Finding new direction

Dec 15, 2013 @ 12:01 am

By Liz Skinner

Six months into his staff adviser role at BKD Wealth Advisors, Michael Blumreich's career is taking him in an unexpected direction.

Due to especially heavy demand for the firm's employee benefit services in recent months, Mr. Blumreich has been working with a BKD adviser who helps companies manage their retirement programs.

Mr. Blumreich is attending enrollment meetings with the adviser and helping provide employees with information about the investment choices in the plans, as well as demonstrating the website workers will use to sign up.

“Whenever I go to these meetings, I try to bring a level of excitement for participants,” said Mr. Blumreich, 23. “I try to show them it's not just about an amount that comes out of the check every month, but I try to get them excited about what they can do with that in retirement and the purchasing power they can have.”

He's also able to connect with the younger participants better than older advisers, and his bosses have noticed.

The adviser with whom he works pointed out that a group of younger participants in an enrollment meeting who seemed to be completely uninterested during the presentation came up to Mr. Blumreich afterward and asked him a series of questions about the plan.

WIDE SPECTRUM

His favorite aspect of working on the benefits side is the diversity of people he meets. In addition to the wide spectrum of company employees he assists, Mr. Blumreich enjoys working closely with the plan sponsors who hire BKD and depend on the firm to be a third-party fiduciary.

He plans to take the Series 65 exam during the next couple of months and then start preparing for the more involved certified financial planning test. Most recently, he has been thinking about pursuing a certification for benefit plan consultants, the accredited investment fiduciary designation.

Mr. Blumreich, who works at the firm's Springfield, Mo., headquarters, said that every other week, he talks with a company-provided coach/mentor who is an adviser at the firm's Indianapolis office. He also receives day-to-day coaching from the office director.

Mr. Blumreich praised the firm's motivating start to each work day. There is an 8:30 a.m. stand-up meeting to discuss the day's schedule, review the firm's core values and receive an inspiring quote of the day.

“No matter what happened since you got off the night before, that meeting levels the playing field for everyone as you talk about what you have to do that day,” he said.

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