Warwick Nicholas, CEO.
“Culture is a popular buzzword these days, but the deeper we go into the idea, the more benefits we see. Keeping up with technology is not just something we have to do; it is part of our culture now. It represents forward progress, making things better, and being open to better ideas from other industries,” explains Warwick (Nick) Nicholas, CEO of Nicholas Pension Consultants. Nick is full of poignant analogies and is quick to understand both the challenges and opportunities facing Third Party Administrators (TPAs).
Nicholas Pension Consultants has grown to over 70 employees and is headquartered in Rancho Cordova, California. Over the years Nick and his executive team have experimented with remote employees but had often found that they had not performed as well as their in-house team or had failed to adjust to the dynamic culture enjoyed by the HQ staff. Then 2020 came around. Nick recalls, “We had to take another look at the real reasons and barriers for the lack of success we’d had with remote employees. With most of our employees now remote, we had to make sure that our systems and people could work efficiently from home.”
Nick draws leadership parallels from his favorite sport: soccer. Having spent several years in England where he played soccer and later returned to the sport as an adult and also coached his three children, Nick very articulately talks about the difference between managing and coaching. “Systems and processes help you manage workloads and people, but coaching is just as critical. Coaching is all about getting the best out of your team. We implemented PensionPro because we wanted the best technology in the industry for our people. Firstly, it is the best solution to manage the day-to-day operations of our business, but secondly, it sent a message to our team. It said we are prepared to invest in the absolute best tools for our team because we believe they deserve the best.”
Nick is an inspirational leader. When asked what makes Nicholas Pension better or different from other TPAs, his answer demonstrated his emotional intelligence. “I don’t think of it like that. This is a really nice industry that is filled with smart people who are trying to do the best work they can. I truly believe there is plenty of work for all of us and, as our industry becomes more technologically advanced, TPAs should work collectively to improve processes and be of more value to the advisor community.”
Nicholas Pension Consultants still has a lot to master but is committed to continuous learning. Nick candidly admits that the jury is still out on how much of their operations and workforce will be 100% remote. He shared many deep reflections on the necessity of human in-person interactions and the long-term cultural benefits of being able to physically interact with your co-workers. But like all talented leaders, as we discussed the merits of both, he proclaims, “We have to learn from those who have already met this challenge. We have to analyze how other industries are handling hybrid and remote workforces.” The ease with which Nick bounces from teacher to student bodes well for Nicholas Pension Consultants. His desire to empower and promote middle management, his discipline to keeping up with the latest technology, and his willingness to explore better ways of operating indicate that Nicholas Pension Consultants will continue its growth trajectory.