Pete Peterson, AIF®, CRPS, CPFA, C(k)P Executive Vice President /Partner, VisionPointPete Peterson, AIF®, CRPS, CPFA, C(k)P Executive Vice President /Partner
When looking at past recessions, probably none is more infamous than the Great Depression of 1929-1940 – a global economic catastrophe that affected every country. In the wake of the Great Depression and the wage and price controls implemented by governments, employers began to add benefits packages to retain and attract the best talent and support their employees’ personal needs. Thus, the idea of providing financial wellness benefits has always been a prime matter of concern for employers.

Let’s consider defined contribution retirement benefit plans as an example. Even if an employer’s retirement plan offers a robust approach that combines automatic plan features with significant employer contributions, it can be challenging to get employees to take full advantage of the plan. According to PwC, over half (58%) of employees admit that they are stressed about their finances . Financial stress takes a toll on employee’s ability to save for retirement and employee productivity, with 50% of employees admitting that personal finances have been a distraction at work1. Taking a holistic approach to financial wellness by educating employees about sound financial health concepts, VisionPoint Advisory Group aims to support businesses by helping them design retirement plans and financial wellness strategies that positively impact their employees’ bottom lines.

ManageHR recently sat with Pete Peterson of VisionPoint Advisory Group to discuss how VisionPoint has enabled individuals to make successful retirement savings and investment decisions based on useful and practical information. Pete and his team serve employers by providing the professional fiduciary and retirement plan consulting guidance that they require to maximize their retirement plan benefit offering. VisionPoint works with publicly-held, closely-held, mission-focused, and governmental employers to empower employees to make successful financial and retirement savings decisions based on research-driven data. With their extensive participant financial wellness experience, they strive to engage with and educate employees to make informed retirement savings and investment decisions.

Could you walk us through VisionPoint’s inception and its business objectives?

With roots dating back to 1981, VisionPoint is a 40-year-old independent, fee-based financial advisory firm based in Dallas, TX, with 62 financial professionals and staff in offices spanning seven states.

At VisionPoint, we are committed to assisting our clients with their greatest resource – their employees – by helping them strive to transform their retirement plan into one that aims to empower employee productivity while increasing corporate profitability. We do this by taking a comprehensive approach to retirement plan design that pairs objectives with holistic retirement coaching for every employee, regardless of position or title.

We stand as an independent financial services company committed to impacting the success of those we serve

Since our inception, we have helped conscientious companies analyze and benchmark their retirement plans and effectively strive to improve benefits, save money, streamline administration and ensure compliance amid the confusion of changing legislation and regulations.

Our services include objective investment advisory and consulting services for qualified retirement plans, non-qualified deferred compensation arrangements, defined benefit plans, executive benefit solutions, asset management services, risk management solutions, and comprehensive financial planning.

What, according to you, are the differentiating factors of VisionPoint that give it a competitive edge?

At VisionPoint Advisory Group, our retirement plan consulting and advisory services are built on the foundational approach of independent consulting, complete transparency, and a comprehensive suite of services to help our clients offer a comprehensive workplace savings plan.

Our consulting services are designed and delivered on a Three-Dimensional approach that is designed to make animpact on our client’s greatest asset –their employees. We work to transform our client’s retirement plan experience into one that aims to empower employee productivity and increases job satisfaction. These three dimensions are built on a foundation of Risk Mitigation focused on the essentials of a properly functioning plan, including plan design, governance, and fiduciary investment management. The second dimension is strictly focused on Participant Outcomes and is the heart of our service model. At VisionPoint, we believe that when the retirement plan becomes personal to an employee, three things happen: first, employees become more intentional about their money; second, employees begin to realize that financial decisions do not occur in a vacuum; and third, employees can build the financial freedom their lives require. The Second-Dimension helps employees gain the financial literacy they need by combining digital financial wellness content with access to live retirement coaches. Finally, the Third-Dimension helps our clients think about how to reward employees who drive value for the organization in the form of executive benefits, benefit restoration strategies, and executive-level coaching.

A high level of financial wellness gives employees the ability to make informed decisions and manage long-term financial strategies. When employees have a comprehensive understanding of their finances, they are more effective with dividing their paychecks for savings, investments, and other financial obligations. Thus, we are confident that with our understanding of personal finance and our training as financial professionals, we can help people better prepare for the future.

We believe that a retirement benefits plan should have goals and objectives that are set and intentionally pursued like any other business component. So, we utilize our industry experience, knowledge, and sophistication to uncover all plan expenses and revenue sharing arrangements.

What would you say is a noteworthy feature in your offerings which can draw prospective clients to partner with VisionPoint?

We believe that our commitment to digital and live retirement coaching is our most noteworthy service offering. Our industry has many plan consultants that provide world-class consulting and advisory services related to core plan fiduciary guidance and operational consulting. However, in our experience, there are very few with the level of focus on supporting employees and building solutions that seek to improve employee financial literacy and security.

Could you tell us about the methodology that you follow when engaging with clients?

Many employees are aware that they are unprepared for retirement but do not know what to do about it. At VisionPoint, we believe that it’s crucial to help employees become better-informed and educated about their financial strengths and challenges. After years in the business, we have developed a reputation for educating individuals in an easy-to-understand manner so they can grasp personal finance and use those concepts to pursue their financial objectives. When you partner with a VisionPoint financial advisor, we work together towards creating an optimal, tailored plan configuration, helping you provide a customized fit for your employees.

Where do you see VisionPoint over the next few quarters?

We will continue to build a professionally-managed firm and plan on introducing more services in our existing markets. Also, the current strategy is focused on increasing our company’s geographical footprint as we are planning to enter new markets with relevant offerings. Moreover, as a part of our expansion strategy, VisionPoint continues to invest in our core retirement plan consulting services and our crucial offerings that focus on financial wellness to attract new clients.

03/2021 1-05119676