Like a complex recipe, planning for retirement can have a lot of ingredients with a lot of instructions. To enjoy a successful retirement, you need all the ingredients, in the right amounts and in the correct order.
Retirement Plan Sponsor
Unified Trust knows that achieving successful retirement outcomes means having a clear vision of your participants' long-term goals and helping them get on the right path to achieve those goals. To help sponsors do this, we accept the fiduciary responsibility of being a discretionary trustee, providing the highest level of fiduciary oversight under ERISA. We sign our name next to the plan sponsor's as a 'Named Plan Fiduciary' in the plan documents. We do this because we believe in doing the right thing in the interest of others, not at their expense.
WHY UNIFIED TRUST?
Retirement success doesn’t have to be difficult.
Retirement success is one of the greatest benefits an employer can provide an employee, yet we know it doesn’t come without its challenges. Our goals is to make it easy.
THE DISCRETIONARY DIFFERENCE
Fiduciary Comparison Tool
Fiduciary is a common term but it can also be a confusing one. This interactive tool can help you better understand the various fiduciary roles and the difference a discretionary trustee can make for your plan.
Unified Trust is a discretionary trustee because we believe that trust must be the foundation for everything we do. Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), the discretionary trustee has "exclusive authority and discretion to manage and control the assets of the plan." Simply put, we have a legal duty to always act in the best interest of the participant and to do so using a prudent expert standard of care.
Our proprietary Unified Fiduciary Monitoring Index® gives us a balanced, long-term evaluation of each investment, relative to its peers.
Open Architecture—unlimited access to investment fund managers at the plan level—allows us to consider virtually any investment alternative, providing it is prudent and meets the plan’s Investment Policy guidelines.
Stable Value is an investment option that focuses on capital preservation by providing participants with bond-like returns without bond-like volatility.
We understand the importance of having an investment solution that accounts for changing market conditions, allowing for growth in good markets and defending against losses during major downturns. The Wealth Preservation Portfolio is a series of risk-based asset allocation funds that we offer exclusively for defined contribution and defined benefit plans.
As a discretionary trustee, Unified Trust has a duty to be loyal and to always act in the best interest of the participants. For this reason, we’re fee-based and take a no-conflict-of-interest approach.
PRUDENT INVESTMENT PROCESS
At Unified Trust, participant success is our compass.
Retirement success is best achieved with a holistic approach delivered by a discretionary trustee where all of the right things are done for the participant. An integral component of that is the implementation of a prudent investment process.
One of The Nation's First Discretionary Trustees
Unified Trust is one of the first discretionary trustees in the country. We accept full discretion and fiduciary responsibility for the assets of every plan under management.
For the participant, this means we can deliver a holistic approach, one that combines intelligent defaults including automatic enrollment, automatic deferral escalation, and rebalancing with an investment solution tailored to each participant’s unique circumstances3.
For the plan sponsor, a discretionary trustee can help deliver the benefit of retirement success to their participants while significantly reducing their fiduciary liability. By choosing a discretionary trustee, a plan sponsor can limit fiduciary responsibility for plan assets to the prudent selection of the discretionary trustee and periodic monitoring of the trustee’s services.
A Snapshot of Success
There are many organizations that will talk about retirement success but very few can or will quantify it. At Unified Trust, we have a record of time-tested solutions for helping people reach retirement success, and we have the results to show for it! We’re proud to report these results to you, because these aren’t just percentages and statistics, they are actual people. Percentages mean nothing, people mean everything!
Behavioral finance tells us that most people follow the path of least resistance. Therefore, we believe that the default path for a participant should be the one that most likely leads to success. We call this philosophy the Unified Success Pathway®. These intelligent defaults include:
- Instead of choosing to join, participants are automatically enrolled and must opt out if they choose not to participate.
- The Unified Progressive Savings Program®enables plan participants to automatically save a little bit more each year.
- The default investment is a diversified model portfolio, prudently managed by investment professionals.
- Periodic rebalancing is handled automatically for participants.
The Success Pathway lays the foundation. For plans looking to build on that foundation and deliver personalized solutions for each employee, there is the UnifiedPlan® Managed Account Solution3. The UnifiedPlan® is retirement made easy.
- A Defined Goal: It starts with defining a goal for each participant: to replace 70% of pre-retirement income, adjusted for inflation and targeting as close to the normal Social Security retirement age as possible. We then default into the least amount of risk needed to succeed, making adjustments as needed along the way.
- The Personalized Plan: We create a personalized plan to improve the likelihood that the participant will reach his or her goal. The plan is highly individualized –we look at many possible solutions to find the one that’s best. Each participant gets a plan that’s unique to his or her situation, current savings and assets, and projected years until retirement.
- Actively Monitored and Managed: We review each participant’s situation every quarter to make sure they have a prudent asset allocation and their funded ratio is on track to meet their retirement goal. If investment changes are needed, we make them automatically.
Unified Trust is not just a 401(k) provider. We offer a full array of ERISA services including those for ERISA §403(b) plans; 457(b), Cash Balance plans and traditional Defined Benefit Plans.
DEFINED BENEFIT AND CASH BALANCE PLANS
A Defined Benefit or Cash Balance Plan can provide plan sponsors and their participants with an additional means of saving more toward retirement in a qualified, tax deferred manner. They also provide another source of retirement income by increasing retirement security through income diversification.
As a discretionary trustee we are held to the highest standards of accountability for our record-keeping and administrative services. We have detailed, documented processes that are independently audited and consistently followed. We offer a flexible approach:
- The Fully Bundled Model provides a personalized, full service option for Plan Sponsors looking for a comprehensive retirement plan solution. In the Fully Bundled Model, Unified Trust—along with the plan’s Advisor—will provide investment management, record-keeping, administration, and compliance and education services consistent with the plan’s services agreement.
- Our Unbundled or Record-keeping Model allows Plan Sponsors to work with local third party administrators, in concert with Unified Trust and the plan’s Advisor on the design and administration of the plan.
- The Trustee Only Model combines features from both the Bundled and Unbundled Models. The third party generally provides record-keeping, administration, and education services, while Unified Trust serves as the trustee of the plan.
Managing your plan’s administrative requirements can be cumbersome and can slow sponsors down from focusing on running their business, so we developed Admin Assist to provide sponsors with help in fulfilling the daily demands of the retirement plan. Our Admin Assist fulfillment service allows sponsors to outsource delivery of certain plan participant notices.
You’re responsible for their future. We, along with your advisor, are here to help you make sure they have the one they want.
We have a "history of firsts" that have improved the chances of successful financial outcomes of plan participants2. It’s not about taking risks, it’s about advocating for progress and change to be a leader in our industry. We know that the success of our solutions comes from our fiduciary responsibility to always put the interests of our client's plan participants first.
On this date 75 years ago (June 6, 1944), the Allied Forces took on a task that some thought impossible – gaining a foothold in German occupied territory during WWII. In some ways, it feels as though investors and advisors alike are fearfully awaiting their own “D Day”. A day that we all know is eventually coming whether we like it or not - economic recession and bear market.
I can’t tell you how many times I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I can’t tell you all the ways people my age planned to spend their fortune when they became a superstar. I can tell you, however, that not one of those people ever mentioned saving for retirement. That was the last thing on any millennial child’s mind. But, we’re adults now.
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I’ve resisted overanalyzing my spending patterns for years, primarily because I was afraid of what I might find. But I recently embarked on the quest to discover what it costs to be me. And if I can survive the journey then you can, too.
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A car accident may only cost you about $775 out of pocket while a hurricane or tornado may be 10 times that amount. Your earnings may be more volatile and unpredictable. To safeguard against shortfall, you may need to stash well over six months worth of your income into savings for greater peace of mind.
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Just like in football, there are no shortage of predictions every year about the stock market. Trying to predict a short-term outcome has historically proven to be extremely difficult.
I was recently talking with a good friend and mentor of mine about family and parenting. My friend has four children who are all very mature, responsible and hard working. I look at his kids and think he’s figured out the secret to parenting…..and I want to know what it is!
Just as LeBron is weighing his future options, investors are also trying to digest all of the recent economic data and geopolitical events to determine the future for financial markets.
The Roth IRA has been around for about two decades now and if you are closing in on your retirement date then it may be time to rediscover its benefits. I shared some thoughts on Roth IRA planning with reporter Rebecca Lake for an article in US News & World Report.
“Patrick, my daughter just graduated and is starting her new job. Can you help her with her 401(k) plan selections? Maybe give her some tips on budgeting, too?”
Recently I spoke with Andrea Coombes, a writer for NerdWallet.com, about retirement investing. NerdWallet provides online tools and advice to help people make better financial decisions.
I was recently interviewed by a reporter from financial-planning.com wanting my take on the growing number of retailers looking to enter the financial services industry.
Inflation is a hot topic of late. After several years of extraordinarily low inflation rates, wages appear to be increasing and prices of consumer goods are inching higher.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with a reporter from CNN Money on the often debated topic about what comes first; paying down debt or adding to your savings nest egg. It’s a bit of the ‘chicken vs. the egg’ conundrum.
A recent MarketWatch article reporting that individuals are frequently posting details about their 401(k) balances on social media platforms, in a gloating manner nonetheless.