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Advisor POV: Jason Grantz on Entering the Industry, Starting a Practice, & Plan Specialization

Advisor POV: Jason Grantz on Entering the Industry, Starting a Practice, & Plan Specialization

Quick Facts

Name: Jason Grantz, QPA, QKC, QKA, AIFA.
Resides in: Highland Park, New Jersey
Company: Integrated Pension Services
Role: Managing Director - Institutional Retirement Sales & Marketing
Number of years in the industry: 27
Favorite industry news source: NAPA Net, ASPPA, 401k Specialist
Favorite book: For business I like ‘Getting Naked’ by Patrick Lencioni and ‘The No Asshole Rule’ by Dr. Robert Sutton

Coming to us with almost 30 years in the advising industry, Jason Grantz has a wealth of knowledge to share. In our conversation, we discussed the future of the retirement industry, how his practice has changed over the past three years (and how it hasn’t), and his advice for new entrants to the field. The following transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

Jason’s Journey to Advising & Wisdom for Upstarts

How did you get into 401(k) advising?

Like most pension professionals, I found the industry by accident. I started at a large recordkeeper, and moved along to a mutual fund company, but in their retirement operations area. After that, I got into retirement plan wholesaling and management. The natural next step was to hang a shingle and start advising on plans!

What is a lesson you wish you learned earlier in your career?

Understand that there is no such thing as a “game changer.” The industry is in constant motion and fads, new services, new models are always occurring and you should too, instead of getting amped up about the newest shiny object. That lesson would have been good to know 15-20 years ago.

What advice do you have for those who are just starting out in this space?

Learn the words. Vocabulary is incredibly important in our space and, sadly, we spend a lot of time reeducating clients on misinformation and more.

And on the same token, what advice would you have for someone who has been in the industry, but is starting their own practice?

My advice would be to find an excellent partner and mentor to work with. There’s no shame in it and no need to be a ‘party of one’ when there’s plenty of opportunity out there to join with others and become part of an even stronger whole.

Thoughts on the Advising Industry Heading into 2023

You’ve said there’s “no such thing as a game changer.” That may be true, but has your outlook on the 401(k) industry changed over the past year?

It really hasn’t changed. I think that the industry is mature and will always have changes happening, but change is opportunity. How should you respond to this? As a practitioner, it’s all in the name: practice, practice, practice.

What is one way you’ve “updated” your practice, or strategy, that has helped you be more successful?

We’ve migrated largely to a Zoom-based process for meetings and presentations. It’s increased our efficiency by three to four times. Frankly, it’s taken us from a mostly northeast regional firm to a national firm now in nearly 30 states.

That’s fascinating. On a related note, what is one trend you foresee impacting plan advisors over the next few years?

Retirement plan specialization has been happening for some time and will continue. We’re seeing more and more advisors look to partner with us to handle the plan, while they manage the relationship with the business owners and higher paid employees. This allows us to do what we do well, which is the plan work, and it allows them to do what they do well, which is all of the rest.

Quick Questions & Quick Answers

Where do you find your leads?

We get almost all of our leads via referral sources, centers of influence, and other advisor relationships we’ve developed over the years.

What is a quote you live by?

I have many mantras, but the one that I live by is “We’re only ever in one business and that’s the Relationship Business”.

Tell us what a typical day looks like for you.

Most days I’m up early, do a short workout, get my kids off to school and head up to my office. From there, it’s a series of meetings within and outside of my organization, consisting of either managing someone or selling something.

Lastly, what feature has been the most helpful for managing your clients & plans on the Vestwell platform?

We’re not a ‘feature’- based advisory shop. Really what I like about the platform is that it’s relatively simple to explain, has clear pricing, and flexible investments.