The provider Search Process - The first three steps.
Our team typically employs the PLANSPONSOR Pathfinder search process originally although we also possess the capacity to utilize the (SPARK) Society ofProfessional Administrators and Record keepers search methodology as well. For the purposes of this presentation we will focus on the Pathfinder process.
Pathfinder offers users a comprehensive database and proprietary methodology that reflects decades of experience evaluating provider product and service offerings. Pathfinder allows you to evaluate providers according to the following criteria:
- Administration & Outsourcing
- Systems & Technology
- Customer Service
- Legal & Compliance
- Communication & Education
The first step in the process is the research stage in this stage we will work with you to evaluate your plans needs – see the Initial Comparison Report for more information. We will ascertain what importance the plansponsr places on each of the listed nine categories added by the investment committee's completion of specific questions.
We will then review an initial list of service providers that have the ability to meet your needs. This process will allow us to get an in-depth understanding of your plan needs and corporate culture. From the initial list of providers we will work with you to narrow the scope of the search to the ten firms that will allow for the ability to run the most comprehensive search.
The second step in the process is the comparison stage. In the comparison stage the Investment committee and IIC will work together on the Second Plan Sponsor Fact Finding Questionnaire for a Defined Contribution 401(k) plan Search. The second questionnaire allows us to delve more deeply into the abilities of the service providers. After the questionnaire another list of providers is generated called the Second Provider Comparison Report. At this point we will have the ability to take a look at side by side analysis of the service providers. Through this process we narrow down the scope of the search to the five vendors that best meet your criteria.
The third step is the proposal stage where we will generate the Final Provider Comparison Report, pricing, and fund recommendations from the remaining finalists. We will now be able to compare the financial implications of the choices. At this stage we also help you begin the price negotiations with the service providers. This information will be used to create a final summary report that will be the basis of deciding who will be invited for site visits.
From this point the process will allow for finalist meetings with the service providers. In the finalist meetings we get a chance to evaluate the service providers with your culture. We also will help you resolve any outstanding questions about services.
After the finalist presentations we will assist you with completing another round of price negotiation with the service providers that you feel fit your needs. Plansponsors may at this point wish to do a site visit with the top providers. The site visits allow you to see the facilities and the people that will manage your plan. It will now be time to make your selection of a service provider.