Managing retirement planning for small businesses

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Managing retirement planning for small businesses
Altigro is on the grow as workers

                                                            Photos by Christina Mazza
take larger stakes in their savings
      Employee Benefits

            By BEtH FitZGEraLD
SteVeN GreeNBauM’S Fairfield company
does the invisible back-office paperwork that
keeps retirement plans running — and his
business has grown as Americans take on the
challenge of saving for retirement.
      Greenbaum’s father, Jerome Greenbaum,
founded the altigro company in 1960. Steven
Greenbaum runs the company’s pension busi-
ness, while his brother, Brad Greenbaum, leads
Altigro’s employee benefits division.
      The company started with a few dozen
retirement plans when Steven Greenbaum
came on board in 1973 shortly after graduating
from Boston university. Now, altigro Pension
Services is the third-party administrator for
600 retirement plans, most of them small com-
panies with fewer than 50 employees.
      Much of Altigro’s growth is word-of-
mouth. Steven Greenbaum teaches continu-
ing education classes to insurance agents and
accountants, “and that has been a very good
marketing tool for me,” he said. An agent who’s
completed the course “will call me up three
weeks later and say, ‘I have a client who needs
retirement planning, can you help me?’ I’ve                                             Steven Greenbaum, president of Altigro Pension Services, joined his father’s company in 1973 after graduating from Boston University. Altigro was founded in 1960.
gotten business from every sin-
gle one of these that I’ve                                                                     because all of a sudden you wake up                     year — “but we might also lose 20 or 30 plans,                       Traditional pensions, where the employer
done in the past 10 or                                                                             and say, ‘three or four guys I used                 because the company goes out of business; or                   takes on the risk of investing money on behalf
12 years.”                                                                                           to deal with — they’re retired in                 the founder retires; or they terminate the plan                of the workers, have been largely displaced
      Client refer-                                                                                  Florida now’” .                                   because, in this business climate, they can’t                  by the 401(k): Steven Greenbaum said only
rals also come from                                                                                       Brad Greenbaum said the third-               afford it.”                                                    about 10 percent of the plans he administers
financial       plan-                                                                              party administrative industry has been                    He sits down with small-business owners                  are traditional pensions.
ners, attorneys and                                                                                able to grow by taking over the back-               and designs a 401(k) plan for the owner and the                      Most young workers doubt Social Security
accountants: “You                                                                                 office administration chores that other-             employees — but he doesn’t give investment                     will be there when they retire — and this group
build a network                                                                                   wise would be a drain on the big mutual              advice, or move the money around. Steven                       hangs on Steven Greenbaum’s every word when
— and you have to                                                                                  fund companies. For some of these big               Greenbaum recommends an asset management                       he delivers his 401(k) enrollment primer.
continually                                                                                       firms, “the back office is considered a              firm that looks like a good fit for the small busi-                  “I don’t think I’ve ever talked to anyone
build it,                                                                                       hindrance that generates complaints —                  ness, and he deals with more than a half-dozen                 under the age of 35 who has any belief at all that
                                                                                                 ‘I didn’t get my report on time,’ that sort           of them, including John hancock, MassMutual                    Social Security will be there when they retire,”
                                                                                                      of thing,” he said. “So this has cre-            and Metlife. He also runs the enrollment meet-                 said Steven Greenbaum, 60. Young adults
                                                                                                         ated a cottage industry of pension            ings, at which workers are taught, step-by-step,               “think they have to do this for themselves, and
Description: Client referrals also come from financial planners, attorneys and accountants: "You build a network - and you have to continually build it, because all of a sudden you wake up and say, 'three or four guys I used to deal with - they're retired in Florida now!" Brad Greenbaum said the thirdparty administrative industry has been able to grow by taking over the backoffice administration chores that otherwise would be a drain on the big mutual fund companies.
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