New Advisory Firm Focuses on Outcomes

Too much time is spent on fees, funds and fiduciary, and not enough on the point of a retirement plan: how successfully participants retire, says RPA’s Todd Timmerman.

Todd Timmerman was managing director of Principal Financial Group for almost 27 years, but he has founded a new firm, Retirement Plan Analytics (RPA), where he is managing director.

Using the metaphor of theatrical play acts, he tells PLANSPONSOR, “In my first act, I got a chance to do a lot of fun things and high-quality work with a great company. I was at a point where I could retire or have a really big second act—and I wanted to have an impactful second act.”

Timmerman describes those years as having a front row seat, watching consultants, often LPL Financial, help his clients. RPA has chosen LPL Financial for support in providing clients with fee-based investment advisory services. In addition, Timmerman has entered into an agreement with Ronald Blue & Co. to transition client retirement plan assets to LPL’s platform while allowing Ronald Blue & Co. advisers to continue to act as the relationship managers for those clients.

RPA, a newly formed retirement plan advisory and consulting firm based in Charlotte, North Carolina, serves nonprofits, such as ministries and faith-based organizations; professional groups, including organizations for doctors, lawyers and dentists; and businesses in a range of industries.

RPA’s goal is to help organizations and their employees with the processes and solutions for working toward better retirement outcomes, Timmerman said in a statement.

NEXT: A focus on participant outcomes.

RPA is solely focused on retirement plan consulting, providing fee-based services to a wide range of organizations across the United States. RPA works with retirement plan committees to help mitigate their risks and improve decision-making as they carry out fiduciary duties. The firm also assists human resources and finance departments in implementing their organizations’ retirement plans, and helps employees and other plan participants engage in the retirement planning process in an effort to optimize their retirement outcomes.

RPA has plans ranging from $1 million to more than $100 million. What RPA and LPL have in common is that they are all companies that care greatly about outcomes for participants, Timmerman says: “It’s our No. 1 item. Our whole value proposition is around helping companies make the decisions for their employees to make successful decisions for retirement.”

RPA has built solutions to work with plans of all sizes, from small to million-plus. RPA’s value proposition is a three-tiered approach to helping people in the organization make decisions: the retirement plan committee, HR and finance, and the plan participants.

Timmerman deliberately places the participants last, not because they are least important, but because they have a difficult time succeeding if the committee and other departments in front of them don’t make good decisions.

The three levels have different areas of focus, he notes. “At the committee level, they’re focused on design to get better outcomes, expense benchmarking and collecting, investment menu creation, selection and monitoring, fiduciary governance and risk mitigation,” he says. “HR and finance work to leverage those across the organization, and the participants need to know how to save, how to invest, and, at retirement, the best income strategy.”

The biggest item on Timmerman’s list is helping the plan sponsor client compete against yesterday by making the right decisions, he says. “It’s not measured to a ratio, but by seeing a plan continue to have year-over-year progress. That’s what we want to measure and get the committee focused on.” Fees, funds and fiduciary are key ingredients, he admits, but at the end of the day it’s the outcomes that matter.