PLANSPONSOR SERVICE STARS

Terry Jackson

Account manager shows sponsor the ropes of the industry

RECORDKEEPER EMPLOYER:  MassMutual Financial Group
TENURE WITH COMPANY:  Seven years
BIO:  Terry Jackson, an account manager, joined MassMutual Financial Group in 1998. Since then, he has held numerous roles with the firm, today, focusing on overseeing his plan sponsor clients’ and ensuring these meet compliance requirements.
CLIENT:  Refrigerated Holdings Inc. (formerly East Coast Warehouse & Distribution)
CLIENT INDUSTRY:  Refrigerated warehouse and logistics services
CLIENT HEADQUARTERS:  Elizabeth, New Jersey
CLIENT PLAN ASSETS:  $7.2 million
CLIENT PLAN PARTICIPANTS: 203

When Theresa Jacobs joined the firm in 2011, she was tasked with the unfamiliar role of administering a 401(k) plan. “I had no experience in that field whatsoever,” Jacobs recalls. However, Terry Jackson, account manager with MassMutual Financial Group, had been servicing the plan for a year at the time and extended a hand to Jacobs.

“He basically led me through the whole process,” Jacobs says. “The learning curve was tough during the first year, but he was always there to answer all of my questions.”

She adds, “His response time is remarkable. You would think that we’re his only client. Of course, that’s not the case, but he gets to know his clients on a one-to-one basis and in turn provides an invaluable level of support and service. He’s been on our account for years now, so he knows our plan administration well.”

Jacobs says Jackson’s commitment to the plan was exemplified one day when they were both on vacation. Jacobs was made aware that a contribution file contained an error. She phoned Jackson but learned he was out of the office. Before she had a chance to reach out to his back-up representative, Jackson himself contacted her.

“To my surprise, he called me from his cell phone,” Jacobs says. When she mentioned her understanding that he was on vacation, he said he had seen her message and realized he could help her from home. “He did that for us,” Jacobs says. “To me, that shows he goes beyond the 9 to 5. He is really committed to his clients.”

At the time, Jacobs thought the problem could have waited until both were back at work, but Jackson insisted he take a little time to address it immediately.

She says he extends the same level of commitment and guidance to a new third-party administrator (TPA) that Refrigerated Holdings began working with last year. “[When they each started,] the plan sponsor and the TPA were relatively new in their roles and with MassMutual,” Jackson notes. “We work with the client to accommodate any special needs or reporting it may require.”

Additionally, his help navigating through the documentation difficulties that plan sponsors often encounter is something Jacobs is especially grateful for. She says he helped her administer safe harbor provisions, which the plan enacted two years ago—audits; discrimination testing; and hardship withdrawals taken by participants.

“He understands the severity of the situation when participants must take hardship withdrawals, and the fact that people need those funds quickly, whether it’s due to a possible eviction, or unreimbursed medical expense,” says Jacobs. She notes that he stays on top of the paperwork, navigating it through the proper channels. “[That] in turn is appreciated by the participants,” she says.

“I get bombarded with calls and emails asking if we’re looking to make a change in providers,” she says. “Although we’ve looked at others, we stay with MassMutual because of the level of quality service we receive.” —Javier Simon
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