committee

Mike Hadley, Partner, Davis & Harman LLP

The SPARK Institute maintains an active presence in Washington, interacting with legislators and regulators and commenting on major proposals. The Government Relations Committee (GRC) directs our efforts and serves as a sounding board for policy positions. Mike Hadley, of Davis & Harman LLP, The SPARK Institute’s outside counsel, will provide an introduction to how the GRC works and provide an overview of recent issues we have addressed at Treasury, IRS, the Department of Labor, and on Capitol Hill. This session will be useful to representatives of companies interested in becoming more active – or just more informed – on retirement policy issues coming out of Washington.