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In This Issue
Service Matters Most...Investment in Training Yields High Dividends
Raising the Bar...More Firms are Requiring Credentials
Attention!...Welcome to Bootcamp
SCS e-xpress
July/Aug 2011

training1A Message from Sarah & Chris:

The theme of this issue is "the importance of training."

At SCS, we are dedicated to life-long learning and delivering quality service.  We understand that good training programs increase knowledge, improve competencies and hone inter-personal skills - all of which help employees deliver excellent service.  Firms whose training programs focus on both technical skills and "soft" skills are well positioned to deliver quality products and services and build strong relationships.
We hope you enjoy our free SCS e-newsletter.  Please send us your ideas and suggestions for future issues.  Have a great day!  

 Where We'll Be

Keystone, CO
08/21/11 - 08/24/11
Dimensional 401(k) Workshop
Austin, TX
National Harbor, MD
10/23/11 - 10/26/11

Dimensional DC Annual Conference
Santa Monica, CA
10/27/11 - 10/28/11

2012 Power of 3 Workshop:  Save the Date!

The 2012 Power of 3 Workshop will be held from April 18 - 20, 2012 in Savannah, GA


Save the date and make plans to attend!  Watch for more information over the next few months.

Today's Quotes
Live as if you were to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever.
    - Mahatma Gandhi
I hated every minute of training, but I said, "Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion."
     - Muhammed Ali
 Today's Laughs

Why don't they pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting anybody from learning anything? If it works as good as the Prohibition one did, why in five years, we would have the smartest race of people on earth.   

   - Will Rogers 


Service Matters Most
Investment in Training Yields High Dividends


A recent article published in RIABiz (by Brooke Southall) offered highlights from Cogent Research's Retirement Planscape 2011 study that surveyed 1600 defined contribution plan sponsors.  When asked what was most important in selecting a 401(k) provider, plan sponsors overwhelming indicated that "best-in-class plan sponsor service and support serves as the strongest differentiator." Most of the service providers who made the top ten list have robust training programs that they kept in place despite the recent economic climate. Some of these firms  actually invested more into training during the downturn. Quality programs designed to train employees in both technical and soft skills result in happy customers - and winning and retaining more 401(k) business.


Remember, your most valuable assets are your employees.  If you train them well, they will be better able to provide that "best-in-class" service and support that your customers want.  So...think twice when you are trying to cut costs.  Don't cut that training budget!

 raising the bar 

    Raising the Bar

More Firms are Requiring Credentials



A quick check in the ASPPA Yearbook revealed that eight of the top ten providers listed in the above-mentioned Cogent study have credentialed ASPPA members.  Five of these service providers actually have 20 or more credentialed ASPPA members.  Many service providers rely on ASPPA's education programs to train their employees.  


Firms frequently use ASPPA's Retirement Plans Fundamentals (RPF) certificate program to train their entry-level employees. How do they integrate ASPPA's training and credentialing programs into their workforce? They set exam and credentialing performance goals and include credentialing requirements in position job descriptions.  They set realisitic timeframes in which the employee is expected to complete specific exams and earn the credential required for the job.  For example, for beginning administrators, it is common to require completion of ASPPA's RPF-1 and RPF-2 exams within 12 months.  Employees are usually given an additional 12-24 months to complete the Defined Contribution exams (DC-1 and DC-2) to obtain the Qualified 401(k) Administrator (QKA) credential.  To encourage pursuit of credentials, many employers pre-fund or reimburse all expenses for study materials and exams, including ASPPA's optional webcourses and practice exams.   



Welcome to Bootcamp  


  We like to think of one-day intensive learning sessions in 401(k) and 403(b) topics as "bootcamps."  Participants use webcourses and reading material as bootcamp pre-requisites, so the one-day bootcamp session can focus on applying technical concepts learned from the study materials to real world case studies presented by the instructor. If bootcamps are used for ASPPA exam preparation, the instructor should include a review of key learning objectives from the course syllabus.


Read here  to learn how one service provider uses bootcamps for basic 403(b) training. Done with the basics? Discover the five keys to success when conducting an advanced bootcamp.


Interested in conducting your own bootcamp?  SCS offers bootcamps covering a variety of technical 401(k) and 403(b) topics, including ASPPA exam preparation.  For more information, please contact us.  

Power of 3 Retirement Industry Update Workshop

ASPPA Member

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