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Forum Recap: Retirement Success 101 - Opportunities in Wealth Management

Speakers and Sponsors List

Our esteemed Director, Carina Diamond, led our April Forum which featured spirited discussions about retirement planning, client-facing roles vs. behind-the-scenes roles, and what it means to be a fiduciary. The Forum concluded with an important discussion about advisors helping their clients engage in philanthropic work and how it relates to retirement planning. 

Keep reading to learn more, or watch the recording here.

Retirement Advisory and the Current Landscape

Andrea Donaldson, Executive Vice President of Retirement Plans at MSH Capital Advisors, specializes in company-sponsored retirement plans like 401(k)s, profit sharing, and defined benefit plans. Despite her current high-ranking position, Andrea’s career path wasn’t always clear. Initially uncertain after college, she began working with her uncle, who ran a business handling compliance and planning documents for retirement plans. It was here that she discovered her passion for advising 401(k)s and helping participants and business owners to align the plans with their goals.

She believes that America’s retirement landscape requires significant improvement. Many people lack savings due to limited access to employer-sponsored plans. Andrea’s main goal is to assist all businesses, regardless of size, in establishing retirement plans for their employees and providing financial advice to them. She emphasizes the importance of exploring IRAs and other accounts for retirement savings, if a company doesn’t offer a retirement plan.

Fiduciary Laws and Training Programs

Michael Muirhead, a veteran of the financial services industry with over 30 years of experience, currently serves as the product manager for fiduciary training and certification solutions at Broadridge. Throughout his career, he has held various roles, including advisor, institutional consultant, salesperson, sales manager, and product manager.

According to Michael, a fiduciary is someone entrusted with managing assets in a position of special confidence and legal responsibility. However, he notes that this definition oversimplifies the complexities of fiduciary laws and regulations. 

To become a fiduciary, individuals can pursue The Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) designation, offered through training provided by Broadridge. This designation equips advisors with the expertise and understanding necessary to act in a fiduciary capacity, ensuring they adhere to standards and checklists to best serve their clients.

Live during the Forum, Broadridge and Diversitas announced that they have teamed up to offer 100 students from Diversitas and its Partner Universities the opportunity to receive free AIF® training through 2025. To secure your spot in this valuable training program, make sure to stay tuned to the Diversitas website and follow Diversitas on social media. The first 100 students who sign up will receive the free training.  

Non-Advisor Roles in Retirement

During the Forum’s panel discussion, Cindy Hoes, Associate Vice President at Nationwide Financial, and Raisa Barkaloff, Vice President of Global Accounts at Federated Hermes, shared insights into the crucial yet often overlooked non-advisor roles within retirement planning. Cindy, leading thought leadership content and programs at Nationwide Retirement Institute®, develops advisor-centric content aimed at guiding clients through the intricate landscape of financial and retirement planning. This content delves into pressing topics such as Social Security optimization, healthcare cost planning, estate planning, and strategies for aging in place, offering clarity amidst complexity.Her focus also stretches to highlight the unique financial planning challenges faced by women and underrepresented communities in retirement.

Raisa, on the other hand, has recently taken on a new role at Federated Hermes, where she manages global accounts specifically tailored for retirement channels, a leap from her previous position in internal sales within the same domain. The panel underscored the indispensable role that internal sales teams play in supporting financial advisors. These teams are not just the backbone in terms of territory management and data analytics but also maintain direct client interactions to address inquiries, illustrating the multi-dimensional nature of their functions in the retirement planning ecosystem.

Raisa offered candid advice for individuals aiming to make their mark within large corporations. She emphasized the critical importance of active engagement in meetings as a gateway to demonstrating one’s ideas and perspectives, which, in turn, paves the way for meaningful career development and visibility within the organization.

Meanwhile, Cindy’s advocacy for diversity in the wealth management field has led to pioneering research on retirement readiness among women and underrepresented groups. By leveraging webinars, workshops, and seminars, she has made significant strides in equipping financial professionals with the knowledge and tools necessary to cater to the specialized needs of these demographics.

Through their discussion, Cindy Hoes and Raisa Barkaloff provided a comprehensive look into the essential roles that non-advisors play in retirement planning. Their focused insights and practical advice illuminate a path forward for aspiring professionals looking to contribute meaningfully to this field.

Philanthropy and Retirement Planning

Amy Jordan, President of Hudson Community Foundation, offered invaluable insights into the collaborative efforts between community foundations and financial advisors regarding charitable, tax, and estate planning for their clients. In her role, Amy works closely with a myriad of professional advisors including planners, CPAs, and estate attorneys as a philanthropic advisor. Her primary goal is to empower these professionals with a deeper understanding of the charitable aspect, enabling them to effectively educate their clients on charitable giving and nonprofit organizations.

Amy’s approach ensures that clients align their philanthropic endeavors with causes that resonate deeply with them. Through the establishment of donor-advised funds for charitable giving, clients can contribute either cash or appreciated stocks, both of which may qualify for tax deductions upon the account’s inception. Moreover, Amy provided guidance to advisors on how to advise clients about naming beneficiaries and successors for these funds. 

The discussion on charitable giving serves as a gateway to other crucial planning topics, such as retirement and estate planning. Amy’s expertise underscores the interconnectedness of these areas, emphasizing the importance of holistic financial planning strategies that address both personal and societal goals.

To delve deeper into retirement planning in America and discover how students, career influencers, and professionals can contribute to their own retirement and that of others, watch the April Forum recording here. Additionally, if you are a senior or graduate student at a Diversitas partner university, stay tuned for further details on claiming your FREE spot in the AIF® designation training program for the 2024-2025 academic school year by following us on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.