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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Hourihan

How TPAs, Advisors and Service Providers Can Leverage Cycle 3 to Increase Business

There are several wildly popular biennial and quadrennial events like solar eclipses, the Olympics, Leap Years and Election years when get people excited. But in the retirement world, there’s a reoccurring event you should get pumped about; we’re talking about Cycle 3 Restatement!

As you know, every 6 years, the IRS requires plan sponsors to restate their Plan Documents. This legal document governs how the plan operates, including eligibility, vesting, contribution types, required testing and more. These plan features are what supports the retirement plan with efficiency, effectiveness and customized workplace benefits.

Since the last restatement period a lot has happened, and a few important plan design trends have risen:

  • Auto-enrollment

  • Re-enrollment

  • Auto-escalation

  • In-plan Roth conversions

  • Lifetime income options

Yet, many plan sponsors have not considering adding these options. This is either due to an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” outlook or plan sponsors are simply unaware of their plan design options.

However, as we approach the deadline, you can be the hero that educates the plan sponsor about Cycle 3 requirements, newer plan design trends and this golden opportunity to enhance the company’s retirement plan. Keep on reading to learn how!

Get Ahead of The Game

Even with the restatement deadline months away, you might be wondering why you should start thinking about it now. Because the early bird gets the worm. For example, the TPA and Service Providers that start broadcasting early about Cycle 3 are going to see their businesses increase since they are offering proactive solutions to employer concerns that can be put into action now. It’s better to be talking about and marketing this topic today as opposed to waiting and reacting to plan sponsor and advisor inquiries.

Communication is Key

Take the first step through education. Strengthen your relationships by explaining what Cycle 3 is, why it is important, how this is an amazing opportunity to review the plan design and make any changes that could enhance the plan’s fit. Some examples include revising the definition of edibility, setting up a vesting schedule and adding advanced plan design features, to name a few.

Press Send

The first outreach method for effective communication is through email. Send out three (3) emails to your connections that explain:

  • What is Cycle 3 Restatement

  • Why Cycle 3 is important and an opportunity to review the plan design

  • How the right plan design could improve the plan

At the bottom of the email, include your contact information and encourage the plan sponsor to contact you. Then partner with the plan’s TPA to review the plan for maximum effectiveness.

Host a Webinar

The next idea is to co-host a webinar. Partner with your preferred TPA relationship and ask them to prepare slides that discuss the significance of Cycle 3, then open the floor for a joint Q & A.

PRO-TIP: Record the webinar. To anyone who couldn’t attend, send an email with the recording attached for maximum exposure.

After the event, follow up with each attendee and schedule a joint meeting to discuss plan design ideas that could improve the clients’ and interested prospects’ retirement plans.

With an interactive webinar session, you are providing great knowledge to your community while at the same time opening doors for more referrals and an easier Cycle 3 restatement process.

Time to Get Social

Most professionals have a LinkedIn profile, so here’s an idea to stand out.

Sticking with our Cycle 3 theme, post a weekly update. To streamline the process, use some of the text from the emails you sent to your contacts or borrow a slide or two from your webinar presentation. Post that information on LinkedIn, explaining that now is the ideal time to review the retirement plan.

Your social audience will appreciate your insights, which will provide opportunities to spark inbound requests for more information.

Express Urgency

Even though the deadline isn’t until July 31, 2022, you still want to stress urgency.

As you talk with plan sponsors, suggest a deadline, such as April 30, 2022. Request that the first conversations be completed by this date. It will allow everyone time to collect any plan-related information to understand if and how the plan design will change.

Additionally, remember to loop in recordkeepers. They will have their own forms, procedures and policies necessary to update their systems.

By giving ample time to complete the restatement and any plan design enhancements, everyone can breathe easier, knowing they are working with a professional and competent team.

Be Proactive

While it’s easy for TPAs and bundled recordkeepers to send an email with a quick e-signature request, should your clients blindly sign and return it? Cycle 3 is a requirement – but more importantly, it’s an opportunity to deepen the plan’s value.

Show and tell your plan sponsor community why they should partner with your firm. Get in front of employers and partner with your preferred TPA to explain their plan design options. Teach plan sponsors how they can adjust the retirement plan to fit their personal and business goals.

Be the Plan Hero

Cycle 3 is a time to celebrate. It’s a chance to tailor fit the plan design to align with your plan sponsor client’s goals. Whether it is maximizing contributions, reducing tax liability or retaining top talent, Cycle 3 is a winning ticket to demonstrate incredible value. By actively communicating about this upcoming restatement, you can enhance your relationships and deepen trust. When you proactively approach clients, your value is seen, heard and greatly appreciated.

Use this Cycle 3 restatement period as a marketing opportunity to grow your business, deepen relationships and stand out as the expert retirement plan professional in your community.

Thanks for reading and Happy Marketing!

About Us

401(k) Marketing is the modern marketing agency for the retirement plan industry. We are proud to support our clients through custom engagements, content marketing campaigns, sales material innovations, thought-leadership consulting, interactive workshops and speaking events. Our mission is to empower the retirement plan industry with high-quality marketing, ultimately inspiring Americans to become financially prepared for their future.

Retirement Plan Marketing is the solution for retirement plan advisors looking to generate awareness, streamline sales opportunities and earn more 401(k) business. This comprehensive, strategy driven marketing program includes digital content and sales material specifically designed to help retirement plan professionals attract the right decision makers.


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