Patrick Forde, Empower Retirement.
It is really easy to spot an A-player. Five minutes into the conversation and Patrick has already answered our next three questions with his in-depth and thoughtful answers surrounding the value of independent TPAs. After 30 years in the retirement industry, there are not too many technical or relational situations that Patrick has not encountered. “My most memorable experiences with TPAs have all been centered around flexibility” explains Patrick. “There are lots of good TPAs across the country, but the great ones are willing to flex to the needs of the advisor and plan sponsor.”
Patrick Forde is a Regional Sales Director at Empower Retirement. It is common for Patrick to assume whatever relationship role is needed to support a successful retirement plan. Sometimes he is leading the sale with new prospects, sometimes he supports TPAs, whilst others he councils the advisors on the products that Empower provides. His unspoken job is to make sure the retirement plan team is functioning well, and the plan sponsor is happy.
The notion of teamwork is a reoccurring metaphor. As an avid sports enthusiast, Patrick uses the term “free teammate” frequently. The best meetings with Plan Sponsors that he has witnessed have both the advisor and TPA present. This pair will seamlessly finish each other’s sentences and are 100% aligned on what is best for the plan sponsor’s retirement plan. “Some TPA’s prefer to be in front of the client. Some prefer to be behind the scenes doing the work, but the huge value is created when the TPA will stand alongside the advisor and talk directly to the plan sponsor.”
“From the advisor’s perspective, I just don’t understand why they wouldn’t use a TPA, it’s a free teammate. Someone who has an incredible skill that is dedicated to the same objective as the advisor, it’s a no-brainer.” So how does Patrick determine which TPAs to use? It’s simple really. “I have extensive relationships with the ones I use regularly. Of course, they are good at what they do but they also communicate well. They call frequently, they bring me in when they have leads that they think I can add value to, we solve client problems together, and I am never embarrassed by something they have said or done but I am never caught unaware of what’s going on.” Explains Patrick.
Patrick has coined the interesting term ‘local bundled’. This is where he matches a TPA locally to a plan sponsor. He negotiates the rates with the TPA by carving out items that can be automated through payroll companies so that they can compete with the bundled service options. He then consults the plan sponsor on the advantages of having a local TPA that provides a high level of service while reducing the risk for the plan. Patrick concludes, “For me, it’s the best of both worlds. It has been very popular here in PA.”
When discussing the attributes of the best advisors, Patrick asserts “the Rockstar advisors absolutely have a very strong relationship with their favorite TPA.” He then lists off approximately 7-8 advisors and who their favorite TPA is and why. As a company, Empowerment Retirement echoes Patrick’s sentiments and sees great value in TPAs. “We support TPAs with both marketing and training and from a budget and manpower standpoint. If a TPA comes to me with a great idea about how to win us all more business, I am going to break my back to make that happen.”
To connect with Patrick Forde on LinkedIn please click here.