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Michael Akan, Securian Financial (Photograph by James Rajotte)
2019 Service Stars  | Individual

Michael Akan

He works proactively to address problems before they arise.
  • Recordkeeper Company
    Securian Financial
  • Client
    Southside Machine Works Inc.
  • Client Industry
    Manufacturing – Industrial products
  • Client Headquarters
    Lake Charles, Louisiana
  • Plan Assets/Participants
    >$10mm – $25mm/75

BIO: Michael Akan, core premier market account manager with Securian Financial in St. Paul, Minnesota, has been with the firm for 21 years. He was promoted from account manager in 2018.

James Jarreau, owner of Southside Machine Works Inc., in Lake Charles, Louisiana, considers Michael Akan part of his company’s team, not just a provider customer-contact. To the plan sponsor, Akan, who is a core premier market account manager with Securian Financial, provides consistent service.

Since the sponsor began partnering with Securian, Southside has nearly doubled its workforce and more than tripled its plan assets. As it continues to grow, Jarreau says, “other providers have solicited us about working together. While the company will follow through on the fiduciary responsibility to look at other opportunities, none comes close to the service Akan has presented.”

Services include a level of proactivity that will be hard to find elsewhere, Jarreau notes. “Michael has remained proactive on our company’s plan, from issuing deadline reminders weeks in advance to recommending changes for select features.”

Although Southside does not describe itself as technologically advanced, Akan suggested implementing an electronic notification system. Through it, plan compliance notices are now sent to plan participants. This has streamlined the documentation process.

When Hurricane Katrina hit, in 2005—in the early days of Akan and Southside’s relationship—Securian contacted the company. Although no employees of the company were affected by the storm or needed help with hardship withdrawals, it was this sort of proactive service that stood out.

The loyalty between the plan sponsor and relationship manager goes both ways. Several years ago, when Securian tried to move the plan, because it had grown, to a different servicing area, Southside refused to move unless Akan came along as relationship manager. When he was promoted last year, the client followed him to his new division.

“He’s on our team, looking out for our best interest, and we’re working together in this process,” says Jarreau. “It’s hard to find someone you can work with every day, for many years, and without a doubt know he has your back.”

Amanda Umpierrez

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