Service culture

Ascensus Appoints Robert Kaplan as Chief Compliance Officer

Well-Established Compliance Expert Will Act as CCO at the Corporate Level and Across Multiple Business Lines

Dresher, PA—Ascensus, a technology-enabled solutions provider that helps more than 8 million Americans save for the future, announces the appointment of Robert Kaplan as chief compliance officer (CCO).

In this role, Kaplan will act as CCO at the corporate level and across multiple lines of business, including 529 college savings plans and other government-sponsored savings plans. He will also be responsible for the firm’s broker-dealers, investment advisor, transfer agent, and trust companies, developing and instituting organizational programs while leading the compliance team.

Kaplan brings more than 30 years of broker-dealer and investment advisor compliance experience to Ascensus. He previously held the position of vice president and district director for the FINRA district office located in Philadelphia. Kaplan joined FINRA in 2000, serving as deputy director and acting director of the New York district office. Prior to his association with FINRA, he served as senior vice president, secretary, counsel, and chief compliance officer for Fiserv Securities, Inc.

Kaplan holds a B.A. in History from Temple University and a Juris Doctor from Villanova University School of Law. He also attended the FINRA Institute at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was designated a Certified Regulatory and Compliance Professional.

“Bob’s in-depth legal and regulatory expertise—along with his proven leadership skills—will help to ensure that Ascensus continues to have a best-in-class compliance function,” said Joe Dansky, Ascensus’ head of legal, risk management, and compliance. “On behalf of everyone at Ascensus, I’m pleased to welcome Bob to our organization.”

“Bob’s extensive experience in leading compliance departments at FINRA and in the financial services industry makes him an outstanding choice to oversee compliance at Ascensus,” states David Musto, president of Ascensus. “Adding a seasoned veteran like Bob is yet another example of Ascensus’ ability to attract high-end talent who can contribute to our company’s growth.”

About Ascensus

Ascensus helps more than 8 million Americans save for the future—retirement, education, and healthcare—through technology-enabled solutions. With more than 35 years of experience, the firm offers tailored solutions that meet the needs of asset managers, banks, credit unions, state governments, financial professionals, employers, and individuals. Ascensus supports over 60,000 retirement plans, more than 4 million 529 education savings accounts, and a growing number of ABLE savings accounts. It also administers more than 1.6 million IRAs and health savings accounts. As of March 31, 2018, Ascensus had over $187 billion in total assets under administration. For more information about Ascensus, visit ascensus.com.

View career opportunities at careers.ascensus.com or on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/company/ascensus. For the latest company news, follow @AscensusInc on Twitter.


Provident Trust Group Listed as Wealth Advisor 2018 Best IRA Custodian

Self-Directed Administrator Has Earned This Distinction for Four Consecutive Years

LAS VEGAS – Provident Trust Group (Provident), a wholly owned subsidiary of Ascensus that is headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, has been honored by The Wealth Advisor (Wealth Advisor) as 2018’s Best IRA Custodian. This marks the fourth consecutive year that Provident has received this accolade.

Wealth Advisor has been America’s leading wealth management publication since 2009, providing news, opinion, and education for wealth managers and advisors alike. Results to determine the best IRA custodians list were compiled after receiving feedback from 200,000 subscribers. Provident ranked number 1 out of 12 registered independent retirement custodians, winning the majority favor by 68 percent.

According to Wealth Advisor readers, three factors were integral to securing the 2018 Best IRA Custodian distinction for Provident:

  • Reputation and length of time in the business – Nearly all of the advisors surveyed cited this as a factor in their decision-making.
  • Quality of service based on testimonials and referrals – Well over half of advisors cited word-of-mouth recommendations as critical.
  • Availability of in-house experts – Just under half of the advisors considered the quality of providers’ staff in making their decisions.

“It’s an honor to be recognized once again by Wealth Advisor’s readers as the top IRA custodian in the country,” says Theresa Fette, president of Provident. “Provident’s stated mission has been to empower customers to self-direct their retirement assets through innovative retirement plan solutions, ease of access, and an extraordinary customer experience. Awards and achievements like this are constant reminders that we work side by side with a dream team of associates that contributes to our success.”

“We’re extremely proud of Theresa and her team at Provident for this accomplishment, as it brings to light their commitment to service and excellence,” states David Musto, president of Ascensus, a technology-enabled solutions provider that helps more than 8 million Americans save for the future. “Through a shared focus on a best-in-class client experience, Provident and Ascensus aim to give customers access to the broadest range of alternative investment choices possible so that they can achieve a greater level of financial success.”

For more information on the full ranking and analysis, visit https://www.thewealthadvisor.com/article/provident-trust-group-rated-top-ira-custodian-2018.

About Provident Trust Group

Provident Trust Group is a self-directed administrator and passive custodian serving more than 29,000 clients and holding over $4.5 Billion assets under custody. The firm specializes in IRAs and Solo 401(k) account administration, asset custody, Corporate Trust services, and escrow services. Over 10 years, it has maintained an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau by offering responsive, honest, and personable service. Provident is dedicated to helping clients make the most of their financial opportunities by providing access to investment opportunities outside the traditional marketplace of publicly traded assets. Learn more at www.trustprovident.com.

About Ascensus

Ascensus helps more than 8 million Americans save for the future—retirement, education, and healthcare—through technology-enabled solutions. With more than 35 years of experience, the firm offers tailored solutions that meet the needs of asset managers, banks, credit unions, state governments, financial professionals, employers, and individuals. Ascensus supports over 60,000 retirement plans, more than 4 million 529 education savings accounts, and a growing number of ABLE savings accounts. It also administers more than 1.6 million IRAs and health savings accounts. As of March 31, 2018, Ascensus had over $187 billion in total assets under administration. For more information about Ascensus, visit ascensus.com (http://www.ascensus.com/).

View career opportunities at careers.ascensus.com or on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/company/ascensus (https://www.linkedin.com/company/ascensus). For the latest company news, follow @AscensusInc (https://twitter.com/AscensusInc) on Twitter.


Ascensus Named Preferred Vendor by Nebraska Bankers Association

Firm Helps Solve Banks’ IRA Compliance Challenges with Innovative Training and Product Offerings

Dresher, PA—Ascensus, a technology-enabled solutions provider that helps more than 8 million Americans save for the future, has announced that the Nebraska Bankers Association (NBA) named Ascensus as a preferred partner for its IRA products and training solutions.

The NBA and its subsidiary, Nebraska Bankers Insurance & Services Co. (NBISCO), have done a due diligence review of Ascensus’ products and training solutions and recommend Ascensus’ Fully- and Self-Administered Programs, IRA Essentials OnDemand, and IRA University to their member banks. NBA’s recommendation lets member banks know that Ascensus delivers IRA administration and training that focuses on innovation and compliance so that they can focus on their core businesses.

“Ascensus, NBA, and NBISCO have a long history of working together in support of Nebraska banks,” states Steve Christenson, executive vice president at Ascensus. “We look forward to many years of partnership and assisting NBA member banks to help their clients save for retirement and healthcare.”

“NBISCO’s commitment to extraordinary service to NBA-member financial institutions includes a desire to refer our members to vendors who share our passion for excellence,” states Scott Yank, executive vice president at NBISCO. “Our goal is to provide competitively priced products and services that will bring positive results for our member banks.”

“For this reason, NBISCO has entered into a preferred vendor relationship with Ascensus,” continues York. “We feel that the products offered will be a value-added service for NBA member banks.”

About Ascensus

Ascensus helps more than 8 million Americans save for the future—retirement, education, and healthcare— through technology-enabled solutions. With more than 35 years of experience, the firm offers tailored solutions that meet the needs of asset managers, banks, credit unions, state governments, financial professionals, employers, and individuals. Ascensus supports over 60,000 retirement plans, more than 4 million 529 education savings accounts, and a growing number of ABLE savings accounts. It also administers more than 1.6 million IRAs and health savings accounts. As of March 31, 2018, Ascensus had over $187 billion in total assets under administration. For more information about Ascensus, visit ascensus.com.

View career opportunities at careers.ascensus.com or on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/company/ascensus. For the latest company news, follow @AscensusInc on Twitter.

About Nebraska Bankers Association

The Nebraska Bankers Association (www.nebankers.org), founded in 1890, is the voice of Nebraska’s $72 billion banking industry, which is composed of small, regional, and large banks that together employ more than 14,000 people, safeguard nearly $59 billion in deposits, and extend more than $53 billion in loans, all within the state of Nebraska.


Chard Snyder Recognized by WEX Health for Outstanding Achievement

Earns Partner Excellence Award for Sales

MASON, OhioChard Snyder, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ascensus that is headquartered in Mason, Ohio, has been honored by WEX Health with a 2017 Partner Excellence Award for outstanding business achievements. The employee benefit solutions provider received the Sales Excellence Award at the annual WEX Health Partner Conference held recently in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Chard Snyder was selected for the award because of its significant accomplishments in identifying new and innovative ways to drive growth, executing on unique and differentiated sales strategies, campaigns and channel programs to accelerate organizational expansion.

“Chard Snyder has recorded tremendous growth once again this year, gaining an exceptional number of new participants and significantly increasing their account volume over last year,” said Jeff Young, President of WEX Health. “They are engaged on all levels, from sales strategies and market insights to pilot opportunities with new products, features and sales tools. They’re a fierce competitor and broadening their national presence year after year.”

The Excellence Awards, established in 2008, are presented yearly and recognize WEX Health Partners that have achieved extraordinary notable accomplishments. Award recipients were recognized for reaching significant milestones in 2017 in 13 categories: Growth Excellence, Evangelist, Innovator, Market Maker, Sales Excellence, Service Excellence, Solution Visionary, Leadership, New Partner of the Year, Card Innovation Partner of the Year, Billing Partner of the Year, CDH Platform Partner of the Year, and Partner of the Year.

Chard Snyder has been a WEX Health partner since 2005.

About Chard Snyder
Chard Snyder provides employee benefit solutions to more than 1,400 employers in 40 states across the U.S. Chard Snyder administers savings and spending accounts (FSA, HSA, HRA, transit & parking), benefit continuation services (COBRA; retiree, direct and other billing) and FMLA leave, and provides plan document services. Founded in 1988 by Ken Chard and Joy Snyder, the company employs 170 team members today. Chard Snyder is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ascensus and the anchor of its new Health division. Visit www.chard-snyder.com or call 800.982.7715 to learn more.

About Ascensus
Ascensus helps more than 8 million Americans save for the future—retirement, education, and healthcare—through technology-enabled solutions. With more than 35 years of experience, the firm offers tailored solutions that meet the needs of asset managers, banks, credit unions, state governments, financial professionals, employers, and individuals. Ascensus supports over 60,000 retirement plans, more than 4 million 529 education savings accounts, and a growing number of ABLE savings accounts. It also administers more than 1.6 million IRAs and health savings accounts. As of March 31, 2018, Ascensus had over $187 billion in total assets under administration. For more information about Ascensus, visit ascensus.com.

View career opportunities at careers.ascensus.com and http://www.chard-snyder.com/about/careers/ or on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/company/ascensus. For the latest company news, follow @AscensusInc on Twitter.


Ascensus on the Forefront of the Growing Retirement Savings Industry

A recent Pensions & Investments article ​highlights the appeal of retirement services companies, like Ascensus, to private equity firms. The industry is experiencing active M&A activity as private equity investors pursue stable cash flows, reliable revenue, and guaranteed growth. “Ten thousand people are retiring every day. This is a growth sector with reliable trends,” said Robert Goldbaum, a New York-based partner at Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, who specializes in mergers and acquisitions.


Ascensus Wins 2018 Business Intelligence Public Relations and Marketing Excellence Award

Firm Receives Honor for Marketing and Public Relations Department of the Year

Ascensus, a technology-enabled service provider that helps more than 7 million Americans save for the future, has won The Business Intelligence Group’s 2018 Public Relations and Marketing Excellence Award for Marketing and PR Department of the Year.

The Business Intelligence Group was founded with the mission of recognizing true talent and superior performance in the business world. Unlike other industry and business award programs, business executives—those with experience and knowledge—judge the programs. The organization’s proprietary and unique scoring system selectively measures performance across multiple business domains and then rewards those companies whose achievements stand above those of their peers.

“We are so proud to recognize the work of Ascensus,” said Maria Jimenez, Chief Nominations Officer of the Business Intelligence Group. “It was clear to all of us that our winners all blended creativity and business understanding to deliver superior performances. Congratulations to them all.”

Throughout Ascensus’ 35+ year history, its corporate mission has remained the same—to help Americans save for the future by connecting them to the right plans. Key in forming these connections are the communication tools and materials that Ascensus creates to inform business and savings decisions.

“We take a humanistic approach to our materials and messaging to ensure that they meet the unique needs of our partners, financial advisors, clients, and savers,” states Carl Negin, Ascensus’ chief marketing officer. “Ultimately, we aim to simplify the sometimes complex and technical nature of our industry by creating concise and engaging thought leadership, PR, and marketing pieces. I’m proud of what our team has delivered and am excited to continue to evolve our communications to meet the needs of our clients.”

For more information on the Public Relations and Marketing Excellence awards, visit https://www.bintelligence.com/pr-excellence/.

About Ascensus

Ascensus helps more than 7 million Americans save for the future—retirement, education, and healthcare—through technology-enabled solutions. With more than 35 years of experience, the firm offers tailored solutions that meet the needs of asset managers, banks, credit unions, state governments, financial professionals, employers, and individuals. Ascensus supports over 54,000 retirement plans, more than 4 million 529 education savings accounts, and a growing number of ABLE savings accounts. It also administers more than 1.5 million IRAs and health savings accounts. As of December 31, 2017, Ascensus had over $163 billion in total assets under administration. For more information about Ascensus, visit ascensus.com.

View career opportunities at careers.ascensus.com/page/show/tpa and careers.ascensus.com or on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/company/ascensus. For the latest company news, follow @AscensusInc on Twitter.

 


How Financial Services Firms Can Safeguard Client Information

Financial services firms have a target on their back. Given the massive quantity of names, addresses, social security numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, and other sensitive information kept on file, cyber criminals are going to continue to take aim at your businesses.

We’ve seen it countless times before in the financial services arena. A data breach in 2011 at Global Payments led to 1.5 million credit and debit card numbers ending up in the hands of cyber criminals, costing the company $90 million. In 2014, J.P. Morgan spent more than $1 billion to mitigate the damage resulting from compromised personal information of more than 76 million households. Last but not least, credit-reporting agency Equifax on September 7, 2017 revealed that cyber criminals had compromised the personal information of more than 143 million U.S. consumers, marking the largest data breach in history.

Experts say we’ve only seen the tip of the cyber-attack iceberg, and the treasure trove of sensitive information kept at your business will continue to attract cyber crooks to your company. The average cost of a data breach is approximately $4 million per incident, not to mention the priceless reputational damage. Can your business afford it?

What started out as a relatively minor issue has ballooned into perhaps the greatest threat facing our industry today. At Ascensus, we have over 30 years of experience in safeguarding our clients’ personal information. Here’s my advice for like-minded firms looking to avoid potentially disastrous data breaches.

Patch your systems

Perhaps the single most significant security flaw that led to the Equifax breach was the company’s failure to patch a vulnerability in its system, providing cybercriminals with an entryway into the personal information. Had Equifax patched this vulnerability within 48 hours of discovering it, the breach could have been prevented, according to Equifax CEO Richard Smith.

Patching vulnerabilities within your businesses security system as soon as they are identified may sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised to hear how many companies fail to do so. The capital and manpower required to implement these patches sometimes deters executives from the job. But these decision makers must understand the potential financial and reputational damages resulting from a breach far outweigh the time and money spent maintaining your system today.

Administer employee cybersecurity training

One of the top causes of data breaches is human error. Cybercriminals have gotten very creative in how they enter your systems, and frequently use methods that involve deceiving an internal employee into letting them right in the front door.

Hackers are known to create phishing emails disguised as Amazon coupons or other retail giveaways. A quick click on a link within these phishing emails can provide the criminal with everything they need to break into your systems. Sometimes hackers pose as an existing client or representative from a third-party vendor on the telephone to get the information they need to break in. Considering your employees’ natural willingness to help, you might be surprised how easily an unsuspecting associate will unintentionally give up sensitive information to the wrong person.

Strong employee cybersecurity training designed to help your associates recognize these malicious attempts is imperative to any strong, company-wide cybersecurity system and can go a long way in thwarting attempted attacks.

Prepare, prepare, prepare

If a data breach does occur at your organization, an effective response plan will make or break your ability to mitigate the damage to your clients and key stakeholders. This might have been Equifax’s largest downfall.

Ask yourself the following: How will we eliminate the bad actor to mitigate the damage? Which third-party cybersecurity firm will we call for help? What is our internal communication plan, and how will we address the issue with our clients and the outside media? These questions just scratch the surface, but getting the answers is a great place to start when building a response plan.

Is your firm ready?

Given the sheer amount of sensitive data you have at your company, financial services firms of all shapes and sizes will continue to be targeted by cybercriminals. Constantly monitor and update your security measures and response plans. If a data breach hits your organization, you’ll be glad you did.

 


Four Strategies for Executives to Create a Successful Service Culture

Establishing a service culture at any organization is one of the most effective ways to boost client satisfaction, keep your employees happy, and create a healthy working environment that enables your teams to thrive.

But what is a service culture? For us, it means every activity is completed with the client in mind, regardless of whether they are directly impacted by the task at hand. In a service culture, employees should put people first, prioritize quality, and always maintain a high level of integrity. But it’s also so much more. It’s a state of mind, a set of beliefs, and a core value for employees to rally around.

Service cultures start with you, the executive, and trickle down to every single aspect of the business. As a member of the C-suite, your own actions reflect the company culture and you must work to be the unifying agent. Good leaders know that poor client service costs money and inhibits growth. But great leaders truly understand the power of service cultures, and how they can positively impact client satisfaction, employee well-being, and the company’s bottom line.

Understand (really understand) your client’s objectives

This may sound basic, but it’s the foundation for a solid service culture. Show a genuine interest in finding out what’s important to your clients and mold your culture around it. There should be nothing stronger than the voice of your client. Know them deeply and apply their wants and needs into your strategic vision. Not only will this enhance the partnership with your current clients, but prospective clients will recognize the team’s unique ability to hone in on their business.

Be consistent in how the culture is communicated

Culture starts at the top of your organization. The actions and words set at the leadership table establish the tone for the entire organization. The C-suite should be communicating a consistent and clear message related to the service culture in all aspects of the business. Every employee should know the vision, believe it, and execute on it. Keep in mind that culture is constantly evolving, but remain consistent with your core mission and cultural values no matter the environment.

Train and develop your employees to execute on core values

It’s imperative for every person in your organization – from the mailroom to the boardroom – to feel included in the culture and be able to articulate how they add to it. Your core values and service focus should be reflected in formal documents and communications, including the employee handbook. Once you establish these policies, train new associates to understand the standards and equip them with the resources to implement the service culture. This is especially important for recruiters so they can quickly and clearly recognize the core attributes in potential employee candidates.

Reward and recognize your employees

The benefits of positive reinforcement have long been studied. So recognize and reward employees who are embodying the values, and remind employees when they are not. This goes for leadership too. If you aren’t walking the walk, your employees will notice.

Building and maintaining a successful, positive and recognizable service culture is a challenge all executives face. Utilizing the steps outlined above will empower your team to embody the service culture and create positive experiences for your customers and employees. But leaders must understand that they must do more than just talk the talk. They must embody the core values of a service culture every day in order to make it stick.


Rick Irace Explains How to Establish a Service Culture

Rick Irace, chief operating officer of Ascensus’ retirement division, explains the strategies behind establishing a ​service culture at any organization, in a recent article​ published by Chief Executive.​ A service culture has the potential to improve client satisfaction, employee happiness, and ​​work environment. ​​”Service cultures start with you, the executive, and trickle down to every aspect of th​e business,” states Irace. ​


Ascensus Addresses Third-Party Administrators’ Need for More Efficient Way to Run Their Businesses

Ascensus, a technology-enabled service provider that helps more than 7 million Americans save for the future, is pleased to announce that it has launched an enhanced digital experience for third-party administrators (TPAs) who use its recordkeeping platform via a refreshed, web-based plan management dashboard. Designed with input gathered directly from the TPA community—along with guidance from partners that work with TPAs (Mutual of Omaha and Vanguard)—this tool offers simple navigation and easy access to resources that can help TPAs better manage their plans so that they can devote more time to building their businesses.

Ascensus, which currently partners with more than 1,000 TPAs across approximately 6,500 plans on its recordkeeping platform, surveyed TPAs to understand their needs and how they want to use online resources.  Responses indicated that there were several areas of interest that TPAs prefer to find quickly, all of which have been enhanced within the updated dashboard’s navigation toolbar for ease of access. Ascensus also focused on increasing satisfaction by making it simpler for TPAs to view their book of business with the firm in one location.

“The refreshed TPA dashboard—along with the plan and employee websites that were updated earlier in the year—is simple by design in order to provide user experiences that make plan management and saving for the future as straightforward as possible,” says Shannon Kelly, Ascensus’ president of retirement. “I’d like to thank Mutual of Omaha and Vanguard for their assistance with this project; by addressing TPAs’ stated needs for more operational efficiency, we hope to free up their time so that they can put more focus on activities that can help them to grow their businesses, such as cross-selling additional services to clients.”

“TPAs play a vital role in the management of their clients’ retirement plans, and we want to make certain that they have the tools that they need to provide the best level of service possible,” states Steve Schweitzer, Ascensus’ senior vice president of marketing, product, and digital. “The enhancements to the TPA dashboard reaffirm Ascensus’ commitment to TPAs and the important work that they do to help their clients save for the future.”

About Ascensus

Ascensus helps more than 7 million Americans save for the future—retirement, college, and healthcare—through technology-enabled solutions. With more than 35 years of experience, the firm offers tailored solutions that meet the needs of asset managers, banks, credit unions, state governments, financial professionals, employers, and individuals. Ascensus supports approximately 50,000 retirement plans, more than 4 million 529 college savings accounts, and a growing number of ABLE savings accounts. It also administers more than 1.5 million IRAs and health savings accounts. As of June 30, 2017, Ascensus had over $151 billion in total assets under administration. For more information about Ascensus, visit ascensus.com.

View career opportunities at careers.ascensus.com or on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/company/ascensus. For the latest company news, follow @AscensusInc on Twitter.