Year End News Letter

Posted on January 5, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Happy holidays and wishing you the best in 2012!

2011 has been a strong year for RJ20! We sincerely thank our new and existing clients for all they’ve done to put us on our current path, and for believing in our solutions and promises. We will continue to strive to ensure Participants receive top tier advice and that benefits continue to accrue to Advisors and Sponsors as well. Our mantra has never rung more true. “RJ20, Bringing the Best of Wall Street to All of Main Street”. Thank You!

Sean Ruehl, Chip Jurgensen and the entire RJ20 team

A Look Back

After lengthy histories in wealth management, we started RJ20 to bring strong planning capabilities to all retirement plan participants. Online capabilities and the backbone technologies had sufficiently advanced to allow us to bring cost effective alternatives to a broad audience. The solutions were in development for over two years before we established a more proactive focus on sales in 2011. In June, we hired our first dedicated sales manager (Matt Craig), and are proud of the success we’ve already enjoyed. This has been our breakout year! Our growth has been geometric not linear, and our pipeline is very strong! Recently, one of our partners jokingly said that soon we’ll need to change our name to RJ30. Today, we are aligned with some of the largest Advisors and TPAs in the country to differentiate their product offerings, enhance their own value propositions ahead of 408(b)2, and continue to position them as true problem solvers.

In addition to beefing up sales, we continue to ensure the solutions are properly supported. All support is unlimited and continues to come from CFPs exclusively. We’ve added Planners internally as full time employees and to our established external network. Today, we have 20 total planners on board!

Our growth and organizational changes aside, in 2011 we were particularly pleased to see further validation for planning solutions in general. Our solutions proved very effective and (per clients) have improved Participant performance. Exemplifying this, in a year when virtually every expert was bearish on US Government Bonds (including even Bill Gross, PIMCO’s bond guru), our users largely maintained some focus there and benefited. US Government Bonds were the top performing asset class, despite the active managers’ overall distain. We don’t try to guess the next hot dot, but rather want Participants to have broad diversification aligned with their personal risk tolerance, goals and objectives. Using Monte Carlo analysis, we also want clients to minimize all assumed risk. Dalbar, Morningstar and others have published extensively on how investing under a formal plan can improve performance anywhere from 1.5% – 5% annually, over time. While unquantified, our own empirical data supports this thesis.

Our solutions not only helped Participants improve performance, they also stayed engaged in the process. In a year of heightened volatility, with 300 point down days followed immediately by 400 point up days, our clients never took their eyes off the ultimate prize (retirement) and largely stayed the course within their retirement plans. We’ve read of many others who got scared or frustrated, and moved to cash at exactly the wrong time. When clients are engaged in the process and understand money is a means to an end, they tend to panic less and make moves based on the long term. We’re proud that our solutions are clearly working.

Continually Improving

Despite our success, we aren’t resting on our laurels, and continually strive to solve your problems. Throughout the year we have made numerous enhancements to our solutions. Here are some of the key ones:
1) Solutions never actually solve anything, unless they are actually utilized. Ours are! We’re proud that our utilization rates are often more than 10X that of competitors, and we strengthened our proactive focus here in 2011 by:
• Developing email templates for existing users to remind Participants, numerous times a year, of the benefits of planning and using our solutions. We found users often value a friendly reminder.
• We are just now also making posters available so Sponsors can hang a reminder of our capabilities in lunch or coffee rooms, etc., if desired.
• While we are primarily an online company, we’ve just begun to manually input the information for Participants when they either don’t have internet access or find the process cumbersome. We will make hard copies of our inputs available to all. Once we receive them back, we input them within one week’s time and then send a hard copy of our recommendations out. For the foreseeable future, this is something we will offer at no additional charge. We’re going to do whatever you need us to do to improve your plans and hike our joint value added propositions.

2) While we caution Advisors to be sensitive to nondiscrimination issues, we can make our solutions available to key Participant subsets, if desired. For instance, some may use us for just retirees and exemployees (a group with a higher potential future litigation risk), to further shield both Advisor and Sponsor.

3) Lifetime or Target Date funds have been an effective answer for participants who have not had the benefit of thorough retirement income planning and investment advice. Now our service can objectively help the participant learn for themselves and make an educated decision. Users can toggle between expected returns of both (or all three) types of allocations to choose the one best for them. It is surprising how portfolios can become unoptimized fairly quickly, and we encourage users to revisit the planning capabilities at least once annually. However, if they don’t want to be bothered with that, Target Date funds can be good alternatives.

4) Beyond our 401k allocation tools, RJ20 also offers broader tools for things like debt management, mortgage planning and college planning. However, we were discouraged at relatively low utilization rates for these additional services. As such, we’ve changed vendors for these, and now offer a much more robust package here. It is still free for all users and if you want access to the new tools, just let us know and we’ll turn it on for you!

5) Recognizing the need to simplify the process for advisors to introduce our capabilities, we now offer customized marketing material for everyone. We have customized pitchbook pages, and customized collateral available for everyone. Our goal is to offload work from you, not to add any, so anything we can provide to facilitate things we will.

6) For nonintegrated users, we now offer Participants a customized box, after plans are generated, so that they can direct Participants specifically where to go to submit changes. Integrated users can continue to just hit the “accept button”. These instructions can include a hotlink to another website if desired.

7) We can now sort on any data input for monthly reports. This can help you/us better track things like raised contribution levels based on the planning.

Coming Soon

1) We are widening the net of where we can be integrated. We expect to be integrated with one or two of the larger insurance providers in this space by midyear. Today, we can essentially integrate with all independent TPAs, but we are always looking at how we can expand this further. Even when not integrated, you still derive the full scope of our advisory services. Although in reality the differences for Participants are nominal, our goal is to link with as many as possible.

2) We also understand the importance of differentiating involved conduits and elevating an Advisor’s own value proposition in the Sponsors eye. As such, we are considering potentially customizing our output so Advisor names are spotlighted, as well as the aforementioned customized marketing and collateral pieces. We are obviously proud of what our product does and how it looks. Any time we can put Advisor’s names in a favorable light through association, we will, if desired.

3) Lastly, but not least, we are bundling our solutions (when desired) with one of the premier life coaching companies in the country, to further enhance our offerings. When professionals may be needed for onsite or broadcast assistance to help Participants with broader financial assistance, and to encourage higher contribution activity, we will facilitate it. We see 20 years of empirical data that give us a high degree of confidence that we can see material and quantifiable results from this added service. It will be available for a nominal extra cost (and we are working on pricing as we speak), but the benefits for all parties involved will also be quite obvious. We want people to think of RJ20 as a high ROI investment with a quick payback, versus a cost, and this affiliation furthers that notion. We’re really excited about this and will announce more shortly!

Thanks again to all our partners and clients! We couldn’t have done it without you and look forward to exceeding all expectations again in 2012!

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