Chicago, IL – March 20, 2013 – Blue Prairie Group (“BPG”), a Chicago-based institutional retirement and investment consulting firm, has launched a comprehensive plan diagnostic report, the BPG Plan Health Report™. The proprietary report brings together a forward looking 24-month strategic planning calendar, information about plan-level participation, average and asset-weighted portfolio costs as well as plan design benchmarking and fee data.
At the heart of the report lies the BPG Plan Health SmartCardTM, a powerful yet easy-to-use benchmarking tool focused on measuring the critical dimensions of a successful plan. It’s designed to quantify the overall effectiveness of a participant directed, defined contribution ERISA retirement plan from the perspective of two main objectives: (1) Putting the majority of participants on a track to retirement security and (2) Minimizing the personal and organizational risk associated with sponsoring an ERISA retirement plan.
The report looks at a total of 6 broad dimensions of plan health: Participation, Total Contributions, Target Date usage, Plan Costs, Asset Class representation and Fiduciary Governance. These dimensions are measured and weighted to create a unique, point-in-time Plan Health SmartCard™ score.
“Too often, people look only at participation rate or contribution percentage, without putting them into the larger strategic context of helping participants achieve retirement security,” says Matt Gnabasik, Managing Partner and ERISA Practice Leader of Blue Prairie Group. “With the BPG Plan Health SmartCard™, we’ve tied together the various factors of overall plan health into a holistic evaluation framework. By highlighting the key factors that drive overall plan success, we can focus our collective efforts on those areas where the plan sponsor can drive the greatest improvement.”
Not only does the Plan Health SmartCard™ look at the specific dimensions of each individual plan, it also compares each plan’s score to other BPG clients as well as to a larger national average.
“A score by itself doesn’t mean much without putting it into the proper context,” says Ty Parrish, Managing Partner and Senior ERISA Consultant at Blue Prairie Group. “Clients love to see how their plan stacks up against other broad data points because it gives them a relative sense of the health of their plan. For instance, a typical 401(k) plan scores about 59 on Blue Prairie Group’s Plan Health SmartCard™ compared to BPG’s average client score of 72 in 2011, and 74 in 2012. Since we provide our client with a Plan Health Report™ at least once a year, clients can see not only how their plan stacks up at a specific point in time, but also the progress we’ve made working together on making the plan better.”
The Plan Health SmartCard™ is not simply a diagnostic tool. It also tells a plan sponsors how he/she can improve their plan’s score by implementing certain defined contribution best practices. A key design point was to not only show where a client is today, but to visually demonstrate exactly how much a plan can be improved by implementing certain best practices.
Matt Gnabasik added, “The BPG Plan Health Report™ is unique by not only describing where a plan is today, but where it could be by modeling out changes to any one of the six broad dimensions of overall plan health. The fact that our clients’ scores are significantly higher than the national average speaks to the effectiveness of the Plan Health SmartCard™. By identifying the dimensions of a plan that score low, we can focus on improving specific aspects of a plan, which in turn leads to greater plan health, better retirement security for participants and a lower risk profile for the client.”
He added, “We’ve rolled out several beta versions of the report to all of our clients and the response has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic. Clients love to be able to see how their plan stacks up and how it can be improved with a few changes. We like to tell our clients that our job is to make plans better and we have the data to prove it. The BPG Plan Health report™ does exactly that.”
About Blue Prairie Group
Blue Prairie Group is a fee-only investment consulting firm based in Chicago. We provide unbiased and objective financial consulting within three main practice areas: ERISA Retirement, Foundations & Endowments and Wealth Management. We act as fiduciaries to all of our clients’ portfolios and are remunerated solely by our clients. BPG passionately advocates low cost investments, full fee transparency, and offers a broad, team-based service model for both institutions and individuals. Like any good neighbor, we contribute to the communities we live in, and for us this means giving 5% of our pre-tax profit to local charitable organizations.
For more information about the BPG Plan Health Smartcard™ or for a demonstration, please contact Matt Gnabasik @ (312)376-8435 or Ty Parrish @ (312) 376-8440 or visit www.blueprairiegroup.com.